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Eastern Box Turtle (female)

Terrapene carolina

Description:

Shell 12.5 cm (5 in) long x 10.5 cm (4.3 in) wide. You can tell it's a female because her eyes are brown (with a hint of orange), the bottom of her shell ("plastron") is flat, and the top of shell is a high dome. Males usually have red eyes, a slightly concave plastron, and a flatter shell shape. At 5" long, she's a mature adult, able to reproduce. (Box turtles don't reach sexual maturity until they're 7-10 years old. Box turtles have been known to live well beyond 50!). Since it's springtime and we had a rainstorm recently, she might have been looking for a place to lay her eggs, or just leaving a new nest. Males come out to look for females on rainy nights in spring. Notice the hinge on the plastron (shown in photos 4 and 5), which enables the turtle to close its shell completely, an ability unique to box turtles.

Habitat:

My backyard (suburban/semi-rural area). Found walking along in the grass, towards the woods.

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Mandy Hollman
Spotted by
Mandy Hollman

Georgia, USA

Spotted on Apr 5, 2012
Submitted on Apr 5, 2012

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