Box Turtle

By William T. Hathaway

Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina)

The Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina) is about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide with variable orange-yellow markings on a brown carapace. Adult females have yellow or brown eyes that are in contrast to the usual red eyes of the males.

Females are somewhat flat on the undersides; males have concave bottoms.

Young box turtles eat mushrooms, insects, worms and all sorts of small animal matter. Adults normally prefer plant matter. Females bury eggs by digging a cavity in sandy, loamy soil with their back legs. Eggs incubate in about three months, but this is variable according to soil temperature and moisture. It is known that sex determination (whether offspring will be male or female) is related to soil temperature. Some box turtles are believed to have lived for more than 100 years.

(See also another article by this writer concerning the Eastern Box Turtle.)