Lots of box turtles over the past few weeks:
Box turtles are not tortoises, though they appear to live like them. Unlike most species of tortoise, Eastern box turtles require high humidity and relatively mild temperatures.
They are actually quite closely related to aquatic turtles, but they can’t actually swim like the true water turtles can.
The local name for a box turtle is “land terrapin,” which is actually pretty good. On the East Coast, the diamondback terrapin was once a very common turtle that was often eaten.
Box turtles used to be commonly eaten as well, and I guess the meat is similar to the diamondback terrapin.
And they sort of look a bit a like.
It’s still better than calling the tortoises. In fact, a lot of box turtles sent to Europe as pets quickly died because they were kept in high heat, low humidity environments, which would be the correct way to keep many species of true tortoise.
The species isn’t rare in the least in West Virginia, but they are a species of concern in Ohio. Their trade is now strictly regulated through CITES, so they are far less common on the pet market than they used to be.
So don’t think you can collect box turtles and sell them as a get rich quick scheme!