Monday, June 15, 2009
A Long Journey, but it's All Roses Now.
On an early morning outing on my day off at the Whetsone Park of Roses, a real gem of Columbus, I encountered this beautiful shelled creature. I went to photograph the rose garden for my microstock photography venture, but came back with a decidedly more interesting image. That is, if, you just happen to love turtles, and well, I just happen to love turtles.
This is a three-toed box turtle, a subspecies of the eastern box turtle. This girl's bland olive shell and only a small little bit of orange on the side of its face tipped me off right away that she released here in Columbus, and was enjoying her time at the park. A quick look at her only hind leg (the right one was completely missing) and my initial ID was confirmed- three long toes with sharp fingernails- and a perfectly flat lower shell and small tail meant she was a she.
I happened to talk to a few Columbus Recreation and Parks employees, and they said they encounter box turtles frequently, but they thought they were the native subspecies. Now my interest is really piqued. Surely, the turtle that I found was released by an unwilling pet owner. The three-toed subspecies is the one supplied in the pet industry here in Ohio, although I've not seen wild caught ones offered for sale in a while. This turtle was probably hatched somewhere in the Southern U.S. in the wild, caught by a dealer, sold to a pet wholesaler, who then sold it to a pet store, who then sold it to a pet owner who eventually got bored and released the turtle back into "the wild". Now that is a story that I should expand upon. Now she's able to cruise the woods, lawns, and rose gardens of Columbus' Whetsone Park.