Eastern box turtles are only found along the eastern side of North America. They live near streams and ponds in the woodlands and marshy meadows. To hide from danger, box turtles have a hinged shell into which they retreat before clamping it shut. This regenerating body armour is incredibly effective at keeping out even the most determined of predators. Nest temperature plays a crucial role in determining whether the young are male (below 27 centigrade) or female (above 27 degrees).
Scientific name: Terrapene carolina
Common box turtle
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The Eastern box turtle can be found in a number of locations including: North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Eastern box turtle distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Year assessed: 1996
Classified by: IUCN 2.3
The common box turtle (Terrapene carolina) is a species of box turtle with six existing subspecies. It is found throughout the eastern United States and Mexico. The box turtle has a distinctive hinged lowered shell (the box) that allows it to completely enclose itself. Its upper jaw is long and curved.
The turtle is primarily terrestrial and eats a wide variety of plants and animals. The females lay their eggs in the summer. Turtles in the northern part of their range hibernate over the winter.
Common box turtle numbers are declining because of habitat loss, roadkill, and capture for the pet trade. The species is classified as Vulnerable to threats to its survival by the IUCN Red List. Three U.S. states name subspecies of the common box turtle as their official reptile.
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