Yucatan Box Turtle Overview


Yucatan Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina yucatana

Yucatan Box Turtle
Terrapene carolina yucatana” by Maximilian ParadizFlickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


Terrapene carolina yucatana, the Yucatan box turtle, is a smallish turtle that lives in only a tiny area of Mexico. We really know very little about it, and you’re not likely to ever see one, much less have one as a pet.

Just the same, read on if you’re interested in knowing a little more about this elusive little reptile.

What the Yucatan Box Turtle Looks Like

This turtle grows to be up to about 6 inches long. Like many of its relatives, its carapace is domed and elongated. The color is generally brownish.

Sometimes males have bright white marks on their faces. Females have much less coloring, if any.

Where & How the Yucatan Box Turtle Lives

This turtle gets its name from its home, in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. This is the only place it has been found in the wild.

No other box turtles live in this area. In fact, no other box turtles live this far south.

It is so isolated from other box turtles that it was once thought to be a separate species instead of a subspecies of T. carolina.

The Yucatan is a tropical area, so this turtle’s home is the tropical forest. And so it especially loves humidity.

Apparently even locals rarely see these guys. They usually only come out after a rain. It’s possible they’re mostly inactive except during the rainy season.

Because they’re so isolated and elusive, we know very little about them. But it’s believed their numbers are shrinking, much like their US cousins.

It’s not clear if there are any being kept as pets in the US. But even if there are, they’re never seen in the pet trade. So don’t expect to ever own one.

Diet for the Yucatan Box Turtle

Box turtle eating strawberry

As far as we know, Yucatan box turtle will eat just about anything they come across. In this way, they’re much like the other box turtle species and subspecies.

We don’t really know if they have a preference for any particular foods.

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