Pony Pasture Turtle

One of the many critters who share our neighborhood.

Spotted this morning at Pony Pasture.

Common Name: Eastern Box Turtle
Scientific Name: Terrapene carolina carolina
Genus: Terrapene is derived from Native Americans (Algonquin) which means “turtle”.
Average Length: 4.5 – 6 in. (11.5 – 15.2 cm)
Virginia Record Length: 6.1 in. (15.6 cm)
Record length: 7.8 in. (19.8 cm)

REPRODUCTION: In Virginia, box turtles usually have one clutch of 2-7 eggs per year In the wild, mating has been observed in April-October, while nesting usually occurs May through July. Some delayed fertilization has been noted. Smallest male and female at maturity was 110 mm CL. They take about 10-20 years to mature. Nests are excavated with hind limbs and can be in any soil type. Nest is usually 6-8 cm deep. Eggs approximately averaged 35.4 x 21.3 mm and weighed 7.8-13.0 grams. Incubation in lab was 56-75 days. Reports from the wild are 69-136 days. Overwintering in the nest may occur.

BEHAVIOR: Quite secretive, this species is diurnal, but active in late spring, early summer. They become very active and easily captured after summer rainstorms. They are omnivores and have been known to be a good source of seed dispersal. They will eat earthworms, mushrooms, berries, insects, amphibians and carrion. The young are primarily carnivorous. They are active about early May to October but they may be active earlier and later. They overwinter buried in leaves and soil. They seek damp mud or pools when temperatures get too high. They are found in most open forested habitats with lots of cover.

Turtles facts courtesy of Virginia Herpetological Society.

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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