3-Toe Help

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TxTortMan

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Yesterday I “adopted” a 3-toed box turtle. I think that it’s a 3-toed because it has 3 toes on its hind feet and has the olive green/yellow coloration in its shell? He has no pattern on his shell and it looks pretty bad (I’m working on that, any suggestions?). About 26 years ago a teacher bought him for $5 as a hatchling and he has been living on sand/gravel and not the most ideal diet or lighting. She gave him to me knowing I had multiple turtles/torts and she no longer wanted him in her classroom. I’m not very familiar with 3-toes and need some help with mines shell and how to bring that back to health. Any advice that can be given about how to care will be greatly appreciated! I added some pics to help diagnose what needs to happen.
 

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bmt123

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She actually looks very healthy to me but I am not an expert
 

johnsonnboswell

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I treat my 3 toed the same as my other boxies. The good news is that good care can make a big difference, even after long term mistakes. It's good that this little guy has come to you at last!
 

lisa127

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He looks healthy to me as well, other than the shell being a bit dry. A moist substrate for digging and burrowing and warm temps should help. UVB lighting and a healthy diet. Some outdoor time too.
 

yagyujubei

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He's a beauty. He looks in great shape to me. Shell is a little worn in spots, but that's normal. A little vita shell would make it look new again, but not needed. I would say that that teacher did a fantastic job with him.
 

TxTortMan

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Thank you everyone! I’m going to change the substrate to coco choir and moss. That should be only temporary until I can build something outside. The vita shell I think would be a big help. Thanks again.
 

lisa127

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I personally would not bother with vita shell. Just give him a bit more dampness/humidity and the shell will be fine.
 

Millerlite

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Yeah I agree with Lisa, have humidity up and fake rain storms, vita shell I don't hardly ever use it really doesn't do much, I've also heard it clogs pores on the shell, but that might be an old myth now. His shell looks fine looks like its a little dry but honestly for the most part looks great
 

Yvonne G

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That's a beautiful box turtle. When I read that he'd been in a classroom for 26 years I figured he'd be pretty deformed with an over grown beak. But he's a perfect specimen. And I love his skin colors. I think the carapace is abraded due to the sand. I'm not sure if it will ever have a bit of a sheen to it again. The topical that Yag suggested won't harm, and it will make him a bit more shiney. Just be sure to wipe off all the excess.
 

TxTortMan

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Thank you for the compliments! I think I'll try vita shell and see how it goes, his shell is pretty dry and with some scrubbing with a toothbrush it’s started to look more natural yellow/green and not so white. He doesn’t seem to eat very much plant matter and eats mainly earthworms, mealworms, crickets, pill bugs etc… It should be alright for a 3-toed to have more meat/protein than plant matter in his diet correct?
 

lisa127

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Yeah, for now it will be fine. I like a diet of 60 percent protein and 40 percent vegetation. Continue giving him the protein, and try berries of various types. Those are a favorite of box turtles. Also tomatoes. If you can get him to eat those things, you can then slowly introduce other things. Mine loves blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. You can even buy a bag of frozen mixed berries from the store and defrost as needed.
 

diamondbp

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That's a perfectly healthy 3toed male box turtle. Vibrant eyes say it all . I feed my boxies a mixture of worms, wet dog food, squash , carrot peelings , cantaloupe ,numerous other fruits, and wheat bread. Good luck!
 

TxTortMan

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Thank you all! I was wondering if he might be a little smaller than the average, I read average is 5-8.5 inches?
 

diaboliqueturtle

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Wow! He is simply stunning! Hard to imagine being able to give him away... I can't see a thing wrong with him either. I did use Vita Shell on an ornate with a rough shell and although that was coupled with a complete switch to ideal husbandry, I think it did help.
 

johnsonnboswell

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Vitashell is great stuff for cracked and dry heels and foot callouses. Human feet. Probably great hair defrizzer. It softens my guitar playing callouses- not a good thing. I admit I used it on Flora the EBT when she starred in a tv commercial, but otherwise it's just another thing they don't need.
 

thea lester

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I've mostly found the 3toed males to be smaller than the females and have had 2 that never grew over 5". Granted, they were both rescues and had some serious health issues...
So glad you took that fella in! Looks great!
 

TxTortMan

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Thank you everyone who responded! I moved him into a large storage container until I can get my outdoor space set up and escape proof. The vitashell has actually done an amazing job at getting his shell to smooth out and look healthier. But it can’t all be due to the vitashell because he’s now on coco fiber and higher humidity with “rain showers.” I got a female 3toed and she is about 3/4 of an inch bigger and I would guess 15-20 years old, so males might be smaller. Here is what he looks like now!
 

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