What are the Pros and Cons of Keeping Box Turtles?

In order to make a sound decision on whether or not a Box Turtle is the right pet for you, this section presents the pros and cons of keeping Box Turtles as pets.  Hopefully, this will enable you to objectively balance your admiration and passion for these fascinating creatures with the reality of their care and maintenance.

Pros for the Box Turtle

  • Fascinating, beautiful and amazing creatures – gentle, intelligent reptiles unique for being the only creature on earth that carries its home around with it to the extent that the turtle does!
  • Aside from possible medical bills for unforeseen emergencies, and aside from the startup costs of setting up your pet’s home, the cost of the upkeep of a Box Turtle is not that expensive as compared to other pets.
  • Small, quiet, intelligent pets that stay contained within their enclosures.  
  • A good starting pet for those who are just starting to learn about keeping turtles or tortoises for pets.  Compared to other species, Box Turtles are cheaper and a lot easier to feed.
  • Once the details of housing, feeding, temperatures and care are taken care of – they make wonderful pets, especially if you are truly fond of turtles.
  • Certain species like the Common Box Turtles are common enough that they are easy to find or locate and will not be expensive to purchase.  You will also have to do your research on the legality of keeping them as pets in your area – some states or regions restrict or prohibit outright the keeping of certain turtle species as pets.

Cons for the Box Turtle

  • Box Turtles, like most turtles, are high maintenance pets.  They require particular care, especially in the daily upkeep and maintenance of their environmental habitat in terms of cleanliness, humidity, and temperature levels.  This is not a pet you can leave alone for long, and neither is it a pet that you can ask just anyone to look after should you be gone for an extended period of time.  If you cannot provide this kind of regular care, then this is probably not the best pet for you.
  • It may not be easy to find a vet that specializes in Turtle care – but this is a must if you intend to bring one home as your pet.
  • Turtles need lots of space – possibly both indoor and outdoor enclosures, depending on your turtle’s particular needs.
  • This is not a pet you can bring home on a whim – they can live for decades – up to 45 years, which means that your care and dedication to their care and maintenance must also be long-term, including their care in the eventuality that they may outlive you.
  • Reptiles like the Box Turtles can be carriers of bacteria that is lethal to humans, such as Salmonella.  This is not a good pet to keep in the same environment as small children, people with low immunity, or even other pets such as cats or dogs.
  • Despite the relatively low costs, the time and energy investment in your turtle’s care and maintenance can be considerable.  Feeding Box Turtles also requires a well-balanced diet of protein and plants.  That means you will be feeding them worms, cockroaches, snails, crickets, and other protein sources at some point – so this is not a pet to keep for the squeamish.
  • This is not a very interactive pet and will not appreciate being cuddled or handled too much – a bit boring if you’re looking for a more exciting pet.

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