These two baby Gulf Coast Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina major) recently hatched at the Tennessee Aquarium. Both babies are from a clutch of four eggs laid back in April by adults in the Delta Country exhibit.
Gulf Coast box turtles are the largest form of North American box turtle - growing to a carapace length of about 8 inches. They are considered vulnerable in the wild. Typically found in marshes and swamps, they range along the Gulf Coast from the panhandle of Florida to eastern Texas. While not considered an aquatic turtle, this species loves to be around water.
The Aquarium is currently home to seven adult Gulf Coast Box Turtles, but they can be hard to spot on exhibit.
“They usually spend their time back in the land area of the Delta Country,” says Aquarium Herpetologist Bill Hughes. “That means they’re not always visible from the public side, but occasionally one of them will go for a swim, or at least a wallow in the shallows.”
While these tiny babies are currently off exhibit, visitors can see hatchlings of other species– including the Alligator Snapping Turtle or the endangered Four-Eyed Turtle - inside the turtle nursery display in the Aquarium’s Turtles: Nature’s Living Sculptures exhibit.
Love turtles as much as we do? Don’t miss our Swamped with Turtles program daily at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm in the Delta Country.