April 20, 2020
What’s in a Shell
- as seen by -Angela Perry
The yellow-marginated box turtle (Cuora flavomarginata evelynae) is a small box turtle from China. What makes this turtle unique is that it has a hinged plastron (the bottom shell). This hinge allows the turtle to bring the plastron to the edges of the carapace (the top shell) completely enclosing the turtle’s body tightly within the shell and providing protection from predators and the elements. Despite the fact that this species is considered endangered, this turtle continues to be found in the illegal wildlife trade. The Wildlife Conservation Society works around the globe to combat this practice.
Prospect Park Zoo’s box turtle “Tofu” found her home here following a confiscation from this trade. Live animals sold illegally are most often not housed properly, and their welfare needs are ignored, which can cause a lifetime of health problems. Tofu is one of these animals, and because of this, her shell is somewhat misshapen, and she has had other health issues.
In her new home at the zoo, Tofu now has proper housing and all the medical care she needs. A good day for Tofu is burying herself deep in the dirt of her enclosure or enjoying a meal of a pinky mouse.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to all the staff that care for the animals and keep WCS’s parks running. We are grateful for the work they do.