Ornate Box Turtle

Greatest conservation need

Oncoming traffic

Many turtles are being killed because they are being forced out onto the roads and car are running over them. Their habitat is being taken over so they have a limited area to venture out into, so they end up on the roads. If we have protected areas for them to venture out into, they wouldn't have to worry about being run over.


The ornate box turtle lives in plains and grasslands, with no trees. A significant threat to this species is humans taking away their vast area of habitat to transform it into farms and ranches. The turtles can handle light grazing (livestock) but cultivating irrigated crops (like corn) result in them disappearing from the area. Because of this, ornate box turtles are threatened in Iowa.

Baby turtles

When the turtles are young, they have a weaker carapace and plastron. Their young usually only come in clutches of 1-7, so every turtles young is important since they don't have that many. When the turtles are in captivity, they are able to have more than one clutch per year, so the more we protect and care for these turtles, the easier it will be for them to produce more young.


Ornate box turtles are threatened in some states, and endangered in others, but if we take steps to protect them in reservations, they will be able to produce more young and be safer from common car accidents that crush them. We will be able to create a more stable population for them with a consistent habitat.