Are Box Turtles An Endangered Species?

are box turtles endangered species

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The speedy development offered by the technology is affecting the Mother Nature, directly or indirectly. Sometimes I think it is a curse to the wild animals. Because of the polluted environment and limited space, many wild animals are living at the edge of extinction.

Some subspecies of the box turtle is listed as endangered. The other subspecies are on the list of threatened or near extinction.

I know it is not a good news to convey. In this article, I will illustrate the reason for this endangerment. And also if there is any way to save this species. Please read the whole article to know the facts.

Different Kind Of Box Turtle And Its Conservation Status

Here is a table that indicates the current extinction status of the box turtle subspecies:

Box Turtle SubspeciesConservation Status
Florida Box TurtleVulnerable
Eastern Box TurtleNot Extinct
Gulf Coast Box TurtleNot Extinct
Terrapene Carolina PutnamiExtinct
Three Toed Box TurtleNot Extinct
Coahuilan Box TurtleEndangered
Mexican Box TurtleNot Extinct
Northern Spotted Box TurtleVulnerable
Southern Spotted Box TurtleVulnerable
Ornate Box TurtleNear Threatened
Desert Box TurtleNear Threatened
Yucatan Box TurtleVulnerable

Meaning of the terms:

  • Not Extinct = Out of danger
  • Near Threatened = The population of the species has started decreasing
  • Vulnerable = Population of the species is decreasing at a fast rate
  • Endangered = The species is at the edge of extinction
  • Extinct = The species has extinct from earth
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You have to keep in mind that this table is an overview of conservation of some subspecies. The chart does not include all the box turtle subspecies. And again, some subspecies may be found in a specific region, but rare in other countries.

What Are The Reasons Behind The Endangerment?

Many factors are responsible for the endangerment of box turtles. By summing up all, three main points can be identified as the prominent reasons:

  1. Habitat Loss
  2. Accidents
  3. Pet Trade

Habitat Loss

Different subspecies of box turtle prefer diverse habitat. You can read about box turtles habitat from here. Aquatic box turtles prefer living in the ponds or any clean water source.

Desert box turtles tend to live in dry areas. Some subspecies live in the grasslands, and some live in soggy lands. All the subspecies have different ways to get adapted to the environment.

Over the past decades, the rate of deforestation is increasing at an alarming rate. The size and number of forest are decreasing. So the subspecies that used to live in the woods or near forests are losing their habitat.

Again, due to the climate change, the soggy lands and swamps are getting dry. It is another reason why some subspecies are losing their habitat.

We know that aquatic box turtles live in a clean water source. If you look at the central water sources these days, you will find loads of plastics, and wastes. Water pollution is making life challenging not only for the aquatic box turtles but also for other sea turtles.

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All the box turtles depend on the streams to soak their bodies and drink water. So polluted water also harms their health.

Due to losing habitats and not finding another suitable place to live, many subspecies of box turtle is dying. Some of the subspecies are at the edge of extinction.


The accident rate of box turtles is not high. These types of road accidents mainly take place near the woods. Most of the time, the turtles die because of improper treatment.

Again, fire breaking out and any other natural calamities can be considered as accidents too. If a box turtle cannot be rescued, it may die.

Pet Trade

Some subspecies of box turtles are used for meat and medicine in some Asian countries. The markets of China, Singapore, and Hong Kong have an immense demand for box turtles. Again, in Japan and the US, a box turtle is a popular pet. The black market is taking advantage of this demand.

A report shows that many pet traders are involved in illegal trafficking of box turtles. Each trader hand over almost 2230 box turtles per week. Can you imagine what the number will reach per year?

These illegal tradings are one of the significant reasons for the endangerment of box turtles. Many turtles die during the handovers. The most unfortunate news is, the rate of trafficking is increasing day by day.

Human Influence The Endangerment

  • Sometimes we do such actions that can affect a box turtle indirectly.
  • Box turtles prefer to live where they are born. If we remove them from that habitat, they may die.
  •  A fact says half of the box turtles die if they are moved from the wild. So if you pick one box turtle from the wild to make your pet, it will not survive long.
  • Involving with a box turtle without even a basic knowledge may cause harm to the turtle. You have to learn about them first because each species of turtle is different from another.
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How to conserve the species?

To save the species from endangerment, the Govt. should take some steps. Not only Govt. but also the individuals have to be conscious about this fact.

  • We have learned about the habitat loss of box turtle. We have to stop deforestation to save these animals.
  • If you find any accident or injured box turtle, we should give the primary treatment first. Then take it to the nearest vet or call any rescue service as fast as you can.
  • The Govt. should take steps against illegal traders.
  • We should not encourage people to collect rare box turtle species. Again, we should stop eating turtle meat and buying them from black markets.
  • If we buy it as a pet, we must take bred in captivity. Taking one from the wild may save our money, but eventually, the turtle won’t survive.
  • If a box turtle is living in your property, make a proper habitat for it.

Many organizations are now working to save box turtle from extinction. As an individual, you can help by spreading awareness. I hope this article will help you to spread the awareness more effectively.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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