The Florida box turtle is a footloose wanderer, always on the go. Its life is spent roaming the fields, forests, and seasonal wetlands.
Although primarily a land dweller, it’s drawn to the moist woods bordering ponds and streams, and it loves to bask in shallow puddles to cool off. An equal opportunity omnivore, it snacks on a variety of plants, insects-even roadkill, when it gets the chance.
It’s small, as turtles go; only six or seven inches fully grown. Its shell is domed, and resplendent with bold yellow markings. It’s named for its hinged chest plate, which closes like a trapdoor when it senses a threat.
This baby Florida box turtle still has its egg tooth, the little white bump on the tip of its beak. Box turtle eggs have a tough, leathery shell, and without an egg tooth, the baby inside couldn’t break through. Having served its purpose, the tooth drops off in a week or so, and the restless little reptile embarks on its lifelong journey.