What do you feed a baby box turtle

How to Take Care of Baby Box Turtles

By Whitney Lowell | Updated September 26, 2017

Proper housing and diet are important factors in raising baby box turtles. You can maintain a baby box turtle habitat outside or inside, depending on space and preference, as long as the cage is at least 4 feet long by 1 foot wide by 8 to 9 inches tall. Once you have the habitat set up, it's important to pick a healthy diet of animal proteins, fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and other vegetation.

Outdoor Habitat

If you're housing baby box turtles outside, predator-proof the enclosure. Use concrete blocks or wood all the way around the enclosure to create solid walls, and use a secure lid to prevent predators from getting into the enclosure.

Place the enclosure where it will receive a few hours of sunlight for basking and get plenty of shade, too. Plant vegetation along the sides of the habitat as well as throughout the habitat. Use leaf litter and logs for hiding, sleeping and hunting.

Fill a large, shallow dish with fresh water daily for soaking and drinking. Place the plate as close to level with the ground as possible so the little box turtles won't have any issues climbing into the water. If the inside of the plate is too tall, add stones to make getting out easier.

Spray the enclosure to make sure that the substrate is moist, but not soaked. Try a daily spraying routine, and adjust as necessary.

Indoor Habitat

If you prefer to house box turtles babies inside, consider a concrete mixing tub or a 50-gallon Christmas tree storage tub. Either is easy to set up. Otherwise, you can make an enclosure with finished lumber and line it with thick plastic, like a pool liner.

Use loose substrate that will hold moisture, such as finely shredded hardware mulch, loam compost, sphagnum moss or coco coir bedding. Do not use bedding that contains pesticides, perlite, manure, cedar, pine, corncob litter, play sand or alfalfa pellets.

Box turtles are diurnal. They need UV lighting, so place full-spectrum fluorescent lights 18 inches above the habitat. To create a diurnal setting, set a timer to a 12- to 14-hour day.

Use a heat bulb on one side of the habitat to maintain a basking spot between 85 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mist the enclosure daily to maintain a humidity level of at least 50 percent. You can use a warm air humidifier or partially cover the enclosure with a lid to help hold moisture in.

Baby Diet

Box turtles, omnivores, will eat insects, some invertebrates, fruits and some other vegetation. A baby box turtle diet should be 50 percent animal proteins, 25 percent fruits and 25 percent vegetation.

Feed baby box turtles daily around mid-morning after they've had a chance to warm up. Place the food on a flat dish or tile so that baby turtles will be able to easily see and get to the food.

If you notice that your baby box turtles are not eating, try moving the food plate to a secluded location; many baby turtles are shy about eating. Try chopping the food into smaller pieces; large chunks can be intimidating for baby turtles -- stick with pea-size pieces.

Don't feed the same items over and over. Feed a variety of foods from each food group:

  • Animal proteins: night crawlers, snails, slugs, worms and crickets. Commercial turtle pellets and lowfat cat food can supplement proteins.
  • Fruits: tomatoes, apples, melons, peaches, figs, grapes, mangoes and berries.
  • Vegetables: green beans, peas, carrots, pumpkin, squash, bell peppers and okra.
  • Leafy greens: endive, romaine and collard greens.
  • Other vegetation: dandelions, leafy weeds, clovers and spineless opuntia pads.

Use a calcium supplement once a week. Never offer food that may have come in contact with pesticide or herbicide spray.

Growing Up Box Turtle

With proper husbandry and diet, a 2-inch-long baby box turtle will grow to be 8 to 9 inches and live 30 to 40 years in captivity. Care for juvenile and adult box turtles is similar to caring for a baby box turtle. The habitat that served your baby box turtles will suit one or two adult females.

The main difference between caring for juvenile or adult box turtles and caring for baby ones is that you will reduce feedings from daily to two to three times a week during the juvenile period and after. Every box turtle is different, so when you notice your babies aren't eating as much of their daily meals, you can start alternating feedings.

Avoid housing two adult male box turtles, as territorial fighting and bullying can occur.


  • California Turtle & Tortoise Club: A Guide to the Care of North American Box Turtles
  • Exotic DMV: Indoor Care of North American Box Turtles
  • American Animal Hospital Association: Box Turtle Care

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How To Take Care Of A Baby Box Turtle?

Are you wondering how to take care of your baby box turtle? Worry no more because we have come up with a guide that details everything you need to know about caring for baby box turtles.

Baby Box Turtles belong to the American Pond Turtle Family and are mainly found in North America. Their habits and appearance are similar to the tortoise. Baby Box Turtles require a great deal of care. So, keeping it as a pet is not an easy job to do.

I have put together this guide to help any who already has or plans to get a box turtle. It is important to remember that the first couple years of a turtle’s life are very formative and important for their future health and well-being.

The key steps to take care of a baby box turtle include providing a healthy diet, adequate enclosure, moist and humid environment, the right temperature, and proper lighting.

Taking care of a baby box turtle is much easier than caring for some other uncommon pets. If you want to get a different species of turtle, you should check out my more general article on caring for a baby turtle.

Provide a healthy diet

Feeding your baby box turtle a healthy and balanced diet is an obvious necessity when considering your little one’s well-being. Their diet should ensure that all the nutrients your baby box turtle needs for growth and development are present.

You should feed your baby box turtle daily. I would recommend feeding them a mix of insects/pellets and vegetables. You can also feed them fruit on a weekly basis.

My favorite food for box turtles is the Fluker’s Buffet Blend Box Turtle Food. It contains a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and mealworms.

Buffet Blend for Box Turtles

This tasty mix includes dried mealworms, pellets, green peas, and strawberries.

To get a more in depth guide on how much to feed your baby box turtle, you should check out my article on how much to feed a turtle?

This diet should cover all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins needed for their development. Adjust their diet according to their health, age, and activity level. Just make sure that you don’t overfeed or underfeed your baby box turtle.

Indoor or outdoors enclosure

If you have the right climate for baby box turtles, they do well in a large and heavily planted outdoor enclosure. The outdoor enclosure will provide your turtle with fresh air, sunshine, and environmental enrichment. You just can’t replicate their natural habitat inside. If you do have an outdoor enclosure, make sure they are protected from predators. My favorite enclosure for box turtles is the REPTI ZOO 85 Gallon Terrarium.

Box Turtle Terrarium

This terrarium will give your box turtle plenty of space to roam around and dig.

If you do put them in an inside turtle tank enclosure, I would recommend a size of at least 50 gallons. If you’re looking for cheap options, check out my article on cheap turtle tanks.

Give them a moist and humid environment

In the wild, baby box turtles love to live near marshes, meadows, and freshwater. They can live in both dry and moist regions. Humidity should be kept at around 60 percent. You can also provide them pool time as they enjoy soaking in water. While they aren’t great swimmers, they do like to swim from time to time.

Give them privacy

If you have other pet turtles or tortoises in your home, you will need to house your baby box turtle away from them, preferably in its own enclosure. The charming little thing needs privacy and has its own specific care needs.

Also, make sure you include a lot of substrate in your tank.

Provide adequate temperature and good lighting

Provide them enough warm light. If kept indoors, keep the lights on for eight to ten hours during the day, but turn them off at night.

You will need to keep their environment’s temperature between 75 and 80 degrees farenheight. When indoors, provide them with a bulb or heat lamp to keep them warm.

Clean environment

Whether you are caring for your box turtle indoors or outdoors, it’s important to keep its environment clean. You should remove any debris or build up from the tank on a weekly basis. You should also do a more thorough clean of the tank once a month.

Did you know? An interesting fact is that these charming babies already know how to take care of themselves. In the wild, they are on their own right from day one. When you bring home a baby box turtle, the hatchling will orient you to the basics of their care!

Final thoughts

With the proper care and attention, your box turtle will be able to live a long and healthy live. Most box turtles live in captivity for at least 20 years.

With that in mind, you should only get a baby box turtle if you are ready for the long-term commitment. Even thought it won’t require a lot of work on a day to day basis, you are in it for the long run. As mentioned earlier, a baby box turtles early years are extremely important. It is important that you have all of the right turtle accessories.

Once a box turtle hits the maturity age, the chance of early death is reduced. In their natural habitat,  baby box turtles save themselves from any attack by simply hiding and closing their shell.

You can help your baby turtle live its best life! A healthy and happy baby turtle can save you from a lot of stress in the long run.

Take care of your baby box turtle by providing them with the best enclosure, warm light, moist temperature, and healthy food.

After all, it’s really hard to find anything more adorable than a baby box turtle! If you want to read more, you should check out this article on

Best of luck!

  •  Turtleholic
  •  Box Turtles, Guides

What and how much to feed turtles at home

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As we said in the previous article, turtles require special attention and proper care. We have already discussed the arrangement of the terrarium and the aquaterrarium, and today we will talk about the nutrition of turtles. What should be on your pet's menu to make the turtle feel good? Let's figure it out together.

Diet of herbivorous turtles

Quite a large group of turtles are herbivores. These are all land turtles, as well as such breeds as: Mediterranean, Central Asian flat, radiant, Greek and others. nine0003

Of course, plant foods should prevail in the diet of such pets. Turtles will be happy to eat unsweetened vegetables and fruits, plants, berries.

80% of the diet may consist of lettuce, leaves and edible flowers. Offer your pet: clover, plantain, dandelions, alfalfa, lettuce, cucumbers, pumpkin, zucchini, apples.

Ready-made foods are now on sale, which include all the necessary nutrients and trace elements. You can buy food for turtles at any Zoo Gallery store. nine0003

Omnivorous turtles

This type of turtle includes aquatic, semi-aquatic, as well as certain subspecies of land reptiles, for example: marsh, spiny, red-eared, red-footed. For these pets, it is necessary to draw up a balanced menu, which will include both plant and animal food in equal proportions.

These can be: algae, plants, vegetables, salads, fruits, chicken meat.

Predatory turtles

The diet of these pets consists of 90% meat. Trionyx turtles, aquatic and young red-eared turtles, as well as marsh turtles, belong to this species. nine0003

These pets should be offered lean fish, beef, chicken, and fish liver. Adults can eat large pieces, it is better for young turtles to cut the meal into smaller ones.

Seafood turtles eat raw, the fish also does not need to be processed thermally.

Pork, beef, sausage, minced sausage, cheeses, bread, fruit and oily fish are prohibited for predatory turtles. It is best to feed with ready-made dry food.


How often should turtles be fed

Another question that often worries tortilla lovers is how many times a day to feed a turtle. Regardless of the type of your pet, you need to feed the turtle twice a day, at the same time. Decide when it's best for you to feed your turtle in the morning and evening, and stick to that schedule.

Common Tortoise Diet Mistakes

It is very important for beginner turtle owners to make the right diet for their pet. After all, the correct composition of nutrients is necessary for the animal to form a strong shell, as well as growth and activity. It is very important for the tortilla body to get calcium and vitamins. nine0003

From prohibited foods: eggs, bread and milk, as well as beans, peas, white cabbage. Do not offer the turtle: tomatoes, radishes, radishes, garlic, herbs, nuts, cherries.

Turtles can usually go quite a long time without food. But if suddenly your pet refuses the offered food, it is best to take him to the veterinarian.

What to feed the turtle. How turtles are fed

In vain, many people believe that turtles living at home are somehow different from other pets, people just don’t know much about the features of their maintenance and care, as well as what they feed turtles, these wonderful pets. nine0003

Domestic tortoise

Three types of aquatic turtles are sold in Russian pet stores and markets - red-eared, European marsh and Trionyx.

The red-eared tortoise (marine or African ornamental) has a slightly greenish or dark brown shell, on its head behind the eyes there are red stripes-ears, and between the legs there are membranes.

The bog turtle has a brown or black shell, sometimes strewn with yellow spots or small dashes, the skin of such a turtle is dark, with yellow speckles. nine0003

Funny tortoise Trionix - soft-bodied with a light beige shell in adults, and dark beige in babies. Surprisingly, the shell of this turtle is covered with skin (for which it got its name), and instead of a nose, it has a small proboscis. This is not all of its amazing features - Trionix has a long neck and paws with membranes and sharp white claws. The nature of the turtle, say, is not very friendly, rather aggressive, and it prefers loneliness, so you need to keep it in a single copy. Adult turtles can reach 30 centimeters and live up to 40 years, although the bog turtle is considered among them to be long-lived - it can live in good conditions for about 70 years. nine0003

How to feed a turtle

To create a comfortable and “happy” life for turtles, they need to be fed properly, and being fed correctly means not only what, but also how to do it. The whole difficulty lies in the fact that you need to teach the turtle to eat on the shore, that is, she must understand that in order to eat, she must go ashore.

Another problem is that most of the food that is offered to red-eared friends is bloodworm, meat and squid only contain the amount of protein necessary for tortillas. Factory-made pelleted food can also contain the right amount of fats, proteins and vitamins. However, all types of feed do not contain the amount of calcium that all turtles need so much. They solve this problem in two ways, at the same time the question is how to feed a domestic turtle. nine0003

First of all, you need to start luring the turtle ashore. First, food is placed at the sloping shore at the water's edge. Gradually, putting the food, diluted with a small amount of water, in a small saucer, they begin to move it away from the water at an ever greater distance. The turtle begins to understand that in order to eat, it must climb out onto land.

Turtles are also fed on the shore in a different way, planting them in any small container with water. In this case, it is very convenient to add calcium salts and vitamins in powder form to the feed. nine0003

The fact that turtles like to eat in the water, and only in their "native" home - the aquarium, is known to all owners, but this type of feeding has many significant drawbacks. Food, especially of animal origin, instantly deteriorates in water, and not only clogs the water, but also destroys biofilters.

If, nevertheless, it is not possible to accustom the turtle to eat outside the aquarium, then it is necessary to adhere to a certain rule, namely, to remove leftover food from the water 30 minutes after the start of feeding (usually this time is enough for the turtle to get enough). nine0003

What do domestic turtles eat? ., or land snails - Helix aspersa. Despite their small size, turtles can eat whole small aquarium fish, such as guppies. Also, in order to increase the amount of calcium, turtles are fed thawed fish, cut into small pieces. It is best to feed fish of the perch family (herring and mackerel - undesirable). In large specimens of fish, large bones must be removed, and the remaining fillet, along with vertebral bones, should be cut and given with other food. Too oily fish, for example, capelin, sprat, sprat, herring, it is best to hold it for some time in hot water (80 ° C - 2 minutes) before feeding. Turtle owners should be aware that if the question arises of what to feed red-eared turtles, then meat is the most inappropriate food of all kinds. This type of food is fraught with the development of rickets and hypovitaminosis A in turtles of all varieties. Meat is allowed to be added little by little to the "correct" food for those turtles that grew up on granulated factory food, because some of its types do not have enough protein. And one more thing that the owners of tortillas should know - if the turtle is accustomed to raw meat, then they will not want to accept other food, and this is very harmful to their health. nine0003

Turtle treats

In addition to the constant food, turtles need to be given various treats (of course, in their understanding). As a rule, turtles of all kinds are very fond of live special food - earthworms, bloodworms, tubules, carriage. Such additives are very fond of young turtles, moreover, they are very useful and necessary, especially after starvation, which may be associated with illness or hibernation (in winter, turtles can sleep from 10 weeks to 5 months, it all depends on the size of the individual). nine0003

They love turtles and squid and shrimp meat, they really like (and healthy) raw liver. This, of course, is not the main type of food, but if you add liver to the food at least once a week, then you can not give vitamins.

Some conscientious and scrupulous owners of turtles prepare with their own hands a common delicacy that is healthy and tasty for tortillas. This is a feed mixture prepared on the basis of ordinary food gelatin or its vegetable substitute - agar-agar. This will allow not only to solve the question of what to feed the aquatic turtles, but also to diversify the turtle menu as much as possible with healthy and nutritious food, which will include both vitamins and minerals. nine0003

The mixture consists of cabbage (50 g), carrots (70 g), apples (50 g), fish fillet (145 g), raw eggs (2 pcs.), squid fillets (100 g), milk (150 ml) . In the base, consisting of gelatin dissolved in water (30 g / 150 ml), add the entire prepared mixture and 20 drops of Tetravit, 10 tablets of calcium glycerophosphate.

Prepare in the following sequence. Warm water is first poured into gelatin, after swelling it is brought to steam dissolution. Grind all prepared products in a meat grinder and mix. Vitamins and detailed glycerophosphate tablets are added to the mixture after its temperature drops to 25-30 ° C. Then, the mixture is stirred again and put in the refrigerator. Before feeding, the finished mixture is cut into small cubes and allowed to warm up to the optimum room temperature. The amount of food received is enough for ten feedings for one adult turtle. In the same mixture, you can easily add crushed drugs, in case of illness. nine0003

Some Important Tips

As turtles get older, they begin to eat more plant-based food, and the owners of these amazing ancient tortillas should take this into account. If algae were planted in the aquarium, then turtles, unfortunately, will quickly eat them. So, in the form of constant food, they need to be given more and more vegetable food, such as algae and duckweed from real reservoirs, elodea, edogonium, watercress, as well as leaf lettuce, young cabbage. nine0003

Small and young turtles up to two years old eat every day, and adults can be fed once every 3 days, but very plentifully (this also applies to "youth"), since turtles are big "gourmets" and prefer to eat tasty, dense and many.

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