Question on substrate

Is3997

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Jan 5, 2020
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Lombard Illinois
Hello looking for advice. I’m using a hemp ground mulch in the enclosure of the ornate box I have been told is about 22 years old from what I was told by the last owner. I’m the third caretaker. I had this one 2 years. I believe it to be correct after evaluating the plastern growth lines. Has an outdoor enclosure in warmer weather. Ubv and heat lamps maintain 73-74 f on the cool end 85-88 at the heat lamp. Daily soaking 15-20 mins .maintained weight 13.6 oz to 14.2 in the last 2 years. Free range in the house during the day in the winter hides in the drapes , wandering to find sun depending on weather. Since I’ve had the tort it eats very poorly but maintains it weight super worms refuses vegetables dandelion s kale and most fruits . Has box turtle kibble available. I calcium dust the worms. It is Intentionally interactive with the dogs will seek them out in different rooms. Please advise on what I should be doing and how do you encourage dietary changes. It’s not a wild caught so there’s no opportunity to reintroduce into the wild. Not that I’m planning on that option. It seems to have no avoidance of to people or other things.
 

wellington

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Should never be allowed to roam the house, should never be allowed near dogs or dogs near him. All very dangerous and deadly. Even the best trained dog, living for years around a tortoise/turtle has been known to kill or injure. We seen it too many times. A proper sized enclosure inside in out is all that's needed
They also need to bask under a heat bulb that reaches 95-100 in order to properly digest their food. Please make needed changes.
As for diet, chop new items up small and mix with favorite items. Spritz with water to help it all stick together. He will have too eat the new to get the old.
 

ZenHerper

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Your boxie may be seeking out the dogs as a source of heat. The floor is far colder than air temperatures above your ankles.

Keepers construct elaborate enclosures for a number of reasons, and one of them is to simulate an appropriate natural Climate. North American boxies don't need crazy-heat-and-humidity, but they do need heat-and-humidity. If not being left outside to brumate in winter, your BT will need to have its temperature gradient maintained so it can digest and run all of its other physiological processes.

Hemp mulch: it is very soft, it can hold a good bit of moisture. Moisture good; soft maybe not so good. Turtles keep their muscles conditioned by walking on compacted ground surfaces. The ground outside is for the most part rough and hard, giving purchase to those grippy nails and powerful legs. If you see your BT moving in a more swimming-like motion through or across the top of the mulch, change to a more compact substrate such as a coco coir-bark mix which will pack down quicker and provide resistance for natural walking while holding enough water for burrowing.
 

maggie3fan

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It is dangerous and very unwise to force that turtle out of it's familiar tort habitat to roam around the floor. As Yvonne says, it's simply too cold and it stresses them out, really. Take off your clothes and lay on your kitchen floor...cold huh.
They like berries. Get black berries, strawberries, blueberries...Also try raspberries and it will love you for it. They enjoy sitting in water, so I use a frisbee to sit in. Ornata are slightly harder to keep in captivity than other box turtles. Remember...that it can only eat what YOU feed it but if you get it set up correctly and feed the foods they need, they are very easier keepers. Tough love here is necessary...offer it the right foods, it will eat or it won't...but it won't starve itself, so don't you give up. feed the right stuff and sooner or later it will eat... 071.JPG 003.JPG
 

Madame Terrapene

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I don't know about hemp ground mulch, but in my outdoor habitats I use a sandy mix of topsoil, peat and hardwood mulch. Then I let the weeds grow wild in it.

For indoor habitats I use 2 inches or more of playsand topped with 1 inch of Reptibark. I then pour in water until the sand is damp (not soaking). Box turtles have humidity requirements to keep their lungs and body healthy. Household humidity levels are way too low as-is for box turtles and it's for that reason, as well as keeping the turtle safe, that I recommend putting together an indoor turtle bin with live potted plants. Here's my basic design for an egg-laying female (has a deep sandy end for nesting).


20180507_143504.jpg
For appetite stimulation, a quality canned puppy food with veggies mixed in is a good start. I like Wellness or Blue Buffalo brand. Another tip, which was a game changer for me....try brumating your turtle (if they're healthy enough). I used to have some durn picky eaters until I started brumating. Now when they resume eating in the Spring they pound the veggies. Makes momma proud.

Good luck!
 

Tom

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I don't know about hemp ground mulch, but in my outdoor habitats I use a sandy mix of topsoil, peat and hardwood mulch. Then I let the weeds grow wild in it.

For indoor habitats I use 2 inches or more of playsand topped with 1 inch of Reptibark. I then pour in water until the sand is damp (not soaking). Box turtles have humidity requirements to keep their lungs and body healthy. Household humidity levels are way too low as-is for box turtles and it's for that reason, as well as keeping the turtle safe, that I recommend putting together an indoor turtle bin with live potted plants. Here's my basic design for an egg-laying female (has a deep sandy end for nesting).


View attachment 288084
For appetite stimulation, a quality canned puppy food with veggies mixed in is a good start. I like Wellness or Blue Buffalo brand. Another tip, which was a game changer for me....try brumating your turtle (if they're healthy enough). I used to have some durn picky eaters until I started brumating. Now when they resume eating in the Spring they pound the veggies. Makes momma proud.

Good luck!
Sand should never be used as a substrate with any turtle or tortoise. Its a big impaction risk and possible skin and eye irritant. Not even sand mixes.
 

Is3997

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Jan 5, 2020
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Location (City and/or State)
Lombard Illinois
It is dangerous and very unwise to force that turtle out of it's familiar tort habitat to roam around the floor. As Yvonne says, it's simply too cold and it stresses them out, really. Take off your clothes and lay on your kitchen floor...cold huh.
They like berries. Get black berries, strawberries, blueberries...Also try raspberries and it will love you for it. They enjoy sitting in water, so I use a frisbee to sit in. Ornata are slightly harder to keep in captivity than other box turtles. Remember...that it can only eat what YOU feed it but if you get it set up correctly and feed the foods they need, they are very easier keepers. Tough love here is necessary...offer it the right foods, it will eat or it won't...but it won't starve itself, so don't you give up. feed the right stuff and sooner or later it will eat... View attachment 287198 View attachment 287199
Thanks
 
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