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Wed Jun 26, 2019, 06:05 PM

Ancient box turtle is back again in Dauphin County

An eastern box turtle thought to be about 72 years old surfaced again last week on the same Dauphin County farm where a brother and sister first encountered it in 1967, more than a half-century ago.

They recognized it by a mark they placed on the shell in 1967, when it was already full grown. While box turtles reach sexual maturity at about 4 years, they do not reach their full adult size until about 20 years. Through its first 20 years or so, the shell of the box turtle will grow about a third of an inch per year. At maturity the shell will be about 6 inches in length.

So, that would make the boxie at least 20-years-old in 1967 and at least 72 now.

Box turtles generally live 30-40 years in the wild, and longer in captivity. But some box turtles believed to be more than 100-years-old have been found in the wild.

One found in 2015 in Centre County appears to have been more than 150-years-old. An amateur herpetologist recognized the turtle as being old and found the year 1878 carved into the middle of its shell. It likely was at least 20-years-old at the time, which means it was alive at the time of the Civil War from 1861-65.

As central to discovering the likely ages of both those box turtles, no marking should be done to any turtles encountered.


Link: https://www.pennlive.com/life/2019/06/ancient-box-turtle-is-back-again-in-dauphin-county.html

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