Baby Turtle Sleeps for Weeks

TheLittleTurtle

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Hello. My dad found a baby box turtle and gave it to me. Here is the home set up for my cute little one:

20 gallon tank
Peat moss
Fake plants with fake rock cave
Basking stone
Two lights, one UVB and heating lamp
Water/bathing dish

When it does emerge from the cave after a couple weeks of sleeping, it soaks in the water dish then is fed a red worm. It LOVES to attack the works! The more aggressive the worm, the better. Then, after a nice meal, back to the cave for another few weeks.
This last time, it soaked with head under water for over 15 minutes. I had to move it to see if it was alive. Did this twice, then took it out of the water and held it for 30 minutes.
each time I disturbed it in the water, it acted as if I startled it after a couple taps...like it was asleep underwater.

Is my little turtle sick? It has an appetite for worms and nothing else. Won’t eat fruits or lettuce.
I am new to this and I hope I haven’t done anything wrong. Please help me help my turtle feel better.
BTW...it’s Winter here in Missouri. Tank usually is around 75-89 during the day. Humidity gets pretty low until i spray tank down, but heat lamp quickly takes out the humidity.
thanks for any help!
 

maggie3fan

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Box turtles are kind of semi aquatic. I also have a small box turtle his name is Grumpyface and he's 27 grams and 4 months old. I keep him on cypress mulch and I put a rock or something under end of the aquarium tilting it up so there is water and land. I wake him up every morning with a nice 15 minute warm water soak. Right now he is in a 10 gallon aquarium, he has a che for heat and gets ambient light from the bigger tort table his aquarium is in. So he soaks, and poops and I move him to a different container and offer red wigglers, meal worms or wax worms.About 3 times a week I cut up different lettuces into tiny pieces, then I plop a spoonful of wet cat food then different berries and night crawlers right on top. Grumpyface is a real good eater and daily he will eat 4 or 5 different worms.
hth
He goes after the worm and accidentally he gets some cat food and the green stuff.
100_6393.JPG
This is his favorite nap time. He can get all the way in, but he lays like this, cute
100_6487.JPG
he eats pretty good. I also soak him in the evening. This is how his aquarium is set up. This photo doesn't have the che in it in the daytime
100_6400.JPG 100_6062.JPG
 
Last edited:

maggie3fan

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Sorry, I should have given you this to help...
 

TheLittleTurtle

New Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Missouri
Hello. My dad found a baby box turtle and gave it to me. Here is the home set up for my cute little one:

20 gallon tank
Peat moss
Fake plants with fake rock cave
Basking stone
Two lights, one UVB and heating lamp
Water/bathing dish

When it does emerge from the cave after a couple weeks of sleeping, it soaks in the water dish then is fed a red worm. It LOVES to attack the works! The more aggressive the worm, the better. Then, after a nice meal, back to the cave for another few weeks.
This last time, it soaked with head under water for over 15 minutes. I had to move it to see if it was alive. Did this twice, then took it out of the water and held it for 30 minutes.
each time I disturbed it in the water, it acted as if I startled it after a couple taps...like it was asleep underwater.

Is my little turtle sick? It has an appetite for worms and nothing else. Won’t eat fruits or lettuce.
I am new to this and I hope I haven’t done anything wrong. Please help me help my turtle feel better.
BTW...it’s Winter here in Missouri. Tank usually is around 75-89 during the day. Humidity gets pretty low until i spray tank down, but heat lamp quickly takes out the humidity.
thanks for any help!
Box turtles are kind of semi aquatic. I also have a small box turtle his name is Grumpyface and he's 27 grams and 4 months old. I keep him on cypress mulch and I put a rock or something under end of the aquarium tilting it up so there is water and land. I wake him up every morning with a nice 15 minute warm water soak. Right now he is in a 10 gallon aquarium, he has a che for heat and gets ambient light from the bigger tort table his aquarium is in. So he soaks, and poops and I move him to a different container and offer red wigglers, meal worms or wax worms.About 3 times a week I cut up different lettuces into tiny pieces, then I plop a spoonful of wet cat food then different berries and night crawlers right on top. Grumpyface is a real good eater and daily he will eat 4 or 5 different worms.
hth
He goes after the worm and accidentally he gets some cat food and the green stuff.
View attachment 318004
This is his favorite nap time. He can get all the way in, but he lays like this, cute
View attachment 318005
he eats pretty good. I also soak him in the evening. This is how his aquarium is set up. This photo doesn't have the che in it in the daytime
View attachment 318007 View attachment 318006
What a cutie!!! Yoour set up definitely has more moisture than mine. And more heat. I feel my housing is too cold now. I realize I need to feed in a different area, too. Mine is all in one and not very good for that. Today I bought a heating mat to fit in the bottom side of aquarium. And a larger bath with a bubbler. It’s not deep, but enough to float around.
I took mine out today for home cleaning. He ate a red worm. I soaked him in mildly warm water in new dish. Now back in the cave. 😞 It’s scared...not sure if it is a male or female. A bit bigger than a silver dollar.
 

ZenHerper

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So sweet. Nice improvements! Keep reading the care sheets in this sub-forum for tips about adjust the care.

Baby box turtles eat lots of worms and bugs before they start craving fruits and leaves. In order to make sure the diet is balanced in captivity, take a strawberry or a slice of banana with a dandelion leaf and chop them into very small pieces. Then put it in a pile with a worm or two mixed in...the worm slime will help get everything sticky and meat-flavored. Your baby will have to eat a bit of vegetation while catching the worms.

Since box turtles dig down into the ground, there is a risk with using under-tank heaters on the bottom of the tank. The heat can burn the turtle, and it will keep trying to dig down to get away from the heat (what its brain has evolved to do when it is hot from the sun).

If your enclosure needs extra heat, put the under-tank heater on a side wall (outside, not inside) so that the air inside the tank gets some extra heat.

Never use plug-in heat rocks - they cause serious burns too.

The main heat should come from above (like the sun). Depending on the size of the container, an incandescent light bulb (the old style that gives off heat in watts), or a ceramic heat bulb (CHE).

It is very easy for small turtles to slip and fall when having to step up and down to reach their water...make sure the substrate material comes all the way level with the water (yes, it will get dirty and need to be changed every day). A turtle that falls upside down in a smooth water dish will drown. Most people prefer to use large terra cotta saucers from plant pots. Box turtles can swim (and like to), but the bottom has to be textured in case they slip and fall over.
 

Jan A

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What a cutie!!! Yoour set up definitely has more moisture than mine. And more heat. I feel my housing is too cold now. I realize I need to feed in a different area, too. Mine is all in one and not very good for that. Today I bought a heating mat to fit in the bottom side of aquarium. And a larger bath with a bubbler. It’s not deep, but enough to float around.
I took mine out today for home cleaning. He ate a red worm. I soaked him in mildly warm water in new dish. Now back in the cave. 😞 It’s scared...not sure if it is a male or female. A bit bigger than a silver dollar.
Here is my little one.
Babies sleep a lot!! Welcome to the forum!!
 

Yvonne G

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When I raise baby box turtles I don't allow them to stay hidden all the time. I get them out every morning and place them in a bowl of warm water with some live black worms (from the aquarium store). I leave them soaking while I prepare the food. I place a bit of tiny chopped up greens at the feeding station, a tiny bit of small chopped fruit, a pinch of black worms on top and maybe a cut up garden worm or BSFL on top of that. Then I put the babies back into the enclosure at the feeding station (which is placed right in front of the cave) and step out of sight. Throughout the day I dig them up and put them in front of the food.
 

TheLittleTurtle

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Thank you all for the information. I am happy to say my little one has been out and about since the initial post. It was too cold in her habitat. She now peeks out of her cave when she wants a worm or some fruit/lettuce mix. She loves to sneak up on the worms and attack them. lol She is eating a few red wiggles a day and mostly fruit in small amounts. She doesn’t care too much for greens yet.
 

Tom

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Thank you all for the information. I am happy to say my little one has been out and about since the initial post. It was too cold in her habitat. She now peeks out of her cave when she wants a worm or some fruit/lettuce mix. She loves to sneak up on the worms and attack them. lol She is eating a few red wiggles a day and mostly fruit in small amounts. She doesn’t care too much for greens yet.
What is the current temperature in there?
What type of UV bulb are you using?
 

TheLittleTurtle

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What is the current temperature in there?
What type of UV bulb are you using?
Temp is usually 75-80. Humidity is around 80%. I use a Petspioneer humidifier that’s on a timer to keep it stable.
Bulbs are Light for Health indoor sunshine over the bathing dish on side. Thrive over the other side.
 

TheLittleTurtle

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Temp was too low early on since initial post. Once warmer, turtle is more active. She likes to dig a lot. Picture is today. She ate her 4th worm of the day. Big appetite. She’s grown quite a bit. Silver dollar size and pretty flat when I got her. My mom gave her to me. Her dog tried to eat her a couple times.
Does her shell look okay?
 

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Tom

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Temp is usually 75-80. Humidity is around 80%. I use a Petspioneer humidifier that’s on a timer to keep it stable.
Bulbs are Light for Health indoor sunshine over the bathing dish on side. Thrive over the other side.
Definitely bump the temps up. 70-75 is okay for night, but go for at heat 80-85 during the day.

I've never heard of those brands of bulbs. What types of bulbs are they? Incandescent, cfl, halogen, etc...? I'm asking because pet stores sell the wrong types and some of them burn their eyes. This will make them hide excessively to avoid eye burning.
 

TheLittleTurtle

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Definitely bump the temps up. 70-75 is okay for night, but go for at heat 80-85 during the day.

I've never heard of those brands of bulbs. What types of bulbs are they? Incandescent, cfl, halogen, etc...? I'm asking because pet stores sell the wrong types and some of them burn their eyes. This will make them hide excessively to avoid eye burning.
I bought the Light for Health at a natural foods store. The Thrive light was bought at a pet store, I think. Now I might know why she keeps in her cave a lot. Both lights might not work. What do you recommend for a box turtle ... and tortoise? I’ll be using the light from a pet store for the tortoise until I find a better one.
 

Tom

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I bought the Light for Health at a natural foods store. The Thrive light was bought at a pet store, I think. Now I might know why she keeps in her cave a lot. Both lights might not work. What do you recommend for a box turtle ... and tortoise? I’ll be using the light from a pet store for the tortoise until I find a better one.
I don't need to know where you bought them or what their names are. I need to know what type of bulbs they are.
 

TheLittleTurtle

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I don't need to know where you bought them or what their names are. I need to know what type of bulbs they are.
I told you. Light for Health. It’s an indoor sunshine 30 w bulb. Light for Health. No need to be rude.
Thanks for encouraging me to leave this forum. Is this how you treat all new members looking for information? Geez. I’ll find my information elsewhere.
 

Yvonne G

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"Light For Health" doesn't come up in a Google search, but the "30 watt" info gives me a clue that this is a compact fluorescent light. These are no good for tortoises and turtles and might even be harmful to him. I've switched over to tube type fluorescent bulbs and have been completely satisfied with them.
 

MichaelL

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I told you. Light for Health. It’s an indoor sunshine 30 w bulb. Light for Health. No need to be rude.
Thanks for encouraging me to leave this forum. Is this how you treat all new members looking for information? Geez. I’ll find my information elsewhere.
He doesn't mean to be rude, he really just wants wants best for the turtle as we have all seen the damage certain lights can do. Beautiful habitat by the way and nice turtle. Is the bulb you're using for UV curly shaped?
 

ZenHerper

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It's essentially impossible to judge tone over the internet. Forum text is not expressive - it reads very flat and we often project our own moods onto it (happy, neutral, frustrated, etc.).

*****************

Is this a specifically-labelled UVB radiation bulb, or is it a full-spectrum bulb used by people to counteract Seasonal Affective Disorder (in which case it does not give off enough of what reptiles need)?

Does it look like a regular household bulb? Does it get hot? Is it coiled? Is it a long tube?

There are lots of types of bulbs (incandescent, flourescent, LED...) and many brand names, so more specific information is needed to help you get the results you want with your pets.
 
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