Everything You Need to Know About Box Turtle for Pet

People sometimes call box turtle as box tortoise. It includes a turtle’s genus from Mexico and the United States. Their hinged, domed shells found at the bottom are one of the ways to recognize them.

That hinged is also useful for them when facing predators. It closes their shells perfectly to make predators go away.

Eastern Box Turtle

eastern box turtle
source: marylandbiodversity.com

One of the six subspecies that still exists among common box turtles is the eastern box turtle. It has a carapace. The carapace is a high-domed circled hard upper shell. The vivid yellow and orange markings on its dark brown shell differentiate it from other kinds. It has great camouflage skills!

Eastern box turtles are omnivores that will eat both plants and animals. They can eat different types of foods including berries, mushrooms, fruits, and even flowers. They can catch their prey including beetles, snails, slugs, and worms. If the prey is easy to catch, they will go after bigger prey.

One of the most happening problems for eastern box turtles who live in captivity is a respiratory disease. The signs of respiratory illness are various. They are including clogged or runny nostrils, foaming around the mouth and nostrils, labored breeding, and wheezing.

The respiratory disease sometimes is a sign of too dry environment. That is why you need to keep its habitat moist enough and provide it a big tray of water. You can use a humidifier in the room where you put the turtle. By mimicking the real habitat, it will be healthier and happier.

An eastern box turtle could live until over a hundred years. However, in most cases, eastern box turtles die younger in captivity nowadays. The reason is faulty diets and unsuitable living conditions.

Ornate Box Turtle

ornate box turtle
source: flickr.com

The ornate box turtle is easier to adapt than the desert box turtle. You can find this type of box turtle in a treeless environment with the spread of brush vegetation. The ornate box turtle has a flattened top and the carapace has fewer domes compares to other species of a box turtle.

The ornate box turtle is omnivore depends on the situation. Sometimes, it kills caterpillars, spiders, worms, and grasshoppers.

Nevertheless, it will also eat amphibians, birds, carrion, and other mammals excitedly. Some of its diet parts are including grasses, berries, and other greens, too.

Since the ornate box turtle is omnivore in the wild, you should not give an unvaried diet in captivity. It needs both plants and animals.

By providing them a lot of carrion and animals, you will make them happy. You can buy the food in a pet shop including waxworms, mealworms, baby mice, and crickets.

Box Turtle Habitats

You can find common box turtles easily in dry regions, but most of the time they live in forested, moist areas that have a lot of brush. Even though box turtles spend much time in shallow mud or water, they are not aquatic animals.

Box Turtle Care

The important option to take care of box turtles is whether to keep them outside or inside. They tend to be healthier and happier in an outdoor environment since they get enough sunlight. If you want to keep them indoors, they still need to be outside for one or two hours a day to get some sun.

There are several things you need which play a major role in the heat of the box turtle’s body. One of the most essential things is water. They want clean, fresh drinking water like other pets. You also need a body of water since they like soaking from time to time to cool down and rehydrate.

Box turtles sometimes cool themselves off by burrowing or moving into the ground. That is why you need to create places for them to hide. They do not only need privacy but also like the shade more than their shell gives. A soft material is the best material they can burrow.

Florida Box Turtle

source: researchgate.net

The color of the Florida box turtle is similar to the Western Ornate turtle. The difference is Florida box turtle has more yellow markings, and they are thinner. The shell’s background is black.

There are thick yellow stripes you can see on every side of its head. As the name implies, you can find it in Florida.

The types of food that the Florida turtles eat are both plants and animals. They eat insects including spiders, flies, crickets, earthworms, slugs, and beetle. These insects make up around 70% of their diet. On the other hand, they also eat mushrooms, moss, and berries.

It is not only illegal to take Florida box turtles from the wild, but it is also hard for them to grow up in captivity since they are used to live in the wild. They will not survive as pets in your house. However, if you insist to have one, try to adopt it from the humane society.

Another choice to find a Florida box turtle as a pet is to find a breeder that raises adopted or sold turtles. It is highly recommended to buy captivated bred turtles. It is also possible to find them online and in pet stores.

Baby Box Turtle

In raising baby box turtles, proper diet and housing are essential factors to keep an eye on. You can create a habitat for baby box turtle inside or outside. It depends on preference and space.

When you have set up the habitat, it is essential to choose a healthy diet of leafy greens, protein, fruit, et cetera.

Common Box Turtle

The eastern regions of the United States are where you can primarily find the common box turtle. They like moist areas in forested areas.

Texas and Maine can also be the areas where common box turtle live. The shape of their dome is tall on the higher portion of their shells. They have a hinged shell, too.

Common box turtles are omnivores, which means they can consume both plant and creature. Their diets are very varied in the wild. What they eat sometimes simply based on what they can find in the region since they cover big regions of eastern America.

They usually go for tiny insects when they eat meat. They eat grubs, slugs, larva, beetles, and earthworms.

Meanwhile, fruit, mushrooms, berries, certain grasses, and flowers are including in their plant diet. Therefore, common box turtles actually can eat almost anything as long as it is edible.

Many experts know that the common box turtles are vulnerable. That is why there are laws to protect them related to trade and capture. Only one state, which is South Carolina, allows people to catch wild specimens for sale.

There are many needs that common box turtles have to be fulfilled. As a pet owner, you need to know what the needs are. If you cannot fulfill their needs, they can die only within days, especially when they are in captivity.

Three Toed Box Turtle

It is very common to find a three-toed box turtle in the pet trade. They are easier to adapt among other subspecies of a box turtle. The vivid characteristic of it is its three toes on the back feet. The easiest area to find this type of box turtle is the south-central area of the United States.

The body of the three-toed box turtle does not have special colored markings that as clear as other turtle’s species. Their limbs and shells sometimes have a base color like light brown and olive. Some markings that show up sometimes are including orange, red, or yellow on the males’ head and neck.

They are easy to breed in captivity as well. You can find them, too, for sale in other regions. You must know that it is illegal to keep this type of turtle as a pet when you take it from the wild.

You can have a three-toed box turtle as your pet legally. Many people have them as a pet since they can live longer in captivity compares to other subspecies. If you want your three-toed box turtle to survive longer at home, you need to meet their lots of needs.

Box Turtle Eggs

We can help protect the box turtle’s eggs since they are so easy to be the target of predators. By using a dome of chicken wire, you can protect the turtle nest safely.

Make sure that there are some three-inch gaps on the structure’s base to make the hatchlings slip easily through them without predators entering it.

Asian Box Turtle

Many different colors of Asian box turtle depend on species. Several familiar colors include black, dark green, yellow, grey, and brown.

Many of the species have a similar trademark, which is a set of lines that go down on the necks and faces until their nose’s tip. The stripes are sometimes bright.

If you are wondering whether Asian box turtles are fit for pets, you have to know several things first. If you are looking for affection, turtles are not a good option. Nevertheless, if you are looking for pets that have an exotic, unique look, they can be an excellent choice.

They have semi-aquatic needs, which you can put them in outdoor ponds or indoor tanks. You can set up a beautiful habitat for them if you have money and time. You need to learn what makes a great habitat for Asian box turtles to keep them safe and comfortable.

It is strongly recommended to find any box turtle, which was bred in captivity when you want to buy one. The reason is that they tend to have less chance of bringing disease or parasite into your home. They can also live longer if compared to turtles, which were born in the wild.

In conclusion, it is no doubt that Asian box turtles are interesting and exotic animals, but it is quite challenging to take care of them as a pet. However, it is possible to do if you want to spend your time to study them and have the money to provide their needs.

Desert Box Turtle

The appearance of the desert box turtle is similar to the ornate box turtle. The difference is the desert box turtle’s color is more yellowish. It is also easier to adapt to life in an arid environment than the ornate box turtle.

There are two different kinds of coloration of desert box turtles: unpatterned and patterned. The unpatterned kind is greenish or straw-colored. This type is very rare and does not have any striping. The patterned one has pale to the brown carapace. It has thin yellow lines, too.

If you want to find desert box turtles, go to the southwestern US including Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. You can also find them in the south and northern Mexico, like Chihuahua and Sonora.

The prairies, grassland, arid, and semi-arid regions are where you can find the desert box turtles easily. It loves soil for hibernating and nesting.

Prairie dog town is also an area you can try to find this type of turtle. During the summer months, when the humidity is high, the desert box turtle is very active.

Box Turtles as Pets

Either within the box turtles’ native range or abroad, they are included as famous pets. They need exposure to artificial light or real sunlight to keep them healthy. It is also essential to give them a suitable diet.

Box turtles are omnivores that eat many various things in the wild. Worms and insects as invertebrates are their ultimate food source.

Sometimes, they also eat vegetables including berries, fruits, and leaves. It is essential to provide them a healthy diet with various meals and proper nutrition.

Why are box turtles famous pets? It is because they are tame but still have exotic and rare looking that other types of pet animals do not have.

Some types of box turtles even have gorgeous designs and colors. Even though they are tame, do not brush your finger on their snout or pick them up too often.

A gentle and calm adult instead of small children should care for a box turtle. They do not like to be handled or touched too much, like what young children usually do. Some experts do not recommend box turtles as pets to young children. They are not for playing like children’s toys.




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