Wintering my new three-toed box turtle in Texas.

Relic

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The second one looks like an ornate box turtle, not a three-toed. Are you sure?
Three toeds shells can be all over the place, from dull olive army helmets to highly colored shells more closely aligned with Eastern shells. There is a large area of intergrades between the two sub-species and the resulting shell coloration is highly variable. And to help make things more confusing, some three toeds actually have 4 toes on the hind feet--kinda depends on how much "eastern" genetic material is in them I suppose...most ornates have the longitudinal line down their backs.
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Tortoise Rescue Brenda

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Three toeds shells can be all over the place, from dull olive army helmets to highly colored shells more closely aligned with Eastern shells. There is a large area of intergrades between the two sub-species and the resulting shell coloration is highly variable. And to help make things more confusing, some three toeds actually have 4 toes on the hind feet--kinda depends on how much "eastern" genetic material is in them I suppose...most ornates have the longitudinal line down their backs.
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Thanks for that wonderful info. I saw somewhere 3-toed were aka eastern box. That’s not correct is it?
 

Relic

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Thanks for that wonderful info. I saw somewhere 3-toed were aka eastern box. That’s not correct is it?
They are a sub-species of the Eastern - which means they can breed and reproduce with Easterns, mixing their color characteristics. The full house of Eastern Box turtles and sub-species include: 1) Eastern 2) Florida 3) Gulf Coast 4) Three Toed 5) Mexican 6) Yucatan. All are variants of Terrapene carolina.
 

Tortoise Rescue Brenda

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They are a sub-species of the Eastern - which means they can breed and reproduce with Easterns, mixing their color characteristics. The full house of Eastern Box turtles and sub-species include: 1) Eastern 2) Florida 3) Gulf Coast 4) Three Toed 5) Mexican 6) Yucatan. All are variants of Terrapene carolina.
Thank you very much. I appreciate the information. I love to learn anything new, hence the "Professor".
 

Yvonne G

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That looks like a male to me. The shell coloring and head are a dead giveaway
Looks male to me too. You can almost see a slight indent on the plastron, plus what you can see of the existing eye looks light, maybe orange or red.
 

Tortoise Rescue Brenda

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So he is all settled in. His name is Murph named for Audie Murphy, another tough Texan, and in honor of all soldiers since he looks like a helmet and has missing parts that don't stop him.
He is between 20-30 years old. Y'all confirmed a male. He comes out to see me and explores his enclosure. Last winter he spent outside, probably. Last owner was not very forthcoming with info and had 15 boxies to surrender to our rescue.

My question is, do I let him ride out the winter in his enclosure covered with wood to keep the elements out and heat in as much as possible? Do I bring him into the greenhouse with plants on those freezing nights only? Or bring him into the green house at some other outside temperature?

Thanks for your help to this new box turtle owner. Never stop learning.

The empty box.
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Murph in his new digs
boxie checking out the aloe.JPG
 

Yvonne G

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If you have very much freezing weather during your winters, the turtle needs to be able to get down at least 2' to be below the frost line. I pile up leaves and garden trash over the area where my turtles have dug in. I wouldn't move him back and forth from outside to the greenhouse. Let him stay in one spot the whole winter, just make sure that spot is covered for protection. Maybe fill his box with leaves, then close the lid and add more leaves mounded over the top of the box.
 

Tortoise Rescue Brenda

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If you have very much freezing weather during your winters, the turtle needs to be able to get down at least 2' to be below the frost line. I pile up leaves and garden trash over the area where my turtles have dug in. I wouldn't move him back and forth from outside to the greenhouse. Let him stay in one spot the whole winter, just make sure that spot is covered for protection. Maybe fill his box with leaves, then close the lid and add more leaves mounded over the top of the box.
Thanks Yvonne. We have about 15 nights that freeze and a handful of freezing temp days. I will pile leaves and cover with a Plywood or thicker lid on top of his wire lid.
 

Relic

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He'd be fine under a layer of mulch: leaves, grass, cypress, etc. piled up in a corner of the enclosure. Let him decide where he wants to "go under." I go out to do cleaning of leaves and limbs under a pecan tree during the winter and have to be careful not to rake up a turtle or two. They are often only under and inch or two of material. Three toeds are the toughest and nearly insensitive to cold weather of the box turtles it seems. Mid-January, low-forties, not unusual to see one pop up and walk around to see if it's spring yet...and I don't think you need a sheet of wood over him, either. Let him take his cues from the natural weather that occurs there - after all, this is his native environment.
 

Tortoise Rescue Brenda

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He'd be fine under a layer of mulch: leaves, grass, cypress, etc. piled up in a corner of the enclosure. Let him decide where he wants to "go under." I go out to do cleaning of leaves and limbs under a pecan tree during the winter and have to be careful not to rake up a turtle or two. They are often only under and inch or two of material. Three toeds are the toughest and nearly insensitive to cold weather of the box turtles it seems. Mid-January, low-forties, not unusual to see one pop up and walk around to see if it's spring yet...and I don't think you need a sheet of wood over him, either. Let him take his cues from the natural weather that occurs there - after all, this is his native environment.
It is his natural environment. You are right there. I will rake some leaves up when he starts reducing his eating and movements. I already have a small pile covering his favorite underground hide I built for him. He is still eating every cricket, worm or piece of cooked chicken I put in there for him. He also nibbles on the plants pretty well. He has definitely made it his home.
Thank you for reassuring me.
 

Christyk

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Murph sure is a cute little fella. I really like that habitat you made for him.

For our shell-babies this year, we are bringing them into a garage that has a very large box w/ a dirt/sphagnum mixture. There favorite hide tends to hold water during a heavy rain. We are reworking some of the habitat this winter and treating for fire ants. On pretty days that are warm they will go outside.

Honestly our temps don't get so cold often enough to really worry about. On the nights it gets REALLY cold (cold for Texas that is) my plan is just to warm the garage a little bit.
 

Tortoise Rescue Brenda

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Murph sure is a cute little fella. I really like that habitat you made for him.

For our shell-babies this year, we are bringing them into a garage that has a very large box w/ a dirt/sphagnum mixture. There favorite hide tends to hold water during a heavy rain. We are reworking some of the habitat this winter and treating for fire ants. On pretty days that are warm they will go outside.

Honestly our temps don't get so cold often enough to really worry about. On the nights it gets REALLY cold (cold for Texas that is) my plan is just to warm the garage a little bit.
Thank you for the compliment. Oh the *@!*! fire ants. "Cold for Texas", absolutely. You live close to my husband's family in Hardin Tx.
Thank you for the information
 
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