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Turtle Bone

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Carol Foster continues to send photo-updates of lucky Belle, the box turtle who ran afoul of a mower this summer. She and her husband Gary are taking wonderful care of Belle. They're planning to keep her eating and active all winter, to speed healing of the wounds. Carol has a Real Camera, a Canon, the kind I would like to get if I ever have any money that isn't already devoted to replacing furnaces, paying mortgages and buying books. When I see her pictures, I know my limitations. Carol and Gary are sneaking romaine lettuce into Belle's canned chicken, and dosing her with vitamins. I think she looks fabulous. This closeup was taken Sept. 6.
The white Silvodine cream has turned dark gray now, and the shell hole continues to close in. This next series of photos was taken Sept. 23. I'm sure Belle's building bone underneath it too, where she needs it most, over the hole that leads directly into her right lung. First, apparently, a membrane forms, then hardens, and bone builds over it.

Carol and Gary found two other box turtles in their backyard, and sent this picture of the two, a male (left) and female (right). Shell pattern isn't an indicator of a turtle's sex, other than that a turtle with a whole lot of yellow patterning is likely to be a male. I really dig the marks on the right-hand female's shell, too--like little strongmen holding their fists up. Even eye color can be misleading: red-eyed turtles have been seen laying eggs! By and large, though, red eyes usually denote adult males. This is a male!Belle's a demure, brown-eyed girl.

Probably the best indicator of a turtle's sex is the plastron,or lower shell. If it's scooped in, concave, it's a male. If it's flat, it's a female. The male needs a hollow in his plastron so he can balance atop the female. Here's an old picture of Naraht, the turtle who was released here nine years ago after an even worse shell injury than Belle's. He was hit by a car and had to be wired and glued back together. He's still coming around to visit, most recently about this time last September. I always give him a big plate of fruit and mealworms when he comes around the front door, and invite him in for a trundle around the kitchen. Anyway, Naraht is demonstrating turtle mating practices on a lifelike resin statue. Not getting much of anywhere, but he's having fun. Now you know what a horny turtle looks like.


keep up the good work, I am way up inthe woods of canada but still admire your purpose and lifes mission. it is wonderfull when we open out eyes to nature

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