Turtle Species

Terrapene Carolina Putnami

Terrapene Carolina Putnami was described by O.P. Hay, in 1906. This species has no common name although the name Putnami box turtle is sometimes used to refer to this species.  This is however a reference to its scientific name rather than a proper common name.

This animal is now extinct but was a subspecies of the common box turtle.

Terrapene Carolina Putnami
Terrapene Carolina Putnami

T. Carolina Putnami Distribution

This turtle has been classified as extinct. When it was alive, the T. Carolina Putnami was believed to inhabit the region around Savannah, Georgia. In the highly unlikely event that one should ever be spotted, it should be left alone and local professionals should be contacted immediately.

T. Carolina Habitat

It lived in marshy areas, as many subspecies of box turtles do. Box turtles like the access to shelter and camouflage within the brush, they like the humidity in the area, and they enjoy the ready access to shallow waters where they can cool down, drink, soak and hydrate, and search for insects.


When the species was still alive, is was the largest subspecies of box turtle. Like all box turtles, it had a hinged shell that could close entirely when in danger.

What did T. Carolina Putnami eat?

The T. Carolina Putnami was an omnivore, just like its surviving relatives within the other subspecies of box turtle. This means it ate both meat and plant matter.

The plant matter consumed by box turtles includes certain grasses and vegetables, berries, moss, fallen fruit, and mushrooms. For meat, box turtles like to go after insects as they are easy for the small predator to hunt and kill.

In very rare cases, box turtles have also been seen eating the flesh of creatures larger than insects, such as small mammals or birds. An example is baby mice, which some owners feed to their pet box turtles. The mice are usually purchased in a dead/frozen state to be fed to the turtle.

Since the T. Carolina Putnami was believed to be much larger than the other species of box turtle, it is possible that hunting small animals was a more common occurrence for this subspecies than it is for the surviving ones.

Terrapene Carolina Putnami Image
Terrapene Carolina Putnami Image


  • O. P. Hay. 1906. Descriptions of two new genera (Echmatemys and Xenochelys) and two new species (Xenochelys formosa and Terrapene putnami) of fossil turtles. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 22(3):27-31

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