Saturday, June 01, 2024

Pic(k) of the Week: Stay in your lane, buddy!

Stay in your lane, buddy! An eastern box turtle on the trail (literally).

Three Creeks Trail in Ira B. Melton Park: DeKalb County, Georgia, USA. 21 May 2024.

Terrapene carolina carolina — commonly known as the the eastern box turtle— is native to the eastern United States. It is a subspecies within a group of hinge-shelled turtles normally called box turtles. While in the pond turtle family, Emydidae, and not a tortoise, the box turtle is largely terrestrial.

Eastern box turtles have a high, domelike carapace [upper body shell] which is normally brownish or black and accompanied by a yellowish or orangish radiating pattern of lines, spots, or blotches. Skin coloration, like that of the shell, is variable but is usually brown or black with some yellow, orange, red, or white spots or streaks. This coloration closely mimics that of the winter leaf of the tulip poplar tree.

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. In 2011, citing 'a widespread persistent and ongoing gradual decline of Terrapene carolina that probably exceeds 32% over three generations,' the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded its conservation status from near threatened to vulnerable.



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