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#1 Perkins2189


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Posted 10 August 2012 - 10:03 AM


My husband and I have an Eastern Box Turtle who is proving to be very difficult. He doesn't want to eat. Obviously, he is eating something as he hasn't passed on (hopefully he won't) but it's causing me great concern. We have tried veggies and fruit and now we're trying chicken flavored dog food (as suggested by another website). He will eat little bits of that if we put meal worms in there.

We have learned he likes meal worms and slugs. We keep earthworms in his dirt but we aren't sure if he really likes them. We want to get him more slugs, but we can't find any.

We need your help. What should we do?

Thank you,

#2 War1976


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Posted 10 August 2012 - 01:40 PM

I have a few questions regarding the box turtles home. What is the temp of his enviroment? Is there a range from his basking area to where he can sleep? Also, do you have the proper UVA and UVB lighting? Proper lighting enables the turtle to produce Vitamin D3.

You have to understand that cold blooded animals such as turtles do not eat based off of their metabolism. They will simply slow down their metabolism if they choose not to eat. With cold blooded animals,you have to produce the right circumstances for them to eat. For instance, if you are feeding him first thing in the morning, it might be a bit too cool for him. Try feeding later in the day once he warms up. He may be on a hunger strike due to stress. Does he have a place to "hide"? There are many factors that can contribute to him not eating.

The first thing I would do is check the enclosure's tempature and make sure the whole thing is not one temp. There needs to be a warm side and a cool side. He will move freely back n forth to regulate his own body temp.
Second, I would look at the lights you are using and make sure he is getting the proper UV.

I hope I have given you a place to start. It has been a long time since I have had any land turtles. If all of this I have mentioned is correct, a more knoweldgable person will have to step in and help.

#3 animal kingdom2

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 08:57 PM

Just adding some questions: how long have you had him? How old or big is he? If you can provide pictures of the turtle (top and bottom) as well as of the habitat, it can help in identifying any potential issues.

#4 samsmom


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Posted 10 August 2012 - 09:40 PM

What works best with my most picky eater - feed in the morning, put the food there and walk away, use foods which smell good - berries, yam, salmon, extra-ripe fruit. I microwave the yam and salmon just a little to make it smell even more.

#5 Perkins2189


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Posted 11 August 2012 - 04:19 PM

Update: He likes tomatoes! I tried something new as I had been failing to do, also what War1976 suggested - I put him outside (he is outside unless it rains) in the morning and then about half an hour to an hour later, I set food out. He didn't grab it yesterday too much that I saw, but this morning his tomatoes were mostly gone and the dog food had been picked at.

His enclosure is small, I admit that. He keep him outside with half of it in the shade and plenty of dirt to bury himself in as well as a log to hide in. We actually have found the perfect enclosure for him so that's our next purchase for him.

Animal Kingdom2, we have had him since July 15, we aren't sure his age - I'm figuring he's at least a year, if not 2. I will post pictures once I find them (I think they are on my camera, if not, I will take new ones.

#6 BoxTurtleLover


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Posted 12 August 2012 - 10:56 AM

Hi - Welcome to the forum! First, you are probably unaware that eastern box turtles are protected in Georgia and I believe you need a permit to keep one. I would definately check your state laws. The reason they are protected by almost all states in which native are that they are in such decline in the wild. Did you obtain him from the wild or did you purchase him? In any event, you need to check on that because if your turtle should become ill and need vet attention, you will probably have to produce your permit for vet care - this is all just a heads-up to you. Many people are unaware of their state's laws until they inquire about the turtle and its care.

Since you recently obtained this turtle, please realize it has only been a month and turtles are stressed when they are in a new environment and sometimes can take a while to adjust - some just never do, especially if taken from the wild. A box turtle in the wild during it's normal active months usually comes out early a.m. to warm up in the early morning sun, hunts for food (worms, grubs, bugs, carrion [dead animals], fruits, flowers, etc.) and then before the sun gets higher and the day hotter they dig in and hide until later in the afternoon when they may become active again, depending on the weather and time of year. Boxies normally love to eat outside early in the morning. Inside it's all disrupted so one has to establish a schedule as to lighting requirements, correct diet, vitamins, minerals, etc. to maintain the turtle's health. The best thing to do is to review care sheets on the eastern box turtle, it's background and how it lives outdoors. There are many good books out there, information on the internet and forums for information and help.

Photos of your turtle would help establish its sex and possible age. It is impossible to tell a box turtle's age just by looking at it - one can guess but that is about it.

#7 Baller77



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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:28 PM

Try feeding him night crawlers. no turtle can resist them.

#8 Saloli


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Posted 22 August 2012 - 12:25 PM

Try blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, earthworms, crickets and Organix turkey and vegetable wet dog food. These are some of the foods that generally work. You could also try frog legs or snails. Box turtles are omnivores that lean towards the meat side they also have a preferance for fruit. Try native fruits or close relatives ( european plums vs native plums).

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