Friday, May 1, 2009

OT: The luckiest terrapene carolina in Guilford County

So I'm flying down Highway 220 to the bank, and I see a little lump cowering in the middle of the road. It was this guy/gal:Meet the terrapene carolina, commonly known as the Eastern Box Turtle. I'm calling this one Lumpy. (I've put the quarter in for scale.) Being such a sucker for animals, and knowing that even though female Eastern Box Turtles will lay hundreds of eggs in their lives only to have 3-4 babies survive to maturity, I of course have to turn around and go back to rescue this little guy/gal. Highway 220 is not the place you want to be wandering around on foot, especially at 2 p.m. on a Friday afternoon (lots of 'Woohoo - I'm taking off early for the weekend' traffic). I wasn't altogether certain that my little friend Lumpy wouldn't be squished flat by the time I could get turned around, but I at least had to try to save him/her.

After doing a quick turn-around in the Guilford County Sheriff's Department Dist. 1 station parking lot (I did wave to the deputies as I floored it out of the driveway. I know most of 'em, so I'm sure they just went, 'What the...oh, it's her.'), I returned to where Lumpy was still cowering in the road. Six vehicles passed over him/her; an a'hole in a giant SUV couldn't be bothered to avoid the little guy/gal, and clipped the edge of his/her shell, sending him/her into a spin I thought for sure would end up fatal. Yes, I flipped off the SUV.

But luck smiled upon Lumpy, and I was able to pluck him/her up and return to the safety of my truck. He/she waited patiently (more like 'paralyzed with terror') on the truck seat while I got my banking done. Here's why they call 'em 'box turtles':
Locked up tight! I translate this body language to mean: "AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH! OHGODOHGODOHGOD! (whimper)"

Fortunately for Lumpy, in addition to being crazy enough to risk my life in 60+ mph traffic, I also live right next to what is the ideal EBT habitat. According to the quick Google check I did to find out (a) what kind of chelonian I was dealing with and (b) the best place to release said chelonian, the Eastern Box Turtle loves forest floors and munching on worms. I live right next to a great wooded area with its own pond and a little creek, and we've got scads of worms and other little nosh-able things for him/her to munch on. I took him/her out to the woods and put him/her down, aimed towards the pond:

Lumpy's still there (1/2 hr later) but he/she is looking around, no doubt wondering 'How the heck did I get here?'


  1. Really? I didn't know that I had a twin sister in NC!!
    Wonder how I got my aquatic 'painted' turtle?
    Anyhow I too stop and assist turtles in need, ours here are paints and snappers.............gotta watch them snappers they don't care to be moved!!!