close print view
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)
Identification: The high, domed carapace is dark with a radiating
pattern of yellow or orange. Plastron with flexible hinge, allowing complete
shell closure. Head and legs with yellow markings. Male usually has red eyes and
Photos © Jim Harding
Adult carapace length: 4.5 to 7.8 inches (11.4 to 19.8 cm).
Habitat: Open woodlands and adjacent meadows, thickets, and gardens,
often near shallow ponds, swamps, or streams. Michigan's only truly terrestrial
Habits: Many Box turtles stay in a small home range (under five acres)
most of their lives; they routinely live for several decades, occasionally a
century or more. Food includes plants, berries, fungi, insects, worms, slugs,
Reproduction: Mating can occur spring through fall; female may remain
fertile for four years after mating. Three to 8 oval, soft shelled eggs are laid
in the ground in June; they hatch in 75 to 90 days.
Range and Status: Uncommon to rare in southern and western Lower
Peninsula. Declining due to habitat loss, collecting for pets, and road
mortality. Protected by Michigan law as a special concern species.
Related Documents> Eastern Box Turtle Occurrence Map - 112212 bytes