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Do you get curious about how box turtles live their lives? How do they behave? What are the things that are common for them? And if you want to be their pet owner, what are the essential facts, together with basic caring you must know? Let’s explore them together.

Unboxing the Boxed Turtles!

Box turtles are reptiles belonging to the family of marsh turtles

They are native turtles of North America and are a growing popular pet turtle. In the wild, box turtles live in woodlands, pastures, floodplains, grasslands, meadows, and near a stream or a pond. 

Box turtle sizes can grow up to eight inches

They have an elevated upper part of the shell (domed carapace) and a hinged lower part of the shell (plastron) that allows them to have complete closure of their shell. In terms of their appearance, their shells are brown in color and mostly covered in spots, lines, blotches, and bars. 

Male box turtles are larger than the female ones

Males have thicker tails, they have red eyes and their claws are short and curved. They have a concave plastron. Females have yellow eyes, with claws that are long and straight. They have a convex plastron. Box turtles are diurnal animals, meaning they are active during the day

Box turtles are omnivores

Their diet requires seventy percent made up of vegetables, fifteen percent making up of fruits, and the remaining fifteen percent are proteins and safe meats for them. Box turtles, when they have eaten poisonous plants, retain their toxins to their body. This can be fatal in the long run or they can induce it in their owners. 

Box turtles have soft shells until their seven years of life

It makes them vulnerable prey to raccoons, dogs, minks, and snakes. Box turtles have a mellow personality. They are quiet but are social creatures in their own distinct way. They are able to recognize the sound and the appearance of their favorite humans and will plead for playtime and food. 

To entertain them, you can play with your box turtle in the sun, they have natural sunlight and they are fascinating when observing them. They also love a good bath, more of a swim. This will relax them after a good sunbathing, also keeping them clean whilst being happy. 

They love to have lap times with their owners

A great relaxing bonding is by allowing them to sit on your lap and gently pet the top of their head, chins, and cheeks, their shells and they, on some instances, enjoy a gentle neck massage. 

Patience is a virtue, when you are wanting for your box turtle to like you

This is because naturally, they live their lives in the wild, and adjusting to humans can sometimes be viewed as threatening, intimidating, and challenging. Rest assured that once they feel safe in your presence, your relationship with each other will be a lot easier, better, and happier. Box turtles can survive up to a hundred years in the wild, but their average lifespan is thirty years. 

Basic Caring for Box Turtles

  • Box turtles thrive best in turtle safe outdoor pens that imitate their natural habitat. It should be at least eighteen inches tall with an overhang that will prevent box turtles from escaping. They should have sunny and shady areas, places where they can hide to feel secure, access to food and water and they should be built with protection from predators, and disclose their pens with wire mesh, since their shells are vulnerable especially when they are young. 
  • They require natural sunlight, of at least twelve hours a day to metabolize the calcium to their bodies. Without it, they might develop a metabolic bone disease that can be fatal. When you are planning to raise them indoors or if the sun is not out, it is best to have a UVB lighting since it also does its job. 
  • Feeding them should be your top priority. They are considered omnivores. Their diet should be varied, with a great amount of vegetables, fruits and protein that is often in the form of insects, or worms. Provide them with clean water as well. Feeding is one of the foundations of how healthy your pet turtle is going to be, and how long they can live. For proper feeding proportion, consult your veterinarian. 
  • Spend time with your box turtle. Do not raise them just because it is popular and because you want them to be displayed in your house. They are social creatures that love human connection and companionship. They strive best when they have a loving environment around them. Play, unwind, relax and overall give love and affection to your box turtle, they will also love you in return. 
  • Consult their veterinarian regularly. This is to optimize their health and well being. This is helpful if your box turtle is masking pain, or if they have undiagnosed diseases, veterinarian will help in treating them. 


Keep in mind that Box turtles are a great pet to have, it is even a fulfilling one since you learn how to really raise them in the right and safe manner since they require comprehensive care. I hope that these beginner facts and basic caring instructions help, and even persuade you to start your box turtle petting journey. Remember that responsible pet ownership, together with love, affection, and care raise a lively, happy and healthy lovable pet. 

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