Colorful Three-toed Box Turtle

During my recent visit to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, I had the incredible opportunity to witness a remarkable sight—a vibrant Three-toed Box Turtle gracefully crossing the asphalt section of the tour road. It was a moment that called for my camera to capture the stunning colors displayed by this exquisite creature.

Colorful Three-toed Box Turtle
Colorful Three-toed Box Turtle

The heads of adult male and female Three-toed Box Turtles often exhibit a striking blend of white, orange, yellow, or red hues. Males, in particular, tend to have captivating red eyes, while females commonly possess beautiful brown eyes. Judging by its striking eye coloration, I concluded that the turtle I encountered was most likely a male.

Through my research, I discovered that it is typically the male turtles that boast these captivating colors on their heads and throats, making this particular specimen a prime example of their vibrant displays.

Interestingly, just a few days prior to this encounter, I had the pleasure of photographing and sharing another Three-toed Box Turtle, albeit one with less intense coloring. Comparing the two, it seemed apparent that the previous turtle was likely a female. You can find the close-up shot of that fascinating creature in my earlier blog post titled “Three-toed Box Turtle Close-up.”

As I embarked on a drive along the paved section of the tour road in the Sand Town area of the refuge, I unexpectedly spotted this remarkable Box Turtle slowly making its way across the path. Typically, when turtles catch sight of my vehicle, they swiftly retreat into the safety of their shells. However, this particular turtle seemed unperturbed by my presence, granting me a rare opportunity to capture a few quick shots before it disappeared into the lush vegetation. I felt fortunate that I could get up close without causing it to retreat into its protective shell. Ensuring its safety, I didn’t have to intervene by moving it from the road to avoid any potential harm.

For this extraordinary encounter, I relied on my trusty Fujifilm X-T3 camera, equipped with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens, connected using a Fringer EF-FX Pro adapter. The equipment allowed me to capture the intricate details of this splendid turtle with precision and clarity.

Witnessing the colorful Three-toed Box Turtle in its natural habitat was truly a mesmerizing experience. The moment serves as a reminder of the astonishing diversity and beauty that thrives within our wildlife, inspiring me to continue exploring and documenting the wonders of nature through my lens.

Camera Settings

  • AV Mode
  • Aperture: f7.1
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter speed: 1/1700
  • Focal Length: 400 mm