Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Terrapene ornata ornata
Ornate Box Turtle

Franklin Co., Missouri
Spring 1974

These little turtles are inhabitants of fields and prairies, and since most of my field time has been spent in Missouri and Illinois, I have only run into them occasionally.  Despite the dryness of their habitat, Ornates require humidity as do other species of Box Turtles.  They usually dig a 'scrape' under a bush, a rock, or in some other sheltered area, deep enough where the soil has more moisture that the dry topsoil.  There they rest during the heat of the day, and at night.  Ornates are somewhat smaller than other species of Terrapene.  The one pictured here was encountered near Lake Carlyle in southwest Illinois.






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