box turtle

noun

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

Their habitat needs to be cleaned more often than many people realize, although water turtles require less maintenance than box turtle or other varieties. Washington Post, "Turtles can make great pets, but do your homework first," 5 June 2018 But if your family is in the mood to see a larger array of creatures, check out the Star Eco Station in Culver City, a rescue center that houses all sorts of animals, including Solomon Island skinks, bobcats and box turtles. Alice Short, latimes.com, "School's out! 12 fun things for kids (and adults) to do this summer," 22 June 2018 The lives of box turtles are long and generally spent in small geographical areas. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Amid massive multimillion dollar blaze, ranger finds and saves two turtles," 5 May 2018 Tilcon is willing to relocate box turtles and other species whose habitats would be damaged or wiped out, according to Lenard. Don Stacom, Courant Community, "Residents Slam Tilcon Gravel Plan, But New Britain Supports It," 26 June 2018 Two China Eastern Airlines staffers could face jail time after unsuccessfully attempting to smuggle 45 spotted and box turtles from Los Angeles to Shanghai, where the reptiles could have sold for over $40,000. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Airline workers busted for turtle-smuggling operation," 22 June 2018 As part of the design, Herd includes images of the Yunnan box turtle, which was once thought to be extinct but has recently resurfaced. Jon Niccum, kansascity, "Kansas crop artist Stan Herd's massive China 'earthwork' may outlast the Great Wall," 14 June 2018 Authorities followed a tip that led them to Price's apartment, where the animals, including a squirrel monkey, a skink, three box turtles and two red-foot tortoises, were discovered. Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "Florida man harbored zoo animals in apartment, police said," 6 June 2018 Students could touch an ornate box turtle and fox snake at one DNR exhibit. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Outdoor education expo offers skills and activities," 19 May 2018

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

circa 1804, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of box turtle was circa 1804

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