What Do Eastern Box Turtles Eat In The Wild. - Justagric (2022)

The eastern box turtle is a turtle species that is native to North America. It is also known as the common box turtle or the North American box turtle. The eastern box turtles are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. They can live up to 100 years old in captivity.

In the wild, eastern box turtles eat a wide variety of plants and insects. They have been known to eat mushrooms, grasses, clover, dandelions and other flowering plants. They also eat worms, slugs, snails and small insects such as flies and beetles. They will eat dead animals if they find them lying around but prefer not to hunt because it is easier to catch prey when it is alive than when it has already died.

What Do Eastern Box Turtles Eat In The Wild. - Justagric (1)

Most of us think of what fish and other animal material our pet turtles eat in the wild. However, what do they really eat? This article will explain what they actually eat in the wild. The food sources of eastern box turtles are fish, fruits, and animal materials, and mushrooms. Then, you can choose a diet that meets your turtle’s nutritional needs and preferences. Then, you can enjoy your pet’s natural instincts and keep them as healthy as possible!


Despite their name, Eastern Box Turtles don’t actually eat fish in the wild. They prefer the water, where they spend most of their time. In the wild, these creatures can be found in a variety of habitats, including ponds and rivers. This type of habitat is ideal for turtles, since they need a good mix of land and water to live in. They also enjoy eating insects, fruits, algae, and even baby birds. This type of turtle is easy to care for and can even outcompete native species. However, you must remember to keep your turtle in a tank or indoor pond to prevent it from harming native species.

These small turtles have black carapaces, without any keels on the scales. Their upper shells are covered in large, round yellow spots that vary in size and color. They also have an orange spot above their eyes. Their lower shells are a creamy yellow, bordered by large black blotches. They have brown and orange eyes, and their long, thick tail is curved to resemble a smile.

Although these species of turtles are omnivores, they still need a high-quality diet. Their diet should be made up of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and insects. You can even give your turtle freeze-dried krill or shrimp, as these types of foods are easy to prepare and store. Eastern Box Turtles can also eat fish in the wild, though some keepers report that they are difficult to feed to their pets.


A good way to give your pet healthy food is to introduce him to some fruits and vegetables that he might not be accustomed to. Acorn squash, butternut squash, cucumber, and prickly pear leaves are excellent choices. Although fruit and vegetables are not essential, they are safe to feed in moderation. Also, you can add vitamin-rich berries to his diet. As for insects, box turtles enjoy the sweet scent and flavor of beets.

Fish is another great source of protein. Most turtles like small fish, but make sure to remove the bones and entrails. Frozen veggies can also be given to your pet turtle, but be careful to cook them thoroughly before serving them. You can even offer your turtle quail eggs or hard-boiled chicken. If you give your turtle quail eggs, limit its portions to one a week.

When feeding your turtle outside, the best time is late morning. Give it a light sprinkle of water first. Later in the year, you can feed them later. In the wild, box turtles eat plants and fruit. It also eats animals such as snails. As long as you feed them nutritious, fresh vegetables and fruits are a great source of nutrition. They spend hours foraging, so make sure to provide them with enough variety to feed their growing appetites.

Animal material

In the wild, box turtles eat a variety of plant and animal matter. Typically, box turtles will prefer whole live foods such as crickets, mealworms, and earthworms. They are also attracted to brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries and red bell peppers. However, you should avoid feeding your pet beet greens and spinach, as they contain oxalates, which can cause deficiencies in your turtle’s diet.

In contrast, invertebrates were regularly consumed by Eastern Box Turtles, with leaf and stem materials accounting for more than 50% of the total diet. Snails were not eaten by more than twenty percent of the turtles in any study period, while mushroom consumption ranged from thirty-one to seventy-five percent. In terms of seasonality, the studies that looked at Eastern Box Turtle diets were limited to one season, while Platt et al. collected samples during the wet season. This allows researchers to compare prey availability to different seasons of the year.

In addition to eating animal material in the wild, Eastern Box Turtles also consume plant and insect remains. Regardless of their diet, these reptiles have evolved to live in small home ranges. Their low energy requirements and excellent homing ability may also make them adept for a sophisticated foraging strategy. They have been known to eat almost any type of plant or animal material found in the wild.


While box turtles do not prefer fruit over vegetables, they do like to eat them. Try providing a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables for your pet. If possible, provide them with fresh fruits and vegetables with the skin still on. Some fruits that box turtles love are apricots, bok choy, tomatoes, and grapes. Other types of fruits and vegetables can be added to the tank as well.

Since box turtles are wild foragers, they are happy to eat anything that looks appealing. Besides fruit and vegetable, these reptiles are also known to eat worms, snails, and other animals. Even insects and frogs and snakes are a source of food for this reptile. One thing to remember is that the turtles also eat mushrooms. Some of these mushrooms are toxic for humans, so make sure to buy them in moderation.

The Eastern Box Turtle is omnivorous, which means that it likes to eat a variety of foods. They will eat plant matter during the spring and summer, but in the autumn, they will consume insects and other animals. Mushrooms are another staple of an Eastern Box Turtle’s diet. You should be sure to take out the bones before feeding your pet. This way, you won’t harm your pet!


Eastern Box Turtles live in non-forested areas where they eat a diet rich in wet dirt, leaves, and mud. They need a balanced diet, which should consist of 50 percent protein and 30 percent vegetables. When provided with a worm, the animal will happily eat it whole. A balanced diet should include at least one cup of fresh worm per day, and its diet should include at least half protein and half vegetable matter.

The reason that these turtles prefer dirt for food is a mixture of temperature and the time of year. During the cold winter months, they may burrow deeper into the earth to avoid water. In the spring, they will burrow into soft dirt to bury their eggs. In the wild, they lay their eggs around June, July, and August. While the temperature has the biggest impact on box turtle behavior, other factors, such as diet, time of year, and mating opportunities, also play a role in the amount of dirt they eat.

The eastern box turtle has a hard shell and a lifespan of 30 to 60 years. They are incredibly adaptable to life in captivity, and can live for as long as 50 years. While they are primarily scavengers, they can also make great pets. They are easily identified by their eyes, which are red and bright. A healthy Box turtle will not eat dirt in the wild, but will overturn small stones and sift through the dirt for insects.

Plant material

Whether you have an eastern box turtle in your aquarium or not, you should know that it eats a variety of plant material in the wild. Among these are roots, grasses, leaves, and shoots. It also eats the occasional fruit or mushroom. Eastern box turtles can eat up to 40 percent animal matter and forty percent plant material per day. You should choose food that is balanced, with about half animal and forty percent plant matter.

The most suitable substrate for the Eastern Box Turtle is sand, compost soil, smooth river gravel, moss, and leaf litter. Ideally, it should be moist, as this will help it maintain its digestive system and avoid parasites. You can even add a little chocolate or hot dogs to give your pet the extra flavor it craves. However, it is best to keep its environment as natural as possible.

The carapace of an eastern box turtle is dome-shaped, with a prominent hinged plastron. The front feet have five toes while the hind feet have four. The toes are webbed at the base. Eastern Box Turtles have horned beaks. Males have red or orange eyes, while females have brown or yellowish irises.

Final words,

When it comes to the diet of Eastern box turtles, it’s important to note that not all turtles are created equal. The diet of a red-eared slider turtle will differ from that of a striped mud turtle, which will differ from that of an Eastern box turtle.

The Eastern box turtle is omnivorous, meaning it eats both plants and animals. It prefers to eat insects, earthworms, snails, slugs and carrion (dead animals). Some people have reported seeing them eating small fish, but this seems to be rare.

They also have been known to eat mushrooms and berries on occasion. Box turtles are often found in fields where there are large quantities of leaves and grasses growing because they like these foods as well. In addition to eating leafy plants and grasses themselves, they also eat the insects that feed on these plants—something called “secondary predation.” This means they benefit from eating both plants and animals at the same time.


What do box turtles eat in the wild? ›

These turtles are omnivorous and will eat almost anything, including berries, insects, roots, flowers, eggs, and amphibians. Younger turtles tend to be more carnivorous than adults, hunting in ponds and streams for food. As adults, box turtles primarily feed on land.

What do you feed a eastern box turtle? ›

They are omnivores, and they need a balanced diet of protein (meat), fruits and vegetables. In the wild, Eastern box turtles' diets can include a wide variety of food sources such as flowers, roots, fungi, berries, snails, slugs, insects, fish, and frogs.

Where do eastern box turtles eat? ›

Feeding. Juvenile eastern box turtles feed mostly on animal material, such as slugs, worms, insects and larvae. As adults, they eat mainly plant material, such as seeds, fruits, roots, fungi and grasses. Adults are also known to feed on carrion (flesh of dead animals), fish, amphibians and eggs.

How often do eastern box turtles eat? ›

Young turtles need to be fed a full meal every or every other day. Healthy adults only need to be fed full meals every 2-3 days. Box turtles will appreciate a small snack on the days when they go without a full meal.

What do box turtles like to eat the most? ›

Most (80-90%) of the plant material fed to box turtles should be vegetables and flowers, and only 10-20% should be fruit. As a rule, dark, leafy greens should make up the largest part of the diet. Yellow, red, and orange vegetables can also be included.

Do wild box turtles eat fish? ›

In the wild, box turtles will eat prey whole. Some foods they eat include mollusks, insects, fish, frogs, snakes, birds, slugs, worms, salamanders, and even eggs. They do not discriminate.

Do box turtles like to be in water? ›

Box turtles need constant access to water for drinking, wading, and soaking. Your turtle should have a water-‐filled dish or pan large enough for it to soak in but shallow enough for it to easily climb in and out of. The depth of the water should be one quarter to one third of your turtle's shell height.

Can you keep a wild box turtle as a pet? ›

Box turtles can make great pets if cared for properly. Before bringing any pet – reptile or other - home, be sure to do research to learn about its requirements, so that you can properly care for it. Most box turtles do not get very large (unlike tortoises).

Will Eastern box turtles bite? ›

Yes, a box turtle can bite if it feels threatened and wants to defend itself. Box turtles are known for their friendly personality, but they can snap, hiss, and bite if they think they're in danger. An adult may not find the bite very painful, but the tender fingers of small children can sustain injuries. Don't worry.

Can box turtles eat potatoes? ›

Yes, box turtles can eat potatoes since 50% of their diet should consist of greens, veggies, and fruits. However, overfeeding potatoes could lead to many unsolicited illnesses due to their high sugar and starch content. So, only feed potatoes within limits.

Can box turtles eat cat food? ›

Never feed your turtle cat food or dog food. It has too much protein and can cause long term damage. Water turtles are a different story. They can only eat under water.

What temperature is too cold for box turtles? ›

Persistent temperatures above 60°F are not cool enough for hibernation, and the turtle's metabolism will be high enough that it will slowly starve. Prolonged temperatures below 41°F are too cold, temperatures below freezing should be avoided.

Can box turtles eat bread? ›

Turtles Can't Digest Bread

Since turtles eat animal and plant-based matter, you might not think about dairy being such a bad choice. However, dairy products contain lactose, which your turtles cannot break down in their system, as their bodies do not have the correct enzymes to make that happen.

Can turtles eat banana peels? ›

Turtles can eat the entire banana including the peel! If you own a turtle, do your part to eliminate food waste by feeding your banana peel to your turtle instead of throwing it in the trash.

Is tomato good for turtles? ›

Tomatoes are one of a turtle's favorite foods and because they contain vitamins C and K, as well as potassium and folate, they are considered a healthy addition to a turtle's diet.

Can box turtles eat hot dogs? ›

False. Turtles are carnivores that must eat live food like snails, fish and worms. You can also feed them prepared turtle food from a pet store. They should not be fed hot dogs, raw hamburger and cat food - stuff that they would not normally find in the wild.

Can box turtles eat onions? ›

Onions are highly acidic for a turtle's sensitive digestive system. Therefore, you should never feed them onions. Whether raw or cooked, you shouldn't serve it to your pet reptile.

Can box turtles eat goldfish? ›

Although often used as feeder fish, goldfish, in particular, can be quite dangerous for your turtles to consume, as they have spiny bones which can cause damage to your turtle's throat and intestinal system when eaten.

Can turtles eat peanut butter? ›

Can Turtles Eat Peanut Butter? You shouldn't feed peanut butter to your turtles. Peanuts alone in high amounts can cause health complications. And as for butter mixed with peanuts, turtles cannot digest dairy products.

Do box turtles eat carrots? ›

Carrots: Yes. Carrots are nutritional and can be fed alongside leafy greens. Box turtles tend to like brightly colored red, orange and yellow vegetables.

What do box turtles drink? ›

The main way box turtles stay hydrated is by drinking water from their water bowl. They also eat foods with high water content, such as vegetables and fruits. Owners can help their turtles stay hydrated by misting them several times each week and maintaining correct humidity levels in the enclosure.

How long can box turtles go without eating? ›

On average a box turtle is able to survive 3 months (90 days) without food. The amount of time can increase or decrease based on factors like age, size, environment, and prior diet. If you were planning on leaving your box turtle home alone for the weekend you can do so without any worry.

Do box turtles eat carrots? ›

Carrots: Yes. Carrots are nutritional and can be fed alongside leafy greens. Box turtles tend to like brightly colored red, orange and yellow vegetables.

What is a turtle's favorite food? ›

Plant food sources.

Plant-based food sources for your pet turtle should mostly be leafy greens like collards, dandelions, and mustard greens. Some of these vegetables, such as chives, parsley, and spinach, contain high levels of chemicals called oxalates, which you should avoid.

Are Cheerios good for turtles? ›

Turtles don't have the necessary enzymes to correctly digest lactose. Sugary Foods: No candy, chocolate, or other sugary foods are allowed. Not only is it bad for a turtle's wellbeing, but these foods are usually hard and pose a choking danger to your pet.

Can turtles eat banana peels? ›

Turtles can eat the entire banana including the peel! If you own a turtle, do your part to eliminate food waste by feeding your banana peel to your turtle instead of throwing it in the trash.

Can box turtles drink tap water? ›

No. Turtle owners are not recommended to let their box turtles drink tap water because of its high chemical composition. Depending on your location, tap water may contain chemical substances that can harm your box turtle's wellness.

Do box turtles bite you? ›

Yes, a box turtle can bite if it feels threatened and wants to defend itself. Box turtles are known for their friendly personality, but they can snap, hiss, and bite if they think they're in danger. An adult may not find the bite very painful, but the tender fingers of small children can sustain injuries.

Can box turtles be in tap water? ›

In most cases, you can give your Box turtle tap water, but if the tap water isn't safe to drink for humans it probably isn't for turtles either. So only give the turtle water that you would also drink.

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