Neighborhood Wildlife

This guy wasn’t terribly happy to see me.

Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

We knew there were box turtles around here. Of course there are box turtles around here. This is West Virginia and every county has them. And our yard is nearly perfect habitat for small animals, especially small animals that eat worms and mushrooms and stuff and burrow among old leaves. Besides, we had clear evidence. The first year we were here one briefly revealed itself to us in the front yard, and this spring I found an empty shell partly buried in old leaves that I was clearing out of a garden. But it’s not like we watch them running around the yard all afternoon — mostly we’re just not aware that they’re here, and mostly I don’t think about them much.

So Tuesday I was cutting some unwanted saplings out of our rubble wall when I noticed a spot of color among the English ivy vines near the base of a little maple. She (I think it’s a she — her eyes seem to be brown, not red, which the various descriptions I’ve found say probably means female) didn’t retreat completely into her shell when she saw me, but she did keep her eye on me while I walked around her. She was kind enough to wait a bit while I got my camera, but when I came back a third time after a small errand she was gone.

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