The Garden would like to welcome the newest and smallest addition to our family, Shelldon. After being rescued by one of our wonderful volunteers, Bob Fox, this cutie was adopted by our Education Department. Bob found this tiny turtle on a Garden path with a cracked shell. He brought the turtle to our Environmental Education Coordinator Bonnie Eamick. Bonnie reached out to Dr. Brown and his staff at the Ramsey Street location of Riverbark Animal Hospital. They were able to nurse the turtle back to health and we are pleased to report that our new little friend is settling in very well. His favorite snacks are grapes and earthworms. Just like our other resident turtle Carlos, our brand new addition is an Eastern Box Turtle. He is also training to become a Garden Education Turtle. The Eastern Box Turtle is North Carolina’s state reptile. Unlike most turtles in North Carolina, box turtles spend their time in wooded areas, not in water.  The colors on their shells help them camouflage with the forest floor. Box Turtles enjoy eating a variety of plants, insects and worms- making them omnivores.

What should you do if you see a Box Turtle?

Box Turtles are generally gentle animals which makesthem very charismatic (for a reptile, anyway!) and many people have the urge to keep them!  If you do find a Box Turtle, the best thing to do is to take a picture to remember it by and leave it where you found it. Box Turtles are territorial, and if you move a Box Turtle to a new location (even with good intentions!) they will try to find their way back to their old territory, often putting themselves in danger as they cross roads to get there!  Even Box Turtles in captivity need special lights, heat, a varied diet, and lots of space.

Ideally we would want to release our little box turtle back into the garden, however with his shell injury he may need some more visits to the vet as he grows.  Therefore this little guy will do best in captivity.  When he is a little more acclimated and a little older he will begin helping us educate our visitors, and we hope that sometime soon you may even get to visit him! For now he is being very well taken care of (and spoiled!) by the staff at Cape Fear Botanical Garden.