I stepped out on the deck last evening and was startled to see this female box turtle sitting on a board beside the big oak tree. When I went back in the house she climbed up the vertical stones by the deck and stayed in the groundcover on the bank for a long time. I took her some grapes, shredded carrots, and lettuce; this morning it was all gone. She still hasn’t moved very far, so I hope everything is okay. There are no signs of trauma from lawn equipment or cars and no obvious signs of illness or disease.
I’m not sure why a box turtle was on the deck, but it’s becoming much more rare to see a box turtle in the wild. Loss of habitat, pesticides and other trauma are causing them not to mate or live as long. I learned from a herpetology website by Davidson College that box turtles have a strong homing instinct. If they’re taken into captivity and later released, they try to get back to the place of their birth. On their journey home, they often encounter perils such as car traffic or predators.
Tonight, I took out some tomato (which box turtles are supposed to like) and a few other things in case she was hungry. We’ll see what happens next. Maybe an egg? Fingers crossed it’s something good like that.