Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina bauri)
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WHAT DOES A BOX TURTLE LOOK LIKE? Box turtles are the only turtles with hinges on the bottom of their shells. This means they can close up their shells if a dangerous animal comes by. They are only 6 inches long. Their brownish-green shells are tall, with yellow marks. If you see a box turtle with red eyes, it’s always a boy. Box turtles usually live 35 years, but some have lived to be over 100 years old.

HOW CAN YOU SEE A BOX TURTLE? They like to live in wet areas near a forest. A good time to look for box turtles is in the morning or after it has been raining. Even though they are not as dangerous as snapping turtles, box turtles (and all animals) will bite you if they are scared. Since they are only 6 inches long, you look like a giant to them, a scary giant. Be careful! Turtle bites hurt! All wild animals are happiest in their wild homes. If you see a box turtle, watch him for a while, and let him stay in the wild where he belongs. If you touch a turtle, remember to wash your hands afterwards. They have a germ called salmonella. If you catch it, it will make you throw up and be really sick.

WHAT DO BOX TURTLES EAT? They like to eat earthworms, strawberries, and poisonous mushrooms. These mushrooms don’t hurt the turtles, but they can kill people! Never eat a wild mushroom or plant! Just because an animal is eating something doesn’t mean it’s safe for you!

RESOURCES:

Behler, John L. And F. Wayne King. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1992.

Conant, Roger and Joseph Williams. Reptiles and Amphibians. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1991.

Provided by the E. Dale Joyner Nature Preserve at Pelotes Island

JEA ** St. Johns River Power Park** FPL

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