Eastern Box Turtle
Terrapene carolina carolina
About This Animal
SIZE: 4.5 - 6 inches in length
RANGE: Eastern United States
HABITAT: most common in hardwood forest, also found along wetland edges
DIET: mushrooms, berries and other fruits; worms, slugs or insects (omnivorous)
ON EXHIBIT: Eastern box turtles make special appearances for animal encounter programs in the River Journey building!
Eastern Box Turtles are one of the more terrestrial pond turtle species found in the Southeastern region of the United States. Box turtles are known for their dome-shaped carapace (top part of shell) and hinged plastron (bottom of shell) that allows them to close up tightly inside to avoid predators. They are commonly seen after rain fall in the summer, but as the colder season approaches they tend to move deeper into the woods where they overwinter after digging an underground chamber. The Eastern box turtle is the state reptile of both Tennessee and North Carolina!
The Eastern Box Turtle is classified as vulnerable due to habitat fragmentation and destruction as well as illegal collection for the pet trade. They’re highly susceptible to human activity and are often hit by cars and agricultural machinery. You can help these turtles by leaving them where you find them or helping them along in the direction they are already headed.