Raising a pet is not an easy task. Well, the box turtle is no different. Before buying, or adopting a box turtle, you may have to build the perfect enclosure for it. To build an excellent enclosure, you have to learn the facts about it.
Box turtle’s enclosure comes in different sizes. The average size of the enclosure should be 36’’ × 18’’. A larger enclosure of 48’’ × 18’’ would be better. You can also make it four feet long and four feet wide.
We all know, habitat or enclosure is a significant factor for box turtles. In this article, I will illustrate everything about the box turtle’s enclosure.
Box Turtle Enclosure
Enclosures are available in different sizes and designs in the market. The size of the enclosure depends on the size of your box turtle. Box turtles feel comfortable in a large environment. So, a spacious habitat is always preferable for your box turtle.
There is no exact or ideal size for a box turtle’s enclosure. The AAHA or American Animal Hospital Association reveals that the minimum size of the enclosure should be 20 gallons. But a 40 gallon or 75 gallon tank or enclosure will work with your box turtle.
For an indoor habitat, 3 feet or 1 foot enclosures are best. On the other hand, for an outdoor habitat, you have to build 4 feet by 4 feet enclosure.
You should know that only a spacious enclosure does not make the environment comfortable for your box turtle. You need some other supplies too.
To make a perfect environment for your box turtle, you may need the supplies mentioned below.
- Heating Arrangement
- Temperature Testing Kits
- Heating Rock
- Under Cage Heater
- UV Light Source
- Humidity Checker
Box turtle is the land dweller. They prefer moist or damp lands. So when you are making an enclosure for your pet box turtle, you have to choose the substrates wisely.
For the bedding, you can use loose soil or coconut fiber compressed bricks. You can put the bricks into hot water, and they will expand into moist bedding.
You can put leaf litter, peat moss or sphagnum moss in the bedding. These elements make the soil more comfortable for the box turtle. You have to male 3 or 4 inches deep bedding for your box turtle because box turtles need to burrow some time for mental and physical health.
Here is a list of beddings and substrates.
- Sphagnum moss
- Regular soil
- Peat moss
- Cypress mulch
- Orchid bark
- Leaf mulch
- Leaf litter
- Organic potting soil
- Wood shavings
While choosing a substrate for your box turtle, make sure it is free from vermiculite, perlite, and chemicals. Also, avoid aquarium gravel or sand as they hold much water.
Box turtles cannot control the heat of their body. They move between hot and cool areas of their enclosure to maintain body temperature. It means they need both a cool and warm place in their habitat.
In this case, you can heat one half of the enclosure and leave the other half. Basking areas should be warmer, so you can provide a source of heat in the basking area.
To provide heat in the enclosure, you can use a lamp or bulb. Put the lamp or bulb on either side of the enclosure or over the basking area. Make sure the turtle gets heat for 12 to 14 hours a day. If you own a larger enclosure, you have to put more than one heating source.
Temperature Testing Kits
If you are thinking, any temperature is okay for the box turtle, and then you are wrong. Box turtles prefer a certain temperature. It is around 85 degrees.
You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the warm area. Make sure that the bulb does not make any particular area of the enclosure hotter. Again, while buying a heating lamp or bulb, choose the one, in which you can regulate the temperature.
Heating rock is one kind of heater. These rocks generally stay under the soil and provide heat to the bellies of the box turtles. Heating rocks are as important as lamps or bulbs.
While setting up a heating rock, keep in mind some facts.
- Place the rocks underneath the substrate.
- Make sure the rocks are not open to the surface.
- Direct heat from the rocks can harm the box turtle.
Under Cage Heater
Under cage heater is another type of heating source for the box turtle. It is placed under the tank or aquarium. It is a good source of heat.
You can attach this type of heater directly to the tank. Glass aquarium is preferable for under cage heater. You should not use this type of heater in the wood or plastic enclosures.
UV Light Source
Box turtles need UV lights to survive in an indoor habitat. The UV light is necessary for a box turtle to lead a healthy life. You can arrange the UV light for your box turtle in two ways.
- You can use the unfiltered UV light through an open window for a minimum of one hour per day.
- You can buy a UV lamp or source. Artificial UV sources provide both UVA and UVB rays.
You have to set up the UV source around 18 inches or 45 cm up from the box turtle. Many stores sell combined UV and heating sources. Those are more economical to use.
Box turtles are sensitive to the humidity level. In the wild or captive environment, they prefer damp lands. As a pet owner, you have to ensure that your box turtle is living in a perfect environment.
To make the environment moist and damp, the substrate plays a significant role. Better substrates can hold the moisture and make the environment perfect for your box turtles. You have to spray water from time to time so that the soil does not dry up.
Box turtles prefer the humid around 60 to 80 percent. Many humidity checkers are available in the market.
Some accessories make the enclosure look more attractive.
- Swimming area
Box turtles can be stressed out for many reasons. When they are stressed, they do not want human contact. They prefer to hide in some places where they will not be seen.
For this reason, hiding place or shelter is a significant part of each enclosure. Many things can be used as a hiding area.
- Hollow logs
- Commercial hiding areas
- Plastic tubs
- Flower pots
These are the things you can use as a hiding area for your box turtle.
Box turtles often get bored with their daily routine. They love challenges and adventure. If you ever notice your box turtle, you will see, it digs the soil when it has nothing to do.
Adding some climbing rocks in the habitat will keep them busy. While choosing rocks, remember some points.
- Choose tiny and thick rocks for the box turtle.
- If your box turtle is small, choose a smaller rock. Make it easy for your box turtle to climb the rock.
Box turtles are fond of freshwater. They use water for drinking and soaking. They love to spend time there. To make an ideal enclosure, you must add a swimming arrangement for the box turtle.
You can use a small container for this purpose. Do not choose a deep one. You can use a pot instead of containers as a swimming area too. The water in the container must be fresh.
A perfect enclosure for a box turtle is not just about the size, but the other supplies make it more than perfect. If you own a box turtle, make sure it gets all these things properly.