Eastern Box Turtle
Massachusetts Species of Special Concern

A box turtle will draw in its head and limbs and tightly close the shell when disturbed.

The eastern box turtle has a small (4.5-6), highly domed carapace and a plastron that is hinged across the front and back, allowing the animal to clamp itself shut in an almost impenetrable package. Highly variable, the coloration of the carapace ranges from pale yellow-brown to almost black, with light yellow to orange blocky markings that may be so reduced as to look like polka dots. Males have a highly concave plastron and distinctive orange-red eyes, while females have a convex plastron and brown eyes.

A state-listed rare species, eastern box turtles are essentially terrestrial. However, they can be found in the habitat surrounding vernal pools, and have been known to travel through vernal pools and other wetlands, stopping to soak and feed.