Box Turtles: Keeping & Breeding Them in Captivity by Jordan PattersonThis is a comprehensive guide to owning and breeding a box turtle. We found a baby box turtle in our yard and have adopted her and this was our second attempt at learning more about her care and feeding. The book was a bit long to read out loud with our girls, but I read most of it myself and pointed out interesting facts to our girls (did you know that box turtles will eat hard boiled eggs, shell and all?!?) We do not expect to breed turtles, so we glossed over that section, but overall it was a good book that helps people understand the best ways to keep a box turtle healthy and happy.
10 totally awesome facts about turtles!
Intriguingly, these two groups are not closely related genetically, in spite of the fact that they can look quite similar. Of these, the most commonly kept box turtle pet types include the common Eastern box turtle, the 3-toed box turtle, the Gulf Coast box turtle and the Western Ornate desert box turtle. This genus and family include 10 species, of which the most commonly kept box turtle pet types are the Malayan box turtle and the Chinese box turtle. Box turtles are disappearing from the wild at alarming rates, landing them on vulnerable and endangered populations lists around the globe. The illegal smuggling trade is one of the biggest threats to box turtles worldwide, as is habitat loss, environmental pollutions, climate change, disease and competion or predation from invasive species.
The eastern box turtle is one of six extant subspecies of the common box turtle. The vivid, orange and yellow markings on its dark brown shell distinguish it from other box turtles, as do the four toes on its hind feet. Its distinct coloring camouflages it among the damp earth, fallen leaves and other debris found on the floor of moderately moist forests. When threatened, the box turtle pulls its body into its shell and waits for the danger to pass. Its shell is also unique in that it can regenerate. Their feet are slightly webbed. There are many ways to tell a male and female box turtle apart.
Can you keep a box turtle as a pet?
Interesting Box turtle Facts
Native to North America and popular as a pet, the box turtle's most notable feature is its shell, the bottom half of which has a hinge that allows it to close completely to protect the animal's head and limbs. With the right diet and environment, a pet box turtle can live 40 years or longer. Box turtles are brown and have either a yellow or orange pattern on their shells. They grow to be around five inches long, and males are usually a little bit bigger than females. You can tell if a box turtle is male or female by looking at the eyes. Males have bright red eyes; females have brown or gray eyes.
I found my first one of in early April — a three-toed box turtle trying to make its way across a busy rural highway. The poor reptile was having a difficult time. Frightened by the vehicles buzzing past it, it had pulled its head and legs entirely into its protective shell. Fortunately, no one ran over the hapless creature, and when I saw it, I did what I always do. I pulled my truck to a safe spot on the shoulder, then went back and carried the turtle to the side of the road where it was headed. I placed it on the ground well away from the highway and watched until it felt safe enough to come out of its shell and shuffle away. Here in Arkansas, we learn at a young age that these common creatures are harmless and easy to catch.