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Ornate Box Turtle

Terrapene ornata


Box turtles are so neat. Ornate box turtles are a lot like Eastern box turtles, but have a lot of "ornate" markings on their belly. They also have "starburst" patterns of lighter color radiating on the carapace. I think that our ornate box turtles (at least on MI) maintain the coloring, whereas I've seen a lot of Eastern box turtles basically lose their patterns over time.


Box turtles are NOT marine turtles and they don't like swimming. They do like prairie and pastureland, and on Matagorda Island I find them crossing the road between coastal grassland prairie (which has a lot of little bluestem).


Matagorda Island is managed by the Aransas NWR. I know this is kind of an old photo, but I hadn't posted an ornate box turtle pic yet. I wish I had a more recent pic, but to be honest, I haven't seen a box turtle in a long time. This could be because of drought conditions in the past few years, or because I haven't been spending as much time on MI as I used to...

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Spotted by

Texas, USA

Spotted on Nov 9, 2010
Submitted on Feb 18, 2013

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