yellow-margined box turtle
yellow-rimmed box turtle
Chinese box turtle
snail-eating box turtle

Hatchling photos by Julie Fear

While several Cuora species are somewhat or highly aquatic, C. flavomarginata is less so. In fact, at least two authors considered C. flavomarginata and C. galbinifrons to be so highly terrestrial that they felt these two species did not belong within the genus Cuora, and suggested a separate genus, Cistoclemmys, to accomodate this difference. (Bour [1980a:158] and Hirayama [1984:147] cited in Iverson, 1992.) Other authors have not accepted this, and both galbinifrons and flavomarginata have retained the Cuora designation in most subsequent books and papers on the subject.
Subspecies: C. f. flavomarginata; C. f. evelynae from Ryukyu Island, Japan; and C. f. sinensis from southern China.
Range and natural habitat: C. flavomarginata are known to live in several provinces of southern China, Taiwan, and Ryukyu Islands of Japan. Natural habitats have not been thoroughly studied in the wild. Groups of these turtles have been seen on the banks of mountain streams. They have also been observed swimming in shallow, still water at sea level. They appear comfortable in sub-tropical to temperate climates.
Identification: C. flavomarginata has a dark, high arched carapace with one light stripe (sometimes 3 stripes.) May also have keels. The stripe(s) would be on the keel(s) and may fade somewhat with age. Carapacial growth rings of each scute are usually clearly visible. The underside of the marginal scute is yellow, giving the animal its scientific and common names. There are a variety of colors and shadings on the head, yellow or yellow-green on the sides and olive or brown on top. A light colored, dark-edged stripe extends from the eye backward. The plastron is dark with yellow around the edge.

Captive care: New captives tend to be highly stressed and shy. Once acclimated, however, this species is hardy, active and easily tamed. This Asian box turtle is somewhat terrestrial, but should have a shallow water area for drinking, wading and soaking. Juveniles are more aquatic and will frequently swim. Because this animal ranges further north than C.amboinensis and into alpine areas (not strictly tropical,) the warmth from a basking light may be sufficient. Spagnum moss can be used in the vivarium with good effect as it will retain moisture and help keep the humidity up, if misted daily. Diet is omnivorous. They will eat some fruits and veggies, but are known to eat snails, worms, and bugs in the wild. "Turtle pellets" and small amounts of cat food may be fed. Provide a good source of calcium, such as cuttlebone, crushed oystershell, or boiled, crushed eggshell. May be maintained in outdoor enclosures in temperate regions. Successful breeders keep the breeding pair outdoors for several months. Many owners regularly allow hibernation in the winter, in regions where severe cold is unlikely.

Adult Cuora flavomarginata -- photo by Mathieu Ouellette

For more on Cuora flavomarginata:
Meet Vickie Wheeler's Chinese box turtles
Photo and info at the Oakland Zoo website
Michael J. Connor & Vickie Wheeler.The Chinese Box Turtle: Cistoclemmys flavomarginata.
More pictures at the CTTC Turtle Gallery!
Melody's turtles and planter box set up
More photos, and some good tips on sex discrimination

You can ask questions or talk about Chinese Box Turtles
at the YahooGroup devoted just to that species.
Visit the group webpage and sign up here.

Back to "Asian Box Turtles"

Malayan box turtle
Flowerback (Indochinese) box turtle
ChineseThree-striped box turtle

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