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Thread: Questions about CPs, Toxicity and Box Turtles

  1. #1

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    Thumbs down Questions about CPs, Toxicity and Box Turtles

    Hi all,

    First a little about why I'm here. I have a 3 toed box turtle named Sheldon who lives most of the time in a 40 gallon breeder tank where the humidity ranges from 55-80% and temps are 72 - 85F. Lately he developed a problem with gnats, and I got started thinking about incorporating CPs into his habitat. Now, I know Sheldon will trample anything on his ground level, but my idea is to hang basically the equivalent of window boxes around the interior of his tank and plant smaller-growing CPs there to hopefully help keep the creepy crawlies down to a dull roar (plus I think they're darn cool anyway ). Now, I don't know squat about CPs, and have searched the internet top to bottom in an effort to find a variety that is non toxic to my turtle (in case he is able to get his paws on a leaf somehow) but doesn't really grow over 6" tall. Sundews and Venus Flytraps are out, they are listed on several lists I found as toxic.

    I saw on this forum some reptiles that were able to coexist with CPs, but bear in mind that Sheldon is an omnivore. I have no idea if I can pull something like this off, but wanted to pick the brains of some folks who might have better information than I've been able to find.

    Does anyone have information on CPs that are non toxic to box turtles? Are there varieties of CPs that don't grow to be over 6" or so that would be good gnat-eaters?

    Thank you in advance for any information you may provide. This just may not work out to be a good idea, in which case I have a spare 10 gallon that I may populate with recommended CPs and just keep next to Sheldon's vivarium to handle any flying escapees and whatever else follows my zoo in the door (I have 3 dogs, a cat and a 10 yr old boy in addition to Sheldon..may as well install a revolving door here)

    I'm really excited to learn more about this hobby and attempt to incorporate it with my current turtle-obsession!

  2. #2
    Hear the Call of Nepenthes carnivoure12's Avatar
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    I don't think there is any CP thats toxic.
    -Carnivoure12
    →Growlist

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    Welcome to you and Sheldon.

    I have no idea which CPs, if any, might be poisonous to a box turtle but I have seen many people write about squirrels (and maybe raccoons?) loving to eat VFT bulbs. Of course, squirrels and turtles are very different. I've seen pictures from very experienced growers allowing cats and dogs to poke their noses into various plants, too.

    I'm pretty new to the hobby, but the only warnings about any kind of toxicity I recall seeing involve taking precautions when working with various media - dry sphagnum moss, perlite, silica sand.

    This is a wild guess, but if you need something to plant in the terrarium maybe Utricularia would work? I just started reading about them last night. The traps are underground; they eat gnat larvae and other things in the soil. I don't know if they could survive with the turtle trampling/eating their seed pods and flowers, but I am told these things are next to impossible to eradicate unless you really try to eradicate them.

    If you wanted to use a Sundew perhaps you could put it on a stand or something so Sheldon can't get at it?

  4. #4
    Two flies one pitcher. Minus the crap eating. obregon562's Avatar
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    utricularia would be a wonderful addition to keep gnat problems down in a turtle enviroment. as grumpus said, the traps are microscopic and underground, and they eat all sorts of microorganisms. Try getting some U. sublata or U. bisqumata. They are literally weeds and will be very hard to kill. The only problem is that they require acidic, nutrient poor soils, so unless you feel like redoing the entire subtratum of you terra, they might be out of the question. And the turtle "Excrement" might be a problem too...

    Drosera would be my choice. Something like capensis, capillaris, or spathulata would do the job exceptionaly well. Maybe attach a bunch of strawberry container to the sides of your terra and fill them with the appropriate media etc...Then attach upward pointing hard plastic (think of the prisons' way of keeping inmtes in, just reverse it you keep your turtle out) underneath those, and its turleproof!

    Good luck!
    Frankie
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    To be on the safe side for both plants and turtle, my plan is to hang the plants around the inside edge of the vivarium. Box turtle dig a lot so plants don't last long, plus I want to minimize the chances of Sheldon taking a curious nibble. Maybe a small growing variety of pitcher plant? I don't know...Plan B is to use the 10 gallon as a cp terrarium and keep it next to Sheldon's home, but I don't know how effective that would really be as the gnats tend to stay in with him...

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    great ideas! I'll look at the utricularia and the idea about turtle-proofing the plant hangers is a good one. If drosera are sundews (i think I read that somewhere) i'll probably avoid them because those and vft's specifically showed up on the no-no list for turtles.

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    Don't make solid plans yet. There are a lot of people here who've been growing every kind of CP and reptiles and aquariums and vivariums and biospheres and insect colonies and worm farms and everything else you can imagine.

    If there is a problem with Sheldon eating any CPs, I predict someone here will be able to tell you. I also think you are right in concluding that CPs in a nearby tank would have little effect, because gnats don't tend to fly around very far. You must also consider that trying to set up a terrarium for CPs isn't exactly simple, either. From what I understand, not many of them do well in small tanks like that, and you'll have to see to their needs in terms of media, water, light, air, etc.

    I agree with obregon562 about Drosera being the way I'd go. If you have gnats, put a capensis in there and in no time it will look like this (those are some kind of Utricularia growing up around it):



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    oh no, I have no solid plans at this point-i'm just brainstorming the idea, and I really appreciate the advice so far! I belong to another forum that focuses on turtles and tortoises and there are a few over there intrigued by the idea, which I guess makes me the guinea pig lol! of utmost importance is Sheldon's safety and proper care for both turtle and plant

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