Help - Yearling Not eating

jblendowski

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Jan 7, 2021
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Hi Newbie here-

We recently purchased an Eastern Box Turtle yearling (Sam) hes a captive bred turtle. He arrived here the first week of January. And although hes eaten a few times he has not eaten in about a week or so and we are a complete loss what to do. He had been eating every 2-3 days (a pretty decent size worm each time) but has since stopped... We have tried worms, grubs, crickets, fruit and veggies. Initially we got him to eat by putting him in his water dish and allowing him to wake up a little and putting the worm in there to wriggle around. Since then we have tried in the water, in a terra-cotta plate, right in front of him in his enclosure.

The temp and humidity seem to be ok (initially we had some issues getting the humidity right but i think we have finally gotten it) He did spend a lot of time burrowed but has been coming out more daily to bask. Im not sure if hes hibernating... or slower due to winter (he has a UV light to help with that as well) I dont want the little dude to die...

We are at a complete loss as to what else to try...

Heres some photos of his enclosure and little Sam.

IMG_9468.jpg IMG_9541.jpg IMG_9542.jpg IMG_9544.jpg
 

Angela & Taco

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Sam is a cutie! It's common for them to eat less in the winter, and they can go a while without eating. Is he still drinking/going in the water?

My guy is a bad eater in general (and always worse in the winter months), but I have found that soaking him in tepid water to warm him up can help. Increasing the humidity and temp can also help. I have also had success in putting my turtle directly onto the food (resting the front of his plastron on the edge of the dish). For some reason this causes him to relent and take a few bites. Sometimes he won't eat if I'm watching him.

Keep offering a variety of insects, worms, fruits and veggies as you have been. Sometimes they are picky.

I'm not an expert but others who are will weigh in soon, I am sure.
 

jblendowski

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Jan 7, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
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Sam is a cutie! It's common for them to eat less in the winter, and they can go a while without eating. Is he still drinking/going in the water?

My guy is a bad eater in general (and always worse in the winter months), but I have found that soaking him in tepid water to warm him up can help. Increasing the humidity and temp can also help. I have also had success in putting my turtle directly onto the food (resting the front of his plastron on the edge of the dish). For some reason this causes him to relent and take a few bites. Sometimes he won't eat if I'm watching him.

Keep offering a variety of insects, worms, fruits and veggies as you have been. Sometimes they are picky.

I'm not an expert but others who are will weigh in soon, I am sure.


Thank You Angela! He is drinking if i physically put him in the water (we have been doing that daily-ish... I gave him a few days break since i thought the handling was annoying him into not eating) he does seem to take good long drinks though and hang out in there for a bit when hes in there... that said he *could* be coming out when we dont see him? though usually in the morning hes still burrowed and seems to come out late morning/early afternoon...
 

Lyn W

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He's lovely.
I don't know anything about box turtles but there is probably a caresheet to help you with temps diet substrate humidity etc.
Your lamps look a bit high, have you checked the temps at his level to make sure he is warm enough that could affect their appetite.
 
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It might be the winter my box turtle doesn’t eat or move around as much in the winter. But try putting live feeders on top of some greens or give her some sort of food she likes on top of the greens
 

jblendowski

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It might be the winter my box turtle doesn’t eat or move around as much in the winter. But try putting live feeders on top of some greens or give her some sort of food she likes on top of the greens

Thank you! Thats part of the challenge... we have only had him a few weeks so im not entirely sure what his food preferences are (other than the worms) Im hoping that it is the winter affect...
 

jblendowski

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Location (City and/or State)
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He's lovely.
I don't know anything about box turtles but there is probably a caresheet to help you with temps diet substrate humidity etc.
Your lamps look a bit high, have you checked the temps at his level to make sure he is warm enough that could affect their appetite.

Thank you Lyn! The thermometer is on the ground level so we have an accurate read of what his space... (but super good advice bec when we first had it, it was higher and had the same thought before moving it) Ill have to search out some of the care sheets to see if I missed something somewhere.
 

Maro2Bear

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Greetings. I would double check your temperatures at tort level. The thermometer I see there looks like the PetSmart/PetCo analog types which have proven to be very inaccurate.... Look on-line at AccuRite gauges. They have some very good, digital gauges with remote sensing probes. An IR point-n-shoot temp gun is great to have as well.

Lastly, check your photo-period.... lights on early and off late. Maybe 12-14 hours.

Good luck
 
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jblendowski

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Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
NJ
Greetings. I would double check your temperatures at tort level. The thermometer I see there looks like the PetSmart/PetCo analog types which have proven to be very inaccurate.... Look on-line at AccuRite gauges. They have some very good, digital gauges with remote sensing probes. An IR point-n-shoot temp gun is great to have as well.

Lastly, check your photo-period.... lights on early and off late. Maybe 12-14 hours.

Good luck

thank you!! I’ll def look into a different gauge.
Re the photo period. Currently the light goes on at 730am and off at 7pm. A heat lamp in the PM to keep it warm.
 
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