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What are some facts about box turtles?

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Quick Answer

There are six subspecies of box turtles found in the U.S. and Mexico. A distinctive feature all box turtles have is a bi-lobed, hinged plasteron that allows them to close their shell almost completely. Males are slightly larger than females. Box turtles prefer a body temperature range of between 84 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature in their environment affects their level of activity.

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Full Answer

In Northern climates, box turtles hibernate from October through April by burrowing as deep as 2 feet underground. The age of a box turtle can be approximated by counting the rings on its shell. Box turtles commonly live to be at least 30 years old. Their shells do not completely harden until about 7 years of age.

Box turtles are popular as pets because they are docile and almost never bite.

Female box turtles can store the sperm of male box turtles for up to four years, allowing them to lay eggs multiple times without having to mate again. Although they can lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetimes, only two or three of those offspring will survive to adulthood.

Box turtles can eat mushrooms that are poisonous to humans with no effects. There have been several instances of humans who were poisoned by eating the flesh of box turtles who had consumed such mushrooms, according to the Davidson College Biology Department.

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