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Care Sheet: Common Box Turtle

Common Box TurtleHabitat:
Common box turtles are basically terrestrial, but do swim occasionally. They prefer a somewhat shady environment and can be kept in a suitable outdoor enclosure where temperatures are warm and there is some sun. Your turtle will appreciate a water dish and plants to hide under. Alternatively, your turtle may be kept indoors in an aquarium or wooden box. Since they like to roam, this arrangement is not ideal. You should provide a hide box and water dish deep enough for bathing. Their home should also be equipped with a full-spectrum spotlight for basking on the average of, 12 hours a day.

Temperature and Humidity:

Box turtles do best when water and air temperatures in their enclosures are between 75 and 80 degrees F. Your turtle’s basking area should be warmer, to 85 degrees F.

Box turtles’ natural environment is shady and damp, so you must provide him with a fairly humid habitat. A substrate of moss or soil will help retain moisture in his terrerium. Mist the habitat and let the turtle soak in a dish of water every other day.

Food:
Box turtles are mainly omnivorous as juveniles, becoming more herbivorous as adults. A good diet choice is commercial food supplemented with greens and fruit; all commercial diets must be supplemented with insects. They are especially fond of earthworms, slugs, snails, and soft fruits.

Cleanliness & Health:
Indoor box turtles will usually defecate in their water dish, so you must be sure to change the water daily. The aquarium should be emptied and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected once a month. Outdoors, their enclosure must be spot-cleaned as necessary and the water changed whenever it begins to get fouled.

Box turtles may suffer from respiratory and eye problems because of insufficient humidity. Many gulf box turtles are captured during the hibernation season, and have respiratory problems when they reach wholesalers. It’s best to inspect your turtle throughly before purchase from a breeder or pet store. Other possible health problems include both internal and external parasites.

Further Information and Related Web Site:
While this information is provided here as a quick reference, it is not by far, complete. I suggest you make a visit to the following page to get complete information on keeping your Box turtle: http://www.anapsid.org/box.html.

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