|pixabay / JamesDeMers|
After my family moved to northern Idaho, I recalled fond memories of my childhood back East. When a high-school friend told me he was planning to visit the East coast, I asked him to bring back a living reminder of my past—a box turtle. He obliged and brought a beautiful male specimen, which I named “Waldo Pepper.”To read the rest of the story and to learn about how this little guy survives, click on "Frozen Alive! Eastern Box Turtles".
I built an outdoor pen in which Waldo puttered about throughout the summer. When winter approached, he dug a shallow burrow to prepare for the cold. I piled autumn leaves over him and covered everything with a small tarp. It can get bitterly cold in Idaho, but that winter was unusually frigid. I remember it dipped down to 30°F below zero (-34°C).
When spring came, I must admit that I wasn’t hopeful to find Waldo alive. On the first warmish day I anxiously scraped away the leaves. I saw the top of his shell, barely below ground level. “He didn’t dig deep enough,” I worried. “He’s sure to be dead.” I touched his shell and to my delight it lurched as he moved within. He had made it through that wintery blast!