Sunday, February 9, 2014

Box Turtles

By Jason

We visited a turtle rescue center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.  The turtle rescue center helps turtles that are captured from the illegal wildlife trade.  They also try to preserve species that are endangered.  A woman named Sarah gave us a tour and we saw turtles and she taught us about them.  We saw a turtle that was a baby box turtle.  There are many kinds of box turtles in the world.  Box turtles are found in Asia and North America, but there are different species in the two continents.

Sarah Wahl gave us a tour of the turtle rescue center
A young box turtle
There is a hinge on the under side of a box turtle that allows them to close their shell all the way.  When box turtles get scared they close the bottom of the shell.

Under side of a box turtle - look for the hinge, it is just above the thumb and goes straight across the shell


We visited another turtle center in Cambodia on the way to a homestay near Kratie.  I got to hold a box turtle there.

Me holding a baby box turtle in Cambodia
Turtles are really cool but it's not always a good idea to have them as a pet, because they live a really long time.  Some turtles live 50-100 years.  And it's not a good idea to re-release turtles into the wild, because they may have diseases and they may not be found in the area where you live.  There's one species of turtle that is very very bad.  It's called the Red Slider.  It's from the United States and is not native to Vietnam.  It's been released into the wild when people got tired of having it as a pet.  But it eats anything and everything, including other turtles.

Red slider



Here's a good site for more information on box turtles:
http://www.boxturtlesite.info

   


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