Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Blueberries

Both shelled members of our little flock love blueberries. Perhaps it is the shape – so round, so soft, such a satisfying mouth-feel. Or maybe it is the overall “hunt-ability” (a technical term) – whereas a mango chunk or lettuce leaf will just lay there helplessly, the blueberry can be a wiley roly-poly adversary indeed!Continue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Blueberries”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Hunting

Having two shells from two different reptile species in our little family flock really brings up some interesting contrasts. Take dinnertime, for instance. Malti clearly prefers her dinner to stay still while she chows, and sometimes even sits down on top of it just to make sure. Bruce, on the other hand, has no problemContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Hunting”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Waking UP!

Guess who is awake!!!!!! Yup, after another long winter’s sleep, the box turtle member of the flock has finally decided to put in an appearance! Two flock members were fairly un-moved….but the large featherless flock member was over the moon to see her boy again! This is the second year Bruce has been with us,Continue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Waking UP!”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Camouflage

Box turtles are amazing at camouflage. No matter how colorful they may appear to be (for example, Bruce has bright orange cheek patches set against a white face with black and brown accents), put them practically anywhere and watch them disappear. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked….and looked and looked andContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Camouflage”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Digging

Too lightweight and streamlined to be a tortoise, yet too land-bound to be a true water turtle, box turtles have had to carve out their own niche in the world of shelled beings. As a result, they have developed into serious shelled athletes. Climbing? No problem. Swimming? Sure thing. Digging? Already on it. Digging can beContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Digging”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Climbing

Living with two different shelled species is so interesting! They are so similar in so many ways, and yet so different in other ways. One thing both Bruce and Malti share in common is an instinct to climb. While both have been known to climb just because it seems possible, the number one motivation IContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Climbing”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Vegetation

I was born in Houston, Texas. Although I have traveled quite a bit and have lived other places intermittently, for the majority of my years I have lived here. This is relevant because, in all the years I have lived here – until now – it has always been hot and humid. Generally speaking, weContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Vegetation”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Timing Hibernation

In a previous post, we talked about hibernation, or brumation if it is a reptile like Bruce who is hibernating. Since then, Bruce and his mommy have fielded several questions about the timing of his annual hibernation. Most of the questions have focused on how we know (or how I know that Bruce knows) itContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Timing Hibernation”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Hunting

When you keep company with turtles and tortoises, you have plenty of opportunities to make new neural connections. This, of course, is because they are full of brain-enriching surprises. For instance, never in a million years would I have guessed how very different one shelled being can be from another – at least not untilContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Hunting”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Shell Rot

By the time Bruce was rescued to me as an adult, Malti had been living with me for about two years. During that time, I had made a LOT of mistakes in pretty much every area where a newbie tortoise owner can make a mistake. But I was also working overtime to correct those mistakesContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Shell Rot”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Diet

Different species of turtles and tortoises like to eat different types of victuals. For instance, if you are a box turtle, you like protein. You especially like it when it is live and wriggling and you can hunt it. If you are a box turtle named Bruce and you see a plump, live, wriggling prey,Continue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Diet”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Hibernation (Brumation)

Not all turtles and tortoises hibernate. Among the species that do, the technical term for what happens when a reptile (rather than a mammal) does this is called “brumation.” If you are a herpetologist (reptile expert), you will know to use the term “brumation” instead of “hibernation” when referring to a reptile’s traditional period ofContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Hibernation (Brumation)”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Swimming

While box turtles are definitely “land” turtles, in the sense that in many ways, their habits and environments more closely resemble that of tortoises or terrapins than of true aquatic turtles, they also love to swim. Some box turtles will swim several times a day, taking time between swims to dry off and warm upContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Swimming”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: The Shell

I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked me if turtles (or tortoises, for that matter) outgrow their shells and need new ones. This is actually a great question, especially for anyone who has ever been lucky enough to watch hermit crabs battling it out for a bit of prime “found” realContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: The Shell”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Turtle Versus Tortoise Versus Terrapin

If there is anything more confusing than box turtle taxonomy (that is, classification)….well, let’s just say that here at Casa Feathers n Beak n Shells, we are pretty sure there isn’t. For example, why are some turtles called “turtles,” while other turtles are called “tortoises” or “terrapins?” The simplest explanation would be that “turtles” liveContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Turtle Versus Tortoise Versus Terrapin”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: About the “Box”

Box turtles, regardless of how many toes they have, are called “box turtles” because of one unique trait they all share in common. That trait is quite amazing. Every box turtle is able to pull all of its body parts – head, tail, legs and feet and claws, all of it – inside its shellContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: About the “Box””

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Boy Versus Girl

One of the first tasks I faced after I rescued Bruce and he joined our little flock was to figure out if he was a girl box turtle or a boy box turtle. This was an especially pressing issue, since my 17-year-old parrot, Pearl, had spent a whopping 11 of his 17 years to dateContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Boy Versus Girl”

Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Shell Color

3 toed box turtles don’t look like other species of box turtles. Not only do they have 3 toes on each of their back feet (instead of 4 or 5 toes per foot like other species of box turtles), but they also have different shell and skin colors. To further complicate matters, boy 3 toedContinue reading “Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Shell Color”


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