Virginia House Crushes Box Turtle's Bid to Be State Reptile

Turtles too cowardly to represent Virginia?

Friday, Feb 20, 2009  |  Updated 4:30 PM EDT
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Virginia House Crushes Box Turtle's Bid to Be State Reptile

AP

A Virginia delegate says an animal that carries its hiding place on its back isn't right for representing the state.

RICHMOND, Va. -- The eastern box turtle still gets no respect from the Virginia General Assembly.

The House of Delegates on Friday crushed any hopes the unassuming terrestrial turtle had of becoming the official state reptile.

It met the same fate in 1999.

Delegate Frank Hargrove, of Hanover, asked why Virginia would make an official emblem of an animal that retreats into its shell when frightened and dies by the thousands crawling across roads.

If the state needs an official cold-blooded animal, Hargrove suggested the fearsome rattlesnake instead.

Perhaps the fatal blow was the disclosure that the creature's scientific name implied too close a relation to a Virginia rival: Terrapene Carolina.
 

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