box turtle


Definition of box turtle

1 : any of several North American land turtles (genus Terrapene) capable of withdrawing into their shell and closing it by hinged joints in the lower half

called also box tortoise

2 : any of several chiefly semiaquatic, Asian turtles (genera Cuora and Pyxidea of the family Geoemydidae) that have a carapace with a median keel and are capable of withdrawing into their shell and closing it by hinged joints in the plastron

Note: The Asian box turtles are not closely related to the North American box turtles.

Illustration of box turtle

Illustration of box turtle

Examples of box turtle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At least 18 threatened or endangered plant and animal species, including the ornate box turtle and regal fritillary butterfly, have been sighted here. Rashod Taylor, ProPublica, 14 Oct. 2021 The eastern box turtle is native to forested regions of the East Coast and Midwest, and the Gaboon viper is native to central sub-Saharan Africa. Jeremy Beaman, Washington Examiner, 6 Apr. 2021 Habitat loss, vehicle strikes, and collection for the pet trade have contributed to the box turtle’s decline, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Tristan Baurick,, 8 Jan. 2021 Louisiana law prohibits the trade of box turtles – or box turtle eggs or parts – and forbids the taking of wild box turtles for commercial purposes. Tristan Baurick,, 8 Jan. 2021 The reptiles were mostly snakes, but also tortoises, box turtles, monitor lizards, little alligators, and water dragons, said Kathy Shillinglaw, outreach coordinator at MADACC. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 21 Apr. 2020 There are possession limits for other species such as box turtles and diamondback terrapins. Kimberly Miller, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2020 The ornate box turtle is a land-dwelling turtle found between the Rockies and Mississippi River Valley. Cathy M. Rosenthal,, 28 Feb. 2020 On a recent Friday morning — on a day off from her paying job — Meyer sat down on her outdoor patio to tend to Tommy, an eastern box turtle whose toes were eaten off by mites. Elise Takahama, The Seattle Times, 5 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'box turtle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of box turtle

1804, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of box turtle was in 1804

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Dictionary Entries Near box turtle

box truck

box turtle

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Box turtle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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