Two Things You Should Know About Moving Box Turtles Cross-Country

Although box turtles make good pets for people willing to invest the time and effort to care for them, these animals do have some disadvantages that can have a negative impact on their owners' lives. In particular, these turtles can present some unique challenges if you try to move them across the country to a new location. Here's more information about this issue.

The Turtles May Not Adapt to the New Place

One of the biggest issues you may have with your box turtle is the animal may not adapt well, if at all, to its new environment. These turtles become attached to the areas where they grow up and have strong homing instincts. Research has found that relocating these turtles causes them to leave the new areas in search of their original homes. This can cause them to wander around until they die. Additionally, the stress of being in a new place can reduce their lifespan as they may stop eating or become sick.

It's important to note that this is more of an issue with wild box turtles. The geographic connection and homing instinct is not as strong in box turtles born in captivity. However, this is still something you should consider when deciding whether to relocate across the country with your pet.

You may be able to counter this problem by recreating as much of your turtle's old environment at your new home and ensuring your pet has everything it needs to be comfortable in its new place. For instance, if your turtle lived in an outdoor enclosure near a pond, then do your best to design a similar environment at your new place. Your turtle may adapt more easily if things at least look and feel familiar. Be sure to erect a fence around the space to prevent your turtle from wandering off.

The Move May Be Too Stressful

Another challenge you may run into is the move itself. Box turtles are outdoor animals that thrive in warm areas where there's lots of sun. Depending on how long you'll be on the road, it may be too difficult to maintain the optimal environment for your turtle which, in turn, can stress him or her out.

Possibly the best way to transport the turtle is in a glass tank that can hold water. You'll need to create a platform out of rocks or wood that the turtle can climb on to rest when it's not interested in swimming and a small bush where the turtle can hide when it wants privacy. There should be a source of fresh water for the turtle to drink, and you must endeavor to keep the animal on the same feeding schedule it was on at its old home.

The tank water needs to be changed on a daily basis, as turtles will defecate in it and you don't want your pet getting sick from this. Lastly, you must simulate a source of heat and UV light from the sun, which may be done using special heaters and lamps that can be plugged into your vehicle's power port.

Turtles don't understand the concept of glass and will attempt to walk through the walls of the container, which will frustrate them when they can't actually go anywhere. To avoid stressing your pet even more, cover the walls so the turtle cannot see through.

Relocating with a box turtle can be challenging, and it may be necessary to leave the animal behind in its old environment so it can remain healthy and thrive. For more information about relocating this type of pet or to have your turtle looked at, contact a veterinarian, such as those at Gwynedd Veterinary Hospital.