Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ornate box turtles

On a recent road trip in the Nebraska Sandhills, we found several of these gorgeous little ornate box turtles, Terrapene ornatus ornatus. Vivid enough up top, they are even more so below.

This one, though somewhat shy, peeks out from a half-closed shell. The ability to close up all the way, of course, is why Terrapene are known as box turtles, and ornatus represents a box such as Peter Carl Fabergé might have imagined.

This photograph (all of these are Jessa's, by the way) gives a hint as to how the pattern, so striking in the hand, serves as camouflage in their prairie habitat.

They are somewhat more conspicuous, and infinitely more vulnerable, when making their way across a blacktop highway, which is where we saw most of ours. We stopped to relocate each one we saw. "He who saves a single life saves the world entire."

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