ISSN 2398-2985  

Box turtle

Jreptile
Contributor(s):

Synonym(s): Box tortoise, Terrapene carolina


Introduction

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia.
  • Phylum: Chordata.
  • Class: Reptilia.
  • Order: Testudines.
  • Suborder: Cryptodira.
  • Family: Emydidae.
  • Genus: Terrapene.
  • Species: carolina, carolina carolina, carolina bauri, carolina major, carolina triunguis, carolina mexicana, carolina yucatana, carolina coahulia, nelsoni, nelsoni klauberi, nelsoni nelsoni, ornata, ornata ornata, ornata luteola.

Distribution and habitat

  • Native to North America.
  • Common box turtle (Terrapene carolina): most widely distributed species, found in the United States and Mexico.
  • Ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata):
    • Found in the southern United States.
    • Found mainly in grasslands.
  • Coahuilan box turtle (Terrapene coahuila):
    • Only found in Mexico.
    • Found in marshes, cacti, and places with a constant supply of water.
  • Spotted box turtle (Terrapene Nelsoni): only found in Mexico.
  • Before hibernation, all species will move into woodland.
  • Most individuals will not move far from their original home.

Species status

  • Common predators include raccoons, foxes, possums, dogs, skunks, rodents, minks, birds and snakes.
  • Coahuilan box turtle: listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • Common box turtle: listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
  • Ornate box turtle: listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List.

Life span

  • In the wild, 50+ years.
  • In captivity, 20-50 years.

Diet

  • Omnivorous.
  • They will usually eat anything they can find Chelonia nutrition.
  • Common foods include; insects, worms, fruits, vegetation.
  • Diet should be around 60-80% vegetables, 10-20% fruits, and 10% insects.

Variations

  • Multiple species/variations are currently recognized, including 4 main species:
    • Common box turtle (Terrapene carolina).
    • Coahuilan box turtle (Terrapene Coahuila).
    • Spotted box turtle (Terrapene Nelsoni).
    • Ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornate ornate).

Breeding

  • Females lay clutch sizes of between 1-7 eggs.
  • Females can lay more than one clutch per year Chelonia reproduction.
  • Breeding season is usually spring/early summer, but is species dependent.

As pets

  • If they are purchased as pets, it is recommended to avoid purchasing them in winter and fall, as this is their usual hibernation period.
  • The care of each turtle is species dependent, so research is advised.

Biological Data

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Box turtles (2018) Box Turtles. Website: www.boxturtles.com. Last accessed 2nd March 2018.
  • The spruce (2017) Box Turtles. Website: www.thespruce.com. Last accessed 2nd March 2018.
  • The superfins (2017) How Big will a Box Turtle Grow? Website: www.thesuperfins.com. Last accessed 2nd March 2018.
  • Girling S (2013) Common Reptile and Amphibian Diseases. In: Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Pets. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell, UK. pp 297-313.
  • Pollock C (2013) Box Turtle Care of. Website: https://lafeber.com. Last accessed 15th June 2018 .
  • Pollock C (2012) Basic Information Sheet: Box Turtle. Website: https://lafeber.com. Last accessed 15th June 2018.
  • van Dijk P P (2011) Terrapene carolina (errata version published in 2016). In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Website: www.iucnredlist.org. Last accessed 15th June 2018.
  • van Dijk P P & Hammerson G A (2011) Terrapene ornata (errata version published in 2016). In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Website: www.iucnredlist.org. Last accessed 15th June 2018.
  • Axelson R (2009) Turtles - Box - Diseases. Website: www.vcahospitals.com. Last accessed 2nd March 2018.
  • Vitt L & Caldwell J (2009) Classification and Diversity. In: Herpetology An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd edn. Elsevier, UK. pp 498-500.
  • van Dijk P P, Flores-Villela O & Howeth J (2007) Terrapene coahuila (errata version published in 2016). In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Website: www.iucnredlist.org. Last accessed 15th June 2018.
  • Klingenberg R, Barnett S & Whitaker B R (2005) Box Turtles. In: Unusual Pet Care Volume 1. Ed: Fisher P. Zoological Education Network Limited, USA. pp 2-8.
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Kingdom for Scientific Name containing 'terrapene'. Website: www.itis.gov. Last accessed 15th June 2018.
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