Those are pictures of an eastern box turtle found in Central Park in Manhattan, New York, NY. Eastern box turtles have a high domed-shelled which is usually brown, olive, or black with brightly-colored patterns of lines, spots and blotches.

The turtle pictures aren’t that great, it was taken with a 2 megapixel phone camera that didn’t have a proper zoom.

Me and my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, spotted this cute little box turtle in the field between the Great Lawn and the turtle pond. It was late June a few years ago and the lawn was closed for maintenance (seeding or something).

What a surprise it was. My immediate thoughts were “is it wild?”, “is it a pet release?”, “how could it survive?”. I don’t know how a land-based box turtle could survive in central park when the fields are open for public use throughout most of the year and, especially in the summer – full of people everyday, with dogs too!! I can’t imagine how!

Eastern box turtles are native to New York state and usually found scattered through the Hudson Valley and Western NY. It is listed in the state as an “endangered species, threatened species or species of special concern”. As such, it is not ok to take an Eastern Box Turtle home, move it to another location (unless it is in a dangerous situation), and even release to “the wild” eastern box turtles that are pets or came from another state.

But many people are ignorant and ignorant of the law.

So, has anyone seen an eastern box turtle in Central Park? Anyone have photos?

See more posts about turtles in Central Park.