Terrapene carolina

Status: Vulnerable

Range & Habitat
Southern Maine to Georgia, west to the Mississippi. Eastern Box Turtles live in fields, meadows, forests and dunes. Occasionally, they are found near ponds and marshes. In the late afternoon, they construct a small dome-like space of leaf litter, grasses, ferns and mosses, where they will spend the night. They spend hot dry spells beneath logs or matted vegetation, awaiting rain.

General Description
Some box turtles survive over 100 years in the wild. A single, broad, moveable hinge allows the turtle to close its lower shell tightly against its upper shell. Usually, the male has red eyes, while the female has brown eyes. Often a distinct letter "E" on the main carapace plate. (This is not the reason for its name). They are sensitive to heat, cold and moisture. The Eastern Box Turtle is a diurnal animal that hibernates in the winter. Threats to the box turtle are habitat destruction, vehicle strikes, predation from animals, and the pet trade.

Reproduction & Growth
Sexually mature at 4-5 years of age. The male's plastron is concave. Between May and June up to eight oval-shaped eggs are laid in damp hole dug by female's hind feet. In two to three months, hatchlings dig out to the surface. There is no parental care. The Eastern Box Turtle can store sperm for several years. The sex of the hatchlings is determined by the temperature during incubation. A higher temperature produces females.

Diet: Omnivore
In the Wild: Insects, small creatures, leafy plant material and berries. In the Zoo: Greens, vegetables, fruit, fish, ground meat, chicken.

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