Does your state have a reptile-themed license plate? Well if you live in West Virginia, the state released a new plate featuring an image of an Easter
Does your state have a reptile-themed license plate? Well if you live in West Virginia, the state released a new plate featuring an image of an Eastern box turtle. West Virginia joins Nevada and Florida by putting a turtle on a vehicle license plate that was made available June 1. After years of other animals, the state has finally put a reptile on its license plate.
The eastern box turtle plate marks the first time the state has had a reptile on its license plates and the first time that the license plate doesn’t have a scenic background. Its all turtle.
How the Turtle License Plate Came About
“The idea was to come up with a plate in 2021 that hadn’t been done before,” Scott Warner of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ Natural Heritage Section, told the Herald Dispatch. “We wanted to feature a reptile or amphibian, but we looked at other animals, too. The graphic artist drew up a salamander, a hellbender, a box turtle, an owl and a bat. Everything except the turtle looked like a brown dot on the left side of the plate.”
“For the other plates, there was always a background behind the bird, fish or animal we featured,” “The turtle plate is all about the turtle, with no landscape. It allows you to really see the turtle. That red eye will really pop out to people as they drive down the interstate.”
Choosing the Eastern box turtle wasn’t by chance either, as it helped that West Virginians are genuinely interested in the chelonian. The state launched a crowd sourced study of the movement of the Eastern box turtle throughout the state and asked residents to report where and when they saw the turtles moving about. The DNR was blown away by the thousands of responses that they received from the residents.
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Herping The Eastern Box Turtle
“It showed us just how popular box turtles are to people,” Warner said. “That’s another factor that helped us decide to feature a turtle.”
The plate was designed by graphic artist Jesse Corliss of the state Division of Motor Vehicles and he was tasked to ensure that the turtle was widely visible on the plate.
“Jesse had to make it clear to other motorists that they were looking at a turtle, and he had to fade the colors of the turtle’s shell so the license number would show up,” Warner told the Herald Dispatch. “He did a tremendous job.”
When you purchase one of these plates, you are also assisting the state’s wildlife as proceeds will help to fund the state’s Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Section. If you live in West Virginia and wish to purchase an Eastern box turtle license plate, please visit the state website at www.transportation.wv.gov.
Box Turtle Information
Box turtles are widely captive-bred. There are 14 North American species and 12 Asian species. Some of the popular box turtles kept as pets include the eastern box turtle, three-toed box turtle, and the ornate box turtle. Always insist on captive-bred specimens as they will already be accustomed to life in captivity and are generally much healthier than wild-caught specimens.