10 Fascinating Facts Regarding Eastern Box Turtles

10 Fascinating Facts Regarding Eastern Box Turtles

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Eastern Box Turtles are among North America’s most common turtles. They are also one of the slowest breeding species on Earth and do not reach sexual maturity until about ten. This article will discuss the 10 Fascinating Facts Regarding Eastern Box Turtles. 

1. The Box Turtles Live at least 40 years.

Due to their slow metabolisms, Box Turtles have the potential to live to be over 40 years old. They attain maturity at four and a half years and live mainly in the tropics. These turtles reach their full size when they are about 20. Out in the wild, these turtles typically live their entire lives in the forest and rarely come out into dryer areas. 

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2. They Have a Thick Shell

Box Turtle shells can be as thick as 9 to 15 inches. Their bodies are dense because they are designed to withstand the exceptionally high impact they absorb during their interactions with the wildlife. Trees are not the only things that forage these turtles. Due to their meaty flesh, Box Turtles are hunted by various animals, including raccoons, foxes, and rats. The thick shell protects them from getting injured from any attacks by these animals.

3. They share territories and rarely fight.

These turtles are not territorial and will not fight with another turtle in the same area. They are also very social creatures. They often live in pairs or colonies of multiple turtles together. You will likely find three or four turtles sharing a single den. You can find a spat between males during mating season, but it is not as common between males or females. 

4. They are very slow breeders.

These turtles can take up to 10 years to reach sexual maturity! They are also very slow breeders, with an average of two eggs laid at a time. The eggs take 4-5 months to be laid, and only 1 out of every 1000 eggs will reach adulthood. 

They are one of the six subspecies of typical box turtles
Eastern box turtles are one of the six subspecies of usual box turtles. The other five subspecies are Cumberland, Florida, three-toed, Gulf Coast, and ornate. The Florida Box Turtle is the only subspecies that is not considered endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The female eastern box turtles can release fertilized eggs for years after mating.
This is one of the wildest facts about these turtles. Female box turtles can lay eggs after mating every year. This means these turtles can lay eggs for several years after mating with a male. They can store sperm in their oviducts for several years, and this sperm will fertilize their eggs when released. They lay two to eight eggs in a year. 

5. The Males have Red eyes.

The Eastern box turtles have red eyes, which are very unusual in box turtles. These eyes have a reflective property, making it possible for males and females to see each other. Females have the same dark color of red eyes as males. This colour red is a result of carotenoid pigments that are present in the retina. 

eastern box turtle

6. They Get Their Shell Colors from their Diet

Each Box Turtle has their unique color of the leather. While they live in the forest, they feed on insects, worms, and other animals. The color leather of their shell will also reflect the color of the animals they eat. Most males have a brown carapace, while females have yellowish-tan or greenish-yellow tones. 

7. They are herbivores and prefer eating plants.

These turtles are herbivorous and therefore have diets dependent on plants alone. They spend most of their time grazing in vegetation throughout the day. They have a diet composed of more than 65% plant-based materials. The rest of their diet is composed of other animals and insects. They are also known to eat carcasses, small snakes, and lizard eggs in their natural environments.

8. Their shells can Regenerate

The shell of these turtles is persistent and can regenerate from the inside out. This means that if a portion of their shell gets broken, their body will have the ability to heal this small cut and make a new outer layer for that part of their shell. This helps them survive because they can be injured without having to leave their home in the forest. 

9. They have a perfect sense of smell.

The Eastern box turtles can sense smells and will go towards them as soon as they smell them. They are susceptible to their habitat and can tell whether there is a carnivore, bird, or human nearby by their smell. Their sense of smell is very developed, which is one of the best ways to recognize their environment. 

eastern box turtle protection

10. They have more toes in front than in the back.

Another fascinating fact about the Eastern box turtles is that they have more toes in front than in the back. This is because they always use their back feet to help them swim. Their long tails help them balance when swimming, and the extra toes can be used to push off the water or walk on land when necessary. 

They Live in Dens and do not leave their home spot at any time of day.
The eastern box turtles re-group at night and sleep and eat together during this time. Their diet comprises a wide variety of food, including red worms, cricket frogs, and other insects. They can also be found in areas where they feed on tadpoles or salamanders. The Eastern box turtles are very social in the wilderness and often live in colonies of many turtles. They will travel at night to find better food sources when needed.


As you can see, there are many different facts that one needs to know about the eastern box turtle. These turtles are one of the fascinating creatures on Earth. Their behavior is one of a kind, and they can also be trained to live with humans in captivity. 

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