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Ornate Box Turtle Terrapene ornata


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Ornate Box Turtle, Ornate subspecies
credit: Patrick Feller

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Family: Emydidae, Pond and Box Turtles view all from this family

Description Brownish-black/gray carapace with varying yellow vertical stripes. Highly domed. Plastron movable, almost as long as carapace. Red eyes on males, often smaller in size than females. Plastron on males concave. Eyes on females yellow/brown.

Dimensions 10.2-14.6cm. (4-5 3/4")

Subspecies Ornate - 5-8 lines on costal scute. Wyoming, Indiana, Louisiana to New Mexico.
Desert - 11-14 lines on second costal scute. Arizona, Texas into Mexico.

Breeding May-July. Sometimes second clutch laid in July. Eggs 35mm (1 3/8") in length, 2-8 eggs in a clutch. Hatch after 9-10 weeks. Mature at 8-10 years.

Habitat Open prairies, pasturelands, woodland and sandy terrain.

Range South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona. Also Indiana.

Discussion Basks early in the day, under shelter by noon. Looks through cattle dung for beetles. Caterpillars, grasshoppers and other insects also comprise main diet. Often killed by cars when trying to cross the road after rainfall.