Belzer: Field observations of North America’s eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

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Fig. 13 This male’s carapace was crushed by a car. His life was saved and his shell’s protective capacity salvaged by animal rehabilitators who reconnected and stabilized major portions of the carapace (filling some small gaps with fiberglass cloth and epoxy). Although an opening remains in his carapace, he has fared well in the wild habitat of our study population for the past 12 years.

Fig. 14 The majority of this female’s carapace was destroyed by a brush fire. Scar tissue has developed underneath the dead portion but, so far, her “secondary” carapace has not been significantly strengthened by new bone growth and remains pliable. Some eastern box turtles have produced ossified replacement carapaces (which lack the seams of a normal carapace) following such fire damage (Smith, 1958).

Fig. 15 This male suffered massive carapace trauma from farm equipment. Veterinary intervention saved his life, but significant loss of carapace protective integrity makes him unsuitable for life in wild habitat. He has lived a protected life in a screened, outdoor enclosure (at the home of Robert Tronzo, and then at the New York Center for Turtle Rehabilitation &. Conservation) for the past 5 years. Photo by Bob Tronzo and Wildlife Works, Inc.

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Photos by William Belzer unless otherwise credited © FFEPT - Fédération Francophone pour l'Elevage et la Protection des Tortues. HTML © 2009 Philadelphia Herpetological Society, Inc.