Box turtles are very common in the United States, especially in the East. The turtles are relatively small, reaching a maximum length of eight inches. These turtles grow very slowly, usually taking as long as eight or ten years to reach sexual maturity, at which time they might be seven inches in length. Box turtles are long-lived, too, and are capable of achieving fifty years. Twenty-five years is more common, however.
Box turtles make good pets, but they do require special care in order to remain healthy and happy. Although some owners choose a glass aquarium as their turtle’s home, this isn’t a good choice.
For one thing, it’s too small, and for another, the clear sides of the aquarium create problems themselves. Box turtles like privacy at times, and being “on display” 24/7 can make some individuals nervous. Another problem with glass is that a turtle might worry itself constantly with trying to claw through the clear enclosure.
An ideal setup for a box turtle is an outdoor enclosure, provided it’s in the typical natural range of the reptile. It should be large enough for the turtle to be able to walk around freely, with some shady spots and some sunny spots.
You should also include a hiding place, which might be a mound of dry leaves, a wooden box, or soft soil. You can also purchase a cave for this purpose at pet stores. The area needs to have a secure fence in order to protect the turtle from possible attacks by predators.
Box turtles need moisture, and they enjoy water. Although they’re not proficient swimmers, they like wading. You’ll need to include a small pond in the outdoor enclosure. Make sure it’s shallow and that it’s easy for the turtle to enter and exit.