Can Box Turtles Live In Water?

can box turtles live in water

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

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Before adopting a box turtle as a pet, you must gain proper knowledge about its habitat. I have seen many people often get confused about a box turtle’s locality.

A box turtle cannot live in the water. An aquatic box turtle can live in ponds with slow current, at mud bottom, and in shallow water. On the other hand, land based box turtles cannot survive in the water.

In this article, I will illustrate the habitats of a box turtle depending on its type and its nesting area. To get a clear idea of the topic, stay with me till the end of the article.

Why A Box Turtle Cannot Live In The Water?

Box turtles belong to the family of Emydidae. Emydidade family indicates that the species spends most of its time on the land.

A box turtle can carry the moisture of its cell for a long time. So if it soaks its body once in the water, it can survive a few days on it. So they prefer living in the grasslands and dense vegetation areas.

Different Species Of Box Turtle:

  • Common Box Turtle
  • Coahuilan Box Turtle
  • Mexican Box Turtle
  • Spotted Box Turtle
  • Western Box Turtle
  • Yucatan Box Turtle
  • Asian Box Turtle
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Habitat Of Box Turtle:

Habitats of a box turtle depend on its species. There can be similarities and dissimilarities among them while choosing a perfect place to live.

Common Box Turtle:

This section of box turtle represents many subspecies. For example, Florida box turtle, eastern box turtle, gulf coast box turtle, Terrapin box turtle, and three-toed box turtle. Common box turtles prefer dry areas, and live in open land.

Pastures, meadows, and marshes are the ideal habitats of a Common box turtle. While choosing a habitat, a Common box turtle tends to select the lands near ponds, streams or swamps. Though it does not like to live in a forest, it prefers areas around moist forested areas with dense and low fruiting plants.

Common box turtles are land-based box turtle, but sometimes they take a long swim in the water. Besides, they love soaking their shells with mud or water from time to time.

Coahuilan Box Turtle:

Coahuilan box turtle is not like the other subspecies of a box turtle. It is also known as Aquatic box turtle, and it is the only aquatic box turtle we know. They love spending time in the water.

A study shows that a Coahuilan box turtle spends 90 percent of its life in the water. It prefers shallow and dense vegetation areas. Grass and brushes of marshland are the ideal habitats for a Coahuilan box turtle. Though it prefers to be in the water, it comes to land for basking from time to time.

Mexican Box Turtle:

A Mexican box turtle makes its home in a leafy area near a water source. Though Mexican turtles spend more time on the land areas, water is essential for them. They collect bugs from the water source, which is a vital part of their diet.

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From time to time, they need to soak their bodies in the water. Whenever they get into the water, they spend hours there. Mexican box turtles prefer to stay close to their homes.

Even if they need to leave home, they do not cross 200 miles from their home. And in case they are moved from their home, they try hard to find their way back home.

Spotted Box Turtle:

Spotted box turtle has two subspecies: Northern spotted box turtle, southern spotted box turtle. This species is rare to find. Due to the lack of data, scientists cannot explain its habitat accurately. It is considered that a spotted box turtle prefers isolation.

From the collected data, we can say that spotted box turtles become more active during summer and monsoon season. They live in shallow areas near a fresh source of water. Clean water source is essential for them because they collect water bugs as their food. Moreover, they use the water source to soak their bodies and rehydrate themselves.

Western Box Turtle:

Western box turtle has two subspecies: Ornate box turtle, and desert box turtle. Depending on the subspecies, the western box turtle lives in the deserts or grasslands. In winter, both the subspecies dig a hole and get in for hibernation.

Ornate box turtles live in the grasslands with small grass or plants. They can live in the forests too. They prefer making a home near a stream or water source.

Desert box turtle has the physical ability to live in the deserts. They can adapt to dry and rough conditions. Like other box turtles, this subspecies does not need water to rehydrate from time to time.

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Yucatan Box Turtle:

Like the spotted box turtle, Yucatan box turtles are hard to find. They love humid areas. Most of the species live in tropical lands, and are found in the land of Yucatan.

Yucatan box turtles prefer isolation. They stay inactive throughout the year except for the rainy season.

Asian Box Turtle:

Asian box turtle has mixed habitats. They live at the edge of a swamp, pond, or stream. Some of them prefer living in the dense bushes near a water source.

Nesting Of Mother Box Turtles:

Mother box turtles tend to make nests in dry soil with a comfortable temperature. While making nests, they choose the spot near a water source. As a mother turtle spends more time with its eggs, it does not get in the water for so long. From time to time, it dives into the water for collecting insects and rehydrating itself.

I think it’s always fun to learn different facts about box turtles. I hope you have found this article useful.

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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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