Three-toed Eastern Box Turtle
Terrapene carolina triunguis

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Chelonia
FAMILY: Emydidae

SIZE:
Carapace length 8.5 inches

RANGE:
Most of eastern and southern U.S.; in Louisiana, throughout most of the state.

HABITAT:
Open woodlands, sometimes fields near forests; under logs during cool months, forest floor during warm season; when very hot may be found in shallow water.

DIET:
Wild - Plants, fungi, smaller animals, and carrion
Zoo - Fruits, vegetables, and meat

DESCRIPTION:

  • Medium-sized land terrapin
  • Three toes on slightly webbed hind feet
  • Carapace high domed, colored plain brown or woth a variable pattern of yellow or orange spots, blotches or lines.
  • Hinge between pectoral and abdominal scutes, forming two movable lobes capable of enclosing the entire body and legs within the shell.

FACTS:
Because large numbers of eastern box turtles are picked up and kept as pets, combined with roadway mortality and the clearing and burning of woodlands, the eastern box turtle is becoming less common and may eventually need protection.

YOUNG:
Mating usually occurs in the spring but may extend into autumn; nesting occurs from May to July and 2 - 4 eggs are deposited in excavations 3 - 4 inches deep and then covered.

STATUS:
Near threatened from loss of habitat

REFERENCES:
"The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana," Harold A. Dundee and Douglas A. Rossman
"Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia", Vol. 6, Reptiles, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek