Happy World Turtle Day! Yes, it seems as though there's a day for everything anymore, but turtles have a very special place in my heart. Something for everything I guess. The image above is a drawing I first worked on and thought I completed in 2010. I later went on to do some more work on it a few years later, eventually giving it away as a little gift to someone. It's an image of an eastern box turtle I called Rocky, because I found him at the edge of the W&OD Trail with a bloodied eye. He seemed to have arrived from an area that was experiencing some heavy construction in his natural habitat, which is all too common anymore in the Northern Virginia region. Long story short, Rocky was taken to the local animal hospital where they performed surgery on his right eye, eventually having to remove it. I took care of him a bit, before releasing him back into the wild, in a much more wooded area near his natural habitat. Sadly, the chances of Rocky making it out there in the wild were most likely slim, but I believe he had a fighting chance. Besides, he had the Eye of the Turtle.
All jokes aside, while box turtles like Rocky aren't yet listed as "endangered", they do fall under the "special concern" category, as their habitats are increasingly becoming more and more fragmented and destroyed, are collected for the pet trade, and are victims of road mortality. If you ever see one who seems to need help crossing a road, make sure to place them in the direction they are headed to. Also, when driving, try to slow down. Their life (and yours) depends on it. In the meantime, turtle on!