For the last few decades, box turtle numbers have been declining. Althought they’re not endangered, their populations have been plummeting throughout their range and they can’t continue at this pace.
An Eastern box turtle may have just one to three surviving babies in their entire lifetime. Individual turtles have a small range, just a few acres in size, so if just a few are picked up and taken home as pets, the local population may not recover for several decades.
Box turtles don’t do well in captivity except with expert care, so bringing one home won’t likely go very well. Captive turtles succumb prematurely to infection and malnutrition-related disease, often within just a few months of captive life.
So, please, the next time you see a box turtle in the wild, leave it alone, other than to help it cross the road (in the direction it’s going). Keep our native wildlife safe!