...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

EBT: Eastern Box Turtle...Boy or Girl?

Just a reminder, you can click on any picture to enlarge it!

Boy or Girl?
In the past several years I have been lucky enough to spot several EBT's while out hiking in the woods.  I didn't realize it at first, but the habitat for EBT's happens to be woods!  I guess I thought like most turtles, they probably only hung out around ponds.  I'm not surprised any more when I head out after a morning rain shower and I see turtles out crossing my path.  

It seems EBT's are more active early in the day and after a rain.  They usually just freeze in their tracks and retreat a bit into their protective shells when they see me coming their way.  

Winston is a great turtle hunter...he will pull me several yards off a path when he smells a turtle trail.  No worries though, he doesn't like to do more than point them out to me.  I think he likes all the praise and the love I give him for his find!  :) 

So, boy or girl?  How does one tell?  I'll admit, I don't know that I can tell the young ones apart.  I don't know when they mature.  

The adult ones are easy to distinguish between the sexes.  
Females have dull eye colors... brown or a little yellow.  
Males have very bright red or orange eyes.  

Winston and I saw this girl after a rain shower just a few mornings ago.
Female...eating a breakfast of worm
Same female as picture above
When I see a turtle, I have a routine I do: First look at their eyes and guess, male or female.  Second, snap a picture or two, usually one with my camera lens cover in the photo so I can note the size.  Third, gently flip the turtle over to confirm sex by looking at bottom of carapace.  SEE BELOW FOR EXPLANATION ON THIS


 Here's my first baby of this spring to find...I guess girl due to eye color and flat bottom. I can't find any good information about when they may mature and their sex becomes obvious.  I bet like their sea loving relatives they need a few years to mature.  That noted...this could be a young boy!
It's always hard to distinguish their size from my up close photos.

Isn't this tiny compared to my picture above?
 Remember, that's my lens cover!  It measures just 2 1/4 inches across.   

I was nervous having my fingers so close to this mouth.
Little or not, I'm pretty sure it would hurt!  

EBT's hibernate under dried leaves, dead logs and old stumps.  Win did find this one and he uncovered the leaves.  I put the leaves back after my picture.

Females have a flat bottom
Males have a concave (very noticeable) bottom

This guy was tight in his shell
and this was the only way to tell if he was a boy or a girl.
 So, why are the boys concave on the bottom?  

For reproducing of course!  
Bright orange eyes...Male...but
I didn't disturb these two.

 Nature is so amazing!  


Comfrey Cottages said...

loved this Lisa! thanks for the lesson:) too cute!!! xxx

Tsad said...

Great pics and narrative! Here are some more little known facts about these gems of the forest!


Lauranie said...

you are always so full of such interesting information!! :D

Donna said...

Thank you for posting this! My 6 yr old found a turtle this morning and your site was the best for us to understand. Box turtles in MD are a protective species so we brought him right back to his home. Actually we wouldn't have removed him but our neighbor was missing a turtle and thought it might be hers. I took pics before we returned and matched them up to yours. What a great natural, teachable moment!

Hootie said...


I am SO happy that this info was helpful!

Lisa :)