Over the weekend Jon found a very small box turtle in the woods, the smallest and youngest box turtle we’ve ever found. He was torpid and sad-looking. But a box turtle in December? In most climates within their range they hibernate during the winter. I guess down here they don’t, but they go into an inactive state, staying alive during the coldest few weeks of the year by huddling down somewhere, while moving and eating very little. I imagine it’s a tough time for them and many of them don’t make it. I mistakenly thought that maybe I could take the little turtle and keep him with us for the brief winter, and release him in mid-February or so, once it warms up again.
I only have one reptile setup though, so I thought maybe The Lizard could have a temporary roommate. We named the turtle The Turtle. I couldn’t really think of a way that The Lizard could injure The Turtle, and The Turtle didn’t seem likely to bother the Lizard much, either.
I was wrong, though. The Lizard hated her new roommate. Loathed him. She made that clear as indicated by the pictures below. Her beard, which is usually white and occasionally orange, turned jet black. I’d never seen her this upset before about anything. The Turtle, on the other, was indifferent.
I guess in The Lizard’s world, where she is by nature a solitary creature, every other living thing is classified as either a) a mate b) food or c) a threat. The Lizard does not have friends or roommates, end of story. I apologized to The Turtle and said I didn’t think this was going to work out.
I ended up taking The Turtle back to the woods this morning, set him free and wished him the best of luck this winter. It was in the mid to high sixties today and rainy, which is probably good weather for a turtle in December.