Box Turtle and Tortoise Discussion :: Eastern or 3 toed?

A general forum for those with an interest in land-based turtles.

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 1:42 pm   Eastern or 3 toed?

Thought I'd post this here on the off chance that someone may have experience with boxies to a better degree than myself.

Ok, I've got 2 turtles that I was told are eastern boxies. I've had the one since October of 05 and the other I just bought 2 weeks ago. They're supposedly from the same clutch as they arrived at the store together in October 05. I've never come here for an ID or anything because I was sure I'd got what I asked for. This morning I picked Dog up to put him in for his soak. He had peat moss tangled on his feet so I took it off and noticed he's only got 3 toes on each of his hind feet. So of course then I checked Poe (newer turt) and he also has only 3 toes on each. I thought this was a trait only the 3 toed boxes had? Is it possible I have 3 toeds and not easterns?
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
User avatar
jenaero
Moderator
 
Posts: 3606
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: Thorold, Ontario, Canada

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 2:39 pm   

Is it possible for them to be hybrids? I don't think I've seen a real clear pic of your EBTs, but how do they compare to the others you've seen?
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29563
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 2:50 pm   

Well, that's the thing. I've looked up easterns and 3 toeds and they all look pretty much the same at this age. That's why I was wondering if it was possible for an eastern to have only 3 toes. I know it's possible for a 3 toed to have 4 toes but I'm not sure about the other way around.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
User avatar
jenaero
Moderator
 
Posts: 3606
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: Thorold, Ontario, Canada

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 3:04 pm   

This is what info I came across:

Eastern: 4-6 inches long with a high, domed shell and a low, middorsal keel. The carapace is usually dark brown with orange or reddish blotches of various size and shape that form an attractive pattern. The plastron may or may not have dark areas around the scute margins. The skin of the turtle is brown and the males have colorful scales on the front legs. They are found from Maine to Georgia and westward to Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee.

Three-toed: 3 1/2-5 inches long with a high-dome shell. The carapace is keeled and olive brown or yellowish brown and may or may not have markings of yellow . The markings are usually thin lines or spots and dashes. The plastron may or may not have dark areas. The skin is usually brown with yellow spots and the males have reddish heads with red, orange and black on the neck and forelegs. The beaks are also colorful. They usually have three toes on the hind feet but four toes are not uncommon. This subspecies may be found as far north as Missouri and southwards to Texas and Alabama.

Is that off or should I keep looking? :D Dog & Poe do look like EBTs
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29563
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 3:22 pm   

Well, whatever they are, they'll both have domed shells. Dog has no markings on his plastron, Poe has black patches on his. Dog has spots on his face and legs. Poe does not (I could attribute that to sub-par care up to this point). Both have brown skin, but I don't think we can tell by the colors/patterns yet because they are still so young. Dog's head seems to be changing color on the top, looks almost burgundy.

Still, the part that confuses me is whether or not easterns can have 3 toes. Even if it was a 'birth defect' of some kind, what are the chances that they BOTH have it?

You can keep looking if you have the time :lol:

I'm going to the pet store tonight and I'm wondering whether or not I should give the guy crap for it. It's like ordering a ham sandwich and getting tuna, y'know?
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
User avatar
jenaero
Moderator
 
Posts: 3606
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: Thorold, Ontario, Canada

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 3:43 pm   

Well, it's possible they were interbred. I haven't come across any search results regarding 3-toed EBTs. I would definitely try to get some answers from the petstore people...
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29563
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 3:47 pm   

That's what I'll do then. :twisted: I'll let you know what they say.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
User avatar
jenaero
Moderator
 
Posts: 3606
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: Thorold, Ontario, Canada

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 3:53 pm   

One bit of info I came across.... some use the term "Eastern Box Turtle" as a general name for all subspecies of T. carolina. If that store isn't a herp specialty store, its possible for them to get confused.
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29563
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 3:57 pm   

Oh for pete's sake. Well, I remember when I went on their waiting list I specifically asked for an eastern. He did say they had gulf coast and ornates on their order list so I guess I assumed they knew the difference. Maybe the breeder is at fault? I don't know where they got them but I know they special ordered for me. This place has a huge reptile room in the back of the store so I'd like to think they know the basics...
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
User avatar
jenaero
Moderator
 
Posts: 3606
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: Thorold, Ontario, Canada

Post Posted: Sat May 20, 2006 2:04 pm   

This is an interesting mystery. I did a quick read and apparently 4 types of common box turtle (terrapene carolina) can be found in the U.S. from Maine down to the Mexican border (and even further). Various "integrades," which can have the characteristics of 2 or more of the subspecies are possible. Such integrades can be found in areas where subspecies overlap. That's in the wild. Since yours are CBs (I'm assuming), it sounds like there could have been a mix-up at the breeders (but like you said, both of them?) or the petstore got 3-toed boxies unknowingly (?). (And why would petstore people know the difference given their general track record?)

I also read that EBT's "almost always" have 4 toes.

Interesting to know what the petstore staff say...
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." -Antoine de Saint Exupery-
marisa
Retired Mod
 
Posts: 12993
Joined: Apr 21, 2005
Location: CT, USA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:02 am   

FWIW, 3-toeds are great pets, and from what I have heard, are more hardy than Eastern boxies. My first rescue was an elderly 3-toed named Felicity. She was amazingly smart.

I have actually seen intergrades between Ornates and 3-toeds here in TX, where both species overlap.
I used to be a reptile expert. Now I'm just an old turtle lover.
reptilegrrl
 
Posts: 472
Joined: Dec 29, 2005
Location: Houston, Texas, USA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:40 am   

So, what did the petstore people say?
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." -Antoine de Saint Exupery-
marisa
Retired Mod
 
Posts: 12993
Joined: Apr 21, 2005
Location: CT, USA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:06 pm   

They just shrugged it off. I'm still not sure what exactly they are but I wouldn't part with them for the world anyway. Dog is looking like a 3toed because his carapace is developing and olive colour. The only disappointment would be that if they are 3toeds, they're not going to be nearly as colourful as I expected.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
User avatar
jenaero
Moderator
 
Posts: 3606
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: Thorold, Ontario, Canada

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:15 pm   

But they will more than make up for any lack of color with great personalities. :)
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." -Antoine de Saint Exupery-
marisa
Retired Mod
 
Posts: 12993
Joined: Apr 21, 2005
Location: CT, USA

Post Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:30 pm   

In my experience, 3-toeds are very colorful, just as colorful as Easterns. Those raised indoors in captivity are less colorful than those raised outdoors in the wild, so I do advise getting your turtles outdoors as soon as possible. Box turtles usually do better all around if they can be outdoors. In Canada, you will want to winter them indoors.

ALso, it can be very hard to tell the shells of 3-toeds and eastern boxies apart- they really do look a lot alike, and there is a lot of natural variation in both subspecies. So fret not. :) The shell really is not the best way to tell them apart, ime, it's the body markings.

Male 3-toeds are more colorful than females, but even females can be very bright. I had two adult females and they both had bright red marks on their faces and necks. The males tend to be absolutely covered in spots, much more colorful than females.
I used to be a reptile expert. Now I'm just an old turtle lover.
reptilegrrl
 
Posts: 472
Joined: Dec 29, 2005
Location: Houston, Texas, USA

Next

Return to Box Turtle and Tortoise Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests