Shell Shock: South Asian Box Turtle

Thousands of south Asian box turtles are hunted every year in Southern Asia to meet huge demand for food and the international pet trade, as well as for prized ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine. The wild population now risks extinction, worsened by their slow reproduction that cannot replace those being taken fast enough.

Many other Asian turtles are facing a similar fate. Over half of the endemic species in now critically endangered or vulnerable. Local conservation projects are trying to help, together with awareness and action campaigns such as Shell-Shock in 2004-5. These programmes include finding sustainable alternatives, funding conservation, and discouraging people from buying shell products or medicines with turtle parts.

Our chelonian residents

Our South Asian box turtle is a new arrival to The Living Rainforest (via captive breeding). He joins a number of other turtles, tortuous, and terrapins, each with their own story. They include:

Red-eared terrapin/slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) from America. These are often kept as pets in the UK, but have escaped and are now living wild where have impacted upon insect populations and aquatic life, such as ducks.

Toad-headed Turtles (Phrynops geoffroanus) from South American. These are risk from changes to the Amazon River.

Homes Hingeback Tortoises (Kinixys homeana); a beautiful, but vulnerable species from central and west Africa.

6 comments on 'Shell Shock: South Asian Box Turtle'

  1. daniel says:

    that was awesome information and im gonna come and see these animals =)

  2. kiya says:

    hello, my friends birthday is coming up and she absolutely loves turtles, i was wondering whether the south asian box turtle was available for gift adoption?

  3. Karl Hansen says:

    Hi Kiya – you can find the list of animals for adoption here – http://www.livingrainforest.org/support-projects/adopt-an-animal/ – i hope you find one you like – many thanks!

  4. Netta says:

    Thank you so much! You helped me with my homework

  5. colin says:

    Thank you so much! You helped me with my homework

    hello, my friends birthday is coming up and she absolutely loves turtles, i was wondering whether the south asian box turtle was available for gift adoption?

  6. Karl Hansen says:

    Sorry Colin – adoptions are only available for the animals listed on our adoption page!

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At a glance

Habitat

Warm water in swamps, streams, and rice paddy fields in Southern Asia

Diet

Very broad, including aquatic plants, crustaceans, soft invertebrates, mollusks, fallen fruits

Size

Up to 20cm (8’’)

IUCN conservation status

Endangered in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao, Viet Nam. Vulnerable in India, Indonesia, and Malaysia
What does this mean?

Scientific name

Cuora amboinensis (distribution includes four sub-species)

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