Baby turtles not wanting to eat

flyingpenguin

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I have 2 baby Mississippi map turtles. I've had them about 5 days, and neither of them seem interested in eating. I have tried pellets, dried bloodworms, and romaine lettuce. They have only eaten maybe 3 of the worms within all the 5 days. Is there something else I can try? I read something about canned tuna somewhere, but didn't want to just try it.
 

Tom

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I have 2 baby Mississippi map turtles. I've had them about 5 days, and neither of them seem interested in eating. I have tried pellets, dried bloodworms, and romaine lettuce. They have only eaten maybe 3 of the worms within all the 5 days. Is there something else I can try? I read something about canned tuna somewhere, but didn't want to just try it.
Babies are usually better enticed with live moving food.

Also, what is the water temperature, and is there a basking haul out?

I'd like to defer to people who have more experience with raising baby turtles than me. @Markw84 breeds and raises several species. I'd love to hear his wisdom on this.
 

Markw84

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I have 2 baby Mississippi map turtles. I've had them about 5 days, and neither of them seem interested in eating. I have tried pellets, dried bloodworms, and romaine lettuce. They have only eaten maybe 3 of the worms within all the 5 days. Is there something else I can try? I read something about canned tuna somewhere, but didn't want to just try it.
I just found some baby Mississippi Map Turtles in my pond area that had overwintered in the nest and just now emerged this past weekend.

Baby turtles live in water plants. That's where they find security and food. I start hatchlings in a very small 5 gal tank with about 2" of water. No substrate so they can find worms easily, and plenty of fake plant to hide in. I place a few rocks under a basking light, but be sure the light does not heat up the water too much. I like the rock to get about 90° and the water to stay in the 70°s.

As @Tom mentions, baby turtles are WAAYYYY more inclined to start eating with the movement of a worm. If you can get live bloodworms, that is the easiest way to get them started. If you can't get live, it will take longer, and some just seem to never get that its food! Put some in the tank with them, and with the bare bottom, they will find them and with live, the movement attracts them. The transition to frozen is easy then. It takes about a week to see them start to test pellets, normally. I have found the best first pellet is the Reptomin Baby formula pellet. It is small and softer and contains a bit more calsium and D3. ONce they start taking pellets and are feeding well, I move them to a larger tank.
 

flyingpenguin

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Babies are usually better enticed with live moving food.

Also, what is the water temperature, and is there a basking haul out?

I'd like to defer to people who have more experience with raising baby turtles than me. @Markw84 breeds and raises several species. I'd love to hear his wisdom on this.
Thank you for replying! I didn’t know that about living food. The water temperature is between 77-78 and they’re basking area normally reads 90.3
 

flyingpenguin

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I just found some baby Mississippi Map Turtles in my pond area that had overwintered in the nest and just now emerged this past weekend.

Baby turtles live in water plants. That's where they find security and food. I start hatchlings in a very small 5 gal tank with about 2" of water. No substrate so they can find worms easily, and plenty of fake plant to hide in. I place a few rocks under a basking light, but be sure the light does not heat up the water too much. I like the rock to get about 90° and the water to stay in the 70°s.

As @Tom mentions, baby turtles are WAAYYYY more inclined to start eating with the movement of a worm. If you can get live bloodworms, that is the easiest way to get them started. If you can't get live, it will take longer, and some just seem to never get that its food! Put some in the tank with them, and with the bare bottom, they will find them and with live, the movement attracts them. The transition to frozen is easy then. It takes about a week to see them start to test pellets, normally. I have found the best first pellet is the Reptomin Baby formula pellet. It is small and softer and contains a bit more calsium and D3. ONce they start taking pellets and are feeding well, I move them to a larger tank.
Thank you so much! I have them in 20 gallon tank with about 5 inches of water. A lot of plants though! I have a smaller 5 gallon I can move them too and try live worms though. I’ve been taking them out of the tank to feed. Should I be feeding in their tank or moving them out to feed?
 

Tom

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Thank you so much! I have them in 20 gallon tank with about 5 inches of water. A lot of plants though! I have a smaller 5 gallon I can move them too and try live worms though. I’ve been taking them out of the tank to feed. Should I be feeding in their tank or moving them out to feed?
Aquatic turtles need to be in water to feed. Moving babies out of the tank that they are comfortable in is likely to squash the feeding response. Its not that they can't get used to such a routine, but I wouldn't think that is a good way to get babies started.
 

Toddrickfl1

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Thank you so much! I have them in 20 gallon tank with about 5 inches of water. A lot of plants though! I have a smaller 5 gallon I can move them too and try live worms though. I’ve been taking them out of the tank to feed. Should I be feeding in their tank or moving them out to feed?
Id feed them in the tank where they're comfortable. I've always had better luck with that rather than removing them to something else.
 

ZenHerper

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They also may not eat if you are standing nearby watching.

Try standing a distance from the tank after feeding...small animals, even if they are predators, are very hinky about larger faces in the environment.
 

Markw84

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Thank you so much! I have them in 20 gallon tank with about 5 inches of water. A lot of plants though! I have a smaller 5 gallon I can move them too and try live worms though. I’ve been taking them out of the tank to feed. Should I be feeding in their tank or moving them out to feed?
As others have already mentioned, I would not advise moving them to feed in trying to start a hatchling. Many people do feed in a different container, but that would only be with a turtle already feeding well. I personally never do that. a young turtle needs to feel safe and secure to feed. Mississippi Maps are perhaps one of the most skittish aquatic turtles. Many of my maps in the G pseudogeographica complex remain extremely shy and won't come over with the crowd of turtles when I approach my pond for feeding. I've had these turtles from 20 - 36 years, and all but Mississippi Maps and Pacific Ponds swarm over whenever I approach. So you are dealing with a naturally much more shy turtle to begin with.

Keep it in a tank it can get used to and feel comfortable. It will start to feed soon. I also find they will best start feeding if I am NOT WATCHING!!
 

polDurna

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When my RES were hatch-lings and I had them in a 10 gal. long tank, I put a 0.3 gal critter carrier as a feeding tank in a corner of the 10 gal. tank on the side of their floating dock that I kept their food in, the lip was marginally shorter than the water line. When one of the RES dropped in to feed I knew it had lunch and then moved it back into the regular part of the tank and restocked the feeder, at the end of the day I would pull the feeder out and clean it. Drop it back into place in the morning with enough fresh water to keep the level up, thus keeping and food mess contained, and I knew who ate what.
 

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