Ornate Box Turtle
Terrepene ornata

Description:  A medium-sized turtle land turtle with distinctive yellow stripes on a dark shell.  Males have green heads and red eyes, while females have brown heads with light spots and brown eyes.  The plaston (lower shell) is boldly marked with dark stripes.  The shell can close completely, hence the name "box turtle".

Habitat:  This is a turtle of the grasslands of the midwest.  It becomes progressively more scarce in woodland habitats.

Distribution:  Although records for this turtle exist for Edwads County, it has not been confirmed for the Nueces Canyon.

Abundance:  If this turtle ever occurred here, it has probably been extirpated from the Nueces Canyon as its grassland habitats have been increasing converted to cedar woodlands over the past hundred years.

Conservation Status:  This turtle is declining throughout its range in Texas.  It is threatened by urbanization, roads & cars, and over-collection for the pet trade.

Comments:  A very long-lived species; however, very few hatchling turtles survive to become large enough to be safe from predation.