Florida Box Turtle Care: Common Mistakes To Avoid

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

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Owners make silly mistakes when raising their Florida box turtles. For example, overfeeding the pets, hibernating them without preparation, or breeding the pair in the wrong way. To address all these mistakes, I have included a fool-proof Florida box turtle care sheet in this article.

For starters, provide the Florida box turtles with a well-equipped large pen. Besides, regulate the basking temperature in the 85 -95F range and the humidity in 70 – 90%. Finally, a balanced diet with protein, veggies, fruits, and pellets with supplements is recommended.

Catch all details below.

Florida Box Turtle: Species Summary

Florida Box TurtleTerrapene carolina bauri
SizeUp to 7 inches
NativeFlorida, Southeastern part of Georgia
Lifespan40 – 50 years
Price$220 to $700
Care levelIntermediate

Florida Box Turtle Appearance: What Do They Look Like?

The unique look is one of the reasons why keepers want the Florida box turtles as pets. These creatures have a carapace of dark brown or black. Bright yellow lines radiate all over the top shell.

Again, the plastron of the Florida box turtles is pale yellow and contains dark lines. While the carapace of the species is narrow and highly domed, the lower shell is hinged. Yellow patterns similar to the carapace are also seen on these turtles’ heads.

Florida box turtles can not swim swiftly. Hence, they lack webbed feet. Instead, the species is an excellent climber. They have 4 toes on the back feet with sharp claws.

florida box turtle

Florida Box Turtle Native Habitat: Where Do They Come From?

Of course, the name of the species already suggests their native region. Yes, the Florida box turtles are endemic to Florida. Besides, a chunk of their population lives in the southeastern part of Georgia.

Florida box turtles do not live in water but besides the water sources. For example, swamps, marshes, and highly humid forest areas are their main habitats.

So, the distribution of these turtles is observed throughout the Florida mainland and the Florida Keys. Some species also inhabit barrier islands in the Gulf Coast of Mexico, located on the western Florida coast.

Check details on the geographic locations of all turtles.

Florida Box Turtle Size: How Big Do They Get?

On average, most Florida box turtles grow 4 – 6 inches. With excellent care, these turtles can get up to 7 inches and sometimes even more.

Generally, the male Florida box turtles are larger than the females. As per a source, the average carapace lengths of male and female Florida box turtles are 5 – 6.8 inches and 4 – 5 inches, respectively.

Do you want an insight into the box turtle growth rate? If yes, then go through this link.

Florida Box Turtle Lifespan: How Long Do These Turtles Live?

Apparently, Florida box turtles have a high life expectancy in captivity. As per owners, the species live 40 – 50 years, sometimes even more. However, these turtles live only 25 – 30 years in the wild.

The lack of care and harsh surroundings are the primary reasons behind such lifespan differences. While the captive turtles get daily meals and emergency medical care, the wild turtles are deprived of such benefits.

Therefore, wild Florida box turtles tend to live shorter lives. This is true for more or less all box turtle species, except for the ones that thrive in the wild. Catch the longevity of all box turtles from this article.

Florida Box Turtle Behavior & Temperament: Do They Get Aggressive?

The Florida box turtles are more shy and docile than other box turtle subspecies. In fact, a peaceful community habitat is possible with these turtles.

But do not take the friendly nature of Florida box turtles for granted. These turtles will snap at you and bite if you mishandle them.

Frequent touching, continuous disturbance, loud noise, improper habitat condition, etc., can stress the turtles. As a consequence, the pets can act aggressively towards the owners or other tank mates.

Generally, adult male Florida box turtles are more hostile. They always try to pick a fight with other male, baby, and female turtles.

Moreover, male Florida box turtles can harass females to get involved in coitus. Even the males may act violently during the mating.

Can You Differentiate Male Vs. Female Florida Box Turtles?

The Florida box turtles exhibit sex dimorphism in physical characteristics. For starters, unlike other subspecies, the male Florida box turtles are larger than the females of the same age.

Besides, the males have thicker and longer tails, while the females own shorter and thinner tails. Furthermore, the plastron of the female Florida box turtles is flat. But the males have a concave lower shell which aids them during mating.

Moreover, hooked claws are a distinguishing characteristic of male Florida box turtles.

Eye color sometimes helps in determining the gender of the turtle. For instance, female Florida box turtles have dark red or brown eyes. On the contrary, the males have bright red or orange eyes.

Try this article for more tips on differentiating male and female box turtles.

Can You House Multiple Florida Box Turtles?

Florida box turtles do not live in water. So, you can not house them with an aquatic or semi-aquatic species. But keeping multiple Florida box turtles in the same pen is possible.

These turtles are not aggressive and violent like other species. So, they find no issue fitting in a community habitat. In fact, you can put Florida box turtles with other box turtle subspecies too.

Though I said Florida box turtles are docile and peaceful, it is not entirely true. The pets can get aggressive when stressed and during the mating period. Surprisingly, the strong adult male box turtles crave social dominance and pick on the babies and weak turtles.

Therefore, be careful if you plan to house baby and female Florida box turtles with males. Even the male turtles can get involved in dirty fights among themselves. Hatchlings and females, on the other hand, are okay with each other and live peacefully.

In any case, provide the turtles with a large enclosure so there is no quarrel over territory. Besides, you must offer the pets sufficient food, lighting and hiding arrangements.

You may pull off a peaceful Florida box turtle community habitat by selecting the right turtle pair and ensuring top-quality care. However, sometimes all these efforts fail, and the turtles can not get along. In such scenarios, separate the turtles and house them individually.

Check out my previous post for tricks on housing multiple box turtles.

Florida Box Turtle Housing Care

By now, you know your Florida box turtles better than before. As I sat, a little background research only complements the care.

See also  What Is The Perfect Enclosure Size For The Box Turtle?

Let’s discuss how to build the perfect home for the Florida box turtles and create a wild-like vibe.

Florida Box Turtle Tank Size

Both indoor and outdoor habitats are suitable for Florida box turtles. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each enclosure set-up before executing your plan.

Indoor Habitat

Florida box turtles are medium-sized creatures and barely cross 7 inches. The babies are born around 1 inch and grow to adult size over the first few years.

Therefore, a 20-gallon tank is well-suited for the baby and juvenile Florida box turtles. Well, upgrading to a minimum of a 50-gallon tank is suggested for the young turtles.

Important: I discourage owners from using glass tanks as Florida box turtle habitat. Instead, buy rubber or wood-made enclosures.

Outdoor Habitat

Well, outdoor housing is the best option if you can manage the space. The Florida box turtles will thrive as they feel closer to nature outside. However, consider the security of the turtle from predators and your regional weather condition before building the outdoor house.

If your geographic position suits the Florida box turtle, proceed with the idea. Here is how you can build the habitat,

  • Select an area with half sunny and half shady. It must receive sufficient direct sunlight for at least some hours of the day (morning lights are preferable. Also, there should be a shaded portion to create a perfect temperature gradient for the Florida box turtles.
  • A 4 by 8 feet enclosure with at least a 2-foot visual barrier will easily accommodate 2 – 3 adult Florida box turtles.
  • Remember, a visual barrier is essential to refrain the turtles from seeing through. Knowing what is outside will make the turtles curious and provoke them to escape the enclosure. It is the same reason why glass tanks are unsuitable for indoor Florida turtle pens.
  • Likewise, a barrier inside the ground is important to prevent the turtles from burrowing and escaping. For an underground defense, you can build a chicken wire or wood fence of 1 foot. Lining the inside perimeter with a brick wall is also an excellent idea.
  • Woods and cinder blocks are perfect for building the house. Do not use chemical-treated wood, as it can be toxic to the turtles. Commercial building blocks are also available at a cheaper cost.
  • Once done, decorate the home with substrate, logs, rocks, water source and plants. Also, use the chicken wire to cover the roof of the enclosure. It will keep the predators away.

Substrate: Do Florida Box Turtles Need Substrate?

Like all other box turtle subspecies, Florida box turtles also cultivate the burrowing habit. Hence, it is mandatory to layer up the enclosure bottom with suitable bedding. For example, peat moss mixed with organic potting soil, cypress mulch, orchid bark, sphagnum moss, etc., make excellent substrates.

Other bedding options are coconut fiber, leaf litter, hay, etc. Commercial box turtle substrates also work okay in the enclosure. Whether you collect natural bedding or buy a commercial packet does not matter. Just make sure that it can retain humidity and is perfect for burrowing.

Again, turtles can munch on the bedding out of curiosity and choke to death. So, you want to avoid substrates that can harm Florida box turtles. For example, sand, wood shavings, chemical-treated soil, and newspaper shredding.

For more details, you can follow my write-up on the best substrate for box turtles.

Maintaining substrate hygiene is crucial. Otherwise, the bedding will become the breeding ground of all bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Therefore, remove any dump or food leftover immediately and change the substrate every month if necessary.

Heating Lamps: Do Florida Box Turtles Require Heating Lights?

We, humans, are endothermic creatures. It means we can generate heat within our systems when the outside temperature falls. But the Florida box turtles are not so privileged.

The species are ectothermic. So, they depend solely on the surrounding environment to regulate their body heat.

What if the temperature falls below the comfort zone of the Florida box turtles? Well, the turtles slow down their metabolism and switch to a brumating mode. Brumation is a sleep-like state, and during this period, the turtles do not eat, drink, or participate in any activity.

While brumation is only a natural phenomenon, unplanned brumation can be dangerous. We will talk about it later in this article. For now, let’s see how to prevent this inactive state of the Florida box turtles.

The only solution is to install a heating lamp in the enclosure. It will keep the pen warmer for the pets and encourage them to stay active.

In outdoor housing, the sun works as the ultimate source of heat. But during the cold season, the sun is dull. So, you may have to make extra arrangements for the outdoor Florida box turtle’s survival.

The heating lamp has another significant purpose to serve. Chilly temperatures above the hibernating point can entice infectious or cold diseases in Florida box turtles. A quality heating lamp can minimize the risk of such illnesses too.

Keep the heating lamps on for 10 – 12 hours a day. Purchase a reptile bulb instead of using the watt lights from the hardware stores.

Check out this article if you are wondering which basking light to buy for the Florida box turtle. I have added a buyer guide in detail.

UV Lights: Do Florida Box Turtles Need UV Lamps?

Like heating lamps, UV lights are also necessary for Florida box turtles. The UV bulbs radiate UVA, UVB, and UVC exposures. While UVC rays are harmful to pets, UVA and UVB are mandatory for healthy growth.

The UVA exposures help the Florida box turtles to maintain a chill and relaxed mood. Also, the rays influence a sound digestion system and boost the appetite of the turtles.

On the other hand, UVB rays mainly construct the bones and shells of Florida box turtles. With the exposure to UVB, vitamin D production in the turtle’s body gets a boost, and calcium absorption also spikes up. As a result, the pet grows with a solid skeleton.

The UVB rays also help build a strong immunity system in these turtles. Not to mention its positive role in the digestive system and appetite of the pets.

In conclusion, UVA and UVB rays are significant for Florida box turtles. The lack of this light can lead to severe bone diseases, low immunity and stress-induced illness.

A report claims that turtles who do not get sufficient access to UV exposure as babies die within a year. Even if the hatchlings survive, they grow weak and suffer deadly diseases.

Therefore, you should install quality UV bulbs in the Florida box turtle’s pen. Here are some key points to remember,

  • Avoid buying bulbs featuring full spectrum or sun spectrum. Those are useless for your box turtles.
  • A 5% UV light is suitable for captive Florida box turtles.
  • Set up the light at least 18 inches from the ground.
  • Keep the bulb on for 10 – 12 hours a day.
  • Replace the light every 6 months.
  • The outdoor Florida box turtles receive UV rays from the sun. So, no additional light is necessary.

Get a buyer guide for UV lamps from this article.

Night Lights For Florida Box Turtles: Necessary Or Not?

To owners who install night lights to help the Florida box turtles to see better, stop it. Turtles can see in the dark without any source. Yes, their vision may not be of infrared quality, but it is enough to find their way. There are proofs of some turtle species hunting during the night.

Some people compare a turtle’s night vision with humans. Yes, there are similarities, but the turtle’s eyesight in the dark is better than ours.

So, the extra light you put in the captive pens is of no use for the Florida box turtles. In fact, the excess brightness can disturb pets when sleeping.

But yes, you can install night viewing lights to observe the pets from time to time. A red or blue lamp with zero brightness is recommended during cold days. These bulbs radiate heat without interrupting the sleep cycle of the pets.

Replicating The Wild Environment In Captivity

The surroundings of the Florida box turtles have an immense influence on their health and mind. Hence, it is crucial to replicate a wild environment in captivity to make pets at home. You can start it by regulating the indoor temperature and humidity.

See also  Proper Lighting Guide For Box Turtles [#1 Resource]

The ideal environment setting for Florida box turtles is,

Daytime TemperatureNighttime TemperatureNighttime TemperatureHumidity
70 – 90F65 – 70F85 – 95F70 – 90%

Florida box turtles live in warmer regions. Hence, a high enclosure temperature is preferable for them.

Another step to replicate the natural vibe is to add plants to the pen. Go for bushes and small plants which are edible and safe for Florida box turtles.

Place logs, medium-sized rocks, and smooth-edged stones to spice up the daily activity of the turtles. Plants and rocks also act as hiding spots for the Florida box turtles. Offering the turtles balls and similar toys can keep them busy and entertained.

Florida Box Turtle Feeding Habit

The Florida box turtle diet is no different from its close relatives. While the hatchlings are carnivorous, the young and adults show omnivorous traits. However, even when the turtles follow an omnivorous diet, animal protein always fills the bulk portion of the meals.

The diet chart of a Florida box turtle looks as follows,

Animal Protein (>50%)Plant Matter (40%)Commercial FoodFruits (10%)Supplements
Beetles
Earthworm
Mealworm
Bloodworm
Silkworm
Waxworm
Red worms
Roaches
Snails
Mice
Gastropods
Crustaceans
Slugs
Grasshopper
Caterpillar
Boiled meat
Minnows
Dandelion
Butternut
Escarole
Kale
Beets
Grated carrot
Corn
Cauliflower
Tomato
Turnip green
Parsley
Sweet potato
Mustard
Yellow squash
Green beans
Okra
Acron
Beets
Bell pepper 
Clover
Zucchini
Romaine lettuce
Cucumber
Watercress
Chinese cabbage
PelletsApple
Melon
Banana
Strawberry
Blackberry
Raspberry
Mulberry
Cantaloupe
Honeydew
Cranberry
Apricot
Figs
Peach
Kiwi
Papaya
Cherry
Plum
Vitamin A
Vitamin D
Multivitamin
Calcium

N.B. There are a whole lot of other items that you can add to the list as long as they are safe. For animal protein, make sure the fat content is low. Likewise, the phosphorus and oxalate percentage should be minimum in the plant matter.

As for the pellets, they are safer options. But you can not rely on these commercial foods for the health of your Florida box turtles. Therefore, keep the pellet percentage to 25 – 35% only.

Moreover, fruits are nutritious for us. But apparently, the natural sugar content in fruits is too high for the turtles. Therefore, filling the pets with fruits only causes them diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting.

So, it is better to use fruits as a treat only. Sometimes you can intentionally offer the Florida box turtles fruits to boost their appetite. Another way to interest the turtles in the meal is to pour drops of cord liver oil.

Finally, the supplements are there to back up any minerals and nutrient deficiencies in the Florida box turtle meal. Sprinkle the diet with multivitamins and calcium powder once and thrice a week, respectively.

Florida box turtles may show less interest in calcium because of the smell. Switch between cuttlebones and calcium powders to find out the turtle’s favorite. I have mentioned 8 ways to provide turtles with calcium in this article.

10 Foods Not To Offer The Florida Box Turtles

Of course, you can not feed the turtles just anything. Certain items that are harmless to humans might choke these little creatures to death. For example,

  1. High-fat meat
  2. Hot dog
  3. Pizza
  4. Burger
  5. Sausage
  6. Processed food
  7. Fries
  8. Bakery items
  9. Sweet
  10. Candy, etc.

Besides, you must be very careful when picking up the plant items. Avocado peels, tomato vines, potato plants, etc., are highly poisonous for Florida box turtles. Get approval of your turtle’s diet sheet from the vet if necessary.

In this article, I have discussed what to feed a Florida box turtle and what not to do.

How Much To Feed Your Florida Box Turtle?

Keepers often make the mistake of overfeeding the Florida box turtles. As a result, the turtles suffer from obesity and other complexities that come with it. So, how do you determine the healthy quantity of a meal?

Well, there are two popular methods. Such as,

1. The Head Method

To follow this technique, take a bowl of a similar size to your Florida box turtle’s head if it were empty. Now fill the container with vegetables, protein, pellets, and fruits in a healthy percentage. Sprinkle the supplement over the meal and directly offer it to the turtles.

2. The 15-Minute Rule

Experts claim a 15-minute uninterrupted meal is enough for the Florida box turtles. Following this fact, the keepers have come up with the 15-minute method. As per this rule, you offer the pets more than enough food but allow them to feast only for 15 minutes. After that, remove the leftover.

N.B. Remember, a Florida box turtle’s appetite changes with its age. So, keep updating the food quantity or container size with the pet’s growth.

How Often Should You Feed Your Florida Box Turtle?

As I said, the appetite of these creatures changes with their ages. So, the frequency of feeding the Florida box turtles is also essential.

Generally, the hatchlings need the most nutrition to build up a solid body and immunity. Hence, these pets require a daily meal.

On the other hand, young and adult Florida box turtles are more comfortable with a thrice-a-week meal routine. The appetite of these turtles decreases with age. For instance, adult box turtles can adjust to an even twice-a-week meal schedule.

Sometimes the Florida box turtles show no interest in the food at all. It can be because of a boring diet plan. Yes, less appetite is a common sign of sickness in pets. But we will talk about it later.

Bring varieties to the meals and experiment with items. Offering the turtles fruits is an excellent trick to boost their taste.

Also, try to feed the Florida box turtles in the morning or evening. These turtles are the most hungry during those hours.

Do Florida Box Turtles Drink Water?

No box turtles, including the Florida box turtles, can swim. So, there is no need for a huge water pool inside their housing. But do not exclude the water sources altogether. The pets still need access to water for drinking and bathing purposes.

Dig a shallow pool in the outdoor pen for the Florida box turtles. However, a saucer bowl is enough for the indoor turtles. Change the water daily and clean the dish/pool once weekly.

Florida Box Turtle Brumation Care

Do Florida box turtles brumate or hibernate? I often get this question.

Well, there is no difference between brumation and hibernation. However, the former word is used for ectothermic and later for endothermic creatures. Interchanging the terms is totally okay.

As I have already mentioned, Florida box turtles are ectothermic and can not generate body heat. So, the drop in temperature, especially in the cold season, affects them physically. For example, the turtles shut down their metabolism, slow heart rate, and reduce oxygen consumption. The pets will spend the winter sleeping in a burrow, dug under the dry leave dump.

Florida box turtles barely brumate as they are from warm regions. But if you decide to hibernate the turtles in captivity, prepare them beforehand. Keepers are discouraged from brumating babies and sick turtles.

Feed the Florida box turtles a balanced diet and track their weight over the months. You must starve the turtles 3 – 4 weeks before the brumation date. If the turtle enters brumation with leftover food in the gastrointestinal system, it can face complexities.

When the brumation season appears, put the turtle in a fridge with a controlled temperature (below 55F). Provide the turtles with water as the pets can wake up for a drink and sleep again. As the season ends, increase the temperature gradually and take the pets for a thorough checkup.

An outdoor brumation spot is also feasible. But ensuring proper security can be an issue. I have added a detailed guide on hibernating box turtles in this article.

Florida Box Turtle Breeding Care

Breeding your adult Florida box turtles is indeed an excellent idea, but it is not for inexperienced keepers. Even a minor mistake in the journey can make the mating couple suffer. Here are some tips on what to do during the breeding process,

  • Select a healthy adult male-female Florida box turtle pair.
  • The male box turtles can get aggressive during copulation. So, there is a high chance that the female will face mating-induced injuries. Hence, the keepers are encouraged to put at least 5 females against every 2 male turtles.
  • Arrange a well-equipped enclosure and provide the turtles with a balanced diet.
  • Separate the pair after the successful mating. Again, do not force the turtles to get along if you notice them fighting with each other.
See also  How To Setup The Perfect Indoor Box Turtle Habitat?

Do check out the do’s and don’ts during the breeding of your Florida box turtles from this article.

On another note, are you interested in how these two turtles mate? Who approaches first, and how does the whole courtship ritual go on? If yes, give this box turtle mating guide a read for insights.

Florida Box Turtle Egg Incubation & Care

Soon after the coitus, the female Florida box turtle will enter the gestation period. She will show signs of carrying eggs. For example, you will notice changes in her walking and behavior.

As the nesting period approaches, the mother turtle looks for a suitable spot to lay her eggs. You can add loose soil and sand in the pen so that the turtle can use it as an egg chamber. Or attach a commercial or homemade nesting box to the existing enclosure.

The mother turtle spends her day sniffing and digging the soil. Finally, when she finds a suitable zone, she digs a hole big enough to hold the eggs. Usually, Florida box turtles deposit 1 – 5 eggs per clutch and 2 – 5 clutches per year.

Once done, the Florida box turtle will peck down the nest with leaves, dirt, and soil. Then she will leave and never return to her eggs.

In the wild, mother nature takes care of the clutches. But in captivity, it is your responsibility.

Give the eggs a day or two to develop a hard shell. Then use a spoon to dig out the eggs.

Put the eggs in an incubator, commercial or homemade. Set the right temperature (77F to 87F) and humidity (75 – 85%. The eggs will hatch within 90 days.

Like many turtles, Florida box turtles exhibit TSD or temperature-dependent sexual determination. Generally, low-temperature yields male and high-temperature produces female Florida box turtles. Go through this box turtle egg-hatching steps if needed.

As the hatchings come out, move them to a tank with all the necessary equipment. The babies require heat, UV and nutritious meals to thrive. You can call a vet for health checkups of the babies.

A more detailed guide on how to take care of box turtle eggs is discussed in this link.

Florida Box Turtle Potential Health Issues & Treatments

Ignoring any weird symptom in the turtle can be proven deadly. Therefore, you should keep an open eye for the minor details in the Florida box turtle’s lifestyle to pick up the disease. Only this way can the turtle live a healthy and long life.

However, to read the symptoms, you must first have a minimum knowledge of the illness. It will help you proceed with the primary treatment.

Here are the common diseases of Florida box turtles with symptoms, causes and treatments,

1. Hypovitaminosis A

The lack of vitamin A leads to hypovitaminosis or vitamin A deficiency. Improper diet plans or feeding the turtle iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and fruits in bulk quantities can cause this disease.

Vitamin A has a significant role in building cells and immunities in turtles. So, lacking this vitamin prompts symptoms like swollen eyelids, weight loss, appetite loss, infectious disease, etc.

Antibiotic shots with a vitamin A-rich diet are enough to cure the Florida box turtles.

2. Respiratory Illness

Infectious attack on the upper or lower respiratory tract leads to this disease. Generally, prolonged vitamin A deficiency, filthy habitat, and constant chilly temperatures are the main culprits.

The sick Florida box turtles will show signs like, wheezing, sneezing, fatigue, loss of appetite, discharge from mouth or nose, watery eyes, etc. Most pets tend to bask under the sun or the heating lamp for longer hours.

A respiratory infection can get severe as the pet’s lungs can get affected. As a result, the disease will permanently damage your turtle’s lungs and reduce its lifespan. Again, untreated respiratory illness can turn into pneumonia which can be proven deadly.

Unfortunately, home treatment is not enough to treat respiratory infections. The turtle must be on medications and under expert observation. But yes, when back home, keep the pet isolated in a clean pen and provide it with a balanced diet.

3. Shell Rot

Bacterial, fungal, or viral attack on the scute cracks develop into shell rot. This infectious disease can spread to the internal organs, bones, and blood if untreated.

Symptoms of shell rot in Florida box turtles are pitting of scutes, soft shells, discharge from the wound, etc. Besides, a nasty smell comes from the accumulated fluid under the rots. In worst cases, the whole shell plate falls off, exposing the internal organs and tissue.

Can you imagine the pain and discomfort the Florida box turtle suffers from in this illness? Therefore, prevention is always better. Treating scute cracks immediately and covering the wound with a bandage can stop shell rot. Not to mention how significant it is to maintain enclosure hygiene to prevent this infectious disease.

But if your Florida box turtle falls victim to shell rot, move to the treatment stage as soon as possible. For minor cases, you can try home therapy. The steps will be,

  • Isolate the sick Florida box turtle.
  • Scrub off any debris and residual from the wound.
  • Bathe the turtle with an antiseptic (Betadine) or apply the medicine directly to the injury.
  • Dry the turtle shell and use a layer of healing cream (sulfadiazine iodine) on the rot.
  • Keep the turtle in a warm enclosure under UV and heating lamps.

In severe cases, you have to seek professional help. The vet suggests vital medicines and may admit the turtle for a fast cure. In shell rot conditions, the turtles sometimes stop eating, and the situation demands fluid therapy.

Read my previous article on turtle shell rot and solution for more insights.

4. Metabolic Bone Disease

You know the significance of calcium for Florida box turtles. If the turtles can not get sufficient calcium or vitamin D, they can develop an abnormal bone or shell. Such diseases are referred to as MBD or metabolic bone diseases.

The lack of calcium in the diet and the absence of quality UV light in the enclosure leads to this disease. Pets with MBD exhibit symptoms like soft scutes, bumpy shells, overgrown beaks, splayed legs, etc.

Installing quality UV light and ensuring vitamin D and calcium in the diet will cure this disease.

5. Parasite Attack

Florida box turtles are curious by nature. They will bite anything they see. As a result, the larvae, maggot eggs, or other parasites enter their biological system.

Parasites live off the turtle’s body, stealing all the nutrition. Therefore, the pet becomes weak and sheds weight. Diarrhea and vomiting are also common in sick turtles.

Prevention and treatment techniques are similar in this disease. So, ensure pen hygiene and deworm the Florida box turtles at least once a year for better health.

NB. Other common diseases like pyramiding, shell shedding, ear abscess, mouth rot, etc., require equal attention. Find a list of 38 box turtle diseases and how to treat them from this link.

Do Florida Box Turtles Make Good Pets?

Florida box turtles are docile and peaceful. Sure, but yet, the subspecies are not suitable for beginners. Though low maintenance, these turtles require subtle care that only an experienced keeper can provide.

The Florida box turtles are comfortable in either an indoor or outdoor enclosure. They are hardy creatures, so they do not need 24/7 observation. Again, due to their omnivorous traits, you do not have to hassle drafting a diet plan for them.

Moreover, the market price of Florida box turtles is a bit higher. The starting rate is $220, which can go up to $700 or more. So, this pet is not budget friendly for most buyers.

If you only consider the lifestyle and behavior of Florida box turtles, they are owner-friendly. They make excellent pets, without any doubt. However, if you are on a budget, this subspecies may not fit your requirements.

Before You Go…

Unlike the Florida box turtles, the three-toed turtles are beginner friendly. If you are considering starting your journey, this subspecies is perfect. The link below includes a fool-proof three-toed box turtle care sheet to give you an extra hand.

Three-toed Box Turtle Care: Essential Tips For A Long & Happy Life

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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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