Help!! Questions!!

Jwbk03

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May 18, 2020
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Hi! I am a very new tortoise owner. I just got an ornate box turtle of 8 to 9 months old. So far it’s been good but for the past day he hasn’t moved but he is alive cause I check on him every so often under his wood cover and he looks around when it gets lifted. Yesterday he was active and always moving and today it’s like the polar opposite. I know that he isn’t moving cause he’s in the same exact spot, facing the same way, every time I checked on him.

Is this just because he’s in a whole new place (I got him 2 days ago) or maybe because he’s so young? Maybe I’m paranoid lol I just would love some reassurance.

Also! I’ve been turning off his UVB every night and keeping his heat lamp on. Is that the right thing to do? The temperature is at 80°F and it hasn't fluctuated from that. Is that a good temperature to have it at?

Ive been feeding him grated carrot, squash, and zucchini for vegetables and canned crickets for his protein and all his food is dusted with calcium powder. Should I be adding or subtracting anything from that?

Sorry I know this is like an information bomb lol
 

ColleenT

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Box turtles are not tortoises. Just wanted to let you know bc the care is different. i am not sure about indoor care, bc i keep mine outdoors, but there is a feeding article in my signature. it should help.
 

Yvonne G

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The turtle should be kept in a warm, humid environment. It's natural for them to be afraid when moved into a new area. May we please see pictures of your turtle in its enclosure?
 

Jwbk03

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The turtle should be kept in a warm, humid environment. It's natural for them to be afraid when moved into a new area. May we please see pictures of your turtle in its enclosure?
Sure
The current temp in his cage is 80°F
 

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Jwbk03

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Basically I just don’t know if I’m doing something wrong because he’s constantly hiding and I never see him eat or drink.
 

GreenFire719

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Sure
The current temp in his cage is 80°F
Hey welcome to the forum! First of all, I would get rid of all that Sphagnum moss. Although it does keep the humidity up it is also an impaction risk, especially for a baby that small. What kind of of substrate are you using? Do you happen to know the hot/cool side temperatures are? Also what kind of light are you using for UVB

Box turtles are very sensitive to changes and will tend to hide when stressed. They are also more active during dusk/dawn so it’s possible he is moving around early in the morning and you don’t notice. I would give him a week or two to settle. As long as he is eating and soaking (on his own or soaking out of the enclosure) I wouldn’t worry too much.

One more thing I want to add: I would recommend feeding earthworms instead of crickets or meal/superworms. They are a lot healthier for them to eat and the shells on crickets/mealworms/superworms can be harder for them to digest. Congrats on your new baby turtle! Keep us updated on his growth 😊
 

Jwbk03

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Hey welcome to the forum! First of all, I would get rid of all that Sphagnum moss. Although it does keep the humidity up it is also an impaction risk, especially for a baby that small. What kind of of substrate are you using? Do you happen to know the hot/cool side temperatures are? Also what kind of light are you using for UVB

Box turtles are very sensitive to changes and will tend to hide when stressed. They are also more active during dusk/dawn so it’s possible he is moving around early in the morning and you don’t notice. I would give him a week or two to settle. As long as he is eating and soaking (on his own or soaking out of the enclosure) I wouldn’t worry too much.

One more thing I want to add: I would recommend feeding earthworms instead of crickets or meal/superworms. They are a lot healthier for them to eat and the shells on crickets/mealworms/superworms can be harder for them to digest. Congrats on your new baby turtle! Keep us updated on his growth 😊
When I purchased him, they told me to feed him crickets or earthworms and they gave me a free can of crickets so that’s the only reason I’m using those. They also told me I needed the moss to keep the humidity and to give him more hiding area. If you think I should feed him earthworms then I’ll give it a try! Also do you recommend any veggies besides what I’m already feeding?

I saw him moving around this morning which was a huge relief for me but I don’t see him soak ever and the water is always clean so I don’t think he’s doing it when I’m asleep. Any tips on that?
 

Jwbk03

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When I purchased him, they told me to feed him crickets or earthworms and they gave me a free can of crickets so that’s the only reason I’m using those. They also told me I needed the moss to keep the humidity and to give him more hiding area. If you think I should feed him earthworms then I’ll give it a try! Also do you recommend any veggies besides what I’m already feeding?

I saw him moving around this morning which was a huge relief for me but I don’t see him soak ever and the water is always clean so I don’t think he’s doing it when I’m asleep. Any tips on that?
Also he never really eats unless I show him that there’s food.
 

Jwbk03

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If I were to get worms should I simply leave them in his food dish? Are there any other food recommendations?
 
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LasTortugasNinja

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Aside from greens and leafy weeds, box turtles LOVE snails. Many non-chain pet stores that sell fish will have "feeder snails" for saltwater fish and crabs. These work for turtles too. As previously recommended, earthworms are a great option. Also several online stores sell "bug paste" which is just dried bug puree you add to water. a scoop of it added to daily greens will help bring up his calories. Steamed fish - tilapia or catfish can be given as protein treats. No beef. No canned cat/dog food. Dark chicken or turkey meat only in the most dire of need. Petstores LOVE to promote a chunk of ground beef. That's too rich in fat for the animal.
 

Jwbk03

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Aside from greens and leafy weeds, box turtles LOVE snails. Many non-chain pet stores that sell fish will have "feeder snails" for saltwater fish and crabs. These work for turtles too. As previously recommended, earthworms are a great option. Also several online stores sell "bug paste" which is just dried bug puree you add to water. a scoop of it added to daily greens will help bring up his calories. Steamed fish - tilapia or catfish can be given as protein treats. No beef. No canned cat/dog food. Dark chicken or turkey meat only in the most dire of need. Petstores LOVE to promote a chunk of ground beef. That's too rich in fat for the animal.
Thanks!!!!
Do you know what I should do about soaking? So far I’ve never seen him soak and the water isn’t dirty which is how I know he’s not going in. Do you think it could be cause he doesn’t know where it is??
 
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GreenFire719

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When I purchased him, they told me to feed him crickets or earthworms and they gave me a free can of crickets so that’s the only reason I’m using those. They also told me I needed the moss to keep the humidity and to give him more hiding area. If you think I should feed him earthworms then I’ll give it a try! Also do you recommend any veggies besides what I’m already feeding?



I saw him moving around this morning which was a huge relief for me but I don’t see him soak ever and the water is always clean so I don’t think he’s doing it when I’m asleep. Any tips on that?



For food, I recommend varying what you feed him everyday. The more bright colored or smellier the food is, the more enticing it is to them. Earthworms are great because they wiggle around on the dirt and activate these guys prey drive. I would take a look at this thread for getting box turtles to eat:

https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/box-turtle-wont-eat.42397/

I’d also look here for preparing food for them:

http://www.boxturtlefacts.org/Feeding_North_American_Box_Turtles.pdf

For soaking, I would take him out maybe every other day if not everyday day and giving him a good 30 minutes soak. Make sure the water is lukewarm. This is also a good time to observe health of them and make sure they’re pooping alright.
 

Jwbk03

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So put him In a little bowl of sorts with lukewarm water and let him soak? Should I do this outside?

Also for feeding I was thinking about giving him some squash and zucchini. Should I go get him some other things?
 

Maro2Bear

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Yes, soak daily.... not sure how your water dish is situated, but a large terracotta plant saucer, sunk down into the substrate works well. This way, mr boxie crawls over and down into the saucer.

You can soak him inside or outside. Id soak this lil guy inside, nice lukewarm water. Not hot, not cold.
 
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LasTortugasNinja

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I had wild box turtles living in my garden as a kid. They ate squash leaves, romaine lettuces, strawberry leaves, flowers, dandelion, mallow, green foxtails, a dead bird, and TONS of bugs, snails, slugs, and earthworms.
 
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Jwbk03

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I had wild box turtles living in my garden as a kid. They ate squash leaves, romaine lettuces, strawberry leaves, flowers, dandelion, mallow, green foxtails, a dead bird, and TONS of bugs, snails, slugs, and earthworms.
So I should go get some more insects?
 

Jwbk03

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I had wild box turtles living in my garden as a kid. They ate squash leaves, romaine lettuces, strawberry leaves, flowers, dandelion, mallow, green foxtails, a dead bird, and TONS of bugs, snails, slugs, and earthworms.
And for his food dishes, should those be above the dirt or buried?
 
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