|Posted on September 13, 2012 at 9:05 AM|
Female Eastern Box Turtle, maybe 5 years old. She may live for 30-40 years. Native to NJ and East Coast.
The box turtle holds a special place in American history. The Native Americans felt all parts of nature had a purpose and a use. For some tribes, the box turtle represented this very well; the shell could be used for jewelry, the meat could be used for food, and even the knowledge of the turtle could be used. They used this turtle to develop their time keeping system. What they did was look at the large scutes or scales on the back of the turtle. There are thirteen scutes on the back of the box turtle, each scale representing one of the thirteen new moons that occur each year. They then took the twenty-four smaller scutes around the outer rim of the shell and took them to represent the hours in a day. Based on this system, the Native Americans were able to develop a sort of calendar. This in turn helped them to plant crops during the correct season.
Categories: Backyard wildlife