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Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

Eastern Box TurtleNH Conservation Status: State endangered

 

State Rank Status: Status of box turtles in New Hampshire not known, no known populations.

 

Distribution: Reports received from southern New Hampshire.

 

Description: A small 4.5-7 inch turtle with a highly domed shell and variable patterning. Color patterns of the carapace typically consist of irregular yellow or orange markings over a brown or black base. The skin is uniformly dark with yellow or orange markings.

 

Commonly Confused Species: Blanding's turtle

 

Habitat: Terrestrial areas such as dry and moist woodlands, old fields, pastures, power-line corridors, and edges of marshes, bogs, and shallow streams. During hot weather, may rest in water or burrow under logs and moist vegetation.

 

Life History: During summer, excavates nests in loose, loamy soil in open areas such as hayfields, pastures, or roadsides. Hibernates under soil, decaying vegetation, or in mammal burrows.

 

Conservation Threats: Habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality, and collection for pets.

 

 

Eastern box turtle

Eastern box turtles are generally dark brown with various yellow and orange markings on the shell, neck, and limbs. Photo by Mike Marchand.

Box turtle

Box turtles eat a variety of foods including insects, carrion, fruits, and mushrooms.

Photo by Mike Marchand.

Box turtle

Box turtle plastron (lower shell) with hinge. Photo by Mike Marchand.Box turtle plastron (lower shell) with hinge. Photo by Mike Marchand.

Box turtle

Size and color comparison of an adult eastern box turtle (above) and adult Blanding’s turtle (below). Photo by Mike Marchand.