Testudines Terrapene carolina -- Eastern Box Turtle
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Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan)
shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified
sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only
NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.
Key Characteristics: Keeled, high-domed carapace; hinged plastron lacking discrete pattern of light lines.
Similar Species: Ornate box turtle, Blanding's turtle.
Subspecies: Eastern box turtle, T. c. carolina.
Description: Small (up to 15 cm CL) turtle with highly variable carapace pattern of yellow or orange markings on dark background. Plastron tan or brown. Well-developed plastral hinge separates pectoral and abdominal scutes and allows shell to be closed completely. Male differs from female by having concave plastron and red rather than brown eyes. Carapace of hatchling round, brown, with pronounced keel and one yellow spot on each pleural and vertebral scute; plastron with dark central figure bordered by yellow.
Habitat: Forests and forest edges.
Natural History: Forages for berries, fungi, and a variety of invertebrates (earthworms, snails, slugs, insects). Two clutches of 3-8 ellipsoidal eggs (ca. 33 x 20 mm) are usually laid in June. Hibernates in late October or early November by burrowing into loose soil or pond bottom.
Status: Introduced by humans in urban areas throughout the state. Regularly seen in intact forests of southern half of state.