Box Turtle will not eat

marcarch

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I have a small box turtle (about 3 inches) that was found under a building last August. I have been keeping him and have an aquarium for him. It has bark mulch on one side and bed a beast on 3/4 of the 20 gal tank- it is about 3" deep substrate. It has a live plant, hollowed log, and large rock. I have a UVA/B bulb and lamp on one side and a heater under the aquarium. The thermometer says it is 70-80 degrees with 50%+ in the aquarium.
He has been eating mix of food, Meal worms, boiled chicken, earth worms, grapes, zucchini, squash and cantelope on occasion. Within the past 3 weeks, he totally stopped eating. This is week number 3. He does not look or act sick, and I have given him baths with warm water trying to entice him. I have offered live meal worms/ night crawlers and he just walks away.
Any ideas what I can do or if this is common?
It has gotten rather cold lately and I was not sure if it was more biological withdrawal. But it has been cold previously and that did not stop him from eating, so I am not sure what is going on.
Any ideas or suggestions would be helpful.
 

johnsonnboswell

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The heater under the aquarium isn't a good idea. Turtles burrow to get cool. Add more water to the substrate. If you can find dead leaves, add a pile of them. A water dish for self soaking should be available 24/7; couldn't tell if you have one. Seed the habitat with a lot of worms and isopods and let him hunt his own.
 

Yvonne G

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I think it's a matter of being too cold. Lower your light and cover the habitat with cooking foil.
 

marcarch

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He has a water bowl (refreshed daily). Lamp is right above screen. Moisture level is 50-60% humidity according to thermometer. I mist it ever couple of days.
I have several dry leaves that are over by lamp, he digs and sits under. The heater is small, 6x9, and is under the tank where the lamp is, that area stays warm. No heater under the rest of the tank.
Should I be alarmed after 3 weeks of not eating?
 

johnsonnboswell

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The screen is blocking some of the UVB rays. How old is your bulb?

I'd be concerned. Offer a variety of everything you can think of after a soak.
 

Michael in MO

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Is your light on a timer? I've always been a big fan of simulating summer/spring in these situations. If the turtle is only getting "winter" daylight hours then it may be thinking "oh crap it's winter I need to hibernate" in which it would stop eating. In spring/summer the vegetation hasn't grown yet so bug and worms are the first food of the year (after waking from hibernation) so you may want to offer more live feed.. and if you don't have a timer.. get one, if you do add an hour of daylight every other day until you get to 16 hours. If your turtle is by a window, you might want to block that light from getting to it's enclosure as well
 

cmacusa3

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Have you tried any corn on the cob. It's not good all the time but mine will aways eat it. If I have one not eating that's the first thing I give them.
 

crimson_lotus

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Be careful with those temp gauges as they can sometimes be misleading. Do you have anything else you could double check the temperatures with?

Best wishes that your boxie starts eating again!
 

lynnedit

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tortadise

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I agree with Yvonne after looking at your thermostat in the enclosure, the temps are a bit too cool. He's getting confused about whether or not to "continue to hibernate" or what's going on, raise the temps to high 70s and should become more active. Also keep the light cycle on 12-13 hours. Berry leaves and fruit are a thing to try as well.
 

Dean Wirth

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Strawberries, bananas, earthworms are irresistible to turtles. I haven't met a turtle yet who could resist any of these. A turtle that size should eat every day. Turn up the heat but make sure it has a spot to cool off, and water should be available 7/24. make sue it can get in and out without tipping, small turtles can drown easily. not trying to scare you just some advice..
 

Turtlepete

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Would agree with the others, the temperature is probably the culprit. If he still doesn't eat, try something smelly….Moist cat food, moistened dog food pellets, stuff like that. I usually have good success getting them to eat canned moist dog food. Mushy strawberries (a few days old) are fantastic as well. Worms work great if your turtle isn't one of the ones that gets absolutely terrified when something starts wiggling (mine do that a lot).
 
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