Owning a box turtle can be fun, but you have to make sure that you are providing a well-balanced diet to ensure a long life. Box turtles are omnivores. This means they eat both meat and plants. Making sure that you know how to take care of your box turtle and know what to feed it is very important. Box turtles, when taken care of properly, can live over 100 years in captivity. So, make sure you add your box turtle into your will, as you’ll need someone to take over when you go.
Most young box turtles are highly omnivorous. However, as box turtles get older, they tend to become more of an herbivore. So, depending on your box turtles age, keep that in mind. On average your box turtles diet should consist of about fifty percent plant-based material and fifty percent animal bases material.
Plant Based Material
Be sure that at least half of your box turtles diet is plant-based material. This should be given daily to ensure your box turtle is getting the proper nutrients it needs. In the wild, a box turtle may eat wildflowers, grass, and other plant material. You can offer your turtle many different types of plant-based material. Flowers and vegetables should make up at least eighty to ninety percent of the plant-based material you should offer your turtle. The other ten percent offered should be from fruits.
As a general rule of thumb, anything that is dark green and leafy is great for your box turtle’s diet. Try to steer clear of light colored greens and vegetables like; celery, iceberg and head lettuce. They are high in fiber and are mainly made up of water. They do not provide the adequate nutrients your box turtle needs. Greens are usually the best. Your box turtle will enjoy mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens and beet greens. Try sticking with other vegetables such as kale, bok choy, cabbage, and watercress. Your box turtle will even enjoy broccoli, bell peppers and green beans and box turtle is one of the small pet turtles that stay small even after growing full size.
A smaller percentage of your box turtle’s diet can be different types of squash, cooked sweet potato, okra, cucumber, mushrooms, asparagus, corn, carrots, and peas. You can offer your box turtle certain fruits, but these should not make up more than five to ten percent of your box turtles diet. Picking healthy fruits for your box turtle will be beneficial and can provide extra calcium like figs, dates, and apricots. Other fruit can include raisins, strawberries, mangos, grapes, apples, pears, and bananas. As with any pet, you should give special treats. You can give your box turtle flowers as a treat. Your box turtle will love snacking on dandelions, roses, carnations, hibiscus, and geraniums. Most people take a trip to their local flower shop to pick up these special treats. Flower shops throw away wilted flowers that are unable to be sold. Try talking with your local florist to see if they would hold some for you each week. Usually, they have no problem with donating their scrap flowers to box turtle owners.
Animal Based Material
The other fifty percent of your box turtles diet should be animal based material. In the wild young turtles have a keen eye and good sense of smell. They love to catch grasshoppers and a wide variety of other insects. Try offering your box turtle some of these high protein snacks; moths, crickets, slugs, and grasshoppers. Box turtles live worms like earthworms, mealworms, silk works and wax worms. Other foods that are ideal for your box turtle and are high in protein are hard-boiled eggs and tofu. These protein-rich foods will ensure that your turtle is getting the right nutrients and will keep your turtle healthy. You can purchase live, protein-rich, foods like crickets and worms at your local pet store or reptile breeder. While you are there check out their line of reptile pellets and trout chow. Most commercial feeds are high in protein. You can also collect these insects and worms from a nearby field or park. Just make sure you don’t go digging in a flower bed, as most planted beds are fertilized and sprayed with insecticides. This can be toxic to your box turtle and make them very sick.