Earlier today, we were asked how to tell the age of an older box turtle by belovefreeindeed
Admittedly, I don’t know much about the answer… so I went to the more knowledgeable Carolina Box Turtles. Here is what he had to say:
First, he shared this diagram and explanation with me…
And then he added that
“turtles kept indoors may have more growth lines. My head start turtles were a year old in nov. but they read as two 1/2. Poorly kept turtles, will have less to read. And their over all size will be smaller.”
So I guess to fully answer your question (but not really), it is extremely hard to tell the age of a turtle after it has surpassed 20 years. Counting scutes could work, but like I and Carolina Box Turtles said, growth lines can vary depending on what states the turtle is in over time. Even the diagram states that counting scutes or annuli as they refer to them, can be inexact even when done by seasoned researchers.
I’m sorry I couldn’t provide the clear answer you were looking for! I guess once turtles get to a certain age they are all just OLD and we will have to leave it at that. Luckily, Littlefoot has time 😉
PS- feel free to submit pictures of your rescue turtle anytime! 😀
A lot of turtle parents have this question, and this is a great diagram/ answer.