Posts Tagged ‘Box Turtles’

Box Turtle Fight

He almost has an evil gleam to his eye!

Did you know the pokey slow, retreat to your shell box turtles can have an attitude and bully each other?

Today we watched two male box turtles have it out. We have an area behind the store where we can watch wildlife (mostly deer) through a window. It is so interesting to watch what comes to our feeders. We know these two were both males because of their concave underside. When we found them, they were staring each other down with the bigger of the two the more aggresive trying to prove he was “alpha turtle”. According to Wikipedia, they were probably competing for the same female. He kept turning the smaller one over on his back and if left upside down too long it will die.

We separated them but left them together but it wasn’t long until the small one was upside down again. We finally moved them about 4 feet apart and pointed their heads in different directions. We were curious to what they would do. A few minutes later they both had slipped away. It is amazing how fast slow turtles are. I guess they had exhausted themselves and one had won. We didn’t see any female turtles nearby but it was near the edge of the woods.

Box turtles commonly live over twenty years but an internet search revealed they could live 40-100 years. I quote from Wikipedia...”They are omnivorous and their eagle eyes and keen sense of smell help them find foods such as snails, insects, berries, fungi, slugs, worms, flowers, fish, frogs, salamanders, rodents, snakes, birds and eggs. (It is hard for me to imagine a turtle catching a bird, frog, salamander or snake!) During their first five to six years of life they are primarily carnivorous. Adults tend to be mostly herivores, but do not feed on leafy greens. They have been known to feed on dead animals along the sides of roads…..Hatchlings and young turtles need more protein and prefer a carnivorous diet, but as they grow the incorporate more and more plants.

It is hard for me to imagine a turtle catching a bird, salamander, frog or snake! All of those can either jump, fly, slither or skitter fast! Maybe the slow methodical movements of a turtle are all a ruse! I don’t think I will stick my finger in front of his mouth.