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Three-toed Box Turtle

Terrapene carolina triunguis


Small box turtle. About 6" long and 5" wide (shell only).


Rescued from busy street, then released on our wooded property. Inquisitive and non-aggressive little gal. Since boys purportedly have very red eyes, I'm leaning toward female on this one.

1 Species ID Suggestions

Three-Toed Box Turtle
Terrapene carolina triunguis Terrapene_carolina_triunguis

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freelancing 8 years ago

Thanks for the info!

I have rescued 3 turtles that I can remember in my life time. I won't risk my life or the life of others running onto a high way or anything - but I do try to avoid hitting them w/ my car. This one was easy to rescue. Another turtle I rescued about 20 years ago, was a slider, I think - about the size of a Frisbee. It had a bloodied crack in its shell and was on the access ramp of a high way. I released it at the shore of a public lake and it ran to the water and swam away.

This specimen had teeth marks in its shell. I wish I had taken more photos of those teeth marks! It looked like a dog or coyote had tried getting to him/her.

I didn't know this was 'big' for this species.

About 25 years ago, my parents were about to get onto a highway in Ft. Worth and a 150+ lb turtle was in their way. Not only did they not want to hit the turtle because they didn't want to hurt him - any vehicle that hit that large of a specimen would have been severely damaged. Turned out to be an alligator snapping turtle. My father walked out of the car, thinking he'd just use his foot to slide him to the side of the road, but the turtle stuck its neck out 9-12" long and snapped at him... hissed and pursued him. My father jumped back in the car and swerved around him. I wish we had had a way to take the photos at the time.

NeilDazet 8 years ago

Nice box turtle spotting! Not a small box turtle though... at 6", this one is a very large full-grown 3-toed box turtle.

freelancing 8 years ago

Thanks for the ID. Apparently there are only 2 native species of box turtle in Texas, and this critter only fits the 3-toed variety. He/she definitely only had 3 toes/claws on the hind feet. There does seem to be quite the diversity in coloration patterns on the face & limbs in this species. The photo on Wikipedia looks a lot like a close relative of this one. :)

ForestDragon 8 years ago

If you do a search for the Three-toed Box Turtle you can find some pictures that look like yours as well (more than the photos on the link I provided).

Spotted by

Kaufman, Texas, USA

Spotted on May 7, 2012
Submitted on May 8, 2012

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