Tuesday, October 5, 2010


As I walk around Blue Jay Barrens I usually find more questions than answers. This small turtle shell is a good example. It looks as though something burst out through the top. It does remind me of something I’ve seen before, but the incident I recall indicated an infestation of Alien monsters with acid for blood. I don’t think that was the case here.

Perhaps the build up of gasses resulting from decomposition caused the shell to explode. I’ve found a lot of turtle skeletons and none have ever looked like this. This was a young turtle with a shell length of less than two inches, so it wouldn’t have been nearly as strong as that of an adult turtle.

Maybe the integument shrank during drying and pulled the top of the shell apart. Drying leather can sometimes pull with great force. I’m sure it could have pulled this shell apart.

This may be a new species of turtle that actually sheds its shell as it grows. Probably not. As I recall, it’s only cartoon turtles that can survive leaving their shells.

Some type of predator could have crushed the shell from the sides. That could easily split the top of the shell.

The bottom of the shell shows breaks that could only have resulted from the application of some type of force. I’ll probably never know what actually happened to this turtle. That’s typical for most of what I find here. There are always multiple possibilities, some likely and some less likely, but I seldom have all the clues necessary to be certain. I’ll just have to keep recording my observations and be happy with the few solid facts that do come along.


  1. Such fascinating observations. Recently my husband and I saw a turtle alive and walking along the side of the road. I mentioned how few turtles we see now compared to years ago when I was a child growing up in this area and turtles seemed to be everywhere.

  2. Hi Steve..at first look I thought you had found some odd mushroom!! : }
    That is the strangest think and how interesting !!
    You are so observrant and I always wonder what Steve will be up to next!! ; }
    You might want to be on the lookout for those acid blooded Alien Monsters though!! : }

  3. LOL! I thought the same as grammie g and initially thought you found a fungi. Great observation! I'll be curious to see if any of your followers have an answer to this question.

  4. Lois – The Box Turtle population has declined dramatically since we were kids. In the 1980’s and 90’s many people cruised the roads picking up Box Turtles to sell to the pet trade. Ohio enacted legislation about ten years ago to control the taking of reptiles and amphibians from the wild. Box Turtles are not on the list of collectable wild reptiles in Ohio which makes it illegal to take or possess native Box Turtles.

    Hi, grammie g. The shell looked strange to me when I first walked up on it. If I do find any Alien Monsters, I’ll be sure to get a few pictures.

    Hi Katie. I may need one of those teams of forensic scientists from TV to help with this mystery.