Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where are the little turtles?

How far does the little box turtle roam?

Actual size
Dr F-Todd S Fredericksen at Ferrum College explains:

Adult box turtles are commonly observed crossing roads or wandering across our paths during a hike in the forest, but juvenile turtles are rarely seen.  Of course, they are quite small and less likely to be detected compared to a larger adult turtle. 

Another possible reason, however, is that they are quite edible and need to seek thick cover in order not to be detected by predatory mammals, snakes, and birds.  

Young box turtles do not have a thick, durable shell and are easy prey for any moderately-sized predator.  They seem to prefer thick cover and do not wander far from it during the course of the summer.  I was lucky enough to find a three-year-old turtle last summer and attached a radiotransmitter to it to observe its movements. It never wandered outside a 100-square-yard area of a wildflower meadow.

If you are interested in learning more about turtles and other Virginia Wildlife - Dr Fredericksen is one of our favorite instructors at our Virginia Master Naturalist Basic Training. The next basic training will be held in September, Tuesday afternoons 130PM - 4PM, with Saturday morning field trips. Applications will be available here soon. If you have any question prior to that time, please email us at:

Here is a list of some of the topics that will be explored:
  • Ecological concepts
  • Geology
  • Plant ID & Taxonomy
  • Lake Ecology
  • Stream Ecology
  •  Mammals
  • Birds
  • Dendrology & terrestrial ecology
  • Entomology
  • Amphibians
  • Farm Management
  • Forest Management
  • Weather
  • Ichthyology

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment and interest! NOW GO OUTSIDE!