Habitat & Range
The box turtle is a land species that inhabits open woodlands east of the Mississippi. They can also be found in wet meadows, pastures and floodplains. They range as far north as Maine and down to Florida.
Depending on sex and subspecies, box turtles range from 4 to 8 inches long. Their shell is variable in color and pattern but often brown with yellow or orange spots. Males can be distinguished from females by having bright red eyes and a slightly longer tail. The plastron is hinged in box turtles, meaning that they can pull their entire bodies inside their shell.
Box turtles are omnivores that feed on insects, worms, snails, flowers, fruits and berries.
Reproduction & Lifespan
Box turtles build their nests between May and July. This is where the female will lay her 3 to 8 eggs. The hatchlings emerge in August and September and may spend the winter in the nest. Females can store sperm and therefore can produce fertile eggs for several years after a single mating.
The lifespan of a box turtle can reach 80 years in captivity, but 25 to 30 years is typical in the wild.
Fantastic Fact Home Bodies
Box turtles inhabit very small areas. If food and water remain abundant, a box turtle may spend its entire life in an area no larger than a football field.
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