Box Turtle Health Concerns

TurtleEarther

New Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2020
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2
Location (City and/or State)
Kentucky
Hello. I am a new turtle owner and new to the site. This is Jeffery my wild caught (Eastern?) Box Turtle. He has some existing injuries to his shell like the the healed wound on the left side that he had when I found him. Recently though the lower middle part of his shell has started to curl upward and feels soft to the touch in that spot. I was wondering what may cause this and if it is something I can cure at home or should take him to the vet for? DFDB241A-A733-47E5-A347-8B5D3E4EA8B2.jpeg A62500F2-F8EC-44C0-94E9-493D34F435BA.jpeg
I’m not sure if this is related but I have had issues with him eating and drinking less recently. His humidity seems fine but I almost never see him soaking or drinking in his water bowl. (I do regularly put him in a container to soak because of this) I haven’t changed his food either. He primarily eats Rep-Cal box turtle food with occasional dried fruit mixed in. (With calcium +D3) I’ve also offered him fresh lettuce, fruit, dried meal worms, and wild caught worms as a snack but he never would eat any. (He will eat strawberries but I’m worried that he isn’t getting enough from his packaged food) Jeffery has an outdoor tortoise house but I have moved it indoors for the colder months and added a UVB and UVA light.

I really appreciate any suggestions and advice.
 

mark1

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Dec 31, 2015
Messages
1,249
Location (City and/or State)
ohio
the diet your feeding him is lacking , i'm sure there is a "how to" guide in the box turtle section of this forum ........ my thought is wild caught should never be done , if you wild caught him last spring or summer ? you will have a problem with him this winter if not set up properly .......... best thing you could do , imo , is get him in an outdoor pen on the natural ground , let him hibernate for a short period of time , bring him in and wake him up for the worst part of winter , or at least early .... you will need to provide him with a safe spot hibernate , at his age and size he had some spots he knew near where you caught him ..... in a corner of the pen you should have , on the natural ground , break/loosen the dirt up down about 18" , pile grass clippings and leaves on top of the loosened soil , a 12" high pile to start , he'll go in it to hibernate , pile more and more leaves as it gets colder and colder , snow cover will help insulate it ..... idea is to not let him freeze , the grass and leaves give off heat as they decompose , not much at cold temps , but any helps ....... depending on how long you been feeding him like you describe , if it was any length of time , i'd wake him up early , if he doesn't have good weight , in december , if he is healthy early march ....... if you can't do anything like i describe and you just bring him in , find some reading on how to set him up properly to get him through the winter indoors ..... keep track of that vet you may need him again in the spring
 
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mark1

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Joined
Dec 31, 2015
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Location (City and/or State)
ohio
It is illegal in most states to keep wild caught box turtles. 😢
you'd think that would be common sense by now , but in most states taking various turtles is still legal ..... they'll remain that way until the inevitable , and from what i've seen in the river i've lived on for over 50yrs , it is inevitable , even snapping turtles and softshells ......... in kentucky it appears you can take up to 5 with a fishing license , you can't sell them ....... better than south carolina laws ....

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife
  • Native reptiles and amphibians
    • Up to five (5) individuals of each species of native reptile or amphibian may be taken year round from the wild, or legally obtained from a breeder, and possessed for personal use without a permit.
    • A captive wildlife permit shall not be required to hold native reptiles with a color morphology that is distinctly different from the wild type of the same species of reptile.
 

pawsplus

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Aug 28, 2020
Messages
147
Location (City and/or State)
Columbia, TN
Wow. It's totally illegal in TN and we are hardly a progressive state. That's sad. I hope the poster will do the right thing and return the turtle to where he was found. If he has injuries he needs to be with a wildlife rehabber.
 

mark1

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Joined
Dec 31, 2015
Messages
1,249
Location (City and/or State)
ohio
Wow. It's totally illegal in TN and we are hardly a progressive state. That's sad. I hope the poster will do the right thing and return the turtle to where he was found. If he has injuries he needs to be with a wildlife rehabber.
if they've had this turtle captive for any length of time , release should not be an option ....... release it at this time of year , especially in an unfamiliar area , could be a death sentence ....... if the person keeps any other reptiles , introducing a disease could be a possibility and be catastrophic to entire populations ..... a rehabber would be ok , or learn to care for what they took on .......... was a different time , but it's how i learned , and i'm sure many on here did likewise ......

in Tennessee you can take snapping turtles from the wild at a rate of 5 per day ......... you could buy wild caught eastern box turtles from a legit source out of state and legally own them without a permit ....... while better than most states , most state laws pertaining to the conservation of wild turtles are lacking ...... i don't believe i've ever heard of a native population of turtles that needed culling .... i think the vast majority are either barely self sustaining , or declining .....
 

pawsplus

Active Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
147
Location (City and/or State)
Columbia, TN
if they've had this turtle captive for any length of time , release should not be an option ....... release it at this time of year , especially in an unfamiliar area , could be a death sentence ....... if the person keeps any other reptiles , introducing a disease could be a death sentence
I'm not suggesting that. I said to make sure it returns to the same place it came from. And our local (excellent) wildlife rehab center routinely keeps boxes for months while they heal, then releases them back to where they came from. As long as the turtle has not been in the same enclosure as other turtles, it should be fine. It sounds as if this just happened. If so the best thing to do would be to release him back ASAP or, if injured, find a wildlife remember who can deal with the injuries and release (back to the same territory) next spring.

Box turtles are close to being endangered in most places. Removing them from the wild breeding pool is reprehensible IMHO. 😢
 
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