I was driving home from Walgreens the other day when I almost ran over this little box turtle…
He looked like a rock in the road, until he moved.
So, I pulled over, picked him up, and brought him home.
NO. Not to keep him.
We have an open field behind our house, so I thought it would be a great teaching opportunity with the kids. Plus, it would keep him from getting squished on the road.
When I got home, I explained to Mister and Sister that I almost ran over Little Turtle because he was in the middle of the road. We all decided that the middle of the road was not a safe place for Mister Turtle to be.
Of course, I got the inevitable, “Can we have him, Mom?” from Mister.
“No, sweetheart. He is a wild box turtle, so we have to set him free. If we keep him, he could get sick, and he wouldn’t be very happy. We can’t take a turtle from the wild and keep him as a pet.”
As a side note- did you know that a wild box turtle can live over a hundred years and that the average life span of an adult box turtle is over fifty years? Up to fifty percent of wild box turtles that are kept in captivity die, and their life spans are significantly reduced. A young box turtles age can be estimated by the number of rings on his plates, believed to be 1 ring per growth season, although not fully confirmed. Thanks, Wiki!
Mister- “Well, what do we do with him?”
Me- “Why don’t we take him to the field out back, where he will be safe from cars, and let him go?”
Mister- “That’s a great idea!”
So, we went to set Little Turtle free in the field. But not before I got a few more pictures…
We did have to rescue Little Turtle one more time, because he tried to go through a neighbor’s chain link fence, and his foot got stuck.
When we left him, he was exploring a grape vine.
After setting him free, we all washed our hands.
Of course, I didn’t tell Mister Z that some turtles, the ones bred in captivity, can live in terrarium’s.
All reptiles carry salmonella, you know!