Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina Carolina)

Athar was rehomed at RWS in early 2018 after being confiscated by the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office from an animal hoarding situation. Because turtles have extremely specific home territories and we had no idea where Athar’s was, it was not safe to release Athar out into the world. Additionally, Athar was extremely habituated to people. A turtle ready for release will typically hide in their shell when something large and scary looking (like a human) comes along. Athar wants nothing more than to say hello, so he has made a wonderful addition to an ambassador team.

Eastern box turtles get their name from a unique hinge on their plastron (the bottom of their shell). It allows them to entirely seal up their shell from curious predators.  While some folks might think that turtles can’t feel their shells, that’s not the case – their shell is very much a part of their skeletal system! Eastern box turtles range in color from bright oranges to dark browns and blacks. They use camouflage to blend into their environments. In the wintertime, box turtles will enter a hibernation-like state called “brumation.” They’ll often burrow deep into the ground and sleep until the spring brings many delicious foods like berries, leaves, bugs, and even small mammals like mice. Yum!

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