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American Box Turtle Species Identification
Includes Images From My Turtles And Donated From Other Owners


.Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina Carolina)
.Three Toed Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina Triunguis)

.Gulf Coast Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina Major)

.Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina Bauri)

.Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene Ornata Ornata)
.Desert Box Turtle (Terrapene Ornata Luteola)

 


The Following Is A Collection Of What I Know About IDing Box Turtles
Some Information May Not Be Completely Accurate


Box Turtle Species Ranger Of America

 

 

Terrapene Carolina (Eastern Box Turtle)
Subspecies: Three Toed, Gulf Coast, Florida


Eastern Box Turtle Description (Terrapene Carolina Carolina)
Male Eastern (Reginald 3-4)
1st and 2nd Images Provided By: Mark J.
3rd and 4th Images Provided By: Leslie S.
Male Eastern Male Eastern Male Eastern Male Eastern
Female Eastern (Yertle 1-2, Pepper 3-4)
1st and 2nd Images Provided By: Mark J.
3rd and 4th Images Provided By: Leslie S.
Female Eastern Female Eastern Female Eastern Female Eastern
Hatchling Eastern
Images Provided By: Mark J.
Hatchling Eastern Hatchling Eastern Eastern Hatchling Eastern Hatchling

Eastern Box Turtles have a unique variation of markings. Their carapace can be dark brown with yellow to red lines or dots. The plastron can be yellow to black or a splotchy combination of the two.

The skin is brown with yellow, black or red markings on the head and legs.

Males may have very colorful heads, and have red eyes with a concaved plastron.
Females have brown to dark brown eyes.

Hatchlings may be born with yellow dots, often only 1 dot per scute. Along the back bone of the shell there is always a bumpy ridge with bright yellow dots. The plastron will often have one dark marking that is symmetrical on either side of the plastron.

 

 


Three Toed Box Turtle Description (Terrapene Carolina Triunguis)
Male Three Toed (Tecumseh 1-2, Ward 3-4)
3rd and 4th Images Provided By: Gail G. (Owner Of Ward: Kathy C.)
Male Three Toed Male Three Toed Male Three Toed Male Three Toed
Female Three Toed (Flo 1-2, Priscilla 3-4)
3rd and 4th Images Provided By: Corey W.
Female Three Toed Female Three Toed Three Toed Female Three Toed Female
Hatchling Three Toed (Sorry, No Pictures!)
       

Three Toed Box Turtles can have a tan, olive, or yellow carapace The plastron is yellow with no markings except for dark boarders around the scutes.

The skin can be olive, yellow or brown with bright red, black or yellow markings on the head and legs. They might have red dots on the side of the head. Back feet often have only three toes, but some have been known to have four.

Males have bright red eyes, they often have very colorful head with a slight a concaved plastron.
Females have brown eyes.

Hatchlings Tree Toed will have dark shells with 1 clear yellow dot pure scute, and a raised "ridge" along the back bone. As they get older the ridge will go away and the markings will change into yellow and black markings radiated forward on the shell.

 

 


Gulf Coast Box Turtle Description (Terrapene Carolina Major)
Male Gulf Coast (Turtle's Name: Leonardo)
Images Provided By: Gail G.
Gulf Coast Male Gulf Coast Male Gulf Coast Male Gulf Coast Male
Female Gulf Coast (Turtle's Name: Florencia)
Images Provided By: Gail G.
Female Gulf Coast Female Gulf Coast Female Gulf Coast Female Gulf Coast
Hatchling Gulf Coast (Sorry, No Pictures!)
       

Gulf Coast Box Turtles are the largest box turtles. They are more aquatic than the other species, and have a unique shape to their shell. The carapace is long and high-dome like with an upward flare in their back marginals (back scutes). The color of the carapace can be brown to black and have dull lines or dots, and the plastron can be black or to brown with small variations in color.

Their skin, like the rest of the turtle can be black to brown. They often have light yellow or white patches on the side of their head.

Males have dark brown to red eyes, and their plastron has a deep concavity.
Females have yellow to brown eyes.

Hatchlings are similar to other hatchlings of Terrapene Carolina, being dark in color with yellow dots per scute, and a raised ridge along the back bone covered in bright yellow dots.

 

 


Florida Box Turtle Description (Terrapene Carolina Bauri)
Male Florida
Images Provided By: Ryan A. (Web Site)
Male Florida
Female Florida
Images Provided By: Ryan A. (Web Site)
Female Florida Female Florida    
Hatchling Florida (Sorry, No Pictures!)
       

Florida Box Turtles often have very dark carapace with bright yellow streaks continuing on each scute radiating from the back bone, forward. The plastron can be yellow or have darker lines that may be blurry, radiating toward the middle of the plastron.

The skin is dark brown to black, may have yellow markings, and often have bright yellow strips/spots on each side of the head. The back feet can have 3 or 4 toes.

Male Florida's skin are not as red and colorful as other species of box turtle, so it may be difficult to tell the gender by looking. I'm afraid that's all the facts I know about Male-Female facts about Florida Box Turtles.

Hatchling Florida are very unique, they resembled Ornate hatchlings but with far more bright, clear yellow streaks over every scute of the carapace, with a thick line down the middle of the shell. The hatchling may have markings on the skin as well.

 

 

 

Terrapene Ornata (Ornate/Western Box Turtle)
Subspecies: Desert


Ornate Box Turtle Description (Terrapene Ornata Ornata)
Male Ornate (Turtle's Name: Moonbeam)
Images Provided By: Linda L.
Male Ornate Male Ornate
Female Ornate (Okie 1, Shawnee 2, WildFlower 3-4)
Female Ornate Female Ornate Female Ornate Female Ornate
Hatchling Ornate (Sorry, No Pictures!)

Ornate Box Turtles have an oval shaped shell that is almost flat on the top. The shell can be a very dark brown to a rusty color, with straight yellow markings radiating from the center line along the back bone, these lines can be broken up or very thick. The plastron is yellow with a variation of almost symmetrical maze-like markings.

The skin is often brown with yellow or red markings, and yellow to white dots on the side of the head.

Males often have red or orange markings on the front legs, and some males have been known to have yellow heads ("lemon-heads"). Lemon-heads are most often found in the southern Ornate territory, such as Texas.
Both male and female can have the same variation in eye color, from yellowish green to bright red.

Hatchlings are often born with yellow dots and lines on the carapace, with a thick or broken line along the back bone. The skin is brown with possible yellow markings and dots on the head. The plastron is bright yellow with dark to faded symmetrical marking, this could be dark or faded, splotchy or solid, and may have dots.

 

 


Desert Box Turtle Description (Terrapene Ornata Luteola)
Male Desert (Turtle's Name: Romeo)
Images Provided By: Sue K.
Desert Male Desert Male Desert Male
Female Desert (Turtle's Name: Pokie)
Images Provided By: Sean H.
Desert Female    
Hatchling Desert (Turtle's Name: Alf)
Images Provided By: Sean H.
Hatchling Desert      

Desert Box Turtles are similar to Ornate but often have more yellow lines per scute. The shell is brown to yellowish brown. As they age the pattern will slowly vanish and the shell will have a more "dusty" appearance. The plastron often has a very blurry design with markings radiating forward from the rear of the shell.

The skin can be a grey-olive color and sometimes a grey-brown shade.

Both male and female can have a yellow head.
Hatchlings have very bright and thick wavy lines on the carapace, in some cases very similar to Ornate. This species is the only one where hatchlings often have no line down the back what so ever.

 

.If You Have Pictures You Would Like To Share, Email Me!