Turtle Pets – How To Care For Box Turtles
Box turtles, as their name implies, have a hinge on their lower shells. This allows them to pull their legs, head, and tail inside for protection, thus creating a “box” within their lower shell, or plastron, and their upper shell, or carapace. The most well-known among this type of turtle pets are the Eastern Box Turtles, which have yellow or red spots decorating their brown skin.
In ancient times, some box turtles were hunted by humans for use in their folk medicines. Over time, due to habitat destruction and encroachment, the number of box turtles has become so diminished that they have unfortunately been added to the endangered species list.
If you are presently a pet owner, or perhaps planning to become one, you should take advantage of the fact that box turtles are not picky when it comes to food. They enjoy a wide variation of food, so that feeding them can become an enjoyable and trouble-free activity for you. Box Turtles consume slugs, earthworms, insects, snails, and carrion. They also enjoy plant materials, such as fruits, leafy vegetables, seeds, and berries.
It is advisable to place the food of box turtles on large, flat rocks instead of into commercially produced dishes or food bins. As the turtle eats, his beak and claws will abrade against the rocks. This natural approach allows the turtle to file his beak and claws, preventing both from breaking, cracking, or growing abnormally. You should also provide boiled eggshells, a calcium-rich food that your pet turtle will love to chew on. Your Box Turtle also needs clean water for drinking and soaking, so make sure you provide sufficient quantities of water that are easily accessible by the turtle.
Although the expected lifespan of box turtles is forty years, they can, incredibly, live up to one hundred years! Box Turtles are very adaptable, in the sense that they can live either outdoors or in a large indoor enclosure. However, if you have the choice, housing your turtle outdoors is the best option. The floor of the pen must be covered with leaves up to three inches deep, mixed with soft soil.
A box turtle can take up to three years to become comfortable or habituated to its home. If you have purchased or acquired your Box Turtle fully grown, you may find that during this period of adjustment, these turtle pets may attempt to break free of your care and escape, trying to return to the place where they were born.
Box Turtles are solitary creatures, and they appreciate a place where they can hide. Hollow logs and broken flower pots make excellent hiding places for your pets. Box Turtles do not like being handled, and may retreat into their shells, closing them so securely that even a knife blade cannot get in between their upper and lower shells! However, your pet turtle can also learn to trust you over time, just as long as you are quiet and gentle when around him.
Box turtles can grow comfortable in your presence if you feed them at the same time and in the same area daily. You should eventually find your pet turtle waiting for you to feed it, a feat which is highly satisfying for you as a pet owner who loves his turtle. Nevertheless, never feed turtle pets food directly from your hand, since their bites can be dangerous and painful!
Wash your hands properly and thoroughly after handling your turtle pets to prevent the risk of being infected with bacteria. Also, be sure to wash your turtles’ dishes or food containers separately from the ones your family uses to ensure sanitation. With these facts in mind, you are guaranteed to take great care of your box turtles, ensuring them optimum health.
Karma Williams is a pet turtle care enthusiast who has raised turtles for over 23 years, and enjoys helping others get started in this amazing hobby. You can discover more about turtles by visiting the turtle pets and turtle types pages of her website. Get your free 10 part Pet Turtle Care mini couse, valued at , by visiting her www.PetTurtleCenter.com website and requesting it. Her newest eBook entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Pet Turtle Care” teaches turtle lovers everything they need to know about acquiring, caring for, and feeding pet turtles so that they stay healthy, contented, and will thrive fo years and years to come!