• Common name:

    Southeast Asian box turtle
  • ESF category:

  • IUCN category:

  • CITES:

    INT - Appendix II
    EU - Appendix B
  • Registered animals:

  • Studbook coordinators:

    Ronald Govers
  • Register your animals

    To register your animals or if you have other questions, please contact the studbook coordinator.

Species Description

The Amboina box turtle or Southeast Asian box turtle (Cuora amboinensis) is a species of Asian box turtle.

It is found in the Nicobar Islands, eastern India (Assam), Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, central and southern Vietnam, west Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines (Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Panay, etc.), Indonesia (Sulawesi, Ambon Island, Sumatra, Borneo, East Malaysia, Brunei, Nias, Enggano, Simeulue, Java, Sumbawa, Halmahera, Ceram, Seram, Buru, East Timor, Bali, Palawan and Maluku), and possibly China (Guangxi and Guangdong) and Sri Lanka.

The type locality is "Amboine" (or "Amboina") Island, today Ambon Island in Indonesia.

There are four subspecies that are primarily differentiated by differences in the color and shape of the carapace:

  • Cuora amboinensis amboinensis (Wallacean box turtle)
  • Cuora amboinensis couro (West Indonesian box turtle)
  • Cuora amboinensis kamaroma (Malayan box turtle or domed Malayan box turtle)
  • Cuora amboinensis lineata (Burmese box turtle)

C. a. kamaroma has hybridized in captivity with the Vietnamese pond turtle – a species nearly extinct in the wild – and with males of the Chinese pond turtle (Chinemys reevesii). Other hybrids are known, like C. amboinensis × Cuora trifasciata.

They are omnivorous, with younger turtles tending towards more meat consumption and older turtles eating a more herbivorous diet.

Although Cuora amboinensis is classified as endangered by the IUCN, they are able to thrive in some areas of the world. For example, they can be found in the storm drains of Brunei. These are seriously polluted, and yet seem to be extremely popular habitat for these turtles and other animals that can withstand eutrophication. In some places, this species is hunted for use in folk medicine.

Cuora amboinensis can be quite difficult to breed in captivity, compared with other box turtles. These turtles have a mating ritual very similar to that of other box turtles. No courtship occurs, the male simply climbs upon the female. He then snaps at her head, so that she closes the front half of her shell, opening the back.

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