Jun 24 2013
It was hot on Sunday when I decided to hike in Butler County and I wanted to travel light. I debated taking the camera because I can only photograph close, stationary objects (plants) and it would be a burden but I carried it anyway. I’m glad I did.
It was a big day for turtles. I drove down a dirt road and twice had to swerve around large snapping turtles. (Have you ever noticed they have tails like stegosauruses?)
During my hike I found this 8-inch turtle eating a leaf. I didn’t know what it was so I took its picture and emailed Chuck Tague. His answer: Wood Turtle. Good find.
A wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) is a very good find. It’s native from Pennsylvania to Nova Scotia and west to Wisconsin but it’s endangered due to habitat loss (suburban development, agriculture, logging) and collecting for the illegal pet trade. Wood turtles are omnivorous on land and water, have homing instincts and can live 40 years. In good habitat they live in colonies where they develop social hierarchies. Sadly they are scarcer every year.
Since I don’t search for turtles and this species is declining rapidly, it’s likely this is the only wood turtle I’ll ever see.
I’m glad I took his picture.
(photo by Kate St. John)