Monday, June 13, 2011

Macro Monday Critter of the Day

It must be a turtle-y time of year. Saturday, while out and about in town, I saw two or three turtles of differing kinds. Today, we have had two in our front yard. The first, and only one I got to see personally, was this Eastern Box Turtle. I love these little turtles! As a kid, we would often find and play with these turtles. If the dogs found them first, we'd rescue them and drive them down the road a piece and release them.

One thing that makes Eastern Box Turtles easy to identify is that, unlike every other turtle in this area, they can completely close themselve in their shells. They close so tightly, in fact, that they frequently a knife cannot be admitted- not that I would try that!

Is it safe to come out?

It's usually simple to tell the sex of these turtles, too. Males have red eyes, females have yellow eyes. At first I thought this was a female turtle, but looking closely at the photographs, I think it may be a young male.

See the red starting to show in his eyes?

Box turtles are slow to grow and slow to reproduce.
It takes ten to twenty years to reach sexual maturity.

They are also quite long lived. Fifty years is about average;
one hundred years is not unheard of according to some sources.
The primary things to shorten their otherwise long lives are cars, dogs, and raccoons, all of which we have around here.

Box turtles are omnivores in the truest sense of the word.
If they can get it into their mouth, they will eat it.
Favorite foods are fruits, slugs, bugs, and mushrooms.
They can even eat some mushrooms that are poisonous to humans.

I think this individual is rather young because his shell is in such good shape. Many I have seen have chips out of their shells or significant scratches.

Their patterns are highly variable. I suspect that I could recognize this particular turtle again, based on these photos.

I'm linking to Macro Monday at Lisa's Chaos.
Stop by and see what macros you can see today!


  1. he is just beautiful! i'm glad you shared all the different angles. his shell is remarkably in good shape! :)

  2. He is so cute...I love that first image of him peeking out of his original perspective!

  3. Ahahah! I agree: it must be turtle-time! :D
    Very interesting post, I really liked to learn more about turtle shells and eyes.

  4. Fantastic details of the shell. Happy Macro Monday!

  5. Beautiful Macro shots.
    He's so cute, thanks for sharing.

  6. He Has Beautiful stars.If you have a time please follow my blog,

  7. I look for these guys every year. Hubby usually finds one in the yard but not so far this season. We did stop on the road the other day as one was crossing and I snapped a pic or two.
    Great shots!!

  8. It's nice to know I'm not the only turtle crossing guard out there!

  9. These are great, Susan! Still loving all the critters you come across on your daily path.


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