Eastern Box Turtle

Terrapene carolina carolina

Eastern Box Turtle Eastern Box Turtle
Photo by Robert Rold Photography Photo by Eric Williams

Description:  The Eastern Box Turtle ranges in size from 4.5-6 inches.  Coloration of the carapace (upper shell) is usually dark brown with a yellow, orange or red pattern.  The carapace is normally keeled.  The plastron (lower shell) has a single hinge.  Males have a concave area towards the rear of the plastron and usually have a red iris.  The female's plastron is slightly convex or flat and they usually have a brown iris.

Habitat:  Found in a variety of habitats from old fields to woodlands.

Behavior:  The Eastern Box Turtle is the only terrestrial turtle in Kentucky.  They primarily stay on dry land, but are known to occasionally soak in water.  During periods of dry, hot weather, box turtles may bury themselves underground or in rotting wood.  They use these same places to spend the winter.  Box turtles feed on a variety of plant and animal matter including fruit, leaves, roots, insects and carrion.

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Daviess County Audubon Society