New Rescue--Box turtle

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Meg90

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So, tonight I was at my moms house, with my cousin and her two little ones (2mos and three going on four) making pancakes while Sarah surfed craigslist, because she's been looking for a dog.

So then she says "oh, look, there's a box turtle in wausau"

And of course, I rush right over. And the ad says "free".

The guy said that the turtle would come with a bag of peat bedding, its floating turtle pellets, and its box turtle food pellets

The ad was up for maybe 15 minutes before I saw it. I emailed him my number, told him I could pick it up tonight, and to give me a call. Less than 5 minutes after I pushed send, the phone rang. Sure, I could pick up the turtle. Did I have my own aquarium, because he was keeping the one he was in, oh, and bring my own box to take it home in.

A half hour later, I was at the guys house to pick up the boxie. He told me He was a REAL picky eater, and wouldn't eat anything that was offered to him, except earth worms.

The poor thing was in a 20 gallon tank, all the bedding was dry, there was NO heat, and NO uvb on it. Just a regular fluorescent tube light with a GE stamp on the bulb. (bit my tongue JUST as I was going to congratulate the guy on having UVB.) Sitting in a tiny dish on top of that bone dry bedding was a mishmash of pellets, and what looked like run of the mill CABBAGE. It was, at one point, wet. But was now a sticky, hard mess. Obviously not new.

I was shocked. He reached in, dug him up, and handed him to me. The turtle itself was cold. I put him in the tupper ware bin I had brought, and right away he starting walking, climbing, was not shy at all.

And its poor beak....one of the worst cases I have ever seen in person. I don't know how he expected it to eat at all.


I think, what I have just rescued is a female eastern box turtle. Her eyes are brown, and her tail is short, and stubby. Her shell has some flaking on it, I'm not sure if it can be seen in the pictures. It doesn't look like rot to me, but if someone knows what it is from, let me know.

I soaked her at my moms house, for about 5 minutes in warm water in front of a space heater, and offered blueberries and mushroom. She wouldn't eat, but a little later, had a bowel movement. It was very wet looking, squishy, but still had a little form to it, and smelled TERRIBLE. I know what healthy poop smells like, and that wasn't it.

I have a red light on her (the spot where she is sitting is close to 80F) and she is on peat, but I moistened it, so that it packs, but no liquid can be squeezed out. I don't know what wattage the bulb is, I got it, and the lamp as a throw in when I bought an exo terra off CL about two weeks ago. They sure came in handy tonight.

If she is a girl, I plan to call her Eglantine. But I am not 100% sure. Her tail looks almost like something nipped the end off of it. Her eyes, say girl, but she's prolly under 5 inches (will measure and weight tomorrow--and clearer pics too I hope) so I suppose it could be a young male...

Here are some pics:

Her over grown beak :(
femaleboxturtle08-30-09001.jpg

femaleboxturtle08-30-09003.jpg

femaleboxturtle08-30-09002.jpg


femaleboxturtle08-30-09007.jpg

femaleboxturtle08-30-09009.jpg


See what I mean about her tail?? And there is definately something wrong with her back feet/legs. See how they are bowed like that? Her nails are also twisty. They look soft to me. Again, I didn't mess with her too much, I figured just the move was stressful enough.
femaleboxturtle08-30-09008.jpg


femaleboxturtle08-30-09012.jpg

femaleboxturtle08-30-09013.jpg


Her temp setup:
femaleboxturtle08-30-09006.jpg


(she's still in that spot, buried her head, and is sleeping, I would surmise.)

Please give info, suggestions, identifications.....I haven't had a boxie for years. And though I might want to, I don't think I can keep her long term. I am getting my new baby from Danny on Tuesday morning, and with school starting this Wednesday, and still working 4 out of 7 days I have VERY full hands.
 

Yvonne G

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This is typical of a box turtle that hasn't received the correct care. First the tail, then the nails, then the legs seem to grow too long, and of course, the beak.

You can trim the beak either with a Dremmel tool, or a toe nail clipper. But if you clip, you have to be very careful and only take a small bite at a time.

They should eat mostly veggies, fruit, and only a bit of wiggly stuff. They get addicted to live food and will turn up their nose at the veggies and fruit until you cave.

I have found that if I soak some trout chow and mix it in with the veggies they eat better. Trout chow smells pretty strong. If you can't find Trout Chow, you can try any pelleted fish food, or even the turtle pellets. Just anything for the smell. In fact, if she's used to eating the pellets, that's one problem solved.

She's a pretty little thing. With good care you can now turn her around. She's not real deformed yet. I think she was rescued just in time.

Yvonne
 

Meg90

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I'm kind of afraid to clip her myself...is it real traumatic? Should I buy a new nail clippers to make sure they are sharp enough? I want her to be more comfortable, but I hope you can understand my apprehension. Is there any bleeding?

I thought she had MBD....poor gal.

What else can I offer her to get her eating? (not live) I am going to try strawberries and spring mix in the morning. Can I offer mazuri? I have the tort variety...where can I get trout chow? I will totally order it off line, if that's what it takes. I want her to be healthy.

My hope is for her to go to a boxie experienced home, where she will never be bred. But you never know...I just might end up keeping her. I get so attached to rescues. Really quickly too, I might add :)
 

dmmj

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I always prowl craoiglist in my area for people who want to give up turtles. I usually take in about 5 a month, mostly RES and then find them good homes thru the turtle club. I am no expert but does she look pale to anyone else? or is that normal for their skin. Nice looking shell though. If you hae a petstore nearby they usually sell the turtle floating pellets. It awlays amazes me in this day and age with all the info avaiable via the net that people can still provide such shabby care for boxies. Good luck, Sincerely David.
 

Stazz

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Meg, you have such a big beautiful heart !!! What a lucky boxie to be saved by you. It sickens me how people can own a pet and not do the research, and this is the result. Grrrr. I can imagine though, I know I too would get seriously attached to a rescue really quickly! He/she really is lovely though, and I know for a fact she'll be getting great care at your home :p

P.S dmmj...finally know your name, David :) COOL! Always wondered hehe
 

jlyoncc1

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Glad you have her Meg. My boxies love shredded butternut squash. Plus a squash will keep forever in the fridge. I then mix in different things for variety. Berries sometimes other veggies other times. I always mix in turtle brittle that you can get off the internet from a company I think that is called Nesco. I will look though. I don't mix my live things with the squash because I don't want them not to eat it if they are not in there. I have had many rescue boxies that said they only eat bugs but they seem to love this mixture. Good Luck!
 

egyptiandan

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It is a female Eastern box turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina, Meg. :D
She's wild caught, so has probably been in captivity not very long (I'd say just last year as her beak isn't that long). There would be no problems letting her breed that I can see. :D
Seeing as she is WC, your probably going to have to go with the wigglies to get her eating again. After she is eating you can add in fruits and veggies. :D

Danny
 

bettinge

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Great story Meg, I am anxious to hear how she progresses over the next few weeks!

What are you going to collage for? Hope its something animal related!
 

jlyoncc1

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Meg, The company I get the turtle brittle from is NASCO 1-800-558-9595. Hope this helps.
 

Isa

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Aww Meg, she is beautiful, Congratulations :D
You are an amazing person!! Now, Eglantine is going to know what it is to live a happy life and how nice it is to have someone who cares about you :)
 

Crazy1

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Meg congrats on the wonderful rescue. She is lovely. I think Boxies are so cute. I know you will get her eating right in no time. She seems so friendly, not scared at all. Great work Meg you do have a Great big heart for Chelonia, heck all Reptiles. :D
 

Meg90

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Should the butternut squash be cooked or raw? Can she have black/raspberries? (wondering because of the seeds)

Also, turtle brittle will cost me 25$ total w/ shipping for a 5lb bag :( I'm going to give her some time with fresh veggies, and the occasional earth worms (thank god walmart still carries them) and see how she fares. I am going to save that as a last resort, because if she doesn't like it, I'm out 25$ and have no one else to offer it to.

Can I give her soaked mazuri?

Also, can anyone give me step by step instructions as to how to clip a beak? (if you have any pictures, or befores/afters I would love see those too)

I'm going to give her all I've got, and we shall see if that makes any difference.

I'm actually starting classes this semester for my Zoology degree. I want to become a Herpetologist. :D I'm walking to school in a bit, and then will do a walmart run, once I am more sure of food offerings.

Thanks everybody!
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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Meg, cook the squash then shred it up for her. You can feed the berries too, I am collecting them wild for my spoiled box turtles.

Some people go out and pay money to buy a turtle off of someone else and then because the turtle was mistreated they call it a 'rescue'. But that's not a rescue, what you did is a rescue and that turtle is so lucky you took her. I know she will be a little bit of trouble for you right now, but just put her in a rubbermaid tub with a basking light, you can use just an incandescent 100 watt bulb for now. Box turtles eat fruit mine love cantaloupe but they aren't big lettuce eaters. What Yvonne said about them locking in on live food is exactly correct, I am going thru that with an Eastern that I have. When I first got her she ate anything, then I offered her a night crawler and she hasn't taken a bite of a berry since then and I cave in after 5 or 6 days and give her another couple of worms.
You've already gotten some good advice, my advice would be to actually walk yourself down to a pet or fish store and buy $3 of trout chow, don't spend $25 on line...do it the old fashioned way...:D
 

Nay

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Hi Meg, for the beak it really is not that hard. The worse part is holding her head out and it feels cruel. I will send pics if you want when my son comes home. Hold her in your palm and have your two first fingers underneath sticking up, near the front. When the head comes out between the two, close them. If you don't get it far enough back near the shell, she will easily wiggle out and be afraid the next time. So be prepared , she will not like it, but they don't hold a grudge for long. A dremel is nice, but use it on dogs claws or some wood first to get the feel of it, I would just get a metal nail file, or a very corse nail file, it may get a little trashed, but they work well. You want to go perpendicular to the shell and be level, you can file till you get it nice and even if she has her mouth open, or just do one side at a time, careful not to rub against the bottom beak.
She will feel so much better. Hope you could get the visuals!
Na
 

jlyoncc1

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Meg, I have never cooked the squash. I just shred it and mix what I am going to mix with it. Never have had a problem.
 

terryo

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What a great save Meg. I soak Mazuri til it swells up a bit, and then I add chopped veggies, fruit. They love it. Even Lil Chewy loves this mix now.
 

Meg90

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Well, all I have gotten her to eat in the last five days is three night crawlers today, and two super worms yesterday. :(

I've offered: Blue berries, banana, peach, spring mix, tomato, radicchio....she won't touch anything. She looks at it like its not food at all. I am offering some mazuri tonight.

I always mist just before I set food down as well, to try and get her in the mood (its a red foot trick--thought it would work for her) Her light goes on at 7 just like everyone else's, and stays on til 8. She was out on the patio yesterday, with half of the bin shaded, to get some real sun. Her idea of enjoying it, of course, was to dig down. :) I haven't been brave enough to try trimming her beak. I am gonna call my local reptile vet, and see how much it would cost.

Does anyone have any other tips???
 

tortoisenerd

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If you can get her to eat the worms, seems like you should keep going for as many of those as you can get her to eat, and hope she'll get a taste for the other stuff soon (keep a little out at all times and if she goes for it, add more). Is her weight ok for right now, or are you worried by her not eating? With a normal weight, remember how long they can last. No need to worry excessively right now. Don't have any specific advice because I'm not a turtle person!

I would think a vet check up would also be a good idea. They may take care of the beak for less money as part of a check up too. Best wishes.
 

Meg90

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Ok, so weighed Egg today. That was about all she would allow me to do, I got an "approximate" measurement for her. But she was moving around, so it could be a quarter inch off either way. She's topping out at 564g and what looks like 5.5" SCL

Here are some better pictures of her problems. I found a patch of shell rot today as well. :( I do have some one with boxie experience interested in adopting her, but I am not sure what they will think with all the extra info.

twisted nails
Eglantine55in564g007.jpg


Skinny? Dehydrated? She has a dish that she can get in and out of full of fresh water, and I mist twice a day.
Eglantine55in564g013.jpg


Scute damage/ shell peeling (pics of what I was talking about that first night)
Eglantine55in564g010.jpg

Eglantine55in564g023.jpg


Shell rot: (I would have cleaned it, but weighing and measuring seemed to really upset her. I will save that for later.)
Eglantine55in564g015.jpg

Eglantine55in564g015.jpg

Eglantine55in564g028.jpg



she still refuses all other non-living food items. I am at a loss with her.
 
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