Gulf Coast Box Turtle

Gulf Coast box turtles can live in a range of habitats within their variety. They frequently venture into shallow water to eat insects and amphibian larvae. As with other North American box turtles, Gulf Coast box turtles hibernate when it is colder, but in warmer parts of their range, they may not require to sleep. They are discovered along the Gulf Coast area from western Florida to eastern Texas.

  • Name: Gulf coast box turtle Terrapene Carolina major
  • Size: Up to 7 inches long
  • Life expectancy: In the wild, up to 100 years; in captivity in between 30 or 40 years

Habits and Temperament of the Gulf Coast Box Turtle

The Gulf Coast box turtle is more massive than other box turtles, with a domed shell that is typically dark brown or black, with few markings. Radiating yellow markings might be discovered on juveniles; however these often disappear in adults.

Males typically have red irises and longer, thicker tails than the females. Also, the plastron is in some cases concave in males and flatter in females.

These turtles are shy and do not like to be dealt with. In captivity, as in the wild, they require a lot of places to hide, and routine direct exposure to unfiltered sunlight to ensure they stay healthy.

gulf coast box turtles
Babies of gulf coast box turtles

Housing the Gulf Coast Box Turtle

While it is possible to keep Gulf Coast box turtles (specifically hatchlings and juveniles) in a large indoor terrarium (most aquariums are too small), they do much better in outside enclosures where the climate is acceptable.

Many professionals recommend a minimum of 4 feet by 8 feet for a box turtle’s pen, especially if you have multiple turtles or it is a full-time home. A smaller pen will be sufficient if the area is limited, but avoid going below 4 feet by 4 feet. If a box turtle feels confined, it might get stressed, which could trigger health problems.

Ideally, your box turtle’s enclosure will remain in a warm place. While you desire your turtle to get lots of late mornings and early afternoon sun, make sure there are dubious areas also.

Many box turtles are burrowers, so consider making your pen escape-proof, with the side walls of the structure buried deep into the ground. It’s best to develop the enclosure out of strong product; if the turtle does not see what’s outside its cages, it’s less likely to try to climb or burrow out to get there.

Concrete paving stones put on the ground around the border of the enclosure might assist discourage digging.

If you’re keeping your Gulf coast box turtle inside your home, a terrarium with a heat source is the way to go. You’ll want to get a UVB discharging reptile light and provide a basking spot with temperature levels between 85 and 88 degrees. Night time temperature levels should not drop below 70 degrees.

You likewise must offer an easily available shallow pan of clean water at all times, and routinely mist their pen or run a sprinkler for added humidity.

What Does Gulf Coast Box Turtle Eat?

Adult Gulf Coast box turtles are omnivores and require a varied diet. Their diet needs to have to do with 40 percent vegetables, fruit, and grasses, with the rest comprised of low-fat protein sources such as earthworms, slugs, snails, mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers and little fish. Hatchlings and juvenile turtles are more hungry than adult turtles, so bear in mind your turtle’s age when preparing its meals.

It’s particularly important to ensure your Gulf Coast box turtle gets the right calcium and phosphorous balance in its diet, to prevent metabolic bone disease. Dark leafy greens such as parsley, dandelion greens, spinach and collard greens all are good veggie alternatives; blueberries, grapes, apples, and papaya are good fruit choices. You can consist of other vegetables and fruits in moderation.

Fresh and natural victim pests from pet shops and bait shops are the best protein sources for a box turtle. Avoid feeding a captive Gulf Coast box turtle bugs captured outside, since you have no way of measuring pesticide exposure. Crickets, earthworms, insects, beetles, mealworms, wax worms, superworms, and snails all are good insects for turtles to eat.

Other proteins to include in small amounts are little portions of prepared meats and moistened, high quality, low-fat dog food.

Usually, the box turtle diet pellets are only indicated as supplements to a complete diet.

Also, it is most likely a good idea to dust the turtle’s food with healthy reptile calcium and multivitamin supplement at least a couple of times a week.

Adult gulf coast box turtle

Common Health Problems of Gulf Coast Box Turtle

In addition to metabolic bone disease, which can result in weakened bones and death, Gulf Coast box turtles are susceptible to breathing infections, generally brought on by insufficient humidity. Symptoms include wheezing and mucus around the mouth and nasal passages.

If your turtle struggles with frequent respiratory infections, it might be an indication of vitamin A shortage, usually caused by a diet that is not rich enough in crucial nutrients.

Parasitic infections are another common disorder seen in turtles. These don’t always reveal symptoms, however, will appear in an examination by a vet who specializes in reptiles. And like most turtles, box turtles are prone to an unpleasant condition referred to as shell rot, triggered by a bacterial or fungal infection. The shell will appear split or dry and may produce an unpleasant odor.

If your turtle is revealing symptoms of any of these illnesses, do not try to treat them without first consulting with your veterinarian.

Parasites can be a hassle for turtle owners since small parasites can get under scales and shells where they can not be seen or handled. If your gulf box turtle came from the wild, it is essential you take them to the veterinarian and make sure they do not have any parasites. If you keep your turtle in an outdoor enclosure, it can be an excellent concept to take them in.

How to Choose Gulf Coast Box Turtle as a Pet?

Ornate box turtles are not hardy and are not ideal for beginners. They have very particular needs, are very sensitive to stress. And are challenging to keep in captivity.

It’s advisable to look for a captive-bred specimen of elaborate box turtle from a trusted breeder so regarding avoid supporting the capture of wild turtles for the animal trade, which frequently leads to below average care and ill animals.

Reyus Mammadli/ author of the article

I have had pets since childhood: cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, geese, chickens, ducks, parrots, aquarium fish and dogs (in the yard). Of course, I constantly encountered diseases of pets and treated them. Glad to be able to share my skills and experience, as well as advice on caring for and adapting these critters and birds.

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