Governor Ricketts Proclaims the Ornate Box Turtle as Nebraska’s State Reptile

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Alex Reuss, Office of the Governor, 402-471-1970

Shawna Richter-Ryerson, Games and Parks Commission, 402-471-5565

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Governor Ricketts Proclaims the Ornate Box Turtle as Nebraska’s State Reptile

Governor Ricketts (holding the proclamation) and NGPC Wildlife Specialist Monica Macoubrie (holding Batman, the Ornate Box Turtle) at today’s ceremony in Gretna.

Governor Ricketts speaks to students at Arbor Day Park Middle School (Blair, NE) this morning at the Schramm Education Center in Gretna.

Governor Ricketts speaks to students at Arbor Day Park Middle School (Blair, NE) this morning at the Schramm Education Center in Gretna.

GRETNA- Today, Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed the ornate box turtle as Nebraska’s official state reptile during a ceremony hosted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) at the Schramm Education Center. NGPC Wildlife Specialist Monica Macoubrie led a live turtle exploration activity for students following the governor’s proclamation.

“Nebraskans take pride in caring for the natural world, including our wildlife and their habitats,” Governor Ricketts said. “Ornate box turtles are especially popular here in the good life. Thanks to Nebraska Game and Parks for educating the next generation about our state’s rich biodiversity. I am thrilled to designate the Ornate Box Turtle as the official state reptile of Nebraska!

The ornate box turtle lives in grasslands throughout the majority of the state. The turtle is one of 48 species of reptiles, including eight other species of turtles, 10 species of lizards, and 29 species of snakes, that inhabit Nebraska.

Most Nebraska turtle species live in the water at least some of the time. However, the ornate box turtle is a tortoise (terrestrial). It is most commonly found in short, mixed, or tallgrass prairies in the Sandhills and southwestern counties of Nebraska.

The ornate box turtle gets its name from a uniquely hinged shell that the turtle can almost completely enclose its body in to escape predators.

To learn more about the ornate box turtle and other Nebraska reptiles, visit outdoornebraska.gov/reptiles.

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