Day 192: Boy Box Turtle Versus Girl Box Turtle

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If there is one fact about shelled beings that the large shell-less beings seem to consistently get wrong, it is box turtle gender.

Just as the males of the avian world are often more colorful and (let’s be honest) attractive than the females, so too can the bright coloration and outgoing personalities of boy box turtles come with one unfortunate side effect: you are constantly being mistaken for a girl box turtle!

So if you are a male 3-toed box turtle who just happens to have his own blog – and a slavishly devoted large shell-less typing assistant to run it for you – this is a great chance to set the record straight.

NOTE: To do this right, unbeknownst to Bruce, the flock’s official large shell-less assistant has recruited our lady 3-toed box turtle lodger, Alfie, to assist. 🙂

1. Boy box turtles are very outgoing while lady box turtles tend to be shy.

While box turtles by nature will opt to stay hidden whenever possible, just put a girl box turtle anywhere within sniffing distance of a boy box turtle and watch what happens next.

No more camouflage, no more sneaking through the shadows – all of a sudden your shy and retiring boy caterpillar has transformed into a very single and social boy butterfly!

The little lady box turtle, on the other hand, may try even harder to hide, on account of how a boy box turtle looking for love typically doesn’t display much, um, finesse in letting her know how he feels.

Exhibit A: a very outgoing boy box turtle in his enclosure.

Guess who is single and social and looking for love?

Exhibit B: a shy and retiring girl box turtle in her enclosure.

If you look closely you can just make out her nostrils in the lower right hand corner.

2. Boy box turtles and girl box turtles look different from underneath.

Boy box turtles have longer tails with the opening (cloaca) farther from the shell rim and often (but not always) also have a slightly concave plastron (lower shell).

Girl box turtles have shorter tails with the opening closer to the shell rim and a flat lower shell.

Exhibit A: A boy box turtle shows off his longer tail and very slightly concave lower shell.

Exhibit b: A girl box turtle shows off her shorter tail and flat lower shell.

3. Boy and girl box turtles often display different eye and shell colors.

Three-toed box turtles are not as colorful as most box turtles. In fact, their uniform olive-colored upper shell is one of the most recognizable traits of this species.

However, when it comes to coloration on the face and legs and eye color, the 3-toed box turtle is just as colorful as all the rest.

As well, males typically have red eyes and females often (but not always) have brown or yellow eyes.

Exhibit A: A boy 3 toed box turtle displaying the red eyes and brightly-colored head and cheek patches.

Exhibit B: A girl 3 toed box turtle displaying yellow eyes and a much darker head.

So there you have it – boy box turtle versus girl box turtle basics!

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