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When is a hatchling ready to leave home? how big or old?

Discussion in 'Water turtles' started by Russian Rehab, Jul 25, 2019.

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  1. Russian Rehab

    Russian Rehab Member

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    How do I know my hatchling musk is strong enough to go to her forever home? I have a 1 week old Common Musk Turtle hatchling who is eating and swimming well. the yoke sack is completely gone and she is active spunky. I have a great forever home lined up for her that is only a short car ride away. my question is how do I know she is ready to head to her forever home? she was 2g at birth and now she is up to 3g. should I wait until she hits a weight or size milestone, a certain number of weeks old, or is her behavior enough to show she is ready?

    if anyone is or knows a common musk turtle breeder they could tag for tips that would be great!
    thank you!
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  2. Pastel Tortie

    Pastel Tortie Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Common musk turtles are comparable in size to Mississippi mud turtles and three-striped mud turtles. I purchased a couple three-striped mud turtle hatchlings in Daytona last year. They were at least the size of a nickel, but smaller than a quarter. Their breeder determines by size, not by hatch date. He wants to see that they're putting on some growth, beyond the "I just hatched!" size (my words, not his).

    Personally, I think the decision on when to hand over a very small, or very young, turtle depends on the familiarity and skill level of the keeper that turtle will be going to. If/when you have any say over it, that is.

    Keep in mind that all three turtles I mentioned are considered a drowning risk as hatchlings. Overheating can also be deadly (all too quickly) for a tiny turtle.

    Let me find some of my research notes on my phone, and then I can suggest some "recommended reading" for the new keeper. And by recommended, I mean mandatory. :p
  3. Pastel Tortie

    Pastel Tortie Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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  4. Pastel Tortie

    Pastel Tortie Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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  5. Pastel Tortie

    Pastel Tortie Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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  6. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I wait until my hatchling turtles are eating well and showing nice growth seams. I like to see them eat readily and also taking pellets as food. I don't like to sell a baby turtle that has not yet learned to take pellets as food. I also go a lot by their activity. I want them to appear strong and active. As hatchlings, they should develop the flight reflex very soon. I like to see that - them scurrying to hide when I approach. That will again disappear as they get used to you and their surroundings - varying by species. But musk turtles are in the middle and tend to keep that flight reflex a bit longer than painted, cooter, spotted, for example. In their first 2 few weeks, if you never see that flight reflex, I feel something is wrong. But keep in mind that will disappear as they get used to you. A musk turtle will also often open its mouth threatening you when picked up. Even babies - so that is a good sign all is well.

    It sounds like you turtle is doing well and showing all the signs I mention. The consideration is then as @Pastel Tortie mentions - the experience level of the new owner. Hatchlings require special care. Musk turtles are great swimmers and very active, fast turtles. They do need a good amount of fake plants in their setup so they can climb to the surface as well as swim to the surface. They need plants to hide in and prefer to hang in plants most of the time. When I go musk turtle hunting with my grandson, most people are surprised that we normally find at least a dozen or so, while they never see any. We know to go to the areas where there a patches of aquatic plants near the shore, and then poke around in the plants. We normally feel the turtle, not see it! Or we will see the tell tale movement in the plants. Sometimes turns out to be a snake, but that's a cool find too!.
  7. Russian Rehab

    Russian Rehab Member

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    everything you mentioned seems to be what she is doing so far accept the "flight" reaction. I tend to see her freeze when I approach then she runs as soon as I move away. is that normal? she is only 8 days old so that could be it to but she seems to be hitting all the other milestones early so I want to make sure I'm understanding what you are describing.
    Thanks for responding
    Nina
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  8. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Yes, that all sounds good. The freezing is a version of the flight reflex that baby musk seem to do. It makes sense as their safety comes in remaining undetected as they are normally basking cryptically hanging in water plants. As I mentioned above, my grandson and I find them by movement in the plants, so those that freeze are actually safer if already hidden.

    8 days is fairly young for me to let a baby go. I really like to see hatch weight at least doubled. That is certainly a Rule I have with tortoise babies. I am not as anal with my aquatic babies about weighing as I just go by growth I can see!
  9. Russian Rehab

    Russian Rehab Member

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    That’s a great tip! Thanks!
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