Several long-term mark recapture studies have been conducted on box turtles (Terrapene c. carolina) providing valuable information on life span, basic demography, home range, and apparent effects of environmental changes on box turtle survival. One of the longest studied populations was first marked in 1942 on the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, and has been surveyed every 10 years until 1995. The age structure and gender ratio of these turtles in the field may support differential habitat use and survival estimates. A few of the turtles first marked during the 1945 study are still observed throughout the Center. Data collected from turtles marked in the more upland habitats during 1985-2002 indicate a younger age class distribution than that observed in the more protected biota of the bottomland floodplain study area. Extrapolating ages of turtles described in data collected throughout the long-term study, it was estimated that turtles, both males and females, can show reproduction-intent behaviors at ages greater than 54 years old. It is suggested that count data collection be continued on a more frequent cycle, extending over a larger part of the Center.
Additional publication details
The eastern box turtle at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 1940s to the present: another view