Know Your Michigan Turtles: Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Box Turtle, photo by Mark Swanson

It’s been a while since I posted a turtle pic, and while I have a couple more Michigan turtles left to profile, this photo caught my eye today. The Herping Michigan Blog page on the Eastern Box Turtle says (in part) that:

Of all Michigan turtles, the Eastern Box Turtle is by far the most charismatic. A Species of Special Concern in Michigan, this species has declined drastically from its former distribution in the state. Nest predation, habitat fragmentation, road mortality, and illegal collection are the catalysts for the decline of the Eastern Box Turtle. Today, populations persist in pockets where grassland and mature woodlands still exist without fragmentation. Michigan individuals are often brightly colored with yellow or orange and have much broader carapaces than individuals of the same species which exist farther south in the range. This summer, my internship has allowed me to get direct involvement with the study and management of this species through captive head starting programs and aiding in telemetry studies.

…Farther south in their range, Box Turtles are traditionally known as a woodland species. But in Michigan, they prefer a mosaic of community types. Michigan Turtles often are found along woodland edges in grasslands but they occasionally wander into wetlands such as fens. They are often found in some sort of cover and are rarely out in the open except after summer rainstorms.

Box Turtles have a wide diet which includes worms, insects, plants, berries, and fungi. In the late summer when wildberries fruit out and drop to the ground, Box Turtles can often be found concentrated under or around large berry patches. Sometimes the evidence of Box Turtles is hard to miss.

Click through for lots more from Herping Michigan including a bunch of photos of the Eastern Box Turtle in action!

View Mark’s photo bigger and see more in his Michigan – Color slideshow.

Lots more Michigan turtle goodness on one of Michigan in Pictures most popular posts: Know Your Michigan Turtles, where this post has now become the definitive Eastern Box Turtle entry.

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