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Turtles/What kind of turtle I have


Honey 1
Honey 1  

Honey 2
Honey 2  
Hi, I have had this turtle for about two years, and he/she was passed down from a friend who was given to her by another friend.
No one has a clue of what kind of turtle or tortoise she is. I was just wondering if you knew how to identify turtles, ages and maybe gender? I have five pictures that I will send. Thank you for your time.

Hi Jazmine,

It's a mature box turtle, although I can't be sure of the exact species from the pictures--probably either an Eastern or 3-toed, and I think female.  She's in pretty rough shape, though.  Her beak is overgrown, her claws are somewhat deformed, and she looks dehydrated.  These all indicate she's probably not being cared for properly, which isn't too surprising since you didn't know what kind of turtle she is.  I can help you out with getting her into a better setup.

Box turtles, especially in California, should be living outside all year round (they'll hibernate in winter).  Since it's winter now, you'll need to keep her indoors until spring, but then if you can build her a secure outdoor pen that would be best for her.  If you have to keep her indoors, she'll need an open, roomy enclosure (not a tank).  Something 3 x 5 or bigger would be best.  Box turtles need a lot of moisture and a mixture of both sun and shade.  Indoors, you can use a mix of 50/50 coir and playsand for substrate, but it does need to be kept quite moist.  There should be a large, shallow dish of water as well.  There should be a basking area of about 90 degrees (or sunny area outside) and also a source of UVB--I use ZooMed Powersun bulbs for both heat and UVB when my turtles and tortoises are inside for the winter.

Box turtles are omnivores, so should be fed a good variety of greens, fruits and veggies, and animal protein (boiled chicken and eggs, worms, snails, superworms, pinky mice, etc.).  No commercial turtle foods, dog food, cat food, or anything like that, but a varied diet is really important.

Here's a website that will give some additional information.  If I can help further, just ask!


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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