Up Moses Creek: ‘It’s a Wild World’

I hiked up the ridge behind our house early one July morning and saw an eastern box turtle with a millipede in its mouth.

Up Moses Creek: Snapper, Part II

(Editor’s note: The first installment of this story was published in the May 10 issue of The Smoky Mountain News and is online here.) 

Up Moses Creek

Snapper, Part I 

Snapping turtles have been on my mind this spring after one showed up in our pond. Its arrival was not unexpected; it comes every spring — and with increasing presence. When Becky and I first saw the turtle years ago, it would have fit in the palm of my hand. We named it “Snappie” and hoped the little turtle would stay for a while — which turned out to be all summer. But as the turtle kept returning each spring, the cute-sounding “Snappie” no longer fit the formidable-looking reptile now living in our pond. What a long, saw-toothed tail it had grown! What a hooked beak on the end of its snout! So, we began to call it “Snapper.”  

Box turtles can live 120 years

Five turtle species reside in Western North Carolina: snapping, musk, and painted turtles are primarily found in streams, lakes, and ponds. The elusive and rare bog turtle is found in the habitat for which it’s named. The eastern box turtle will enter water during dry weather, but it’s largely terrestrial. For that reason, they are the species with which we have the most contact.

The Naturalist's Corner: Eastern box turtle, our state reptile

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a June 2001 issue of The Smoky Mountain News

Taksi was a legendary warrior with legs so stout and armor so strong he could withstand mighty blows. Even when he grew old, he retained his armor and stout legs. His magic was so powerful young Cherokee warriors would rub their own legs against Taksi in hopes of acquiring his legendary prowess.

Operation box turtle: Waynesville vet works to give baby turtles a leg up

out frJoel Harrington has always been a fan of turtles. Of all animals, really — he is a veterinarian — but Harrington has had at least one pet turtle ever since he was a kid. And if the collection of Eastern box turtles covering his lawn on a recent sunny afternoon is any indication, the affinity hasn’t faded. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.