ornate wood turtle

Ornate Wood Turtle

The ornate wood turtle is a beautiful and fascinating creature that makes for a great pet. It can live up to 30 years in captivity, making it a long-term commitment.

Some of the most exciting facts about these turtles are that they have been used as food by some cultures. Their coloration changes with age, and their personality varies from mildly antisocial to very social depending on the individual animal.

It is important to remember that ornate wood turtles require much care. You have to fulfil their housing, cage, substrate, heat, light, humidity, food, water, and companionship requirements.

In this blog post, I will go over what you need to know about owning an ornate wood turtle so you can make sure it’s all good before adopting one.

The Housing Of Ornate Wood Turtle

Ornate wood turtles like to enjoy spending their time outside. They prefer to be kept outdoors because it’s where they feel at home and can explore all around the enclosure without any difficulty, but this means you need an outdoor enclosure as well.

You want to provide your turtle with various hiding places, such as planks and logs in its enclosure. You can also add some leaf litter for them to burrow into or use peaty soil that has been moistened so it’s loose enough not to be too hard on their shells.

Include an open shallow pan filled with water so that it’s easy enough for them when they’re feeling extra sluggish during hot days. While ornate wood turtles aren’t huge swimmers, they do like to soak in water from time to time.

Cage Requirement

The ornate wood turtle is a great addition to any home, as it can grow up to 8 inches long and are quite active. This species needs plenty of room for movement so that they have the space they need in order to live healthy lives with enough privacy from their environment while still being able to enjoy what life has offered them.

Raising your wood turtle is an exciting experience. Hatchlings that are under 4 inches can be raised in a turtle tank, but after they exceed for inches you should switch to a large terrarium or outdoor enclosure.

Enclosures for adult ornate wood turtles should be at least 4 x 4′ in area.

I recommend that you have some nice hiding spots for your ornate turtle. These can either be in the form of plants, your you can get a soft substrate that they can dig and bury themselves in.


When it comes to the bottom of your turtle’s enclosure, you want something both dry and lightweight. Sphagnum moss or leaf litter works well for this purpose and provides adequate drainage. It’s best not to use anything that contains chemicals since this will only irritate the animals’ skin and lungs even more so than before. This is why I suggest you buy the substrate online or from a store, so you can insure it is not contaminated.

Like their natural environment, the substrate helps maintain humidity levels in an enclosure. Plus, turtles love burrowing into it. For larger turtles, provide a layer at least 4 inches deep to satisfy their instinctual need.


It is important that your ornate wood turtle has access to plenty of UVB light. If your turtle lives outside, then the sun will provide all the UVB light they need.

However, if you keep your ornate wood turtle indoors, you will need to purchase a UVB light. Try to position it between 6 to 12 inches from the basking spot.


The ideal daytime temperature is 72-85 degrees Fahrenheit, with a basking site of 90 – 92. At night though, it’s important to use either ceramic heaters or red/black reptile “night bulbs” that emit infrared light for optimal results. Try to keep them in a large home to establish a thermal gradient in it.

A thermal gradient means to have spots in your tank/enclosure that have different temperatures. Turtles need this since they can’t regulate their own body temperature. If you have a good thermal gradient, then your turtle can travel to their desired temperature areas.


It is important to have the right conditions for your ornate wood turtle. If they live in an environment that is too dry, they might develop an infection. Daily misting of their enclosure will help keep them hydrated and happy.

You should have a shallow area with water that your turtle can soak and cool down in. A dry basking site should also be available where they can dry off and warm up if they desire.

Food And Water

The ornate wood turtle has a pretty varied diet. They are omnivores but prefer to feed on earthworms and other invertebrates like snails or insects. Their diet should consist of crickets, prawns, crayfish, mollusks, etc. However, fruits can be offered sparingly since these creatures.

Cabbages and spinach should not be fed as they do not provide any nutritional benefit. The calcium requirement of ornate wood turtles is high, so it’s best to feed them vegetables high in calcium such as kale and broccoli.


Ornate wood turtles are social and friendly. You can put them together with other land turtles such as box turtles. You should avoid putting multiple male ornate turtles together, since they might get aggressive with one another.


Ornate wood turtles are a beautiful species and a great pet to have. They are very intelligent, and are a real joy to have. If you are interested in getting a pet turtle, ornate wood turtles should be near the top of your list!

cheap turtle supplies