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Three-toed Box Turtle

Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo

Did You Know?

  • The three-toed box turtle is a subspecies of the eastern box turtle. Although they are called three-toed turtles, they may also have four toes, much like the ornate box turtle.
  • This turtle is the official state reptile of Missouri.
  • As with many turtle species, incubation temperatures determine the sex of the hatchlings; lower temperatures favor females.

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Scientific Name: Terrapene carolina triunguis

Class: Reptiles

Diet: Insects, earthworms, plant matter, fungi

Range: South-central United States

Endangered Status: Vulnerable

More Information

The three-toed box turtle is a member of the pond and box turtle family that has a high-domed shell. These turtles may also have ridge along the carapace (top shell), which is usually olive or olive brown with a length of about 5 inches. Their skin is black or dark brown, although the head may be yellow or orange.

These solitary turtles become active in the spring after the last frost. They mate and lay eggs from late April to early July. The female lays up to eight eggs, which take three months to incubate. Hatchlings stay in the nest until the following spring.

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