These sweet and fascinating pets can have surprisingly sensitive skin. Here’s how to keep your box turtle healthy and happy.

By Sarah Grossbart
Updated May 23, 2018
Box turtle
Credit: HKPNC/Getty Images

Q: My box turtle’s skin is flaky and dry. What could be the cause?

When it comes to box turtle care, maintaining a proper box turtle habitat is key. His tank could be too hot, notes veterinarian Kristin Claricoates Valdes. While there are several species of box turtle, the general rule of thumb is that a basking lamp should keep one side of his tank at 85 to 90 degrees, making the other side 74 to 80 degrees. Place a water bowl inside the tank to regulate the humidity and let him soak in two inches of warm water up to three times weekly if he still seems dry.

His diet could be causing a vitamin A deficiency or malnutrition as well. Prevent this by feeding your adult turtle a diet of 50 percent protein (earthworms dusted with a calcium supplement at each feeding and a multivitamin weekly), 40 percent vegetables (lettuce, sweet potato), and 10 percent fruit (raspberries, blueberries) every few days. If he’s still dry, bring him to your vet, who can check for an infection and discuss your tank setup.