Originally Posted by Arlyn
"All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises"
Paraphrasing one of the docents from when I worked at the zoo.
I've never heard of box turtles referred to as anything other than a turtle, though I believe they are technically tortoises due to the high domed back and burrowing nature.
Both right and wrong. All tortoises and turtles are chelonians - which simplifies it a bit.
Shell type and burrowing nature have nothing to do what they are - though the predominance of high domed shells is because they're easier to right. There are aquatic turtles with rather domed shells (especially seen in some Asian turtles), and every single turtle digs. North and Central American box turtles do belong to the genus terrapene, but this isn't to be confused with tortoises which most belong to the genuses geochelone and testudo.
More simply put, a box turtle is a turtle. Try to care for one like you would a tortoise and you very likely will make it ill if not kill it. Some require varying degrees of humidity, Easterns like in the OP's pictures require more than some of the subspecies.
Goldenkitty - It's no different than any other animal. If there's a lot of individuals in that area with high color over time a lot of the turtles will show that. But yes, certain groups are somewhat broken off from the main subspecies making their color or even pattern a little different. And though rarer in the wild, cross breeding with other subspecies does happen. Male ornates are known to happily breed with just about any other box turtle they happen across.
carolinalima - It depends a little on subspecies and whether they're wild caught or captive bred. They do get used to their people and people in general. I have a more shy subspecies, thus my wild caught male isn't as social. The babies know me and will follow me around without attempting to hide (which is not natural for young turtles). They know DH to a lesser degree and have to study him a bit and discern whether he has food - without food half of them lose interest in him and will wander off. I haven't seen them approach anyone else, though they watch. Someone they don't know would probably have to tap a food dish several times and wait a while to get one of the babies to openly come to them - and then they better have insects or fruit to bribe them with (with the exception of little miss piggy, she loves all food).
I'm interested in hearing how the OP's easterns behave to strangers.