Box Turtles


Have you ever wondered why box turtles are called box turtles?  They have a special adaptation that lets them close up their shell like a box.  When box turtles feel threatened, they cannot run away effectively.  Their large shell is heavy and their legs are short.  Instead, they retreat inside their shell, tucking in their head, tail, and legs.  Their plastron (bottom shell) has a hinge so they can shut the doors against their predator.  Even the infamously dexterous paws of raccoons can’t penetrate this defense!  They patiently wait inside their shell until the predator gives up.

This wild box turtle opens his plastron a bit so he can check his surroundings.