Albert

Weight by month

June 2013 April 2015 May 2015 September 2015 May 2016
424 grams no show 450 grams 440 grams 428 grams
June 2016 July 2016 September 2016
424 grams 473 grams 462 grams
Our resident three-toed box turtle, which does not naturally occur anywhere near New Jersey.

Albert helps prove that our Riverside turtles must be released pets. He is a three-toed box turtle (scientific name either Terrapene carolina triunguis or Terrapene mexicana triunguis), and the closest wild three-toed box turtles are in Alabama (see the map below, which was created by the Davidson College Herpetology Lab).

easternrange

According to this map, Albert must have originally come from one of the states in green, and none of them are anywhere close to New Jersey! The three-toed box turtle is actually the official state reptile of Missouri, and in case you were wondering, Albert does have three toes on each of his back feet. Most other box turtles have four.

Here are some more shots of Albert, so you can see his toes, his shell, and his fabulous body coloration!

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Like many three-toed box turtles, Albert has very little patterning on the carapace, or his top shell.
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Albert has very little patterning on his plastron (bottom shell), too.
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Here’s why they’re called three-toeds, since they only have three toes on each back foot.
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Like most turtles, the front feet have five toes each. And just look at that brilliant neck coloration!

Albert is also interesting to this project because we wanted to see if any of our younger turtles could be a mix of three-toed and Eastern box turtle (they’re called hybrids), which means they might not be well adapted to living in New Jersey. At the moment, one of the baby turtles, Marcel, matches with Albert’s genetic markers, along with those of Discus, but you can double check each of these conclusions in the activity below.

As of September 7, 2016, Albert is living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where a teacher has offered to give him a good home in the three-toed box turtle’s native habitat. We’re sure he’ll be much happier there than dealing with the cold winters in New Jersey!

Thank you for helping!