Protecting Eastern Box Turtle Nest

Female Eastern Box Turtle @ Outer Cape Cod

Curt Smith of Wellfleet and Boston discovered this beautiful Eastern box turtle on a nesting run in Wellfleet on Outer Cape Cod June 6th.  He kindly alerted Turtle Journal of his find and sent us these photographs, which he authorized us to post for your enjoyment.

Eastern Box Turtle Nest @ Outer Cape Cod

Curt observed this box turtle digging a nest, depositing her eggs and disguising the spot after she finished.  Fortunately, Curt took a photograph immediately afterwards, so that we can see the outline of the nest highlighted by discoloration of the soil caused by the moisture of upturned dirt.  Within an hour or so, the nest would have perfectly blended into the background, and would have been impossible to detect.

Protected Eastern Box Turtle Nest @ Outer Cape Cod

With predators in the area, foxes and skunks and raccoons, Curt protected the nest with a double cage of chicken wire and a chicken wire blanket stretching out from the nest.  Before emplacing this protective shield, Curt confirmed the presence of eggs in the nest by gently probing the egg chamber.

Eastern Box Turtle Mating in May

While clearly not the same female box turtle seen nesting on June 6th, this photograph that Curt snapped two weeks earlier shows the amorous activity that leads to nesting.  If April showers bring May flowers, then surely May necking yields June nesting … for turtles in the Great White North.

Turtle Journal thanks Curt Smith for his bold action to save the world, one turtle at a time. 

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