From a wildlife specialist (Turtles' project) of AZ Game and Fish Department:
Wild box turtles are rare in the Tucson area in general. Historically, they are native to just a few areas in the Tucson area - for example along the Tanque Verde, Aqua Caliente, and Rincon Creeks; the area around Sabino is consistent with these former populations. However, box turtles are kept commonly in captivity in Tucson, and I am not entirely convinced that this box turtle is a native "wild" turtle. It was seen in the residential area just south of the park the week before you saw it (it had moved about 2500 ft). It also had a little bit of "pyramiding" on the shell, which is something we see in captive turtles because of nutritional deficiencies. Even though we aren't sure about its wild or captive status, we are going to keep the data point nonetheless. Maybe it will be seen again!
And from David Lazaroff:
Looks like another box turtle has escaped from someone's yard, south of the Forest boundary, and stumbled into the Recreation Area. This one is just a few years old at most--a turtle toddler. Thanks for posting its portrait.
Thanks, Mark, for turning in a report and letting me post this update.
I actually saw a box turtle adjacent to the little turn around type area after mile marker two. It was a good sized adult, very, very dark stained shell from the dark colored waters there and I was shocked at the speed it could move. I do have a photo of it floating around someplace. It's actually the only one I've ever seen in the wild here.ReplyDelete