Keeping Desert Box Turtle as pets
To keep a common box turtle as a pet, you will need a fairly large enclosure. This should be tall enough that they cannot escape from it, and wide enough that there is ample room for all of their essentials. The enclosure should also be made from a material strong enough that the turtle cannot break out of it. A cardboard box should only ever be used as an enclosure for a very brief period of time, such as when cleaning their primary enclosure.
As you can see, box turtle food spans from dead snakes to sweat berries in the wild, so don’t keep your pet on a bland and unvaried diet in captivity. Also, do not give your box turtle products that it would never encounter in pristine wilderness, such as cheese, candy, bread and heavily processed meat.
Despite the turtles adaptability to their changing habitat, many box turtles do not respond well to the captive environment. Many people who keep box turtles as pets are usually unfamiliar with the turtle and how to care for it properly. Box turtles prefer habitats that range from open fields to dense forests with a lot of leaf cover. Turtles will spend much of their day buried in leaves or dirt on the forest floor, emerging only to feed. For many kids, this would not be their ideal pet, and unfortunately many get bored with their unresponsive turtles and end up leaving them on the roadside somewhere hoping that the turtle will find it's own way home.Most box turtles live in geographic areas that require them to hibernate for three to five months of the year. During this time, food is scarce and outside temperatures are so low that box turtles cannot raise their body temperature high enough to maintain normal activity. Hibernation allows the box turtle to live until better times return in the spring. Hibernation is not a time of cozy sleep, but a dangerous time when bodily functions are barely keeping the box turtle alive. The heart rate slows, digestion stops and the turtle cannot voluntarily move or even open its eyes. Many unprepared wild and pet box turtles die during this period.This leaves us with little hope in helping this species before it does become critically endangered. Children frequently want turtles as pets and despite warnings, parents will usually cater to their children's demands, thus keeping a turtle in a tiny terrarium - keeping yet another healthy turtle from breeding and increasing the population. What we need to do to help this species is to continue to push to have them listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, thereby giving them protection under the Endangered Species Act. We must also follow Florida's lead by creating wildlife overpasses so that turtles can safely move about in their surroundings without the threat from motor vehicles. Unfortunately, until people take the plight of the eastern box turtle seriously, there is little conservationists can do aside from just trying to educate the public and keeping their eye out for them on the roadways.Box turtles are a common pet store mainstay. Over the years, boxturtles have acquired the erroneous reputation of an "easy to care for pet".This may be due to the fact that at one time, the majority of people keeping box turtleslived within the natural range of their pets and housed them outdoors, thus greatlysimplifying the captive care required. As the reptile trade began to boom in the early1990's, more and more box turtles were collected from the wild and shipped to pet storesall over the nation, and the world, to supply the burgeoning demand for reptile pets. Withthe increased availability of box turtles to persons living in very different geographicareas, often far away from the natural habitat of box turtles, came the realization thatthey were not easy captives to maintain without the proper guidelines. Because box turtlesare not easy captives, it is important to discuss their suitability as a children's pet.