I came across this colorful Three-toed Box Turtle while it was crossing the asphalt section of the tour road at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I was able to get a closeup to show the colors of this turtle.

Colorful Three-toed Box Turtle

Colorful Three-toed Box Turtle

Heads of adult males and females are often brightly colored with a mix of white, orange, yellow or red. Males usually have red eyes whereas females usually have brown eyes. I am guessing this is a male since it has red eyes.

I came across some information that the males are the ones that display these bright colors on the head and throat.

Here is another Three-toed Box Turtle I photographed and posted about a few days ago. It is not as colorful as this one. I’m guessing it is a female: Three-toed Box Turtle Close-up

How I Got The Shot – Three-Toed Box Turtle

I was driving the paved section of the tour road in the Sand Town area of the refuge when I spotted this Box Turtle crossing the road. Most of the time when a Turtle sees my vehicle it will duck into its shell. This one did not. I had to exit my pickup quickly to get a few fast shots before it disappeared into the tall vegetation. I was able to get close without it going into its shell. I was glad I didn’t have to remove it from the road to keep it from being run over.

I was hand holding a Fujifilm X-T3 camera with a Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens attached with a Fringer EF-FX Pro.

Camera Settings

  • AV Mode
  • Back-button focus
  • Aperture f7.1
  • ISO 800
  • Shutter speed – 1/1700
  • Auto White Balance
  • Single Point, Continuous Auto Focus
  • Multi Metering
  • Focal Length – 400 mm

Post-processing was with Luminar 3


  • Photograph Wildlife At Eye Level – I was lying down on the road to get this shot. This helps to blur the background drawing more attention to the Turtle.