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Care Sheets

Care Sheets: Click species:

ALL CARE SHEETS ARE FROM: HTTP://WWW.CHELONIA.ORG/CARE.HTM

Check out their site for more: Its great just to read up on them.

 IF you have any others please email me. 

BOX TURTLE CARE SHEET I MADE:

 *This care sheet is from personal experience, it worked for me and is pretty basic information. 

American Box Turtles:

American Box turtles are in the Terrapene Family. There are quite a few different sub species. Eastern, Three toed, Golf Coast, Flordia, Ornate box turtles are the most common American box turtles. Here is a list of common names and scientific names. 

Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina bauri)

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

Gulf Coast Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina major)

Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis),

Desert Box Turtle (Terrapene ornate luteola)

Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata)

Choosing a box turtle:

 

 When choosing a box turtle be sure you choose the right type of box turtles. Easterns and Three toed like more humid areas unlike the ornates. Also be sure you try and buy a captive bred box turtle because they will ultimately be healthier and you can keep track on their health and progress. Another good way to go is adopting. There are many box turtles that need homes, and if all possible adopt! I will try and post good adoption links for those who consider it. I would stay away from buying Wild Caught adults. They can carry diseases and you don't know the age or anything about a Wild Caught turtle. If you must buy one be sure to take it to the vet ASAP.

Housing: 

Box turtles do best outdoors. They thrive outdoors and you can really see their true colors when they are outdoors. Some can't provide an outdoor enclosure so I will try and provide what I think would be a decent indoor enclosure. Also babies are tiny and would be best indoors till they are big enough to keep an eye on outdoors. If you can provide outdoor enclosure go for it! I recommend it by far.

 

Indoor:

I'm going to start with indoor housing. For an indoor enclosure i would use a Rubbermaid tot. A 50 gallon tot works great for babies/juveniles. You can find these at Wal-Mart or any store that sales storage supply. For an adult i would look more into building a Tortoise table ( http://www.russiantortoise.org/tortoise_table.htm ).

-Substrate/Furnishings: What I did for my babies was fill the bottom of the tot with soil, about 5-7 inches. Then I soaked the soil all the way through so its moist on all layers and not just the top layer. This will help keep humidity up, and when you see the top getting dry just turn the soil and it will be moist again. Add as many hides as you can without clustering the enclosure. I added a lot of half logs and plants so the turtle can't see across the tot ( this will make the enclosure seem bigger then it really is).

-Water Dish: Add a nice water dish, I used a paint pan you can find at homedepot, it declines into a pool and is great for box turtles. With the water dish make sure the turtle can climb out without flipping and can touch the ground at all times.

-Lighting/heating: Lighting is important with indoor enclosures. You will need two types of bulbs, first you will need a heat bulb which will provide a hot side to the enclosure. You need a hot side so the turtle can bask and gain energy to digest food ect.( they are reptiles). Next you need a Ultraviolet bulb (UVB) Box turtles need this to produce important vitamins, you can find them in pet shops and are pretty common. UVB bulbs cost a little more but last pretty long.

 

Outdoor:

 

I'm a little more familiar with outdoor enclosure because I kept all my box turtles outdoors (minus my yearlings). I had two types of outdoor enclosures. The first one I called "the box" and the second one was just the big pen. The fist two pictures are of the outdoor box. I use the box for nights, babies or when I'm out of town. This has a little more protection a wire tip, and false bottom. They can't dig out and predators can't get to them. Box=6foot x3.5foot

These next two pictures are my big pen outdoor enclosure. This pen I use when I am home, and can check on them a few times a day. Its huge and more natural. The box turtles like it better then the box, and most the time the adults are out here. I won't put my babies out here because they will just get lost and it would be almost impossible to find them. Big pen= 24foot x 10 foot (first picture was when I first started growing grass and such, 2nd picture is after a few months. You can see how wild it got)

 

 

 

 

 Now that you seen pictures of my two outdoor enclosure let me tell you a little more about them. With an outdoor enclosure your turtle will be happier and healthier. You don't need any artificial light, they can get natural sun, and there are way more micro climates they can take advantage of. Out doors is IDEA for box turtles, again if you can provide outdoors go for it, it might take more planning but its worth it.

 

 Outdoor box: My outdoor box enclosure posted above is 6 foot by 3.5 foot. It made of plywood and coated with a water sealant. its sides are 3foot high so they can't climb out, and it has a chicken wire top for protection. The soil in there i got at home depot its plain soil and about 10 inches deep. This lets then dig into the ground and stay warm on cold nights. I put a basic water bowl in there, and set it up much like my indoor enclosures.

 

 Big Pen outdoor: This is my yard. make sure if you use your yard and have no artificial bottom you put wood around the boarder about a foot deep so the box turtles can't dig under. I did this you can't see it but along the fence there is wood under ground. I put soil on the spots with no grass and threw seeds there, this grew nice and tall and added a lot of coverage for the turtles. I have water dishes through out the enclosure ( can't see them) and hides all around (again can't see most the hides) I added a sprinkler system (seen in the right picture) to give them some "rain like days" this makes them more active and hunt. Its pretty basic, just have lots of hides, and water dishes. Hope the pictures help, if you have any question please email me.

 *I have moved and those two enclosures up top are my old enclosures. They are still great for ideas. Again any questions about either one email me.

 

 Diet: 

Box Turtle diets consist of protein, vegetables, and a little bit of fruit. the ratio i used was about 60% protein, 20% vegetables, and 10% fruit. Most the time i would mix fruit and Vegetables all in the same dish which then i combined the percents to 30% veggies/fruit. 

Protein List: 60%

Night Crawlers

Meal worms

Earthworms

Snails

Slugs

rollipoolies 

wax worms ( not to many though very fatty)

Many more.... there are many types of protein you can feed your box turtle, the list is a few common ones i used.

 

Vegetables: 20%

Romain lettuces

squashes

peas

sweet potatoes

grated carrots

cactus pads with all spines removed.

Mushrooms of all types

Collard greens

mustard greens

dandelion greens

romaine

wheat grass

turnip greens

Fruit: 10%

Grapes

apples

fresh figs

blackberries, raspberries, mulberries

peaches, strawberries, cantaloupe, kiwis, cherries and persimmons, banana and other fruits you can think of.

 

This care sheet is just what I have used in the pass, and how I used to house, feed, and take care of my box turtles.

* For anyone thinking of a box turtle, please do your research and get as much information as possible before purchasing a box turtle. Check multiple care sheets, join a forum and ask questions. I still ask questions on forums and I'm still learning. The best thing about turtles and tortoises is to be prepared for one.