Box turtles are one of the most popular pet turtles around. These peaceful reptiles are native to wetlands and grasslands in North America. They are semi-aquatic, but most of the time is spent on land rather than water. They are known for their long lifespans and box-like shells decorated with beautiful colors and patterns. There are many different species, but Eastern and Western varieties are most often kept as pets. These may be very interesting and rewarding pets, but they require a lot of work.
|Color form:||Black or brown with yellow, red or orange markings|
|Minimum water tank size:||60 gallons|
|Storage tank settings:||Indoor pa or outdoor enclosure|
|compatibility:||Only a single species|
These turtles belong to the Em family, which includes all North American pond turtles and water turtles.
There are four different species and several subspecies of this genus.
Eastern and western box turtles are the two you are most likely to find.
The turtle and the tiger tiger lian are rare species endemic to Mexico, and the grass orchid is completely aquatic.
They are named after their shells, and they can completely “box” themselves. They are also reptiles of North Carolina and Kansas.
You should expect your turtles to live 30 to 40 years, but in rare cases they can live to 100 years!
In many regions, there are regulations regarding their sale. Before purchasing, please be sure to check the local local regulations.
You can find them in pet shops, reptile shows and professional breeders. On average, you should pay between $ 20-30.
You can expect these turtles to be active, so they need a lot of space to move and roam. They are most active before dawn and after dusk, and they enjoy wet weather after heavy rain.
During the day, they are very quiet and spend most of their time in buried caves and caves.
They like to keep themselves, unless they mate and breed, they will not interact with others.
Western breeds particularly like to dig underground, so it may be difficult to see at a glance during the day.
Like other turtles, whenever they feel afraid and do not like to be disturbed, they retreat into their shells.
Picture of box turtle
The appearance of box turtles varies by species.
However, they are usually 4-6 inches in length and 6-8 inches in height.
They have a domed shell with hinged, convex portions (these shells allow them to fully retract into the shell).
Their shells are inclined at one end and round at the other.
You will find that their toes are slightly webbed swimming, while their feet are bitten by digging claws-males have longer claws than females.
Females are usually smaller and flatter than males. Their eyes are brown, while men are red or yellow.
Their bodies are black or brown in varying shades, with bright spots on their shells. But some species may be pure brown with no spots at all.
Box turtle species
The common or eastern box turtle is a type of pet breeding. They have dark brown or black bodies and large, sloping shells that round backwards.
Their shells have yellow, orange or red spots. These colors are also scattered on their faces and legs.
Western or gorgeous box turtles are the second most popular preserved species.
They are slightly smaller than the eastern varieties and have a light brown color. Their shells have yellow stripes and yellow and brown spots on their faces and legs.
Box turtle shell type
The eastern variety has a domed shell with a sloping ridge in the middle.
Their shells may slope downward toward the front, then bend upward and round at the back-up to 8 inches.
Western varieties have a similar round shell, with an even oval shape. Their shells are not raised or inclined, and have a spotted pattern, usually extending to the plastron.
Desert subspecies have more yellow stripes on their shells (10-16 stripes instead of the typical 6-9).
Habitat and tank conditions
These animals are native to wet and acid soil forests and freshwater wetlands. They can also be found in grasslands, grasslands and deserts. Western breeds prefer grasslands to wetlands.
They spend most of their time on land, but they will hide in creeks and ponds to cool down in hot weather.
However, they do not like direct exposure to the sun and prefer the early morning before sunrise. During the day, they hide in damp shadows or underground caves.
To regulate body temperature, they will bathe on the rocks and log in in a sunny place.
Let’s see how to create these conditions for them …
Box Turtle Box Settings
Outdoor fences or backyard ponds will always be your best home for turtles.
You can use a fence or a pile of bricks / cinder blocks to build an outdoor shield. You can include a plastic or concrete garden pond to create an excellent environment for them.
If you put them inside, you need at least 60 gallons of lu.
For eastern varieties, the temperature should be 75-80 ° F, for western varieties, the temperature should be 80-85 ° F. The pH of the soil should be between 6.0-7.0.
Your tank should have a sink deep enough to allow the turtles to immerse in the water (ideally 4-6 inches), and the tank must be sprayed with water every day to keep it wet.
You can fill the tank with moist soil deep enough to form a small cave. Add some wet leaves to the soil to add a little mulch.
Westerners will need thicker soil so that they can hide underground, with a target depth of at least 10 inches.
You will need a tank filter and a full-spectrum lamp that mimics natural sunlight. You will need to place some logs or stones near the lamp to enable the turtle to rest. Reptiles are very sensitive to cold, so heaters are needed to keep the tank warm enough.
Ferns like bracken are common in swamps and wetlands, so you may consider adding them.
Spaghnum Moss and Pushushion Moss are excellent carpet choices – Spaghnum has excellent water retention and will add some extra moisture to your substrate.
In outdoor environments, low-lying berry shrubs are ideal for food and shelter. Strawberries and blackberries are a good choice.
What size shell do they need?
The indoor pa must be at least 60 gallons.
The height of the outdoor cabinet should be at least 15 inches, and the basic size is 3 x 2 feet.
The depth of the garden pond should be at least 16 to 31 inches.
For each adult box turtle, 60 gallons of space are required.
In the wild, other species and subspecies of these turtles and box turtles can be found. It is common to find several different subspecies in the same area.
They share their habitat with other turtles (including colorful turtles).
You will find that they carry many different types of frogs, including bullfrogs and leopard frogs. Sw and freshwater now fish can also be found in their damp homes.
In captivity, only box turtles should be kept with their own species. Their large appetite means that they are likely to prey on any fish or invertebrates you carry.
Breeding with frogs makes them susceptible to disease. If they are kept with turtles of other species, they may spread bacterial infections to each other.
Allowing your turtle to own a tank or pond companion poses too many risks. For them and your other animals, a single species habitat is the best choice.
Keep turtles together
You can divide Box Turtles into up to 5 groups, just make sure that most or all of these groups are female.
They do not affect each other outside of mating and reproduction.
Some states do not allow you to keep more than one or two states, so be sure to check the regulations in your area in advance.
Box Turtle Care
What to feed the box turtle
In the wild, these tortoises will eat up all the worms, snails and worms they can find when they come out on a rainy day.
They will eat fish, frogs, sal and even small mammals.
In addition to live prey, they eat wild fruits, vegetables and other wild plants. Western varieties especially like dandelion buds and cactus fruit cacti.
These guys performed excellent pest control in outdoor ponds and gardens. They will eat caterpillars, cockroaches and other pests.
As long as they come from areas that have not been exposed to pesticides or other chemicals, you can feed them snails and worms caught in the backyard. They will accept worms and insects purchased from reptile suppliers. An and mealworms are one of the favorite foods of Orientals.
Both varieties like fruits and vegetables. They will admire a garden full of lettuce, berries and cucumbers, which grow next to their outdoor habitat.
Western breeds are more carnivorous and prefer live prey to plants. They may prefer wild grass and dandelion seedlings to garden vegetables.
Calcium is very important for the health of their shells. You can give them calcium supplements, or you can feed them broken eggs and shells of insects and regular food.
You should feed at least 3 times a week in the early morning (between 4am and 7am).
Nursing and disease
Box turtles are one of many reptiles that carry salmonella.
To prevent salmonella, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling turtles or cleaning their habitat. Clean and disinfect any surface that the turtle has walked on.
This bacterial infection can spread to humans without affecting the carrier.
The behavior of Salmonella is similar to stomach flu. Symptoms include: stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
When different species are kept together, other bacterial infections may also spread. Symptoms include: lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss, and red eyes. You will need to find an exotic vet specializing in reptiles to take care of your sick turtle.
In winter, you may want to hibernate turtles.
You can use plastic containers or old 75-gallon water tanks as hibernation bacteria and fill them with 4-8 inches deep wet pot soil.
During hibernation, you should check the turtles once or twice a month to ensure that they do not lose too much weight or show any symptoms of other diseases.
To prepare them for hibernation, lower the temperature of the water tank to adapt to outdoor autumn or winter conditions, and suspend food for about 2 to 3 weeks when they begin to adapt to new conditions.
Turtles that show any signs of disease should only be hibernated after seeing a veterinarian.
Box turtles have homing instincts related to the earth’s geomagnetic field. It enables them to find their way home even thousands of miles away.
When their homing instincts allow them to cross busy roads, they may encounter some real troubles. Road death is the biggest threat, with hundreds of people killed by cars every year.
The Coahuilan box turtle is one of the rarest species in North America. It is only popular in one area of Mexico (Cuatro Cinegas Basin).
In many states, they are listed as endangered species, so each state has its own protection and management plan to protect them.
Asian turtles of the genus Cuora are usually labeled box turtles. Their shells are very similar to North American species, but they come from completely different families.
Box Turtle FAQ
How far does the box turtle roam?
These are very active turtles and can travel long distances while hunting or searching.
Eastern breeds roam at least 55 yards per day. Westerners have even longer ranges-they can walk 75 yards in a day.
Most of their activities occur before dawn and after dusk of the day.
Their roaming distance depends on location and seasonal patterns, as well as their ability to return safely to their home range.
How long do box turtles live?
In the wild, Oriental box turtles usually live for 20 to 30 years. In captivity, a good caretaker can live up to 40.
There are reports that Orientals have lived for more than 100 years.
Westerners have a slightly shorter life span. They may reach the early 1930s in captivity and the mid-1920s in the wild.
How long does it take for the hatchling eggs to hatch?
It takes about 2 to 3 months for their eggs to hatch.
Seasonal changes and weather will shorten or extend the incubation period. Spawning in cool weather may take longer to hatch.
How to tell the age of box turtle?
There are several ways to tell you the age of the turtle.
The simplest method is to calculate the ring or ring on its shell. The number of rings matches the age in a similar way to the rings on the tree.
Although box turtles may have a lot of work, their popularity indicates that they are well worth it.
They are unique pets that add a lot of color to indoor or outdoor habitats.
Keep them warm, clean and full, they will do well for themselves. They can even reward you by eating pests in the garden.
Keeping turtles is a big decision. If you think you are ready to use it, remember that it will exist for a long time!
Would you like to keep box turtles from the East or the West? Let us know in the comment section below …
Robert Woods is the founder of “Fish Farming World”, a third-generation fish farmer, and a graduate of animal welfare and behavior. He is also a proud member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association, the North American Marine Aquarium Association and the Nature Conservation Association.
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