Day #3 Kickapoo

May 18th 2016


It was a sunny day at Kickapoo State Recreation Area with little to no wind. We captured eight turtles in total during a 2 hour search effort.


An added gem to this search effort is that it correlates with Jeremy’s PhD study! His radiotelemetry project with Eastern Box Turtles was planned to be at Kickapoo, so he is utilizing the canines to increase the sample size number of his study!


Map of Kickapoo State Park.

Overview of the eight turtles captured today


One of the turtles was an incidental finding, rather than a canine capture.


Five of the turtles captured were recaptures, while three were not.


Four of the Eastern Box Turtles were females and four were males.


All of the turtles were adults.


Turtle Team utilizes backpacks and pencil cases to carry the turtles during the hike. The turtles are then sampled and put back where they were found.


Turtle Team trailing the turtle dogs at Kickapoo.

Here are the abnormalities of note from this search effort:


This Eastern Box Turtle waits to have Turtle Team members collect swab samples from his oral cavity.


Jeremy is holding an antenna that is connected to a reciever. Each turtle has its own designated frequency on the reciever. Jeremy listens to beeps on each frequency to find each turtle. As he gets closer to the turtle, the beeps get louder.


An iButton and a radiotransmitter glued onto the shell of a turtle in Jeremy’s study.

How Jeremy’s PhD project intertwines with Turtle Team

Jeremy is using Kickapoo as the site in his study. He will be tracking Eastern Box Turtles by utilizing radiotelemetry. The turtles we found here at Kickapoo were put into his study! He attached an iButton, which tracks the turtles’ body temperatures every hour, and a radiotransmitter onto the turtles’ shells. He returned the turtles to the exact location at which they were found the very next day.


He uses radiowaves to find the turtles again. Every other day he takes notes about their location, surrounding environment, and behavior. Every 2 weeks he weighs, draws blood, and collects swabs from each turtle in order to look for detectable pathogens and other hematologic health parameters, like White Blood Cell counts, back at the lab.


He started this project mid-April. From this search effort he was able to enter the 8 turtles into his study and he added 6 more turtles thanks to further visual searches on other days at Kickapoo.


Turtle Team is pretty awesome. I get to develop clinical and leadership skills, while taking selfies with turtles. 🙂

Next post I will write about the search effort at my favorite site and the Box Turtle Conference that occurred simultaneously! 

By | 2017-08-09T10:09:32+00:00 June 22nd, 2016|2016|0 Comments

About the Author:

Kayla is a third year vet student, her main focus is to explore the epidemiology of common pathogens of reptiles and amphibians in eastern and southern Illinois.