Among these threatened species are the various Asian box turtles of the genus Cuora. As with their more well know American equivalents, the various box turtles placed in Terrapene, they have a flexible hinge on the plastron (the underside armour) which enables them to seal themselves completely inside their shell.. At present at least ten species have been described, many with several subspecies, and the range of the genus extends from India across Malaysia and north into Vietnam and southern China.
As with most semi-aquatic chelonians, Asian box turtles are omnivorous, but in most species the adults mostly rely on vegetation. They will happily consume snails, insect larvae, small fish or frogs if they get the chance however. They are not very prolific, laying only a few eggs each year, and as a result are extremely vulnerable to exploitation, especially as this mostly involves breeding size adults. The growth rate and lifespan are unknown, but it is likely they take at least 7 or 8 years to reach maturity and have a lifespan of decades.
Cuora amboinensis SE Asian Box Turtle 1.2 (Vulnerable)
Cuora flavomarginata Yellow-margined box turtle 4.2.4 (Endangered)
Cuora galbinifrons Indochinese box turtle 3.3 (Critically Endangered)
Cuora mouhotii Keeled Box Turtle 2.1 (Endangered)
Cuora trifasciata Chinese Three-striped box turtle 0.0.2 (Critically Endangered)
Finally, a plea to anyone who keeps these turtles themselves – it is absolutely vital that any adults of any of these species be in a breeding set up. If you have one on its own, even if it is a family pet for many years, please contact a turtle society (there is one in most countries) and see if you can match it up with a mate.
(images from wikipedia)