Acquired: Wild caught / rehabilitation animal
By Ame Vanorio
Falmouth, Kentucky, United States
Posted Sep 02, 2018
Mr. Smash Mouth is an education animal at my environmental education center. I received him four years ago from another wildlife rehabilitation center. He had been run over by a car and had permanent facial and vision damage. Thus, the name Smash!
First, I do want to say you should never remove a box turtle from his habitat in the wild. It is illegal in many states and box turtles are actually considered a threatened species in some states in part due to the pet trade. Licensed domestic breeders can be found in many states.
Smash is a bit unusual for a turtle and that he is very sociable and friendly. He rarely hides in his shell. OK - that may be because he is a bit plump! I take Smash to schools and presentations I make about local wildlife. He loves the attention and will actually follow children around.
Turtles have a reputation for being slow and dumb. This is not true. The can actually move at a pretty moderate clip for an animal of their size. Box turtles learn to recognize people and the sounds of their favorite foods being prepared. Researchers have discovered that turtles have a "map" in their brain that lets them locate food.
Box turtles can be a bit picky and Smash is no different. Turtles are very sensitive to their environment and may not eat if the temperature or humidity is not to their liking. Box turtles need about 60-70 % humidity which can be hard to achieve inside during the winter.
There are several things you can do to increase the humidity. Moist , but not wet, bedding is one. Also it is important to have a water dish that your box turtle can get into and soak. My turtles love a good soak and I actually have multiple ramped water dishes so they do not fight!