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Eastern box turtle

By MSA 2005 Map showing forests, open woodlands habitats in eastern United States


Class Reptilia
Order: Chelonia
Family: Emydidae
Genus and species: Terrapene carolina

The box turtle has a hinge on its lower shell that allows it to close its shell almost completely. This occurs in addition to pulling its head, legs and tail into the shell if it is confronted by danger.

In northern regions of the United States, box turtles hibernate from October or November until April. To do this, they burrow into loose earth or mud—sometimes alone and sometimes with other turtles.

Box turtles are mostly carnivorous as juveniles, but become mostly herbivorous as adults. They enjoy snails, insects, berries, fungi, slugs, worms, roots, flowers, fish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, birds, and eggs.

Female box turtles can lay fertile eggs for up to four years after one successful mating. The female generally digs a nest in the sand or soil, lays three to eight eggs, and then fills the hole. She can lay several clutches of eggs in one year.

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