Monday, April 26, 2010

Eastern Box Turtle

After a night of heavy thunderstorms, a friend and I headed out to an area in southeast Michigan which is home to the Eastern Box Turtle, a species of special concern in Michigan. This road winds through an area of interesting topography for Michigan, it looks like an area which would be more common in southern Ohio or Kentucky. The roads cut through varying habitats which include fen, prairie, and upland deciduous forest. This varying habitat gives Box Turtles a great arrary of habitat corridors that they can utilize throughout the season, plus the road has very little traffic which decreases the likelihood for road mortality at this particular site.

After rainstorms the night previous, the morning air was humid and fog covered the area. We figured that since EBTs seem to love coming out after summer rainstorms to pick off earthworms, we felt a humid morning was worth a shot. Sure enough, it was a good decision. As we came around a switchback, we both silmulataneously yelled, "Box Turtle!" as we noticed this sight.

It was a gorgeous adult female making her away from one patch of habitat to another. She was fairly large and her growth rings on each scute were quite smoothed out, indicated this was one old girl. We didn't bother her too much, only snapping a few photos as she wandered off the road into the woods. Eastern Box Turtles are a species of concern here in Michigan, and most of the known populations occur in the western half of the lower Peninsula, so to see a healthy population here in southeast Michigan is encouraging. I can only hope this species will persist in this area for years to come.

Eastern Box Turtle - Terrapene carolina carolina

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