Box turtle won't eat after hibernation

Hippyblond23

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Hi everyone! My question is: how long dip box turtles take to start eating after hibernation?

I've had my little girl, Rosie, since around March last year. During the warmer months, I kept her outside in an enclosure I built and she did great. She hibernated herself over the winter but then I got nervous because of how constantly below freezing it was so I brought her inside and slowly woke her up. I fully woke her up a week ago but she still hasn't eaten. I feed her the same things I fed her when she was outside- shredded apples, lettuce, sweet potato, with blueberries and earth worms to the top and moistened turtle sticks on the bottom.

Her habitat is the correct temperatures/ humidity. However, she spends all her time buried except for when I dig her out and soak her every morning.

Thanks so much for the advice!
 

Yvonne G

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It takes a while for them to get their core temperature up high enough to digest food. Give her a couple weeks. It's not harmful to not eat for a couple weeks.

I just don't think Rosie was ready yet to wake up. I don't like interfering with Mother Nature. They wake up when they're ready.
 

Hippyblond23

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So should I just keep soaking her and trying to feed her every day until she eats or try every other day? I agree with not messing with nature, that's why I let her naturally hibernate outside, but then it was just too cold too long.

Also, I moved her into a hibernation box in my basement for 2 weeks then inside without additional heat lamps for a week before fully waking her.
 

Yvonne G

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If she's used to living outside, she's not happy being contained in an enclosure. She'll be a tough one to get started eating until you can put her back where she thinks she belongs.
 

mark1

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she needs lots of light , bright light , as full of a spectrum as you can make , at least 14 hrs a day , you need to mimic spring , the hardest part of that indoors , imo , is light ............. 80 degrees , a hot spot , high humidity and rain , i'd spray the turtle and container with water regularly until I could get her outside ............ a good setup to get her going would be a plastic tub with sphagnum moss soaked to the point of standing water on the bottom , a uvb light for a hotspot and 6500k fluorescents , bright white for kitchens or bathrooms seem pretty bright to me ........as she has lived outside , if something is holding her up i'd guess it's light .........
 

Hippyblond23

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Thank you Mark. I'll try upping the light and humidity. Should I try to limit hiding spots so she's exposed to the light more or will that just stress her out?
 

ColleenT

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what do you mean it was too cold? my turtles are outside hibernating right now. it is about 25 farenheit, and it has been colder. I would not mess with their natural cycle.
 

MrMarg&me

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My turtles are just now waking up in their outdoor enclosures. Marg has been out sunning for a couple of days for brief periods. Pearl is awake in her box but has not ventured outside. Our third turtle Loa has not made an appearance. Last year Marg woke on Feb. 4, and stayed awake but did not start eating consistently until March. This year has been warmer than last year but Marg still woke up at the same time.
 

jakskillz

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I know up towards the northeast I had box turtles go under early December and not pop back up until March. The further south you go the more likely the box turtle is used to much shorter winters. Florida box turtles may only become inactive for a few weeks at most in the wild. Outdoor setups should be checked regularly during the winter and especially when there are those freak warm days. Those days can be deadly for box turtles and are becoming way more common. If the warmer temp wakes them up they may come up thinking it’s spring only to find it cold again a few days later and now they are above ground where they can freeze.
 

mark1

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Thank you Mark. I'll try upping the light and humidity. Should I try to limit hiding spots so she's exposed to the light more or will that just stress her out?

i think the light is more about visual than being exposed to it ......... like light therapy in people , it stimulates hormones ....... my box turtles are gone by mid November and do not come back until the end of april or beginning of may ........
 
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