State Reptile: Turtle

by Steven Case, 2007; Kelly Agan, 2016
NC Government & Heritage Library.

See also: Eastern Box Turtle; NCpedia State Reptile activity sheet

Eastern box turtle, image from NC Wildlife Resources Commission. The General Assembly of 1979 designated the box turtle (Terrapene carolina) as the official State Reptile for North Carolina. (Session Laws, 1979, c. 154).

§ 145-9.  State reptile.

The turtle is adopted as the official State reptile of the State of North Carolina, and the eastern box turtle is designated as the emblem representing the turtles inhabiting North Carolina. (1979, c. 154, s. 1.)

In the preamble to the bill, the General Assembly listed a number of qualities of the Box Turtle that led to its adoption as the emblem of the state's reptile populations:

"Whereas, the turtle is a most useful creature who serves to control harmful and
pestiferous insects, and acts as one of nature's clean-up crew, helping to preserve the purity and
beauty of our waters; and

Whereas, the turtle is derided by some who have missed the finer things of life, but
in some species has provided food that is a gourmet's delight; and

Whereas, the turtle, which at a superficial glance appears to be a mundane and
uninteresting creature, is actually a most fascinating creature, ranging from species well
adapted to modern conditions to species which have existed virtually unchanged since
prehistoric times; and

Whereas, the turtle watches undisturbed as countless generations of faster hares run
by to quick oblivion, and is thus a model of patience for mankind, and a symbol of this State's
unrelenting pursuit of great and lofty goals; and

Whereas, the woodlands, marshes, and inland and coastal waters of North Carolina
are the abode of many species of turtles; Now, therefore. . ."

More information about the Eastern Box Turtle is available in the Eastern Box Turtle article from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Average: 4.1 (239 votes)

Additional Resources:

Associated Press. "Turtle wins final approval as state reptile." Wilmington Morning Star. March 17, 1979. 7-C. (accessed October 7, 2013).

Bond, Sharon. "Turtle Gets The Nod From State House." The Dispatch [Lexington, N.C.]. March 1, 1979. 12. (accessed October 7, 2013).

Harden, Leigh Anne. "Meet our State Reptile, the Eastern Box Turtle." North Carolina Herpetological Society. 2006. (accessed October 28, 2014).




Hi Rainbowdash,

The legislature designated the box turtle as the state reptile in 1979.  You'll see it above in the articles text.

Thanks for asking!

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Need more info


you guys have to click the picture and then it gives you more facts.


I agree with whoever this person I'm talking to




Hello, the turtle has good Facts in all but Not enough. Can i have more facts...?


I have been doing a report but you guys don't have enough facts. Come on, ncpedia I know you can do better


If you have a specific question, let us know. 

Good luck in your research!

Michelle Underhill, Digital Information Management Program, NC Government & Heritage Library


Click Eastern Box Turtle to go to our other article on the subject. It has more information.

T. Mike Childs, NCpedia, N.C. Government & Heritage Library.


2 facts is the most I can put on my project

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