LIFE: Three-toed box turtles have shells that are an
olive brown and brown color. They are commonly
small animals, approximately 4 to 6 inches long. Their
skin tends to have yellow markings, with males also
have orange and/or red markings on their head. When
these animals reach adulthood, they will began
breeding in June or July. The female box turtle then
lays 3-8 eggs, which hatch roughly 3 months after
being laid. Three-toed box turtles can live anywhere
from 25 years of age to over 50 years.
HABITAT AND RANGE: Three-toed box turtles
are native to the south-central area of the United
States, ranging from areas in Missouri to Oklahoma,
down through Alabama and Texas. Their habitat
constrains them to areas near water with a
combination of both wooded and grassy habitats.
DIET: The diet of a three-toed box turtle is mainly
herbivorous, containing a variety of plant life.
However, box turtles are also known to venture out
and eat snails, worms, insects, spiders, frogs, snakes
CONSERVATION STATUS: The three-toed box
turtle's population is vulnerable due to a decline in its
population. Reasons for this decline are due to habitat
destruction, over-collection, and death by vehicle
collision (Maryland Zoo, 2020).
SOURCE: Maryland Zoo. (2020, July 22). Three-toed
Box Turtle. Retrieved July 29, 2020, from
Elmwood Park Zoo. (2020). Three-Toed Box Turtle.
Retrieved July 29, 2020, from
Life History of Hartman Reserve’s
Three-Toed Box Turtle
Hartman Reserve Nature Center’s three-toed box
turtle, Taco, is a common household pet and was
surrendered to us around 20 years ago. He is one of the
oldest animal ambassadors at Hartman Reserve. The
naturalists at Hartman have deduced that Taco is a girl
because female box turtles tend to have dark red and
brown eye colors, consistent with Taco’s colors,
whereas males are more vibrant.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: TERRRAPENE CAROLINA TRIUNGUIS