Did You Know?

(Fun Box Turtle Facts)

Box turtles posses a hinged plastron (bottom of the shell) and are capable of almost completely closing their shell, making them nearly impossible for most predators to eat.

The age of a box turtle can be approximated by counting the rings on the scutes (plates) of the turtle's carapace (top of the shell).

Although touching a box turtle's head is not recommended, they are generally quite docile and almost never bite.

Box turtle's shells are not completely hardened until they reach 7 years of age (1).

Box turtles commonly live to be 30 years old and can probably live much longer than that.

Female box turtles are capable of storing sperm from one mating for up to four years. This allows them to lay eggs for several seasons without mating.

Box Turtle predators include skunks, racoons, minks, dogs, racers, cottommouths, copperheads, and rodents, among others (2).

Box turtles are capable of eating many mushrooms that are poisonous to humans. In several cases people have been poisoned by eating the flesh of box turtles that had consumed such mushrooms.

In North America (including Mexico) there are 4 species and 11 subspecies of box turtles. These range from the almost totally aquatic Coahuilan Box Turtle to the Ornate Box Turtle that inhabits the arid prairies of the American southwest

Female box turtles can lay hundreds of eggs throughout their life time, but only 2-3 of those offspring will survive to adulthood (1).

Box turtles have a homing instinct that causes them to return to their place of birth, even if they have been moved (1).


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