Do you remember the female Eastern Box Turtle that I found upside down on the Dulles Greenway in May? Well I have good news!
In case you missed the story here’s a recap…..
It was about 7am and I had just finished the interview for the most excellent Dulles Greenway Drive for Charity, and was heading home. As I sped by one of the exits (not speeding, but you know what I mean), I caught sight of what looked like a turtle…an upside down Eastern Box Turtle. My heart sank.
Here’s the discussion that went on in my head…..”Was that a rock or a turtle? Hmmm….probably a rock…but what if it’s a turtle? If it’s a turtle then it’s upside down and that never ends well…it’s probably crushed and dead….but what if it’s not dead? Yea, what if it’s not dead!? But upside down generally doesn’t go well…But what if it’s still alive and what if this just happened? and what if it needs help?..well then I should go back and help it….but what if it’s a rock? well…but what if it’s a turtle?”
With the debate settling down on what to do, I was coming up on the next exit so I took that, got off the Greenway going west, got back on going east, then got back on going west in order to get back to that same exit. I definitely contributed to the Drive for Charity that day 🙂
I got ready, came up on the place that I saw it, and pulled over to the breakdown lane. It was a turtle!
Upon getting her, and seeing that she was still alive, I called the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center and asked if I could bring her over. Here she is being admitted (May 16th).
Then time passed….I was wondering how she was doing but was nervous to ask so I just waited. I knew she was in good hands. And then, last week I got “the call”…..Your Turtle is ready to be released!
When I turned her over to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, I wrote down what exit I had found her at. Eastern Box turtles must be returned to their home territory or they won’t survive. They are incredibly faithful to their home site and if removed, they will not know where food, shelter, hibernation places or other resources are that they need to live. Instead they will roam and roam trying to find their home site. Very sad.
So, I knew I needed to bring her back, but obviously not to the highway. So, I used Google earth and from that, her home habitat was clear. There is still a nice big tract of woods with a stream running through it adjacent to the exit where I found her.
So I brought her back there, and released her on the area of the property that was well away from the highway in hopes that she won’t venture that way again. Here she is healthy, except for a slightly limpy leg and very happy to return home. (So much so that she wouldn’t sit for photos – she was on the move! As shown by my blurry action shot! 🙂
The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center and other wildlife rehabbers across our area do amazing work. They are such a wonderful, caring, dedicated group of people. (Thank you all!) I hope all the animals in their care have many happy returns!