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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Turtle Rescues

Not all turtles found in or near the ocean are sea turtles.  Monday evening, the North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Dispatch called the NMBSTP about a report of a sea turtle coming on shore in Crescent Beach.  Quick trip to to scene and discovered that the sea turtle was actually a fairly large Yellow Slider (also known as a Yellow Belly).  Yellow Sliders are native to SC and found in fresh water ponds, lakes and rivers.  The salt water is not good for them.  No idea what it was doing in the ocean, but it wanted out!!  It may have been trapped in a nearby drainage pipe that empties into the ocean.  The turtle was taken to a nearby fresh water pond and released.    

The yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) is a land and water turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. This subspecies of pond slider is native to the southeastern United States, specifically from Florida to southeastern Virginia, and is the most common turtle species in its range. It is found in a wide variety of habitats, including slow-moving rivers, floodplain swamps,marshes, seasonal wetlands, and permanent ponds.
The slider is considered a diurnal turtle; it feeds mainly in the morning and frequently basks on shore, on logs, or while floating, during the rest of the day. At night, it sleeps lying on the bottom or resting on the surface near brush piles, but in all cases it prefers to stay in the water.   

Early the next day, a Eastern Box Turtle is found trying to cross the busy Ocean Blvd in Cherry Grove.  This turtle was found very close to the ocean although it appeared to be traveling away from the water.  The turtle was rescued and taken to a nearby wooded park.  It appeared to be in great physical shape, very alert and active.

The eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) is a subspecies within a group of hinge-shelled turtles, normally called box turtlesT. c. carolina is native to an eastern part of the United States.
The eastern box turtle is a subspecies of one of two species of box turtles found in the United States. It is the only "land turtle" found in North Carolina, where it is the state reptile. Box turtles are slow crawlers, extremely long lived, slow to mature, and have relatively few offspring per year. These characteristics, along with a propensity to get hit by cars and agricultural machinery, make all box turtle species particularly susceptible to anthropogenic, or human-induced, mortality.
Eastern box turtles have a high, dome-like carapace and a hinged plastron that allows total shell closure. The carapace can be of variable coloration, but is normally found brownish or black and is accompanied by a yellowish or orangish radiating pattern of lines, spots or blotches. Skin coloration, like that of the shell, is variable, but is usually brown or black with some yellow, orange, red, or white spots or streaks. This coloration closely mimics that of the winter leaf of the tulip poplar.
Eastern box turtles prefer deciduous or mixed forested regions, with a moderately moist forest floor that has good drainage. Bottomland forest is preferred over hillsides and ridges. They can also be found in open grasslands, pastures, or under fallen logs or in moist ground, usually moist leaves or wet dirt. 

Source:   Wikipedia

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