The Unexpected Fauna

box turtle 012 225x300 The Unexpected Fauna“Amy, I’m going to need you over at my location please. We have an animal situation.”

When I received this surprise call over the airwaves I was on location at work, and quickly radioed back the caller for clearer directions, sure that I was being called in for damage control in a potentially volatile situation with an animal that couldn’t be mentioned over the air. The last few scenarios on the job when I had been called to meet someone over an “animal situation” involved Possum babies trapped between automatic doors, a deer caught on the fence, and a starving Pit Bull Mix near the office space. When I met the coworker they earnestly told me that there was no immediate danger, but they were not sure if the turtle would attack anyone, and wanted me do something with the animal in case it was of the ‘Snapping’ variety.

I wandered over to the corner of a garden bed as requested and saw a full grown and very healthy wild Box Turtle peeking back at me. I have never been able to resist the allure of a box turtle for some reason, and searched the woods for them specifically as a child on family camping vacations. I picked up the turtle and gave it a look over, but it seemed healthy, so I walked it over the my caller and told him a little about the turtle and it’s value in the wild, before returning the turtle back to his hiding place.

For some reason that turtle made my day! I had heard that in recent years with growing urban sprawl, and too many specimens removed from the wild, that the species was in trouble and in decline. I’m glad to see that there are still a few out there that are alive and well, wandering their old “home range.”

About Amy


  1. Why S? says:

    Many years ago, maybe 15, my sister found a turtle in her backyard. The turtle had “David” written on her shell in nail polish. My sister and husband named her Janis and she’s lived happily in their backyard ever since.

  2. Amy says:

    Why S,

    I’ll admit I’m slightly jealous of anyone who has a turtle in their backyard, but I promise to get over it if you give me your sister’s address, and the dimensions of her backyard fence. Not that I would ever jump it and make off with “Janis” or anything… :)

    I’m glad to know that the nail polish didn’t harm the turtle, and I’m curious to know how you all figured out the turtle was a female. I haven’t learned how to differentiate the two yet. It sounds like your sister has a great outdoor pet, and since Box Turtles can live 100 years, Janis should be around for a long time!

  3. Fern says:

    I was reading an Australian gardening blog the other day and they casually mentioned that local zoning laws require business parks to have swaths of land planted with native plants to help provide habitats for animals displaced by human expansion. I thought that was a great idea!

    I wish there were similar rules in Southern California. Very close to my office there is a huge Yamaha regional headquarters with tons and tons and tons of lawn. I wish they would plant some vegetation to help attract bugs and birds and give small animals a place to hang out. Heck, they might even save on their water bill if they planted stuff that was drought tolerant!

    I don’t really have any sway with Yamaha, but I do know the owner of my office building (I work for my family :-P ), so I convinced the boss to let me sow some native wildflower seeds on part of our property. :-) Fingers crossed that the gardener doesn’t mow them down when they sprout…

  4. Amy says:


    In my area all new construction is required to keep a designated amount of mature trees, and some reforestation area, which I think is great! In the Baltimore, Washington DC area, years of unchecked growth have assisted in the development of better planned eco-friendly business areas, and neighborhoods. Kudos to you for sneaking in the wildflowers, I just tried that on one particularly hideous hillside on one of my corporate parking lots!

    I’m actually involved in the “Backyard Habitat,” and “Wildlife Habitat Council’s” Corporate partnerships, (with my own company) and they are great at encouraging, and walking busy companies through the process of giving a little of their land back to nature. I am happy to say that my own jobsite is able to continually work on habitat projects, and I highly recommend the program to anyone else (like you if you and your family want to try something like it). We found that the program is great for service projects, and giving back to the environment, along with being a great way to get positive publicity for your company locally and nationally! you can check the organization out at

    Good luck with your wildflowers, I hope they bloom for you!

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