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Pet World Visit
Asian box turtles look similar to our U.S. box turtles -- except in the face.
From Warm Places. You won’t find these guys wandering across back roads in Arkansas. They come from many of the Southeast Asian countries. They feel very at home in rice paddies or any other warm body of water. Unlike our U.S. box turtles, these Asian box turtles live in the water – not on dry land. Our homegrown box turtles like to jump in the water and defecate, but once they terminate their ablutions they trot back onto the land. Asian box turtles prefer the water at least 90% of the time.
Nice Size. Our U.S. water turtles get plenty big enough to eat – especially our snappers. Asian box turtles stay “handleable.” You can pick the little rascals up, no matter how long you keep them. They never get big. But always wash your hands after handling turtles or other reptiles.
Nice Appearance. Besides their cute faces, Asian box turtles sport an attractive eye stripe as well as a yellow racing stripe on their necks.
Nice Personality. Our U.S. water turtles want to bite. Asian box turtles rarely seek to bite the hand that feeds them. When hungry, they learn to follow you around for food – not just to nip you.
Temperature Needs. Probably their only minus: Asian box turtles require warmer water than our U.S. turtles. Since they come from Southeast Asia, their high temp requirement should come as no surprise. You’ll probably need an undertank heating pad as well as a basking light bulb on top of their cage. Our U.S. box turtles try to hibernate during the winter. Asian box turtles never see cold weather. They “sort of hibernate” during dry spells. They just slow down.
Lighting Needs. In the wild, these guys would get their vitamin D requirements from the sun. They need it mostly to absorb calcium into their bones. Give them a vitamin D supplement and/or provide a full-spectrum light source. If you feed yours goldfish, they probably won't need extra calcium. Yes, our U.S. box turtles will eat goldfish. Asian box turtles love goldfish -- just like our water turtles.
Other Vitamins. Vitamin A seems more critical to box turtles than to other reptiles. Maybe that’s why they like muskmelons, sweet potatoes, and corn. Anytime they get their “puffy eye syndrome,” you can usually clear them right up with Vitamin A drops and heat. Better to prevent any vitamin deficiency rather than try to fix it later.
Foods. Supposedly, Asian box turtles eat mostly vegetation in their home country. Ours prefer fish. We find that they also eat most items we offer – just like our water turtles. Most turtles eat whatever they stumble across. It's your job to help them stumble across the right foods. They seem to prefer fruits over vegetables. Commercial water turtle foods will simplify your feeding schedule. Add box turtle pellets or sticks for best results. Iguana foods also work just fine. Remember that dry, pelleted commercial foods spoil very rapidly when they get wet. Remove any excess food after a reasonable feeding time.
Diseases. Vitamin deficiency rarely raises its ugly head if you provide your Asian box turtle an adequate diet. Add a good vitamin/calcium supplement to make sure. If you provide warm clean water, you probably won’t encounter disease problems. If you do, bump up their temp to at least 90o, then call us for the name of a good turtle vet.
Quick Tips. If your Asian box turtle slows down or goes off his feed, warm him up. If he acts a little puny, warm him up. If his eyes get puffy, warm him up. If he loses weight, warm him up. To cure most turtle problems, warm him up to 90o until the problem clears up.
Water. Change their water daily. Asian box turtles take in quite a bit of water for their size. They don’t sweat it out like we do, they use it to flush out their digestive system. They suck water in one end and empty their pipes out the other end. We don’t want them drinking “used water.” Replace it often.
HOT. HOT. HOT. Remember, if your Asian box turtle has a serious problem:
· Runny nose,
· Swollen ears,
· Gaping mouth, or
· Difficulty breathing,
then you need to see your vet. You can prevent most of these (except
injuries) by keeping your Asian box turtle at 80o or warmer.
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