Ask a Question

 
Name
 
Email
 
Question
 
 
View Questions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ornate Box Turtle Care Sheet
Terrapene ornate
 
 

Ornate box turtles are a small species (4-5 inches) with a flat, domed shell and no central keel.  The carapace and plastron are dark brown or black with distinctive yellow striations. As with all subspecies of the genus Terrapene, ornate box turtles have a hinged plastron enabling it to encase its head, limbs, and tail completely inside its shell.  This box turtle differs from the T. carolina group because it has a defined pattern of radiating lines on its plastron. The central keel on the carapace, seen in other North American box turtles, is replaced by a yellow line.

 

Housing - Care in captivity should mimic its natural habitat as much as possible. Ideally they should be kept in large turtle table or waterland tub.It should be as large as space will allow.

 
When kept indoors, it is crucial that a UVB-emitting reptile bulb be used. I prefer the UVHeat type bulb like the mercury vapor. Zoo Med Powersun 100 watt bulb.. Eastern Box Turtles like to soak often and should have an adequately large water dish that they can easily get in and out of. When kept indoors I usually soak them once a week in a large dishpan with a couple inches of lukewarm water. They tend to defecate in the water dish so these need to be cleaned daily. Humidity is a major issue. Most box turtles are kept far to dry. This leads to eye problems which are often mistaken for eye infections and/or respiratory infections. To keep the humidity high I use sphagnum moss/Eco Earth/sand mix. This is kept moist with daily misting. They should have hiding spots and an area for burrowing available. Eastern Box Turtles should have a basking area that is maintained at 87-90F., and a cooler, shaded area.
 

Diet - 60% or more of the diet is composed of animal matter. Essentially, if they can catch it, they will eat it. The rest is plant matter. A large part of which is fungi (mushrooms etc). Moss, berries and grass are also eaten. We use Box turtle diet, Feeders, and salad. See our vegetable chart for appropriate food. Vegetables and fruit should be mixed and of high nutrient content. Excellent choices include tomatoes, bananas, cantaloupes and other melons, berries, prickly pear fruits, grapes, corn, yams, mustard greens, collards, endive, dandelions, and mushrooms.

 
It is readily apparent that box turtles have insectivorous and carnivorous dietary preferences. They love insects, earthworms, snails and slugs, and many other types of invertebrates.
 
Also keep in mind that like with people, individual tastes vary.
 
Probably the most important aspect of the box turtle's diet is variety. The following is what I feed. All insects, that are store bought, are gut loaded with greens and veggies before offering them to the box turtles.
 
 
Bugs - DO NOT FEED WILD BUGS Vegetable Matter
Slugs Strawberries
Beetle Grubs Blackberries
Worms Blueberries
Crickets Other Berries
Grasshoppers Cantaloupe
Beetles Honeydew
Moths Musk Melons
Sow/Pill Bugs Corn
Millipedes Turnip Greens
Crayfish (crawfish) Endive
Cooked Shrimp (easier to come by than crawfish) Collards
Cooked Fish and Whole Uncooked Feeder Fish Spring Mix
Pinkies (new born mice) Mushrooms
Lean Meat Squash
Silkworms Pumpkin
Butterworms Mallow Leaves and Flowers
European Nightcrawlers Hibiscus Leaves and Flowers
Wax Worms Grapes, Leaves and Fruit
Superworms Opuntia Pads and Fruit
and just about any other bug you can catch including stink bugs  
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Click Here to log in

Call Us: 509-981-8184

2012 Reptile Addictions & Exotics. All rights reserved.