(10/20/2018)

By Bob Weaver

In 2006, an ancient box turtle was found on Pleasant Hill ridge.

Most rural kids have adopted a box turtle, hopefully for a short time, and examined the slow moving creature up-close, learning they live for a long time, a hundred years or more.

They are among the world's oldest creatures.

In the 50's I found a turtle on the farm at Hur with an engraved date of 1921.

Pleasant Hill resident Von Yoak found this turtle beside his house, fascinated with its well-worn condition.

"This guy is really old, his shell worn, cut and damaged over many years," Yoak said.

Box turtles hibernate and generally live their entire life in a small geographic area.

Yoak said "This turtle has likely been on Pleasant Hill for a hundred years."

They forage on insects, worms, snails, slugs, fallen fruit and annual plants.

The seeds of many plants like summer grapes, black cherries and poke weed have a better germination percentage when they pass through the box turtle's digestive tract.

Forest experts will tell you that box turtles may be an important agent for seed dispersal in the woodland ecosystem.

Putting them back in their native woods helps protect them, since they are becoming more rare.


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