Box Turtle Pet Care

Box turtles range between the truly aquatic turtles and the terrestrial tortoises with their need for bodies of water in which they soak and their need for grassland and wooded areas with moist and humid soil. Box turtle forage for food on land and spend the time they sleep dug into the earth in burrows, under logs and under rocks.

HOUSING:

Box turtles need a big size enclosure in order to provide for the proper range of heating and humidity.

The smallest size indoor housing for one box turtle to be kept in is 3 x 3 x 2 feet. For two turtles, the minimum size should be at least 4 x 4 x 2 feet. Aquariums are not appropriate housing for an adult box turtle. Babies may be kept in aquariums, but as they grow larger enclosures are needed.

Create a land area using 2 to 3 inches of good quality plain sterile potting soil slightly moistened. Do not use backyard dirt of soil from a garden.. Do not used coarse substrates such are gravel or sand, as these tend to scratch the shell and open the way for bacterial infections.

Box turtles require a hide box in which to get away from it all and feel secure. A good size box in one corner of the enclosure, filled with hay in which to burrow. is essential. The hide box can be anything from a cardboard box to a plastic container with a door cut into it.

A water area must be provided with its deep enough that the water comes to just about the nose of the turtle. It doesn’t need to be able to swim, just to soak. If using a kitty litter pan, it is best to sink this into the substrate and provide a ramp to get in and get out for the turtle.

The water area must be kept clean at all times. Box turtles not only use the water to soak in but also relieve themselves in.

LIGHTING:

Full spectrum lighting is required for indoor enclosures. Full spectrum light mimics the beneficial effects of natural sunlight, enabling the turtle to metabolize vitamin D3. The full spectrum lighting is an essential part of the calcium metallization process. Without the specific wavelengths and proper diet, calcium deficiencies will result which may ultimately prove fatal. Box Turtles need 12 to 14 hours of light each day. NOTE: UV waves cannot pass through glass, and 40% of the available waves are lost when the light passes through an aluminum screen, try to have the light shining directly on them.

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