Any tips for new box turtle?

godzilla90fan

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Hey, thanks for the reply. He is doing really well now. He gobbles up most food He is offered, and though he was emaciated when I found him I'd say he is fattening up quite well now. He's definitely not afraid of us, especially since he seems to associate me with food and chin rubs. He'll snatch a worm right out of my fingers. He had us worried the first week or two, but he has adjusted well. We still aren't sure whats best for his future though. I know a reptile enthusiast that has a few box turtles, but have also considered releasing him once he's fully up to weight (although he was skinny when I found him)
Greetings! Let me preface what I'm about to say with this DISCLAIMER; I don't know what I'm talking about.
I'm probably the newest member of the turtle voyeurs club.

Right off the top of my head, several things come to mind. Turtles are amazing hiders. They don't like to be ogled, let alone touched. Everything about the way they are built, facilitates stealth. They move slowly, with intent. They take pause every 3-6 inches, stretch out their necks a surprising distance, and as high as they can raise their heads, they survey the landscape for ANY movement. Turtles don't seem to have been gifted with keen eyesight - at very close or very far away.

Could it be, your turtle is in culture shock? Just imagine being picked up by some GIANT creature and taken to a bright and sterile looking environment, odd smells and noises. I would feel like I had been abducted by aliens....lol.

I think the poor thing is just in shock. A natural environment will calm him down immensely. Leaves, moss sticks and water. Plenty of cover for him to hide and sleep under. I have nine turtles in my backyard that I began studying this spring. They have gotten used to seeing me and I finally have two or three that will actually come out of hiding to receive the apple wedges I have given out all summer.

Your turtle needs to be comfortable with the 'earth' under his feet. He's just scared. Make him comfortable by providing him with an enclosure that includes the same elements as his natural environment and he will begin eating sooner than you think, because he is going to be HUNGRY. LOL.

If he doesn't improve. He misses his home too much and is grieving. It would be best to take him back to the area you found him. Turtles only have a home range of about a mile. I live in a residential area that is adjacent to a wooded area. Your turtle might actually have had a home in the residential area and he was just traveling to and fro -- my turtles have homes in the wooded area and they have homes right around my house and they go back and forth. I have seen them cross the street to come to my house! They are amazing little creatures, I'm learning.

There are a slew of turtle experts here you will be happy to get to know. I'm not one of them... all I know how to do is keep glued to my windows everyday getting absolutely nothing done, waiting and wondering if they will show up today. Most days they do! The great thing about it is that I don't have to groom them, take care of them or take them to the vet. They are the BEST pets as free rangers in your backyard. Any chance you have any turtles lurking around your house? Like I said, they are fantastic hiders. I have lived here five years and saw a turtle, or two. But since paying more attention, turns out, I have nine turtles. Some are travelers, meaning my yard is in their travel path to somewhere else. At least four of them are what I call resident turtles because I see the same four almost every day. Well -- now that I haven't answered your question, My name is Bev, welcome and very nice to have you here---
 

Cathie G

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Hey, thanks for the reply. He is doing really well now. He gobbles up most food He is offered, and though he was emaciated when I found him I'd say he is fattening up quite well now. He's definitely not afraid of us, especially since he seems to associate me with food and chin rubs. He'll snatch a worm right out of my fingers. He had us worried the first week or two, but he has adjusted well. We still aren't sure whats best for his future though. I know a reptile enthusiast that has a few box turtles, but have also considered releasing him once he's fully up to weight (although he was skinny when I found him)
In Ohio the only law I could find on box turtles that really meant anything was that you are forbidden to release them if they have been in captivity for 30 days or so. We're not supposed to take them out of the wild either but it's worse if you release them after being in captivity. I don't know what your state says.
 

TurtzInMyYard

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Aug 21, 2021
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AL
Hey, thanks for the reply. He is doing really well now. He gobbles up most food He is offered, and though he was emaciated when I found him I'd say he is fattening up quite well now. He's definitely not afraid of us, especially since he seems to associate me with food and chin rubs. He'll snatch a worm right out of my fingers. He had us worried the first week or two, but he has adjusted well. We still aren't sure whats best for his future though. I know a reptile enthusiast that has a few box turtles, but have also considered releasing him once he's fully up to weight (although he was skinny when I found him)
Such GREAT news! You just never know how things will turn out. You did your job and he's doing well. Excellent!
 

godzilla90fan

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Joined
Jul 30, 2021
Messages
22
Location (City and/or State)
North Carolina
In Ohio the only law I could find on box turtles that really meant anything was that you are forbidden to release them if they have been in captivity for 30 days or so. We're not supposed to take them out of the wild either but it's worse if you release them after being in captivity. I don't know what your state says.
Thank you, I didn't know that but it makes sense, he may have bacteria from us. I feel like if he was starving when I found him, he would start losing weight again if released in this same area again.
 

Cathie G

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Thank you, I didn't know that but it makes sense, he may have bacteria from us. I feel like if he was starving when I found him, he would start losing weight again if released in this same area again.
I was in sorta the same dilemma with the box turtle I had. My grandson rescued her from some kids that were trying to release her on a city street by throwing rocks at her. My son (grandson's father) actually went to the parents and asked where they had aquired her and was assured she was bought from a pet shop. (Doubtful) The people were moving and couldn't take care of her so that's how they tried to release or return her to the wild 🤬. I ended up with her. If she was wild I didn't know where she came from and from what I've read about box turtles the worst thing you can do is release them from an area they didn't come from. They'll forever be trying to find their way home because they don't have a large roaming range. It's true about being around people and viruses and bacteria too.🤗
 
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