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Chinese Three-Striped

Yellow Marginated &

Malayan Box Turtle

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There are at least four types of Asian Box Turtles that are
sold as pets. Sometimes they are treated as though they were
one species and need the same care, but in fact they come
from differing habitats and you will need to know the genus
of your Asian Box Turtle before you can know how to provide
the correct habitat and food for it.

Here is a little information on the four most common Asian
Box Turtles, and their needs:

Chinese Three-Striped Box Turtle

The Chinese Three-Striped Box Turtle, as you might guess,
has three raised black stripes running down its back. The
rest of the top shell is brown. The dark head has a black-
bordered olive stripe from the eye to the nostrils, with a
spot behind the eye. Its jaws and chin are yellow, and a
yellow stripe runs from the mouth to the neck on each side
of its head. The underside of its legs are bright orange or
pinkish yellow. It is a very handsome turtle, as you may

The Three-Stripe Box Turtle is found in the wild in southern
China and Northern Viet Nam, in or around clear streams. It
is carnivorous and likes fish.

Yellow Marginated Box Turtle

The Yellow Marginated Box Turtle originated in Southern
China, and is also found in the wild in Taiwan and on nearby
islands. Like nearly all of the Asian Box Turtles, it is
tropical, and lives near slow moving waters such as rice
paddies, ponds or shallow streams, often basking on the
nearby bank.

They have a high-arched dark brown shell and usually a
dramatic stripe down the backbone. The head is greenish with
a wide yellow stripe running from its eye to its neck. The
backside of the legs is also yellow. It is a very striking

They are omnivores and will eat basically the same food as
is correct for a Carolina Terrapin (North American Box
Turtle), although they tend to be attached to certain foods
and may refuse all others.

Malayan Box Turtle

The Malayan (sometimes called Malaysian) turtle has a high-arched
olive or dark brown top shell that is smooth in adults. The
underside will be yellow or dark brown with a darker spot on
each scute (shell section). The head color is dark olive or
black with a yellow stripe from the neck, above the eye, to
the tip of the snout, and two more stripes on the side of
the head.

Malayan Box Turtles originate on the islands from Bangladesh
to the Philippines. They too live in slow waters such as
marshes and rice paddies. A gentle but shy turtle, they are
primarily herbivores, but may take some animal foods in

Indochinese (Flowered) Box Turtle

This turtle is fairly rare, but is sometimes sold as a pet.
They come from Viet Nam and China.

The Flowered Box Turtle is so called because it has a very
striking shell pattern. It has a high domed carapace with a
narrow yellow stripe running down the mid-back. On each side
of the midline stripe are wide dark stripes, sometimes with
a mottled pattern. The rest of the shell is either white,
cream or yellow, with dark mottled areas.

This turtle likes water, but mostly lives in mountainous
woodlands. It is very shy, and thought to be carnivorous in
the wild.

As these are all tropical turtles, they do not hibernate and
must be kept indoors during cold weather. If it is too cool,
they will not eat. They also need more swimming water than
other box turtles, and are more carnivorous.

All the Asian Box Turtles are harder to keep than North
American Boxies
, so be sure to do your homework and know
that you can provide what they need for health and

Also, be sure to buy a captive bred Asian Box Turtle only.
Buying Wild-caught Asian turtles not only contributes to the
current crisis of the rapid decimation of turtles in China
and other parts of Asia, but nearly all wild-caught turtles
are ill and parasite-ridden and most die before long in

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