Three Toed Question


New Member
Apr 4, 2016
Many moons ago my brother was given a turtle. We took it to the reptile store and were told it was a female three toed box tortoise. Speedy has been living very happily in our yard for the past 10 years. She comes to the back door when shes hungry, hibernates during the winter, migrates all over the back yard, and scares our cats from time to time. There are foxes and raccoon's in the area but we haven't seen any in our yard for a while. If we do see them get trap them and re-release them miles away, so I think most have figured out to avoid our area and we are in the middle of a city so most have better food sources elsewhere. We did originally build a pen in the corner of the yard for her and lock her up at night; but she seemed unhappy and was constantly trying to climb out so shes been free ranging it for 9 years. We do check up on her when its hibernating time to make sure shes in a safe spot. She's checked for runny eyes, sores, etc from time to time but otherwise she just lives her life.

Best we can guess, she was full grown so at least 5 (but probably older as her underside was well worn) when she came to us. She likes my Mom the best and will gladly stay out of her shell when Mom is around but ducks in when others walk by. Not surprising, most meals are from my Mom. We feed her meal worms mostly (she turns her nose up at offerings of veggies or fruit) and munches in the yard as anything toxic is above her reach. She has access to fallen fruit from citrus and pit fruit trees, lots of greens and insects, no pesticides in our yard. Now the yard itself is varied in micro climates and she migrates as she desires. Under trees, into moist shady spots, onto sunny flat stones, digging in bark chips or soil. She just isn't allow past the gates; we had rabbits for years so the fences are dug down 2 feet on all sides for digging containment. But even when the gate has been left open she seems to have no desire to go outside of the yard.

All that background brings me my question. Does she need a buddy in the yard with her?

I have read they do fine solitary but my Mom frets from time to time that Speedy is lonely in her travels around the garden.

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Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

Aw...Speedy's very pretty. It's usually the males that have the colorful skin.

No, tell your mom not to anthropomorphize the turtle. They neither need nor want companionship. However, box turtles do seem to get along better with other box turtles than some tortoise species do. But Speedy's not lonely.


The member formerly known as captain awesome
10 Year Member!
Aug 15, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
here is a third opinion for you. Your turtle is probably one of the happiest turtles in the world. they like to be alone if possible