|REPTILES OF THE METRO AREA
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)
backyards. The shell is hinged, with front and rear flaps. This turtle can pull its head and feet into the shell
and close the flaps to protect itself from predators. Often a well fed turtle will not be able to completely
close the shell. The box turtle is sometimes found in low lying muddy areas during hot weather, where it
buries itself in mud to stay cool. They are omnivores, feeding on insects, earthworms, berries, and leaves.
Males and females can sometimes be distinguished by the color of the eyes and the shape of the plastron.
The plastron is the shell underneath the turtle, which tends to be flat in females and slightly concave in
males. The flat plastron may provide more room when the female is carrying eggs. Males also tend to have
red eyes, while female's eyes tend to be brown.
Bog Turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergi)
The Bog Turtle is an extremely rare and secretive turtle on the Federal
Endangered Species List. This picture was taken in a bog in Southwestern
Virginia. The turtle in the picture was part of a study at Virginia Tech to monitor
the range and movements of the bog turtle. The thing on the turtles back is a
radio transmitter used for locating the turtle. The electrical tape in the lower
picture is holding the antenna in place on the shell until the glue dries. The turtle
was measured, weighed, and released. Periodically the turtle can be relocated
by scientists using a receiver to find the signal from the transmitter on the
This turtle spends most of its time buried in the mud in boggy areas, making it
extremely difficult to find. It is identified by the bright orange patch on the side of
Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta)
The Wood Turtle is mostly terrestrial and is often found in dry woods or fields far from water.
Recognized by the orange on its neck and legs, it does not have the hinged shell of the Box Turtle
(above) and cannot close its shell to protect itself from predators. They are omnivorous, eating
of various plants.
Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)