Should You House Multiple Box Turtles?

Should You House Multiple Box Turtles

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

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Turtle owners often adopt more than one turtle at a time. Housing all the turtles together is challenging. Most of the box turtle owners, both new and old, frequently ask a common question: Can multiple box turtles be housed together?

It is possible to house numerous box turtles in a single enclosure, but it requires significant planning and consideration to ensure that the box turtles are content, healthy, and prospering.

If you are confused about the housing of your box turtles, this is just the article you need. In this article, I will discuss the pros and cons of housing multiple box turtles together, and some other topics related to it.

Owner: April Kelley McGallion

Do Box Turtles Love Companions?

Box turtle is not like other turtle species. We know that box turtles prefer solitude.  They live alone in the wild and prefer the same in a captive situation. Most of the time, they tend to avoid companionship. But it does not mean they are aggressive creatures.

Box turtles are very friendly with each other even though they prefer solitude. So if you keep more than one turtle together, it can be fun for them. Keep in mind that some of its subspecies do not prefer companionship at all. In that case, you can not force your box turtles to stay together.

Are There Any Particular Conditions For Housing Multiple Box Turtles?

There is no condition at all. But age and subspecies matter a lot if you are thinking to house multiple box turtles together.

A study shows that immature box turtles are more friendly than the adult ones. So you can house them together without any effort. As long as they are about the same size and species, they will not be aggressive to each other.

As soon as the baby box turtles start growing, they start bullying each other. It can be a difficult task for you if all your box turtles are young.

Adults are trickier than these two groups. They can be very aggressive with each other. Even any of your box turtle can be injured if they get into a fight.

Owner: April Kelley McGallion

Guidelines to House Multiple Box Turtles

Here are some guidelines that might help you to house multiple box turtles with less effort.

  • Keep all your female box turtles together. Female box turtles of all ages tend to get along with each other.
  • Adult male box turtles can be very aggressive. Their aggression grows strong when they want to breed. They can mount each other and hurt others. It is best to keep them separate or always keep an eye on them.
  • It is better not to keep adult female and male box turtles together. Adult male box turtles show aggression towards the adult female box turtles too. So if you are not going to breed them, keep them in a different habitat.
  • If you really want to house adult male and female box turtles together, build hiding places. Female box turtles will be able to hide in those places.
  • To house adult male and female box turtle, you have to follow a ratio. Each male box turtle needs several female box turtles. As per the book, Tess Cook says the ratio is 1:4. It means each male box turtle needs four female box turtles. 
  • Do not put immature box turtles among the adult or young ones.

Caution for Housing Multiple Box Turtles

There are two cases when you should not house two box turtles together.

  1. If you have an American and Asian box turtle, you can not house them together. Both the subspecies have different needs, and their behavior is different from one another. For instance, their food habit is distinctive, and the most significant thing is that they do not have immunity for each other pathogens. It applies to most of the subspecies, so you should not house them together.
  2. If your box turtle is sick, it needs rest and extra care. In that case, you have to keep the infected box turtle separated from the others. Moreover, a sick turtle can make other turtles infected. So it is better not to house a weak box turtle with others. 

Can You Reduce The Chance Of Fighting Among Multiple Box Turtles?

If you keep multiple adult box turtles together, then fight is unavoidable. Most of the time, turtles compete for food, light, or other resources. So if you provide a sufficient amount of food and other things, you can avoid the fight. 

Here are some other tips you can follow to reduce the chance of fighting.

  • Build Barriers Or Hiding Places: Often, the dominant box turtle chases the weak one. So a barrier or hiding place gives the vulnerable turtle a chance to protect or escape.
  • Give Sufficient Food: Most of the box turtles fight over food. Try feeding them twice a day. It might help them to stay in a good mood.
  • Provide Separate Basking Areas: If you observe any fighting over the basking area, you need to build different basking areas for your box turtles. While building basking areas, put visual barriers and basking lights for each one.
  • Keep The Environment Clean: If the habitat environment causes stress to your box turtle, it will tend to start a fight. So make sure there is a sufficient amount of light and other elements. Keep the water and filter clean.
  • Avoid Multiple Adult Males In The Same Tank: As I have mentioned above, that adult male box turtles fight more aggressively, it is better to put them in a separate habitat if possible.
  • Careful about Ages and Sizes: I have already said that age and size matter a lot in the case of multiple housing. Try to maintain the age and sizes to avoid fights.

There is no guarantee that these tips will work on your box turtle. Many people have found these helpful, and you can apply them to see the results.

When you are housing multiple box turtles, you need to provide an extensive, healthy habitat and a better environment. Housing multiple box turtles can be fun, and it is indeed possible. All you need is to be more careful.

Owner: April Kelley McGallion

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Box Turtles Aggressive?

Box turtles can display aggressive behavior such as hissing, biting, charging, and flattening their bodies, but they are generally not aggressive and may only bite when they feel threatened. The aggression in box turtles is often caused by stress and territorial behavior.

Are Box Turtles Social?

Box turtles are generally not considered social creatures and prefer to live and forage alone. While they may exhibit some interactions during mating encounters or territorial disputes, they do not form social groups or engage in cooperative behaviors like some other turtle species.

However, box turtles can recognize and remember familiar humans and environments, showing a level of social cognition.

Do Box Turtles Fight Each Other?

Box turtles can fight each other, but it is rare. They usually prefer to retreat into their shells when threatened. Eastern box turtles, like other subspecies of box turtles, can share territories with other turtles without conflict. However, territorial disputes can occur between male box turtles during the breeding season, and aggression can be observed in captive box turtles due to stress or overcrowding.

Do Box Turtles Live In Groups?

Box turtles are generally solitary creatures and do not live in groups. They have territories and tend to withdraw into their shells when threatened. While they may share a common area with other box turtles, they are not social animals and do not form groups or engage in cooperative behaviors like some other turtle species.

Can A Box Turtle And Tortoise Live Together?

It is generally not recommended to mix different species of pets in captivity, including box turtles and tortoises. Different species may have varying dietary, temperature, and habitat requirements, which can lead to stress, aggression, and health problems.

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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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