Student Summer Scholars




Eastern box turtles Terrapene carolina carolina (EBT) are uncommon in the Great Lakes region and are protected in Michigan as a species of special concern. Like many reptiles, little is known about hatchling EBTs, particularly growth and survival of neonates following egress from overwintering. We monitored growth in neonatal EBTs in Manistee National Forest using radio telemetry to locate turtles. During the neonates first overwintering they lost approximately 10% of their body weight. Each neonate had overwintering refugia of varying depths; these depths did not correlate with how much mass was lost. The mean weight for turtles alive four weeks after egress was 7.9936 g with a 0.142 standard error. The absence of a significant weight gain may be the result of adverse weather conditions during the study. This may have led to a lack of readily available food and difficulty in foraging. It is critical to understand those factors that affect growth rates to promote longevity in EBTs to ensure they reach maturity.