Wednesday, November 10, 2004

terrapene carolina carolina


I recently received this photo of a baby box turtle (via email) from a kindred spirit, and marveled at the size of it.

First off, I want to make it perfectly clear that no baby box turtles were harmed during the photo documentation, and the baby box turtle was released back into the wilderness (to the tune of "Born Free") from which he (or she) the way, you can usually tell if it is a male box turtle by the color (red) of the eyes.

So anyway, I got to looking at this picture, and found myself thinking about this baby box turtle for days after I had received the photo. I started wondering about it...what it was doing?..(just being a turtle) many other little turtles hatched out with it at birth? (typically 3-8 elliptical, thin-shelled eggs)...where will they all go?...(some of them live a very long time and may spend their whole life in an area scarcely larger than a football field)...what would he eat?...(omnivorous..also known to eat poisonous mushrooms, which can kill whomever eats the flesh of a box turtle who has eaten a poisonous mushroom)...what would he do for the winter?...(dig a hole about 4 to 6" deep, at the base of a rock or log, and hibernate until the spring rains come) big would he get? (about 6 1/2 inches) long would it be before he made little turtles of his own?...(5-7 years to maturity) you can see, I have been reading up on box turtles.

For some reason, thinking about this little creature, whose ancestors existed about 200 million years ago, gives me a feeling of reassurance. When life seems complicated and hectic, I like to think of this little turtle...slowly, methodically going about life in its own little world..with his own little purpose...and it makes me happy to have had the chance to see something I have never seen before (even if it was just a photo in an email). I guess by now he is searching for a good place to spend the winter (if something has not eaten him skunks, foxes, raccoons, crows, snakes, owls, and hawks, coyotes, or a wild hog).

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