This brightly-colored fellow was behind our house yesterday morning -- maybe roaming around in search of a mate. Box turtles -- and they are turtles, not tortoises, in spite of their preferring land to water -- are the North Carolina state reptile. There's glory for you!
They're very abundant in our area and always, after a heavy rain, they seem to be out wandering and, all too often, hurling themselves in front of cars. Over the years I've rescued quite a few from busy roads and brought them back here. This may be one of the rescuees -- they're quite long-lived -- or it could be a descendant.
Male box turtles have red or orange eyes while female's eyes are light brown. It's kind of a tough call in this case. So I picked the turtle up to have a look at the plastron -- the shell on the underside. If the plastron is flat, it's a she; if concave -- he.