Wild Fact #143 – Always Protected – North American Box Turtle

North American Box Turtle

Photo by Jonathan Zander (Wikimedia)

Did You Know?

  • The North American Box Turtle has a domed shell, which is hinged at the bottom – This is very important for their protection (read below to find out why)
  • Although these turtles can be quite needy and complex, they have still become a popular animal in the pet trade industry
  • The diet of this Box Turtle is incredibly varied as they are known to eat anything they can catch (definitely not a picky eater)

A Protective Shell

So why is the placement of the shell hinge so important for the survival of the Box Turtle? Well my friends, since the hinge is placed at the bottom, the North American Box Turtle has the ability to hide inside of their shell. Okay, so you probably think I am wasting your time since almost all turtle can do this. Maybe so but not all turtles are able to completely seal off the shell from the outside world. That’s right, our featured reptile can essentially lock himself in his/her shell whenever they feel threatened (or at anytime, I guess). Believe it or not the shell of an adult Box Turtle is virtually impenetrable by any other animal (excluding humans and our crafty tools).North American Box Turtle

No Such Thing As Rotten Eggs?

When they aren’t playing hide ‘n’ seek, the North American Box Turtle will roam a wide variety of habitats from marsha to deserts looking for a tasty meal. As winter approaches they will usually go further into the forest where they will proceed to dig out the perfect sleeping chamber. Once the snow melts, the well-rested turtles will emerge just in time to start looking for an ideal mate. While the courtship displays by the males will differ depending on the sub-species, they typically involve circling, shoving and even biting. This sounds pretty aggressive to me and I do not recommend trying this approach to get the attention of the person you like (actually, I guarantee you will get their attention but it may not be good). This next statistic may be difficult to believe but I promise it is true! The female Box Turtle has the ability to lay fertile eggs…wait for it…up to 4 years after one successful mating. Is that not an impressive way to end today’s Wild Fact?

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