Box turtles are one of the most popular pet turtles around and for good reason. They're cute, docile, and have great personalities. However, caring for them properly can be challenging.
In this article, we will cover all the basics of how to care for your box turtle, including their housing, diet, health, and general care requirements.
Box turtles need a spacious enclosure that provides them with enough room to move around. A minimum of 4 square feet of floor space is required for a single adult box turtle.
It's also important to provide a secure lid to prevent the turtle from escaping. You can use aquariums, plastic containers, or custom-built enclosures as long as they meet the turtle's needs.
Box turtles need a temperature range of 75-85°F (24-29°C) during the day and around 70-75°F (21-24°C) at night. A basking area should be provided with a heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter to maintain the daytime temperature.
Box turtles are omnivores, which means they eat both plant and animal matter. A balanced diet for box turtles should include dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, insects,
and small amounts of protein like cooked chicken or lean beef. Commercial diets can also be used, but they should not make up the majority of the turtle's diet.
Box turtles need clean, fresh water for drinking and soaking. A shallow water dish should be provided in the enclosure that the turtle can easily access. The water should be changed daily to prevent bacterial growth.
Box turtles need a substrate that can hold moisture and provide a place for them to burrow. Substrates like coconut coir, peat moss, or soil can be used. Avoid using substrates like sand or gravel, which can cause impaction if ingested.
Box turtles can be handled, but they should be handled with care. Always support their legs and avoid picking them up by their shell. Box turtles can retract their head and limbs into their shell, which can be stressful for them if they feel threatened.