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Do Box Turtles Bite?

Box turtles have gone viral on social media a couple of times over the last year due to a number of different reasons and this has resulted in a sharp spike in their popularity as pets with many people looking to get their very own box turtle now.

Although box turtles are an excellent pet to keep, they are not as easy to keep as some other popular turtles or animals from the wider reptile family.

This is why is it great to see so many people who are considering purchasing a box turtle reaching out and asking various questions about the care requirements and the behaviors of box turtles before blindly purchasing one.

Although many people ask a wide range of different questions, one of the more common ones that we have seen people asking about recently is if box turtles bite or not.

Due to seeing so many people asking about box turtles biting as well as this being a very important thing to factor in for any new potential pet, we decided that we should publish our very own article on the topic.

Many of the discussions that we see about box turtles biting on social media are far from accurate too so we hope that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible get some accurate information.

Do Box Turtles Bite?

Most box turtles will not bite you when you handle them but there are a small number of exceptions simply due to the personality of each box turtle being unique.

Younger males can sometimes be a little more prone to trying to bite you too but they will usually quickly grow out of this behavior within months so it is generally not a major problem for the majority of people.

Please keep in mind that even if your box turtle is placid and doesn’t usually bite you when you handle it, you should still keep your guard up if you think that our box turtle is sick.

Some illnesses can cause a box turtle to be upset due to being sick and acting slightly different than it normally would and this can sometimes increase the chances of the box turtle biting you but again, this is still very rare for the vast majority of box turtles.

There is also no need to take pointless risks with your pet box turtle either such as putting your finger into your box turtle’s mouth to see if it will bite you.

We have seen a number of people on social media complaining that they did this and that their box turtle ended up biting them. Just because your pet box turtle chooses not to bite you or try to bite you normally, does not mean that it will act the same if you put your finger in its mouth.

Are Box Turtles Aggressive?

Aggression is rare with box turtles and they are usually a calm and passive animals but younger males can sometimes be aggressive to each other as well as their tank mates.

This phase does tend to last for a few months but the majority of male box turtles will quickly grow out of it and the aggression will subside.

The majority of box turtles are solitary and prefer to just be left alone to do their own thing making it difficult to add some potential tank mates their tank as they can harass and stress your box turtle resulting in aggression.

Box turtles are omnivores meaning they will eat both animal and plant based foods with most box turtles up to the age of around six years old tending to prefer animal based foods so this can increase the chances of them eating their tank mates too.

This is not really aggression though as the box turtle is simply mistaking their tank mate as a food source for it to eat.

Although older box turtles will often switch over to eating a mainly plant based diet, they do still eat some animal based foods meaning that there is still some level of risk to any potential tank mates that you try to keep in the tank with your box turtle.

Are Box Turtles Friendly?

Box turtles are often considered friendly to their owners when handling them or interacting with them but the majority of box turtles are more indifferent than friendly.

Unless they are hungry, they tend not to care much if you handle them for a little bit but the majority of the time, they do tend to just be left alone to do their own thing.

It can be very easy to accidentally stress a box turtle too so if you do want to handle your turtle on a regular basis, try to limit the time frame as much as possible so your pet box turtle is free to go off and do its own thing.

This should keep stress and anxiety levels as low as possible in your box turtle and in turn reduce the chances of it being aggressive or trying to bite you.

Just because the natural personality of most box turtles is peaceful, it does not mean that this will change if you handle your pet too much and cause it to become anxious and stressed.

The natural response to these experiences for many animals is to start biting or at least trying to bite the cause of the stress and anxiety in their lives and in this case it is often their owner.

This is one problem that has been reported time and time again when box turtles are given to children as pets as they fail to realize that their pet box turtle can start to get aggressive if they do play with it too much.


That brings our article going over if box turtles bite or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand that for the most part, box turtles will not usually bite you or act aggressively but in some situations, they can. It is important to keep this in mind as the majority of people on social media who do report being bitten by a box turtle often only have themselves to blame and they have put their box turtles in situations where the chances of it biting or being aggressive are drastically increased.