Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Eastern box turtles enjoy a varied diet, taking advantage of whatever might become available. They love flowers and seem to be especially attracted to orange and red ones and also to red fruits, such as strawberries. They eat lots of mushrooms, even ones poisonous to humans. Earthworms, slugs, snails, and whatever insects come their way are readily taken. Although short-legged and somewhat slow, a box turtle can spot a potential meal well ahead of it and will give chase to a passing insect or worm. Box turtles are also scavengers that will eat from any dead animal. Males and females seem to share a similar diet. When a box turtle encounters food, it sticks its neck out to get a better view, pokes at it, holds it down with its front legs then slowly, deliberately tears bites from the food with sharp, horny jaws. A turtle has no teeth, but it has a hard hooked bill that is somewhat similar to that of a bird. It swallows each bite whole, and like other reptiles and birds, eats small rocks that help grind food within its stomach.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.