Bruce is a 3-toed box turtle (you can tell by looking at his back feet and counting the number of toes).
Are you sure he’s a boy?
We know Bruce is a boy turtle because he has a concave area on his lower shell (plastron), red-orange eyes and additional coloration on his face. Since he is an adult, it was much easier to solve the gender mystery….plus his vet confirmed it.
How did you & Bruce meet?
When Bruce came to us in May 2016, I was working with a fabulous animal communicator to find Malti, who had gone missing. During the week Malti was gone, Bruce was rescued to me. TWICE. For him, the second time was a charm…and for the next week, he lived in my office underneath my file cabinet (he was having none of the temporary, um, box I set up for him to live in).
In his short-lived free run of the office, he claimed EVERYTHING. The giant stuffed alligator, the black hide box, the twin blue shag rug “turtle runs”….when I asked the animal communicator what his name was, she said she was getting something strong, masculine – something that started with a “B,” like Bruce. She told me, “He doesn’t want a name that is wimpy.” Instantly I saw in my mind the shark from “Finding Nemo” who goes to a support group to try to stop eating fish. So “Bruce” it was….and is.
[UPDATE: Bruce has since chosen to return to a wild life. His life, his choice. But I miss him every. single. day. And I have since become an animal communicator myself, in part as a way to honor him.]
Can you tell me more about Bruce’s species?
Three toed-box turtles (Terrapene carolina triunguis) are native to Texas where we live, and are approaching endangered status. They get their name from the 3 toes on their back legs (although some have 4 toes, go figure). Their shells have a special olive color and the males have red-orange eyes and distinctive colorations on their faces. They have great vision and smell and are very bright and curious, yet also shy, especially when handled.
Box turtles tap out at around 5 inches long and are very lightweight. They are also the only turtles that can completely hinge themselves inside their shells, which is where they get the rest of their name: “box turtle.” In the wild they have been known to live as long as 100 years. Bruce’s vet says he is “an especially good-looking male 3-toed box turtle.” His proud mommy can’t help but agree.