dogs dug up a hibernating ornate Box turtle

Mike Compton

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Nov 29, 2015
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I live in central OK.
Dogs were outside this morning and brought home an ornate box turtle.
It is 35 outside and raining. He appears to be unhurt...but has stayed in his shell for about 45 mins now sitting in the rain.
What is the best thing I can do for him? leave him, dig him a hole? thoughts?
 

Blakem

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Wow, he's a lucky turtle that he didn't get hurt! He should be hibernating. Do you know if your neighbors own it? Someone should...
 

Mike Compton

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no, I live out in the boonies on 40 acres. In the summer we find turtles all the time. My Rottie picks them up...doesn't bite into them, carries them around like a prize. I am 100% sure one of the dogs dug him up and he is wild. I really dont want to keep him in the house although I will if this messed up his chances of survival in the wild. I have bearded dragons now, and have had various turtles in the past...I am not afraid to keep him...but I think he should be wild....I just want to make sure he will live. will he get up and go dig again in the cold? can I help him in some way?
 

ascott

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no, I live out in the boonies on 40 acres. In the summer we find turtles all the time. My Rottie picks them up...doesn't bite into them, carries them around like a prize. I am 100% sure one of the dogs dug him up and he is wild. I really dont want to keep him in the house although I will if this messed up his chances of survival in the wild. I have bearded dragons now, and have had various turtles in the past...I am not afraid to keep him...but I think he should be wild....I just want to make sure he will live. will he get up and go dig again in the cold? can I help him in some way?


If it were me, I would box him up and put him aside is a safe quiet cold (not freezing) dark place...and then do a release when the weather is improving....I personally have seen a disturbed California Desert Tortoise try to resettle itself in 20 degree weather, it is unbearable to watch--too slow to actually do any good and the critter is then subject to literally freezing in its own steps....I would imagine a box turtle would be affected in a similar way (understand please that I do not house this species of turtle so my share is solely based on the species I mentioned in this regard)..
 

Yvonne G

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I agree with what Angela (Ascott) as said. Box him up in a box full of leaves and set the box aside in a cool (not freezing), quiet spot, then release him in the spring. Don't feed him or handle him, just release him.
 

TerrapinStation

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Agree with above. Best scenario for the turtle..... it still gets to hibernate, but does not have to re-dig its burrow and will not compromise itself... No hungry predators getting an easy meal....
 

Kathy Coles

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He already prepared himself for hibernation. The hard part is over. All he needs now is the sleeping part. Trust that he is ok, covered in leaves, cool place, and don't disturb. Lucky you!
 
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