Tortoise Identification

maureen allenza

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I would have a vet do his beak. Also do a check up.
I started to say take him to vet for overall checkup and his beak has a high degree of overgrowth, but see you did that, good move. He's a beautiful tort! Don't be discouraged. With this forum and a good vet you will be able to give him a good life! You love him and are committed to him, by investigating this site! Good luck to you tort mom and your new baby
 

MeredithkhK

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I started to say take him to vet for overall checkup and his beak has a high degree of overgrowth, but see you did that, good move. He's a beautiful tort! Don't be discouraged. With this forum and a good vet you will be able to give him a good life! You love him and are committed to him, by investigating this site! Good luck to you tort mom and your new baby

Thank you so much!!! I love Iced Tea and I cannot thank you guys enough for welcoming me to your community!
 

maggie3fan

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It's great that you're trying to improve the turtles care, and man does need it! As previously stated, his beak is seriously overgrown. I would recommend a vet doing the corrective action (it's one thing to know you need to file it down, it's another thing to actually hold a turtle and cut its beak with clippers or a file or a hand power tool...) His shell it also deformed. And his nails are too long. Why all these problems? Because it was given poor husbandry (improper care). This is yet another example how love for a turtle (or any pet I guess) does not supersede its needs for proper care for its species. All the previously mentioned suggestions will help and I agree. However, I would strongly consider housing the turtle outside - as nature intended. No heat lamps needed (the SUN takes care of that). No UVB special lamps needed (the SUN takes care of that). No worries about overgrown beaks and nails (foraging around in his enclosure will keep them filed down NATURALLY). No worries about substrate or humidity or any of that because nature provides! Sure, you can supplement his enclosure but nature will do most of the heavy lifting. He will be able to self regulate his temperature as long as there are shady and sunny areas to move to in his enclosure. Living in a box in a house there are only so many places to go. If you have it too hot, he can't get away. Too cold, he can't find heat. Substrate do shallow, he can't burrow down. Too "soft" and his beak and nails grow un-checked. To little humidity, he's gonna suffer. YOU may think it all appears fine (heat, humidity, etc,) but only he knows really. I see you're in Georgia and even though Ornate's are not native to your state, it's plenty warm there for them to live outside.

Another factor to consider is Ornate's are not a beginners turtle. They are harder to care for than say Three Toed's. Ornate's develop respitory infections, ear abscesses, etc.. more readily and you have to recognize them and treat before they get to far along. Time and money involved - especially when a vet is needed (notice I said when not if a vet is needed). And then you have to make sure you're dealing with a vet who knows turtles - less vets out there than cat and dog vets. So things to consider.

Not trying to preach. Only trying to give you help and things to consider before you make spending and husbandry decisions. I have rescued many turtles from Craigslist owners who no doubt loved their turtles but eventually got bored of them, caring for them, the expense involved, or the turtle just slowly degraded over time from bad conditions and they are eventually given up for adoption. It's sad how deformed and mal-nourished they get. Many of them were simply crossing the road one day and were unlucky enough to be doing it when a car drove by and the driver decided today was a good day to "resuce" a turtle. From the turtles viewpoint, I doubt they felt "rescued".

Hope this helps. Ask questions and the folks on here are good at providing answers.

I have also read and been told that ornata are hard to keep but that is not my experience. I have a small herd of ornata, not 1 URTI, never an ear abscess, never an eating problem. They are my favorite box turtle. All the turtles I keep are in an outside pen weather permitting, and inside in large tort tables at night. I live in a rural area with predators. I don't believe it's necessary to take a chance of losing any to hibernation, I don't breed anything but birds. She has 1 small turtle and she is inexperienced right now it's important for her to get him set up correctly she can worry about getting him outside in a few months.
100_2862.JPG
 

maggie3fan

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Also ornate box turtles are omnivores so they to feed worms and crickets and vegetables And lots of greens and leafy greens. Sometimes you can give fruits as a treat but they are high in sugar so don’t feed often.
Fruit may be bad for some species of tortoise, but box turtles have fruit as part of a varied diet, berries, peaches, apples, grapes plums all fruit. To box turtles fruit is NOT a treat, it's what they eat in the wild
 

ZenHerper

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I have also read and been told that ornata are hard to keep but that is not my experience. I have a small herd of ornata, not 1 URTI, never an ear abscess, never an eating problem. They are my favorite box turtle. All the turtles I keep are in an outside pen weather permitting, and inside in large tort tables at night. I live in a rural area with predators. I don't believe it's necessary to take a chance of losing any to hibernation, I don't breed anything but birds. She has 1 small turtle and she is inexperienced right now it's important for her to get him set up correctly she can worry about getting him outside in a few months.
View attachment 318734

I agree with maggie3fan.

An animal that has been in captivity across 2-3 generations and is in questionable health? Not at all a candidate for outdoors. If the shell and bones interfere with the turtle's ability to burrow or close the hinge, there is a very high risk of failure. It is acclimated to indoor temps, and is used to not hunting/foraging/swimming.

There is no reason to assume that this Ornata will not be an easy keeper...it just needs to have its care improved. Which the OP seems keen to do.

******************
...Hi all!! I just received this tortoise from my mother-in-law (his name is Ice Tea) I am trying to identify what breed of tortoise he is so that I can give him the best care I can! He has mostly been eating pellet type food and I would love to find out the optimal diet for his breed. I am starting to introduce fresh greens into his diet. ...

Turtles and tortoises are fundamentally different in a number of ways, including diet. Turtles naturally eat fruit and need the specific nutrients that fruit provides. A mature adult should be offered equal parts meat proteins, fruit, dark green vegetation. Since it's my guess he was wild caught, he should take to a natural diet very well once the beak is reshaped (it will be hard to catch live prey until then - try a firm lump of meat-only cat food in the meantime).
 

MeredithkhK

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CE8893B7-CDB4-4BAB-9EE6-83277886D872.jpeg E79747BC-F89D-4DE3-8D08-1032A0C3D910.jpeg B1BEE192-9D56-420B-AE22-CC644CF6ABF7.jpeg

I got her beak trimmed! The vet told me she was a girl!!! I will probably be changing her name! Unfortunately her beak is so deformed it will never be perfect. The vet and I will continue shaping her beak over the next couple of months. She had a wellness exam done and has a few infections but she is on meds now and we are clearing her up! She also had some blood work done and she is in good health minus everything else. This is her new tank, I consulted the vet on everything in there! Please let me know what else you think she might need in there and thank you all for your help! I should also mention that the vet specializes in reptiles and exotic animals
 

ZenHerper

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That's gotta feel much better! 'Can't wait to see her face covered in slug guts. lol

A water feature with a steep edge can cause falls...I'm not sure she has enough strength and range of motion to get back upright, especially in a bowl-shape. Although box turtle manage well in water, one stuck upside down can still drown.

To modify the one you have, make sure it is not tipped back into the wall...if there is a slope, it should be in favor of her rolling toward an exit point. Get some flat river rock or a bag of aquarium pebbles to give the bottom some purchase...I've seen plastic crafting canvas used to make textured bottoms and ramps as well.

Keep the substrate moist (not mud-soupy, but never, ever dry). If you add a layer of fir bark (sold as 'orchid' bark for gardeners) on top, that will help her keep her footing.

Your thermometer/hygrometer is way too high...you want to know the temp/humidity down at her level. Most of those spring-dial ones don't hold up well over time and need to be re-calibrated often (if they can be - most are just disposable). Digital sensor units with probes are much more accurate, reliable, and long-lasting...the probe cords allow you to place them where you want them, independent of where you want to put the readout housing.
 
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MeredithkhK

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That's gotta feel much better! 'Can't wait to see her face covered in slug guts. lol

A water feature with a steep edge can cause falls...I'm not sure she has enough strength and range of motion to get back upright, especially in a bowl-shape. Although box turtle manage well in water, one stuck upside down can still drown.

To modify the one you have, make sure it is not tipped back into the wall...if there is a slope, it should be in favor of her rolling toward an exit point. Get some flat river rock or a bag of aquarium pebbles to give the bottom some purchase...I've seen plastic crafting canvas used to make textured bottoms and ramps as well.

Keep the substrate moist (not mud-soupy, but never, ever dry). If you add a layer of fir bark (sold as 'orchid' bark for gardeners) on top, that will help her keep her footing.

Your thermometer/hygrometer is way too high...you want to know the temp/humidity down at her level. Most of those spring-dial ones don't hold up well over time and need to be re-calibrated often (if they can be - most are just disposable). Digital sensor units with probes are much more accurate, reliable, and long-lasting...the probe cords allow you to place them where you want them, independent of where you want to put the readout housing.


Thank you for the tips! I will lower her meter and fix her water feature! Do you have a brand recommendation for the sensor? The one I bought was the best one I could find at petsmart so I am not attached at all.
 

ZenHerper

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Thank you for the tips! I will lower her meter and fix her water feature! Do you have a brand recommendation for the sensor? The one I bought was the best one I could find at petsmart so I am not attached at all.

They're pretty easy to find at better prices with any retailers that sell home & garden supplies...for ex, search your favorite online national box store for "digital thermometer hygrometer probe". Inventory for everything has been shaky this year, so read recent reviews.
 

m irwin

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I have also read and been told that ornata are hard to keep but that is not my experience. I have a small herd of ornata, not 1 URTI, never an ear abscess, never an eating problem. They are my favorite box turtle. All the turtles I keep are in an outside pen weather permitting, and inside in large tort tables at night. I live in a rural area with predators. I don't believe it's necessary to take a chance of losing any to hibernation, I don't breed anything but birds. She has 1 small turtle and she is inexperienced right now it's important for her to get him set up correctly she can worry about getting him outside in a few months.
View attachment 318734
I have also read and been told that ornata are hard to keep but that is not my experience. I have a small herd of ornata, not 1 URTI, never an ear abscess, never an eating problem. They are my favorite box turtle. All the turtles I keep are in an outside pen weather permitting, and inside in large tort tables at night. I live in a rural area with predators. I don't believe it's necessary to take a chance of losing any to hibernation, I don't breed anything but birds. She has 1 small turtle and she is inexperienced right now it's important for her to get him set up correctly she can worry about getting him outside in a few months.
View attachment 318734
I agree the turtle should be healthy before placing it outside. Having said that though, I strive to keep mine in the most naturalistic setting possible, which would be outside. Living its life in a box or glass enclosure indoors is not what nature intended and the owner has to constantly be battling the indoor human environment to alter it to the turtles' liking (heat lamps, UV lamps, humidity control, substrate, equipment failure, equipment in-adequacy, power outages, water dishes, no rain, etc...) Outside, none of those issues. Yes, there are new issues like the presence of predators as you pointed out. Turtles are pretty tough though, they evolved over millennia without human intervention. Give it good home in the outdoors and let 'em do their thing. If you've never had an ear or respitory infection, you're obviously dong something right - good job. I live in the city and have just as many predators as you do - the place is a regular African savanah at night with raccoons, opossums, coyote's, skunks, etc... I had no idea how prolific they were until I installed a night vision camera. I ended up putting up an electric fence around the enclosure to keep them out. Not that they were in the enclosure at night all the time (it happened), but I don't want them in there at all. The electric fence seemed to do the trick.

I was worried about my hibernating turtle's this past week when it dipped to negative degree's here in North Texas. But yesterday, the sun was out and a few came out of their leaf piles and caught some rays! I was happy to know they took those frigid conditions (much much colder than they have ever been since living with me) in stride.
 

maggie3fan

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I agree the turtle should be healthy before placing it outside. Having said that though, I strive to keep mine in the most naturalistic setting possible, which would be outside. Living its life in a box or glass enclosure indoors is not what nature intended and the owner has to constantly be battling the indoor human environment to alter it to the turtles' liking (heat lamps, UV lamps, humidity control, substrate, equipment failure, equipment in-adequacy, power outages, water dishes, no rain, etc...) Outside, none of those issues. Yes, there are new issues like the presence of predators as you pointed out. Turtles are pretty tough though, they evolved over millennia without human intervention. Give it good home in the outdoors and let 'em do their thing. If you've never had an ear or respitory infection, you're obviously dong something right - good job. I live in the city and have just as many predators as you do - the place is a regular African savanah at night with raccoons, opossums, coyote's, skunks, etc... I had no idea how prolific they were until I installed a night vision camera. I ended up putting up an electric fence around the enclosure to keep them out. Not that they were in the enclosure at night all the time (it happened), but I don't want them in there at all. The electric fence seemed to do the trick.

I was worried about my hibernating turtle's this past week when it dipped to negative degree's here in North Texas. But yesterday, the sun was out and a few came out of their leaf piles and caught some rays! I was happy to know they took those frigid conditions (much much colder than they have ever been since living with me) in stride.

I absolutely agree with you. I have 16 box turtles right now. I operated a small special need turtle and tortoise rescue for several years. My box turtles live outside during the day weather permitting and inside in large tort tables when they have to be kept in and at night, every night.
The OP has 1 small turtle with several health issues so that particular turtle needs special care and should be kept in. Maybe for a few months.
This is where the box turtle pen is, inside of the cinder blocks. The tortoise shed with Sulcata pens surround the box turtle pool and pen

100_5457.JPG
 

m irwin

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My enclosure is also cinder blocks - I looked into all kinds of wall set ups and settled on CB as well. Cheap and easy to re-configure if you want! I will post pics of my enclosure once Spring hits - nothing to really look at now but dead plants and no turtles - boring! Good to make your online "acquaintance"!
 

maggie3fan

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My enclosure is also cinder blocks - I looked into all kinds of wall set ups and settled on CB as well. Cheap and easy to re-configure if you want! I will post pics of my enclosure once Spring hits - nothing to really look at now but dead plants and no turtles - boring! Good to make your online "acquaintance"!
lol...that picture was during fall, now it looks like this
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Marys first taste of snow
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