Three Toed Box Turtle

Terrapene carolina triunguis

Description

4-1/2 - 5 inches, record 6-1/2 inches. Usually (not always!) has three toes on each hind foot. Carapace oval and highly domed. Carapace often not well marked in mature specimens, plain olive or horn colored with faint yellow markings. Young may be better marked. Large costal scutes, small marginals. Edges of marginals curve upward at front and rear. Most striking feature usually is the orange to red spots on the neck, face, and forelimbs. Eyes of male often red, those of females often yellow. Male plastron flat or only slightly concave. Plastron is hinged, both ends can be drawn shut, providing excellent protection.

Habitat

Forested areas, thickets, meadows, pastures, floodplains, swamps.

Behavior

Terrestrial and diurnal. Often seen after a rain. Enjoy taking a short swim or soaking in water. Mild-mannered, long lived. Will not stray far if conditions are right.

Reproduction

Nests May to July, 3 - 4 inches deep, 3 to 8 oval, thin walled eggs 1-3/8" long. Nest is expertly hidden when finished. Hatchlings usually remain in nest over the winter. Plastron of hatchlings not hinged. Reach maturity in 5 to 7 years. Male follows female and gives her gentle bites on the shell, neck and head.

Food

Omnivorous: slugs, earthworms, mushrooms (including those poisonous to man - the meat of the box turtle can be lethal), berries, melons.


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