Colorado Box Turtle Project

The Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata) is a familiar animal on the central plains of the United States  and is considered common throughout much of its range. The ornate box turtle's approach-ability and beauty have made it a favorite of adults and children alike for many generations.

Unfortunately, this gentle demeanor has made it a target for the pet trade; its slow movements have made it easy road kill; human activities have destroyed and fragmented its habitat.

Despite its perceived commonness, few extensive studies have been performed on populations of T. o. ornata, and until now, none have been performed in the State of Colorado. Scientific research on other populations and local anecdotal evidence point to declining populations.

Colorado Box Turtle Project is the first study of its kind in Colorado and is adding to our understanding of population dynamics, land use, and impacts of human activity including hydraulic fracking, harvesting for the pet trade, and private ownership. As Colorado's Eastern plains continue to be developed, this information will aid in establishing population viability and conservation needs before it becomes too late to prevent local extinction.

Colorado Reptile Humane Society is currently seeking funding sources and equipment donations to support the Colorado Box Turtle Project. If you are interested in supporting the project or would like more information, please contact us at

Colorado Box Turtle Project - Colorado Reptile Humane Society
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