Ornate box turtle is the common name of Terrapene ornata ornata, one of only two terrestrial species of turtles native to the Great Plains of the United States. It is one of the two different subspecies of Terrapene ornata. It is the state reptile of Kansas. It is a relatively small turtle. Males and females generally look alike but males are often smaller; there is color variation with yellow lines from the center of the shell to the edges through gray, red-brown, or black coloration.
Ten Facts about Ornate Box Turtle
- The ornate box turtle is an omnivore, Grasses, berries, insects and other invertebrates (caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, earthworms), fruits, vegetables, and carrion (mammals, birds, amphibians, snakes, and even other turtles).
- The lifespan of the ornate box turtle has been reported to be from 32 to 37 years.
- Incubating eggs at 29°C (84°F) produces 100% female offspring, so in the wild a combination of temperature, humidity, and other factors are thought to favor female differentiation.
- Birds, such as crows, raptors, and ravens; domestic cats and dogs; opossums; raccoons; skunks; snakes; and even adult box turtles; are potential predators of young turtles.
- By looking carefully at the scutes on the carapace, will see annual growth rings.
- Males have bright red or orange eyes. This color is usually repeated on the front legs, face and neck. In females, the color in these areas will resemble the yellow of the stripes on the shell. A female will be slightly larger than a male of the same age, and the male's plastron will usually be slightly concave.
- It may spend its entire life within an area of only a few acres.
- The female will dig a hole with the strong, curved claws on her hind feet and lay 2 - 8 white eggs in it.
- The hinge in the plastron, allows them to completely withdraw their legs, tail, head and neck within the shell for protection from predators.
- The Ornate Box Turtle may be found from South Dakota to southern Arizona and the Rio Grande valley. The Mississippi River generally marks the eastern boundary of its range.