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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.

Animal class

Reptile

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.

Habitat

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

Population

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

Diet

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

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