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How Big Do Box Turtles Get? A Box Turtle as Pet

Wondering how big do box turtles get? Stay tuned as I will be explaining this and some other things like how much they weigh, how long it takes for them to grow to the full size and what they eat. I own the red-eared slider, and I have wanted to get one more turtle for myself. My choice was the box turtle. Before getting a pet for myself, I always do a lot of research to make it easy for me as well as the pet. I learn about their size, diet, habitat, requirements, and much more. During my research, I have discovered a lot about box turtles such that I am convinced I can take care of the turtle with ease. I want to share the knowledge that I have gained during this research to help you know more about box turtles.

So how big do box turtles get?

Mostly, they will get to about 4-6 inches in size. This will depend on other factors, such as diet and gender. The diet plays a significant role in the size of the turtle. It would be unfair to compare a turtle that is fed healthily and one that struggles to get the food.

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From the little knowledge I have gained during the research, box turtles are among the turtle species that remain small in size even after they become adults. The largest size ever recorded is 7 inches. Funny right?

Well, that is just their nature. For them to get to such extents, factors such as the diet, gender, UVB light, age, and habitat should be considered. When it comes to age, baby box turtles grow very fast. They can get to 3 feet within the first year. After their first year, their growth slows down, and it might take almost two years to gain just an inch in size.

This will, however, depend on other factors such as the UVB light, gender and on top of these, the diet. UVB light is essential to turtles. The light helps them to make good use of the nutrients they consume such as calcium. Without UVB light, they will experience shell problems and might even die. I found it interesting that female box turtles are bigger compared to their male counterparts.

How Long Does It Take For A Box Turtle To Grow Full Size?

Box turtle species have no significant differences. For that matter, I will consider the eastern box turtles to answer the question of how long does it take for a box turtle to grow full size. From the time a young turtle takes the first breath, they will overgrow fast up to about five years of age. During this time, the size will be approximately 4-5 inches. The turtles mature very quickly and at this age, the turtle is completely mature and can reproduce. This, however, does not mean that the size will remain stagnant. Let me get to the point. You can determine the full size of a box turtle at the age of 20 years. This is when they reach their full size. Although they start reproducing at a very early stage, they are still surprisingly very active at the age of 20 and can reproduce.

How Much Do Box Turtles Weigh?

Like I said earlier, the female is larger than the males, and they are also heavier. The weight of the box turtle is dependent on some factors such as the diet and the care that the turtle gets. A box turtle in captivity is bound to get heavier than one in the wild. This is because in the wild the turtles are stressed with a hard life. They struggle to survive. In captivity, the turtles are assured of meals, and by meals, I mean a healthy diet. They get their containers with heaters and a basking place. Very important for a turtle to get all these including love and attention. With all these, the turtle will weigh more. In general, a fully-grown box turtle of the size 4.5 inches in length will weigh about 1 to 2 pounds. The weight is relative to age and size.

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The Diet Of a Box Turtles

I have been talking about the diet a lot without mentioning what the box turtles eat. Box turtles are omnivores. With that, you should have a general idea of what they eat. The diet should be quite nutritional to ensure the turtle gets all the nutrients required for its growth and its shell. So what do turtles eat? When the box turtles are young, they eat a lot of meat for the proteins. The proteins help with their growth. As they approach their maturity, their diet tends towards the vegetables and fruits side. To be precise, a box turtles diet consists of insects, snails, slugs, fish, eggs, crustaceans, mushrooms, flowers, and fruits. The fruits include tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, and squash. This is their diet in the wild. In captivity, the turtles should get 50 percent low-fat protein and 50 percent fruits and vegetables. The proteins may include live earthworms, beetles, and crickets. 

Difference Between Male And Female Box Turtles

Determining the sex of the box turtle can be quite a task, especially when they are babies; this is because their sex organs are under their shells. However, there are some details that you can check on to know precisely the gender of the box turtle. Starting with the appearance. The male box turtles usually have colorful legs and head. I  am made to understand that this is to attract the female. Coming to the eyes, the male eyes are reddish while the female eyes are brownish. You can also check the plastron. The male plastron should have depression to help him mount well on the female. Looking at the back claws of the box turtle, the claws are thick and curved for the male while the females’ are thin and straighter. There is also the tails which are different. A male’s tail is thick at the base where they join with the body. 

Where Do Box Turtles Live

So Where do box turtles live? They are mostly found in the woodlands. They are native to North America. The common box turtle is found in the United States and Mexico. The Coahuila box turtle is located in Mexico. The western box turtle can be found in the southwestern parts of the United States.

Are Box Turtles Illegal To Have As Pets?

In some states, it is illegal to keep a box turtle, and you will have to be licensed to get one for yourself. If you found one on the road, you should not bother picking him up as you would never know the infection he carries. 

Do Box Turtles Bite?

The box turtles are calm pets and do not bite. Although this is the case, you should avoid handling him every time or touching their snout. They don’t like being picked up all the time.

Do Box Turtles Burrow?

Digging and burrowing is very common for the box turtles. The like to hide when sleep or during hibernation. They will stay hidden until winter is gone. Read also the guide: Can Turtles Be In Cold Water? Keeping A Turtle As A Pet?

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