You don’t see many of these now-a-days—dead or alive. This is the shell of a deceased Ornate Box Turtle.

Decades ago these turtles were very common in the North Texas area. As a boy, I use to stumble across one almost every time I ventured into the woods. Something has happened to the turtle population in the intervening years.

Nobody knows for certain what the problem is, but its been decades since I’ve seen one. That is why I was so excited to find this shell. Even a deceased Ornate Box Turtle is something to get jazzed about.

This shell appears to have belonged to a young, slightly-less-than-full-grown female. Where there is one, there must be more!

Ornate Box Turtle - Extinct?

Ornate Box Turtle - Extinct?

3 Replies to “Ornate Box Turtle – Extinct?”

  1. Chris, habitat fragmentation, road kills, and collecting (both casually and for the pet trade) are believed to be the most important factors in the decline of box turtles.

    I still do see both ornate and three toed box turtles, but certainly not at nearly the frequency I used to. They are on watch lists, and in some states are listed as endangered.

    1. Well, now that you mention it, I do recall that around 1980 or so it became popular with a group of kids in my neighborhood to go out an collect reptiles to sell to our local pet store. Maybe that was a more general and widespread phenomenon than I realized. Another reptile that I used to run into frequently back then was the speckled kingsnake. I haven’t seen one of those in years either.

  2. Chris,

    I recently encountered what I believe is an ornate box turtle on the Arbor Hills paved trail. I’d be happy to send a picture (don’t know how/if one can be attached here).

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