PacSci Perspectives

Welcome Box Turtles!

by | May 28, 2016

Three-toed turtle (left) and Eastern box turtle (right)

Three-toed turtle (left) and Eastern box turtle (right)

We’re excited to announce new temporary additions to our animal collection. Through a brand new partnership with Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society (PNWHS), Pacific Science Center is the proud foster home to two box turtles. These animals are available for adoption through the PNWHS but will be living with us until they find their forever home. We are also fostering a green iguana named Iggy Azalea for the past year through a similar arrangement with Seattle Animal Shelter. We are excited to continue this trend of helping make adoptable animals more visible to the community and gaining fun new exhibit animals at the same time.

Moxie Turtle

The box turtles are living in our previously empty cage next to Esteban, the boa constrictor. We currently have two box turtles. The first is a beautiful female three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) named Moxie. We named her because of her energetic exploration around her tank as soon as she was put in her home. She wears herself out from exploration, so you may see her napping when you visit. But she’s definitely got spirit! Moxie is fairly small, about 5-6 inches in length, with a greenish, brown shell and yellowish eyes.

Gus Turtle

The second turtle is a male Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) named Gus. He likes to spend his days basking in the light of his UV light bulbs. Gus is a bit larger than Moxie, with brighter colors. He is mostly dark brown with orange spots and brown eyes. While we don’t know the ages of either of them for sure, we think they may be about 10-20 years old. Box turtles can live for about 100 years, so prospective adopters will have to think far into the future if they’re contemplating adopting these guys.

Two Turtles

As part of our arrangement with the PNWHS, the animals we have on exhibit may change, so come meet these two beautiful animals while we have them. If you want more information about adopting through the Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society, please visit

Update: Since writing this story, we’ve received a third box turtle that is now at home in the exhibit. This one is a female Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata) that is likely over 40 years old. She’s similar in size to the Eastern box turtle, with more muted coloring. Come visit and see how the three turtles interact with each other.

Want to learn more? Listen to this quick PacSci Podcast: