The Keeled Box Turtle
Pyxidea mouhoti keeled box turtle jagged shell
turtle thorn turtle
Pyxidea range from Hainan Island in China, through Vietnam, northern Thailand and Burma. It inhabits mountainous terrain and forests. It is primarily terrestrial.
In captivity, Pyxidea mouhotii does well in a vivarium with a substrate of leaf litter, sphagnum moss, and bark. (Cedar or pine woodchips should never be used as a turtle vivarium substrate, as either can cause illness.) A small, shallow pool should be provided for drinking and soaking. It prefers a vivarium that includes an area with plants. These turtles seldom bask, but a low wattage basking light should be provided. Temperatures should be between 72 and 85 degrees F. High humidity should be maintained by frequent misting or other means. Ideal humidity is between 75 - 95%.
Primarily herbivorous, keeled box turtles eat a wide variety of vegetation in the natural environment, with a preference for wild fallen fruits. They also eat some worms, snails and other meats. A varied diet using a variety of plants, and a smaller amount animal matter, should keep this species happy and healthy. Keep a cuttlebone or other form of calcium available in the habitat.
What the keeled box turtle lacks in bright coloration is more than compensated
in personality. With appropriate care, it quickly becomes a tame, responsive,
active and agile pet.
Bartlett, R. D. & Bartlett, Patricia P. 1996. Turtles and Tortoises: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual. Barron's Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, NY.
Ernst, C. H. and Barbour, R. W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
Highfield, A. C. 1996. Practical Encyclopedia of Keeping and Breeding Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles. Carapace Press, London, England.
© Mary Hopson, Anchorage, AK