Yes, you can get salmonella from holding box turtles, but it is extremely rare. Almost no one gets it from simply holding box turtles, but if you decide to lick it, you will probably get salmonella. You can easily avoid this by washing your hands and having a robust immune system. Symptoms of salmonella include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and headaches.
2. Do box turtles have territories and do they defend them?
Box turtles stay close to where they are born - which is a range of about 250 meters. However, box turtles do not defend their ranges and instead allow other turtles to invade their space.
3. Are there different species of box turtles?
Yes, there are 4 common types of box turtles: Common box turtle, (which is most common in North America), Coahuilan box turtle, (also known as an aquatic box turtle and is the only aquatic box turtle in North America), Spotted box turtle, (which is unique for its tiny specs on its shell), and lastly, the Western box turtle, (which has a flatter domed shell than other box turtles). There are 10 different subspecies: Eastern box turtle, Florida box turtle, Gulf Coast box turtle, Three Toed box turtle, Mexican box turtle, Yucatan box turtle, Northern Spotted box turtle, Southern Spotted box turtle, Ornate box turtle, and Desert box turtle.
4. How is a box turtle different than an aquatic turtle or tortoise?
Box turtles and tortoises look alike, but they are actually very different. Box turtles live near water, while tortoises like very dry environments. Box turtles have flat, smooth shells and colorful eyes, while tortoises have high-domed shells and black eyes.
5. What is the preferred habitat of the Eastern Box Turtle?
Eastern Box Turtles live in eastern and central United States. They preferably like forest stands with a lot of underbrush, but they can also be found in grasslands and wet environments, even though they are not aquatic box turtles.
6. What does a box turtle eat?
Box turtles like a variety of things to eat. When box turtles are in the wild, they eat snails, spiders, insects, earthworms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, carrion, rotting fruit, berries, flowers, and grass. When being cared for, box turtles need a good diversity of things to eat preferably from the list above.
7. How do you sex a box turtle?
Males are larger than females and they have a flat stomach. Males also have a large tale, while females have a skinny tale.
8. How many eggs does a box turtle lay & how often?
Box turtles will lay between 3 and 4 eggs at a time. They mate in the spring and lay eggs in summer.
9. When does a box turtle reach sexual maturity?
Sexual Maturity is reached between the ages of 7 to 10 years old.
10. How do box turtles mate?
The male climbs on top of the female from behind and locks feet with the female to keep him in place. He then inserts his cloaca into the female and mates with her.
11. What is the box turtles status?
Box turtles are not threatened.
12. Do box turtles need water?
All organisms need water to survive, just as box turtles do, but they are not good swimmers. The turtle will drown if put in water without a place to exit.
13. What are the parts of the shell called?
The top part of the shell is the carapace and the bottom part is the plastron. The carapace contains ribs, vertebrae, cartilage, and all the nerves. It is the dome that we see on the outside of the turtle. The plastron is divided into two halves that helps the turtle close its shell.
14. How strong are a box turtle’s five senses?
Box turtles have what is known as binocular vision, which is seeing what is only in front of them. However, what they lose in range of vision they make up for in quality of sight. Even though the turtle can’t see a lot of what isn’t right in front of them, they can see very well what is in their line of sight. They have good vision at night. They don’t have outer ears, but instead a layer of skin behind the eyes that protects their inner ear. Box turtles have limited hearing and mostly use it for mating calls.
15. When are box turtles most active?
Box turtles are most active in warm, humid conditions, at night, or in the early morning.
16. What temperatures do box turtles like?
Box turtles like to keep their body temperature between 84 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They don’t like it to be too hot though as they will hid under some sort of shade during the daytime of summer.
17. How long do box turtles live?
The average life span of box turtles is about 50 years old
18. Why do I never see baby box turtles?
Baby box turtles are hidden during their childhood because they are so small. Predators could easily snack on them, so they are often buried underground until they reach adulthood.
19. What do box turtles do in the winter?
They hibernate for about 3-5 months in order to survive the winter. During the winter, food is hard to find and the temperatures are cold so it is important that the box turtles hibernate.
No. It can be dangerous to eat them since box turtles eat poisonous plants and mushrooms. Eating a box turtle can cause a human to get very sick (they probably would not die).
22. Do box turtles make good pets?
Yes they do. They are relatively easy to take care of and they don’t need constant attention like dogs do. However, when a box turtle is moved into a strange and new habitat that may be smaller than what they are used to, they become stressed and that is unhealthy for them. So, make sure to give them adequate space, coverage, water, food, and possibly mates.
23. If I find a box turtle in my yard should I rescue it and move it to the local forest preserve?
No. The turtles have a home territory that they are comfortable and safe living in. That is why they are still there. By moving it, you will endanger it because it won’t be used to the new surroundings and will most likely die from starvation, dehydration, or predators.
24. Can box turtles swim?
They are not very good swimmers because they are clumsy and often get tired in the water, but they can swim for a little bit. Some like being in and around water because it is refreshing, so often times they will be near a constant source of water that they can drink from.
25. Why would anyone track box turtles?
Tracking box turtles is important because we can understand how they factor into their ecosystem, where they live, how they are affected by other animals and human impact, who their predators are, and many more things. It is a good indicator animal, meaning that by observing box turtles, researchers are able to learn more about the changes that happen to the environment and how it affects the animals living in it.
26. What is telemetry?
Telemetry is a way to communicate data remotely between two points and send data from one transmitter to a receiver. It is often used to track animals through radio waves. One way is by attaching a transmitter on an animal that transmits every few seconds. Then, as the researcher goes into the field, they turn their receiver on to the corresponding channel and listen for beeping that indicates where the animal is.
27. How do professional researchers attach transmitters?
Some methods are for more long time uses, so researchers will attach it by cementing it onto the turtle (or doing some sort of adhesive), strapped on with harnesses, or being bolted on (which could be dangerous for the turtle). Less permanent methods are using some sort of tape or temporary adhesive.
28. What should I do if a box turtle is in the street and I come across it?
Take it off the street so that it doesn’t get run over by cars, and move it to the side where it was trying to go. You want to protect the turtle from oncoming cars, but do not move it a drastic difference because that will cause it to lose its bearings.
29. What do box turtles do for protection?
Whenever box turtles feel threatened, they retreat into their shell and close it off. However, they often hide underneath leaves and foliage, and take shelter inside downed logs, plants, and other cover.
30. What happens when a turtle falls off while mating?
Male turtles occasionally fall off their mates while mating with them. When this happens, the males land on their back shells and cannot move. However, they are still attached by the legs to the females so they may end up being dragged behind the female until she lets go. When the male is left alone, he can flip over back onto his stomach with some effort and continue on his way.
31. What happens when box turtles leave their comfort zone?
They either die if not properly cared for or they will try to find their way back home. Sometimes, they are successful in returning to their original habitat, but there is always the risk of cars running over them or lawn mowers mowing over them as they try to find their way back home. Either way, people should not try to move them from their habitats.