Eastern Box Turtle Care

Eastern Box Turtle Care – Behavior, Requirements, And All

In this article, we’ll discuss eastern box turtle care requirements.

Eastern box turtles have a brown shells with brilliant yellow, orange, and red markings that resemble a high-domed conch shell. Because of their adaptability to different situations, they make good pets, although they still need some extra attention.

The eastern box turtle is native to the southernmost part of Ontario and the east of the United States, but not most of Florida or the northeast. They often favor damp environments, including forests, hardwood swamps, marshy meadows, pastures, and locations close to water sources. Unfortunately, they are becoming rarer.

Eastern Box Turtle Appearance

Eastern Box Turtle Appearance

The eastern box turtle is a little reptile with a maximum length of approximately six inches and a weight of less than one pound. Its high carapace, or upper shell, looks like a box. The brown carapace has different patterns of orange and yellow marks on it. 

The turtle can conceal its entire body, which is protected by the shell, thanks to its plastron, a hinged lower cover. Rarely does the plastron have distinguishing markings; it is typically dark brown. 

The turtle bears golden patterns on its dark, scaly skin. The upper jaws of eastern box turtles are hooked, and their toes are hardly webbed. Females have yellow-brown eyes, while males have red eyes. In addition, men are bigger than females.

Eastern Box Turtle Behavior And Temperament

Many Eastern box turtle owners agree that each of their pets has a distinct personality and a high level of social interaction. They seem to be able to identify their favorite people by their voice and look and will beg for food if they see or hear them nearby. 

Most pet box turtles dislike being handled frequently since it stresses them out. When a turtle has entirely withdrawn into its shell, it is a common symptom of stress. 

Initially, Eastern box turtles tend to be more timid than aggressive in their behavior. By being kind to them, you will gain their trust and even notice that they seem to appreciate your presence.

When you have regular interactions with them, including gentle handling, they can develop acclimation to your presence. Because of this, moving them for cage cleanings and veterinary treatment becomes very easy.

Eastern box turtles are most active in the daytime, when they may scavenge for insects and other food items without being disturbed by predators. Some pet box turtles enjoy playing with toys like a little ball.

Eastern Box Turtle Habitat

Eastern Box Turtle Habitat

A tank of at least 20 gallons for babies and juveniles is sufficient, although larger tanks are needed for adults. If you keep them indoors, a 4-square foot enclosure with 18-inch-tall walls is adequate, as long as you can meet the turtle’s lighting and heating requirements.

Outdoor enclosures are suitable for turtles if the climate in your area is comparable to their native habitat. Ensure your eastern box turtle’s outside enclosure provides sunny and shaded places and protection from predators and bad weather.

Because these species enjoy digging, provide them access to clean soil to improve their enclosure. Make sure there are places to hide and loose litter for the animals to dig in. Additionally, ensure the area is safe for your turtle by checking the flora and soil quality.

Your turtle should always have easy access to two shallow water pans for bathing and drinking indoors and out. Ensure the water is changed daily and the waste is cleaned up at least once weekly.

Light Requirement For Eastern Box Turtle

The optimum source of vitamin D for turtles is direct sunlight, but if you must keep your turtle indoors, you can use a UVB-emitting reptile lamp to achieve the same results. 

These light bulbs should be used for 10 to 12 hours daily and usually be replaced every six months. Because they lose UV output over time and will no longer produce UV light even while it is on. To get the most outstanding results, make sure you follow the directions that came with your light.

Temperature Requirement For Eastern Box Turtle

Most of the time, eastern box turtles favor a sunny spot in their pen where they may warm up at temperatures between 85 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, they require a cooler, shaded region with a temperature of 74 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

No lower than 70 degrees Fahrenheit should be allowed during the night. Bring them inside and provide their pen with a heat lamp if your outdoor environment cannot meet this requirement.

Substrate For Eastern Box Turtle Habitat

Use bedding or substrate that resembles their natural habitat at the bottom of their enclosure. Mulch, pellets, or moss-type substrates are all suitable since they help retain moisture and raise humidity levels in the habitat. 

These turtles are burrowers. So to keep this species happy, you must keep the substrate moist and deep enough for digging.

Ideal Humidity

Wet forest floor-like conditions are ideal for the Eastern box turtle. Maintain a humidity level of at least 70% to 80% by spraying the room daily or using an automatic fogger. The turtle’s habitat can be made more humid by creating a small pool of water in their enclosure.

Eastern Box Turtle Food And Water

Eastern Box Turtle Food And Water

These omnivorous turtles can be found in the wild, eating a wide variety of things. The food they eat in captivity should closely resemble what they would eat in the wild.

They should eat protein from low-fat sources. Whole, living foods such as earthworms, slugs, snails, mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers are the best. For growth, young turtles often require more protein than adults.

Your turtle’s age and size will determine how much food it should eat. To balance the nutrition of its diet of insects and salads, you might also want to give your box turtle a multivitamin.

Give them a meal every 24 hours, preferably in the morning when they are most active. Vegetables, fruit, hay, or grasses should make up around half of their daily diet. Tomatoes, carrots, and red bell peppers are among their favorites.

At all times, a small pan of fresh water should be available. Although they aren’t aquatic turtles, they like to dip their toes in the water. This is why it’s crucial to check the water frequently during the day for availability and to refresh it as necessary.

Read also: How To Feed A Baby Turtle – Care Your Pet Properly

Eastern Box Turtle Lifespan

The state reptiles of Tennessee and North Carolina are eastern box turtles. They were almost Pennsylvania’s official reptile as well.

Box turtles are reptiles that live a long time. An eastern box turtle’s lifespan in the wild is thought to range from 20 to 80 years. Box turtles that have been kept in captivity appear to live even longer.

When properly cared for, young eastern box turtles can live for 50 to 75 years.

Eastern Box Turtle Health Issues

These animals frequently experience gastrointestinal parasites, which can cause symptoms like decreased appetite and unusual excrement.

Additionally, respiratory diseases are frequently observed in Eastern box turtles. Breathing difficulties, bubbles in the mouth or nose, and mucus around the eyes and nose are all symptoms. These diseases are frequently caused by either excessively cold or too dry environments.

Some box turtles experience issues with their shells, including shell rot or ulcers – symptoms include spots on the surface that have an odd appearance or scent. This is frequently caused by a bad diet or an unclean environment.

Mainly if your turtle lives outdoors, it is frequently advised to have a fecal examination and bloodwork performed annually to check for parasites and learn more about their general health.

Eastern Box Turtle Care – Final Words

Eastern box turtles spend very little time in the water. They have a very long life span and crawl very slowly. They are sluggish to mature and have a small number of pups each year. 

Although these turtles are pretty simple to care for, they want a substantial living area. So ensure you have enough room for them. 

It’s possible to keep them in a tank when they’re small, but they quickly outgrow it and require a large amount of space.

So, as long as you have enough space, these turtles are suitable for both beginners and specialists. 

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