Referral Request/Advice Request

Fredley83

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Hello...I hope I’ve come to the right place. In mid-June I found a 3-legged baby box turtle in our driveway. I’ve kept it in an aquarium & have been doing the “hunting” for it...catching roly polies, worms, slugs, etc. as well as giving it fruits & veggies. My concern is it is completely avoiding all except the proteins. Is that normal for babies? Ideally I’d like to find someone who will take it & give it the best care...a refuge of some sort would be nice. Can anybody here direct me to such a place or person? And in the meantime give me a good “Raising box turtles 101” website? I’d appreciate it! That’s “Mittsu” (“3” in Japanese) on the left beside one of our older wild, riverside turtles.;)
 
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Yvonne G

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Why did you feel you had to bring it in and set it up in an aquarium? If you have native box turtles living in your area, couldn't you have just left it alone outside? Three legs or four, they get by quite well on their own.
 

Fredley83

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Why did you feel you had to bring it in and set it up in an aquarium? If you have native box turtles living in your area, couldn't you have just left it alone outside? Three legs or four, they get by quite well on their own.
It was so tiny & the shell was soft...we live on 8 acres on a river & have raccoons galore down here (I see b/w 5 & 8 almost every night). I read on several sites that said baby boxes are like walking Oreos...that predators will snack on them limb by limb. So I figured it stood a better chance with me...at least until it grows a little. Was that not the right thing to do? 3 legs puts it at a disadvantage no?
 

jeff kushner

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Fredley, I'm a firm believer in "going with your gut" in nearly every decision and you did, taking everything into consideration, you made a choice. Personally I agree and applaud your decision!

Many however, will disagree with your choice, some will spend time telling you the legalities......but understand, many of us also know you are just trying to save a turtles life....so keep the "thick skin" on and don't get twisted if someone expresses their own opinion.

jeff
 

ZenHerper

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It was so tiny & the shell was soft...we live on 8 acres on a river & have raccoons galore down here (I see b/w 5 & 8 almost every night). I read on several sites that said baby boxes are like walking Oreos...that predators will snack on them limb by limb. So I figured it stood a better chance with me...at least until it grows a little. Was that not the right thing to do? 3 legs puts it at a disadvantage no?
Turtles are often born with a missing foot, or may indeed have been "snacked" on. That a wee one can escape a predator and heal speaks to its ability to contribute fitness to the ongoing population where you live.

Taking a hatchling away from its native land and teaching it that food just comes to it will damage its ability to survive when released at a later age.

It really is best for all box turtles - and kindest to this foundling in specific - for it to be taken back to where it was found so that it can begin using its fully functional instincts to hunt, hide, escape, survive, and reproduce. (It is actually illegal to collect box turtles from the wild in Alabama: http://www.alabamaherps.com/laws & status.htm )

There is a robust captive-bred population of box turtles readily available at this time of year. Captive-bred animals make much better study animals for critter lovers, and they don't experience the constant low-grade stress that wild ones do.

Forex:
 

Fredley83

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Alabama
Turtles are often born with a missing foot, or may indeed have been "snacked" on. That a wee one can escape a predator and heal speaks to its ability to contribute fitness to the ongoing population where you live.

Taking a hatchling away from its native land and teaching it that food just comes to it will damage its ability to survive when released at a later age.

It really is best for all box turtles - and kindest to this foundling in specific - for it to be taken back to where it was found so that it can begin using its fully functional instincts to hunt, hide, escape, survive, and reproduce. (It is actually illegal to collect box turtles from the wild in Alabama: http://www.alabamaherps.com/laws & status.htm )

There is a robust captive-bred population of box turtles readily available at this time of year. Captive-bred animals make much better study animals for critter lovers, and they don't experience the constant low-grade stress that wild ones do.

Forex:
Thank you so very much! This is what I needed to hear...delivered with gentle kindness...as I want what is best for this little baby. I just felt the best recourse was to remove it from the predators (2 weeks ago I witnessed a raccoon wrestling a 3-foot king snake through the leaves under a camellia outside my bedroom window, up and onto our roof. It broke my heart for that snake!) & bring it to safety.
I take it outside daily for exercise in the sun. Knowing what I do (about the wildlife/predators by which I’m surrounded), if you all think I should still release it, please let me know. That’s why I came here! For advice on what I should do. I’ve never ever “captured” the many dozens of boxies where I live...babies nor adults. This one just called out to me, figuratively speaking.
I need to add...no matter where I place it in the grass outside (for exercise), it always ALWAYS treks/comes back to me rather than into the shade or bushes. I didn’t think turtles could become attached, so to speak, to humans. But this one seems to.
Taking all I’ve shared into consideration, would you still advise I release it? I’m open to any & all opinions. Thanks so much!
 

Fredley83

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Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Alabama
Fredley, I'm a firm believer in "going with your gut" in nearly every decision and you did, taking everything into consideration, you made a choice. Personally I agree and applaud your decision!

Many however, will disagree with your choice, some will spend time telling you the legalities......but understand, many of us also know you are just trying to save a turtles life....so keep the "thick skin" on and don't get twisted if someone expresses their own opinion.

jeff
I “heart” this comment, as you deciphered exactly what I was trying to do. I would never take a “normal” turtle from its natural habitat. I’ve been a rescue-girl for all kinds of critters & a couple of times I had people bring me turtles thinking I was living in the best place for one...but, I asked they take them back where they found them. EXACTLY where they found them.
My gut has always told me to leave them alone. And you’re right, my gut told me to pick this one up & bring it to shelter. In fact, I had walked past it on my way to the mailbox (10:00 at night) & told myself that if it was still there when walking back (a 10 minute walk) it was a sign I needed to find out why it was still there. And it was. Still there. Same spot. With three legs & a bum left eye.
Sorry for the lengthy response. But you got it & I thank you for your advice!❣️
 

Fredley83

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Your little guy may not be "attached" or be "bonding" that he chases you down...........he may simply not be stupid and he knows he has found a food source.....YOU!

LOL

PS, I'd pay special attention to what Zen says.......
That’s not good if I need to release her. 🤦🏼‍♀️I don’t want it to become reliant on me for food if it needs to go back out into the wild on Dog River.
It may be bad but when I take Mittsu outside for exercise, every other time I place a worm in the grass ahead of her so she can feel she captured it. I may get blasted for doing that! But I’m here for advice on what I should & shouldn’t do.
 

Eric Phillips

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That’s not good if I need to release her. 🤦🏼‍♀️I don’t want it to become reliant on me for food if it needs to go back out into the wild on Dog River.
It may be bad but when I take Mittsu outside for exercise, every other time I place a worm in the grass ahead of her so she can feel she captured it. I may get blasted for doing that! But I’m here for advice on what I should & shouldn’t
 

Eric Phillips

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Hello…i think Jeff was making a fun point on what we associate sometimes a turtle bonding and the reality of the turtle just wanting food. Just like humans, box turtles have different personalities and quirks that make them each unique, so it’s possible your little one definitely could have an intelligent bond to you. So don’t feel deterred if you have one with it;)

I won’t get into the “whether you should or shouldn’t of removed it from the wild”, however remember in most states these creatures are protected by law and penalties can be severe. This is why we really encourage to leave the wild ones to the wild even if you have to relocate within a mile or so to a safer location and adopt/purchase from a captive breeder. I’m at a point now where many of my once captive bred hatchlings I’ve received are now breeding which in turn helps contribute to the captive bred community and hopefully helps others to not look toward the wild in finding a pet box turtle but to those that can assist on providing CB.

As for feeding…again baby box turtles are individually unique and grow at different rates. I have some that will eat their greens like crazy while others will only want to eat live protein. Just like children you have to come up with some creative ways to get them all to eat a varied diet so they properly grow. I like diets higher in calcium and lower in phosphorus and fat, so there are certain feeders I don’t feed to my hatchlings and yearlings like mealworms. There’s no real nutritional value to those things other than they move and babies will eat them but IMO they’re a disaster for those people that want to feed them on a daily basis.

So here’s a weekly feeding schedule I do for my hatchlings/yearlings:
On Sundays I make a large mash for the week consisting of a pound of lean ground turkey(cooked or raw), 2 sweet potatoes and 1 squash steamed or boiled, 6 boiled eggs shell left on, 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1/2 cup of strawberries or raspberries, half a head of chopped greens(usually a mixture of romaine, mustard, or collard), 1 cup of dried soldier fly larvae(you can get at any feed store like Tractor Supply, and then I mix it all together gently in a food processor. I separate the amounts in a ziplock bag for certain days of the week. Sometimes I will coat the live feeders in the mash or I will put the live feeders on top of the mash. I’ve used raw wild caught salmon to beef liver in substitute of the ground turkey. Sometimes I will sprinkle some cod liver oil into the mash. The mash is fed 3 times a week, I feed Mazuri, tropic zone, zoomed , or hikari pellets 2-3 times a week usually during soaks with the dried black soldier fly larvae, and usually I’ll have a few live feeder days such as small crawdads, small nightcrawlers, horn worms, butter worms, live bsfl, rollies, Dubia roaches, etc.

I hope this helps and good luck with your little one;)
 

maggie3fan

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Please understand, moderators simply do their job. and reminding us that it's not great to take any turtle or tortoise from the wild is part of that. And normally we don't do "blasting" here. We express our opinion exactly like has happened. The Nazi moderator did what she's supposed to do,... to release or not to release and a few other have expressed their opinion. That is what makes this Forum work. So simply take what advice you want, and leave the rest.
BTW...I have several 3 legged turtles... they get along fine...
 

ZenHerper

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Thank you so very much! This is what I needed to hear...delivered with gentle kindness...as I want what is best for this little baby. I just felt the best recourse was to remove it from the predators (2 weeks ago I witnessed a raccoon wrestling a 3-foot king snake through the leaves under a camellia outside my bedroom window, up and onto our roof. It broke my heart for that snake!) & bring it to safety.
I take it outside daily for exercise in the sun. Knowing what I do (about the wildlife/predators by which I’m surrounded), if you all think I should still release it, please let me know. That’s why I came here! For advice on what I should do. I’ve never ever “captured” the many dozens of boxies where I live...babies nor adults. This one just called out to me, figuratively speaking.
I need to add...no matter where I place it in the grass outside (for exercise), it always ALWAYS treks/comes back to me rather than into the shade or bushes. I didn’t think turtles could become attached, so to speak, to humans. But this one seems to.
Taking all I’ve shared into consideration, would you still advise I release it? I’m open to any & all opinions. Thanks so much!
I would take it back to the area where it was found...if you can find a creek or other water source, that would be ideal. Then look for a place under trees where there is a thick pile of leaf loam. That is the sort of stuff that boxies will dig into to hide and hang out looking for worms.

If the leg stump skin is completely closed, it is fine to release it.
 

Fredley83

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Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Alabama
Hello…i think Jeff was making a fun point on what we associate sometimes a turtle bonding and the reality of the turtle just wanting food. Just like humans, box turtles have different personalities and quirks that make them each unique, so it’s possible your little one definitely could have an intelligent bond to you. So don’t feel deterred if you have one with it;)

I won’t get into the “whether you should or shouldn’t of removed it from the wild”, however remember in most states these creatures are protected by law and penalties can be severe. This is why we really encourage to leave the wild ones to the wild even if you have to relocate within a mile or so to a safer location and adopt/purchase from a captive breeder. I’m at a point now where many of my once captive bred hatchlings I’ve received are now breeding which in turn helps contribute to the captive bred community and hopefully helps others to not look toward the wild in finding a pet box turtle but to those that can assist on providing CB.

As for feeding…again baby box turtles are individually unique and grow at different rates. I have some that will eat their greens like crazy while others will only want to eat live protein. Just like children you have to come up with some creative ways to get them all to eat a varied diet so they properly grow. I like diets higher in calcium and lower in phosphorus and fat, so there are certain feeders I don’t feed to my hatchlings and yearlings like mealworms. There’s no real nutritional value to those things other than they move and babies will eat them but IMO they’re a disaster for those people that want to feed them on a daily basis.

So here’s a weekly feeding schedule I do for my hatchlings/yearlings:
On Sundays I make a large mash for the week consisting of a pound of lean ground turkey(cooked or raw), 2 sweet potatoes and 1 squash steamed or boiled, 6 boiled eggs shell left on, 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1/2 cup of strawberries or raspberries, half a head of chopped greens(usually a mixture of romaine, mustard, or collard), 1 cup of dried soldier fly larvae(you can get at any feed store like Tractor Supply, and then I mix it all together gently in a food processor. I separate the amounts in a ziplock bag for certain days of the week. Sometimes I will coat the live feeders in the mash or I will put the live feeders on top of the mash. I’ve used raw wild caught salmon to beef liver in substitute of the ground turkey. Sometimes I will sprinkle some cod liver oil into the mash. The mash is fed 3 times a week, I feed Mazuri, tropic zone, zoomed , or hikari pellets 2-3 times a week usually during soaks with the dried black soldier fly larvae, and usually I’ll have a few live feeder days such as small crawdads, small nightcrawlers, horn worms, butter worms, live bsfl, rollies, Dubia roaches, etc.

I hope this helps and good luck with your little one;)
Thank you for taking time to give me exactly what I was asking for...& in such detail. I sincerely appreciate it! It sounds like you are well-versed on the care & feeding of these wondrous creatures. I live in the best place for a turtle to make their home so I think it’s best I release her before she gets too acclimated to being fed by me. I just wish I could find a way to introduce her slowly back into “the wild” with a large contained space so I could keep a watchful but distant eye to be certain she’s getting the nutrition she needs on her own. That would make me feel better about letting her go.
Thank you again, Eric.🙏🏼🙌🏼👏🏼
 

ZenHerper

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All of the information she needs to live is already present and operational inside her brain at hatching. Reptiles don't need to be taught how to live (like we mammals do lol).

Once she's back in the natural environment, things will go fine.
 
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