How Do Box Turtles Drink Water?

Are you concerned about your box turtle getting enough water?

Do you want to learn more about how to give your box turtle a well-balanced diet?

Turtle keepers must understand their pet’s diet and water requirements. 

It is an essential part of successful pet ownership. 

Proper food and water consumption are necessary for a turtle’s health and well-being. 

This article will discuss both food and water requirements for box turtles. 

By the time you finish reading, you will be much more knowledgeable about the best feeding practices for your turtle!

how do box turtles drink water

How Do Box Turtles Drink Water?

The main way box turtles stay hydrated is by drinking water from their water bowl. They also eat foods with high water content, such as vegetables and fruits. Owners can help their turtles stay hydrated by misting them several times each week and maintaining correct humidity levels in the enclosure.

How Do Turtles Use The Water In Their Bowl?

Pet turtles use their water bowls for drinking, soaking, and defecating. 

Because the dishes are multi-use, it’s vital for them to be cleaned regularly. 

Keep the water clean daily, so it remains clean and potable.

What Are The Requirements For A Box Turtle’s Water Dish?

Because box turtles are at risk of drowning, they must only have access to a shallow water dish. 

Never fill the water past the turtle’s chin level when its head is partially out of its shell. 1 to 1.5″ inches (3.81 cm) of water is probably plenty.

Set up the water bowl on a flat and stable surface, so it can’t easily tip it over.

The turtle must be able to access any pools in its habitat comfortably.

What Can I Use As A Water Dish For My Box Turtle?

Wide and shallow pans are the best options to provide your turtle with a water supply. 

Plastic paint trays or plant saucers recessed into the substrate are two great examples.

Because turtles need to easily access their water, create ramps in places too high for turtles to reach on their own comfortably. 

Commercially sold turtle ramps, low rocks, and logs are all good possibilities to provide better water access.

What Do Box Turtles Eat?

Box turtles are omnivores. 

An ideal diet for turtles consists of 50% protein foods and 50% plant-based foods. 

Baby box turtles typically eat more protein than adult box turtles do.

The plant-based half of a turtle’s diet should consist mainly of dark leafy greens, which contain the highest nutrient levels, followed by other colorful vegetables. 

Fruits should be fed sparingly as treats, making up no more than 10% of a boxie’s diet.

Protein Sources For Box Turtles

Animal-based food items mainly consist of worms and insects, with a few other healthy options. 

The following table shows each possible protein and the frequency with which it could be fed to a box turtle. 

This is not a comprehensive list.

Animal proteinHow often should a box turtle eat this food?
Sow bugsOften
Terrestrial snailsOften
Mealworms gut-loaded with dark greensOccasional
Cricket gut-loaded with dark greensOccasional
Lean, cooked steakOccasional
Box turtle prepared foodsOccasional
Pinkie mice (recently killed)Rare
Boiled eggRare

Never feed box turtles raw, fatty, or processed meat.

We highly recommend you always purchase your feeder insects from pet stores or turtle food suppliers. 

Feeding your turtle earthworms, snails, or other protein sources from the wild is risky, as they may be carrying parasites or trace amounts of harmful chemicals like pesticides.

Vegetables For Box Turtles

Plant-based food items include vegetables, dark leafy greens, and fruits. 

The following table lists the plant-based food and how frequently a box turtle should eat it. 

Again, this is not a comprehensive list.

Plant-based foodHow often should box turtles eat this food?
Collard greensOften
Mustard greensOften
Dandelion greensOften
Romaine lettuceOften
Wheat grassOften
Turnip greensOften
Sweet potatoesOften
Green beansOften
Wax beansOften
Cactus pad (no spines)Often
Red or orange bell peppersOften
Swiss chardOccasional
Bean sproutsRare
Iceberg LettuceRare
FigsOccasional / Rare
ApricotsOccasional / Rare
DatesOccasional / Rare
RaspberriesOccasional / Rare
StrawberriesOccasional / Rare

Never feed your box turtle spinach, avocado peel, rhubarb, potato leaves, or tobacco leaves.

How To Feed Box Turtles

First, establish a feeding schedule and stick to it. 

It is best to feed your turtles in the morning, right after they warm up.

  • Hatchlings should be fed twice a day.
  • Young turtles will eat once a day or every other day.
  • Adult turtles will eat once every two or three days.

Of course, this may change according to your individual pet’s needs. 

Adjust as needed.

Wash all plant-based foods thoroughly and finely chop everything. 

Mix a combination of food items. 

This combination should be in proportion with the 50/50 rule of thumb (50% protein, 50% plant-based foods with a majority being leafy greens). 

The finer the food is chopped, the less your turtle will be able to cast aside the foods it doesn’t like as much.

Sprinkle calcium powder and mineral supplements (without phosphorus) on foods two or three times per week. 

As an additional mineral source, leave some cuttlebone in your pet box turtle’s enclosure at all times.

Serve food on a shallow dish or on a flat rock to prevent your turtle from ingesting any substrate. 

Each turtle gets its own food dish.

Ensure clean water is available along with every meal.

Final Thoughts

Providing ample water for drinking and a varied diet of meats, fresh vegetables, leafy vegetables, and fruits will promote well-being and help box turtles avoid health issues. 

A healthy turtle will be well hydrated and will have access to a variety of nutritious food items. 

As a result, your box turtle will have a great chance of living a long and fulfilling life!

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