Saturday, June 02, 2007

Three Toed Box Turtle

Yesterday, while Reese & Jessie were swimming and I was grilling burgers for lunch, Buddy & Zoe started barking like mad dogs at something in the shrubs behind the house. I didn't give it much thought, because they bark at everything under the sun. But when they wouln't stop, I went over to see what they had cornered. Zoe, with her paws, had emptied the dirt from the bed into the yard, and Buddy was going NUTS at something in the bushes. I lifed up the bush, & check out who was hiding in the dirt!!!

After doing some computer research, we found out it is a Three Toed Box Turtle. I reported the sighting to the Box Turtle Partnership of Texas, who is conducting research in conjunction with Texas Parks & Wildlife on where wild populations of Box Turtles still live. Box Turtles in the wild face many dangers...attacks from fire ants, being hit by cars, or being collected for private pets. Reese & Jessie named the turtle Boogie-Boogie Franklin, and we kept it for the afternoon & released it into the woods behind our house in the early evening.

Here's Boogie-Boogie Franklin checking me out. He walked around, so I was able to see that he, indeed, only had 3 toes on his back feet, which is a distinguishing mark of the Three Toed Box Turtle (creative name, huh?)
We had him in a large purple tub, but switched him over to a smaller, clear tub so Reese could see him when we brought him inside.
We drove Buddy nearly nuts with a turtle in a box on the table! Boogie-Boogie Franklin is in the tub on the table. I had gone in the other room, & when I came back, Buddy had jumped ONTO the kitchen table!!! He's never, ever done something like that. So I put him back on the floor to see how he did it. Just like a mountain goat, he jumped on the chair and onto the table. Guess that hunting gene isn't so far removed!

I wasn't sure what to feed him (other than worms, which I didn't feel like finding!). The internet is great...I mean, I don't have any box turtle books, so without the internet, where would I have found such a wealth of information?? Found out the things we had on hand that Box Turtles like were strawberries, carrots, & apples. Boogie-Boogie Franklin really liked the strawberries I chopped up! I was happy we could put him back in the wild with a full belly :)

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