The Florida Box Turtle ( (Terrapena Carolina bauri) which my hiking group found as we were walking through the Caracara Prairie Preserve has the ability to completely retract itself under its’ shell to protect itself from predators. Someone found this Box Turtle off the walking path probably under some leaves or a log which these turtles use for shelter and habitat on hot days in order to regulate their body temperature. Some turtles swim in stream and ponds on hot days but this species of turtles prefers moist areas like marshes, burrows in the ground in forested flatwoods and shady areas with lots of cover. The Caracara Prairie Preserve seems like an ideal habitat for the Florida Box Turtle because of its’ dry flatwood prairies and forests and wet marshes that make up most of the preserve. The turtle has a high back and shell that slopes off toward the edges and has colorful yellow and dark markings.
Their diet consists of insects, worms, snails, and vegetation which is plentiful in this habitat. I found out that these turtles can live up to 100 years. You can see pictures and learn more about Box Turtles at The Florida Museum of Natural History or the Smithsonian Reptile and Amphibian website. There is also a good website with specific information about the Florida Box Turtle and it’s care if you want to keep it as a pet at Austins’ Turtle Page.