After walking around on the trails a little longer, I returned to Mr. B - he was again hiding in the leaves hoping I would not notice him. But I had to get a few more picture of this young male and then left him to continue my stroll in the woods. I think he was very glad to say good-bye and think he might have waved at me as I headed down the path far far away from him.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
A Walk in the Woods
Today I decided to take a walk in the woods on Corp. property (US Corp of Engineers) located along the Cumberland River in Wilson County, Tennessee. This property was previously used as an girl scout camp but has recently been "returned" to its natural environment. It is a wonderful place to walk and converse with nature.
My adventure took me down many well taken paths and a few not so well taken. I ran across many interesting things - but what I had the most fun with was a Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina), that I almost stepped on because he was camouflaged so well with the fallen leaves.
American Box Turtle are largely characterized by their dome shaped shell and hinge on the underside of the shell, which allows them to close their shell tightly to escape from predators. The average life span of a ABT is around 80 years in the wild, but some have been known to live for over 100 years. You can roughly tell the age of a ABT by counting the growth rings on the scutes (the bony external plate or scale.)
I think this guy is about 12 years old.
You can tell if its a male or female by looking at the underside of its shell. Females have flat or convex shells, where the male has a concave shell. The male turtles are usually longer and flatter and more colorful, with red eyes. The female has less vibrant color and usually have brown or yellowish eye.