Maintenance and cleaning

Whichever enclosure you build, it will need occasional cleaning. A good way to do this is to turn over the soil and add new topsoil to areas where the turtles spend a lot of time. This will disperse turtle droppings and any concentrations of mites or parasite eggs. If you have your turtle housed in a pond-liner setup with bark or dirt in it, remember that it must also be cleaned or replaced regularly. Feces and urine can accumulate to high levels if cleaning is not done often. Move the hide boxes to different locations once in awhile so fecal matter won’t accumulate in resting or sleeping areas.

Each turtle should have their own plate of food that is placed in the same area each time and taken out after an hour. Most turtles finish eating in 10-15 minutes. Ants can become a big problem if these precautions aren’t taken. Hatchlings have been eaten alive by ants. If you do have an ant problem, place bowls of ant bait outside the enclosure so there is no chance of your turtle eating it. Water bowls should have clean water placed in them daily and be thoroughly scrubbed clean every few days. Don’t give germs a place to grow and your turtles will stay healthier.

If the pen gets dirty quickly and it smells or looks bad, then your enclosure may be too small for the number of turtles in it. Do something about the problem before unsanitary conditions give them shell rot or make them sick.

Here is a list of things to consider when building your box turtle housing:

Go to next chapter, Selecting a Healthy Box Turtle.

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Disclaimer: Please use all information contained on this web site at your own risk. Last updated on December 30, 2010 .