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Female Western Ornate Box Turtle, Terapene ornata ornata, excavatging a new burrow in preparation for hibernation in a suburban garden in Albuquerque, NM.  Ornate box turtles are the most recently evolved and many of their features make them the most terrestrial of turtles. Box turtles are long lived and inhabit open grasslands and nonagricultural fields. Interestingly enough their range may have developed alongside the great grazing herds of herbivores that once populated the western US ranges along with the cattle industry which replaced the large herds. Studies showed that their numbers are reduced when cattle are removed from the ornate box turtle's home ranges. Their powerfully strong front legs and claws are are perfectly adapted to tear about manure and dung piles in search of beetles, grubs and other insects..Order: Chelonia.Sub-order: Cryptodira.Family: Emydidae.Sub Family: Emydidae.Genus: Terrapene.Sub-genera: Ornata
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