Telling the age of the turtle is almost impossible as they do not change the shape and that is why it is one of the toughest jobs to decide the age by telling a live turtle.
Why it is important to tell the age of the box turtle?
If you are getting the turtle from a breeder then in most cases the breeder will tell you the right age. But if you are adopting a wild box turtle by finding it on your own or getting it as a gift, then it is difficult to measure the age. But without the knowledge about the age, you cannot arrange for the food or in case it is sexually matured, for its mate.
Regular process of age measurement:
There are rings in the belly of the turtle which can sometimes help the owner to understand or guess the age of the box turtle. But if your turtle is having a full stomach then only this becomes easier.
Also, there is another common method, you can guess the age of the box turtle while comparing it with the other turtles. If the ages of the other turtles are known, then it would not be much difficult for the owner.
Now we can discuss the process of measuring the length of the box turtle, which in a way will help you to decide the age of the pet.
How to count the rings on the belly of a box turtle?
You have to arrange for the measuring procedure, as this is not a very easy task to do. First, you have to hold the box turtle by its scute. If you are yet unsure what are scutes, then for your information, the scales on the shell of the turtle are called scute.
All the scutes make the rings, which you can count one by one. This is not the exact way to tell the age of the box turtle, only you can make a rough guess about its age from the number of the scutes at its belly.
Why counting the rings is not the appropriate way to tell the age of the box turtle?
This is not the right way to measure the age of the box turtle because the scales also appear on the belly of the turtle when it is eating too much or it is eating too little. Also, there can be other reasons for being the turtle fat of thin which helps the lines to be created on the belly and that happens throughout the year, not only in any particular season.
How the rings are arranged on the belly of the box turtle?
There are different colored rings found on the belly of the turtle. You may find some wider rings as well as some narrow rings.
When you see a wide ring, you can guess this ring shows the proof of the turtle’s good food days, when it ate with its tummy full. On the other hand, when the winter season comes, the rings become smaller and thinner. So this way you can make the rings work for your turtle’s age issue. Determination of the age of the turtle will be the sum of the total number of rings divided by two.
Can the same process be applied to the rings when the box turtle is found in wild?
If you have adopted a box turtle that was caught from the wild, then also you can do the same thing. Apply the ring counting process by check the belly of the box turtle. The rings appear similarly on the belly of the turtle that is in wild as well as that one in captivity.
When it becomes difficult to tell the age of the box turtle by counting the rings?
When the box turtle gets older and the new rings appear every year, it becomes difficult to identify the rings individually. Also, the counting of the rings makes less sense as the rings ride one on another and becomes vague in the outline.
Does the size of the box turtle matter in terms of age determination?
As we have mentioned in the beginning, the size of the box turtle from tip to toe is another kind of age deciphering aspect. Till it grows to become an adult one, you can measure the length of the tip to tail of the box turtle and can get the approximate idea of the age of your pet.
Using a ruler you can measure the length of its body. But make sure that the turtle is pretty young. After it reaches the age of maturity it will not matter how much you measure, the size will not change.
How can you keep the turtle stay still while measuring it with the ruler?
You need to keep some yummy treats handy, which will engage the box turtle in some way, and then you can safely measure its whole body length horizontally. Also, the treatment will help you to measure the length of its head, which it usually keeps inside the shell.
How you can keep the track of the lengths?
You need to jot down the lengths along with the date and months. You will see the gradual change in the list when you will check the list after a year or so. On the other hand, if you do not measure the body of the box turtle or keep a track of the gradual growth process, you will never know how much is it growing in a few months or weeks. When you see the pet every day, it is hard for you to measure the exact increase in the body shape and size.
How can you get some knowledge about the growth rate of the box turtle in general?
Checking different websites and also finding information in the books in a library is the most authentic way of getting the right knowledge about any matter. So you can do the same. Check the sites and also make sure that you know what kind of turtle grows how much.
After you get all the information, you can tally the size chart and the time span within which the turtle has grown. This way you can make sure what can be the age of the box turtle.
How the tank life impacts the growth rate of the box turtle?
While checking the information, keep in mind that the ratio of growth mentioned in the book or website can be somehow different than that of your pet box turtle. Do not be anxious as this is a common issue with the turtles that are kept in captivity. The wild ones usually grow faster than the ones kept in a tank.
Are turtle years different than regular years?
To measure a newly hatched turtle, you cannot use a ruler. Also, no rings will be found on its belly. Just remember, that a newly hatched turtle is really small, with the carapace of the height of your thumb. Until the turtle becomes 2 years old, it does not get any bigger than 4 inches. The size increases up to 8 inches when the box turtle gets nearly 4 years old.
What is the age of full maturity for the box turtle?
The growth rate is pretty rapid among box turtles than the other species of turtles. Four years is the age of maturity for the box turtle, as they become sexually active by this age. This common pet is loved by one and all as they stay small for a long period of time. But when they reach the age of four years, they get a full-sized body.