Terrapene carolina bauri
Florida Box Turtle
Class: Reptilia. Order: Anapsida. Family: Emydidae.
Physical Description: A "land turtle" with a high-domed and
keeled carapace. In the Florida box turtle, the carapace is
brightly patterned with light radiating lines, two characteristic
stripes are present on each side of the head, and three toes are usually present on the hind feet. These are
the main morphological differences that distinguish the Florida box turtle from the Eastern box turtle. As in
all box turtles, the plastron, or bottom shell, is hinged in the front and is often as long as, or longer than,
the carapace, and has movable hinges which allow the lower shell to close tightly against the carapace. In
many individuals, not even a knife blade can be inserted between them. Males usually have red eyes and a
concave plastron, whereas females have yellowish-brown eyes and have a flat or slightly convex plastron.
As adults they measure 4-8" in length, and weigh 1-2 pounds.
One of the most unique features of turtles and tortoises is their protective shell. Because of the shell,
flight, running, and climbing are not evolutionary options! But some adaptive radiation occurs within the
order. Turtles and tortoises inhabit marshes, lakes, rivers, and the open sea, as well as forests, grasslands
and deserts. The top shell is called the carapace and the bottom shell the plastron. The carapace develops
from a layer of skin and the backbone and ribs are fused to the carapace. The plastron is developed from
the bones of the shoulder girdle. The shell is so successful that it is the cornerstone of turtle design and
lends to the lineage's longevity, while at the same time limiting species diversity.
Diet in the Wild: Box turtles are omnivorous, feeding on any plant, insect, fruit, worm, and grub they can
find. Types of food eaten include slugs, snails, earthworms, crayfish, spiders, millipedes, frogs,
salamanders, lizards, snakes, small mammals, wild b