Although turtles fall in the category of easy going pets that may not require too much attention at your end but they can be difficult eaters. Box turtle is one such species that can give its owner a tuff time with respect to its nutrition. You will be surprised to know that this species may behave very much like spoilt children and throw tantrums by refusing to eat anything at all!
Although most warm blooded animals cannot control their hunger owing to their body metabolism, this reptile when subjected to unfavorable conditions becomes sluggish and withdraws into its shell. Some of the unfavorable conditions affecting the appetite of a box turtle adversely include alteration in the habitat, confinement trauma and inadequate temperature and lighting conditions. Without proper food, the turtle may loose health and even life. Therefore, it is vital for a box turtle owner to gather a fair idea about its diet before buying this pet. Keeping the box turtle caged in an outdoor location can certainly improvise the situation.
Box turtles are omnivores that require a perfect combination of all nutrients. While the young ones need to be fed in small quantities every other day, the adults require food only 2 to 3 times in a week. 50 percent of their diet should include protein with calcium supplements. The animal should be regularly fed with earthworms, slugs, wax worms, beetles, grubs, sow bugs, boiled and chopped chicken, feeder fish or beef heart. Foods such as low-fat soaked dog kibble, soaked puppy Milk bones®, low-fat high quality canned dog food, cooked lean steak, mealworms and crickets can be given occasionally.
At the next level of 30 percent come the vegetables as part of this reptile’s diet. Summer squash, winter squash, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, okra, grated carrots, green beans, wax beans and spineless cactus pads form very healthy intake for box turtles.
The rest of 10 percent each must be covered by feeding them on leafy dark greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, romaine, wheat grass and turnip greens; and fruits including grapes, apples, fresh figs, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, peaches, crabapples, strawberries, cantaloupe, kiwis, cherries, persimmons and bananas.
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