North American three-toed box turtles are found in several states west of the Mississippi River including much of Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. They occur in portions of southeastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma and the eastern half of Texas. They are also found further east in south-central Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia. The carapace can be brown, yellowish brown or olive with varying amounts of yellow or orange dots or dashes on each scute. The plastron is tan color with none to varying amounts of brown that follow the scute margins. The head and neck is often pigmented with areas of yellow, orange, black and white on brownish skin. Scales on the forelegs are commonly yellow or orange. They are called three-toed box turtles because they usually have only three toes on their hind limbs. Having four toes on the hind limbs is not an uncommon feature however.
Full grown three-toed box turtles are typically 4 to 6 inches long (10.2 to 15.2 cm). They grow rapidly during their first 6 years, but slow down thereafter and reach full size in 12 to 15 years.