Tuesday, July 3, 2007

07.03.07 TURTLE TIME

Hiking in the forest I often come across empty box turtle shells, Terrapene and its tribe. This one is quite beautiful for its bleached whiteness which stood out vividly against the undergrowth. Each visible "panel" is called a "scute" and has annual growth rings just like a tree! Looking closely you can see the shadow of many rings. Including the rings that have worn smooth, we can guess this turtle had a pretty long life. Box turtles can live to be eighty years old, far senior to most of the young people who discover them in the wild.

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