Success Comes Slowly

By MDC | March 1, 2024
From Xplor: March/April 2024
Turtle in a van
Success Comes Slowly

My name is Doug Holey, and I am a motivational speaker. I’ve been around long enough to learn a thing or two about life. So shut your yapper and listen up.

Life Isn’t a Sprint, It’s a Marathon

Let’s get started by letting me give you a little bit of a scenario of what my life is all about. First off, I’m single, I live in a forest down by the river, and I’m 49 years old. That’s ancient for most wild critters! But box turtles often reach 50 to 80 years old, and some of us can live to be over 100!

Come Out of Your Shell

So what’s the secret to my long life? It’s my shell. Box turtles have a hinge on their lower shells. It lets me pull in my head and legs and close my shell tight. Not much can hurt me then. But guess what? With your shell shut, you can’t see jack squat! Eventually, you’ve got to poke your head out and go for it!

Don’t Let Others Define You

Biologists call us “three-toed box turtles” because most of us have three toes on our hind feet. Well, la-dee-turtle-da! Some of us have four toes! And here’s another thing: Boy box turtles have a thick tail and red eyes. Girl box turtles have a thin tail and yellow eyes.

Home is Where Your Shell Is

Like most three-toed box turtles, I live in an oak-hickory forest. My close cousin, the ornate box turtle, prefers prairies. I wander around during the day and sleep at night wherever I end up. Before nodding off, I snuggle under a blanket of leaves or cover myself with a few inches of dirt.

Get Some Rest

Hey! Help me out. I can’t see real good. Is that Jack Frost over there? Around October, I dig a shallow hole to take a long winter nap. A few days of cold weather won’t hurt me. Antifreeze in my blood keeps my organs from turning to ice. Around April, I wake up and shake the frost off my shell.

Look on the Bright Side

I’m cold-blooded, which means my body temperature changes based on the weather. Do I let that get me down? No sir-ree-bob! When it’s cool, I bask in a sunbeam to warm up. When it’s hot, I crawl into a clump of shady grass or swim in a cool stream.

Get Some Exercise

Now you kids are probably asking yourselves, “Hey Doug, how can we get back on track?” Well as I see it, there’s only one way: exercise. I crawl nearly 50 yards every day! And I carry a heavy shell to boot! I’ve lived my whole life in the same 25-acre patch of woods — but I’ve explored every inch of it.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

From mid-May to July, mama turtles dig shallow nests in loose soil and lay two to eight eggs inside. Warmer nests usually produce girls. Cooler nests usually produce boys. But whoopsie-daisy! Lots of eggs get eaten by skunks and raccoons. Luckily, mama turtles usually make more than one nest.

Eat Your Veggies

Take it from me, you won’t live to see 100 on a steady diet of government cheese. That’s why young box turtles eat mostly insects and worms. And once we get older, we throw in more veggies, like dogwood fruits, blackberries, tender plants, and mushrooms.

Let Friends Help

You know what’s worse than living in a van down by the river? Getting crushed trying to cross the street! Thousands of box turtles get hit by cars in April and May. You can help. Look both ways to make sure there aren’t any cars coming, then carry turtles to the side of the road in the direction they were crawling.

Also In This Issue

This Issue's Staff

Artist – Matt Byrde
Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Subscriptions – Marcia Hale
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber