Range: Found over wide range east of Central Texas to Carolinas and Florida.

Habitat: Open fields to heavily wooded areas, frequents farming areas.   Rarely found far from a source of fresh water. 

Natural Diet: Highly omnivorous, will eat most forms of invertebrates as well as vegetation. Also will eat carrion in the wild.

Diet at Rain Forest: Omnivorous diet, feeds more heavily on greens as a juvenile. 

Size: 5-7" carapace, Plastron is hinged on this turtle. Males have a tendency to be larger than females. males have a concave plastron.

RainForest Facts:  A genuinely intelligent reptile, the box turtle is more closely related to land dwelling tortoises than aquatic turtles.  Spending the majority of it's time on dry land the box turtle will venture into shallow water to cool off on hot summer days or to seek prey items such as worms and other aquatic invertebrates. 

A turtles shell is made up of various plates, that form a protective outer housing.  The shell is generally classified as having two main parts, the carapace and the plastron.  The carapace is the top half of the shell while the plastron forms the bottom half of a turtles shell.  In the case of the box turtle the plastron is actually hinged, this allows the box turtle to literally enclose all soft parts of it's body in very think armor,  for this reason the box turtle has very few natural predators as an adult. 

Generally living to the ripe old age of 50-60 years these animals require several years to reach sexual maturity.   The longevity record for this species is well over 100 years.  Males can often be seen crossing the road in the spring and early summer months in search of a girlfriend!  It is this very wandering that The female box turtle has a surprisingly small home range, often not leaving an area of 100 square yards for years at a time.

Status in Wild: This once common animal is declining in all of it's natural range.  This turtle has been over collected for the pet trade as well as the victim of many automobile strikes.  Loss of habitat is playing a key roll in certain geographical areas, notably Florida.  The Florida sub-species of this turtle is in serious decline. 

 

 

 

 

RainForest Adventures zoo, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN