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What should my 3 toed, box turtle be eating?


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#1 TurtleDean

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:58 AM

He is 6 months old now, just a little over an inch long, and has been eating gut loaded mealworms, frozen blood worms, and recently high grade dog pellets, and the occaisinal cricket.
He seems healthy, no shell deformities, but lethargic -is this normal for baby box turtles? I had the idea he would be scampering around a lot.
Any help would be appreciated.peanut 6 mths.jpg

#2 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:03 PM

While protein and calcium is important in his diet now for at least the first year, it is probably a good idea now to just feed him every other day and give him a good, long water soak prior to feeding. I would provide earthworms or cut up pieces of nightcrawler for him, a few times a week mix some aquatic and box turtle pellets together (don't feed at each feeding) and start mixing in some vegetable and fruit matter in his diet. A good place to start is to obtain a can of the Zoo-Menu box turtle food and see how he/she likes it. Many like it, many don't. However, it is a blend of items that will help. You can also provide bits of banana, cantalope, strawberry, etc. and switch things around so he/she doesn't get hooked specifically on one thing. Too much of just one protein item is not good. I have my hatchlings started on fruit/vegetable matter sometimes by 2 to 3 months of age by just tossing it into their water while they are soaking. By six months of age they are on a variety of items.

You can also roll worms or crickets in organic baby food squash, sweet potato, etc. as to get at the stuff he/she likes, he has to ingest something else...again, provide a variety and rotate so he/she will get used to many things.

I would recommend using a good vitamin/calcium supplement on his food (not on any pellets) and I use and recommend Reptivite with D3 for indoor turtles. You don't need much for a hatchling so sprinkle lightly.

How are you keeping this turtle? If he is being kept too cool he will not be active. Please describe your set up and we can be of more help. Also note during their first year, boxie hatchlings spend more of their time hiding but are usually pretty active and alert when they are brought out for feeding time.

#3 TurtleDean

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:22 PM

He is in a 3 by 3 foot terrarium, with damp pea moss about i inch of it, a dipping pool two flat rocks, a hide, and a plastic desert plant which is a tree to him lol. I let the substrate dry out for a while, it it moist now though, I think that might be part of the problem. I tried strawberry and he ignored it much to my suprise.;He chews on one of those white parrot sticks a lot. He went after crickets on the first day but i think he got bit by one, and he i reluctant now. Gut loaded mealworms, high quality do pellets -soaked and frozen mealworms seem to be his general diet, though I am offering salad and carrot and the usual. He is tiny, at six months shouldn't he bigger?
thanks for the help btw

#4 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:06 PM

If you can, provide a photo with something to compare his size - i.e., a quarter. A photo of the bottom of his shell would also help. Box turtle babies all grow at different rates depending on a variety of factors - diet, heredity, environment, etc. can all contribiute. Rigiht now he is in a nice size environment for his size but he needs more damp, deeper soil in which to dig and hide. Mealworms are just fatty protein with hardly any nutrients and too many are really not good for its diet. Occassionaly, yes. He is probably not going to go after lettuce or carrots right now unless they were small pieces chopped or mushed up and mixed in witih something. You will need to wean him off those mealworms and start getting some good protein and calcium enriched foods in him so he can grow properly.

#5 turtlemann2

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 09:08 PM

regular garden worms or nightcrawlers are a wonderful protien but fruits and veggies are a must, i suggest dipping a worm in baby food ie; sweet potato or applesause : )

#6 TurtleDean

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:51 AM

He is eating carrots a bit now, he can bury himself pretty good I find it difficult to upload a pic, when I started the thread there was the attach option,
he likes eating bloodworms in the water,
If mealworms are fed carrots and veggies isn't he eating those when he eats the mealworms?
Night crawlers are not an option now, I live in Alberta the ground is frozen and it is illegal to sell them here.
I used to have access to slugs on the west coast but here it is different.

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#7 turtlemann2

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:12 AM

its illigal to buy fishing worms? i buy DMF bait worms from wal-mart who collect their wild "canadian nightcrawlers" from in and near toronto

it is true that feeding mealworms a healthy diet makes then in turn more healthy to be consumed by your turt but its not the same as getting your ruf****e

for example a cow eats plenty of grass but we still need to eat our own veggies for the direct nutriant intake

#8 TurtleDean

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:19 PM

It is a weird law I know, I bought them in BC..

#9 turtlemann2

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 06:33 PM

i just now noticed that turtletimes blocked the word ru ff age as in fiber rich ruf****e : )

#10 TurtleDean

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 06:37 PM

that's weird, I wondered what word you used lol

#11 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:18 PM

The program blocks out certain words that may be typed in postings that may be deemed to be censored. There are some letters in that word for some reason that triggered the censorship. It is that way in many forums to prevent people from typing certain offensive words, etc.

#12 TurtleDean

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:43 AM

Getting back to my 6 month turtle, I find his set up is a little bare so am putting some plastic plants and backing paper on 3 sides of the terrarium to make him feel more safe,
here he is with one of the plants, it is like a tree to him.
Like I said he seems healthy, is a little small but he seems more lively now that I upped the moisture in his home.

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Edited by TurtleDean, 03 February 2012 - 06:45 AM.


#13 turtlemann2

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:46 PM

thanks for the input boxturtlelover i was wondering

well it looks good just try to vary his diet with differant protiens cut back on the mealworms and make sure to try and include some fruits and veggies

#14 TurtleDean

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 05:22 PM

Thanks, he's nipping at his cuttlebone right now he sure is cute. He is more out and about now that I added moisture to his environment.

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Edited by TurtleDean, 03 February 2012 - 05:25 PM.


#15 TurtleDean

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:47 PM

A quick update on my 7 month old turtles eating, he ate his first live dew worm today! Well half of it anyway, after a week of bits of thawed out frozen dew worms. this is its natural food so I am very happy, here is a pic.

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Edited by TurtleDean, 19 February 2012 - 12:48 PM.


#16 turtlemann2

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:27 AM

Very nice :) how exciting for you, i have a hard time with babies not eating anything and everything that moves :)




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