Here are some things you need to know before deciding
whether a box turtle is the right pet for you.
One of the first things to consider is that turtles are
reptiles, along with snakes and lizards, and reptiles are
not particularly cuddly or trainable. Box Turtles are
interesting and charming though, and clean and quiet, so
that may be more important to you.
Box Turtles are a bit harder to keep healthy than common
water turtles, so a Box Turtle might not be the best choice
for a turtle beginner. On the other hand, if you are willing
to put some money and effort into giving your turtle a good
home that is similar to his native habitat, and want a pet
that will likely live as long as you do, a box turtle might
be just right for you.
Most Box Turtles are naturally tame and have individual
personalities, and they are usually good eaters. In the wild
they eat just about anything that will fit into their
mouths, and a bit of study will help you feed your turtle a
good diet and keep him happy and healthy.
Try to find a turtle that was bred in captivity, as they are
usually healthier and tamer, plus many turtles found in the
wild are endangered and it may even be illegal in your state
to possess them.
You might find your turtle at your local pet store, but you
might also check the Internet or your telephone book and see
if there is a Box Turtle rescue nearby, and adopt a turtle
who has lost its previous home.
You'll need to plan ahead and have your turtle habitat ready
before bringing your new pet home. Your turtle will need a
well-designed, shady and secure outdoor pen, and probably
also a roomy indoor pen with landscaping, a heat source, a
reptile basking light, and a UVA/UVB lamp (to make sure he
Vitamin D and calcium metabolism).
There are several species of box turtles that are commonly
kept as pets, and each has variations in the habitat it
needs, so be sure to read the other articles on this website
and research the different species and their needs before
making your decision.
You'll also want to read more about the best diet for your
Box Turtle, when, how or if he should hibernate, what type
of pens to provide for him, and the like. Your pet store and
public library will have some good books on keeping box
turtles as pets, and the Internet has many websites with
advice and interesting stories about box turtles.
My advice is to also buy at least one book about keeping
turtles as pets, because questions and problems always seem
to come up in the off hours when the library or pet store is
Reptiles require very different medical care than cats or
dogs, so check with your local veterinarians before you get
your turtle, to make sure that you find one who works with
Use the advice and information in this article and elsewhere
on this site, and you should have a long and happy life with
your charming Box Turtle friend.