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Ornate Box Turtle

Terrapene ornata ornata


Box turtles get their common name from their unique ability to tightly press the front portion of their plastron (bottom shell) up against their carapace (top shell) courtesy of a plastron hinge. This seals them up like a closed box, which is an excellent defense mechanism to deter predators.


Spotted on a gravel road intersecting a forest and grassy meadow. This turtle is usually found in grasslands and on land rather than in water; they have been found in all habitat types of the Great Plains except aquatic, though most references indicate they prefer open grass or prairie lands


The Ornate box turtle is one of only two terrestrial species of turtles native to the Great Plains of the United States. It is the state reptile of Kansas. It is a relatively small turtle, that is currently not endangered or threatened but is of concern and protected in six Midwestern states (Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, and Wisconsin)

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1 Comment

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 11 years ago

Thanks for that information; I never knew why they were called Box turtles before.

Spotted by

Missouri, USA

Spotted on Jun 24, 2012
Submitted on Jun 25, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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