Have you ever seen a box turtle in a busy or barren area and decided to move it elsewhere? You’re not alone. Many box turtles get moved by well-meaning people who want to help them find a better place to live than a suburban lawn near a heavily trafficked road.
The problem is that turtles die when this happens. A box turtle naturally has a small home territory just a few acres wide, and it contains the turtle’s familiar shelters, hiding spots, and feeding grounds. The turtle loses all this when suddenly dropped into a strange new place.
To make matters even more serious, box turtles are equipped with a powerful internal GPS system that compels them to return to their home range, even crossing highways and forgoing food on the long walk home. One study found that over 60% of box turtles die in their first year after being removed from their home range.
If you’re lucky enough to find a box turtle in the wild, please leave it alone! It’s already right at home where it is.