Box turtles live on land. The bottom shell is hinged, allowing them to close up like a box when threatened. Lifespans of 30-40 years are common and some live to be over one hundred years of age. Female box turtles can store sperm for up to six years, fertilizing and laying their eggs at will.
They eat a wide variety of food, including plants (mosses, grasses, and berries, such as blackberries
and prickly pears
), insects, carrion, and dung.
Box turtles belong to the pond and marsh turtles family Emydidae
which comprise the largest family of living turtles, including diamondback terrapins
, and cooters and sliders
Florida Box Turtle photographs
The Florida Box Turtle
, Terrapene carolina bauri
, is found in woods, fields, and gardens throughout the state. It has bright yellow radiating bands on its narrow, domed shell and two yellow stripes on each side of its head. It grows to 6.5".
The Eastern Box Turtle
, Terrapene carolina carolina
, is found in extreme north Florida. Its shell color varies. It usually has four toes on each hind foot.
The Gulf Coast Box Turtle
, Terrapene carolina major
, is found in moist woodlands in Gulf coastal areas. The shell is dark and may have orange or yellow markings. It is high-domed and flares outward at the back. It grows to a maximum length of 8.5".
The Three-toed Box Turtle
, Terrapene carolina triunguis
, is found in the northern panhandle. It is usually brown or olive and has three toes on each hind foot.
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