Tuesday, August 5, 2008
On my way up so-called “hill1” – the climb on the South Cove Trail nearest to the west (Granny White side) parking lot, I came upon a juvenile eastern box turtle. The appearance of baby turtles is interesting in that it differs significantly from the adult in color and shape, and not merely size. The design on the shell is different, and more incredibly, the shape of the carapace (shell) itself is much flatter than the shape it will take on as it matures.
In fact, the only reason I could positively identify the hatchling was that I’d seen newly hatched Eastern Box Turtles before. As a tween, I built and maintained what I referred to as the “turtle farm”. The turtle farm, was a big hit with all my animal loving friends, was a small enclosure I build in a small inconspicuous part of our yard on Lealand Lane. Even my folks were somewhat intrigued by it. (Well, on second thought, maybe not intrigued, but tolerant.) Although we moved and I had to dismantle the turtle farm, I uncovered some eggs, looked inside one of them, and preserved the tiny box turtle in a jar of alcohol. This tiny turtle, resting in the middle of the trail where it could easily be trod upon, looked just like that turtle farm specimen.