How Long Do Box Turtles Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Average 50 Years

Box turtles are a unique species that have been around for more than 5 million years. They can be found worldwide, but they are most common in North America and Southeast Asia.

They have unique personalities, and they make sure that one always knows when they’re hungry or thirsty.

It is important to understand how long they live to help protect box turtles from being hunted by predators, humans, and habitat destruction. Just like any other pet, it requires a lot of maintenance and care.


How Long Do Box Turtles Live?

Box Turtle in captivity25-35 years
Box Turtle in wild50 – 100 years

Box turtles are a popular choice for people who want to keep reptiles as pets. Box turtles live from 20- 50 years, while some have been reported to live for up to 100 years.

Box turtles – as their name implies – have a hard-skulled shell on their backs which protects them from most predators. They are herbivorous and mainly eat fruit, flowers, leaves, and grasses. 

Box turtles grow slowly and reach sexual maturity late in life for reptiles (between ages 10 and 25), after which they can live long lives, up to 50 years old. 

These turtles live up to 100 years and are slow-moving reptiles who spend their lives on land, only briefly dipping into the water to breed or escape predators. 

A box turtle that is well-cared for should live as long as one in the wild. However, this has not always been the case. In the past, poor turtle care caused many pet turtles to die far too soon.

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They can be distinguished from other small colorful turtles by the stripes they will always have running along each side of their head across their eyes and down to just below their neck.

The Eastern box turtle is also named so because of its narrow, high-domed shell. The Eastern Box Turtle prefers environments with plenty of covers that provide shelter from predation, streams for safe watering sites, trees for basking sites during hot temperatures.

Why Would Box Turtles Live For So Long?

Any layman’s explanation would be that box turtle lifespan is due to their relatively slow metabolisms and the infrequency they physically exert themselves. Even though it takes longer for box turtles to reach maturity than other animals, they still live around the same length of time.

One of the most interesting aspects of the life of a box turtle is its longevity. Upon reaching adulthood, they are capable of reproducing for an unlimited number of generations. However, Turtles produce several eggs at a time, and most of them perish or are eaten before hatching. Only about 10% of the eggs that are deposited survive to adulthood.

They are also notable for their determined survival instinct because they will not leave their homes to look for food due to fear and uncertainty about where they might find food. 

They are safe from predators and given large living space; they can hibernate during winters and don’t expend energy in pursuit of food because they only eat every four to five days unless they’re actively hunting for it. 

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Meat protein and plant matter form an important part of a complete diet, necessary for their overall health. Regular wellness checks with the reptile veterinarian will also prevent the development of diseases.

Turtles are tough, yet they still need a clean tank. It puts the turtle’s life in danger if owners become negligent and neglect to clean their tanks regularly. Keeping the tank clean can contribute to the box turtle’s life expectancy.


Box turtles, on average, live to be 50 years old and live up to 100 years with proper care. The following are some of the most important factors for raising a long-lived, healthy box turtle. 

The best housing, diet, nutrition, temperature, substrate, and humidity must all be considered. If one provides their box turtle with excellent care, it will live a long time. There are at least three box turtles documented to have exceeded the age.

It’s critical to correctly identify the species of a box turtle in question since their care needs differ somewhat. The major difference in care between eastern and western box turtles is the choice of diet and temperatures. 



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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