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Asian Box Turtle

Cuora flavomarginata

  • Family: Geoemydidae
  • Adult Size: Females, the larger and more robust of the sexes, attain a length of 6 3/4 inches. Hatchlings are about 1 1/2 inches long.
  • Range: The Chinese mainland, Taiwan and the Ryukyus.
  • Habitat: Woodlands and bushlands along Yangtze River drainage areas.
  • Captive Lifespan: More than 20 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Beginner

Overview

This Asian box turtle has a highly domed, somewhat elongate carapace and a strongly hinged plastron. The carapace is dark brown, and most specimens bear a yellow vertebral stripe or spot on each vertebral scute. The growth rings (annuli) are usually quite distinct and the central areolae may be yellowish (the carapace of the young turtles is actually quite rough). The plastron is black rimmed with yellow. The head is grayish on top, and the face is pinkish tan to peach. A broad butter-yellow to bright greenish yellow stripe extends from each eye to the neck.

These turtles are very alert, and even after many years of captivity they will return quickly to the dry ground and seek shelter beneath overhanging grasses and other ground cover if disturbed.

At the advent of cold weather or during periods of drought, they burrow deeply enough to completely conceal themselves. Once burrowed in, they usually fail to respond to gentle lawn sprinklings or a brief shower, but will emerge and forage if the ground becomes saturated.

These beautiful box turtles eagerly accept worms and insects, but will also eat an occasional prekilled pinky mouse, trout chow, puppy chow, some berries, other fruits, squash and a little dark lettuce. They will eat both in and out of the water.

For more information, read our detailed asian box turtle care sheet.

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