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Thread: Eastern Box Turtles

  1. #1

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    While mowing the yard my husband found 2, at last count, baby turtles. I have identified them as Eastern Box Turtles. From the front of their shells to the back they are a little less than 1 1/2 inches in size. Can anyone give me some advice on taking care of them. If they are hard to care for in capivity I am willing to place them in a hopefully safe spot in my yard, but they are so darn cute.
    Marjorie

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    When I was a kid, I was obsessed with turtles. I never got a chance to try box turtles though, but I had painted turtles and snappers as pets for a long time.
    Box turtles are terrestrial. At that size they may be able to handle a small terrarium (not like a 10 gallon, larger, if you need to make one quick, get a large plastic container at walmart, I keep a plated lizard in two of those hooked together with a plastic pipe, it works well enough) It should have dirt on the bottom, and a water dish that they can get into/out of if they want to. The hardest thing should be getting it set up.

    The most important thing right now is winter, either bring them in or let them go, if they are let go, they will need time to set up for hibernation. This will require finding a place and digging a burrow, so if they are going, they should go VERY SOON.

    Here's a useful link:

    http://www.marietta.edu/~mcshaffd/boxt/care.html

    I always had my turtles under artificial lighting, so I never had any dormancy issues. With three turtles (snappers and painted), and at least 4 winters, I never lost one, or even had any get sick. Also, I would highly recomend growing at least some plants with them. Turtles, even carnivorous ones, will occasionally munch on plants, and the plants will keep the humidity slightly higher.

    The only thing it doesn't mention is calcium supplements. They will almost certainly need some calcium supplementation, especially while young. Snails have a good amount of calcium - if you want to grow some, I have quite a few in an aquarium, I can send you more than enough to get started, I'm now overrun with them and ditchmoss, I have to keep throwing both out. Otherwise, calcium supplementation is a must, but you can get it at any pet store and shake food (crickets, mealworms) with it in a bag before feeding. Also, any kind of vertebrate (frogs, feeder guppies in the water dish) can provide some calcium.


    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

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    OK, I've been reading through the info more carefully.
    I'd highly recommend listening to them on the dormancy (you can try with artificial lights, if they don't go dormant they will be fine, but if they have trouble, be very sure you know what to do). Be aware, even if you go to all the trouble of setting up the perfect environment, they may end up going dormant. That said, light is the main determinate of biological rhythms, so artificial light should work to prevent hibernation, unless they are already extremely close. It will need to be full spectrum, and will have to be fairly bright (although they won't do much in the day).
    It also sounds like VERY high humidity may be important. Of course, as a CP grower, you're probably somewhat used to hearing that...
    If you can't think of anything else, get a powerfilter (not submersible, tankside) and a large enough waterdish, and hook it up like a waterfall, putting it up over the dish (and using a plastic tube as an intake) it should increase the humidity for them, and since they like rainy days, they may like it. It's easier/cheaper to run than a humidifier, with the same effect.

    Also, mentioned in the pages linked to, you may need to check local laws, regarding both taking the turtles in and releasing them.

    I'm not sure if I'm trying to be discouraging or not, but if you keep them for more than a couple days, be very sure you want to. They don't sound like easy pets to set up a terrarium for. But then again, nobody ever got into CPs because of how easy they are to grow either [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]

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    Put them back NOW thats a federal offence these turtals are protected by law. I will not give you care instructions unless you buy a domestic one. Sorry.
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    You know what? Looking at my comments, it's a bit hypocritical of me to condemn wild-collecting of cp, and then almost support it with turtles. I admit, I should have considered a few more things before posting. Consider those comments a mistake.

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    For the record:
    1. Eastern Box Turtles are not on the Georgia Protected Species list.

    2. I do not plan on keeping them as a "pet". I plan on keeping them for their first year and then aclimating them to the wild. There are too many of thier natural preditors in my area to give me any confindance that they will have a better than 25% chance of survival outside. I keep them in a unused room in my house to limit their stress. I place canned and live food in with them once a day. The bottom of the tank is covered with a cocnut fiber mat planted with grass seeds. I also have a reptile UV light for them.
    Marjorie

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    Quote (magore @ Oct. 08 2002,8:20)
    For the record:
    1. Eastern Box Turtles are not on the Georgia Protected Species list.

    2. I do not plan on keeping them as a "pet". I plan on keeping them for their first year and then aclimating them to the wild. There are too many of thier natural preditors in my area to give me any confindance that they will have a better than 25% chance of survival outside. I keep them in a unused room in my house to limit their stress. I place canned and live food in with them once a day. The bottom of the tank is covered with a cocnut fiber mat planted with grass seeds. I also have a reptile UV light for them.[/QUOTE]
    Okay. I'm good then. However, you may wish to check federal laws in regards to this group. I do not think MI would protect this turtle unless apsolutly needed as we have tons here. However, your state isn't know for it's er conservation efforts (no offence intended) so it may be a lot of other states jumped on the anti box turtle band wagon while yours did not. The only protection I know for certain is federal in all states is song birds excepting introduced spiecies (anyone can keep a starling for example). Reptiles are sort of mixed between the two. Mammles are almost always state level. I hope your turtles do well. A nice ten gallon each should work of the itty bitties. They need a very varried diet and you never want to spoil them on earth worms or they may stop eating anything else. A few veggies, a bit of fruit (they love strawberries) a lima been now and then and some meal worms dusted with reptile suplement is a good diet. Otherwise, their care is pritty reptile standard. Don't forget clean water every single day and ocational iodine baths. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] Good luck.
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    Quote (Darcie @ Oct. 07 2002,10:54)
    Put them back NOW thats a federal offence these turtals are protected by law. I will not give you care instructions unless you buy a domestic one. Sorry.[/QUOTE]
    Eastern Boxes are not federally protected. You are probably thinking Gopher.
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