Haw River State Park: Eastern Box Turtle
Have you ever seen an eastern box turtle? At Haw River State Park, rangers track these turtles using radio telemetry, a combination of devices and radio signals to find the location of various animals, including the box turtle. Park rangers and scientists can collect data about how box turtle move and interact with their environment. Scientists observe lower numbers of box turtles where there is dense human development — like roads and houses — and where there are few natural areas. Data from radio telemetry helps scientists learn how people can protect box turtle populations.
We can find eastern box turtles throughout most of North Carolina in variety of habitats, from forests to meadows, and even suburban backyards. Eastern box turtles have a small home range — where they spend almost their entire life. Home ranges can vary in size from 2.5 acres to 12 acres — or sometimes smaller than two soccer fields. These home ranges provide the turtle with all their food, water, and shelter. They know their home range the way we know our home.
Eastern box turtles are omnivores — they eat a wide variety of both plants and animals. They will eat fruits, berries, grasses, flowering plants, mushrooms, earthworms, insects, spiders, snails, and slugs. Eastern box turtles will readily eat what is available. Being an omnivore is an advantage, these turtles are not stuck looking for one species of plant or animal.