Video: The time the dogs tracked turtles at the Portman Preserve

Box turtles can be extremely long-lived, regularly living to 80 years. It is expected that they can top 100, approaching the big Galapagos tortoises in longevity, says Nate Fuller of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. How to age a box turtle: Count their rings. Every year they grow a little bit, especially when they are younger. So the scutes (armor plates) grow annually as well. Under age 10, this method gives a pretty accurate count of how old they are. After age 15 the rings get really close and it gets harder to count them, but until approximately age 20 the ridges are still prominent. After age 20 the ridges of the rings start to wear smooth and aging is impossible. By age 40-50 the shell is practically worn glossy smooth. How to check a box turtle's gender: Females have brown eyes, high dome shell, less colorful legs & face, rarely any flaring on the edge of the shell. Males have red-orange eyes, lower dome to the shell, colorful legs and face, often have flared edges to the shell.

Courtesy Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
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