The Chinese three-striped box turtle (Cuora trifasciata), or better known as Golden coin turtle in Chinese, used to be very common when I was a kid which I refuse to provide the number of years ago. However, now it has become critically endangered due to habitat destruction and poaching.
This species is now very rare but widely distributed in a few localities in Hong Kong and southern China. I have only found a few of them in mountain streams throughout the years.
Unlike most turtles, this is a nocturnal species. It hides very well during the day. It can grow up to 20 cm. As a carnivore, it feeds on insects, fish, frogs, crabs, and snails.
The plastron (bottom shell) is what makes this turtle special. There is a hinge in the middle, to allow complete closure of the shell. That’s why they are called box turtles. But the plastron is also the reason why they got killed by humans to make a Chinese medicine called “turtle jelly”.
See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.
三線閉殼龜, 或者廣為人知的金錢龜, 當我還是小孩的時候其實非常普遍, 不過我不會告訴你實際是多少年以前(笑)。由於棲息地被破壞 以及非法濫捕, 現在已變完成瀕危物種。
這個品種很罕有, 但廣泛分佈於某幾個香港及中國南部的地區。我在這些年只於山澗之中 曾經找到過幾隻。
不似大部分龜類, 這是夜行性的品種, 牠們善於日間躲藏不易被發現。體長可達20厘米。肉食性的金錢龜會以昆蟲, 魚類, 蛙類, 蟹類以及蝸牛為食。
龜腹甲(龜殼底甲)是金錢龜的特別之處, 底甲中間是一個可開合的韌帶, 容許龜殼完全閉合。牠們可以將身體所有部份縮入龜殼以躲開敵人, 也因此牠們被稱為盒龜。但特別的龜甲也是牠們被人類殺害, 來製造具有藥用功效的龜苓膏的原因。