Eastern box turtle in exhibit

Eastern Box Turtle

Scientific Name

Terrapene carolina carolina






Eastern United States


Woodlands and residential areas

Estimated Wild Population

Less than 10,000
Eastern box turtle in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: VULNERABLE IUCN Conservation Status: VULNERABLE

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Physical Description

Eastern box turtles grow up to five inches long and weigh up to two pounds. Females are larger than males and have yellow-brown eyes; males have red eyes. Their carapace, or top shell, is brown with yellow markings while their plastron, or bottom shell, is lighter with a hinge one-third of the way back. They are generally omnivorous, preferring green vegetation, mushrooms, snails, earthworms, and grasshoppers. During winter, they burrow beneath the frost line and hibernate. Females lay their eggs in late spring through early summer.

Interesting Fact 1

Females can store sperm for up to four years and therefore do not mate every year.

Interesting Fact 2

Their neck vertebrae forms an “S” shape, allowing them to pull their head fully inside their shell.

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