Baby help

NickA

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Joined
Mar 16, 2018
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79
Location (City and/or State)
Mid Atlantic
With the warm then cold we have been having I was out checking my pen the other day and found a newborn. After trying to warm it up it was already dead it is way to early for them to be coming up all my adults won’t come up till usually April. So I have been checking my pen everyday. last night it was in the 30s and my wife found another baby that surfaced today. This one is still alive but hardly moving. It’s inside now in a container on a damp paper towel warming up slowly. I’m good with baby box turtle care but wanted any advice or tips to get this little guy/gal more alert and active.
 

Maro2Bear

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Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Greetings. Have you checked the Turtle—>Box Turtle care guides? Lots of info. Id say, keep it warm & moist! Lots of hiding places.

Boxies are coming up now, a guy over in Annapolis posted a pix of a Boxie out & about in his area. It was almost 60 in most places today.....so, they are coming up.

Good luck with your turtles.
 

ZenHerper

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@Relic

Odds are they actually hatched last year and did not disperse. It was warmer than usual in the fall, so they may not have dug down deep enough to avoid the winter freeze before falling asleep.

If you can find the nest and carefully hand excavate any others, that may save you both some more stress.

Beyond SLOWLY warming them and keeping them on wringing-wet moss, there's not a lot to do unless/until they come around. Have live foods on hand in case.
 

Relic

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Sep 8, 2018
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Here
Baby box turtles popping-up in the middle (or late) winter is a conundrum. It's obviously still too cold for them at the surface, but tucking them back down several inches into the soil is probably just the last burial rites. I inadvertently dug up a nest a month or so ago and revealed two live babies. I had no indoor set-up so I decided to risk it outdoors. I carefully tucked them into a protected corner of the pen (up under a slight overhang) laid on a layer of damp leaves and then about an inch of loose soil. I wanted it to be "breathable" for them, yet protected from the cold.

Unfortunately, we had a wicked cold spell a couple of weeks ago with one night falling to -2 F, so I am fearful that the micro-habitat I hastily constructed may well prove to be inadequate for their survival. I'll know in a few weeks.

@ZenHerper is correct in diagnosis and prognosis. It's an unlucky crap shoot...best of luck.
 

jeff kushner

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Hey Nick, I really hope your little guy survives, You know what to do but consider something.... I'm no expert and admit that I operate emotionally when it comes to our little guys...I'd bring him in for the 3-4 weeks...when it will certainly be warm enough for him to survive but I would not "warm to room temps". He won't eat, don't expect him to, nor do you want him to. He won't eat till it gets a bit warmer when he can digest his food. My feeling(that's all it is) is that if you provide him with food now, then thrust him into nature where they may be nothing for him to eat for a bit longer as things sprout, you might be setting him up to fail....I dunno....IMHO?

I was wondering what what you did Relic, with the babies you found....I understand the need to put them back into nature, cognitively. It does sound like you gave them a "best chance" scenario....very cool...many folks wouldn't I'm afraid, though not many hanging out here! LOL

Keep us posted Nick.....good luck!
 

NickA

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Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
79
Location (City and/or State)
Mid Atlantic
Unfortunately this little one did not make it either. I’m hoping any other baby’s will stay in the ground but we will be checking the pen multiple times a day until it warms up. I tried to find the nest but was unsuccessful and slightly disturbed 2 adults that were only a inch or so buried beneath the leaf litter so just hoping if anymore come up I can get to them quickly.
 

ZenHerper

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New Jersey
((hugs))

Climate change is a species killer.

If you have extra leaves blow around the property you could try piling them over the enclosure to create a greater wind break and to help hold heat from the sun overnight. Makes it harder to pull them off every day to look, but will provide the adults more protection from surface freezing.

We're headed back into a cold snap this afternoon.
 

m irwin

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Feb 4, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
Dallas
I have never had this happen with babies but that's only cause my pen is very large and any babies that came up would likely not be noticed by me. So I can't speak intelligently on that topic from an experience standpoint. I can, regretfully, speak on the the same for adults. This year I have had 2 Ornate's that are determined to NOT to hibernate. Oh sure, they'll wedge themselves into leaf litter, etc... when it gets cold, but the second it warms into the 50's, they will slowly crawl out and sit there for many hours motionless. Their eyes are shut and they barely move even when bothered by me (to make sure they're not dead!). All my other 3 Toed's and Ornate's will go down and stay down until April-ish, but these 2 seem to resist the hibernation call. I too have dug them into leaf litter hoping they would stay down but they make their way out the next day (as long as it's warm). They appear to be fine looking in all ways (no obvious signs of infections, etc...). Well, both have died. It got SUPER cold here last week (news from Texas on record colds) and maybe they were sick to begin with in some way and the cold did them in, or I don't know. Unfortunately, you can not ask them, "Hey, what's bothering you?". So, my point is, maybe these babies of yours were similar to mine in that they were "sick" and that causes them to not stay hibernated and they come out for some reason because of it. Who knows.... I'm sad to hear of the passing and for mine own. I rack my brain for a reason for my Ornate's death but, like I said, there are no obvious signs or anything wrong EXCEPT the "not hibernating but walking around" syndrome.....
 

ZenHerper

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Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Youngsters don't make it when the nest/burrow they choose to stay in is not far down enough to escape freezing temperatures.

Any animal staying where wind and ice can reach them will burn all of their stored calories very quickly. An egg yolk is definitely not enough.
 

NickA

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Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
79
Location (City and/or State)
Mid Atlantic
Well we found another baby and this one is doing much better. We brought it indoors and I set up temporary housing for it until it gets warmer outside. He was sluggish at first and not moving much but after Being warmed up and soaked in warm water for a few days it is more active. We offered small worms some fruits and veggies and today he caught and ate a rolly Polly. Hopefully in a few weeks he/she will go outside to a small covered pen. 2CA836DE-C341-442A-8F26-F89B37438B76.png 5BDE355B-5E0C-4EC4-BBC8-896196A72569.jpeg 67F9766B-BBDD-4849-845D-A659E96AF325.jpeg
 
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