Terrapene carolina

Eastern Box Turtle

Terrapene carolina Terrapene carolina

Photos by D. McGraw.
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Distribution of T. carolina in Vermont

Distribution Map

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The Eastern Box Turtle has a highly domed carapace that is usually 4.5-6 inches long. The carapace is smooth on the posterior margin, but it does have a slight mid-dorsal keel. They are highly variable in pattern, but generally the shell has yellow and orange markings on a darker background and the head and the legs are mostly dark and mottled with yellow and orange. The males have orange or red eyes. The plastron is hinged on the anterior side of the bridge, which enables the plastron to bend and the turtle to completely enclose itself in its shell.

Native Box Turtles have four toes on their hind feet, distinguishing them from many of the released Box Turtles, which have three toes on their hind feet.


Eastern Box Turtles are entirely terrestial and are often in open woods and brushy fields.


Box Turtles in Vermont are generally assumed to be released pets, however a cluster of reports from the southern Connecticut River Valley suggest the possibility of a native population. No young or eggs have been reported. Therefore, this species is classed as hypothetical in the state. Please report all sightings of this species in Vermont. Take photos if possible.

More Info

Species summary written by Kaile Burgess.

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