The Western Box Turtle (Terrapene ornate) is a native to the desert southwest, and is found in the mountains foothills around the Tucson area and occasionally in desertscrub. The Western Box Turtle’s Latin name means “patterned or ornate small turtle”.
At first glance you might mistake this turtle for a Desert Tortoise, but upon further inspection you will notice the shell is raised up high and box-like on top. The patterning is quite different, too, as the shell has radiating yellow lines and dots. It is also much smaller, only about 6 inches in length (excluding head and tail).
This turtle uses burrows of other animals for its home, taking refuge in the ground during the heat of the day. It feeds on insects, fruits, and sometimes small mammals. Although usually shy, if provoked it has a nasty bite, so leave them alone.
Reference: The Nature of Madera Canyon by Douglas W. Moore, Friends of Madera, 1999; Desertmuseum.org