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What kind of turtle is this???

22 16:00:45

My turtle
My turtle  
2nd pic
2nd pic  
QUESTION: My husband took our turtle to Petsmart to find out exactly what kind it was. The lady as the store said that only one kind of turtle has a face that's shaped the way our is, and that's a snapping turtle. But he/she doesn't have a long tail and in all the pictures I've seen of snapping turtles their tail is long. I was just wondering if you could tell. Thank you.

ANSWER: Hi Wendi,

It's definitely not a snapping turtle.  Here's a link to pictures of snapping turtles:  If you notice the picture of the hatchling that shows the underside, you can see that snapping turtles have a very small plastron (bottom shell).  If you're ever in doubt as to whether a turtle is a snapping turtle or not, check the plastron (although really they're pretty distinctive looking overall).  

As to what it is exactly, I'm not absolutely certain.  Can you post better pictures?  A close-up of the head, a very clear picture from above, and one of the plastron.  If you'd like, post back and set it to *private*, and I'll give you my email address so you can email pictures.  Also, please let me know where you got the turtle, how big it was when you got it, and how long you've had it.  Thanks!  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

1st pic
1st pic  

Well, my husband found it in my aunts backyard. It was trapped under an tree branch. There isn't any visible water around her house so he brought it home.  It's just a little baby. 1 1/2 inch shell at most. Teeny tiny little head. It worries me a little because I know that turtles don't like to be handled, but this one can't get enough of my husband. He/she will crawl up his hand just to avoid being put down and it buries it's little head in his hands or his shirt. It's like he's his/her mama. I hope it's a "He" cuz we don't have the room for a female. We already have 2 yellow-bellied sliders and they seem to like the little guy. But we're too afraid to leave him in the tank overnight because if he falls off the rock, he might not be able to flip back over. And he DOES NOT like to be in the water pretty much, AT ALL. If we put him in the water, he swims his little legs off to the basking rock. It's worrying me though. He doesn't want to eat. We've tried everything. Baby turtle food, lettuce, carrots, even grass and flowers. (In case it was a tortoise.) I took more pics. I tried to make them as close as I possibly could without giving the little guy a major heartattack. lol

Hi Wendi,

I sent your pics to a friend who lives in the South and is very familiar with the species there.  He should be able to help with ID.  In the meantime, I would remove the little guy from your turtle tank and put him in a box or plastic bin with damp paper towels so he doesn't dehydrate.  I think he may be a box turtle hatchling, in which case he shouldn't be in an aquatic tank.

He's hiding in your husband's hands and clothes because it's a natural instinct for hatchlings to bury themselves where they can to hide from predators.  Being so tiny, they're very vulnerable.  

If you just found him and have only had him a few days, he needs to be returned to where you found him if it's a safe area for him, or relinquished to a wildlife rehabber--particularly if it's a box turtle, because they are protected by Georgia law and it would be illegal to keep him.  Returning him to the backyard would be best if at all possible, though.

I'll let you know as soon as I hear from my friend with an ID confirmation.   

Just got confirmation.  It's an Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina).  It should definitely be separated from your sliders ASAP.  Can you let me know how long he's been in with your turtles?