Cyphinitar

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Aug 23, 2019
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8
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CA
Hi! In late March, an elderly man fell off the sidewalk while hanging up signs. I was driving down the street back to our house. When I helped him up and made sure everything was alright,(he was unharmed, just shocked.) he told me he found a weird looking turtle in his front yard that morning and was looking for it’s owners. Interested, I followed him back to his home. I have family in NC and visit often so I knew he was a EBT at first sight. He had him in a Tupperware box filled with water and carrots, so I took him out and examined him. His shell looked like he has been in a few fights, and was a vivid orange color. I offered to hold onto him until the man found the owners. He agreed and I took him home. He hasn’t contacted me since. I even went up to his house recently and still nothing. So, I did some research. The setup back then was a 50 gallon glass aquarium with eco earth and spaghnum moss substrate. I estimated 70-80% humidity while keeping the tank 75-80 as the ambient temp and cranking it up to 85 midday. He had a heat lamp and uvb lighting. When I first had him he would eat pretty much anything you gave him: Tomatoes, lettuce, bananas, etc. His staple protein is super worms. So about two months in, he starts banging his head against the glass, and I’m terrified. Since then he lives outside (no official enclosure, just my front and back yard.), and on hot days roams the house. He stopped eating anything other than super worms and I have to put him in his water bowl for him to rehydrate. I’m worried about him and have yet to take him to the vet. I feel like I’m neglecting him and started handling him more but he’s a turtle, so he doesn’t like that. I don’t know what to do at this point and surrendering him to a better home occasionally crosses my mind. Any tips or advice? If you notice anything in the pictures, please let me know.
 

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Cyphinitar

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Aug 23, 2019
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
CA
Plus, I’ve noticed that his tail is not as long or as pointy as others from pictures on the internet.
 

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mark1

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ohio
it's kind of early to totally stop eating for hibernation , but some do start really slowing down around now …… offer him earthworms …. he should become active during and after a rain , make it rain with a hose early afternoon on a warm sunny day , he should come out , throw a nightcrawler in front of him …… if you see no nasal discharge and his eyes are clear and bright , they don't get stuck shut , I wouldn't worry yet …….. make sure his enclosure gets lots of sun , loosen and break up the dirt in a corner or along a side of his enclosure , about 12" deep , in a corner or side that gets lots of sun , cover the loose dirt with leaves , grass clippings , sticks ……… I live in a pretty harsh climate for a turtle and mine will usually eat through most of September …….. if he doesn't show signs of being ill , other than not eating , i'd let him hibernate (go down and not come up) for 3-4 weeks , then dig him up and bring him in to artificial spring , if he's sick you'll see it then …… soak him in warm water a few times for a half hour , maybe for a week or so ……. make sure he has like a large plant saucer to soak in on his own ….
 

Cyphinitar

New Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
CA
it's kind of early to totally stop eating for hibernation , but some do start really slowing down around now …… offer him earthworms …. he should become active during and after a rain , make it rain with a hose early afternoon on a warm sunny day , he should come out , throw a nightcrawler in front of him …… if you see no nasal discharge and his eyes are clear and bright , they don't get stuck shut , I wouldn't worry yet …….. make sure his enclosure gets lots of sun , loosen and break up the dirt in a corner or along a side of his enclosure , about 12" deep , in a corner or side that gets lots of sun , cover the loose dirt with leaves , grass clippings , sticks ……… I live in a pretty harsh climate for a turtle and mine will usually eat through most of September …….. if he doesn't show signs of being ill , other than not eating , i'd let him hibernate (go down and not come up) for 3-4 weeks , then dig him up and bring him in to artificial spring , if he's sick you'll see it then …… soak him in warm water a few times for a half hour , maybe for a week or so ……. make sure he has like a large plant saucer to soak in on his own ….

I live in So Cal so the temps don’t get very low.(55-65 being the lowest) Will that affect his hibernation? He’s my first BT, so I don’t have enough experience to determine if his beak/nails are overgrown. Any advice on that? Thank you so much!
 

Cyphinitar

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Joined
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8
Location (City and/or State)
CA
I live in So Cal so the temps don’t get very low.(55-65 being the lowest) Will that affect his hibernation? He’s my first BT, so I don’t have enough experience to determine if his beak/nails are overgrown. Any advice on that? Thank you so much!

IMG_1566685372.579037.jpg IMG_1566685395.082102.jpg
 

mark1

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he doesn't outwardly appear to be ill , looks a bit dry , his beak looks good and his nails look good ……. i'd bet he's wild caught , showed up in California via the pet trade …..I don't believe those are appropriate temps to hibernate , he could be from south Carolina , how does your winter compare to theirs ? I've seen mine sunning themselves on 40-50 degree sunny days in late October early November ……….. if you ever get weather in the 40's you could get him in a fridge , that's not hard but requires some know how ….…… i'd offer him some earthworms , if he won't eat that , i'd wonder what's up ……… is his outside enclosure sunny ? it needs to be …….. the soil should be of a type that stays moist , look at the pic of him , his skin and shell , in the sphagnum moss picture , look at the skin on his head in these pics ……. they need humidity and a moist environment to thrive , lots of plants/cover will hold moisture and humidity…….. i'm not familiar with your weather , my experience is hibernating them at below freezing temps for months at a time ………. I can only tell you what i'd do here with one I wasn't sure of their health …... if you can get him to eat a little before the end of the month , i'd leave him outside with a good spot to dig in , when it hits the coldest part of your year i'd find him/dig him up and bring him inside to spring like conditions , full spectrum bright light , a hot spot for sunning and getting himself hot , i'd use an appropriate sized mercury vapor bulb over his water , along with fluorescent bulbs over his enclosure , get him eating …doesn't need a big enclosure if it's just for the winter ….. put him back outside when your getting 70 degree sunny weather and 55-60 degree nighttime lows ……… if you can't get him to eat before you get your coldest weather , bring him in and get him eating by creating his spring , spring where these guys come from is 70 degree weather lots of daylight sun and lots of rain ………. mine live in the below enclosure , they've thrived and reproduced with very little care for the last 20yrs ……… I just make sure there is food to find , water and a great spot to hibernate …….
DSCF5814.jpg
 

Cyphinitar

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Joined
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Messages
8
Location (City and/or State)
CA
he doesn't outwardly appear to be ill , looks a bit dry , his beak looks good and his nails look good ……. i'd bet he's wild caught , showed up in California via the pet trade …..I don't believe those are appropriate temps to hibernate , he could be from south Carolina , how does your winter compare to theirs ? I've seen mine sunning themselves on 40-50 degree sunny days in late October early November ……….. if you ever get weather in the 40's you could get him in a fridge , that's not hard but requires some know how ….…… i'd offer him some earthworms , if he won't eat that , i'd wonder what's up ……… is his outside enclosure sunny ? it needs to be …….. the soil should be of a type that stays moist , look at the pic of him , his skin and shell , in the sphagnum moss picture , look at the skin on his head in these pics ……. they need humidity and a moist environment to thrive , lots of plants/cover will hold moisture and humidity…….. i'm not familiar with your weather , my experience is hibernating them at below freezing temps for months at a time ………. I can only tell you what i'd do here with one I wasn't sure of their health …... if you can get him to eat a little before the end of the month , i'd leave him outside with a good spot to dig in , when it hits the coldest part of your year i'd find him/dig him up and bring him inside to spring like conditions , full spectrum bright light , a hot spot for sunning and getting himself hot , i'd use an appropriate sized mercury vapor bulb over his water , along with fluorescent bulbs over his enclosure , get him eating …doesn't need a big enclosure if it's just for the winter ….. put him back outside when your getting 70 degree sunny weather and 55-60 degree nighttime lows ……… if you can't get him to eat before you get your coldest weather , bring him in and get him eating by creating his spring , spring where these guys come from is 70 degree weather lots of daylight sun and lots of rain ………. mine live in the below enclosure , they've thrived and reproduced with very little care for the last 20yrs ……… I just make sure there is food to find , water and a great spot to hibernate …….
DSCF5814.jpg

In SoCal the weather in winter is 65 throughout the day with the hot being 70-ish. It can get to 55 or lower at night. Do you think I should “refrigerate” him? If so how would I do that? How moist do you keep the enclosure?
 

Cyphinitar

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Joined
Aug 23, 2019
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
CA
In SoCal the weather in winter is 65 throughout the day with the hot being 70-ish. It can get to 55 or lower at night. Do you think I should “refrigerate” him? If so how would I do that? How moist do you keep the enclosure?

The average temps in winter for SC is high of 50 to 32 at night. Below is graph of my average winter temps IMG_0026.jpg
 

mark1

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5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2015
Messages
1,341
Location (City and/or State)
ohio
a big factor would be how cold your ground gets , I believe if your ground temp doesn't get below 50F they will continue to surface on warm days , eastern box turtles do not go down very deep ..... can they survive a winter like that ? I would say if they're healthy and well fed , I think so …… but as here , mild winters are tougher on them physically , they need to be perfectly healthy with plenty of reserve energy to get through them ..... not sure how far north @Yvonne lives , but her ground apparently gets sufficiently cold for them to hibernate ………. I believe as you get south of like 35N latitude in California your soil might not get cold enough to keep them down ……… I think if I were you i'd really work on getting him to eat , earthworms , soak him in warm water everyday , make sure he has access to the sun for the majority of the day ……. everything here ate yesterday just fine , i'm at 41-42N latitude ……..

as for putting them in a fridge , if and when i'd do that here , I just leave them start to hibernate on their own , dig them up when their body temp , the ground is warmer than the air , is similar to the fridge i'm putting them in , 40F ……… how folks do it where it doesn't get cold I couldn't tell you …...

they don't have to hibernate , I believe it's healthier to , but it's not a necessity
 

GreenFire719

Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
67
Location (City and/or State)
North Carolina, USA
Hi! In late March, an elderly man fell off the sidewalk while hanging up signs. I was driving down the street back to our house. When I helped him up and made sure everything was alright,(he was unharmed, just shocked.) he told me he found a weird looking turtle in his front yard that morning and was looking for it’s owners. Interested, I followed him back to his home. I have family in NC and visit often so I knew he was a EBT at first sight. He had him in a Tupperware box filled with water and carrots, so I took him out and examined him. His shell looked like he has been in a few fights, and was a vivid orange color. I offered to hold onto him until the man found the owners. He agreed and I took him home. He hasn’t contacted me since. I even went up to his house recently and still nothing. So, I did some research. The setup back then was a 50 gallon glass aquarium with eco earth and spaghnum moss substrate. I estimated 70-80% humidity while keeping the tank 75-80 as the ambient temp and cranking it up to 85 midday. He had a heat lamp and uvb lighting. When I first had him he would eat pretty much anything you gave him: Tomatoes, lettuce, bananas, etc. His staple protein is super worms. So about two months in, he starts banging his head against the glass, and I’m terrified. Since then he lives outside (no official enclosure, just my front and back yard.), and on hot days roams the house. He stopped eating anything other than super worms and I have to put him in his water bowl for him to rehydrate. I’m worried about him and have yet to take him to the vet. I feel like I’m neglecting him and started handling him more but he’s a turtle, so he doesn’t like that. I don’t know what to do at this point and surrendering him to a better home occasionally crosses my mind. Any tips or advice? If you notice anything in the pictures, please let me know.

Hi Cyphinitar!
I just so happened to come across this post and it’s good that you’re seeking help to get this little one in better shape. He doesn’t look to be in terrible shape but this is what I can recommend.
Sometimes box turtles are really picky about eating food and can go on hunger strikes. For my girl, she will refuse to eat anything but insects if she sees them before I give her veggies. It can be a very long process of “training” them to eat things other than protein, but it’s not impossible. If you have a food processor you can put greens and veggies in there with whatever protein your using (I like to use nightcrawlers and red wrigglers) to mix it together. You can sort of trick them that way into eating healthy things they won’t eat on their own by making it all smell like something yummy. Box turtles also really like brightly colored or smelly foods, so mixing something like bell pepper or boiled egg in there may make them more enticed to eat. As long as he’s no showing signs of illness like loud breathing or fluid leaking from its nose, not eating isn’t a major problem. Sometimes these guys will go months without eating and still be okay. It could also be possible since he is outside most days that it’s finding little critters outside that it’s eating.
As for the soaking, you should try soaking him in a tub for 30 minutes at least once a week, the pictures of him you posted looks like he’s very dry. When you do, put him in an opaque tub. Some boxies get freaked out by reflections and will try to bite or ram their reflection thinking it’s another turtle. Since he isn’t eating that much, you can give him a baby food soak to help encourage him to absorb some of those nutrients in there. Pumpkin or squash baby food is pretty good, just mix it in with warm water and put him in.
One final thing I noticed before I go: your boxie might actually be a she instead of a he. Not all females have brown eyes, my gal is one of those with more red looking eyes. I can’t really confirm unless I saw her plastron but the back leg is lacking the very large middle claw the males have and the fat, short tail suggests he is actually a she. Hope that helps you some!
 
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