02 July 2009

playing with wildlife

I'd like to clarify that I don't often "play" with wildlife. Generally it's a miracle that I get my hands on them to begin with, or it's a risk of crossing the road (in the case of snakes and turtles). June offered a rather complacent Plains Clubtail (Gomphus externus) in Brown Co. and Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata) in Palo Pinto Co. Both were a bit disgruntled when handled, but each was returned from whence it came quite intact (and well documented).

Startled and kicky would be a good description for this beastling.

The Onate Box Turtle was displeased from the start:

Check out the defense system this little fellow has - CLAWS and the FANGS... well, not so much on the fangs, but there's certainly some digging power in the claws. And a rigid carapace is definitely handy on occasion, for retreating anyway.

Since Matt was suitably intimidated by the glaring of such a ferocious creature, s/he was released to wander the other side of the road. Roads are not only a horrible cause of habitat fragmentation, but roads cause the fragmentation of turtles that people don't (or can't) slow down for.

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