Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

May 1, 2014

Centenarian Box Turtle?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I saw something moving in the unfenced flower garden.  I moved toward the creature.  As I got close, I could see it fully.  It was a box turtle!  Perhaps the largest I have ever seen.

I played with them as a boy . . . our boys had them . . . and they are certainly common.  But this one was different from any I have ever seen!

I am no expert on box turtles . . . but thanks to the internet you can learn a lot in a short period of time.  To add to my knowledge I researched this turtle!  This turtle was a specimen.

The shell length of most box turtles we see are approximately 5-5½ inches long.  It takes a turtle about 20 years to reach this average length.  Experts offer several others ways to “guess” the age of a box turtle, but none are truly definitive and sure.  The shell length is where most will agree.

It is known that most box turtles live at least 30 years or so, with an average life span of 50 years.  Yet, a significant proportion live over 100 years.

So, are you ready to hear about the box turtle I captured?  Remember, 5-5½ inches assures you the turtle is 25-30 years old.  This box turtle measured over 10 inches!  And you know what that means? (And experts say the growth of the shell is very slow after the 5 inches.)  This turtle has to be well over 100 years old!  That’s right . . . he/she is a centenarian!  Experts say once they get this size they can well be 100-130 years old!

Grandchildren and friends would love to have this turtle.  Many people have box turtles as pets!  I just don’t believe that at this turtle’s age, he/she would want to be anyone’s pet!  So what did I do?

For over a 100 years this specimen has been free . . . roaming, doing what it desired, and surviving.  Perhaps it is age on my part . . . but I believed this centenarian deserved to continue in freedom.  I’ll not acknowledge where this “new” friend was last seen.  I don’t want anyone to go looking!

How can a box turtle survive these years?  They can get hit by a car, attacked by animals, and a myriad of other dangers.  They can defend themselves only by hiding or closing themselves in their shell.  But most are survivors.

When I first captured the turtle, I could not see the head or feet.  But as we “talked,” the head came out and I saw an aged turtle.  I believe we made eye contact, and although I do not know if male or female, I talked to him as a grandfather.  I even suggested that perhaps he was here when Major Dade marched through, or when the earlier settles passed by the lake and one of the oxen refused to come out of the lake, and so it is today called “Buddy” lake — named for the oxen! The turtle’s large, wrinkled head would turn to the sound of my voice.  I would later say, “Goodbye, old man!”

It was a fascinating two hours!  This box turtle is one of God’s creations, and has a purpose.  Who am I to alter that purpose . . . so blessings on you my “old,” but “new.” friend.  I’m grateful for the reflections and pondering you brought to my life!

Lawson

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for finally writing about >Centenarian Box Turtle?
    | Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories
    <Loved it!

    Comment by Ralph — July 18, 2014 @ 7:00 am | Reply


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