Terrapene Carolina Carolina
Upto 4" - 6"
Eastern box turtles are mostly omnivores as adults.
Meaning they will eat both plant and animal matter. Hatchling and young box
turtle are generally carnivorous, meaning they eat mostly live foods.
Daytime Air Temperature:
60 - 80%
Wild Eastern box turtles are found mostly near the edge of
forests. They can frequently be found along the edge of open meadows under
shrubs or fallen logs. Moist leaf litter is a natural resting place. They are
often seen soaking in shallow water.
turtles range is typically from Michigan south to Tennessee, east to Georgia and
north to Main.
A captive habitat should have a substrate deep enough for
the turtle to burrow in, water bowl large enough for the turtle to climb in and
out of easily and turn around in. Hiding places at both ends of the enclosure to
allow for thermoregulation. UVB lighting or access to natural sunlight is a
must. Artificial heat must also be provided for a healthy, happy turtle.
enclosure is best for Eastern box turtles. Minimal size for one adult is 4 feet
by 4 feet. Ideally it should receive morning sun and late afternoon sun when
they are most active. Planting shrubs and plants should provide shaded areas.
Hiding places are required. Hollowed out logs, plant pots turned on their sides
or other materials can be used. Large water bowls can be created out of plant
saucers. Misting the enclosure will boost the humidity. Turtles are excellent
escape artists. You must dig down 6 inches below the bottom of the enclosure
walls and provide a barrier. Chicken wire or bricks can be used to accomplish
this. A screen top is essential to keep out predators. Raccoons, skunks, hawks,
opossums, dogs, cats and kids are all potential dangers to turtles
Indoor enclosures are sometimes needed for turtles. Sick, very young, climate
and the location your in can all play a part of having to keep one indoors.
Minimal size of the enclosure should be 36 inches long and 12 inches wide for
one box turtle. Remember, bigger is always better. Glass tanks are not
recommended since the turtle can see out and will want out. You can cover the
sided of the tank with paper to prevent your turtle from stressing itself by
wall climbing. Your turtle will also need artificial lighting. You must have a
UVB lighting source to promote healthy growth and provide the essential vitamins
for calcium absorption. Reptisun 5.0 lights are recommended. For heating the
enclosure you have two options. You can buy a ceramic heat emitter that will
last for years or use a heat bulb as a basking place. Turtles cannot regulate
their own body temperature so you will need to provide a gradient. One side of
the enclosure needs to be warmer then the other to allow the turtle to chose for
itself how warm it wants to be. A turtle without proper heat cannot digest its
food properly and will become sickly. Substrate should be a minimum of 3 inches
deep. Box turtle burrow in substrate to feel safe. You can use moistened Bed a
Beast mixed with peat moss without perlite. Some people use regular dirt or just
potting soil. Try them and see what works best for your turtle and you. You
need to substrate to stay moist but not wet to help provide humidity. Lack of
humidity will cause repertory and eye problems. A large water bowl needs to be
provided. This will need cleaned a minimum of once daily. Box turtles frequently
defecate in their water. Lastly, hiding places. You can buy hollowed out logs,
make caves from rocks or use fake plants to accomplish this. Whatever you use
make sure it isn’t something that can fall and injure your turtle.
Recommended diet is 60 % animal matter and 40% plant
material. Earth worms, red worms, wax worms, crickets, grass hoppers, slugs are
good things to feed. Safe plant matter for box turtles are grated carrots,
grated squash, blackberries, blueberries, dandelion leaves, kale, pumpkin,
strawberries, mulberries, tomato, zucchini, romaine lettuce, and endive. Vitamin
supplements containing minerals and calcium are also recommended.
Eastern box turtles get along with other Eastern box
turtles. Females will get along with other females. Adult males with other males
will tend to fight and stress the weaker turtle. Battles can even become bloody
and result in serous injury. Two females or more with one male is optimal. Males
will direct all their attention one female if she is the only one around. This
can cause the female to become stressed and go off her food and become sick. Box
turtles do not need a friend to be happy. One box turtle alone will be fine.
Eastern box turtles are one of the
most attractive of the box turtles. Once all their housing needs and a quality
diet is offered they make great pets. Children are generally not recommended to
interact with them though. Like all reptiles box turtles carry salmonella, there
for, cleanliness is an important factor in keeping a turtle. Always wash your
hands after touching your turtle or any of your turtle’s things. A curious child
dropping it can also easily injure turtles. Turtles are more of a decorative
pet, look but don’t touch. Many states have laws on reptiles. Make sure you can
legally own a turtle before you get your heart set on one. Habitat destruction,
pollution and over collecting from the wild are all affecting the future of the
box turtle. When buying a box turtle try to buy a captive bred one. They will be
healthier and more able to adapt to captive life. Finding a reptile vet for your
turtle is also a good idea. Regular vets for cats and dogs just haven’t been
educated about the specifics of turtle’s health. Find out where one is located
near you before you need one, it just may save your turtle life. Lastly,
remember box turtle are life long pets. Eastern box turtles can live 80 to 100
years. You cannot just let it go when you decide you no longer want it.