Field Guide to Maryland's Turtles (Order Testudines)
Eastern Box Turtle
Terrapine c. carolina
Photo of Eastern Box Turtle courtesy of Scott A. Smith
4½ - 6 inches. Record - 7¾ inches.
- A high dome-like keeled carapace (top shell) of brown or black, with extremely variable yellow, orange or olive pattern of radiating lines, spots, bars or irregular blotches on each scute.
- Each scute has concentric growth rings, also giving the shell a sculpted appearance.
- The plastron (bottom shell) is strongly hinged (single) forming two movable lobes, the front lobe narrower.
- Four toes on each hind foot.
- Males have red eyes (usually but not always), while female’s eyes are yellowish brown.
Photo of Habitat for Eastern Box Turtle
courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
A terrestrial species, commonly encountered in rich, open woodlands and
riparian forests, but
may also be found in pastures and wet meadows, and during hot weather may be
found soaking in shallow
waters and mucks of various wetland types or under leaf litter.
How to Find
Commonly found during the day crossing roads between forest and wetland
habitats in spring
and summer. Search in moist open woodlands, grassy fields and wetland edges.
Active early April to
Distribution in Maryland
Found throughout Maryland.
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
To see older newsletters, please visit the MARA Resource Page.
The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.