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 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 (235 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).




Is there any more!?


I argee.


Yes, the bill was introduced by state representative Chris Barker, a democrat from Craven County. Here are two newspaper articles about the box turtle becoming the state reptile:

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

Bond, Sharon. "Turtle Gets The Nod From State House." The Dispatch [Lexington, N.C.]. March 1, 1979. 12.

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


Is there any more website's about turtles (any kind of turtle).


Thanks for using NCpedia. Here is a link to some more information on the Eastern Box Turtle in NCpedia: Good luck in your turtle research!

Emily Horton, Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC


i love turtles!!!!!!! when i found out you couldnt puchase them in the state of NC i did 12 laps around my house screaming..... do you know why you cant purchase them in the state of NC?


probly because they r endangered.


The sale of turtles with shells smaller than four inches was banned by the federal goverment in 1975 because such turtles can spread the disease Salmonella to humans:

North Carolina banned the sale of all turtles in 1976 due to these concerns. Here are some links from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:

Mike Childs, Government and Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina


not helpful



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