Adopt-a-Turtle: Box Turtle Sanctuary

Though are work is primarily with amphibians, we do work with several area nonprofits on some of thew issues that reptiles struggle with in an urban environment. One of the most charismatic species being the Eastern Box Turtle. The fact that Box Turtles are adorable is part of their curse in that people often take them from the wild (which, in Georgia, is illegal without a permit!) and keep them for a while, and then release them. Sounds harmless enough, right? Well, what most people are unaware of is that Box Turtles are extremely long-lived (as long as 125 years!). They also have very small home ranges (as small as one acre). These turtles live their long lives in a very small area, and are often significantly disoriented when relocated. Recent research indicates that some adult reptiles are unable to re-orient themselves when relocated, and 74% perish due to the inability to adapt to a new environment and find food and shelter.

If you are like us, and get very concerned when you see an Eastern Box Turtle attempting to cross the road, keep in mind that that road is cutting through its small home range. If you are compelled to move it, then simply do your best to assess the direction it is heading in, and move it to that side of the road. The turtle will have gotten lucky that time.

In partnership with the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Chattahoochee Nature Center and A.W.A.R.E we have developed an Eastern Box Turtle Sanctuary for non-releasable turtles that have been rehabilitated by the passionate experts at our partner institutions. Our sanctuary, located right in front of the main building at BHNP houses these lovely, rehabilitated but non-releasable turtles year-round.

EBT AF180402

EBT AF180402

EBT #AF180402 Extremely shy. After 30 minutes, this was the furthest she would come out of her shell. Shhe is missing her left arm and has been rehabilitated by CNC. Fun Fact: This turtle starred in the movie Shaft (told you they live a long time).
EBT AF180403

EBT AF180403

EBT #AF180403 This bold male is missing his left hand and forearm. Nevertheless, hhe still gets around very well. He was rehabilitated by CNC. Fun Fact: Even with three legs, this turtle once outraced a dog.
EBT AF180404

EBT AF180404

EBT #AF180404. This poor guy was hit by a car. He is missing his left foot, and his carapace is severely and permanently damaged. He still carries on like a boss. This turtle was rehabilitated by CNC. Fun Fact: This turtle is not even the least bit self-conscious about his dramatic shell cracks.
EBT AF180412

EBT AF180412

EBT #AF180412. This tough guy has a permanently cracked plastron that has healed, as much as possible, due to the care of the CNC. He is clearly on the shy side, but at least you can see the beautiful colors on his neck and arms. Fun Fact: This turtle once saved a family from a burning building.
EBT AF180413

EBT AF180413

EBT #AF180413. This lovely lady was a lon-term captive that suffered from severe malnutrition resulting in shell deformity. Unfortunately, this is common even with the most well-minded people. Fun Fact: She once defended her previous owners from a would-be burglar.
EBT AF180414

EBT AF180414

EBT #AF180414. This lovely lady was also a long-term captive that suffered from severe malnutrition resulting in shell deformity. Unfortunately, this is common even with the most well-minded people. Fun Fact: When she thinks no one is listening, she can sing a few lines from Hamilton.