There are many species of box turtle found both in North America and Asia. The Eastern Box Turtle is found in the eastern U.S. from Maine to Florida, and west to Michigan and south to Texas.
They live near streams, ponds and marshes in open woodlands, pastures, and marshy meadows.
They have a high, rounded shell (carapace) into which they can pull their whole body when they are in danger. Their shell can also grow back if hurt. Males have red irises and females have yellowish-brown irises.
In colder habitats in the north, box turtles sleep for the winter (hibernation), by digging into burrows or stream bottoms. They can live for more than 100 years.
They eat both plants and animals (omnivorous), including fish, frogs, salamanders, snails, slugs, worms, insects, mushrooms, roots, flowers, berries and even dead animals (carrion). They eat more meat when they are young and as adults eat almost all plants.
Their only real threat is man. People collecting box turtles for pets made them almost extinct in some places.
Females lay 3 – 8 eggs in a nest she digs in the sand with her back legs. She lays several sets of eggs (clutches) each year and they take about 3 months to hatch.
Species: T. carolina
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Amsel, Sheri. "Turtle (Eastern Box)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2023. January 29, 2023
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