How can I help this little one?

Kyoder

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I recently acquired a turtle from a family member. The turtle spent most of his 25 years of life in a dismal situation. He inside on glass and flat newspaper in a ten gallon tank all of his life, no bedding or substrate, among rotting iceberg lettuce and cat food and absolutely suffocatingly dense cigarette smoke with only intermittent water access and never able to soak himself. I believe he has shell rot as well as MBD. His shell seems undersized for his body. Of course I’ve already scheduled a vet appointment, but the small animal vet in our area is several weeks out so I want to do as much as I can for him in the meantime. I gave him a large cage with a humid substrate and a wading pool. I’ve been feeding him mostly dandelions, clover, bindweed, and earthworms, with mealworms for treats. I’ve been giving him reptile eye drops twice a day for his red, puffy eyes. I’ve got a raised garden bed outside with lettuce and basil plants in it that I let him run around in for about an hour every day. Is there anything else I can do for him while we are waiting for our vet appointment? Especially his shell rot and MBD? Thanks for any advice!
 

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DoubleD1996!

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There's a product called turtle fix. I believe it treats shell rot. You can try a 30 min soak a day. Also, if you can, try getting the little guy in an outdoor enclosure that's secure. At least during the day. Sounds like your doing an excellent job with care.
 

wellington

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So very sad that anyone thinks a turtle that lives outside for life should live in a 10 gallon aquarium.
I played taxi for a bunch of rescue Boxies a few years back. All in the same horrible condition if not worse.
Getting him set up in a large enclosure, preferably outside, proper diet and hydration and he will be a happy turtle.
Just bring him in at night if you don't have a proper hide lock night box for night time.
@Yvonne G has box turtles she can help further.
 

Kyoder

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There's a product called turtle fix. I believe it treats shell rot. You can try a 30 min soak a day. Also, if you can, try getting the little guy in an outdoor enclosure that's secure. At least during the day. Sounds like your doing an excellent job with care.
Thanks! I just ordered some turtle fix. It says it’s for aquatic turtles but I assume it’s safe for box turtles too. Have you ever used it before? Do you know if you keep the dose the same or do you increase if since it will only be in for short soaks instead of living in it like an aquatic turtle?
 

Kyoder

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So very sad that anyone thinks a turtle that lives outside for life should live in a 10 gallon aquarium.
I played taxi for a bunch of rescue Boxies a few years back. All in the same horrible condition if not worse.
Getting him set up in a large enclosure, preferably outside, proper diet and hydration and he will be a happy turtle.
Just bring him in at night if you don't have a proper hide lock night box for night time.
@Yvonne G has box turtles she can help further.
I let him play in the garden bed (which he can’t escape) for about an hour every day and leave water in there for him. I don’t like to leave him out there when I’m not home though. The only threat I’m worried about is local cats. Do you think they would bother him if I left him out all day?
 

DoubleD1996!

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Thanks! I just ordered some turtle fix. It says it’s for aquatic turtles but I assume it’s safe for box turtles too. Have you ever used it before? Do you know if you keep the dose the same or do you increase if since it will only be in for short soaks instead of living in it like an aquatic turtle?
I've used it on box turtles with respiratory infections and after removing an ear abscess and it worked great. I honestly just put a cap full in the water they were soaking in, but I'm not entirely sure if the dosage is the same.
 

Kyoder

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Hi there! Just adopted this turtle out of a very unhealthy living situation. Don’t worry, I’ve been doing my research and have a vet appointment scheduled. Having a hard time figuring out what species he is just from looking up turtles on the internet. He’s got three toes on his hind leg which makes me think he’s a three toed, but they don’t seem to have the same patterns on the shell so I’m not sure. Thanks for any info!
 

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wellington

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I let him play in the garden bed (which he can’t escape) for about an hour every day and leave water in there for him. I don’t like to leave him out there when I’m not home though. The only threat I’m worried about is local cats. Do you think they would bother him if I left him out all day?
I just had a feral cat have kittens in my leopards outdoor enclosure. She never bothered my torts
It can happen but likely wouldn't. Dogs are more of a threat.
 

ZenHerper

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There's only 1 native turtle species in Idaho (Western Painted), so this critter was imported one way or another. No help there. lol

Add to that the stunted growth in general, making it hard to guess what shape and size it *should* be at this age. Neck and legs are far too big for that shell. No help there.

It does look very much like what mass online sellers offer as Three Toed Box Turtles...cobby bodies, with short-stroke ray patterns. Often no real telling their actual origin...mass sellers go to some lengths to conceal this info from shoppers.

No white on the chin that I can see...but the beak is overgrown.

Parts of the country where 3TT and EBT populations overlap, interbreeding happens, and many turtles go around with intergrade appearances.

It's either or both. Perhaps the person who had it has better info about where it came from? If they found it wild in a particular state and brought it home? Or bought it in a store or from a private keeper?

Care is the same. Use the care sheets here in the American Box Turtle sub-forum.
 

maggie3fan

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Thanks! I just ordered some turtle fix. It says it’s for aquatic turtles but I assume it’s safe for box turtles too. Have you ever used it before? Do you know if you keep the dose the same or do you increase if since it will only be in for short soaks instead of living in it like an aquatic turtle?
You also can use athlete's foot creme, no dosage, just smear it on and your guy should be kept dry a bit while the creme is on. Box turtles are semi aquatic and also need to be able to dry out some...
 

ZenHerper

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Possibly. The head is wrong for T.O....should be more round?

In the wild they don't seem to overlap 3TTs, so intergrade that way unlikely (unless from a private keeper who bunged a bunch of turtles together).
 

DoubleD1996!

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You also can use athlete's foot creme, no dosage, just smear it on and your guy should be kept dry a bit while the creme is on. Box turtles are semi aquatic and also need to be able to dry out some...
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Can't you use fish oil tablets for eyes as well? (The gel inside).
 

ZenHerper

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I'm guessing living in its own filth and rotting vegetation caused the gross keratin situation.

Proper temps, clean humidity, clean water for soaking/swimming, and nutrition will do the trick, but an anti-fungal will do no harm. Vitamin A drops are fine for the eyes...only for the course of treatment recommended on the package, then proper, balanced nutrition should make them unnecessary.

Be very careful to find out if the veterinary office knows how to handle and treat turtles...reptile medicine is quite different from mammal medicine, and turtle medicine is quite different from snake medicine.

My only concern about an unsecured enclosure outside is that I don't think this turtle can close its shell completely over its head and legs. That leaves it open to attack from even small predators - cats, raccoons, rats, mice. Tortoise scales are somewhat armored, but turtle skin is easy to break into.
 

ZenHerper

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(Apparently, Ornates do get into the far western counties of AK...


Always interesting! Thanks for making me look that up @maggie3fan =D )

I still think this guy's head is on the 3TT/EBT side...and the plastral photos in the other thread are very 3TT.
 

Kyoder

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There's only 1 native turtle species in Idaho (Western Painted), so this critter was imported one way or another. No help there. lol

Add to that the stunted growth in general, making it hard to guess what shape and size it *should* be at this age. Neck and legs are far too big for that shell. No help there.

It does look very much like what mass online sellers offer as Three Toed Box Turtles...cobby bodies, with short-stroke ray patterns. Often no real telling their actual origin...mass sellers go to some lengths to conceal this info from shoppers.

No white on the chin that I can see...but the beak is overgrown.

Parts of the country where 3TT and EBT populations overlap, interbreeding happens, and many turtles go around with intergrade appearances.

It's either or both. Perhaps the person who had it has better info about where it came from? If they found it wild in a particular state and brought it home? Or bought it in a store or from a private keeper?

Care is the same. Use the care sheets here in the American Box Turtle sub-forum.
The turtle belonged to a family member who took very very poor care of it and bought it from a disreputable reptile salesman out of the back of a van in Arizona. That’s all I really know. He is 25 years old. Since you seem to know a lot about box turtles, do you know if his shell will ever grow to the size it should be with proper husbandry? Or will he always be stunted?
 
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ZenHerper

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The turtle belonged to a family member who took very very poor care of it and bought it from a disreputable reptile salesman out of the back of a van in Arizona. That’s all I really know
The plastron (bottom shell) looks Three Toed, and its other features are *mostly* consistent with that. Again, care fot Box turtles is generally the same, and it sounds like you've got a good handle on that.

"Disreputable" can go as far a being a poacher...and we have to consider an imported Terrapene Carolina Mexicana. Though these guys have more pattern on the plastron.

lol You can fall down a very deep rabbit hole trying to pin down a rescued box turtle. I'm voting for the product of a bunch of turtles bunged into a single enclosure.

Mostly: thanks for rescuing!
 
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