How Long Do Box Turtles Live? – Box Turtles Lifespan

The most abundant turtle in the wild is a box turtle, so people question, “how long do box turtles live.” The box turtles are the type of American pond turtles. Moreover, the physical appearance of box turtles is very similar to tortoises, and many people are confused about making a difference between them. 

The lifespan of box turtles always depends upon many exciting facts. Captive box turtles live a decently long life compared to wild box turtles because they get suitable habitat and are on a healthy diet. Box turtles can live more than 20 years in captivity, but some can last up to 30 years.

How long does a box turtle live?

The box turtles can live up to 100 years in the wild. Box turtles are famous for living more than 100 years. How long do box turtles live? It can also depend upon the environment. We cannot estimate the average lifespan of box turtles by counting the growth rings on a turtle’s scutes.

The different types of turtles with their average lifespan are listed below:

Desert Box Turtle Lifespan: 

Desert box turtles have a lifespan of about 10 to 50 years. Box turtles’ life expectancy is higher than desert box turtles because they live hard lives.

Eastern Box Turtles Lifespan:

Eastern box turtle’s lifespan is about 100 years in captivity, while they can live around 30 years in the wild.

Ornate Box Turtles Lifespan:

Ornate box turtles have a lifespan of about 32 to 37 years in captivity and have a lifespan of about 25 years in the wild. 

Florida Box Turtles Lifespan:

Florida box turtles have an average life of between 25 and 30 years in the wild but can live for more than 50 years in captivity.

Yucatan Box Turtles Lifespan:

The average lifespan of Yucatan box turtles is more than 100 years, but we have little information about it. 

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Do Box Turtles Live Longer In Captivity Or The Wild?

It is a tricky question, but it is possible for a turtle to come out from the egg and become an adult in captivity. The average lifespan of a wild box turtle is not so bad. According to the latest research, an ordinary box turtle can live for more than 50 years in the wild. 

In the past, we could not determine their age accurately. People used to count the lines on the scute of turtle’s shells to estimate turtles’ life. Since the environment can easily affect the number of lines, the method is inaccurate. To estimate their age, we now use scientific techniques and equipment. The box turtles’ life in captivity is relatively easy. 

Hatching In The Wild:

A large number of turtles die before they hatch. Unfortunately, the number of turtles that come out from eggs is not so great in the wild. On average, only 10% of eggs can reach childhood in the wild. Therefore try your best to feed the turtle a balanced diet. 

The Average Box Turtle Life Cycle:

The life cycle of a box turtle is very similar to other turtles. Let’s discuss it in detail. 


Box turtles like to lay eggs in the mud or water. Female box turtles need a nest to lay their eggs. The size of the nest depends upon the size of the female turtle. The nest should be deep enough to lay eggs. The egg of a box turtle takes 6 to 8 weeks to hatch. 


Babies take 6 to 8 weeks to hatch. The mother can never keep the eggs all time with her. The babies break the eggs slowly. It can take 2 to 3 days. After their hatch, they find a way to escape the nest. If they succeed in getting away, then they are free. 


The box turtles get big and mature between 10 and 20 years. At this stage, they start to exhibit their colors. The turtles then search for another turtle to make a mate. 

What Factors Shorten The Lifespan Of Box Turtles?

The average lifespan of the box turtles is incredible, but few factors can shorten them. The following factors can shorten the average lifespan of a box turtle:

Loss Of Habitat

Their habitat can affect them in various ways. These may include landscape fragmentation, river diversions, and the destruction of wetlands. The change in the quality of water and air, climate change, and pollution can affect them. The box turtles are susceptible to dirty water and get affected if you force them to live in contaminated water.

Invasive Species

Invasive animals and plants can damage them. Their population can be affected rapidly by parasites and various bacteria. Female box turtles lay thousands of eggs. If bacteria attack them, their ability to lay thousands of eggs may vanish. 

Pet Trade

There are a large number of people who want to buy them as pets without having any knowledge about them. But this is the biggest threat to them. People thought that they could easily handle pet turtles. They should always be considered wild animals. 

how long does a box turtle live

Why Do Turtles Lay So Many Eggs?

Increasing the number of eggs increases the possibility of a turtle hatching from the egg. So, they lay so many eggs. For example, a loggerhead turtle can lay 120 eggs at a time.

After Hatching:

If a turtle survives the hatching, it can live a long life. As mentioned above, a box turtle can live for over 50 years. 

How Diet influences the Lifespan Of A Box Turtle?

The lifespan of a box turtle depends upon its Diet. Diet provides it with all the necessary minerals and vitamins. A poor diet means a shorter lifespan, but a good diet means a longer lifespan. In the wild, the food for a box turtle is limited, so if a portion of good food is available, they eat it. 

If they do have no good food, then they will not eat anything, or they will eat everything. If a wild box turtle has no access to a good diet, it can affect its lifespan. On the other hand, pet turtles need no activity to get food. While you serve them food, it depends upon you what kind of food you feed them.

Final Words

How Long Do Box Turtles Live? I conclude that box turtles are a species suitable for captivity. Captive box turtles have a healthy lifestyle and live up to 30 years in captivity. To ensure your turtle lasts long, give it a decent habitat and a healthy diet. 

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Hey, I've done my Ph.D. in Marine Biology. I'm a turtle enthusiast and have been owning turtles for the last 22 years and dedicated to sharing my experience to help you in pet turtle upbringing.