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gumb4nhl

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I'm new here. I just thought this sounded like the place to go for people who know! I have become the "mom", for want of a better word, to a boxie named Hugo. He was found in the debris of someone's home destroyed by Hurricane Hugo 23 or so years ago, hence the name. He has been kept in a classroom all this time. He is very people friendly I suppose because of that. The teacher retired and gave him to one of her students, but he was too much for her to take care of, and that's how I ended up with him. Hugo has made several trips in his time, first from wherever he washed inland from in the hurricane in south Carolina, to Kentucky, and now Ohio. I'm not sure if something happened to him at some point along the way-his shell is not round all the way in the back, it either was broken or something. Whether this happened in the hurricane or he had some kind of deficiency or a kid dropped him, I have no idea. My children are all grown so Hugo should have a few good years here if I get some good advice from you good people!
My main questions are should I move him to a nice, well constructed, protected outdoor pen or should I leave him in his 50 gallon glass box? He seems content there, and dives for cover outside, but maybe that is just normal boxie behavior. They seem to be a bit on the cautious side. I am not familiar with turtles-ask me about plants, birds, dogs, cats, horses or goldfish and I'm a regular encyclopedia! Box turtles, though....well....hmmmm. It's going to take me a bit to get up to speed. I don't want to harm this little guy so I hope you good folks will help me with what to you will maybe seem very elementary or even stupid questions. I think it would be better to be outside for a turtle-I'd love to hear from anyone who has something to say on the subject! I know about the need for basking, protection from raccoons and what little escape artists turtles are, but I think a turtle would probably be happier out in the sun and rain with natural light cycles, rather than me popping a light on and off. I could be wrong. though. Lol.
Also, I see all these great things to feed a boxie. Hugo won't touch anything but store bought pellets. Oh, and red thinginterest him. Like strawberries. He looks like a kid on Christmas morning with a strawberry in his cage! But how often and how much? No book says that.
What would people recommend I plant in an outdoor enclosure? He likes long grass, but just What might he like to nibble or what has flowers he'd like to eat? I am an expert gardener, just not an expert turtler-if that's a word!
I can tell you all really like your turtles, and Hugo has grown on us in just a few months. I want to keep him happy and healthy, so any and all ideas and suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance!
Judy
 

wellington

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Hello and WELCOME:D. It would be great for him to be able to live outside when the temps permit. Your right that is where they are the happiest. As for the not wanting to eat other then the pellets. I'm sure that's probably what he has been fed all these years. It isn't the best diet. So try different things by chopping it up tiny and sliding it in with his pellets. You have to get creative and sneaky. Once he starts trying new things, you can start adding less and less of the pellets. Any other help I will leave to the experts. BTW, we love pics and would love to see some of Hugo.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Judy:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

I'd be willing to bet that because of living in an aquarium all this time and eating only pellets, that the shell problem you've described is due to metabolic bone disease (MBD) and not any injury. You are correct in assuming that turtles belong outside. A well-planted habitat would be much better than a glass box. You can plant lots of different things in there and it will make him feel more secure. I have hosta, hardy hibiscus, ornamental strawberry, real strawberry, rubber tree, to name just a few, in my box turtle pens. They also have a big pile of garden trash that they dig into for hiding. And their pen is under a tree so there is only dappled sunlight.

After you've become familiar with our format I'd love to see some pictures of Hugo.
 

Jacqui

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Hi! I agree once he gets over the newness of being outside, he will be happier with the more natural life style and room to roam. Just about any of the plants you no doubt have growing in your yard will work in his enclosure, as long as you remember his can't have chemicals applied to them.
 
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