Advanced informarion needed on peacock slider hatchling care.

Dysania

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My aquatic turtle adventure started about a month ago when I turtle sat for my cousin while she went to florida with her immediate familh. The only thing it came with was a fish bowl, blue pebbles, some stinky water my aunt claimed my cousin just changed, and some background info. The turtle was given to them by my cousin's cousin on her dad's side. This side of the family has family in florida that they visit often. We live in nortwest indiana. This turtle was scooped out of a canal in northern florida 3 years ago by this person. She kept it in a tank with only bare minimum water, no basking light other than natural sun coming through a window, all so she could "keep it small". I knew immediately that i needed to get this turtle out of this fishbowl and into something bigger. I've learned about turtles before and without research knew it needed a basking area and deeper water. Upon further research i ordered a basking lamp, a floating dock, and water heater. I figured it could be a good birthday present for my cousin to succeed in caring for this poor turtle. It shockingly did not have metabolic bone disease , shell rot, or pneumonia. I got a 10 gallon tank (turtle was small for being 3 years old, it's carapace was only 2.4 inches long), some river rock, and different foods. I had the turtle for 2 weeks. Discovered it was a escambia map turtle, female. I watched scramble for the floating dock and light once i had them set up for her. It stretched it's back legs out to dry! That was so emotional for me to see that it appreciated my efforts. Onc3 i had the floating dock i filled the tank with water and edclorinated the water before placing her back in. I watched her strugfle with swimming for about an hour. She eventually got the hang of it. I got some ghost shrimp for her to chase around. She ate every sing one of them the last few days she was with me and she shed some scutes. I loved having her and missed her when i took her back.

The point is i became so fascinated and fell in love with turtle care that i decided i wanted a turtle of my own. Not just any turtle. I wanted some of the more beautiful turtles i saw online. I did not know how i could get one, so i bided my time and looked around carefully. Not as carefully as i should have. I know this now after becoming worried about the turtle i purchased ; i reasearched where i got her from. Myturtlestore . Com. I purchased a peacock slider hatchling. I learned the proper channels of obtaining a turtle after the fact. But i have her now. She is so tiny. I have had her for a week and she has not eaten a thing. I try once a day . Her water temp is set at 80• F. She has a uva/uvb comination bulb on her basking area. I try putting her up there twice a day, and she stays for all of 1 minute or less. I have a calcium slow release tab in the water , a fake marimo moss ball to absorb ammonia, river rock piled in one corner near her basking area so she may rest in the shallows, and a zoo med turtle filter. I bave hatchling food, but so far i have offered butter lettuce, blood worms (freeze dried), and cucumber bits as well. I have had her a week today. I am seriously considering veggie soaking her and putting her in a tub under her basking area for 30 minutes for some nutrients and to keep her warm. Also considering putting her in that same little tub with paper towel under her basking area to completely dry her out once a day until she starts eating and i see her attempt to get up on her basking area on her own. Am i wrong to do this? What else can i do? I know of the soaking-pellets-in-tuna-water-trick, but i am not certain if it will work for her and want to use it as a last resort try. There is not enough extensive information out there to help people like me who are crazy sick with worry about their hatchling turtle not eating.

Pictures of her abd her set up .
 

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ZenHerper

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Welcome!

Couple of things:

1 - Don't over-handle hatchlings. It is very stressful. (You bought this turtle from a reseller, so it has traveled and been handled too much already.)

2 - Your habitat has too much open space - easier to clean, but terrifying for a baby turtle. This is a prey species, and especially at this size. Get some plastic vines so that your wee one can hide and use them to climb up and down in the water.

3 - Hatchlings won't eat vegetation. They need meat...and live, moving prey is preferable (it will trigger their hunting/feeding instincts). Find live bloodworms, or very small red wiggler earthworms. Pinhead crickets. Drop them in the water. It will make a mess - turtles are messy! Don't watch - I know you want to, but your presence will inhibit their feeding response. Baby monitors are useful with new/shy pets.

4 - Carrot baby food mixed 50:50 with water can be used as a calorie-supplementing soak, but never place a turtle directly under a heat bulb...place the container well to the side of the heat beam.

I actually prefer a very shallow soak with warm water and a drop of nutrical/kitten calorie supplement dissolved in the water - it is fish oil flavored and contains a full complement of nutrients. Much easier to use with very tiny species. You can do the calorie soak once daily until feeding starts.

Let us know how you get on!


@Pastel Tortie @Moozillion @Toddrickfl1 @PJay
 

Moozillion

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Welcome to the forum!
Your turtle is lucky to have found you!
ZenHerper has already given you some good advice.
I’ve had 3 aquatic turtles from hatchling size. What I’ve learned is this:
Baby turtles are a favored and easy protein source for any wild carnivore including birds of prey! As a baby turtle, you are either quick to hide or you are someone’s lunch. My hatchlings LOVED hiding places. I bought a pet store hollow log as well as fake plants. The hatchlings seemed most comfortable when they could HIDE, but still look out and watch the world go by! I STRONGLY second ZenHerper’s suggestion to put plants and hiding places in the tank.
Another point, I was worried that my babies weren’t basking because I never SAW them bask. Then one day, after hubby and I had been out all day, we saw the hatchling basking- but only saw it for about a millisecond because she PLUNKED herself into the water the INSTANT she saw us! BASKING IN THE WILD PUTS THEM IN A VERY VULNERABLE POSITION, and predators are everywhere. I would NOT try and force my hatchling to bask- if she has a decent basking set-up, she’ll bask when she feels it safest (which will be when you’re not around, until she gets older).
 

Moozillion

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My turtles all LOVE a sandy bottom to the tank. It need not be deep- between 1/2 inch and 1 inch would work fine for now. They seem to like sort of digging themselves a little bed.
I always start my hatchlings (and usually continue them as adults) with pellet food. Some of the forum biologists have done a commercial foods comparison, and I go with one of their highest recommended pellets: Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets (I get it at PetSmart and PetCo). My razor backed musk will ONLY eat the pellets- he runs from live food!!!🤣 But my 3-legged Mississippi mud turtle is a BEAST: she has loved eating live earthworms ever since she was TEENY. It was amazing to watch this little hatchling grab an earthworm that was twice as long as she was, BATTLE that thrashing beast and eat every scrap of it!!!🤣
 

Moozillion

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I posted several threads on my hatchlings, a few years back. You can find them with the “Search” feature of the forum. The threads include discussion and photos of my set-ups, as well as changes I made and why.
mug you search “Meet Jacques!” Posted by me, Moozillion, on Dec 9, 2015, that’ll get you started! 😃👍
 

Dysania

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Welcome!

Couple of things:

1 - Don't over-handle hatchlings. It is very stressful. (You bought this turtle from a reseller, so it has traveled and been handled too much already.)

2 - Your habitat has too much open space - easier to clean, but terrifying for a baby turtle. This is a prey species, and especially at this size. Get some plastic vines so that your wee one can hide and use them to climb up and down in the water.

3 - Hatchlings won't eat vegetation. They need meat...and live, moving prey is preferable (it will trigger their hunting/feeding instincts). Find live bloodworms, or very small red wiggler earthworms. Pinhead crickets. Drop them in the water. It will make a mess - turtles are messy! Don't watch - I know you want to, but your presence will inhibit their feeding response. Baby monitors are useful with new/shy pets.

4 - Carrot baby food mixed 50:50 with water can be used as a calorie-supplementing soak, but never place a turtle directly under a heat bulb...place the container well to the side of the heat beam.

I actually prefer a very shallow soak with warm water and a drop of nutrical/kitten calorie supplement dissolved in the water - it is fish oil flavored and contains a full complement of nutrients. Much easier to use with very tiny species. You can do the calorie soak once daily until feeding starts.

Let us know how you get on!


@Pastel Tortie @Moozillion @Toddrickfl1 @PJay
Thank you so much! This is very insightful. I appreciate this. I will give updates :)
 

Pastel Tortie

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Lots of good advice above.

One thing I didn't see mentioned is tracking the temperatures in the enclosure. The temperatures of the water, ambient air, and under the basking light can affect where the turtle is likely to spend time. Note: With the original poster being legally blind, one requirement for the thermometer(s) would be something that can be read easily. It has to be reliable, though.
 

Dysania

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Lots of good advice above.

One thing I didn't see mentioned is tracking the temperatures in the enclosure. The temperatures of the water, ambient air, and under the basking light can affect where the turtle is likely to spend time. Note: With the original poster being legally blind, one requirement for the thermometer(s) would be something that can be read easily. It has to be reliable, though.
I have a camera i am going to put facing her enclosure near a barometer and temp strip above the water so i can keep an eye on her without burdening her except for dinner time. Which i decided to do at night. I read hatchlings prefer to hunt at night when predators are few and far between. It makes sense,. . I don't have a stand alone room to put her enclosure in that is safe (away from the 2 cats that would bother her), so she is in my room until the one bedroom (a small space) is cleared of my brother's belongings. We plan to put up a large shed to clear out that room in a month or so. In the meantime, she is next to my desk, up and away from the dogs. The 3rd cat i have doesn't even try to climb because she has arthritis. I have to lift her up onto my bathroom counter to get food. She chases the other cats out when they attempt to come into her space. So it would make sense that she is more active at night. I dropped a red wiggler in last night after her veggie soak. Not sure if she ate it or it wormed it's way into the rock pile. I guess i will find out today when i clean the big tub out I plan to put her in a smaller tub (that is opague instead of clear) after a new basking thing comes in today. It's a stone with a cave. I bought floating fake plants. She loves them and i can't find her to make sure she is alive still. I am trying to limit the contact, resist the urge to poke around to find her and do a proof of life check. Have to ask the significant other to find her (with his perfect eyesight) for me now until i figure out how to mount this camera. I am hypersensitive and hyperattentive. I care way too much. Don't scold me for checking on her pretty please. It's just in my nature . Even trying to adapt to contactless care until she is bigger, more established.
 

ZenHerper

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Well we have pets to Enjoy them! lol If you can get her acclimated, comfortable, and feeding, she'll become more active and inter-active.

Keep your regular routine of moving around your room...she has to get used to you! Just move slowly and talk quietly in these beginning months. With her new hiding spots, she'll be able to get a real sense of the rhythm of the household.

eta: Part of that rhythm will be establishing a routine for her: choose a time in the morning when you do her calorie soak. This is your time to pick her up, check her weight and body condition, and have a quiet chat while you supervise her soak.

Babies are a worry. Keep us posted.
 

Dysania

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This is her new set up. There isn't enough room for the filter, so i am doing water changes every day. She loooves those fake plants. I've noticed she likes to bask on the heater. It's the only time i peep in on her and she doesn't scurry away. Is it okay for her to be in the water all the time? For how long? Should i take her out to dry off completely, maybe after her veggie soak. She hasn't eaten the worms i've put in. Not sure on the sunken pellets, but probably not that either. I will weigh her today, as i just got a scale through my mother.

P.s. i had a weird nightmare before i even made this post. That i picked her up snd her shell dussolved through my fingers ): So, sorry for being a pain about the drying off thing. I know it's a common death fir babies, softening shell.
 

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ZenHerper

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Water won't soften her shell - that comes from either poor care during incubation/hatching or later malnutrition. As long as the water is clean and warm, she is fine there.

Don't dry her. It is stressful for aquatic species, especially babies which are meant to hide in the roots and stems of water plants, blending in with the river bed colors.

Add a drop of kitten calorie paste to her veggie soak water:
 

Dysania

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She ate 3 crickets! She weighs 2.88 ounces (not sure if the scales was in grams or pounds it read .18 . I multiplied that by 16 to get my answer for ounces ) and her shell measures 1.5 inches. Upon further inspection, she ate the small red wiggler worm i put in there around noon. She ate a lot and pooped a lot lol. I am quite happy that she ate and even with my mom and i standing there watching her. I know you are supposed to let them eat at much as they can in 5 minutes, but i thought 3 small crickets was a lot for her. Is it?
 
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