Box Turtle and Tortoise Discussion :: captive/wild box turtles

A general forum for those with an interest in land-based turtles.

Post Posted: Sat May 03, 2008 1:28 am   captive/wild box turtles

Ok so here's the story. Where I work we have a court yard that is completely enclosed. We have about 7 boxies out there. There are plenty of cushes and things to burrow under, they've recently come out from hybernation. Most of them were rescued out of the road and have been injured in some way. Well here's my problem, I don't think they get enough food and water. We have water pans out there that are shallow enough for them to wade in to drink and get out but those really aren't filled up as quickly as I think.

I just went out there (I work 3rd shift on weekends) and saw one of the babies (he/she is about 3 or 4 inches) and I had a slice of tomatoe to take out, I moved the baby and he pigged out.

We have 5 big ones, 3 of which are male, and 2 babies, sexes unknown at this time.

I really am concerned for these little guys but I'm afraid to set them free because most of them are injured or simply trust humans too much. We have a few that were severly injured by getting run over by cars.

Do you have any input?

I try to feed them but I only work 3 days a week, so that's not much. And I don't really have anything to feed them. The tomatoes were pure chance. I'm going to take a banana out soon though, hopefully they'll eat that.

Can you think of anything I could do to make them happier? I just worry that they aren't getting what they need. We did have one to get sick and die, but I think he was sick when he came here. He was only here for about 4 months. Others have been here for 5 or 6 years.
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Post Posted: Sun May 04, 2008 2:01 am   

Sway, I'm going to move your post on the box turtles to the Box Turtle and Tortoise section of the forum, where you are a lot more likely to get an answer from someone who has experience with this kind of chelonian.
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Post Posted: Sun May 04, 2008 9:30 am   

Box turtles are grazers, they'll eat nearly any kind of insect or vegetation. If there's grass, they're probably nibbling that, as well as eating earthworms or anything else they come across. That said, you could probably improve their nutrition a bit. Depending on the situation in the courtyard, maybe you could plant some things for them? Seed packets are cheap and you could plant a variety of greens. Boxies also eat more fruit than aquatic turtles, so a raspberry or blackberry bush would be good. If they won't let you plant things, bringing treats 3 days a week is still an improvement. Turtles don't necessarily eat every day. The way you describe the water pans, it sounds like you're relying on them filling up with rain water? If you wanted to do one thing for them, I would make a point of cleaning the dishes and filling them whenever you work. The problem with water pans is that box turtles like to go to the bathroom in them, and the pan becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Clean, fresh water would probably be the best thing you could do for their health. How big is the courtyard? It actually sounds like a nice situation for a boxie, with a little extra attention I bet they could have a good quality of life.
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Post Posted: Sun May 04, 2008 8:11 pm   

Thank you so much for the input.

The courtyard is relatively good sized, I would say at least a 25x25 square foot enclosure. It is a beautiful place. we actually jsut planted a whole bunch of plants, but I'm not sure if they will ear any of them, I'm not even sure if any are edable for the turtles. I think it's a really nice place for so many rescues I just worry about them... food and water and all. We do try to clean out the water pans as much as possible but since Iwork 3rd shift and there aren't any lights around I can't find them lol.

Anytime I have veggies or fruit at work I always give it to them. I noticed we have wild strawberries growing out there too. I just want them to be happy and healthy.
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