Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Turtle Care
Name: Linda
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

A student brought me a small box turtle with a shell about 5 inches long. It has swollen "cheeks" and looks very much like ET. It is very aggressive and seems fearless. Is this a special type,a mutation,injury or disease? How can we take care of him in captivity or should we let him go?

I would have to see the animal to tell any more about it, what exactly "swollen" means. If possible take it to a vet, nature center, herp society, someone with some knowledge of turtle care, to see if there is something that needs treatment. My opinion in general is that wild animals should be left in the wild, however box turtles can often be kept successfully and in Illinois there is no law against it, as there is for birds and mammals. Lots of good books in libraries on turtle care.

J. Elliott

Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory