Desert Box Turtle

The Desert Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata luteola) is found from the Trans-Pecos region of Texas and southeastern Arizona south into Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico. Its habitat is arid, open prairie areas. They can live 25 years or longer.

The colors of the mature desert box turtle are lighter and more muted than the colors of the young. Most, but not all, male turtles have red irises. Other characteristics of males include concave plastrons, thicker tails with the cloacae nearer the tip, and longer rear legs with larger, curved inside claws which are used to grip the female shell during mating.

Desert Box Turtles hibernate in the winter, emerging in April to begin searching for a mate. Nesting takes place from May to July. Clutch size ranges from two to eight eggs, and incubation lasts about seventy days. The Desert Box Turtle is an omnivore, taking in native vegetation, insects, and sometimes carrion.