Box Turtle and Tortoise Discussion :: Finally Found Box Turtles!!!

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

Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:11 am   Finally Found Box Turtles!!!

Well, thanks to all of you I finally found box turtles!!! And boy, I hit the jackpot! I found a local breeder who has over a hundred of them (including some of most sub-species)!!! She also has about a dozen 100lb sulcata tortoises who are so cool. They followed us all around the yard. A few dozen russion torts, and a half dozen medium torts with some red on the shells (not sure what they were). This place was like turtle paradise!! Each species had everything they could ever want and were very well cared for.

I ended up coming home with 2 hatchling 3-toed boxies about a month old, very cute, very active, and very hungry! hehe. I've got them setup in a 75 gallon rubbermaid with the beginnings of a mini-ecosystem (the grass isn't growing yet) with topsoil, moss, and a real log. I'm using a paint pan as a little pool for them; they're great little swimmers.

Just wanted to thank all of you who helped me find em. I've been searching for months! You guys are awesome! I will post pics tomorrow prolly.

On a down note, we're letting go of Spike tomorrow - giving him to a family we're good friends with who really wants him. I ended up having to seperate him because he wouldn't quit getting territorial with Donny. I'm gonna give the family the whole setup that Spike's in with basking dock, lights, heater, filter, etc... to make sure they get a head start on giving him a good home. I'm gonna miss the lil guy. He's such a cool little turtle. But, I'll be able to visit him frequently.
Tom & Ashley
(RES) Crush, Squirt
(3T Box) Manny & Isabella
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:13 am   

75g is a great start! I'm going to advise you not to use the paint tray just yet. Baby boxies can flip themselves over sometimes and the water should be shallow enough that if that happens, they won't drown. Shouldn't be deep enough for them to 'swim'. I use large water dishes. I actually get them in the gardening section at walmart. They're the ceramic dishes that go under the big ceramic pots. They're only $1 each.

Just had to add my 2 cents :lol: Good luck with your new boxies... Can't wait to see pics!!
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:12 am   

Thanks janaero! I think I'll leave the tray in there but I'll take out most of the water and make it shallow. I've got it angled kinda like a beach, so they'll be able to walk down and get some water and walk back onto dry land :)

I read a post on a different forum that 3 toed boxies are actually semi aquatic, and found another that a guy finds his 3 toeds swimming in his RES pond a lot. I have noticed that they are a little clumsy tho, hehe. I'll play it on the safe side. don't want anything to happen to my new babies!
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:16 am   

I have a couple of 3toeds. They do like soaking more than other boxies but aren't what most would consider to be semi-aquatic. I plan on using paint trays when I upgrade but mine are almost 2 years old and a lot less clumsy now so it's safer.

Keep a close eye on them and check on them a few times a day til they get a bit older. On more than one occasion, I found one of mine flipped on his back, unable to right himself. If this happened under the basking lamp, he wouldn't have lasted long.

Just out of curiousity, what did you pay for your turts? We have to pay an arm and a leg here.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:21 am   

Hey congratulations! :D Baby boxies are really cute looking. The place you got them from sounds really cool too. It's too bad we don't have the climate for that kind of thing around here.

Sorry to hear about your map but it sounds like you'll be able to make sure he gets well taken care of. It's good you were able to place him with people you know.

Can't wait to see pics of the new babies! :D
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:00 am   

oh wow. thanks janaero. i have indeed already seen them knock themselves over. These guys are spending most of their time burrying themselves in the dirt. In fact, they haven't come out on their own yet. I had to dig them out to feed them. But, it hasn't even been a whole day yet. I'm sure they'll get to be more comfy. I am gonna take a little bit of the dirt out though so I have an easier time trying to find them. It took me almost 20 minutes. I've got about 3-4 inches of dirt. I think I'll take it down to about 2.

I've got the pics ready but my domain server is down. I'll post them as soon as it's back up and running.
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:47 am   

The amount of dirt you have is good. I used to spend a good 20 min finding them in the morning too. Eventually you'll get to know their favourite digging spots so you won't have to turn the whole thing upside down. Mine still spend a good deal of time buried. It's their only protection from predators when they're that small. Btw, I use a mix of plain soil (none of that plant food/fertilizer crap in it), peat moss and bed-a-beast. I find it holds moisture a lot better than plain dirt.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:13 pm   

oh ok. also, have you ever had problems with worms being able to burrow underground before the turtles are able to really get a good hold on them? I had to keep pulling the worm back out for them this morning.

I noticed that you have grass growing in yours. Do you still have to dig around to find the turtles? Or has the grass started growing since you don't have to dig anymore?

I'm using garden topsoil without fertilizer with some fake moss, but I'm assuming you're using real moss? Is the bed-a-beast the stuff that's usually used for hamsters and ginny pigs?
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:20 pm   

The servers back up! Here are my pics!!

I finally named them. The dark one is Manny, the light one is Elli (hoping the genders turn out right, lol. taking a chance. based it off the curvature of their carapace, which are both very curved in opposite directions).

Image

"Quick, back underground while he's not looking!"
Image

The overall setup. Have takin a little moss out and much of the water out since the pic
Image

A mud ball named Elli:
Image
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:29 pm   

Sometimes their breakfast still gets away from them before they eat it. I decided that they'll just have to learn from that. Earthworms you can't do much about anyway because they're almost impossible to kill.

Here's what I do with earthworms. I fill a small container (margarine container) with really warm water, cut each worm in half and drop them in the water for about a minute. That slows them down enough that they don't 'come to' for a few minutes, buying the turts a bit of extra time to get there. If they don't, then the worms can just be there for them to hunt down later. Boxies will dig for food.

For butterworms, silkworms and hornworms, I generally cut them in half or cut the heads off before feeding them. The heads are served also, but that's just so they won't wander away because you DONT want a silkworm or hornworm to get away, dig down, coccoon in the dirt and come out as some really big, nasty scary moth (TRUST me on this..lol)

I don't have the grass growing anymore, simply because it made the dirt harden and it was covering the cool end where my boxies like to bury themselves. I just bought a bag of grass seed and on the back it said it would even grow in the shade and I had really good sprouts in a couple of days. I'll look up the brand at lunch and get back to you on that. You could turn the soil a bit where the grass grows every couple of days to keep it loose.

I don't have to dig them up all that much anymore. A lot of times they'll be up before I am.

Sorry about that, I'm actually using sphagnum moss (not that there's that big of a difference). The bed-a-beast is actually shredded coconut fibre. Soak before using and it expands. You do get quite a bit for your money on that. It's generally sold in the reptile section at pet stores.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:31 pm   

Ok you posted pics before I was able to type all that out.

May I suggest that you switch to a smaller shallow water dish, just to maximize space for them. Give them a hide on the cool end as well (a small plant pot turn on it's side, half buried), and a plant for shade.

Other than that, looks good! What are the warm end and cool end temps?
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:45 pm   

Yeah, I will go get a water dish this afternoon. Does make a lil more sense for now. I'll also pick up a plant. Do you know what kinda real plant might survive the best in these conditions? I like the small plant pot on its side idea too! genius!

Is there any chance of growing something that will be edible for them when they get bigger and start eating more veggies?

The warm side is at 85F and the cool side is at 72F. I'm trying to get it warmed up a couple more degrees but have not yet succeeded.

Thanks for all the help! I really appreciate it.
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:33 pm   

The grass seed is Scotts Pure Premium Grass Seed Mix - SHADY

Hostas are edible but I haven't tried them yet. I just have a fake plant in there now.

You might also want to make sure those lamps are more stable. If one falls in, you've got a fire and a couple of dead turtles. I set my lamps on top of an oven rack. It's better to have them pointed straight down anyway. It should also fix your temperature problem.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:44 pm   

Alright, I have returned. Mostly, but not completely successful. Here are some updated pics.

Image

Image

Found a BBQ rack that is working ok. You'll notice that my UVB light is still clipped to the side of the rubbermaid. I put it in the can fixture instead of the ceramic fixture, but the bulb still sticks out past the can. So, I need to get a bigger can.

Couldn't find hostas. I'm honestly not sure what I've got, but I will find out by tomorrow. I don't expect them to eat it for awhile. The breeder told me they haven't even touched anything green yet. Just bugs. As you can see tey haven't touched the lettuce.

Smaller water dish now too. I do like the setup much better now. Thanks for the suggestions!

The warm side temp is now up to 87F, which is about right for 3T boxies right? The cool side is at 74.5F.

Manny and Elli seem to be getting a little more comfy. They're not burrying themselves anymore, just chillin under the log.
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:06 pm   

Looks good! Where's the food dish? I use a piece of slate. Temps are good! One of mine didn't start eating anything but different kinds of worms until he was almost a year. It took a bit longer for my other one.
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