… on its way to hibernation. This juvenile Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina), shell still a bit soft from a late summer hatching, was found among the lavender plants as I was weeding recently. October is when cooler weather advances and turtles begin to prepare for hibernation. They will have a reduced intake of food and become less active before moving into leaf litter and excavating a shallow hole in the earth.
Juvenile box turtles‘ diet consists mainly of insects at this stage of life. I offered this little guy a worm and a cricket but he had no interest. So I walked him away from the garden and far away from the dangerous lawn that mister gardener mows with the tractor, all the way to the big woods. The ground was thick with leaf litter and I was sure this would be a safer hibernation spot.
In the spring when the rains appear, vegetation begins to green and the gardens are abloom, he will poke his nose through the cool earth and embark on his journey of life. I wish him well.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester