Terrapene ornata — Ornate Box Turtle
Also known as:
Western Box Turtle
Subspecies I've seen:
Terrapene ornata luteola — Desert Box Turtle
This pretty little turtle was plodding across dried mud near the San Pedro river, surprisingly quickly for a turtle. It stopped still for awhile when it saw me approach, so I got a few photos in. Then it was off to the turtle races once more.
This old and weatherbeaten turtle has some sort of appendage on its snout. I'm not sure if it's a kind of tumor, or a piece of vegetation that got stuck somehow, or what.
I saw these two turtles while biding my time in the late afternoon, more or less waiting for the sun to go down so the herp night shift would start. They were both moving across the road when I saw them, and then froze in place when they saw me. I gently moved each of them off the road so they wouldn't get squashed, and each one retreated into its shell. Since I was in no particular hurry, I decided to wait for the first one to come out of its shell to get better photos. It turns out, this is something for which I do not have enough patience. I waited for half an hour, which was enough time that I could once again see the front half of the turtle's head, but at that point I felt the need to move on.
Déjà vu! Same road as the previous sighting, same lack of patience on my part. Probably a different turtle.
Terrapene ornata ornata — Plains Box Turtle
I was hoping to see lizards and snakes on a morning hike at Vogel Canyon, but I wasn't thinking about turtles until we saw this one minding its own turtle business alongside the trail. You gotta love the glowing red eyes.
This little fella was speedily shuffling across a paved road. By turtle standards, anyway.
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Brennan, T. C. and Holycross, A. T. 2006. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Ernst, C. H., Barbour, R. W. 1989. Turtles of the World
- Stebbins, R. C. 2003. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition