The summertime has also kept me busy searching for my favorite animal in the world, the Eastern Box Turtle. Because of pet allergies as children, my sister and I could not have dogs or cats, so we had two Eastern Box Turtles named Earl and Shelly. They were simple, gentle pets, and provided us with some entertainment. Earl only had three legs. After keeping them for nearly 10 years, Earl escaped his outdoor pen at our Mt Lebanon house on Marshall Drive. Upon losing her mate, we sent Shelly to live in Ms Printz’s (high school teacher) backyard with her box turtle Ned. Shelly lived a few more years before failing to return to the yard after a winter hibernation.
Since growing up with them, turtles have always held a special place in my heart. Anytime I see one on the road and can safely pull over, I get out of my car and move them into the nearest wooded area. Most turtles are such harmless and beautiful animals. I did once try to rescue a large snapping turtle from the middle of Linebaugh Avenue in Tampa. As hard as I tried to move him to safety, he equally as hard snapped at me to remove my fingers. Unfortunately I had to abandon that rescue mission.
I was so thrilled on Monday night while walking through the woods behind our house to have discovered an Eastern Box Turtle. Ten months of searching since we moved to Virginia had finally led me to one. I brought him back to the house and immediately dug up some worms, cut up tomatoes, and sliced some ground beef to feed the little guy a feast. He seemed pretty shy and didn’t have much of an appetite. So I watched him for a bit before putting him to bed in a pile of leaves in our screened in garden. Yesterday after breakfast the kids and I returned him back to where I found him in the woods. I like to imagine him telling his friends about the great adventure he had, or perhaps writing in his turtle blog about the experience.