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Common box turtle

Terrapene carolina

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 so they are completely enclosed in their shell.  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. The average box turtle can measure up to 30.4 centimetres

They are listed under Appendix II of CITES.

IUCN Status

The IUCN status of the common box turtle is vulnerable.

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Animal class


Conservation status

Box turtles are at risk of extinction in future, with habitat destruction their biggest threat. Many are often killed by traffic and they are also threatened by the pet trade.


Forest – found near water in the eastern United States and eastern Mexico.


There are fewer than 10,000 box turtles in the wild and the population is in decline.


Omnivore – eats insects, berries, slugs, worms, fish, frogs, rodents, birds and eggs.

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