Bruce Explains Box Turtles: 3 Toes

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A very patient Bruce permits his mommy to photograph his very cute front foot (with 4 toes) and his very cute back foot (with 3 toes) for species verification on his rescue day here at Casa Feathers n Beak n Shells.

Bruce’s formal scientific name is “Terrapene carolina triunguis.”

Luckily, his common name is much easier to pronounce: “3 toed box turtle.”

If you are from Texas, you call Bruce a “Texas 3 toed box turtle.” If you are from anywhere else, you call Bruce a “North American 3 toed box turtle.”

Not surprisingly, Bruce gets his common name from the number of toes he has on each of his back feet. Or at least, that is the theory.

The fact is, sometimes 3 toed box turtles decide to make baby turtles with other species of box turtles, such as common box turtles or Eastern box turtles. This can mean the babies have 4 toes on each of their back feet instead of 3 toes.

It all gets kind of confusing from here.

But “purebred” 3 toed box turtles have 3 toes on their back feet, and typically they have 4 toes on each of their front feet.

And remember….

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Published by Shannon Cutts

Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise & box turtle mama. Pet & people blogger.

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