The Vietnamese box turtle’s name comes from its ability to box up completely within its shell. The hinged lower shell allows the turtle to seal itself in, providing protection from predators.
Primarily nocturnal, Vietnamese box turtles usually spend most of the day hiding under piles of leaf litter near streams or riverbanks.
The Vietnamese box turtle is omnivorous, and eats equal amounts of worms, snails, crustaceans and fruit/vegetation.
As its name suggests, the Vietnamese box turtle inhabits upland, moist and closed-canopy evergreen forests in Central Vietnam. This species is usually found at an altitude between 300-700m. It is predominantly terrestrial and is not specifically associated with forest streams.
This species is classified as Critically Endangered. Its main threat is over-collection for the food, medicine and pet trade. Habitat loss and an increasing human population in South East Asia have also contributed to the decline in numbers.
Bristol Zoo has successfully been breeding Vietnamese box turtles since 2012. We are thought to be the second Zoo in Europe to have ever bred the species.
Bristol Zoo was working closely with the Turtle Conservation Centre in Cuc Phuong national park in Vietnam providing some funding, medication and advice about turtle husbandry to support conservation efforts.
You can find our Vietnamese box turtle in the Reptile House, near Twilight World and the Aquarium
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