Box turtles or box tortoise can be differentiated from other turtles by their dome-shaped shell which has a hinge at the bottom. It helps them to close the shell firmly in order to protect themselves from other predators. These turtles have a life span of 35 to 100 years and sometimes even more. As pets, they have become very popular, but the problem is that the whole process of box turtle care is difficult and capturing these turtles is an offense. The next question is what box turtles eat. Given below is some information about the basic diet of box turtles and what they feed on when they have been kept captive or when they are out in the wild.
These turtles are omnivorous, which means that they eat everything, insects, snails, snakes, rodents, roots, fish, frogs, fungi, salamander, birds, eggs of other animals, and such other things. Their sharp eyes and powerful sense of smell helps them to hunt for food.
The first few weeks after they are born, these turtles are carnivorous, but later when they grow into adults, they turn mainly into herbivorous, but that does not mean that they feed on green plants. If you have a box turtle as a pet, then the most difficult thing that you have to face is feeding it, especially nutritious food. The food habits of these turtles depend on certain factors such as the temperature as well as the lighting. If these factors are not met, then there are chances that your turtle might go on a hunger strike. They eat what they want and do not depend on their metabolism. Unlike warm-blooded animals, they are not forced by their metabolism to eat. You can entice these turtles to eat by giving them live food such as earthworms or snails etc.
Diet in the Wild and in Captivity
In the wild, they eat what they get and what they want, provided it's edible. They eat fruits, snakes, snails, fungi, insects like crickets, slugs, silk moth larvae, grasshoppers, and so on. Some box turtles also eat other small animals or reptiles like frogs, salamander, snakes, snails etc. If you have these turtles as pets and are wondering what they eat in captivity, then remember that they mainly feed on those animals which are high in protein content. Their diet also includes fruits and vegetables in a large amount. The fruits usually include strawberries, apples, grapes, cherries, pears, plums, oranges, figs, and so on. Vegetables include broccoli, squash, carrots, radish, clover, okra, peas, cabbage etc. For your pet, a healthy diet would be chopped grapes or grated carrots and earthworms. Later on, maybe you can move on to mushrooms and strawberries along with some sowbugs. Keep introducing variety if you do not want your pet to fuss about its food.
Points to Keep in Mind
The young turtles have to be a fed small quantity of food almost every single day while the adults can be fed after a gap of two to three days. The protein content in the diet should be around 50% if you want your turtle to be healthy. The next important content in the diet is vegetables, and then comes fruits and dark green and leafy vegetables.
Now that your question has been answered, you won't face any difficulty while feeding your pet turtle at home. Just make sure that you feed it well. With proper care and food, your turtle will live for a long time.