The desert box turtle, also known as the Sonoran box turtle, inhabits the desert grasslands and shrublands of the southwestern US and northern Mexico. For the most part, they are terrestrial but occasionally go into the water. Because of a movable hinge between its pectoral and abdominal structures, they are able to close the plastron again the carapace to make a tight seal. They are most active in July and August and will hibernate in the winter, burrowing themselves into the ground about 35 cm deep. They are naturally freeze-tolerant. These box turtles are omnivorous and feed on native vegetation, insects, and smaller animals. One particularly important food source is the dung beetle and as the dung beetle population decreases so does the desert box turtle.
Locality: southwestern United States, northern Mexico
Species: ornata luteola
Status: Cites 2
IUCN Status: Near Threatened (NT)