A box turtle is a type of turtle that has a hinge on its lower shell. The hinge allows it to go completely inside his/her shell. It is like they have their own “box” to go in.
There are a few of species of box turtles including: Eastern Box Turtle, Western Box Turtle, Three-toed Box Turtle. They are quite small, averaging size of 8″ in length. A key identifying characteristic is their high- domed carapace (upper shell). The bottom part of their shell (hinged plastron) can be completely closed as a defense against predators–hence their common name.
There are two species of box turtles found in the US. Box turtles have very long lives, some have been reported to live for 100 years. They are susceptible to human-induced problems and often have trouble reproducing.
The box turtle is a small, North-American land turtle with a domed shell that the turtle can use to cover it’s head and feet to escape predators. The live, on average, 40 years, though some can live much longer. They are omnivores, taking a mostly carnivorous diet until they reach maturity, where their diet becomes more herbavorous. They are often taken from the wild and kept as pets, yet they require complex care, and this is not always understood by the owner as many box turtles in captivity die prematurely of malnourishment.
The Southeast Asian Box Turtle and the Malayan Box Turtle populations are both declining due to illegal export. The turtle is valued for its meat and for use in Chinese medicines in many Asian countries, and for pets in the US, Europe, and Japan. Some pet stores opt out of selling box turtles, and some states in the US have made it illegal to sell them or to take them (i.e. the Eastern Box Turtle) out of the wild.
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