Ornate Box Turtle Is The Official State Reptile of Kansas. In 1986, Kansas Adopted the ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata) as the official state reptile In observance of the 125th anniversary of Kansas statehood. A sixth-grade class in Caldwell decided to nominate and accepted the ornate box turtle as the Official Kansas State Reptile. Their lobbying campaign ended with Governor John Carlin signing the bill, On April 14, 1986. The ornate box turtle is found in the prairies of western Kansas to the forests of eastern Kansas And Also found from South Dakota to southern Arizona. The ornate box turtle is the most visibly abundant turtle in Kansas.
The State Reptile of Kansas ornate box turtle is also a dryland turtle, which means that it spends its life on land and not in the water. During the 30 to 50 years of its life, Ornate Box Turtle spends a large amount of time crawling through fields, across backyards, and in the woods. The yellow stripes on both the upper shell and lower shell of the Kansas State Reptile ornate box turtle identify this species. Males are smaller and have red eyes while females are larger and usually have yellow-brown eyes.
Turtles are similar to reptiles. They are cold-blooded animals; they reproduce by laying eggs out of the water, and they have scales on their body that allow them to live away from the moist areas where amphibians are confined. Young State Reptile of Kansas reptiles are miniature versions of their parents and do not need to go through metamorphosis stages to reach adulthood as do amphibians. Examples of reptiles are lizards, snakes, and alligators. Turtles carry their houses with them.
The shell of an Ornate Box is made of the carapace (upper shell) and the plastron (lower shell). A hinge arrangement allows the upper and lower shells to close firmly together for defense against predators. Kansas State Reptile Turtles can move only their head, neck, legs, and tail. All turtles in Kansas lay their eggs on land, in the sand or soft soil.
The eggshell keeps the growing turtle from getting too dry. Between two and 50 eggs are laid in each clutch. State Reptile of Kansas Ornate box turtles is omnivorous, meaning that they eat both plants (fruit, flowers, and mushrooms) and animals (grasshoppers, beetles, earthworms, and caterpillars). As with all turtles, the Kansas State Reptile ornate box turtle has no teeth. Instead, it cuts its food with the sharp edges of its jaws.