Eastern Box Turtle: Bao
Brought to Sharon Audubon Center: January 2008
History: Bao, whose name means precious treasure in Chinese, came to the Sharon Audubon Center from another wildlife rehabilitation center. Bao sustained traumatic shell injuries from an animal attack, most likely a dog. His injuries were so severe; the shell was missing in many areas down to the muscle. He is non-releasable because such a large area of carapace is missing and he is unable to retreat into his shell for protection. Bao now lives comfortably with our Wood Turtle and Red-eared Pond Slider in the Visitor Center's Exhibit Room.
Eastern Box Turtle: Junior
Brought to Sharon Audubon Center: September 27, 2009
History: Junior was one of two Box Turtles admitted into the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic. A woman had found the turtles in her yard and decided to illegally keep them as pets. After 3 years in captivity, one of the two turtles became ill. It was suffering from severe malnutrition and parasite infestations, and unfortunately, died a day later at the veterinarian’s office. Junior was the healthier of the two and with some medications and TLC he came around. Since he was taken from the wild as a hatchling, he did not establish a home range and would not fare well in the wild. He was not exposed to a wild Box Turtle's diet and was unafraid of people and possible predators. It is also unacceptable to release an animal like this back into the wild for fear of introducing diseases to a wild population. Because of this, Junior will spend the rest of his life in captivity. He now lives in the large turtle enclosure in the exhibit room with Bao, a Wood Turtle, and Red-eared Slider. In Connecticut, as well as many other states, it is illegal to collect Box Turtles from the wild.
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)
Did you know? Box turtles are called so because of the hinge on the bottom of their shell, which allows the turtle to hide its head and legs entirely inside the shell and then close into a tightly-sealed "box," protecting itself from predators. Box turtles are found only in North America.
Description: This turtle has a high domelike shell, which varies considerably in color from brown and black, yellow, or orange. Males have red eyes and a concave plastron (bottom shell) while females have brown eyes and a flat or convex plastron. There are four toes on each hind foot. Box turtles have very strong legs and are capable of climbing over rocks and small logs.
Size: 5 - 6 inches long
Range: Eastern Box Turtles can be found up and down the East Coast from New Hampshire to Georgia and west into Michigan, Illinois, and Tennessee. The Eastern Box Turtle is listed as a Species of Special Concern in Connecticut.
Habitat: These terrestrial turtles spend most of their time on land, but are able to swim and can be found in the mud or small streams, especially in hot weather.
Diet: Box turtles are omnivorous, meaning they eat a variety of plants and animals from algae, moss, grasses, willow leaves, strawberries, and raspberries, to insects, mollusks, earthworms, tadpoles, and other carrion. They do not have teeth, but the top jaw curves down toward the bottom jaw forming a "beak," which is used to pull up grasses and other foods.