Photo 640838, (c) Connor Travis, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

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Associated observations

Photos / Sounds


Three-toed Box Turtle Terrapene carolina ssp. triunguis




May 3, 2012 09:33 AM CDT


Texas, US (Google, OSM)


Kendall County T. c. triunguis:

This female Box Turtle was found during a Cibolo Nature Center bio blitz on May 3rd, 2012. The previous two days brought heavy rains, which likely brought this turtle to the surface during the drought. The weather that morning was humid, mostly cloudy, and mild.
She was located foraging through mostly dry stream bed near the Cibolo Creek.

Finds like this are likely the remnants of a relic population of Three Toed Box Turtles that were historically established in the area.

Local herpetologist Ron Tremper collected an adult T. c. triunguis crossing a road near the Cibolo Creek in April of 1994 (this turtle is still alive in captivity). Another was found as a fresh DOR on Highway 46 about 2 miles west of Boerne in June 2008. These three turtles are likely the only official records of T. c. triunguis in Kendall County for the last 20 years.

The decline of these turtles in their western most populations is likely attributed to the introduction of fire ants. The ants prey on the already vulnerable box turtle eggs and hatchlings. Extended periods of drought certainly haven't helped the Three Toed Box Turtle's case either. And undoubtably, the handmaiden of the box turtles disappearance is the development of suitable habitat, which combined with fire ants, will likely lead to the complete extirpation of T. c. triunguis from the region.