Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Handsome Eastern Box Turtle


This brightly-colored fellow  was behind our house yesterday morning -- maybe roaming around in search of a mate. Box turtles -- and they are turtles, not tortoises, in spite of their preferring land to water -- are the North Carolina state reptile.  There's glory for you!

They're very abundant in our area and always, after a heavy rain, they seem to be out wandering and, all too often, hurling themselves in front of cars. Over the years I've rescued quite a few from busy roads and brought them back here. This may be one of the rescuees -- they're quite long-lived -- or it could be a descendant.

Male box turtles have red or orange eyes while female's eyes are light brown. It's kind of a tough call in this case. So I picked the turtle up to have a look at the plastron -- the shell on the underside. If the plastron is flat, it's a she; if concave -- he.

Looks concave to me.

 That's Mr. Box Turtle to you!
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23 comments:

Ms. A said...

I just learned something about box turtles I didn't know. He IS handsome!

juliet said...

What a gorgeous creature. We don't have turtles or tortoises here in New Zealand, so I'm fascinated.

Reader Wil said...

Your boxturtle is very beautiful! I saw several turtles in Australia, but the climate in the Netherlands is too cold, more's the pity, for I like them.
Now I must find the difference physically between a turtle and a tortoise. I know that the latter lives on land.Blogging is interesting. I always learn a lot every week.
Thank you and have a great day.

Kath Marsh said...

He is a handsome fellow!
I've picked up and placed crossing turtles on the other side of the road when I've come up on them. I hope the information is correct that you always carry them to the side they were headed toward so they don't double back to the road to get where they were headed.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

He is very handsome. I've only seen one up close. I've always been curious as to where they live. We usually see them crossing the road.
Sam

Lee Harth said...

Lovely post enjoyed the read and the pics ! Love to learn !

Christie Williamson said...

I did not know that about turltes. I've rescued a few around here, too. Turtles, but not those kind of turtles. These are just your generic yellow kind?

Anyway, thanks for skooling me today!. :)

Jill said...

What a beauty!!

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Thanks Vicki, he's a beauty, and I didn't know about the eyes and concave bottoms! Good design plan!

Mel said...

Wonderful! He is handsome and how kind of you stop to get them out of harm's way. I didn't know about the plastron curve but it makes sense if you think about mating!

Deanna said...

Mr.Box Turtle is quite handsome. Maybe he can tell me why if I see one of his relatives crossing the road, I will see many more. I counted five ont he way to Church on Sunday!

Darla said...

And he certainly has a flare for showing off that vibrant orange color! Love him!

Vicki Lane said...

Kath, I usually do that -- move them across in the direction they were going. I only bring them home when the place they're headed looked inhospitable.

Sam and Deanna, they live in holes and the ground. After a hard rain, when said holes have flooded, is when you tend to see them out crossing roads and looking for a better location.

Vicki Lane said...

Kath, I usually do that -- move them across in the direction they were going. I only bring them home when the place they're headed looked inhospitable.

Sam and Deanna, they live in holes in the ground. After a hard rain, when said holes have flooded, is when you tend to see them out crossing roads and looking for a better location.

Vicki Lane said...

Kath, I usually do that -- move them across in the direction they were going. I only bring them home when the place they're headed looked inhospitable.

Sam and Deanna, they live in holes in the ground. After a hard rain, when said holes have flooded, is when you tend to see them out crossing roads and looking for a better location.

Star said...

That is a very handsome turtle. I love his colouring and I didn't know any of that so thank you for the instruction. I saw lots of turtles in Knoxville but they weren't like that one. They were more of a dull brown colour.

Martin said...

Mr or Mrs, it's a good looker!

Thérèse said...

A pretty elaborate home design!

Frances said...

Vicki, I do learn so much from these visits!

I agree with you about the beauty of this box turtle, and applaud all your springtime roadway turtle rescue missions.

Nature is such an amazing designer...the turtle's patterns and colorways is fantastic and timeless.

xo

jennyfreckles said...

He's very attractively coloured. We don't have them here, as far as I know.

Arty-Kat said...

I have loved turtles since childhood and always kept one as a pet. Obviously that was before it became illegal to purchase them (can't remember why that happened. Anyone?). This one is a beaut! He is quite flamboyant in his markings/colors. I am a turtle/tortoise rescuer as well.

michaelswoodcraft said...

Love the Eastern Box Turtles, you took some really nice close-up pictures. You are not far from me, I live in northern Greenville, SC county.

I've seen alot of the Eastern Box Turtles this year, I think it has to do with all the rain. We are at a little over 14 inches in our area for July. That's crazy.

I had posted a quick blog today on turtles I've seen this summer.

thank you,
Michael
A Few Pictures of Eastern Box Turtles

michaelswoodcraft said...

Love the Eastern Box Turtles, you took some really nice close-up pictures. You are not far from me, I live in northern Greenville, SC county.

I've seen alot of the Eastern Box Turtles this year, I think it has to do with all the rain. We are at a little over 14 inches in our area for July. That's crazy.

I had posted a quick blog today on turtles I've seen this summer.

thank you,
Michael
A Few Pictures of Eastern Box Turtles