Terrapene Ornata

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Terrapene ornata ornata (Agassiz, 1857)
The prairie subspecies of T. ornata, known by the common name of ornate box turtle, inhabits open, treeless, sandy plains, gently rolling hills and grasslands with sparse scrub-brush vegetation. Sometimes entering oak-walnut woodland areas along streams, ornate box turtles will seek water to quench thirst, avoid dehydration, and thermoregulate in hot weather (Ornate box turtle, n.d.).
Especially in the northern reaches of its range, T. o. ornata digs a shallow hibernaculum in which it survives winter, entering brumation beginning in September in the coldest areas. The species may utilize kangaroo rat burrows and hollows in limestone shelves as shelters; it also resides in black-tailed prairie-dog
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ornata, commonly known as the desert box turtle, adapts to drier ecosystems than the ornate box turtle. The term luteola derives from a Latin root word meaning ‘yellowish.’ Referring to the overall lighter appearance of the desert subspecies as compared to the darker ornate subspecies, luteola may also allude to the relative abundance of yellow patterning on the carapace and plastron of the desert box turtle.
Inhabiting semidesert and desert grasslands and prairies with comparatively low humidity levels, low soil temperatures, and high air temperatures in the southwestern United States and in northwestern Mexico. For example, in southwestern Arizona, T. o. luteola is commonly active during the summer monsoon (July through September) when humidity levels are relatively high as compared with other times of the year (Ornate box turtle, n.d.; Ernst & Lovich, 2009).
While the eyes of the female desert box turtle have a yellowish to brown iris, the iris of the male is red, and the male’s tail is longer and thicker than that of the
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ornata inhabits the central and southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Mississippi River in the east. Generally speaking, the northernmost reaches of its range include South Dakota and Wisconsin, and the southernmost boundary of its range occurs in northwestern Mexico (Terrapene ornata, n.d.).
Found at elevations from sea level to approximately 21,000 feet (6,500 meters), with the average being approximately 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) of elevation, the species prefers a year-round temperature span of 77 to 86° F (25 to 30° C) (Terrapene ornata, n.d.).
While the two subspecies share an overlapping range in the Great Plains of the United States, T. o. ornata occurs primarily in the central United States in the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. On the other hand, T. o. luteola occupies Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas up to the fringes of the desert in the southwestern United States as well as the states of Chihuahua and Sonora in northwestern Mexico (Terrapene ornata,

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