Turtle M14 (Male), Dead was a small (375 gr, 11.7cm CL) male originally found in the "Tank Road Meeting Area" on 6/29/10 near M13 (male). He had a comparately small primary activity area (about 5 acres) for the first few years of tracking, but that expanded dramatically in 2014. GPS miles traveled:
0.9 miles in 2010, 4 months, 48 pts
1.2 miles in 2011, 46 pts
1.0 miles in 2012, 43 pts
1.1 miles in 2013, 54 pts
2.2 miles in 2014, 77 pts
1.2 miles in 2015, 54 pts
1.6 miles in 2016, 71 pts
0.9 miles in 2017, 22 pts
Turtle M15, Dead, a large (520 gram) old male, was found mating with M4 on 5/15/11 on the power line ROW, M4's normal activity area. In 2011 he spent the majority of his time on the ROW/forest edge on a ROW branch line maintained regularly in an early successional state. The main power line ROW, being on private property, is maintained by "scalping" it of vegetation (see photo). M15 traveled this cleared steep ROW a number of times through the boulders, over the ridgetop, across the hiking trail, and into the woods....each time returning to his ROW/edge home after only a few days. GPS miles traveled:
2.2 miles in 2011, 53 pts
2.4 miles in 2012, 60 pts
3.9 miles in 2013, 97 pts
2.7 miles in 2014, 76 pts
2.6 miles in 2015, 79 pts
2.2 miles in 2016, 54 pts
2.4 miles in 2017, 68 pts
2.1 miles in 2018, 51 pts
1.1 miles in 2019, 20 pts (3 months) dead on road
The GPS route maps would seem to indicate that M15 travels THROUGH the house development, but he has never been observed doing so. Tracking and thread trailing suggest that he travels primarily through the woods, skirting around the house site.
In 2018, M15 was found many times during the season, meeting and mating with other residents within and nearby the new manmade Cabin Meeting Area, close by the cabin site.
M15 was killed while crossing the road 7/6/19.
Turtle M17 has a page of his own: "M17 Superturtle". Click here to go to this transient turtle's page and map.
Turtle M18 is the largest (586 gram) and oldest male currently in this study, and was found while mating with turtle M11 on 9/19/11. GPS miles traveled:
0.3 miles in 2011, 2 months, 10 pts
1.8 miles in 2012, 47 pts
1.7 miles in 2013, 50 pts
1.8 miles in 2014, 62 pts
2.2 miles in 2015, 59 pts
1.6 miles in 2016, 42 pts
1.8 miles in 2017, 49 pts
0.2 miles in 2018, 3 weeks, 7 pts
1.2 miles in 2019, 29 pts
In 2012 he hibernated very near his 2011 HIB location, at 3300 feet elevation. In 2013 he chose a hibernation site in the woods only a few days after the meadow, which is his primary activity area and 2012 hibernation site, was bush-hogged.
During mowing of the meadow, he is moved into the woods for the duration and released at his original collection site. He returns on his own to the meadow every time, so far.
Turtle M19 (Dead) was a 435 gr male found on 10/10/11 meeting with M15 (male) at the ROW/forest edge. He was killed at the edge of the road on 9/12/18 by a vehicle. GPS miles traveled;
0.3 miles in 2011, 1 month, 5 points
2.8 miles in 2012, 73 pts
3.8 miles in 2013, 113 pts
4.4 miles in 2014, 82 pts
3.5 miles in 2015, 58 pts
3.2 miles in 2016, 88 pts
2.4 miles in 2017, 68 pts
3.0 miles in 2018, 5 1/2 months, 48 points
M19 was among the longest distant travelers in this population. Although the route photos might suggest that he purposely avoided the new cabin construction site, instead he often traveled the very top of the ridge, which has few convienent travel routes (other than the ROW) down onto the house sites' gentle slope.
In 2018, M19 travelled into and through the new man-made meeting area near the cabin site.
Turtle M19 mated with M38, M1, and M4, and met with M20(M),M45(M) (transients) and M27(M) (probably an introduction), after traveling long distance, straight-line routes from his previous location.
M19 hibernated in exactly the same stump hole nearly every year.
Turtle M16 (Dead) was an old, worn 345 gr. male found mating with turtle M1 (female) in 2011 at one of the "meeting areas" where I have found other turtles including the re-finding of M6 (female) in 2011. M16 was lost prior to hibernation in 2011, but re-found on 6/10/12, but again lost. He was re-found again on 6/11/14 in the same location, mating with M6. He was tracked the entire season of 2015, and travelled 2.2 GPS miles that year.
Emergence in 2016 was much earlier than observed in the past, and in July of 2016, M16 was found dead, with no apparent trauma, in a small seep in a ravine where he was known to spend time in the past.
M16 was observed mating a number of times always at the ROW corner on top of the ridge, with M1 and M6 who traveled long distances up-slope to meet and mate. He also met with several males in the ROW and probably mated with M24 occassionaly.
On private lands, power line ROW's are usually scalped to bare soil and rock during maintenance. Herbicides are used to control vegetation on private lands, but are not generally allowed on federal lands. ROW's are not barriers to most wildlife (except maybe salamanders), but instead create "forest edge" habitat.
Turtle M20 (M)375 gr was found on 5/1/12, traveled 1.3 GPS miles in 2012 and 1.2 miles in 2013. He was found meeting with turtle M19 (male) and was found traveling close to several other turtles over the course of summer 2012. M20 crossed the road on 8/30/12 and met with turtle M18 (male) the following day in a location just outside M18's normal activity area. M20 then proceded upslope in the woods to the highest point on the ridgetop (elevation 3480 ft) and hibernated nearby.
Turtle M20 is missing one front limb.
M20 2012-2013 composite
Turtle M20 (M). This map shows both his 2012 travels (red line) and 2013 travels (yellow line) of 2.5 total miles.
M20 was found in 2012 at an elevation of 2800 ft, traveled to 3480 ft over the course of the summer, hibernated there, and in 2013 traveled over the ridge-top, and down the other side to an elevation of 2800 ft near a busy state highway. M20 finally crossed the highway, continued north, and hibernated in a sheltered rhodedenron thicket. M20 was lost a day after emergence when he lost his transmitter and was never re-found dispite several area searches.
Turtle M24 (F) 415 gr. Found late in the 2012 season, this small female crosses the road nearly every year to nest, putting her survival at great risk. She nested in the meadow in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019. GPS miles traveled:
1.2 miles in 2013, 62 pts
1.1 miles in 2014, 45 pts
0.3 miles in 2015, 30 pts
1.6 miles in 2016 (4 mo), 47 pts
0.2 miles in 2017 (2.5 mo), 8 pts
1.5 miles in 2018, 40 pts
1.4 miles in 2019, 47 pts
Her hibernation sites in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019 were all within about a 5 foot radius. M24 is often found close to M3 (male) and M21 (male) in the ROW each season.
In 2014, close to hibernation time, M24 was looking ill with eye problems and was removed from near her hibernaculum and taken to the Wildlife Center of Virginia for diagnosis and treatment and spent the winter there and was returned to her activity area in the spring of 2015. M24 was lost August 2016 when her radio failed, but was re-found in 2017 crossing the road going toward the meadow, and later while mating with M3, was re-tagged and is now being tracked again.
Turtle M25 (F). Dead 435 gr.Found late in the 2012 season, M25 prefered to spend her time in the meadow in long grass and under shrubs. She nested in the sandy north part of the meadow and laid 4 eggs in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
During the annual mowing of the meadow by the land owner, she was moved into the woods for her safety, and she moved back into the meadow on her own afterward.
In the fall of 2014 the sawtooth route pattern on the 2014 photo is the result of physically moving M25 into the woods many consecutive days while the meadow was being mowed, and each day having her travel back to the meadow. For the duration of the recent meadow mowings, M25, as well as all other meadow dwellers are moved into the woods nearby and kept safe in individual plastic containment boxes.
During the 2017 season the meadow, mowing was started without warning on 7/7/17, and M25 and M14 were killed the first morning by being crushed by tractor tires.
M25 traveled 1.3 GPS miles in 2013, 1.9 miles in 2014, 1.4 miles in 2015, 2.3 miles in 2016 and 0.6 miles in 2017 (3.5 months).
Turtle M21 (male) was found on 5/26/12 meeting with turtle M3 (male), and mating with turtle M24 (female) on 9/22/12. All three turtles hibernated close to each other, near the edge of the ROW, under pines. GPS miles traveled:
1.0 miles in 2012 (4 1/2 months), 35 pts
2.2 miles in 2013, 44 pts
2.2 miles in 2014, 46 pts
2.2 miles in 2015, 49 pts
1.5 miles in 2016, 46 pts
2.2 miles in 2017, 32 pts
0.4 miles in 2018, 2 months, 6 pts
The 2013 travel behavior was unexpected, as a large amount of the summer was spent in an area with low biological diversity. M21 was once found within 10 feet of the road edge, but he did not cross. M21 did not make it back to his 2012 hibernation site before leaf-fall and cold weather.
The route photos are each approximately 965 acres.
Turtle M22 (F) 470 gr, was found on 6/19/12 mating with turtle M15 (male) near the private house site, and was tracked 1.3 miles before being lost on 7/22/12.
She was never subsequently re-found as I hoped (and expected).
Turtle M23 (F) 420 gr, was found on 6/28/12 while mating with turtle M18 (male) under heavy brush cover, and was lost after only 3 locations despite having both radio and thread.
M23 has not been re-found since her 2012 disappearence.
M26 (Male) was found crossing the road on 6/5/14 by Steve, a park employee. At 430 grams he is not particularly large, but travels long distances quickly in steep terrain and overgrown meadow. M26 traveled 1.1 miles in a large broad loop in steep terrain, and on 7/6/14 was back near the original road crossing location and crossed the road again and quickly took a straight line route north and west out of radio range. He was re-found in December 2014 and tracked into hibernation for a total of 2.5 miles for the season.
M27 (Male), 525 grams. Turtle M27, entirely painted with white house paint, was found by an employee in 2012 in a parking lot within this study area, and was moved into the woods to avoid being run over. He was reported several days later, but never re-found that season.
Possibly an abandoned pet, he evidently remained somewhere in the area through 2 winter hibernations before being found 6/8/14 while meeting with turtle M19(M) (now dead), only about 1000 feet from the parking area where he was originally found. GPS miles traveled;
2.1 miles in 2014 (4 1/2 months), 41 pts
2.2 miles in 2015, 29 pts
1.2 miles in 2016, 25 pts
1.2 miles in 2017, 22 pts
2.3 miles in 2018, 28 pts
2.2 miles in 2019, 30 pts
With most of the paint now warn off, he is being tracked as a member of this population. This turtle seems much too large to have been aquired as a juvenile. He likely was taken from the wild as an adult nearby, and later released near where he was captured. His continued presence brings up a number of questions about box turtle homing abilities, as well as repatriation of adults to a new area.
M30 (Male) a 470 gram male was found on 7/19/14 mating with turtle M6 in a very heavily overgrown part of the meadow a few days after she was observed nesting nearby. M6(f)'s primary activity area is the south slope, across the road. GPS miles traveled:
0.8 miles in 2014, (3 months), 30 points
2.9 miles in 2015, 55 points
3.3 miles in 2016, 52 points
1.6 miles in 2017, 35 points
1.1 miles in 2018, (2 months,1 week), 21 points
M30 is another resident of the meadow along with M11, M18, M25 and M29, but spends a significant amount of the time in the wooded areas within the meadow and nearby on slopes and benches. He was tracked continuously since found, but in 2018, traveled out of radio range and was lost for part of the season. M30 was not found again in 2019.
M31 (M) a 330 gram male, unbelievably, has traveled 2.3 miles after being found 7/30/14 in the power line ROW on top of the ridge. He quickly crossed the deep drainage and climbed to the top of the next ridge and traveled nearly straight-line WSW. Is this another transient moving through this population? He was not observed mating or meeting, but was found late in the mid-summer season so it is not known how long he was in this local population or how many residents he met.
After traveling well outside of my normal access area, he is now carrying a contact information capsule in case he is found in the future.
UPDATE: M31 was moved back to the exact original find location on Aug 29th where he headed west on a new long straight course. His new designations are M31A (red), M31B (green), M31C (blue), M31D (aqua), and M31E. Tracking M31 has taken a lot of time and effort away from tracking resident turtles this season.
Green Dot = Emergence, Red Dot = Hibernation, Blue Dot = NEW FIND, White Dot = Dead
M29 (Male) a 385 gram male was found mating with turtle M25 in the meadow on 7/13/14, GPS miles traveled;
2.1 miles in 2014, (3.5 months), 39 pts
2.0 miles in 2015, 47 pts
2.0 miles in 2016, 48 pts
1.3 miles in 2017, 44 pts
2.3 miles in 2018, 47 pts
1.2 miles in 2019, 25 pts
Turtle M29 is a resident of the meadow and nearby woods, benches and slopes. He spends most of his time in the meadow and moves quickly when traveling in the woods. He is moved into the woods during the fall mowings of the meadow, along with M25, M11, M30 and M18. This action to keep turtles from harm from mowers seems to have little or no effect on their behavior.
M16 All Years
Each aerial photo to the left is 317.6 acres or 128.5 hectares in size (or about 3935 x 3525 feet)
In mid-July 2014, turtle M14 left his primary activity area where he had been tracked for 4 seasons, crossed the road and traveled the ridge top eventually finding a small shallow creek in the highway ditch where he soaked from August 8th until September 16th. He traveled back, almost to his home area, and turned around and was found soaking in the edge of a large pond from Sept 21st until October 9th when he moved into the woods nearby and hibernated. In 2016 he crossed the road, was nearly crushed by a vehicle, and returned to his original primary activity area and hibernated there in November.
During the 2017 season he spent the first part of the season in his old activity area but on 6/2/17 he decided to travel a long route, crossing the road into the meadow near the residents there. On 7/7/17 as the meadow was being mowed, M14 was crushed and killed by a tractor tire.
M14 was one of the youngest individuals known in this population when found.