This is the kind of thing that only happens to me.

My Mom is buying me a new side door, so this morning a gentleman came out to measure for it. And lo, he was a very nice man, and we were chatting while he measured and Tink was out there with us and as it turns out the door-measuring gentleman also likes animals, and moves turtles out of the road. In fact, he said, he had one in the car because he’d stopped for it and hadn’t been able to move it because of traffic, and could he release it here?

Oh dear. The problem is that Eastern Box Turtles have a home range, and if you take them out of it, they will try to get back and most likely die on the way if they are four inches long and adorable. Even a healthy full-size adult box turtle will probably die if it’s been moved more than a quarter mile from home. There’s a group in, I believe, Pennsylvania that relocates them to a nature preserve, but they do it by installing GPS tracking devices on the turtles and making sure they stay where they’re supposed to and find the food and hibernation spots. Soooo…. I took the turtle in. I had some gear from poor departed Clover, my Russian Tortoise who was killed by the cats, after which I swore that there would be no more small pets. Circumstances however have conspired to make a liar of me. Obviously I am going to have to get cracking on the outdoor turtle habitat I’ve been talking about making for the past year or so.

And yes, of course I took pictures. The turtle has been christened Jeremiah Swakhammer, after an intrepid and armor-clad character in Cherie Priest’s book Boneshaker. It’s a good book, and also I happen to know that Cherie is fond of turtles and will probably appreciate having this handsome little devil named for her character.

A small Eastern Box Turtle sits, totally boxed up, next to a thick ergonomic keyboard.  The keyboard's bottom edge with no keys is perhaps two-thirds as tall as the turtle's shell, with keys it is very nearly the same height.  From this angle you can see the arch of the front opening, and the turtle's plastron, which is ivory with darker brown markings on the edges of the scutes.

A top view of Jeremiah Swakhammer's shell, which is about 4 inches long.  The shell is a dark, rich brown, with bright gold markings.  The dorsal scutes have gold shapes reminiscent of a curved capital E, the shapes on the lateral scutes are more abstract but vaguely similar.  The peripheral scutes have little flame-like gold markings on them.

Jeremiah Swakhammer, partially unboxed, looks dubiously at the camera.  In fact, his look is fairly indignant.  His eye is a dark brown, and his face and front legs are black with little dots of yellow on them.  His beak and lower jaw are more the ivory color of his plastron.

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6 Responses to “This is the kind of thing that only happens to me.”

  1. laura
    1639 on June 12th, 2010

    what a lovely shell! its need to see the plastron bent up to completely enclose itself. my redfoot tortoise cant do that.

  2. mountainlaurel
    1817 on June 12th, 2010

    You are SO lucky! Congratulations and good luck! My best to you!

  3. Kim (The Icequeen from LJ)
    0040 on June 13th, 2010

    Wow. I went to school with a Mike Swakhammer. Perhaps he and your newest family member are related?

    I also went to school with a fellow by the name of Anson Swerdferger. You don’t have any four legged family members with the last name Swerdferger do you?
    Because that would just be weird.

  4. Andrea
    1203 on June 13th, 2010

    It is possible they are related! But not probable, given the species differentiation.

    There are no Swerdfergers in the family. Yet. It does have kind of a neat sound, now that you mention it.

  5. The Manor of Mixed Blessings » The best puppies belong to other people
    1606 on June 13th, 2010

    […] Thai food. I crawled home at 2100 and got a stern lecture from the Usual Suspects, discovered Jeremiah Swakhammer had buried himself in protest at his new surroundings, and then got yelled at by Noodlehead on top […]

  6. Cherie Priest » Blog Archive » June 14, 2010
    1959 on June 14th, 2010

    […] rest for the wicked, as they say. The wicked do get links, though. I’m pretty sure. Jeremiah Swakhammer – the Turtle – Via my friend Andrea, animal rescuer extraordinaire. Ain’t he a doll? Actually […]

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