Finally, after a long time waiting, the first Eastern Box Turtle (of the five we are currently tracking via radio transmitters) came out of hibernation. We did not expect much to happen yesterday, after tracking four of the turtles that were still burrowed in the ground on this beautiful spring day, until we saw the turtle named “BIN” sitting on top of his burrow where he spent the last few months hibernating. We were so excited that we even forgot to take a picture and we had to go back to do that later. Today he was already walking around looking for food.
We measured his burrow and it was only 5 inches deep which is rather shallow for Eastern Box Turtles because they can dig up to 2 feet deep. One reason BIN didn’t dig such a deep burrow might be the mild weather during the winter.
In August BIN weighed 390 grams and we expected him to weigh less after hibernation, but surprisingly he weighs 445 grams now. He must have accumulated a lot of fat reserves last fall before his hibernation!
We are excited to see when the other turtles will come out!