American Box Turtle or Terrapene carolina carolina

Julie Snoops & Colby Cook


Tristen belongs to the eastern box turtle family (terrapene carolina carolina) that is native to North America and more specifically to the northeastern United States. Forests provide an ideal home for this creature because of the moist subsoil and readily available water sources. Triste, our box turtle requires a shallow body of water in which he can soak. Water allows him to re-hydrate and to get rid of waste. Tristen would retreat to a hiding place such as a hollow log or a burrow when not foraging for food or bathing in a
puddle. These hiding places demonstrate the need of a specific microclimate for Tristen to live. Ideal living conditions require temperatures of 85-88 C by day and 70-75?C at night. These areas are often moist and have a relatively constant temperature, allowing the proper hydration to be maintained.

Another behavioral condition that Tristen undergoes is hibernation. Box turtles will hibernate for 2-3 months during the winter when in s difficult to maintain increased temperatures. These turtles will create a burrow that will sustain a temperature of 50-65?C through the duration of the winter.


While not in hibernation, Tristen is busy foraging for food. The box turtle is an omnivorous creature whosediet consists mainly of plant and insect matter. Broccoli, cantaloupe, berries, flowers, carrots, andlettuce are only some of the plant material that makes
up 90% of Tristen's diet. The other 10% of his dietcomes from animal proteins and consists of earthworms,slugs, crickets, and grasshoppers. Sights and smellsmotivate the feeding habits of Tristen and a colorful diet is often a result.


Reproduction and Longevity:

With a healthy diet, the box turtle can reach full sexual maturity and adult size in 4-6 years. Male turtles are most readily identifiable by their bright red irises and concave plastrons (bottom of the shell). Female box turtles have light brown irises and tend to be smaller. Under ideal circumstances, the North American box turtle can live for more than 100 years. However, this is usually not the case because of human encroachment and habitat destruction.