Turtles gone wild
Edited by Chris Graham
The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation’s leading teaching and research hospital for wild animals, is releasing six Eastern Box Turtles that have been treated at the Center.
The turtles were admitted to the Wildlife Center from June through September 2009. While the turtles have all recovered from their injuries, mostly fractured shells that heal slowly, they were not ready to be released by October – in enough time to ensure that they could find appropriate spots for over-winter hibernation.
The turtles were housed in the Center’s reptile room through the winter and are now ready to be released – at about the same time that Eastern Box Turtles in the wild are emerging from hibernation. The Center turtles have been spending an increasing amount of time out-of-doors to get them acclimated to the spring temperatures.
The turtles are each being taken back to their home territories – in fact, back to a spot as close as is practicable to the site where they were initially rescued. Box Turtles have a very small home range – some estimates suggest a home territory of only one or two acres.
Studies suggest that relocated turtles will attempt to return to their home territories, exposing them to additional hazards.