Friday, August 21, 2009

Box Turtle

Eastern Box Turtles

Box turtles have incredibly long life spans. They can live up to and over 125 years of age.

The Eastern Box Turtle's shell is very unique. When frightened the turtle can completely close its shell tightly, head in and all. The turtle can remain enclosed in it shell for several hours before having to take a breath. This turtle is so different you would never think they were closely related to painted and aquatic slider turtles. Eastern box turtles have been added to the threatened species and if planning to find these turtles in the wild, a permit is needed to keep them. Habitat destruction and overcollecting for pet sale has caused a decline in the species' population.

Living Space

Eastern box turtles need a large living space. They like to do a lot of exploring, the same amount of time they spend hanging out. Wild box turtles rarely travel more than 700 feet away from its home.

Even though these turtles are terrestrial (land turtles) they like hanging out in water. It is necessary to have a water dish big enough for the turtle to climb into. An ultraviolet light is needed also, as for all turtles.

When winter comes, the hibernating turtle will bury itself in mud, or leaf litter. However, if kept inside and temperatures are good, hibernation is not necessary. Eastern box turtles can be very territorial, males more than the females. If more than one turtle is living in the same space, don't be surprised if they snap at each other. This is to establish who is boss.


When eastern box turtles are young they are carnivorous, and as they grow older they become more herbivorous. In the wild they will eat worms, berries, plants, snails, and even salamanders. For pet (captive) turtles, their diet might include:
-leafy green veggies
-peanut butter-raspberries
-canned dog food

Pet turtles tend to get overfed, becoming overweight to a point where the box turtle can't even close its shell completely. Therefore captive turtles should only be fed every other day.


Male eastern box turtles have a sunken in plastron(belly), while the females have a more bulging plastron. Males have red eyes, females have brown. Eastern box turtles breed in the spring. When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will nest in sand or mud. She lays up to ten soft, oval shaped eggs. Females can lay eggs up to the age of 55.


Taking about three months to hatch, the hatchlings are born with round shells and are roughly one and a half inches long. It takes twelve years for eastern box turtles to reach sexual maturity, at that time the turtles are about 5 inches long.

No comments:

Post a Comment