Can Box Turtle Bite You?

can a box turtle bite

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We may hear many proverbs and myths about a turtle’s bite. So it’s natural to develop curiosity in this fact. I did some research to quench my curiosity.

Can a box turtle bite you? Yes, a box turtle can bite you. If you try to scare it, it will attack you without giving a second thought.

Do not be scary. If you know in which situations it may bite you, it will give you a chance to avoid its attack. In this article, I will discuss everything about a box turtle’s biting. Please try reading the full article. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

Why Does A Box Turtle Bite?

A box turtle is very decent and polite. It does not like human contact. Even if it is your pet, it takes some time to get adapted to the environment.

Some factors make this friendly creature to bite you, such as:

  • If a box turtle feels unsafe, it tries to protect itself by biting.
  • When a box turtle gets attacked or frightened by someone, it tends to bit the person.
  • A box turtle uses its shell for self-protection. If someone forces the turtle to get out of the shell, there is a high possibility that the box turtle will bite the person.
  • While moving a box turtle, if the turtle feels stressed, it may give a reaction like biting.
  • Picking up the turtle from the ground can cause panic to it. As a reflex reaction, it may bite.
  • A box turtle sometimes spends time inside the shell. If someone pushes his fingers into it, he has a chance to get bitten.
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How Does A Box Turtle Bite?

I know you are questioning how a box turtle bites as it does not have any teeth. A box turtle has a very sharp beak, which they use for attacking. One bite from a box turtle can cause you great pain.

Is A Box Turtle’s Bite Dangerous?

No. A box turtle’s bite is not dangerous at all. It does not carry any toxic element in its saliva. And the amount of pain will depend on the place it has bitten you. 

So if you are bitten by a box turtle, do not freak out. Because it is not dangerous and always curable.

The Effects Of A Box Turtle’s Bite

Like I have said before, a box turtle’s bite is not dangerous. So the effects of its sting will not cause any health issues to you. It may have some minor ends on your skin. A box turtle generally bites your finger, toe, or forearm because these are the places it can reach.

  • If your box turtle bites your finger, you will hardly feel any pain. It is more like discomfort than pain. The turtle does not hold your fingers with force. So it can only give you some bruises at best. Moreover, I would like to explain the pain in a different way. Imagine biting your own finger softly. That’s precisely the amount of pain you will feel if a box turtle hurts you.
  • If a box turtle bites your toe, it will hurt a little. Remember how you feel when your toe gets hit by something. Sometimes the pain feels insignificant.
  • An adult box turtle’s bite will hurt more than a small one.
  • If the box turtle bites on the forearm, to be honest, it hurts. But nothing serious.
  • The bite of a box turtle gives a little bruise, which will go away after a few hours. Sometimes the injuries might stay for a couple of days. But it will heal soon without leaving any scars.
  • If the box turtle feels extreme danger, it bites hard and does not leave quickly. It might give you some little wounds. In that case, you should visit a doctor to prevent any infection.
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What To Do?

What will you do after you get bitten by a box turtle? Will you freak out or run to a doctor? Well, here are some pieces of advice you need to take after getting bitten by a box turtle:

If the bite is small and seems harmless

  • Wash your hands before touching anything.
  • Wash the skin the turtle has bitten.
  • Leave your turtle alone for a while. Most of the time, turtles bite because they feel stressed or danger. So give them time to get adapted to the environment.

If the bite is deep and seems dangerous

  • If you see any blood, the first thing you need to do is to sanitize the wound. Even if the cut is simple, it can get infected.
  • Use any sanitizer to clean the wound.
  • Visit any doctor for further suggestions.

Sometimes the turtle does not want to let go of the bite. In that case, you have to be patient. If you force it to let go, it may have a negative effect. Take your time and give the turtle enough time to feel stress free.

What Not To Do?

Well, we have learned what we can do if we get bitten by a box turtle. It is similarly necessary to know what to avoid in the same situation.

  • If a box turtle bites you and does not let it go, you should not force it. Forcing the turtle will make it more stressed or panicked, and it will apply more pressure. Things will get worse if you try pulling the turtle. In any situation, do not drag the turtle.
  • After getting bitten, do not put your hand in food or your mouth. Box turtles carry viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Germs can spread quickly.
  • If the turtle bites you because it is panicked, do not disturb it further.
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How To Avoid A Box Turtle’s Bite

It is not very hard to avoid a box turtle’s bite. You can follow this advice to avoid getting bitten.

  • Do not feed your box turtle with your hand.
  • Do not wear slippers while playing with your pet. It will keep your toes safe.
  • Sometimes a hungry box turtle can bite. So try feeding it well.
  • Do not annoy your turtle. Box turtle’s nature is unpredictable.
  • If the turtle seems stressed, try to keep a distance for a while.
  • Handle your pet with care.

If you have a pet box turtle, these tips may help you a lot. It’s all I know about a box turtle’s bite. If I have missed some points, do not forget to tell me. I hope you have enjoyed reading the article.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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