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Box Turtle Questions

I swear I get more box turtle hits off google…

“box turtle problem in my yard”
You probably do not actually have a box turtle problem. If you have box turtles in your yard, what you have are handy little beasts who will take care of your slug and snail problems for you, as well as keeping your hostas trimmed back. Please just let them be and enjoy the little buggers. This is, of course, provided they are wild box turtles wandering through. If a previous home owner has left you a legacy box turtle, well, that’s a whole nother pile of herpetological difficulty, now isn’t it. I highly recommend The Box Turtle Care and Conservation Webpage, run by Tess Cook, and also the super helpful and friendly people over at the Yahoo group Tess runs.

“relocating eastern box turtles”
“returning eastern box turtle to wild”
I keep harping on this: it’s difficult and the turtle is unlikely to survive it. If you cannot provide for the turtle yourself, the best bet is for you to find a wildlife rehabber or turtle rescue who can take the small scaly stalker in. It’s possible to relocate an EBT, but it involves knowing where the turtle is at all times and making sure it’s finding food, water, and the good hibernation places. Odds are good that if you’re trying it without slapping a GPS tracking device on the turtle and following its movements daily, the turtle will just die.

It’s far better to leave them where they are if at all possible, if they’re already in the wild. If this is a pet turtle who has lived in captivity for many years, you should just find it a home prepared to deal with the requirements of a pet box turtle, or a turtle rescue, seriously. Don’t sentence the turtle to death just dropping it in the woods somewhere.

“eastern box turtle safe to touch”
Well, for whom? You are unlikely to get diseases from the turtle unless you lick it, and you will have to go out of your way to get bitten by one, seriously. On the other hand, the turtle is going to find it stressful and unpleasant and that’s just mean. The best rule with wildlife is look, but don’t touch, and Eastern Box Turtles are wildlife. Unless the turtle is in imminent danger of death, just leave it alone, please.

In fact, if there’s one rule I wish I could get everyone to absorb re: turtles, it’s JUST LEAVE THEM ALONE. They take an enormous amount of specialized care to keep in captivity. You don’t even want to know what Jeremiah Swakhammer’s enclosure cost. They’re much, much better off living their little turtle lives in the wild as the Big Sky Turtle intended, without being petted, picked up, prodded at, chewed on by dogs, or otherwise harassed. Just let the little scaly bastards be.

2 thoughts on “Box Turtle Questions

  1. I’ve only touched one once. That was to move the little bugger out of the middle of a busy highway before it became seriously flat. I think we were both pretty stressed out by the time I got it to the side of the road. I have to admit that my passengers thought I was nuts when I swerved to miss it, pulled over, and picked it up to move it. :D

    1. Hah, yeah, people look at me like I’m crazy, too. One of my neighbors used to visit me periodically but hasn’t turned up since the day he caught me blocking the road with my car to move a box turtle.

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