More Eastern box turtle questions

HerpMS

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It's been a week now since I adopted an eastern box turtle from a family that couldn't keep her anymore. I set the enclosure up like other box turtle owners recommended on the forum- she has a place plenty big to soak, a shady area, and some rocks and plants in her enclosure. A lot of times when I check on her she's buried herself and just has her head poking out of the substrate.

Is the normal behavior for a box turtle? I don't want to do anything wrong for her, I've been trying to get her on a better diet and everything so she gets the lifestyle she missed out on in her old home. I wasn't sure if she could still be adjusting to her new house, if it's normal, or if I'm doing something wrong. Thanks!!
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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I don't think your doing anything really wrong because ImageUploadedByTortForum1394765436.284962.jpg
 
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lynnedit

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For the first few weeks she will hide with her head poking out a lot. In fact, they do that quite a bit! Especially at first, that is the safest place to be when you are not familiar with the lay of the land.

With my shy Eastern I would put her veggie/greens/fruit mix out the night before and mist it. When I looked in the am, the food was partially eaten and she was back with her head poking out.
Eventually, she would start to emerge when I appeared in the morning with worms, etc. :D
 

Saleama

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Completly normal. If you can, set her lights up on a timer to come on very early and put her food in at night before you go to bed. I have some that are early risers and they are up around 5am hunting and what not, and I have others that are night owls and they come out just before the lights turn off and they hang out in the dark. Then there are some I never see because if the lights are on, they are under ground. I know they come out because there is dirt in the water dish every morning and fewer crickets as well. No worries. Try holding a worm out to her when her head is poking out. Eventially she will not be able to resist and before you kno it you will be hand feeding her.
 

HerpMS

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I put some worms in for her yesterday and sat as far away from her enclosure as possible, but could still see her. She stared right at them and sure enough within about 2 minutes she was out and chowing down on them! I was just happy to see her eat and enjoy them. I know she's been moving around because there's dirt in the water like you mentioned.

She's been pretty finicky with eating, but LOVED the worms! What are the best things like that to feed her? I don't know how to find worms consistently to give her.
 

lynnedit

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Depending on where you live, and if your yard is untreated, you can scavenge for pill bugs (rollie pollies), snails (I have to slightly crush them for my BT-ewww- because she can't get a grip with her mouth otherwise), slugs, grubs.
Mealworms that you buy at pet stores are OK, but don't get extra large ones as the outer casing of the worms can be hard to digest. Sprinkle them with Reptical with vitamin D if your BT is inside. There are also superworms, waxworms, etc. as well.

You can order earthworms or Red wrigglers online (they sell them in bait stores and even places like Walmart, but who knows what they have been fed :O ). Based on someone's suggestion, I keep them in a small Rubbermaid bin with topoil. I add the food she doesn't eat to it, sprinkled with a little lime (calcium carbonate). I cut out a piece of cardboard to set on top of the dirt. Then I use these to feed her.
You can also give boiled/baked chicken (no sauces/spices), shrimp, etc.
 

HerpMS

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Oh okay! Thank you lynnedit! I had no idea I could give her plain baked chicken, that's definitely easy! Luckily all the rain we're having in Atlanta is bringing out a lot of earthworms and my yard isn't treated, so I've been snatching those up every time I see them this morning. Once the weather dries up I'll try ordering them online since she seems to enjoy them so much. Thank you for the help! :D
 

Saleama

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Do not buy worms from Wal-Mart. While there is nothing wrong with them in general, they sometimes are either frozen or baked to death and unless you check real good, you might get some rotten worms. You can order online for pretty cheap or bite the bullet and pay out the nose at a pet store. I bought a few hundred almost a year ago and I release them into all of my tortoise and turtle cages. They multiply really well and live off of the leavings of the animals. To harvest them, just put a light weight tile somewhere in the habitat, I use the water dish and food tile, and keep that area moist like you should be doing anyway. The worms will hang out under the tiles. No need for digging at all. I lift up the tile, grab them before they can hide, and toss them in the water dish for the boxies to go to town! This spring I will also set up a cricket or worm tank on my patio. Keep them moist and fed and they do the rest, lol.
 

HerpMS

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That's a great idea, I might set up a worm tank this spring too. If I order a bunch I can just separate them and dump a bunch in the tortoise tanks and the rest into a worm tank so they can reproduce. I've kept snails that way before and they multiplied pretty fast, so hopefully I'll have success with worms too!
 

lynnedit

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The tile on the ground (one side slightly propped)also works in the yard for snails/ slugs, etc
 

Saleama

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Oh, and chicken is good but remember, no spices when you cook it. Raw lean beef is ok as is raw or boiled shrimp. If you do feed these, make sure to remove what is not eaten pretty quickly and make sure your little guy doesn't drag any away into hiding. My little one drug off a bit of shrimp once that was about the size of a pea and the entire house smelled horrible when I got home from work. Took FOREVER to find it.
 

HerpMS

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Oh boy haha I bet that was a lovely smell to come home to! I think I'll stay away from shrimp just for that reason. :p
 

Saleama

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HerpMS said:
Oh boy haha I bet that was a lovely smell to come home to! I think I'll stay away from shrimp just for that reason. :p

It was.....NOT! LOL. The horrible thing is they seemed to really like it but as you said, no more of that. I will feed them in another area if I decide to give them shrimp again.
 

lynnedit

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That is an excellent site. Their cuttlebones are thick and turtle friendly.
Also any composting web site would be good.
 

HerpMS

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Great! I think I'll order some from Carolina Pet Supply then! I saw they also have a lot of seed mixes and I'd like to order some of those too so I can start growing a whole buffet of tort friendly stuff! :D
 

Saleama

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I order mine from Uncle Jim's worm farm. They ship on Mondays and your worms usually arrive on Thursdays. I get the red Wigglers. They are a bit small but there are alot of them. I take a ball of them and set them in the box turtle table and let them go to town. They double their numbers every 90 days or so. I am having to get another worm tub so they will continue to multiply. I also have some in with the torts so they can eat the stray food stuffs.
 
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