Native Turtles of Oklahoma (with Pictures) | Turtle Owner (2022)

The United States is home to more turtle species than any other country in the world, almost 100 species, and subspecies. But those turtle species are not distributed evenly, so most states won’t always be home to the same turtle species, even if they are very close.

Oklahoma is home to 19 turtle species. In this article I am going to take a closer look at each species and cover a few basic things about them, things like the appearance, lifespan, how big it can get, diet, where it lives, conservation status, and reproduction.

Quick list of the native turtles of Oklahoma:

  • Alligator Snapping Turtle Macroclemys temminckii
  • Common Map Turtle Graptemys geographica
  • Common Musk Turtle (Stinkpot) Sternotherus odoratus
  • Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina serpentina
  • Midland Smooth Softshell Apalone mutica mutica
  • Mississippi Map Turtle Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii
  • Mississippi Mud Kinosternon subrubrum hippocrepis
  • Missouri River Cooter Pseudemys concinna metteri
  • Ornate Box Terrapene ornata ornata
  • Ouachita Map Turtle Graptemys ouachitensis ouachitensis
  • Pallid Spiny Softshell Apalone spinifera pallida
  • Razorback Musk Sternotherus carinatus
  • Red-eared Slider Trachemys scripta elegans
  • Southern Painted Chrysemys picta dorsalis
  • Three-Toed Box Terrapene carolina triunguis
  • Western Chicken Turtle Deirochelys reticularia miaria
  • Western Painted Chrysemys picta bellii
  • Western Spiny Softshell Apalone spinifera hartwegi
  • Yellow Mud Kinosternon flavescens flavescens

Now let’s take a closer look at the native turtles of Oklahoma.

The Native Turtles of Oklahoma

Quick Note: Most turtle subspecies are very similar, so besides some few differences in color it’s possible that everything else about them to be the same.

Quick Note: In this list I am also going to tell you the conservation status of the species, meaning how close they are to extinction. I will give a more in-depth explanation of this ranking works, at the end of the article, but until then I will add a picture that will let you know the basics.

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Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macroclemys temminckii)

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Description: The Alligator Snapping Turtle is usually black or dark brown, and it has a very spiky appearance. The entirety of the upper part of the shell is covered with pronounced, but not sharp, spikes. The skin is also covered with very spike-like structures. Alligator Snapping Turtle also possesses one of the snapping turtles’ distinct features, a sharp beak.

How long it can live: Between 60 and 70 years.

How big it can get: Between 15 and 26 inches. The biggest known alligator snapping turtle reached 31.5 inches.

Where it lives: The alligator snapping turtle can usually be found at the bottom of rivers, lakes, sloughs, swamps, and bayous.

Diet: Omnivorous. They usually hunt their prey, but not actively, they do this by sitting at the bottom of the lake with their mouth open, while waiting for their prey.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Reproduction: Nesting season is May to July. Incubation usually lasts between 70 and 100 days.

Common Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)

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Description: The Common Map Turtle Usually ranges in color from dark brown to black. On the upper part of the shell, they have a map-like pattern that is lightly colored, and a row of saw-toothed knobs running down the center of the shell. As the map turtles get older the pattern and the knobs start to slowly disappear, up to a point where they are barely visible. The bottom part of the shell is usually light-colored. The skin is usually covered with long and thin stripes that are also light-colored.

How long it can live: Between 30 and 50 years.

How big it can get: Males usually reach sizes between 3 and 5 inches, while females are considerably bigger, reaching sizes between 8 and 10 inches.

Where it lives: Map turtles can be found in waters that are stagnant or slow-moving, and that has a lot of vegetation. So they can be usually seen in rivers, slow-moving streams, lakes, and ponds.

Diet: Map turtles are omnivorous, so they will eat meat, insects, fruit, vegetables, aquatic vegetation, and everything else that they can find.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Map turtles usually nest multiple times a year from the start of the spring up until the end of the summer.

Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)

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Description: The Common Musk Turtle has a very plain appearance with very consistent colors. The color of the shell and the skin is usually very similar and it can usually be dark brown or black. The shell has one distinct feature and that is a ridge that traverses the entire length of the shell. Another distinguishable feature of the Common Musk turtle can be found on its head in the form of two light-colored stripes.

How long it can live: Between 30 and 50 years.

How big it can get: Common Musk turtles are very small, they usually reach sizes between 3 and 4.5 inches.

Where it lives: Like most aquatic turtles, the musk turtle can be found in all minds of slow-moving and still body waters. But in general, they prefer waters that have a soft bottom, like mud or sand.

Diet: Common Musk turtles are omnivorous and feed on small aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, aquatic plants, and carrion, and any other kind of fruit or vegetable that they can find.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Nesting season usually starts in late May and lasts until August. The average incubation period of the eggs is 75 days.

Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

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Description: Common Snapping Turtles can range in color from brown to black. They usually have very long legs, necks, and tails. And they have a pronounced beak-like mouth.

How long it can live: Between 30 and 50 years.

How big it can get: Between 12 and 15 inches, in rare cases, some of them can reach even 19 inches.

Where it lives: A habitat generalist, the common snapping turtle can be found in almost any body of freshwater with a muddy bottom.

Diet: They are omnivorous, which means that they eat both meat and plants. When it comes to the meat they will scavenge, or actively hunt their prey in the water.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

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Reproduction: Nesting season is May to July. Incubation usually lasts between 70 and 100 days.

Midland Smooth Softshell (Apalone mutica mutica)

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Description: The Midland Smooth Softshell Turtle is a rather plain-looking softshell turtle. The shell lacks any distinct bumps or coloration. The color will usually range from olive-gray to dark brown. The head and limbs are olive or gray above, and light gray or cream-colored below. A light stripe bordered by black is usually present behind each eye.

How long it can live: Between 40 and 60 years.

How big it can get: In general Smooth Softshell turtles reach sizes between 6 and 13 inches.

Where it lives: They can be found in most water bodies, but they show a preference towards areas with a sandy or muddy substrate.

Diet: Smooth softshell turtles are omnivores, but they definitely prefer meat over plants, so in general they will consume meat, insects, snails, and fish, and occasionally they will eat some fruits, vegetables, and other kinds of vegetation.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Nesting season starts in May and ends in July. The incubation usually lasts between 70 and 100 days.

Mississippi Map Turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii)

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Description: The Mississippi Map Turtle is usually colored, olive, brown, or black. The upper shell has a pattern that is similar to a map, hence the name Mississippi Map Turtle. On the upper part of the shell, they also have a small vertebral keel. As the Mississippi Map Turtles age the map pattern on the back, as well as the keel becomes less and less visible. The lower part of the shell is usually colored yellow. The skin of the Mississippi Map Turtle is usually covered with thin yellow lines.

How long it can live: Between 30 and 50 years.

How big it can get: Males usually reach sizes between 3 and 5 inches, while females are considerably bigger, reaching sizes between 8 and 10 inches.

Where it lives: Map turtles can be found in waters that are stagnant or slow-moving, and that has a lot of vegetation. So they can be usually seen in rivers, slow-moving streams, lakes, and ponds.

Diet: Map turtles are omnivorous, so they will eat meat, insects, fruit, vegetables, aquatic vegetation, and everything else that they can find.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Map turtles usually nest multiple times a year from the start of the spring up until the end of the summer.

Mississippi Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum hippocrepis)

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Description: The Mississippi Mud Turtle has an upper shell that is usually colored dark brown or black. The lower part of the shell is usually yellow with a rich mottling of brown. The color of the skin tends to be dark brown or black, with two wide and irregular yellow stripes along each side of the head and neck.

How long it can live: Between 30 and 50 years.

How big it can get: They usually reach sizes between 5 and 7 inches.

Where it lives: As the name implies Mud turtles prefer to stay in water bodies that have a soft bottom, composed of either sand or mud. So they can be usually found in lakes, swamps, marshes, and rivers.

Diet: Mud turtles are omnivorous, which means that they will eat meat, snails, fish, insects, as well as fruits, vegetables, and other kinds of vegetation.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: The nesting period starts in May, and ends around the end of July. The incubation period is longer than that of most turtles, lasting around 100 to 110 days.

Missouri River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna metteri)

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Description: The upper shell is usually colored olive, brown, black, and it has numerous yellow lines and markings. The lower part of the shell is either plain yellow or may have some faint gray-brown markings. The skin on the head and limbs is usually brown or black with many yellow lines.

How long it can live: Between 20 and 40 years.

How big it can get: Most of them reach sizes between 8 and 12 inches, but it’s not uncommon to find females that reach sizes bigger than that, sometimes even 15 inches.

Where it lives: They generally prefer water streams, but they can also be found in lakes, ponds, and manmade environments.

Diet: In general they prefer fruits, vegetables, and other forms of vegetation over meat, but they can be occasionally seen eating insects and snails.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: The nesting period starts in May and ends in July. On average the incubation period for the eggs lasts between 80 and 100 days.

Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata)

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Description: Like most box turtles, the Ornate Box Turtle has a very dome-like-shaped shell, that can range in color from brown to black, and it’s usually covered with a multitude of lines and spots that can range in color from yellow to orange. The skin is usually covered in multiple yellow spots.

How long it can live: Between 50 and 100 years.

How big it can get: Most Box turtles reach sizes between 5 and 7 inches

Where it lives: Unlike most turtles, Box turtles live on land instead of water. They can be usually be found across open woodlands as well as grasslands and meadows.

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Diet: Box turtles are omnivorous, so they will eat anything that they can find, meat, insects, fruits, vegetables, and any kind of vegetation.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Reproduction: The nesting period takes place between May and July. The incubation period for the eggs is between 70 and 80 days.

Ouachita Map Turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis)

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Description: The color of the Ouachita Map Turtle is usually, olive, brown, or black. The upper shell has a pattern that is similar to a map, hence the name Ouachita Map Turtle. On the upper part of the shell, they also have a vertebral keel. As the Ouachita Map Turtles age the map pattern, as well as the keel becomes less pronounced. The lower part of the shell is usually colored yellow. The skin of the Ouachita Map Turtle is usually covered with thin yellow-white lines.

How long it can live: Between 30 and 50 years.

How big it can get: Males usually reach sizes between 3 and 5 inches, while females are considerably bigger, reaching sizes between 8 and 10 inches.

Where it lives: Map turtles can be found in waters that are stagnant or slow-moving, and that has a lot of vegetation. So they can be usually seen in rivers, slow-moving streams, lakes, and ponds.

Diet: Map turtles are omnivorous, so they will eat meat, insects, fruit, vegetables, aquatic vegetation, and everything else that they can find.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Map turtles usually nest multiple times a year from the start of the spring up until the end of the summer.

Pallid Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera pallida)

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Description: Pallid Spiny Softshell Turtles are usually colored grey, olive or light brown. The shape of the shell is round and it has small spikes near the edges. One defining characteristic of softshell turtles is also present on the Pallid Spiny Softshell Turtle, and that is the snorkel-like snout.

How long it can live: Between 40 and 60 years.

How big it can get: In general males are considerably smaller than females. Males reach sizes between 5 and 10 inches, while females reach sizes between 9 and 20 inches.

Where it lives: Spiny Softshell turtles can be found in any aquatic habitat: lakes, rivers, reservoirs, wetlands, and marshes.

Diet: They are carnivores, so they mainly eat small aquatic animals, snails, and insects.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Nesting season starts in early spring and ends during the summer. The incubation period of the eggs is 80 days.

Razorback Musk Turtle (Sternotherus carinatus)

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Description: The Razorback Musk Turtle has some very pronounced scutes that, pronounced scutes gave the Razorback Musk Turtle its distinctive look and name. The color of the shell can range from light grey to olive to brown to black. The color of the skin can also range a lot from individual to individual, but the two most common colors tend to be olive and dark brown.

How long it can live: Between 40 and 50 years.

How big it can get: On average Razorback Musk turtles reach sizes between 5 and 6 inches.

Where it lives: Razorback Musk turtles can be found in most water bodies that have still or slow-moving waters.

Diet: They are carnivorous, and their diet mainly consists of fish, mollusks, and snails.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Nesting season starts in early spring, and ends in late summer. On average, the incubation period of the eggs ranges from 90 to 110 days.

Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)

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Description: The most distinct feature of the Red Eared Slider are the red lines that can be easily seen behind the eyes, those lines can vary in color from red to orange and rarely yellow, but in most cases they are red. In general, the color of their skin and shell can range from brown to black, and their skin is covered with yellow stripes.

How long it can live: Between 30 and 40 years.

How big it can get: Red Eared Sliders usually reach sizes between 7 and 12 inches, in most cases, the females are slightly bigger than the males.

Where it lives: They are often found in slow-moving streams, creeks, lakes, ponds, and marshes with a fresh and warm water supply.

Diet: Red Eared Sliders are omnivorous, their diet usually consists of meat, fish, insects, snails, aquatic vegetation, fruits, and vegetables.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: The nesting season usually starts in March and ends in June. The average time an egg needs to incubate is 75 days.

Southern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta dorsalis)

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Description: The Southern Painted Turtle has an olive, dark brown, or black upper shell that presents a very visible red, orange or yellow line that traverses the entire length of the shell. The lower side of the shell is usually plain yellow, but in some cases, there can be small colored spots. The skin is usually dark brown or black with yellow, orange, or red lines.

How long it can live: Between 20 and 30 years.

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How big it can get: Most Painted turtles reach sizes between 5 and 7 inches.

Where it lives: All Painted turtles subspecies prefer to live in freshwater, and they can be usually found in slow-moving rivers, ponds, and lakes.

Diet: Painted turtles are omnivorous, which means that they will eat fruits, vegetables as well as meat.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Nesting season starts in March and ends in June. The amount of time it takes the eggs to hatch is around 80 days.

Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina triunguis)

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Description: The skin of the Three-toed Box Turtle ranges in color from grey to olive, and it usually has no distinct coloration on it. The upper part of the shell is dome-like shaped and usually has two colors, one that covers the top, and one that covers the sides. Usually, the top part is more lightly colored. The Three-toed Box Turtle also possesses three toes at its feet, hence the name.

How long it can live: Between 50 and 100 years.

How big it can get: Most Box turtles reach sizes between 5 and 7 inches.

Where it lives: Unlike most turtles, Box turtles live on land instead of water. They can be usually be found across open woodlands as well as grasslands and meadows.

Diet: Box turtles are omnivorous, so they will eat anything that they can find, meat, insects, fruits, vegetables, and any kind of vegetation.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Reproduction: The nesting period takes place between May and July. The incubation period for the eggs is between 70 and 80 days.

Western Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia miaria)

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Description: The Western Chicken Turtle has a very oval-shaped shell. The top part of the shell is usually olive or dark brown, with a very faint lightly colored pattern. The lower part of the shell is usually colored light brown or yellow. The skin is usually dark brown or black and it’s covered with green-yellow or yellow stripes.

How long it can live: Between 15 and 30 years.

How big it can get: Most females are slightly larger than males, but overall chicken turtles reach sizes between 5 and 10 inches.

Where it lives: Chicken turtles can be found in canals, marshes, cypress, ponds, and other bodies of still or sluggish water. They are frequently found in the sandhills.

Diet: They are omnivorous, which means that they will eat meat, fish, snails, insects, as well as fruits, vegetables, and all kinds of vegetation.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Nesting season starts in early spring, and ends in late summer. On average, the incubation period of the eggs ranges from 75 to 90 days.

Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii)

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Description: The color of the Western Painted Turtles usually ranges from dark olive to black. The shell also has some distinct markings on the edges that can range in color from red, orange or yellow, and any combination of them. The lower side of the shell is usually red and has one or multiple dark markings in the center. The skin is usually covered with yellow stripes.

How long it can live: Between 20 and 30 years.

How big it can get: Most Painted turtles reach sizes between 5 and 7 inches.

Where it lives: All Painted turtles subspecies prefer to live in freshwater, and they can be usually found in slow-moving rivers, ponds, and lakes.

Diet: Painted turtles are omnivorous, which means that they will eat fruits, vegetables as well as meat and insects.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Nesting season starts in March and ends in June. The amount of time it takes the eggs to hatch is around 80 days.

Western Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera hartwegi)

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Description: The Western Spiny Softshell Turtle has a leathery-like shell that has a round shape and it usually ranges in color from light brown to dark brown. The skin of the turtle is usually a lighter shade of brown than the shell. One of the most distinguishable features of the Western Spiny Softshell Turtle is the snort-like snout.

How long it can live: Between 40 and 60 years.

How big it can get: In general males are considerably smaller than females. Males reach sizes between 5 and 10 inches, while females reach sizes between 9 and 20 inches.

Where it lives: Spiny Softshell turtles can be found in any aquatic habitat: lakes, rivers, reservoirs, wetlands, and marshes.

Diet: They are carnivores, so they mainly eat small aquatic animals, snails, and insects.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: Nesting season starts in early spring and ends during the summer. The incubation period of the eggs is 80 days.

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Yellow Mud Turtle (Kinosternon flavescens)

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Description: Yellow Mud Turtles have a dome-like shell that is usually colored olive, dark brown, or black. The lower part of the shell is usually colored yellow, hence the name Yellow Mud Turtle. The color of the skin is usually the same color as the upper part of the shell.

How long it can live: Between 30 and 50 years.

How big it can get: They usually reach sizes between 5 and 7 inches.

Where it lives: As the name implies Mud turtles prefer to stay in water bodies that have a soft bottom, composed of either sand or mud. So they can be usually found in lakes, swamps, marshes, and rivers.

Diet: Mud turtles are omnivorous, which means that they will eat meat, snails, fish, insects, as well as fruits, vegetables, and other kinds of vegetation.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Reproduction: The nesting period starts in May, and ends around the end of July. The incubation period is longer than that of most turtles, lasting around 100 to 110 days.

The Conservation Status

The conservation status of a species shows how close a species is to extinction. When a species gets its status there are a lot of factors taken into consideration, not only the number of individuals still leaving.

Even if at the moment there are a lot of individuals of a species, there can be some changes in their environment that will drastically affect the species. For example, the plastic in the water is greatly impacting sea turtles in a negative way.

There are a lot of systems that track the conservation status of a species, but the most well-known and used is the one I used in this article, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. With this system species are classifiedinto nine groups set through criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation. Out of the nine classifications, two of them basically mean that there is not enough data on the species, so you will usually see only seven possible statuses instead of nine.

Here is a list that explains what every status means:

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  • Extinct (EX) – No known living individuals
  • Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range
  • Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
  • Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild
  • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild
  • Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future
  • Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk; does not qualify for a higher risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
  • Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction
  • Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

Alien Species of Oklahoma

The turtle species that I listed above are known as native species, but there can be other turtle species that live in that area that are not native, those species are called alien species.

Alien species are species that are not native to an area, but they still live there. Those species are usually brought to that region by humans. So a certain state might be home to 10 turtle species, but only 5 of them can be native.

Alien species can be added to an area to help with certain ecological problems, or by mistake. Turtles can do a lot of good things to an area, they can keep certain insect populations under control, they can eat the overwhelming vegetation, of a lake, that got out of control, and there are a lot of other beneficial things that they can do.

It’s also possible that some unknowing person decided to release a few turtles into the wild. If those turtles manage to reproduce, they can easily start a new alien species in a new area. Overall I strongly suggest you not do this, it can be very dangerous for the ecosystem and for the turtles as well. If you want to know more reasons why you shouldn’t do this, you should read my article: Can Pet Turtle Survive in the Wild? In this article, I explore all the possible outcomes of this situation.

Oklahoma State Laws Regarding Turtles

Every state in the US has different laws regarding native turtles and turtles in general. Most of those rules are generally designed to protect turtles, so even if they seem a little restrictive, they are there for a good reason. Oklahoma has its own set of laws that are different from any other state. Since a lot of those laws are about the native species I strongly suggest you to visit this interactive map that will point you to an article on this site that explains as simply as possible the state laws in Oklahoma regarding turtles, tortoises, and terrapins.

What to Do If You Find a Wild Native Turtle

What you can do if you find a native wild turtle really depends on your intentions. If you want to take a few photos from a distance, you can definitely do that. If you want to touch the turtle you can usually do that, but you have to take a few cautionary measures.

You have to remember that most wild animals can carry bacteria, and since turtles spend a lot of time in water those bacteria can be a little more dangerous. So if you touch a turtle make sure that you have some wet wipes near you, if you don’t you should probably avoid touching it. But if you still want to, at least try not to put your hands near your face after you touched the turtle.

The most important thing that you have to watch out for when interacting with a wild turtle is the turtle trying to bite you. Generally, turtles are peaceful creatures, but if they think that they are in danger and they have no way of escaping, then they will definitely try to bite you. To prevent this make sure that you don’t let it too close to your toes (if they are exposed), or to your fingers. If you want to pick up a turtle you should catch it by the sides and keep your hands above or below it, never in front of its mouth.

If you want to feed the turtle, you can definitely do that, that would actually be great, but make sure that you are feeding it the right thing, some foods can be very dangerous to turtles, to find out which food items are good and which are bad you can always check out this article where you will also find a few food items lists: What Do Turtles Eat? ( Including Food Lists )

If you want to take the turtle home as a pet, you first have to make sure that it’s legal to do so. Most states, including Oklahoma, have laws that protect wild native turtles. You can check out the laws of Oklahoma on this page: Turtle State Laws.

If it’s winter or close to winter there is a chance that you can find a hibernating turtle. When turtles hibernate, they enter a very profound sleep which allows them to conserve energy. They generally do this because during cold seasons there is little to no food available to them, and because there is no heat to allow them to heat up their body ( turtles are unable to produce their own body heat). If during a cold season you find a turtle that is hibernating, usually the best thing that you can do is to leave it to hibernate peacefully. Usually, turtles know how to choose a good spot to hibernate, so they are probably just fine. If you want to know more about turtle hibernation, I’ve written a more in-depth article that covers the subject, In this article, I cover why turtles hibernate, how hibernation takes place, how aquatic turtles hibernate, how land turtles hibernate, how sea turtles hibernate, what is brumation, and many other important and interesting things about hibernation: Do Turtles Hibernate?

Conclusion

This article should cover every basic thing about the native turtles of Oklahoma. But if you have a question about something that you couldn’t find in the article you should leave a comment, I will do my best to answer it as soon as possible.

If you want to know more facts about turtles you can always check out the category: Turtle Facts. Or if you are a turtle owner and you want to know more about how to properly take care of a turtle or a tortoise you can always check the Care Guides Section or the Recommended Products Section.

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FAQs

What kind of box turtles are in Oklahoma? ›

The ornate box turtle is one of two truly terrestrial turtles in Oklahoma. The other is the three-toed or eastern box turtle.

Are box turtles native to Oklahoma? ›

Oklahoma is home to two box turtle species—the three-toed, Terrapene carolina, and the ornate, Terrapene ornata. These turtles have similar diets of insects, worms, mushrooms and fruit. They will burry themselves to escape the heat of summer or the cold in winter.

What turtles are protected in Oklahoma? ›

The following turtle species are protected from commercial and non-commercial collection in Oklahoma: alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii), chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia), map turtles (Graptemys spp.), painted turtles (Chrysemys ssp.), razor- backed musk turtle (Sternotherus carinatus), and box ...

What turtles are illegal to own in Oklahoma? ›

Turtle & Bullfrog Regulations
  • no more than six turtles of each species per day are taken;
  • shooting of turtles on federal reservoirs is prohibited;
  • terrestrial (land) turtles may not be sold;
  • taking of the western chicken turtle, northern map turtle and/or alligator snapping turtle is prohibited;

How do you tell if a turtle is a pet or wild? ›

Turtles with claws are land dwelling, and use the claws to dig. Snapping turtles have claws on the front feet and webbed back feet and also are recognized by their hooked jaws. There are also marine turtles with front legs that look like flippers. These are not to be kept as pets.

What is a box turtle look like? ›

They are usually brown or black with radiating yellow markings on each scute. The scales on the turtle's body may be yellow, orange, or reddish. Box turtles are called box turtles because they can withdraw their arms and legs, tail, and head into their shell and close up tightly.

What are the different types of turtles? ›

Turtles

How do you take care of a box turtle? ›

It should include sunny and shady areas, places to hide, and access to a shallow water dish. Plus, it should be protected from predators. If you can't keep your turtle outdoors year-round in your climate, try to do so for at least part of the year. It's difficult for indoor box turtles to thrive.

What do Oklahoma box turtles eat? ›

Three-toed box turtles eat a wide variety of food items, including insects, insect larvae, earthworms, carrion, fruits, and other vegetation.

Do box turtles bite? ›

They rarely snap, hiss or bite like many other turtles, so children are often allowed to keep one as a pet for a few hours or days. Box turtles will quickly eat a meal of fresh tomatoes, cantaloupe or earthworms, and after we've enjoyed observing them for a while, they can be released unharmed back where they were ...

How big do box turtles get? ›

Most box turtles do not get very large (unlike tortoises). The average adult size of a box turtle is roughly 5-7 inches (13-18 cm) in diameter, with females being slightly smaller than males. If well fed and cared for properly, this adult size is reached by 4-6 years of age.

Do turtles bond with humans? ›

Yes, both tortoises and turtles can learn to recognize their caretakers. This does take time, but turtles and tortoises are very smart. They will learn your scent, sounds, and behaviors. They will come to associate you with food and safety.

How do you know if a turtle is happy? ›

Turtles are natural foragers and a common behavior is digging. If you see your turtle digging at the gravel at the bottom of their tank, this is a sign of a happy turtle. They should also regularly explore their environment, which can mean swimming around decorations and plants.

Do turtles recognize their owners? ›

Turtles Know Their Owners! Most people don't realize this, but many turtles recognize the sight and sounds of their owners! In fact, many owners comment how their pets swim right up to the water surface to greet them when they walk in the room.

What type of box turtle do I have? ›

Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) has a black/brown carapace with irregularly shaped blotches of yellow/orange. Eastern box turtles have a high, dome-like carapace and a hinged plastron that allows total shell closure.

What should I do if I find a box turtle in my yard? ›

NEVER DISTURB, PICK UP , OR MOVE A BOX TURTLE UNLESS IT HAS A VISIBLE INJURY OR IS IN IMMINENT DANGER. If you find a turtle in the road, move it to the other side in the direction it was going. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RELOCATE IT. Turtles have small home territories and should be left where they are found.

Are box turtles friendly? ›

Box turtles prefer solitude, but that doesn't mean they're not sociable. They can actually be very playful and friendly. Box turtles are small and easy to handle, and they eat a simple diet.

What are the 3 main types of turtles? ›

There are over 250 species of turtle, broken into three main groups: land turtles, aquatic turtles and marine turtles.

What is the most common turtle? ›

The box turtle is generally considered the most common species of turtle in the United States. The box turtle is a part of the family Emydidae. Box turtles can be found in five out of seven continents, and Emydidae is the largest turtle family on the globe.

What are the seven species of turtles? ›

This family includes the hawksbill, green, flatback, loggerhead, Kemp's ridley, and olive ridley turtles. These all look fairly similar when compared to the seventh species, the leatherback. The leatherback looks very different from the other species and is the only sea turtle species in its own family, Dermochelyidae.

What is a turtle's favorite food? ›

Plant food sources.

Plant-based food sources for your pet turtle should mostly be leafy greens like collards, dandelions, and mustard greens. Some of these vegetables, such as chives, parsley, and spinach, contain high levels of chemicals called oxalates, which you should avoid.

How long can a box turtle go without water? ›

Generally speaking, a turtle can go about 8 hours without water in a warm and dry environment.

Can box turtles drink tap water? ›

Do not use tap water for your tank, as tap water contains chlorine and possibly fluoride which can upset the pH balance of your system. De-chlorinated water needs to be used for the swimming area and filtered water for your turtle to drink.

Do box turtles need water? ›

Box turtles need constant access to water for drinking, wading, and soaking. Your turtle should have a water-‐filled dish or pan large enough for it to soak in but shallow enough for it to easily climb in and out of. The depth of the water should be one quarter to one third of your turtle's shell height.

Do turtles eat lettuce? ›

In addition to most lettuces, turtles tend to enjoy leafy green vegetables — think kale, spinach, collard greens, etc. Not only will your turtle love these, but they're also filled with important vitamins and minerals.

What human food can turtles eat? ›

They especially like leafy green veggies, so kale, collard greens, and mustard greens are both healthy and delicious for them. They'll also chow down on carrots, squash, green beans, and peas. As far as fruits go, you can give them bananas, apples, and pears, among other things.

Is turtle Pee harmful to humans? ›

It is not illegal to own or to buy a turtle under a shell length of 4 inches, again, unless it is a protected species. "Turtle urine causes brain damage in humans when it comes in contact with your skin."

What diseases do turtles carry? ›

Turtles commonly carry the Salmonella bacteria on their outer skin and shell surfaces. Reptiles like bearded dragons and geckos can also infect people with Salmonella. These little glassy-eyed creatures may look cute and harmless, but small turtles and reptiles like bearded dragons and geckos can make people very ill.

How do you know if a box turtle is a boy or a girl? ›

The underside of the shell, or plastron, is also a handy indicator to help reveal the gender. Males have a concave dip within their plastron (which helps the fella out during reproduction) while females generally have a flat plastron.

Can you keep a wild turtle as a pet? ›

Many reptile experts and enthusiasts will tell you not to keep a wild turtle as a pet, and they are right. It's the same reason you may be told not to keep a frog you found in your pond or a bunny you found in your backyard. Animals that live in the wild are not used to living boxed-up in a tank, cage, or hutch.

How do you tell how old a box turtle is? ›

How to Tell a Box Turtles Age and Gender - YouTube

How big is a 5 year old box turtle? ›

These two body parts provide protection from the elements and a way to escape predation. The Box Turtle navigate their world quietly and slowly. They are relatively long-lived when you compare them to other pets of a similar size.
...
Box Turtle Size and Growth Chart.
AgeAverage Shell Length
4-6 years5-7”
5 more rows
6 days ago

Is it illegal to own a box turtle in Oklahoma? ›

5. Box turtles can be collected and possessed for personal use but all commercial trade is prohibited.

Are there soft shell turtles in Oklahoma? ›

The two species of softshell turtles (spiny and smooth) can easily be distinguished from all other turtles in Oklahoma by the total lack of scutes on the shell. Shells are relatively smooth and leather-like, except that the spiny softshell has distinct spines at the front and back of the shell.

Does Oklahoma have tortoises? ›

The gopher tortoise dwells in pine forests with deep, well drained soils and an open understory that provides food and nesting sites. As its name implies, the gopher tortoise digs burrows of up to 40 feet in length that allow escape from heat and danger.

Do box turtles bite? ›

They rarely snap, hiss or bite like many other turtles, so children are often allowed to keep one as a pet for a few hours or days. Box turtles will quickly eat a meal of fresh tomatoes, cantaloupe or earthworms, and after we've enjoyed observing them for a while, they can be released unharmed back where they were ...

What do Oklahoma turtles eat? ›

Three-toed box turtles eat a wide variety of food items, including insects, insect larvae, earthworms, carrion, fruits, and other vegetation.

Can I keep a baby snapping turtle? ›

Although they're aquatic turtles, they won't fit in a small tank or standard aquarium forever – that's just snapping turtle facts. Baby snapping turtles are quite a commitment, and they only make good pets for experienced keepers.

Are red eared sliders native to Oklahoma? ›

Habitat. Red-eared sliders occur throughout all of Oklahoma except the far western panhandle. In North America, they range from the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico and Texas east to New Jersey, and from central Michigan in the north through Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.

Can you own a Galapagos tortoise in Oklahoma? ›

of Wildlife Conservation says ownership of wildlife in state is legal, but Galapagos tortoise incident outside that scope. This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Is turtle Pee harmful to humans? ›

It is not illegal to own or to buy a turtle under a shell length of 4 inches, again, unless it is a protected species. "Turtle urine causes brain damage in humans when it comes in contact with your skin."

What can I feed a wild box turtle? ›

In the wild, Eastern box turtles' diets can include a wide variety of food sources such as flowers, roots, fungi, berries, snails, slugs, insects, fish, and frogs. In captivity, box turtles should be offered 50% protein, 20% fruits, and 30% vegetables to meet their nutritional needs.

Do turtles imprint on humans? ›

Yes, turtles do get attached to their owners. They can sometimes express their emotions by showing playful behavior when they are around their owners.

There are 17 native species of turtle in Oklahoma.. Three-toed Box turtles are a subspecies of the Eastern Box turtle ( Terrapene carolina ) and are mainly found in Oklahoma’s eastern half.. Three-toed Box turtles are omnivores will eat fish, insects, and mollusks as well as plants.. Eastern River Cooters are mainly herbivores, preferring to eat aquatic vegetation and fruits rather than prey such as fish or insects.. Mississippi Map turtles have dark brown or black shells with similar contour-like yellow markings to other Map turtles.. Common Musk turtles have dark brown or black unmarked shells.. Painted turtles have dark brown to black shells that are edged in colors ranging from yellow to red.. Spiny Softshells are carnivores and will feed on any crustaceans, insects, and mollusks that swim past their hiding place.. Oklahoma is home to 17 different species of turtles, ranging from terrestrial specimens like the Ornate and Three-toed Box turtles to fully aquatic turtles like Map and Snapping turtles.. Many of Oklahoma’s native turtles are relatively common.. Alligator Snapping turtles are one of Oklahoma’s three protected species, along with Common Map turtles and Western Chicken turtles.. Many of Oklahoma’s turtles are aquatic or semi-aquatic, such as Map turtles, Painted turtles, and Snapping turtles.. We’ve examined several interesting species, such as the terrestrial Box turtles, aquatic Map turtles, and protected Alligator Snapping turtles.

Common Names: Red-eared slider turtle, red-eared slider, red-eared terrapin, red-eared turtle, slider turtle, water slider turtle. These unique little aquatic turtles have distinctive long necks that can't be retracted fully into their shell, and their anatomy differs from traditional water-based turtles.. Common Names: African side-neck turtle, African Side-necked turtle, African helmeted turtle. Although they aren't big, these aquatic turtles need a large tank or outdoor space, a good water filtration system and basking lights to help maintain a warm temperature.. Common musk turtles are one of the more popular aquatic turtle species.. Common Names: Common Musk Turtle, Eastern Musk Turtle, Stinkpot. Common Names: Spotted Turtle, Clemmy, Michigan Spotted Turtle. Common Names: Reeve's Turtle, Chinese pond turtle, Chinese three-keeled pond turtle

Well, most people will say that turtles are the best animals to have as pets considering that they require very little attention, little care and less work in general compared to other pets like dogs and cats.. Turtles are like other pets, and they need the attention you give to the other pets.. You will learn how to take care of a turtle, what to feed them, and how to keep them healthy.. This is true as you only need to keep his environment clean, provide him food, and a basking area.. Another thing to take note of is that although turtles are said to require very little maintenance, this is not entirely true.. If you are ready to provide all the turtle requires, I would say that the turtle is the right pet for you.. To keep them comfortable, you will need to have a heat bulb on the dry side of the tank and another underwater heater to control the temperature inside the water.. With land turtles, what you should always keep in mind is that you should not always keep them inside their tank.. Once you get a land turtle, the first thing to do is get a big tank for it and fill it with all the necessities such as a heater, lightings, substrates and decors and not forgetting the basking area.. Now that you are done with the indoor environment, you need an outdoor enclosure as well.. Let us now look at a pet turtle’s diet.

image: Pixabay.com Scientific name : Trachemys scripta elegans Length : Generally 10-12 inches, although some individuals may grow bigger Weight : Up to 7 pounds. The Red-eared Slider is actually an invasive species in places other than the South, as it gets released after being a pet and goes on to outcompete native species.. image: Pixabay.comIn Georgia, the Red-eared Slider is commonly found in areas with a source of still, warm water.. image: Pixabay.com Scientific name : Trionyx ferox Length : Females can reach almost 24 inches, but the males tend to be half that size at 12 inches Weight : Females are usually double the weight of the males, weighing in on average at 14.7 pounds (but the record weight documented has been 96 pounds). The Southern Painted Turtle is a relatively small turtle and like the name suggests, is rather colorful.. Painted Turtles are mostly found within the Piedmont region of Georgia, but can also be found further inland in the Blue Ridge Mountains.. They prefer aquatic habitats with vegetation and muddy bottoms, such as slow-moving rivers, lakes, and often farm ponds and seasonal wetlands.. image: U.S.. The Bog Turtle is the smallest turtle species in North America.. image: U.S.. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is an aquatic turtle found most commonly on Tybee Island in Georgia.. image: U.S.. Like the Loggerhead, the Leatherback Sea Turtle comes to the coasts of Georgia in order to lay its eggs before returning to the ocean.

A combination of their slow metabolic rate, high concentration of ions, and a heart that keeps beating even without any signal from the brain.. The electrically charged ions are also found in the nerve cells of turtles, this allows the brain to continuously send commands to other body parts even if the heart has stopped beating.. Given the turtle’s brain could function with very little oxygen, it allows for the brain to operate even after the turtle stops breathing, stimulating responses that would be slow but still moving.. This odor is usually the first indication that your turtle has died.. Turtles are capable of controlling their breathing by slowing it down or even holding their breath for a long time, yet at a certain point, they still would need to breathe.. See if there is any indication of the feather moving, as this would mean your turtle is still breathing.. Sometimes, even after concluding that your turtle is dead, you might notice it moving.. Your turtle’s body parts are capable of moving even though the turtle is dead.. Nevertheless, like any other living creature, there are ways to know if your turtle died.. Due to its slow metabolic lifestyle, a dead turtle’s body parts could continue moving even after it dies.Advertisements

You must be wondering if the turtles have a tongue or not and if they have a tongue, just like other reptiles do they use it to catch their prey, or it has some other functions?. Yes, turtles have a tongue.. The turtles that do not have cloacal bursae, like the North American common Musk turtle, consist of special buds on their tongue that facilitate them to breathe underwater.. However, not all turtles use their tongue to eat food, and it entirely depends on the turtle species.. They stuck out their tongue, and it looked like a wiggly worm to which the fish are easily attracted, and when the fish comes closer to the turtle’s mouth, the turtles eat it.The turtle that does this is Alligator snapping turtle.. Apart from breathing, eating and luring the prey, some species of turtles also use their tongue to smell.. However, turtles like musk turtles do not have cloacal bursae, so they use the buds on the tongue to breathe and stay underwater for months.

Most of the turtle owners use water heaters to keep their turtles warm.. Yes, turtles need a water heater.. The pet turtle is entirely dependent on its owner for all its requirements.. If you are a turtle owner, you must keep it in a suitable environmental condition for its safety and growth.. Don’t make the water very hot, and make sure you remove the heater if there is no or less water inside the tank; otherwise, there is a possibility that the heater can get burnt and lead to burns and injuries to your turtle.. This does not warm up the water nor regulate the water temperature.. You can use two aqua thermometers to check the water temperature and basking area temperature.. Yes, baby turtles require a water heater.. The temperature range for baby turtles should be 78 degrees and more.. Buy on Amazon Eheium Jager Aquariumthermostat heater25W-300WSubmersible heater with shatterproof glass construction Buy on Amazon If you do not wish to use a submersible heater, you can use in-line external aquarium heaters.. Below is the link for in-line external aquarium heater which you can buy from amazon.. The adult turtles can manage without the water heater, but the baby turtles find it difficult to regulate their body temperature without the water heater as they require more warmth.. Particularly when the baby turtles are sick, you need to increase the water temperature so that their condition does not worsen.. Ensure enough water in your water tank before using the submersible water heater.

If you are a turtle owner, chances are you have noticed that your turtle does this cute little butt shake mostly when someone pets their shell.. Why does it shake its butt on petting?. A dancing turtle seems to perform a wiggle dance which seems to involve the butt.. And that’s not the only reason why your turtle wiggles, a turtle also wiggles when it’s ready to mate or defecate.. Scratching a turtle’s shell is almost guaranteed to get a butt shake.. Turtles don’t poop a lot and won’t wiggle every time before it defecates, but it can happen occasionally.. However, a turtle that shakes its butt when walking is likely to be suffering from injury.. Just so you know, it’s completely fine for a turtle to dance around, and you should probably dance in and twerk as well.

So, do pet turtles bite?. Pet turtles may bite if and when they feel threatened.. If someone is poking around the turtle’s head/face and the turtle feels scared, they will likely get bitten.. If you can handle your turtle, and they will let you know if it is okay to do so, it is very important to wash your hands before and after, as turtles carry salmonella.. Owing to the fact that a turtle has limited ways in which they can express their feelings, when a turtle bites it is usually because they feel scared or threatened in some way.. Turtle owners may encounter bites from their male turtle because they are trying to establish dominance.. This is not to say that a turtle would try and eat your finger, generally turtles prefer a omnivorous diet, if they did bite your fingers, it would most likely be to eliminate the possibility that they might be a tasty treat.. When you have been feeding your pet turtle by hand, we would recommend rinsing your fingers to eliminate any food scent or residue before handling your turtle.. Turtles do not have teeth and owning to the fact that your pet turtle probably loves nothing more than chomping down on some tasty lettuce, you might assume that their bite is not that strong.. It would be wrong to underestimate the strength of a turtle’s jaw, owing to the fact that turtles have been known to be able to take a bite of another turtle’s leg.. The strength of a turtle bite will depend largely on the species of the turtle, and the size of the turtle.. Generally, the larger the turtle the more power that a turtle will be able to bite with.. However, turtles do not possess teeth and therefore most turtle species do not possess a significantly powered bite and will be unlikely to penetrate the skin.

Do they hibernate or not?. However, not all species of box turtles brumate.. Brumation is usually recommended for northern temperate species like Eastern Box Turtle, Three-Toed Box Turtle, and Ornate Box Turtle.. While northern species like Eastern Box Turtle, Three-Toed Box Turtle, and Ornate Box Turtle often brumate, southern breeds like Florida Box Turtle and Gulf Coast Box Turtle skip this process.. You need to fast your pet box turtle 2-6 weeks before brumation.. And once your turtle emerges from hibernation, don’t forget to soak it in lukewarm water every day for a week or so until it starts eating properly.. It’s important to know that not all box turtles brumate during winter.

This is actually your turtle shedding skin.. While growing, baby turtles often shed, and as they get older, the shedding frequency declines.. This is why turtles shed excessively when their body makes new skin to house the expanding body.. Some turtle owners help their turtles shed by peeling off their stuck scutes, but you shouldn’t try peeling your turtle’s scutes if you are new to this.. The only time you should interfere with a turtle shedding is when it sheds excessively.. A fungus-infected turtle is also known to shed skin, as their system naturally removes infected skin from their body.. Lack of vitamin A also causes excessive white skin shedding in turtles.. As a responsible turtle owner, you should inspect all these factors and help your turtle shed its skin as naturally as possible.

So, do turtles fart?. Turtles do and can fart.. Just like many other animals, turtles fart (or pass gas) to relieve the build-up of air in their digestive systems.. Yes, turtles can fart.. Usually, turtle’s farts are not that loud and can vary in sound – similar to human farts!. It is most common for turtles to pass gas or fart when they are in water and can be quite amusing to watch!. That gas has to go somewhere right?. There are certain foods in your turtle’s diet that may cause excess gas.. There are certain foods that a turtle should not eat full stop and other foods that owners should avoid feeding their turtle.. Although these foods do not cause turtles to fart, they should still be avoided.. That being said, a healthy diet will not stop your turtle from passing gas as that is a natural occurrence too!. Foods that constitute a healthy diet for a pet turtle include:. It is important to consider sources of calcium in your turtle’s diet as calcium is imperative for a strong and healthy shell.. Diet and bubbles in water are the main contributors of excess gas in turtles and their farts can be very smelly!. The term for this type of breathing is called cloacal respiration.

How long a turtle can go without food depends on some factors and the species of the turtle.. How long a turtle can stay without food cannot be accurately answered because species of turtles are quite different from one another.. Aquatic turtles need water to digest any food they have eaten so if they do not have access to water as well as food, they become dehydrated.. The younger turtles like the baby turtles below the age of 6 months cannot stay long without food even if you provide them with water and comfortable basking zones.. Some turtle species are very strong and can go on for weeks and into the month without food due to their generic compositions just like some turtles who can survive without water for months and others who can barely go 6 to 8 hours of the day.. Young turtles should not be left alone for weeks without food and older turtles left alone should be provided water, basking areas, and heat lamps.

Have you been wanting to have an easy way to get around your turtles from the water to the land to the water again?. Make a DIY turtle dock that can help him see clearly what's going on outside the tank.. When you have a turtle, make sure that you have a place for them to bask.. All you need to do is just cut it to the size that you want and then place it in your turtle tank.. You can make it off one of the docks.. This article will help you build a turtle basking platform that you can place over the water for your turtles to bask on.

A female will on average be larger than a male and the colors will be much more muted.. Checking how many toes they have on their hind limbs – the three toes are something unique to the species as other box turtles have four.. In the wild a three-toed box turtle can live up to 100 years and some turtles in captivity have been known to live well above 70 years old.. Three-toed box turtle eggs take around 70 days to hatch.. The male to female ratio should be an even split or the female should outnumber the males.. The most common predators for these turtles are coyotes, raccoons and even some birds of prey.. Your wall barrier should also extend down 10 inches to prevent your turtle from being able to dig out and escape.. If you are unable to house your turtle outdoors then don’t worry, just make sure they have an enclosure of around 48 inches x 12 inches and shy away from using a glass terrarium.. For the turtles own happiness they would prefer a living space that doesn’t have see through walls.. Just make sure that whether your turtle is kept indoors or out that they have easy access to hiding spots, loose leaf litter which they can burrow in and a large shallow pan of clean water.. Therefore it is important to make sure your turtle gets a varied and nutrient rich diet.. Any prospective box turtle owners will need to make sure to do their research to make sure they give their reptile the best and longest life possible.. Three-toed box turtles are the smallest of the box turtle subspecies A three-toed box turtle is the office state reptile of Missouri!

In general, three primary reasons for white spots on a turtle shell are shedding of the shell, mineral deposit buildup, and rotting of the shell .. Have clean water with the right temperatures that are within the normal parameters.. This condition is frequently mixed up with shell rot and shell bacterial development .. Mineral deposit formation is often caused by water high in minerals .. Use a quality water filter Change a portion of the water every week Provide your turtle with a basking area that will allow it to completely dry off. The dry form might look like a scab or a blister and It appears most times as white spots on the turtle shell.. For 18 – 20 hours each day, leave the turtle dry and cool.

Turtles are reptiles, do they shed their shells or is it just their skin?. In the wild, turtles have the natural UV light, and a natural diet that aids in shedding.. Since young ones are growing faster, they shed more scutes.. Turtles shed their shells and skin as they grow.. This means shedding is part of their growth.. Aquatic turtles shed the scutes to help them swim.. Not all turtle species shed their scutes.. Most aquatic turtles shed their scutes.. This is a normal process that aids in turtles’ growth.. Excessive water temperatures – This leads to excessive skin shedding.. If you overfeed the turtle, it grows faster hence excessive skin shedding.

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