Pictures of Turtles: Gallery and Info
Box turtles are popular pets, but what is a box turtle? There are several types of box turtles, but they all share two primary characteristics:
- Their shells have a high dome shape.
- When threatened, they can completely close their shells for protection, rather than just pulling inside the shell.
Understanding more about these turtles can help pet enthusiasts decide if a box turtle is right for them.
Baby Box Turtle
Box Turtle Locked Up in Its Shell
When threatened, a box turtle can completely close its hinged shell to stay safe from predators. Young children and curious turtle owners should be warned that the turtle's shell is very strong. It can be very painful if a finger is trapped when the shell closes, and the shell cannot be forced open without harming the turtle.
Outdoor Action for Box Turtles
Box turtles can be curious, and they enjoy activity time outdoors. Outdoor pens can be superb alternatives to indoor habitats, and box turtles can be kept outdoors in the appropriate climate. When putting the turtle outside, always check for potential predators and be sure the turtle has easy access to water and food. They should also have some type of hideaway to escape from the sun or rain without being boxed in their shell.
Box Turtles Like to Climb
Turtles are tenacious and will figure out ways to go over or around obstacles in their path. Adding low rocks to a turtle's enclosure can provide them with some mental stimulation, but the rocks should not be so tall that the turtle risks tipping over if they try to climb them.
Box Turtle Brumation
Box turtles brumate in the fall and winter, and they will easily burrow down into the soil if they are outdoors. Turtle owners should always be careful to know where their turtle is so they do not inadvertently lose sight of it when the urge to brumate strikes. Brumation is similar to hibernation, in that the body does undergo a type of deep sleep, but it is not as deep of a sleep as hibernation. Brumating is specific to reptiles and amphibians and is related to the temperature experienced since these animals are cold-blooded and cannot regulate their body temperature.
Feeding Your Box Turtle
Box turtles need a widely varied diet, including plenty of fresh fruits, leafy greens, and vegetables. Insects such as earthworms, crickets, and snails can also be a part of a box turtle's diet, but they should be offered in moderation. If the turtle is not eating well, a visit to the vet may be in order to be sure they aren't suffering from nutritional deficiencies.
Water for Box Turtles
Box turtles are not aquatic, but they do require access to water to stay hydrated. A low bowl of water in their pen, tank, or enclosure will be sufficient, but the water should always be kept clean and fresh. Generally, their water dishes should be cleaned daily to avoid biofilm from forming and to maintain freshness, but may require additional cleaning if soiled throughout the day.
Water dishes should remain low enough so the turtle has the ability to crawl in and out. The water level should also be kept at a depth low enough to avoid the threat of drowning.
Box Turtle Jaws
Box turtles do not have teeth, but their jaws have hard edges that can bite through food - and fingers! A turtle should never be poked or cajoled into biting, and since turtles are can carry salmonella, any bites should always be washed immediately with anti-bacterial soap to be disinfected.
Turtles are not usually aggressive pets, but like all creatures, they have unique personalities. Always treat your box turtle with respect and avoid stressing or teasing them - an angry or distressed turtle can become an unhealthy one.
Outside the Box
Box turtles can be fun pets. Although they may not be the best turtle for anyone who has not owned a turtle before, they can be enjoyable additions to the right family. Be prepared to have your box turtle for their lifetime and learn the ins and outs of their care.
Keep your box turtle healthy by knowing what turtles eat and feeding your pet a healthy diet!