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Eastern box turtle comment at tt on may 30, 2015


Nice. That's an Eastern Box Turtle.



Found in woodlands throughout Ohio, the box turtle is our most terrestrial turtle.

During the heat of summer, this extremely gentle animal spends the day hidden beneath rotting logs, decaying leaves, and other plant debris, venturing out only during early morning or evening.

A sudden shower after a dry spell usually will bring out box turtles in large numbers.

Ohio Status: Species of Concern.

Box turtles are slow crawlers, extremely long lived, slow to mature, and have relatively few offspring per year. These characteristics, along with a propensity to get hit by cars and agricultural machinery, make all box turtle species particularly susceptible to anthropogenic, or human-induced, mortality.

The greatest threat to Ohio's box turtles is the thoughtless driver who makes no attempt to avoid running over them as they lumber across the highway.

"I live on a couple of wooded acres ..."

You could place it back in the your woodlot, near habitat described above.

MrsArcher, what county do you reside in? If you want, you can tell me via a private message.

You may want to contact Nature's Nursery who can ensure that the turtle is in good shape to be released back in the woods.

To be honest, I didn't realize box turtles could be found in this area. I knew that box turtles were more likely to be found in southern Ohio.

Looking at a range map for Ohio, the critter is definitely harder to find north of I-70. Allegedly, many counties in the northern half of Ohio have never recorded a box turtle sighting.

It appears that it's a rare and special treat to have one wander into your garage in the Toledo area. I'm not sure how rare though.

According to the little Ohio Division of Wildlife book (pdf) that I'm reading, only two Ohio counties in the northern third of Ohio have recorded a box turtle sighting since 1976. Those would Erie County and Cuyahoga County.

That's assuming that I'm understanding the booklet's map.

The following northwest Ohio counties have historic records of box turtle sightings prior to 1976: Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, and Paulding.

I may try to contact one or two people to determine how unusual a box turtle sighting is around here. I guess it depends upon what area you live in.

If you live near Oak Openings Metropark or near one of the other parks in the Oak Openings Region, then your odds of seeing a box turtle increase.

You can contact this person who has studied box turtles in northwest Ohio.


According to this 2012 research paper, (pdf) another researcher studied Eastern Box Turtles in the Oak Openings Region.

I utilized radio-telemetry of five turtles to test my hypotheses regarding local box turtle ecology and habitat use.

The first two box turtles that I obtained for the study were rehabilitated individuals that had been released back into Oak Opening Preserve Metropark by Nature’s Nursery (a licensed, local wildlife rehabilitator). I attached Holohil SB-2T radio transmitters to both of these turtles a day or two prior to their release.

The other three turtles were randomly encountered and captured within the study site between 20 May 2010 and 13 August 2011.

More from that paper:

[The Eastern Box Turtle] is considered uncommon to rare throughout much of the Great Lakes Region and the Oak Openings Region is thought to be the only place in Northwest Ohio where this species naturally occurred in recent history (Lipps, 2004).

I suppose that it's possible that your box turtle was someone's long-time pet that either slipped away, or it was released, but the shell color looks sharp in your photos.

More from the Wikipedia page

Distribution and habitat

The eastern box turtle is considered uncommon to rare in the Great Lakes region; however, populations can be found in areas not bisected by heavily traveled roads.

In the Midwest, they are a Species of Concern in Ohio, and of Special Concern in Michigan and Indiana.

Eastern box turtles prefer deciduous or mixed forested regions, with a moderately moist forest floor that has good drainage. Bottomland forest is preferred over hillsides and ridges.

They can also be found in open grasslands, pastures, or under fallen logs or in moist ground, usually moist leaves or wet dirt.

They have also been known to take "baths" in shallow streams and ponds or puddles, and during hot periods may submerge in mud for days at a time.

However, if placed in water that is too deep (completely submerged), they may drown.

In captivity

Thousands of box turtles are collected from the wild every year for the domestic pet trade, primarily from South Carolina, the only remaining state where they can legally be captured from the wild and sold for profit.

Captive turtles may have a life span as short as three days if they aren't fed, watered, and held in a proper container.

The vivid shell color found in many eastern box turtles often fades when a turtle is brought into captivity. This has led to the mistaken belief that the color fades as the turtle ages. The truth is that insufficient access to full sunlight causes the color in the keratin layer to fade.

The eastern box turtle is protected throughout most of its range but many states allow the capture and possession of box turtles for personal use.

Although box turtles may make hardy captives if their needs are met, and are frequently kept as pets, they are not easy turtles to keep, owing to their many specific requirements.

Eastern box turtles require high humidity, warm temperatures with vertical and horizontal thermal gradients, suitable substrate for burrowing, and full spectrum ultraviolet lighting that mimics sunlight.

A basking area at one end of the enclosure is important to offer the turtle the ability to warm itself.

... a large, easily accessible water dish for bathing and drinking is important to their health. Water should be fresh and clean and available at all times.

Because box turtles seldom get the nutrients they need to foster shell growth and skeletal and skin development, they also may require vitamin supplements to keep them healthy such as calcium, vitamin A, and folic acid.

Captive diets include various live invertebrates such as crickets, worms, earthworms, grubs, beetles and larvae, cockroaches, small mice as well as wild strawberries, and fish (not goldfish). Mixed berries, fruit, romaine lettuce, collard greens, dandelion greens, chicory, mushrooms and clover are suitable for box turtles as well.


Good. You needed a radio tag to monitor it.

"... said they are rare but not uncommon ..."

I'm guessing that the person meant to say EBT are uncommon but not rare.

And more specifically, it appears that the EBT is not rare in the Oak Openings Region. It could be rare in Wood County or eastern Lucas County.

The Oak Openings Region is the narrow strip of sandy soil that runs from the Ohio-Michigan line through West Toledo and Sylvania and out past Toledo Express Airport. It was a beach for a lake created after one of the glaciers melted. Geologically-speaking, our house sits on beachfront property.

"I wonder where the Ohio Department of Wildlife gets their info ..."

If it ain't reported, then it ain't recorded.

I need to check the app store to see if a turtle reporting program exists for the smartphone.

Most of us see things, but we don't know what we're looking at, therefore we have no idea if it's common or rare.

In recent years, a West Toledo comrade has made several new "discoveries" in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan of dragonflies and damselflies.

Since few people study these flying machines, he has recorded many new county records. These would be first official (documented) sightings for a county. The insects have probably always existed here, but nobody officially noticed them.

"You can observe a lot by just watching." - Yogi Berra

New discoveries in nature at the county level can still be made, and you can get your name in some book.

Back in 2006, he recorded the first official Ohio sighting of a dragonfly species that he found along the lakeshore. It was the Striped Saddlebags that is normally found in Texas, but it likes to wander in the late summer and fall. On big, southwest wind days, it's possible to find some of these stragglers along the lakeshore. Back in October 2010, I saw two Striped Saddlebags at Metzger Marsh. It's possible that this species has always wandered up here, but nobody noticed until 2006.

Obviously, first state records are tougher, but insects and plants are good areas to search for new finds.

But this dude is not content with finding new county records in the Toledo area and new Ohio records. He winters in Texas, and in recent years, he has discovered at least two species of dragonflies that were U.S. records. The insects were known to science because they were found south of the U.S., but he made the first official U.S. discoveries.

But he made an even bigger discovery on another winter-time trip to Texas when he documented a dragonfly that was unknown to the world. An undiscovered species found in the U.S. Unfortunately, his name was not worked into the Latin scientific name assigned to this new dragon.

#nature - #turtle - #insect

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