American box turtles.pdf
GENERAL INFORMATIONBox Turtles available on the reptile market are typically field collected specimens. They are available during a limited season when they are naturallyactive. California Zoological Supply sells only Box Turtles that have naturally emerged from hibernation. There are several types of turtles availableunder this heading. Most common are the Three Toed, Ornate, Eastern, and the larger Gulf Coast Box Turtles. All of these varieties will do well incaptivity with a little care given to them. Box Turtles will sometimes arrive with their eyes closed. This is due to being in a dark box during their transit.
Upon arrival to a new enclosure, soak the Box Turtles in room temperature water just high enough to reach the top of their legs. Soak them for 30 -45 minutes. Remove them and place Terramycin™ eye ointment in their eyes. Apply Terramycin™ eye cream to eyes once a week. This will helpprevent “puffy” eyes. Box Turtles are naturally curious and active animals. Try to provide them with an interesting home with plenty of things tocheck out.
ENCLOSURE20 gallon or larger sized aquarium is adequate. Provide as large an enclosure as possible so your turtles have a chance to roam around and getsome exercise. Provide them with some pieces of wood or well-anchored rocks to climb around on and explore. Your Box Turtles will alsoappreciate a large piece of cork bark or something else that they can retreat into for a little privacy.
SUBSTRATEFor bottom substrates there are a variety of choices. For any of them start with a layer of newspaper for easy clean up and extra absorption. On topof the paper use Zoo Med CAGE CARPET or a layer of rabbit pellets or alfalfa. Rabbit pellets or fresh alfalfa help keep odor down, are inexpensiveand provide another food source. Newspaper alone will work fine, but is a bit boring in appearance.
TEMPERATURE &HUMIDITYBox Turtles should have daytime temperatures of 80 - 85ºf, allowing for a nighttime temperature drop to 70 - 75ºf.
HEATINGReptiles need to be able to regulate their body temperature, so a temperature range must be provided. Use a Zoo Med REPTITHERM® UNDER TANKHEATER (U.T.H.). Leave it on 24 hours a day. UTH’s take a few hours to reach their optimal temperature. For easy heat control, use a Zoo Med REPTI-TEMP™ RHEOSTAT in conjunction with the U.T.H’s. They will also slightly help to increase the air temperature if needed. Always use at least onethermometer, two is optimal, in all reptile & amphibian enclosures. One thermometer on the cooler side, and one on the warmer side. A Zoo MedDELUXE ANALOG MIN/MAX THERMOMETER works great to show the high and low temperatures in a 24 hour period.
LIGHTINGFull spectrum lighting is required for Box Turtles. The Zoo Med REPTISUN 5.0™ with its high UVB and UVA output is an excellent choice. The UVB isnecessary for the Box Turtles mineral absorption, and the UVA will help with your new friend’s mental well being. All reptiles and amphibians need aphoto period (light cycle) . A plug in timer (for your lights only, do not use a timer for your heating devices) works well to develop a regular photoperiod of 8 - 10 hours of light, 14 - 16 hours of darkness. Reptiles and amphibians cannot see the red light spectrum, so a red bulb is ideal fornighttime viewing of your Box Turtle.
FOOD & WATERBox Turtles are omnivorous, and will require a varied diet. The diet should consist of whole animal foods, fruits and vegetables. Whole animal foodsinclude snails, slugs, crickets, mealworm beetles, and earthworms. Some good choices for fruits and vegetables would be banana, tomato, melon,squash, broccoli, strawberries, peaches, and corn. The diet should also include a prepared food like Zoo Med ZOO MENU® BOX TURTLE FOOD. Dustfresh fruits & vegetables with Zoo Med REPTIVITE® three times per week. Provide a large, shallow water bowl that the turtles can easily climb in andout of. Soak in room temperature water just high enough to reach the top of their legs every other day. Box Turtles need water for many uses, theyuse it for drinking and to clean their eyes, & nostrils. Water also aids in proper waste elimination, so change your water often. Water is also used forregulating the body temperature to help keep cool.
NOTESAlways wash your hands before and immediately after handling reptiles and amphibians. Never leave live food long term with reptiles & amphibians.
They can inflict severe harm, or even kill your pet. If your animals take some time to eat or you feed them at night, leave a slice of potato, carrot or drydog food for the live food items to eat. Your local pet shop is an ideal source for reptile and amphibian related books and supplies. Please make sureyou read and become familiar with any instructions provided with reptile support products you may purchase. . For further information on reptiles andamphibians we recommend you read REPTILES MAGAZINE and THE VIVARIUM.
California Zoological Supply hopes you have enjoyed reading thisreference sheet on American Box Turtles. We hope that our guidelines will assist you with the care or possible purchase of your new pet.
This sheet may be copied in its entirety only.
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