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How To Care For A Baby Box Turtle

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Turtles are amazing creatures. Some can live for over 100 years, and they have lived on Earth for millions of years.

There are many different types of turtles that you will find in nature. The box turtle is one of them. It is one of the most popular pet turtle species in the world.

Hand holding baby box turtle

But pet turtles also require special attention from their owners.

If you want to raise a baby box turtle, then here is our guide on what to feed them and how to care for them.

When Can You Take A Baby Box Turtle Home With You?

You can take your baby box turtle home when it is around 30 days old. This means that the baby box turtle has grown enough to be able to survive.

They should be active and eat frequently.

Some physical signs indicate that your baby box turtle may be too young to take home yet.

When you check the baby box turtle, and it still has a disappearing yolk sac underneath and an egg tooth on the tip of its beak, then it’s too early to take your new hatchling home.

What You Need To Know Before Taking Your Baby Box Turtle Home

First off, make sure that you know all about the baby box turtle before taking it home.

This includes the following:

  • What size is the baby box turtle?
  • How much does it weigh?
  • Does it need a terrarium or not?
  • Is it male or female?
  • What color is it?
  • Are there any health issues?
  • What kind of food do you need to give it?
  • What type of water do you need to provide it?
  • What temperature do you need to keep it at?

What Does A Baby Box Turtle Look Like?

Baby turtles are very cute, but they are also very fragile. Their shells are thin and easily damaged. This makes them vulnerable to predators and other dangers.

Turtles are reptiles and, therefore, cold-blooded. They are covered in scales and have no hair. They breathe through their skin and have webbed feet.

Baby Box Turtle Diet

Baby box turtle walking on ground

As mentioned above, baby box turtles need frequent feeding. They should be fed every day at least once.

Make sure that you feed them small amounts of food. Do not give them too much as this could cause problems later down the line.

Baby Box Turtle Food

The diet of baby box turtles consists of meaty foods such as fish, worms, crickets, and insects.

These foods are low in fat and high in protein. Make sure that you buy these foods from a reputable source.

Do not use commercial diets because they contain chemicals and preservatives which may harm your baby box turtle.

Baby Box Turtle Water

Baby box turtles like clean, fresh water. You should regularly change the water in your tank to ensure your box hatchling has plenty of fresh water.

However, if you don’t have a tank, then you can just put the baby box turtle in a bowl filled with fresh water.

Keep the water warm by using a heat lamp.

How To Feed A Baby Box Turtle

Feeding a baby box turtle is easy. All you need to do is place the food in front of the baby box turtle and let him/her eat.

Alternatively, you can place the food in a dish and place it near the baby box turtle.

It’s a good idea to watch your baby box turtle while it eats. This gives you a chance to check that it eats and drinks enough and that your pet is healthy.

If you notice your baby box turtle can’t eat, then you may need to cut the food into smaller pieces. Your baby turtle should be able to easily eat its food.

The Right Habitat For Your Baby Box Turtle

The best way to take care of your baby is by providing it with the right environment. When you first buy a baby box turtle, make sure that it has plenty of space to move around.

You should provide a tank or terrarium where it will feel safe and comfortable.

A large tank gives your baby more room to grow and allows it to become accustomed to its new environment.

A good place to start when looking for a suitable habitat would be the pet store. They usually sell tanks that are designed specifically for turtles.

Baby Box Turtle Temperature

Baby box turtles thrive best between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a heat lamp to keep the temperature constant and stable throughout the day.

If you live in a colder area, then you might need to increase the temperature slightly.

Other Things To Know About Caring For A Baby Box Turtle

Baby box turtles are very delicate creatures. As a result, they are prone to injury and disease.

They are susceptible to parasites and infections. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to early death.

Therefore, it’s important that you observe your pet turtle to make sure it eats properly and it’s active.

This includes making sure that it gets enough food and water. It’s also important to check on it daily to see how it is doing.

If you notice anything unusual about your box turtle, then contact your vet immediately.

Baby Box Turtle Health Problems

Baby eastern box turtle in a white box

As baby box turtles are so fragile, there are a few things around their health that you should look out for.


The most common parasite found in baby box turtles is tapeworms. Tapeworms are small worms that live inside the intestines of their host.

Tapeworms can cause severe damage to the body of the animal, and this disease can even lead to death.


Infectious diseases such as salmonella and E. coli can be passed from one individual to another.

These illnesses can be fatal if not treated quickly.


Turtles can get injured during normal activities such as swimming or when they are handled. Turtles have hard shells, which make them vulnerable to injuries.

If your baby box turtle is injured, then you should seek veterinary help immediately.

When you’re caring for your baby box turtle, you’ll want to pay attention to any signs of illness or injury.

Also, be careful when handling your pet. You mustn’t squeeze too tightly or pinch it.

It’s okay to pick up your baby box turtle occasionally. However, you shouldn’t carry it around all the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Baby Box Turtles Illegal?

No, baby box turtles are legal in the United States for up to 4 inches.

However, this does depend on the state you live in, so it’s important to check the legal status before you buy a baby box turtle.

What Size Tank Does A Baby Box Turtle Need?

You will need at least a 10-gallon tank to raise a baby box turtle. This size tank provides adequate space for the baby turtle to develop and grow.


Baby box turtles are very adorable animals. But they are also very delicate and need proper care.

We hope that this article helped you learn more about baby box turtles and how to look after them the right way.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.