Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) live in the Ijams 275-acre sanctuary all year, but you seem more apt to encounter one at this time.
I found this one munching on Indian strawberries near the Will Skelton Greenway.
It's also time for them to reproduce, so you're apt to see them venture into harm's way, crossing busy roads.
Note: If you happen to encounter one in the street and there's a safe place for you to pull over, it's OK to help them on their way. But always take them to the side of the road they seem to want to go. Their slow but determined. And remember to wash your hands afterwards.
And no, you cannot turn them into pets. In Tennessee, that would be illegal. Not only are they a protected species at Ijams, but everywhere else in the state as well.
- Text and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales.