Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Terrapene carolina triunguis
Three Toed Box Turtle

Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis Co.,
Missouri. Spring 1973

A family picnic in Jefferson Barracks Park led to the discovery of my first triunguis, crossing a trail in a patch of deep woods.  The 'Barracks' was close to my house, and subsequently I found dozens of Three Toes there - I can remember finding seventeen on a warm afternoon in late September.  It's always good to run across one of these old friends in the field.  The Three-Toes in the picture are ones I have adopted, pet turtles abandoned in east-central Illinois, hundred of miles from home.  Both show one type of triunguis coloration - horn-colored shell with a faint pattern, with bright markings on the head, neck, and face.  Many other triunguis have an olive-green shell without pattern, and a drab color on the head and limbs. The three toes in the name refer to the count on each hind foot, although sometimes they have four.

I have five adopted Three Toes at home, permanently marooned in captivity. They can never be released in the wild again, for two reasons. First of all, they may be carrying pathogens that could infect wild box turtle populations. Second, they have a strong homing instinct, and will probably not remain where they are released.





Return to Life List Index                    Return to Mike's Page