Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Uncommon Swimmer: Eastern Box Turtle


While fishing our local lake I noticed something floating with small ripples coming from it. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was an Eastern Box Turtle swimming across the lake from east to west.

At that point the lake is about two hundred yards wide and the turtle was near the mid-point. The little land turtle did not seem to be having any difficulty navigating the lake, swimming with its head above the water some of the time and under at others. I stayed with it for a little while noticing that it maintained its direction of travel in spite of the wind & small waves.

At one point I intervened and turned the turtle back towards the eastern shore. Without a pause in its swimming it immediately turned 180 deg and continued on its westward course.

Eastern Box Turtles are common in our local woodlands but this is the first I have ever encountered one crossing a body of water. With its sense of direction and the desire to not deviate from its course apparently the turtle knew exactly where it was going..

11 comments:

Montanagirl said...

Maybe he has a built-in GPS! (lol)

Chad Oneil Myers said...

Great Focus on his head.

photowannabe said...

Montanagirl beat me to the comment.
Love the shot of him headed across the lake.

Faye Pekas said...

He certainly did know where he was headed. This is a great capture. You were in the water with him?

Faye Pekas said...

I love the Dorothy project! Fun stuff :)

imac said...

I agree with Chad, great focus there Coy.

Shellmo said...

Great photo! Nice that you were trying to help him - definitely a determined turtle who knew where he wanted to go. Maybe he had a hot date! :-)

Anonymous said...

Difficult to tell by the photo, but it is likely a female, making her yearly journey to a nesting site. It is that time of year.

Chris said...

Great photo. This is a very funny turtle, the color pattern is surprising!

fishing guy said...

Salty: That is a cool encounter.

Sean said...

Maybe he or she is training to beat michael phelps