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The Eastern Box Turtle
Woodland owners have the privilege of discovering the many fascinating animals that live here in the Midwest. One such species is the Eastern Box Turtle. Box turtles are categorized as the “Land Turtles.” They are commonly found throughout deciduous forests. The forest floors offer perfect moisture and provide good drainage in bottomland and foot-slope areas offering the best habitat. Box turtles are known to take baths in streams, ponds, and lakes. During the hot summer months, they often submerge in mud for days at a time in order to stay cool.
As opposed to the many neutral-colored animals, box turtles are known for their unique and colorful designs. The shell has a black background with random yellow-colored lines, spots, and blotches. The shells are made up of plates which continuously grow throughout the turtle’s life. Each year the plates grow a new layer or growth ring. It is common for a box turtle to live to be 25 to 30 years old, and can sometimes reach 40 to 50 years old.
A box turtle’s diet consist of earthworms, grubs, snails, fallen fruit, berries, and mushrooms. Because they are known to eat poisonous mushrooms, box turtles are not edible to humans. Box turtles live amongst down debris on the forest floor where food and cover is plentiful.