Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Box Turtle Exhibit

Thank heaven for volunteers!  At World Bird Sanctuary that phrase is repeated many times a day.  If they could, I imagine our Box Turtles would be shouting it from their new exhibit box.
Joe Dolezal and Dan Cone put the finishing touches on their poject (photo: Melissa Moore)

Earlier this month Tuesday Crew volunteers Joe Dolezal and Dan Cone put the finishing touches on the new Box Turtle exhibit. The turtles reside just below the small exhibit enclosures in front of the windows that look out onto the Nature Center weathering area deck.

Our four Box Turtles are named Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sofia (the smallest one) after the characters in the television series, The Golden Girls.  Our “Golden Girls” are Three-toed Box Turtles Terrapene carolina triunguis a subspecies of the Common (Eastern) Box Turtle. 
One of our "Golden Girls" (photo: Melissa Moore)

When constructing the new Box Turtle exhibit Joe and Dan and Don Marcinkiewicz, who designed and installed the electrical components, took into account the specific needs of this species:

            Reptiles cannot regulate their own body heat, so you have to produce an ideal temperature for them within their enclosure.  There should be a heat bulb that produces a temperature of about 85f.  This should be to one side of the enclosure so that they can move closer to or further away from the heat source as needed.

            Water and humidity is important. There must be fresh water within the enclosure constantly.  There should be a large shallow body of water that they can soak in and you must be able to use a spray bottle on the enclosure several times daily to keep the humidity level up.
The turtles are free to use their pool whenever they feel the need (photo: Melissa Moore)

            Box Turtles do not like glass, and will often try to climb through it pointlessly.  The enclosure should have walls that they cannot see through to give them better peace of mind.  Our enclosure does have one wall of Plexiglas for better viewing, but this is offset by the fact that the majority of the exhibit has numerous hiding places if they desire.

            There needs to be plenty of artificial brush and bedding that they can burrow into.
Volunteers Joe Dolezal and Dan Cone admiring the results of their handiwork (photo: Melissa Moore)

The World Bird Sanctuary’s new Box Turtle exhibit meets all these criteria and more.  Many thanks to Joe, Dan and Don, members of the World Bird Sanctuary’s Tuesday Crew….we don’t know what we’d do without you.

The new habitat more than meets the criteria for a healthy and happy turtle exhibit (photo: Gay Schroer)

For more information about this species Click here.  

The next time you visit the World Bird Sanctuary be sure to look for our “Golden Girls” in the Nature Center.

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