Mexican Red Wood Turtles

Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
42
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
Hi everyone,

I'm a first time turtle mom to two well-started hatchlings named Panda and Gator. My fellas are doing well, this is day 2 in their new home. They've eaten salmon and tomorrow we're trying live worms! Pool time both days. Their home is 4ft long and 2ft wide, all live foliage. Temp steady at low-mid 80s, mist 2-3 times a day to get the humidity to tropical. I have UVA/UVB and use ceramic infrared non-light heat emitters. My question is how long does the baby stage last? After meal and play time they sleep all day. Gator sleeps under a fern and Panda burrows under the moss, I have to wake them up in the morning-eat, play, back to sleep. I'm not alarmed by a potential health crisis, I understand they are babies and this is a new environment. I'd like to connect with anyone who has this type of turtle or experience with wood turtle hatchlings. Here is a pic, and they were born with a birth defect-extra scutes Thank you all in advance, very happy to join the Turtle/Tort family!
 

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Jan A

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Boulder, CO
Hi everyone,

I'm a first time turtle mom to two well-started hatchlings named Panda and Gator. My fellas are doing well, this is day 2 in their new home. They've eaten salmon and tomorrow we're trying live worms! Pool time both days. Their home is 4ft long and 2ft wide, all live foliage. Temp steady at low-mid 80s, mist 2-3 times a day to get the humidity to tropical. I have UVA/UVB and use ceramic infrared non-light heat emitters. My question is how long does the baby stage last? After meal and play time they sleep all day. Gator sleeps under a fern and Panda burrows under the moss, I have to wake them up in the morning-eat, play, back to sleep. I'm not alarmed by a potential health crisis, I understand they are babies and this is a new environment. I'd like to connect with anyone who has this type of turtle or experience with wood turtle hatchlings. Here is a pic, and they were born with a birth defect-extra scutes Thank you all in advance, very happy to join the Turtle/Tort family!
Welcome to the forum. Those are 2 cute guys!! We have turtle owners & a turtle section on the forum. If you have any questions, don't be shy. And we love photos!!
 

turtlesteve

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5 Year Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
548
I don’t keep these, but in general the behavior you are describing sounds normal to me. Hatchlings stay hidden most of the time to avoid predators.

Is the enclosure covered to maintain humidity? Hatchlings tend to do best in a fully enclosed habitat that stays very humid all the time.
 

ZenHerper

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Feb 27, 2020
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Welcome!

I'm not sure what you mean by "play"...young reptiles don't play the way that mammals do (they have not evolved the minimal degree of sociability of even bears, so hatchlings are just as non-social as adults). Over-handling hatchlings is stressful; keep your hands-on attention to a minimum. Enclosures should be large enough to accommodate the exercise needs of each resident...out-of-enclosure exercise often leads to over-cooling and accidents.

Your turtles' behavior is entirely consistent with what they have evolved to do...find something to eat, then hide from everything that is interested in eating them. That's pretty much the turtle lifestyle, lol, and each species has evolved to look like the terrain where they live. Captive-born juveniles and adults are usually more confident and become increasingly human-interactive in time.

Keep the substrate very damp...burrowing in soft, damp earth keeps the rapidly-growing shell conditioned, and helps to prevent general dehydration.

Turtles need a lot of space, so two together in a habitat can be stressful...a photo of your full enclosure would help to decide if there is enough hiding space for the time being, but they will need a much larger habitat or separate enclosures as they approach maturity. Make sure they get separate meals and more than one water pan in the habitat - males are reportedly more aggressive toward each other in water. One turtle remaining small while one develops rapidly may indicate a territorial stress problem.

Post a photo of your uvb bulb - there are several popular ones on the market that are harmful to reptile eyes, and an animal needing to avoid them can account for some unnatural degree of burrowing/hiding.

These guys are omnivores, and eat a fair amount of fruit and vegetation. Overripe fruit is usually more tempting. Broadleaf plants like dandelion and other chicories are useful for their calcium content; most wood turtles will also eat the flowers. Chop vegetation very tiny and place a wiggly worm on top of a wee mound to encourage tasting.

Let us know your observations as they develop!
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
42
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
I don’t keep these, but in general the behavior you are describing sounds normal to me. Hatchlings stay hidden most of the time to avoid predators.

Is the enclosure covered to maintain humidity? Hatchlings tend to do best in a fully enclosed habitat that stays very humid all the time.
Thank you Turtle Steve, no their home is not fully enclosed but I think the humidity level is able to hold steady between 75-85 because of all the plants?
Welcome!

I'm not sure what you mean by "play"...young reptiles don't play the way that mammals do (they have not evolved the minimal degree of sociability of even bears, so hatchlings are just as non-social as adults). Over-handling hatchlings is stressful; keep your hands-on attention to a minimum. Enclosures should be large enough to accommodate the exercise needs of each resident...out-of-enclosure exercise often leads to over-cooling and accidents.

Your turtles' behavior is entirely consistent with what they have evolved to do...find something to eat, then hide from everything that is interested in eating them. That's pretty much the turtle lifestyle, lol, and each species has evolved to look like the terrain where they live. Captive-born juveniles and adults are usually more confident and become increasingly human-interactive in time.

Keep the substrate very damp...burrowing in soft, damp earth keeps the rapidly-growing shell conditioned, and helps to prevent general dehydration.

Turtles need a lot of space, so two together in a habitat can be stressful...a photo of your full enclosure would help to decide if there is enough hiding space for the time being, but they will need a much larger habitat or separate enclosures as they approach maturity. Make sure they get separate meals and more than one water pan in the habitat - males are reportedly more aggressive toward each other in water. One turtle remaining small while one develops rapidly may indicate a territorial stress problem.

Post a photo of your uvb bulb - there are several popular ones on the market that are harmful to reptile eyes, and an animal needing to avoid them can account for some unnatural degree of burrowing/hiding.

These guys are omnivores, and eat a fair amount of fruit and vegetation. Overripe fruit is usually more tempting. Broadleaf plants like dandelion and other chicories are useful for their calcium content; most wood turtles will also eat the flowers. Chop vegetation very tiny and place a wiggly worm on top of a wee mound to encourage tasting.

Let us know your observations as they develop!
Thank you ZenHerper! Yes, I'm aware they do not frolic lol. By play I mean any activity other than sleeping!

Their substrate is a mixture of peat/spaghnum moss, organic soil and cypress mulch I mist at least twice a day. The soil stays relatively moist because I have to water all the live plants as well.

The home is 4feet long and 2 feet wide-divided by the pool in the center. I have no idea what their sex is yet and for now, they seem to get along in the water and I've been feeding them together. Hopefully they'll continue to get along since they were raised together! Today they had worms which was a hit, not sure when to introduce fruit or veggies, I've read its based on their growth?

The UVA/UVB light (50w) has a dimmer, I have 3 heat lights-two are ceramic-only one ceramic is on right now and temp is 84 on the warm side and 82 on the cool side humidity at 72%

They've claimed hide spots on opposite ends of the enclosure. Panda likes burrowing under the lavender plant and Gator likes the fern.
 

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Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
42
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
I don’t keep these, but in general the behavior you are describing sounds normal to me. Hatchlings stay hidden most of the time to avoid predators.

Is the enclosure covered to maintain humidity? Hatchlings tend to do best in a fully enclosed habitat that stays very humid all the time.
Thanks Turtlesteve! Its not covered, humidity is 75% highest I get it is 85%
 

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ZenHerper

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Joined
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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Thank you Turtle Steve, no their home is not fully enclosed but I think the humidity level is able to hold steady between 75-85 because of all the plants?

Thank you ZenHerper! Yes, I'm aware they do not frolic lol. By play I mean any activity other than sleeping!

Their substrate is a mixture of peat/spaghnum moss, organic soil and cypress mulch I mist at least twice a day. The soil stays relatively moist because I have to water all the live plants as well.

The home is 4feet long and 2 feet wide-divided by the pool in the center. I have no idea what their sex is yet and for now, they seem to get along in the water and I've been feeding them together. Hopefully they'll continue to get along since they were raised together! Today they had worms which was a hit, not sure when to introduce fruit or veggies, I've read its based on their growth?

The UVA/UVB light (50w) has a dimmer, I have 3 heat lights-two are ceramic-only one ceramic is on right now and temp is 84 on the warm side and 82 on the cool side humidity at 72%

They've claimed hide spots on opposite ends of the enclosure. Panda likes burrowing under the lavender plant and Gator likes the fern.

It's refreshing to see such a woodsy set up!

I would certainly feed them in separate pans...the face-to-face eating situation is both competitive and confrontational in reptiles. Wood turtles can get along in very large territories, but captive conditions don't give them the option to seek secure territories. The fact that they've chosen den locations as far from each other as they can get is an early clue that they would really prefer to be apart. The Natural reptile condition is to separate from con-specifics very early in life and, with the exception of sexual congress, live as solitary beings. (Gender in reptiles is as much a function of size as it is of age, so it will take some time-and-development before secondary sexual characteristics become obvious.)

Aquatic turtles are more communal because they don't have a lot of choice (ponds and lakes are self-limiting, space wise), but terrestrials have evolved with the luxury of land, lots of land surrounding their marshes, rivers, streams, lakes, etc.. Plan for a second set up sooner, rather than later.

If the uvb bulb is a mercury vapor bulb, be aware that they seem to be the poorest quality in terms of actual uvb radiation output, and give off a lot of light glare where forest-living vision is concerned (turtles see more wavelengths than we do). Glare from MVB or laser-radiation from coiled bulbs can suppress diurnal activity and cause animals to hide more than usual. The old-style long tube bulbs are proving to be the most effective and safest. There are some lively conversations going on in the Lighting sub-forum if you want to dig down into the subject.

The spring-dial thermometer/hygrometers are less reliable than ones that use probes placed at ground level. The box stores do carry very affordable digital probe sensors. AcuRite is a popular brand.

I'm a fan of at least offering a good variety of foods as early as possible. All the American wood turtles seem interested in vegetation earlier than, say, box turtles and the Asian terrestrials. You will need less supplementation if they will take a varied whole-foods diet. Overripe strawberry is a fine starter fruit (overripe "fallen" fruits in general are best accepted), as are young dandelion leaves. Chop/rip vegetation into very small bits so that they will get bite-sized pieces with each mouthful of meat they attack. Feeding in pans separate from the main habitat helps keep mess and microbe growth to a minimum. Training them to eat (soaked) pellets at an early age helps for times of emergency when fresh foods are less available or you need someone to help you care for them (you're sick, broke a hip, took a business trip, etc.).
 
Joined
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Messages
42
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
It's refreshing to see such a woodsy set up!

I would certainly feed them in separate pans...the face-to-face eating situation is both competitive and confrontational in reptiles. Wood turtles can get along in very large territories, but captive conditions don't give them the option to seek secure territories. The fact that they've chosen den locations as far from each other as they can get is an early clue that they would really prefer to be apart. The Natural reptile condition is to separate from con-specifics very early in life and, with the exception of sexual congress, live as solitary beings. (Gender in reptiles is as much a function of size as it is of age, so it will take some time-and-development before secondary sexual characteristics become obvious.)

Aquatic turtles are more communal because they don't have a lot of choice (ponds and lakes are self-limiting, space wise), but terrestrials have evolved with the luxury of land, lots of land surrounding their marshes, rivers, streams, lakes, etc.. Plan for a second set up sooner, rather than later.

If the uvb bulb is a mercury vapor bulb, be aware that they seem to be the poorest quality in terms of actual uvb radiation output, and give off a lot of light glare where forest-living vision is concerned (turtles see more wavelengths than we do). Glare from MVB or laser-radiation from coiled bulbs can suppress diurnal activity and cause animals to hide more than usual. The old-style long tube bulbs are proving to be the most effective and safest. There are some lively conversations going on in the Lighting sub-forum if you want to dig down into the subject.

The spring-dial thermometer/hygrometers are less reliable than ones that use probes placed at ground level. The box stores do carry very affordable digital probe sensors. AcuRite is a popular brand.

I'm a fan of at least offering a good variety of foods as early as possible. All the American wood turtles seem interested in vegetation earlier than, say, box turtles and the Asian terrestrials. You will need less supplementation if they will take a varied whole-foods diet. Overripe strawberry is a fine starter fruit (overripe "fallen" fruits in general are best accepted), as are young dandelion leaves. Chop/rip vegetation into very small bits so that they will get bite-sized pieces with each mouthful of meat they attack. Feeding in pans separate from the main habitat helps keep mess and microbe growth to a minimum. Training them to eat (soaked) pellets at an early age helps for times of emergency when fresh foods are less available or you need someone to help you care for them (you're sick, broke a hip, took a business trip, etc.).
Thank you ZenHerper, today I purchased long tube UVB bulbs. Today we started on worms and I fed them outside the enclosure in shallow water and you're right, I'll stick with that. Gator had some soaked pellets during his swim today which he loved but I agree, I prefer as natural a diet as possible and will start introducing other foods over the weekend. Also, I have a plan to divide up their enclosure for now and see how that goes. I'll send some pics of their revamped space. Lastly, their thermometer is digital with a probe, all the stores I've been to only had gage humidity so I'll probably need to order that online. Thanks again!
 

ZenHerper

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Enjoy them! - this species is very pretty and can quickly learn to associate you with All Good Things in their day. You're giving them a great start.

Updates and photo diaries always welcome. =))
 

mark1

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i've kept manni and incisa together for quite awhile ..... i've found them to be pretty sociable , one of the hardiest turtles i've ever had , actually the hardiest , i've never seen one get ill , they breed like rabbits ....... they eat anything and everything , they love vegetation , nothing green grows in their outdoor enclosure ..... they love grape leaves , rose of sharon leaves , dandelions , dog food , fish food , cat food , romaine , plantain , sweet potato , bananas honestly they really eat anything ...... properly setup i can keep them outside in northern ohio from may through late october ,........ they are also very friendly .........and yes as said they do hide most of the time .......

Aviary-Photo-132423304520786619.jpg


DSCF6977.jpg


DSCF6790.jpg
 

ZenHerper

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Messages
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i've kept manni and incisa together for quite awhile ..... i've found them to be pretty sociable , one of the hardiest turtles i've ever had , actually the hardiest , i've never seen one get ill , they breed like rabbits ....... they eat anything and everything , they love vegetation , nothing green grows in their outdoor enclosure ..... they love grape leaves , rose of sharon leaves , dandelions , dog food , fish food , cat food , romaine , plantain , sweet potato , bananas honestly they really eat anything ...... properly setup i can keep them outside in northern ohio from may through late october ,........ they are also very friendly .........and yes as said they do hide most of the time .......

...
Good looking bunch!

What is your square footage per individual?
 

mark1

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Messages
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ohio
there are 6 of them , 5 manni and 1 incisa , i used to have 2 incisa , one was killed by a dog ..... the indoor enclosure is like 8'x8' , , the outdoor enclosure is something like 10' x4' .... they seem to be like the kind of turtles you see piled up on a log .........

DSCF5894.jpg
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
42
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
i've kept manni and incisa together for quite awhile ..... i've found them to be pretty sociable , one of the hardiest turtles i've ever had , actually the hardiest , i've never seen one get ill , they breed like rabbits ....... they eat anything and everything , they love vegetation , nothing green grows in their outdoor enclosure ..... they love grape leaves , rose of sharon leaves , dandelions , dog food , fish food , cat food , romaine , plantain , sweet potato , bananas honestly they really eat anything ...... properly setup i can keep them outside in northern ohio from may through late october ,........ they are also very friendly .........and yes as said they do hide most of the time .......

Aviary-Photo-132423304520786619.jpg


DSCF6977.jpg


DSCF6790.jpg
So nice! They look really healthy and robust. I like the rustic vibe of their enclosure especially the rocks and how they level off in areas to keep them active
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
42
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
there are 6 of them , 5 manni and 1 incisa , i used to have 2 incisa , one was killed by a dog ..... the indoor enclosure is like 8'x8' , , the outdoor enclosure is something like 10' x4' .... they seem to be like the kind of turtles you see piled up on a log .........

DSCF5894.jpg
Love it! They look like someone is offering food on the other side ha!
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
Operation separate but equal has commenced.

Separate morning feedings: They definitely knew something was up, didnt eat much like they were suspicious but super curious. They watched me the entire time (I was doing renovation while they soaked/ate) and didnt hide in their shell when I walked by or close to their dishes and they really perked up when I talked to them occasionally.

Separate quality time: Panda and I had a moment to bond, he likes affection! He crawled up my arm and was so still in my hands while we sat in front of the window listening to nature and watching the birds fly by, his little head going right/left taking it all in. He's sweet and I got to see more of his personality 1:1

Gator always gets quality time because he commands it lol and he always stays up for a couple hours after their morning meal. He likes attention.

Enclosure Renovation pics: the tank is divided by tall garden bricks, in the middle is a row of plants-the hides are flush against the brick separated by flowers. Panda on the right since that was his side of choice and included his favorite plants and personal pool that he never uses and he's completed burrowed in pic- in the substrate not the hide, neither of them have ever used their hides. Gator has the left with his favorite plants and he's still up from the morning waiting for me to cave and give him more food. Both have heat and upgraded UVB. I think this should hold them until I figure out ideas for their next upgrade.

Thank you all again, have a great weekend!!
 

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tortadise

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Fantastic! As stated above keep these very moist and humid. We raise these and it’s family species 100% aquatic when young and as adults. Looks like a great start for them though.
 
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