In February 1995, a bill was introduced to name the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina) the official state reptile of Tennessee and the Tennessee cave salamander (Gyrinophilus palleucus) the official state amphibian of Tennessee.
These measures were supported by the Tennessee Conference on Herpetology whose "members worked hard to pass a bill naming the Tennessee Cave Salamander as our official State Amphibian, and the Eastern Box Turtle as our official State Reptile."
House Bill 1244 (H1244) was approved by the Tennessee House of Representatives on March 23, 1995 by a vote of 83-3. It was approved by the Senate on May 18, 1995 by a vote of 28-2. The legislation was signed by the Speaker of the House on May 22 and the Speaker of the Senate on May 24.
The eastern box turtle and the Tennessee cave salamander became Tennessee's official state reptile and amphibian, respectively, when Governor Don Sundquist signed HB1224 on May 30, 1995 with an effective date of June 12, 1995.
The following information was excerpted from the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, Section 4-1-321.
Title 4 State Government
Chapter 1 General Provisions
Part 3 State Symbols
Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-321 (2011)
4-1-321. State reptile.
The widespread eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina, is hereby designated as the official state reptile.
HISTORY: Acts 1995, ch. 367, § 2.
The State of Tennessee. Tennessee Code Annotated. Nashville: The State of Tennessee, 2011. Web. 18 Aug 2011.
"Tennessee Blue Book 2009-2010." Tennessee Department of State. The State of Tennessee, 2010. Web. 11 Sep 2011.
"Introduction." The Tennessee Herpetological Society. The Tennessee Herpetological Society, 2010. Web. 11 Sep 2011.
"Web Portal - CNAH The Center for North American Herpetology." The Center for North American Herpetology. The Center for North American Herpetology, 2010. Web. 11 Sep 2011.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.
Terrapene carolina (box turtle): The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web.
Terrapene carolina Photographs: CalPhotos, a project of the Biodiversity Sciences Technology group (BSCIT), part of the Berkeley Natural History Museums at University of California, Berkeley.
Terrapene carolina - (Linnaeus, 1758): Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C..
Terrapene carolina - (Linnaeus, 1758) Eastern Box Turtle: NatureServe Explorer.
State Reptiles: Complete list of official state reptiles.
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Tennessee state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.
Box Turtle at Silver Pond Lane (Smithsonian's Backyard),
by Susan Korman. 32 pages. Publisher: Soundprint Publishers; Micro (small) hardcover book edition (February 1, 2001) Reading level: Ages 4 and up. A day in the life of a female box turtle includes searching for food, withstanding threats from a raccoon and a car, and laying her eggs. Attractive oil paintings effectively portray her environment with a dark palette of greens, blues, and browns. The author is careful to avoid personification in this snapshot of one turtle. The book is similar to William T. George's highly acclaimed Box Turtle at Long Pond.--Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ.
at Long Pond
William T. George
Box Turtle at Long Pond, by William T. George. Illustrated by Lindsay Barrett George. 32 pages. Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1st edition (September 28, 1989) Reading level: Ages 4 and up. It is dawn at Long Pond. Box Turtle's red eyes look out from his shelter within a crumbling tree, and his day begins ...
In Beaver at Long Pond, the Georges introduced the pond and its resident. In this lyrical, magnificently painted companion book, they insure its place as a favorite spot on every child's itinerary..
North American Box Turtles: A Natural History, by C. Kenneth Dodd Jr. 256 pages. Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (August 5, 2002) Once a familiar backyard visitor in many parts of the United States and Mexico, the box turtle is losing the battle against extinction. In North American Box Turtles, C. Kenneth Dodd, Jr., has written the first book-length natural history of the twelve species and subspecies of this endangered animal. This volume includes comprehensive information on the species’ evolution, behavior, courtship and reproduction, habitat use, diet, population structure, systematics, and disease. Special features include color photos of all species, subspecies, and their habitats; a simple identification guide to both living and fossil species; and a summary of information on fossil Terrapene and Native uses of box turtles. End-of-chapter sections highlight future research directions, including the need for long-term monitoring and observation of box turtles within their natural habitat and conservation applications. A glossary and a bibliography of literature on box turtles accompany the text.
All royalties from the sales of this volume will go to the Chelonian Research Foundation, a nonprofit foundation for the conservation of turtles.
Complete North American Box Turtle, A compilation of work by Carl Franklin and David Killpack with foreword by C. Kenneth Dodd Jr. 260 pages. ECO / Serpents Tale NHBD (July 1, 2009) With over 30 years of field experience this book is an amazing resource for anyone interested in the natural history and husbandry of North American Box turtles. Much of Carl’s field work has been focused on Mexican box turtle species. Over 300 full color photos/illustrations..
Turtles: The Animal Answer Guide, by Whit Gibbons and Judy Greene. 184 pages. Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press; First Trade edition (November 12, 2009) Ever wonder how many kinds of turtles there are? Or if they have teeth? Why so many turtles have yellow stripes on their neck? If it is wise to feed turtles in your neighborhood pond or lake? Whit Gibbons and Judy Greene, two internationally known turtle biologists, provide complete answers to the most frequently asked questions about the more than 300 turtle, tortoise, and terrapin species of the world.
Turtles of the United States and Canada, by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich. 840 pages. Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press; second edition edition (May 12, 2009) Ernst and Lovich's thoroughly revised edition of this classic reference provides the most updated information ever assembled on the natural histories of North American turtles.
Each species account contains information on identification, genetics, fossil record, distribution, geographic variation, habitat, behavior, reproduction, biology, growth and longevity, food habits, populations, predators, and conservation status. The book includes range maps for freshwater and terrestrial species, a glossary of scientific names, an extensive bibliography for further research, and an index to scientific and common names.
Box Turtle Rubber Stamp, by Rubber Hedge Hog Rubber Stamps. Approximate Image Size: 1 1/2" x 2 1/4". This is a deeply etched, finely detailed rubber stamp mounted on high quality white maple wood block with hourglass sides.
Made in the United States of America with the highest Quality Materials and Workmanship.