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Eastern Box Turtle

Tennessee State Reptile

Eastern box turtle; photo by Lee D. Baker on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution).

Official State Reptile of Tennessee

The Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) was designated the official state reptile of Tennessee in 1995 (also the reptile symbol of North Carolina). All State Reptiles

Eastern Box Turtle Facts

Found along the entire east coast of the United States (and inland as far as Michigan, Kansas, and Texas), the eastern box turtle is listed as "near threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and should be protected to avoid further population decline. It's name was inspired by the box turtle's ability to retract its head and legs into its shell and clamp it shut, creating a protective "box."

Eastern box turtles are omnivorous, with a varied diet of plants, roots, fish, snails, berries, fungi, and even small birds and snakes. Eastern box turtles can live to be over 100 years old and do not venture far from their place of birth (30 - 60 years is the average lifespan in the wild).