In the northern parts of its range (northeastern Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois), the eastern box turtle enters hibernation in late October or November and emerges in April. In Louisiana, Penn and Pottharst (1940, cited in Ernst and Barbour, 1972) found that T. c. major hibernated when temperatures fell below 65 degrees F. To hibernate, the box turtle burrows into loose soil and debris or mud of ponds or stream bottoms. Congdon et al. (1989) found a South Carolina population of box turtles to occupy relatively shallow burrows (less than 4 cm) compared with those occupied by box turtles in colder regions (up to 46 cm). Dolbeer (1971) found hibernacula of box turtles in Tennessee to be under 15.5 cm of leaf litter and 5.8 cm of soil on average. In southern states, during rainy and warm periods, box turtles may become active again (Dolbeer, 1971). In Florida, the box turtle may be active all year (Ernst and Barbour, 1972).
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