Hey, thanks for the reply. He is doing really well now. He gobbles up most food He is offered, and though he was emaciated when I found him I'd say he is fattening up quite well now. He's definitely not afraid of us, especially since he seems to associate me with food and chin rubs. He'll snatch a worm right out of my fingers. He had us worried the first week or two, but he has adjusted well. We still aren't sure whats best for his future though. I know a reptile enthusiast that has a few box turtles, but have also considered releasing him once he's fully up to weight (although he was skinny when I found him)
Greetings! Let me preface what I'm about to say with this DISCLAIMER; I don't know what I'm talking about.
I'm probably the newest member of the turtle voyeurs club.
Right off the top of my head, several things come to mind. Turtles are amazing hiders. They don't like to be ogled, let alone touched. Everything about the way they are built, facilitates stealth. They move slowly, with intent. They take pause every 3-6 inches, stretch out their necks a surprising distance, and as high as they can raise their heads, they survey the landscape for ANY movement. Turtles don't seem to have been gifted with keen eyesight - at very close or very far away.
Could it be, your turtle is in culture shock? Just imagine being picked up by some GIANT creature and taken to a bright and sterile looking environment, odd smells and noises. I would feel like I had been abducted by aliens....lol.
I think the poor thing is just in shock. A natural environment will calm him down immensely. Leaves, moss sticks and water. Plenty of cover for him to hide and sleep under. I have nine turtles in my backyard that I began studying this spring. They have gotten used to seeing me and I finally have two or three that will actually come out of hiding to receive the apple wedges I have given out all summer.
Your turtle needs to be comfortable with the 'earth' under his feet. He's just scared. Make him comfortable by providing him with an enclosure that includes the same elements as his natural environment and he will begin eating sooner than you think, because he is going to be HUNGRY. LOL.
If he doesn't improve. He misses his home too much and is grieving. It would be best to take him back to the area you found him. Turtles only have a home range of about a mile. I live in a residential area that is adjacent to a wooded area. Your turtle might actually have had a home in the residential area and he was just traveling to and fro -- my turtles have homes in the wooded area and they have homes right around my house and they go back and forth. I have seen them cross the street to come to my house! They are amazing little creatures, I'm learning.
There are a slew of turtle experts here you will be happy to get to know. I'm not one of them... all I know how to do is keep glued to my windows everyday getting absolutely nothing done, waiting and wondering if they will show up today. Most days they do! The great thing about it is that I don't have to groom them, take care of them or take them to the vet. They are the BEST pets as free rangers in your backyard. Any chance you have any turtles lurking around your house? Like I said, they are fantastic hiders. I have lived here five years and saw a turtle, or two. But since paying more attention, turns out, I have nine turtles. Some are travelers, meaning my yard is in their travel path to somewhere else. At least four of them are what I call resident turtles because I see the same four almost every day. Well -- now that I haven't answered your question, My name is Bev, welcome and very nice to have you here---