Box Turtle Hatchling Care Sheet

terryo

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A lot of people don't agree with this, but I've been doing it for years with inside turtles. I use a screen top. In the middle or off to one side I put the heat emitter and along the center toward the back I put the long tube 5.0 UVB. If you walk in the woods and if you are lucky to see any box turtles on the forest floor, you will see that the only sun they get is filtered through the trees. So the screen top is not harmful. Also mine are out in the garden all Summer, and then only the babies or anyone sick comes in for the Winter. Just what I do.
 

TortsNTurtles

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I may have missed this but how thick should the substrate be in the babies enclosure? I read in the care sheet if using an under tank heater it should be 6"-8" but I couldn't find where it states how deep to make the substrate when not using an under tank heater.Thanks
 

terryo

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I never cared for the under tank heater's. Hatchlings will dig toward the heat and stay there most of the time. I keep heat emitters on 24/7. Hatchling tank's, I put just enough soil to cover the little pots that I keep the plants in, and a lot of long fiber moss on one end, under and around plants where they hide. I cover most of the substrate with Irish moss or Scottish moss so they don't dig into the soil. I can find them easier that way and don't have to mess up the tank looking for them. Just saying what I do.
 

terryo

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That's a little tank with a year old baby and just plant moss all around so she doesn't dig into the soil. You can see the edge of the little pot whith the plant in it. I think it's about 3 in.
 
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DIET
Box turtle hatchlings are mostly carnivorous when young, but should also be fed greens and fruit. You will likely find that these are mostly ignored until typically 6-12 months of age.

Appropriate sources of protein can include: Live worms or insects (red wigglers, chopped up nightcrawlers, small mealworms, small crickets, pillbugs, slugs), boiled eggs, boiled plain chicken, raw beefheart (but no other beef products), raw ground turkey, or even high quality natural wet cat food (in moderation). Hatchlings will be attracted to the movement of live bugs and worms.

Plant and fruit matter: Spring mix salad blend, various lettuces (no iceberg, and romaine only in moderation), raddichio, collard greens, mustard greens, kale, dandelion leaves/flowers, hibiscus leaves/flowers, grapevine leaves, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, banana, apples, cantaloupe, watermelon, pure pumpkin, squash fruit/leaves/flowers, etc.

Prepared diets such as Mazuri can also be fed in moderation, but pellets should be soaked and softened.

Using a "mash" diet a few times a week is encouraged, to help them get a variety in their diet, since they will tend to want to eat only the wiggly things. One recipe example is banana, Mazuri tortoise diet, ground turkey, and peas and carrot blend put through a food processor. You could then mix this with fresh veggies or berries or even add a few little worms in it to get their attention. You should switch your “mash” recipe up every week or so.
Protein should make up about 70-80% of the diet while young, with the remainder being leafy greens/plants, vegetables, and fruit. If you cannot get them to eat non-protein foods while young, that's ok but keep trying!

Calcium+D3 should be supplemented in very small amounts once or twice a week. You can do this by dusting the live protein with is, mixing it in the mash, or dusting it on top of food.


OTHER TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
Box turtles love to swim! Keep in mind though, that they are not aquatic turtles. They have more of a dog paddle swimming style with occasional short diving. You can use a Rubbermaid tilted at a slight diagonal for a shallow end/deep end to allow them to swim –it’s also a great outside activity to soak up some UV and extra moisture! Never leave boxies unsupervised while swimming, as drowning is a possibility if they are unable to reach “land” for some reason, or flip, etc. For hatchlings the “deep” end shouldn’t be more than a couple inches.

An Infrared temperature gun is a necessary part of any reptile keeper’s supplies. Don’t trust pet store thermometers. An accurate temp gun is well worth the money and more accurate, plus it allows you to measure any spot in the enclosure instantly!

Handfeeding with boxies is encouraged because of their naturally skittish behavior. Attempt to do this a few times a week. This will allow them to positively associate you with food so that they will allow you to easily inspect them for injuries and general wellness.


How frequency to add calcium for a baby eastern? How much also? Please give me some advice in detail, not just a very small amount. Thank you.
 

TortsNTurtles

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I never cared for the under tank heater's. Hatchlings will dig toward the heat and stay there most of the time. I keep heat emitters on 24/7. Hatchling tank's, I put just enough soil to cover the little pots that I keep the plants in, and a lot of long fiber moss on one end, under and around plants where they hide. I cover most of the substrate with Irish moss or Scottish moss so they don't dig into the soil. I can find them easier that way and don't have to mess up the tank looking for them. Just saying what I do.

Can I use pillow moss? http://www.neherpetoculture.com/salestuff#moss I can only find seeds for the Irish & Scottish moss.
 
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I sprinkle a little powder on their red wigglers every three days. I always leave a cuttle bone in the vivarium, and I see some little bites on it all the time, so I know they are eating it.
I put one cuttle bone today, and they seem quite like it. Will that be OK just leave the bone in the vivarium? Will over eating hurt their health? They are 2 months old.
 

terryo

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I only have one baby GC in my vivarium for the Winter, and I cut the cuttle bone in half and put one half in. I usually replace in every month. He loves it. I also have an adult inside now and he chews on his all the time, and I replace it every 3 weeks. (he also gets a half). I don't think it will hurt him and he'll know when he doesn't want any more. I leave them in all the time. I put them all over the turtle garden for the adults too.
 
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I only have one baby GC in my vivarium for the Winter, and I cut the cuttle bone in half and put one half in. I usually replace in every month. He loves it. I also have an adult inside now and he chews on his all the time, and I replace it every 3 weeks. (he also gets a half). I don't think it will hurt him and he'll know when he doesn't want any more. I leave them in all the time. I put them all over the turtle garden for the adults too.
Thank you so much! I appreciate your help very much! Do you have threads posting your enclosure for box turtle and babies?
 

TortsNTurtles

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Also is there any difference in the humidity with fake sick plants verses live plants? I can't decide as there are pros and cons with both.
 

HLogic

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Also is there any difference in the humidity with fake sick plants verses live plants? I can't decide as there are pros and cons with both.

Yes, live plants transpire yielding higher humidity. Fake ones do not but will not lower humidity either. Try both & see what you prefer. Fake are easier to clean, don't usually get eaten and 'live' a lot longer. Live plants can provide a, usually short term, food source, grow naturally but may need maintenance and help balance the microecosystem created within an enclosure.
 
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