Monday, August 31, 2009

Box Turtle of a Different Stripe


Zipping through the trails on the gator to gather up some fern fronds, I nearly made this little guy a speed bump. At first glance he looked a little like a box turtle in the wrong colored shell (sans stripes). With a tan carapace with no markings, orange red scales on his legs, and a vivid red head I was stumped… It didn’t help that although he had a hinged plastron (pretty good id for a box turtle), this little guy was having nothing to do sealing him self safely inside his shell. Rather, as Kristen from over at Lepcurious so aptly titled this photo…this little guy was in a perpetual state of “Raaaaawrrrr!!!”

We decided to let this bundle of attitude wrapped in keratin and bone have his way with the Back Woods. From what I have read, this particular sub species of box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) otherwise known as the three toed box turtle is only found in the panhandle of Florida. Being well south of his natural range, it is possible that this animal is an escaped or released pet. (Please don’t let ANY pet trade or domesticated animal go in the wild) Had I paid a little closer attention to his range we might have found him a home elsewhere. We’ll call it my karmic balance for the Bufo marinus in the freezer today…but that is another story.

Check out our Facebook page for the dramatic release into the Back Woods

Monday, August 24, 2009

USF Community Plunge


Once again students from USF volunteered their time to help the Back Woods and MOSI as part of the their commitment to Tampa Bay in USF’s annual Community Plunge!

DSCN9250_stitchWith thunderstorms looming on the horizon, the students dove into clearing vegetation from the entry to future wetland boardwalk and observation platform. Armed with loppers, hand saws, sling blades, and machetes the students made short work of years of growth of invasive species and weedy brush.

DSCN9260  Their efforts removed nearly 15 yards of brush and invasives from the woods! And, thanks to the services of A&D Recycling and Mothers Organics composting facility all of the material cleared will be composted and re-used rather than land filled or burned.

Soaked to the gills and filthy from top to bottom at the end of the morning, these Bulls proved themselves real troopers! MOSI and the Back Woods are truly grateful for all the volunteer’s efforts and hope to work with many of them in the future.