Species group: American and Asian Box Turtles
Other common names: Golden Coin Turtle
Scientific name: Cuora trifasciata
Chinese Three-striped Box Turtles are found from southern China into Vietnam, Taiwan, and surrounding islands. Some reports say they have been found in mountain streams at elevations of up to 1300 feet. They are a highly terrestrial aquatic box turtle. Due to their use for medicinal purposes in China they have become highly endangered and are subject to international laws. The IUCN has listed them as ‘critically endangered.’ Only captive bred Chinese Three-striped Box Turtles should be purchased as pets.
Appearance / health:
Chinese Three-striped Box Turtles are easy to identify with their oval shaped shell with 3 black stripes running along the keels. The center stripe is the longest. They have a brown to reddish brown carapace. When viewed from above their head coloring stands out with light to bright yellow and black stripes along side of head. Their plastron is dark with yellow edging and the undersides of their limbs are orange.
AVERAGE ADULT WEIGHT: N/A
AVERAGE ADULT SIZE: up to 8 inches
These mostly terrestrial aquatic box turtles are a bit more difficult to house and should be considered a “not for the beginner” turtle. Both an indoor for colder weather and an outdoor for warmer weather enclosure should be provided. A minimum sized enclosure for two Chinese Three-striped Box Turtles is 8 square feet of floor space. Their outdoor enclosure should be designed with protection from escaping, predators, and giving them the option to have the benefit of the sun, wind, and rain, or to hide from the elements. They need about half their habitat to be land and half for water. The water should be only deep enough so they can submerge about half of their body. They need high levels of humidity, natural grasses, shrubs, and regular watering will help keep the humidity up outside. In either captive habitat hot and humid is the key to setting up a Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle’s habitat.
LIFESPAN: 30 – 40 years
TEMPERATURE/HUMIDITY: Water Temperature: 75 - 82° F, Basking: 83-87° F; Air Temperatures no less than 75° F, High Humidity.
HIBERNATION / ESTIVATION: These turtles do not hibernate.
HEALTH CONCERNS: Chinese Three-striped Box Turtles originating directly from the wild often suffer from dehydration, starvation, and a high parasite load These conditions are a direct result of the capture and importation process that does little to provide proper care. Care of a wild caught will most likely require months of intensive care and expensive veterinary care to help them survive and eventually be healthy turtles. Those born in captivity and have been given quality care are less likely to be stressed by the pet life and much healthier overall.
Chinese Three-striped Box Turtles are carnivores. A healthy diet for them includes fish, insects, and worms.
Males are aggressive breeders. Breeding takes place after a good rain. The female may lay only one egg per clutch which hatches 2 – 3 months later.
good attitude, good eater
Michelangelo, class pet
I've always wanted to have a turtle, so when I taught preschool and had the opportunity to obtain a class pet, I chose a box turtle. I chose this turtle for its hardiness and its easy keeping/maintenance. I figured, if little kids were going to be responsible for it, it needed to be hard to kill!
I wasn't disappointed. Michelangelo was a very tough little guy. He ate pretty much anything the kids fed to it (don't worry, I researched extensively before letting them give him anything), and was happy to roam around the classroom or the play yard during warm afternoons. He wasn't too fussed when his heat rock stopped functioning.
He did seem to be a little sickly, though. The first week we had him, I noticed him lying in a corner one afternoon with his head out, just sort of lolled to the side. I rushed him to the reptile vet as soon as school was out, and was told that our poor turtle had a little cold. His breathing was pretty rattly forever thereafter, but he seemed otherwise to be in good health and the vet confirmed such.
In any case, Michelangelo was a great pet. The kids loved him, and he seemed to like the attention and special treats they lavished on him. And he was tough! One of my students dropped him one day, and he really wasn't fussed at all. Gave me a heart attack, though!
Easy to take care of
Fun, interesting pet
Eats pretty much anything (but don't feed it pretty much anything, research diet first)
Excellent learning opportunity for kids
Tank is simple to clean, inexpensive to line
Doesn't bite, likes people
Pees every single time it's removed from the tank. Every time, without fail. Usually on me, sometimes on the carpet
Naps a lot.
From Myershk Jul 2 2015 7:14PM