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Hello I am new to this and need help for a eastern box turtle


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#1 debbielynn

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:42 AM

I rescued a box turtle that someone was selling on the corner in Baltimore Maryland. The turtle is a adult male eastern box turtle but other than that I don't have a whole lot of knowledge of turtles, I am just trying to help this little guy.My first concern is that he keeps opening his mouth as if he is not getting enough air, I have searched and I keep reading that it is a severe respitory infection, but his eyes are very clear their are no bubbles coming from his nose he is very active will drink water but he has eaten but very little but I have only had him two days. I read that I should soak him in half water and half pedialyte baths for thirty minutes which I have done several times and he drinks alot of the water,I don't if he is sick or it could be something else.My second concern is how to house him,I have been off work with a injury and I am returning to work this week so money is a little tight right now so I have been searching for the basic things that he needs until I can get him a nice house ,but every different site I search you get different answers about what kind light to use what to feed and what to do in general I am so confused I just want to do the best that I can can someone please tell me what that is, any help would be great thanks

#2 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 12:13 PM

First, if you plan to keep this box turtle, it would be the best thing to first take it to a reptile vet (go to www.localvet.com to find one in your area) and have the turtle checked out. It sounds as if your turtle may be ill and the only way to determine that is with a vet checkup. Take along a stool sample also to be checked for paraistes. Many vets discount visits or have payment plans. I would also suggest reading all the care sheets you can on the diet, care and handling of eastern box turtles. If you do not plan to keep this turtle, in my signature below is a link to the MATTS website - MATTS is based on Baltimore and has an adoption program. I would suggest sending an email to their adoption coordinator (Katrina Smith) who can help you. I am a member of MATTS and they do wonderful work.

It's a shame what people do with turtles to get money - the turtle was probably taken out of the wild and sold on the street corner for some quick cash as pet stores would probably not purchase it as it is a Maryland native turtle and cannot be sold by pet stores.

#3 debbielynn

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:14 PM

Thanks for responding I am not sure where this turtle came from I am sure at one point he was in the wild, I am not sure how to tell how old he is but he is about 5 inches. would not want to just put him back in the wild especially if he is sick and not knowing how long he has been captive.Thanks for the info I

#4 samsmom

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:19 PM

5 inches is probably an adult. You are right not to put him back in the wild, because wild turtles know their areas and putting a turtle in an unfamiliar wild area will most likely lead to a bad end.

#5 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:46 AM

Thanks for responding I am not sure where this turtle came from I am sure at one point he was in the wild, I am not sure how to tell how old he is but he is about 5 inches. would not want to just put him back in the wild especially if he is sick and not knowing how long he has been captive.Thanks for the info I


As Samsmom states, do not release him back into the wild as (1) you don't know where this turtle came from and to place him back into the wild would cause him to try to get back to where his home territory was (box turtle homing instinct) which would probably result in his death; (2) if he is ill, if he came into contact with other turtles he could spread that illness among any wild population resulting in possibly many deaths; and (3) is is against state law to release any captive native animal that has been in one's possession for a certain period of time (usually around 30 days). Your turtle is an adult at that size and can be anywhere from about 5 years old to in excess of 50 years - one cannot determine the age of a box turtle unless one knows when it hatched - you can only do a random guess. People take box turtles out of the wild for many reasons, whether for profit or for pets. Your main concern with your turtle is whether or not it is ill and the only way to determine if he is OK is to take him to a vet or get him in the hands of a reptile rescue. Any vet's office in Maryland can probably give you the names of rescues or wildlife rehabbers that take reptiles or you can contact one of the vets in the link I gave you as to finding a reptile vet in your area. All it takes is a few phone calls.

It was marvelous of you to rescue the turtle off the street corner - You now have to decide if you want to keep him and provide him with the proper environment and care that he will need to stay healthy. You will need to research care sheets for that. He also needs to be checked by a vet and you need to determine whether or not you would be able to afford all that as turtles, as all pets, do require vet care occasionally and turtles do get sick (as any other animal) and can require environment changes and medicine to recover. I am just trying to give you a bit of information to help you as to your decision but I would certainly get your turtle to a vet to have him checked as to your description and concerns in your original posting.




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