Guess What My Neighbor Brought Me......

axeman25

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Jan 19, 2015
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Central Michigan
Hello all! I have a few questions about an Eastern Box Turtle. I live in central Michigan and have three russian tortoises. A little earlier this evening my neighbor brought an Eastern Box Turtle down to me thinking it was one of my Russians that escaped. I live in a busy area, the neighbor caught her while she was crossing a very busy road. She looks like she is wild because of the shape of her shell. There are several damaged areas on it where she looks like she has been on the loosing end of some kind of battle. You can tell that the injuries were not at the same time by the way the shell has healed. I was thinking about taking her to a wildlife area we have about ten minutes from my house to release her. I trimmed her beak as it was over grown. Now, because I have russians and not eastern box turtles I did some reading and found that it is very rare for a wild box turtle to have an overgrown beak. She is also not really shy around people. She will hide if you move quickly but all in all she is not afraid of people. I am really confused on what to do. Should I put up an ad in my area to see if someone lost her? Should I release her in a safe place? Should I try to find her a home (or keep her) that is safe and she'll be taken care of very well? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Kevin
 

wellington

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Wow, tuff one. Post a pic of her. Some of the experienced Boxie owners may be able to tell more about her from a pic.
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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You need to find the rules on keeping turtles in Michigan. Each state has their own rules, and I believe most MidWest and East Coast states are not allowed to keep Easterns. But it looks to me like you just inherited a box turtle, after you try to find an owner. Don't describe it, the owner should know what it is. Put some notices on the poles and at the local Vets. Then after no one claims it, you should know the rules by then....
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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I personally, would make an attempt to find the owner, so if no keeper, just keep it. That's just me. Or be normal citizens and see if you can legally keep Easterns in your state...
 

Jacobjtd

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Nov 29, 2014
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Same thing happened to my family 10 years ago. We were driving and found an eastern box where there are none in the wild. Many people think they can just 'release' their tortoise if they don't want it anymore. Which is how I found mine in an area with no easterns. I'd say look for an owner, maybe the lil tort got out of an enclosure. But if nothing pops up, I'd say keep it.
 

axeman25

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Central Michigan
I'll try and post some pics of her a little later. She really looks like she's had a rough life. Her shell has all sorts of areas that look like healed injuries. Up on her front right there is a chunk of shell missing (about the size of a half of a quarter) that looks like it's not a real old injury. I don't know a lot about Easterns but I started doing some research and I'm SO glad I didn't just go with my gut and drive her somewhere and just release her back into the wild. From what I've read it seems they can wander aimlessly for the area they lived in until they die. So now I have sectioned off an area of my outdoor enclosure for her. I am also waiting for a call back from the Michigan DNR to see if they can help. My kids of course want to keep her to add to the collection (I have 3 Russian tortoises). I have put an ad up on Craigslist and through my Facebook. I'm not real sure I want her to go back to that owner if she was in this condition (assuming she had an owner). I'm also not sure about keeping her. I already have two very large enclosures for my Russians and having to build another enclosure and get new equipment to make sure she's cared for the way she deserves to be isn't really in the cards right now. I may have to give her up. But I won't do it unless I can find a place that will take care of her the way she needs to be. I soooooo did not need this right now. LOL.
 

Eric Phillips

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If you report it to the MDNR in hopes of getting a propagate permit, I can almost say with 99.9% certainty that you would be denied to keep her and forced to relocate her to the nearest Wildlife Rehab Center. Easterns in Michigan are a species of concern and even though she may of been a pet of someones, there is no paperwork evidence unless you would find the owner. Even then she could of been wild caught. Just like Ohio, you can't take Easterns from the wild. Now it doesn't mean you can't own Easterns, you can get a permit for Captive Breds with proper paperwork and proof of purchase from out of state breeder. I honestly would not sell her through Facebook or Craigslist with the risk of being fined and you will be fined if caught, it is ILLEGAL without proper paperwork and permit. Most likely there are permit Box Turtle Rehabbers in your state, if your going to get rid of her please try and contact Michigan Department of Natural Resources again and explain your situation and let them help you find the proper home.
 
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axeman25

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Wow, the gentleman from the Michigan DNR was sooooo helpful. When reading that last sentence please do so in the snottiest most sarcastic voice you can think of.

The guy I talked to used to live on the road I live on but down a couple blocks and completely agrees that there is no wildlife area close to where I'm at that this turtle could have wondered in from without help from a human. I can't keep her because it's illegal. He also agreed that it seems someone took it in as a pet and then decided to let it go for whatever reason because of how comfortable she is around people. His two suggestions: 1) Euthanize her 2) Put her back where the neighbor found her. I could have possibly considered number two only if I was sure that she had not been a pet for some time. So I've spent the afternoon calling wildlife areas around here and finally on my last time of being denied the lady ask if I've went to the DNR's website for licensed wildlife rehabilitation? As my brain exploded I replied "no, didn't know there was one and it seems like the guy from the DNR shoulda known about it"

Literally....ten.....miles.....from....my....house there is a place that specialized in turtles. So tomorrow I am going to take this girl to a place that will hopefully give her a good life. I'm so glad there are people out there to help these guys.

Now the guy I talked to had already told me he gets 50,000 phone calls a year from people trying to relocate a pet they bought that they don't want anymore, oh I'm sorry, I meant they can no longer give it the time it deserves (this seems to be the staple craigslist BS excuse to get rid of an animal you were supposed to care for until it, or you died) and I understand how he feels, but I'm wondering if HE even knew about these places and weather or not I should tell him.
 

axeman25

Active Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2015
Messages
133
Location (City and/or State)
Central Michigan
If you report it to the MDNR in hopes of getting a propagate permit, I can almost say with 99.9% certainty that you would be denied to keep her and forced to relocate her to the nearest Wildlife Rehab Center. Easterns in Michigan are a species of concern and even though she may of been a pet of someones, there is no paperwork evidence unless you would find the owner. Even then she could of been wild caught. Just like Ohio, you can't take Easterns from the wild. Now it doesn't mean you can't own Easterns, you can get a permit for Captive Breds with proper paperwork and proof of purchase from out of state breeder. I honestly would not sell her through Facebook or Craigslist with the risk of being fined and you will be fined if caught, it is ILLEGAL without proper paperwork and permit. Most likely there are permit Box Turtle Rehabbers in your state, if your going to get rid of her please try and contact Michigan Department of Natural Resources again and explain your situation and let them help you find the proper home.

I just saw this after I posted the above. I really did not want to keep the turtle. I don't want to mix species right now. I just wanted to make sure she would be taken care of.
 

Eric Phillips

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Wow, sorry you had to deal with that guy but his 2 suggestions completely go against what the state considers of native species. The ODNR agent I deal with would of never said either 1 or 2. Well, if you can take anything from your ordeal, you may of found her a lasting home....hopefully. Unfortunately, I feel you will take away of never dealing with MDNR and to me that poses more issues for Easterns than anything. Anyway I look at it I commend you for taking the extra step for her when you really didn't have to. You get my KUDOS to you of the day!
 

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