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Common box turtle

Terrapene carolina

Common box turtle

Box turtles have a brown shell with orange or yellow patterns.  When frightened, box turtles retract their head, tail and limbs into their shell and clamp it shut.  They wait in this position until the threat is gone.  This defence technique means that very few species can effectively prey on adult box turtles.

Animal class

Forest and near water

Diet - Omnivore
Box turtles eat insects, berries, slugs, worms, fish, frogs, rodents, birds and eggs.

The average box turtle can measure up to 30.4 centimetres and can weigh up to 12 kilograms.

Box turtles are found in the eastern United States and eastern Mexico.

Conservation status
The IUCN believes the box turtle is facing a risk of extinction in the future. They are listed under Appendix II of CITES.

Habitat destruction is the biggest threat facing the box turtle population. They are often killed on roads and highways and are also threatened by the pet trade.

Current population
There are fewer than 10,000 box turtles in the wild.

Zoo population
There are 960 box turtles living in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

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