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Box Turtles

Box turtles are land dwelling creatures with high, domed shells, hence the "box" moniker.  Box turtles are found all over the world, and are generally found living in mossy areas of the forest, or other damp habitats.  They are very territorial, and sometimes spend their entire lives near their place of birth. 

Box turtles are omnivorous, meaning they eat pretty much anything from berries to small insects.  They are strong, sturdy animals, and usually grow to be about 6 inches long.  Box turtles are usually dark in coloring with some yellowish markings, and the male of the species have bright red eyes, longer tails, and their plastrons are indented.

Box turtles make great pets if you live in the country, as you'll be easily able to recreate their natural habitat, and keep them outside.  However, they may not be the ideal pet for a beginner, as they are bigger and cannot be kept in a small terrarium.  Box turtles should be kept in a large outdoor pen, made from untreated wood, and set up in a well shaded area so that the turtle can hide from direct sunlight.

Bill's American Box Turtles features an excellent Turtle Pen project, and also offers insight on box turtle care.

Box Turtles usually hibernate in the winter, and you may notice their becoming sluggish as the days grow colder.  It is best to set up a small enclosure with a dirt floor so the box turtles can dig themselves a cozy hole in the dirt.  Do not keep the turtles in a dry crate, as they require moisture which is generally provided by rotting dry leaves and humid dirt.  Be careful not to let too much water seep through to the turtle's hole though, as it may turn to ice and kill the turtle.

All photos on, and linked to from this page: Copyright 2002 John White



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Last modified: December 19, 2004