You should never forget though that not all box turtles are alike. Certain species of Asian box turtles have different care requirements than the American types. Within both major box turtle categories are several species or sub species. This means that you might have an American box turtle species that requires even more special attention. The tips provided here are for general consideration for those who are just beginning to understand their pet box turtles.
Box Turtle Care – Your Pet’s Enclosure
American box turtles should ideally be kept outdoors. Any turtle would appreciate the fresh outdoors better than being cooped up indoors. You could have a small pond for your pet. Make sure it gets both sunlight and protection from extreme sunlight as well as some water and greenery to play around in. Take note too, that you should ensure your turtle’s safety against possible animal predators or pets that may harm it.
You may not be able to afford an outdoor enclosure. In this case the most sensible box turtle care tip for housing is to keep an indoor enclosure and occasionally take your pet outdoors.
You should not keep your turtle in an aquarium. Aside from the danger of overheating due to the glass sides, your pet may become agitated with all the activity that it sees outside. Your indoor housing should be a plastic or wood case. A four-inch square box that is two inches high would do well. Provide a shallow wading dish with a little water and a hiding pot or box. For the substrate, you can use a commercial product or use potting soil. Substrates though need to be constantly monitored, cleaned and changed.
Box Turtle Care – Feeding
Your American box turtle can be fed from both plant and animal sources. Adult pets usually should have just a little more plant food than animal food. The key to successful and healthy feeding is to provide a lot of variety. It isn’t good to feed it one kind of food for successive and prolonged periods of time. Aside from restricting its nutritional supply, your turtle could also become attached to one kind of food and refuse to eat anything else. Food items that may be a part of your pet’s diet include earthworms, eggshells, fruits, vegetables, leafy vegetables and insects.
Box Turtle Care – Lighting and Heat
Box turtles need both light and heat. It would be advisable for you to take your pet out for some moderate sunlight each day. If you are unable to do that, you have to provide an indoor light source. There are several brands of reptile light sources that you can buy for this purpose.
You should also have a basking lamp. Some pet owners simply use an incandescent lamp. The temperature should at the most reach 85 degrees. This should only be in one side of the housing. You should have a cool area too.
These are only some important general points for box turtle care. Do remember though to always consider the specific species of your box turtle.
Turtle Tanks Tip #1
Remember that turtles are not all alike. Each different species and sub species require different housing, feeding and water needs. Only after you have properly identified your turtle can you create the perfect environment for raising it. Therefore, your first concern should be to clearly identify what species your pet turtle is.
Turtle Tanks Tip #2
Aquatic turtles should be kept in aquariums that have fairly deep water, a basking area, and heat and light sources. Turtles that are mostly terrestrial still need to have some water but should not be kept in aquariums. They will be happier in wide wooden or plastic enclosures that contain the right substrate and a wading dish.
Turtle Tanks Tip #3
Be sure to wash and sterilize anything you pick up from the yard before placing it in the turtle tank. Don’t add any decorations in the tank that are sharp, pointed, or small enough that your turtle could potentially swallow them.