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Eastern Box Turtles

Scientific Name: Terrapene carolina

Species Ambassadors:


Our female Eastern Box Turtle came to us in 1992.  She was hit by a car which left her with a stub for a left front leg.  Without all of her limbs, Boxanne would not be able to bury herself in order to successfully hibernate through the winter.


Our male Eastern Box Turtle was brought in to Blandford Nature Center in 2005. He was found in Grand Rapids. He is missing part of both his back legs and one eye, most likely due to an attack by a predator. Brutus would not be able to properly bury himself for hibernation in the wild. 

Status of Eastern Box Turtles in Michigan

Eastern Box Turtles are protected by Michigan law as a species of special concern.


Eastern Box Turtles prefer deciduous or mixed woodlands with sandy soils and access to water.


Eastern Box Turtles eat earthworms, insects, slugs, snails, mushrooms, berries, and leafy greens.  Young turtles (5-6 years old) eat only meat while adults eat both meat and vegetation.

Importance of Eastern Box Turtles in Our Ecosystems

This species helps keep insect populations in check and helps to disperse seeds of the berries that they eat.

Threats to Eastern Box Turtles

Eastern Box Turtle populations are declining rapidly due to habitat loss, collecting for pets, and road mortality.

How We Can Help Eastern Box Turtles

-Leave these turtles in the wild where they belong.  It is against the law to keep Box Turtles!        Report any illegal harm or collection of turtles by contacting the Michigan Natural Features        Inventory at 517-373-1552.

-Be aware of Box Turtles that may be crossing busy roads.

Interesting Facts

-Eastern Box Turtles have a plastral hinge (the front part of the shell on their belly) that allows the box turtle to stick his legs and head into the shell and fold up shut, like a box.

-Eastern Box Turtles can live over 100 years!

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