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Outdoor Enclosure in WA?

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#1 Christie S.

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 12:35 PM

I just adopted an Eastern Box Turtle yesterday. The family who had him kept him in a 4x2 long aquarium. He is very, very active and I would love to build him an outdoor enclosure. But I have a few questions.

I am in Western WA. In the Fall and Winter, our temps can dip to below freezing. So....can you keep an Eastern outdoors year round? Will he hibernate if I move him indoors in the winter? I cannot have him pacing all the time, it makes me sad for him.

I've been doing a lot of reading online today, but cannot find info that helps me regarding the year-round outdoor possibility.

Any help will greatly be appreciated!

#2 Dee Loves Boxies

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 05:56 PM

Maybe you can hibernate him in the basement or garage.

#3 portsample


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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:23 PM

Have you thought about a turtle table for when he is inside?

Here is a link to a thread that I started shortly after getting it up and running last winter.


My 3-Toed Box Turtle is VERY happy in it. There are a lot of different ways that these can be configured to fit the needs of your specific critter. I also have 3 rapidly growing NA Wood Turtle adolescents in it that require a semi-aquatic habitat, hence the "pond" in the table...although the box turtle also seems to enjoy bobbing about in it as well.

Edited by portsample, 11 October 2009 - 06:34 PM.

#4 samsmom


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Posted 11 October 2009 - 10:23 PM

I also live in western WA. For the turtles that hibernate, I let them hibernate in the basement. I have heard of people hibernating them here, but it is a very different climate from their native areas.

If your new acquisition has been in an aquarium for years(do you have any idea how long the previous people had him?), now is not a good time for him to transition to a new place outdoors as wild box turtles usually know their areas and know where to hibernate.

Welcome to Turtle Times!

#5 Christie S.

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 07:46 PM

Thank you everyone! I had done some research after I posted this and determined that outdoors here isn't really realistic for me. I don't think he has ever been hibernated, so that is a challenge for me, with no basement or garage. Unfortunately, even with a nice size yard, I don't get great sun and would really worry about him. During warmer times, he will get plenty of outside time, but heading into winter requires me to plan for an indoor life.

I had decided last night that I would build him a table (following the lead of cavy cages-type setups). Your turtle table is gorgeous! :) I definitely want to make a habitat that is wider, instead of tall.

I am happy to report that last night and today my little one seems like a much happier camper. His previous owners had no heat source for him at all and he seems to be enjoying basking quite a lot. Last night he perched on a new rock I got him and pulled all his little legs in while he slept. He is eating well and isn't climbing the walls at all anymore. I taped up some opaque tracing paper on the tank for now, trying to help him feel more comfortable.

Anyway, thanks for the advice and I will be posting more I'm sure!

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