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Desperately need help with baby ornate box turtle!!

Discussion in 'American box turtles' started by Tmichaels, Oct 9, 2019 at 7:15 PM.

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  1. Tmichaels

    Tmichaels New Member

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    My husband and kids got me an ornate box turtle almost two weeks ago. They were told AFTER she was shipped that they breeder had concerns that she was too young, but had reluctantly agreed to send her. We were told she was 4-5 months old but I’m not sure how accurate that is. She has not eaten since we got her. By the second day of having her, one eye wasn’t opening and she gradually opened both eyes less and less. Here is what we are doing:

    1. She is in a plastic shoe size box with an inch or two of water. Half is water and the other half is a ramp she can walk up to get out of the water. We have artificial plants for coverage that she can get under.
    2. We have a heat bulb and a UVB bulb. We originally were using a CF coil bulb until we found out how bad they are for their eyes!
    3. We keep temp range 80-85 during the day on the warmer side. We previously provided basking area 95 but have read that may be too hot for little ones.
    4. We have tried earth worms, meal worms, and red wrigglers, and pellets and she hasn’t eaten. We’ve tried feeding her in shallow water and also out of the water.
    5. We give her warm water soaks several times a day and have been doing that for at least a week now.
    6. Today we tried her first baby food carrot bath and plan to continue that once a day.

    We are so attached to this little girl and want to do whatever we can to help her make it! Can anyone provide any other advice of what we can do differently or additionally for her?

    Thank you!
    Tara
  2. oneilmatt

    oneilmatt Member

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    If it's truly an ornate box turtle it needs to be in organic top soil, not water. Box turtles are not aquatic species, even though they enjoy water. It needs places to burrow. That needs to be corrected immediately
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    The plastic shoe box is good, as you need something small or you'll not be able to find the turtle. I keep mine in a plastic shoe box with clean soil as the substrate. There's a tiny saucer of water and a small piece of broken tile to place the food on. I have a small pothos plant at one end of the shoe box. Right now I have two baby box turtles in there and I have to dig them out of the dirt every morning. Then I place them into a small bowl of warm water with a pinch of blood worms, I cover the bowl and I quickly step away so they can't see me. In the meantime, I chop up a bit of fruit and veggies and place a little glob of that onto a small bit of red or green leaf lettuce and put it on the feeding tile. I place some sort of wiggly food on top of that - a wax worm, a cut up night crawler, a red worm. After about 15 minutes soaking, I'll place the babies at the feeding tile, then quickly move out of their sight.

    Keep the soil moist, and cover the shoe box to keep moisture in and cool house air out. I keep my box turtle's container inside a Vision cage because it's easier to keep it warm in there. I use a tube type fluorescent UVB light and a radiant heat panel, however, this vision cage contains baby desert tortoises and the box turtles are extra passengers:

    box turtle babies 10-10-19 a.jpg box turtle babies 10-10-19 b.jpg box turtle babies 10-10-19 c.jpg
  4. Tmichaels

    Tmichaels New Member

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    Thank you so much! We’re doing to change that right away!
    That’s how we started off, but when she wasn’t doing great, we called the breeder and they told us she needed more of a “swim-aquatic” environment and described the how we should set it up.
  5. Tmichaels

    Tmichaels New Member

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    Thank you so much for the pictures and great explanations! I have a few questions:

    1. Is coco noir ok for a substrate too? Or is organic topsoil better?
    2. When you soak them in a small bowl of water, I’m assuming it’s a different bowl than the small saucer they have access to?
    3. Do they ever go in the tiny saucer of water on their own?
    4. Do my temperatures sound right? Can you confirm the temps yours are in?
    Thanks again!
    Tara
    TammyJ likes this.
  6. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Looking and hoping for the best for you and the little turtle! You have come to a good place for help!
    Any pictures of the turtle?
    vladimir likes this.
  7. Tmichaels

    Tmichaels New Member

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    7F608CCC-A867-4F2C-9DBD-54BE9C4450F5.jpeg B14A81E1-D4A1-4DF6-9D95-9F64648EBCBA.jpeg
    PJay and TammyJ like this.
  8. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I don't like coco coir because 1. it's messy, and 2. it sometimes is full of strings that end up halfway through the tortoise, hanging out either end.
    I soak in a little tupperware container, not the waterer in the enclosure.
    Yes, I've seen them in their water in the enclosure
    The temperature inside my Vision cage is 83F all the time, day and night.
  9. aiyaecho

    aiyaecho New Member

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    I used to have an ornate box too..... it was after it left me did I saw a picture that it might have bacteria in its body. Please check the poop if possible. If the poop is white, it means turtle had bacteria in its digesting system that prevent it from eating
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