Help. Sick box turtle

Jax Clegg

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Screenshot_20240508_212320.jpgi found an eastern box turtle with a respiratory infection and a vitamin a deficiency last Friday. I got him turtle eye drops along with some antibiotics to help break up some of the mucus. I currently have a temporary set up for him with a humidifier heat lamp UVA and UVB lighting exc.... just the basics so that he's comfortable for the time being... The issue is that I know he needs more and I know he needs to be seen by a veterinarian but I have nowhere to go. As far as I know there are no local clinics that will take in box turtles, no Uncle vets no rehabilitation facilities or anything similar to that. I don't have a license to unbox turtles but I can't just leave him outside and I'm not sure what to do. The past few days I have had him soaking in a couple inches of water a few times a day along with sitting in the bathroom with me while it steams up because that seems to help him breathe a lot better. I think his eyes are getting better they're no longer swollen shut and he's not flinching every time he blinks now but they are still swollen. He's also moving around a lot more but he's still not healthy or in good shape. I really need some advice because I'm not sure what else to do.
 

Jax Clegg

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Joined
May 13, 2024
Messages
37
Location (City and/or State)
Belpre, OH
View attachment 370613i found an eastern box turtle with a respiratory infection and a vitamin a deficiency last Friday. I got him turtle eye drops along with some antibiotics to help break up some of the mucus. I currently have a temporary set up for him with a humidifier heat lamp UVA and UVB lighting exc.... just the basics so that he's comfortable for the time being... The issue is that I know he needs more and I know he needs to be seen by a veterinarian but I have nowhere to go. As far as I know there are no local clinics that will take in box turtles, no Uncle vets no rehabilitation facilities or anything similar to that. I don't have a license to unbox turtles but I can't just leave him outside and I'm not sure what to do. The past few days I have had him soaking in a couple inches of water a few times a day along with sitting in the bathroom with me while it steams up because that seems to help him breathe a lot better. I think his eyes are getting better they're no longer swollen shut and he's not flinching every time he blinks now but they are still swollen. He's also moving around a lot more but he's still not healthy or in good shape. I really need some advice because I'm not sure what else to do.I honestly didn't expect him to make it through the first night but he is definitely looking better than when I had found him I just don't know what the right thing to do would be especially since I can't travel an hour or more away to bring him to someone that could help I just don't have the transportation.
 

Yvonne G

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When a box turtle stops eating, for whatever reason, the first thing you notice is swollen shut eyes. I have had good luck with soaking them in strained carrot human baby food. I mix Gerber strained carrots half and half with warm water and set the turtle in it, placing the bowl NEXT to where the light shines down onto the floor of the enclosure. NEXT to, NOT directly under. I leave the turtle soaking for at least 45 minutes, and longer is ok. Just keep checking to be sure all is ok. if you do this faithfully the eyes will be open at the end of the third day.

Once the eyes are open the turtle will eat, so now you need the correct food, the correct heat, the correct lighting . . . in other words you need to improve conditions that caused swollen shut eyes in the first place.
 

Jax Clegg

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Location (City and/or State)
Belpre, OH
When a box turtle stops eating, for whatever reason, the first thing you notice is swollen shut eyes. I have had good luck with soaking them in strained carrot human baby food. I mix Gerber strained carrots half and half with warm water and set the turtle in it, placing the bowl NEXT to where the light shines down onto the floor of the enclosure. NEXT to, NOT directly under. I leave the turtle soaking for at least 45 minutes, and longer is ok. Just keep checking to be sure all is ok. if you do this faithfully the eyes will be open at the end of the third day.

Once the eyes are open the turtle will eat, so now you need the correct food, the correct heat, the correct lighting . . . in other words you need to improve conditions that caused swollen shut eyes in the first place.
He also had bubbles coming out of his nose... Again he's wild he was in the road last Friday. I have tree frogs so I have some supplies already and I have been gathering supplies for a black and white tegu enclosure for months and I adapted it for the box turtle since it's 5x6x4- I took out the soil I had and placed blanks and other things for him in there. Someone else told me to remove any soil from the enclosure untill his eyes aren't swollen and crusted (also this is my first time messaging here/using this website so honestly idk of you were responding to me or not so I apologize if you weren't I'm still new to this 😭) I have isopods worms slugs and calcium powder. I haven't seen him eat anything since I found him but i know they can go a while without food so idk if that's normal or not.. Im still a little worried about that too tho since I don't know how long he's went without food before I found him. He's also unusually friendly? He's walking to me and sits right beside me. He tries to climb on my lap and I haven't seen him box up- should I be worried about that behavior from a wild turtle? I don't feel like that's normal
 

Yvonne G

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He also had bubbles coming out of his nose... Again he's wild he was in the road last Friday. I have tree frogs so I have some supplies already and I have been gathering supplies for a black and white tegu enclosure for months and I adapted it for the box turtle since it's 5x6x4- I took out the soil I had and placed blanks and other things for him in there. Someone else told me to remove any soil from the enclosure untill his eyes aren't swollen and crusted (also this is my first time messaging here/using this website so honestly idk of you were responding to me or not so I apologize if you weren't I'm still new to this 😭) I have isopods worms slugs and calcium powder. I haven't seen him eat anything since I found him but i know they can go a while without food so idk if that's normal or not.. Im still a little worried about that too tho since I don't know how long he's went without food before I found him. He's also unusually friendly? He's walking to me and sits right beside me. He tries to climb on my lap and I haven't seen him box up- should I be worried about that behavior from a wild turtle? I don't feel like that's normal
Yes, my reply was for you. The turtle won't eat until his eyes are open and the way to get them open is what my reply was for.
 

Yvonne G

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Is there a way to send videos? I want to show a video of the setup I have just to make sure it's already for him but I can't figure out how to do that
You first load them up at Youtube then copy/paste that URL here
 

Jax Clegg

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Yes, my reply was for you. The turtle won't eat until his eyes are open and the way to get them open is what my reply was for.
His eyes were only stuck shut the first night and a half, soaking him and steaming up the bathroom seams to have helped a lot with that. I've tried feeding him while soaking too just to see if he'll eat food moving in water but he wasn't interested. Im giving him a large variety of food as well... Can you think of anything else that might make him more willing to eat?

Im sorry for spamming I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right
 

zovick

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His eyes were only stuck shut the first night and a half, soaking him and steaming up the bathroom seams to have helped a lot with that. I've tried feeding him while soaking too just to see if he'll eat food moving in water but he wasn't interested. Im giving him a large variety of food as well... Can you think of anything else that might make him more willing to eat?

Im sorry for spamming I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right
If you can find some slugs, snails, or earthworms, the box turtle might go for those.

Since it seems rather tame, maybe it escaped from someone who lives near you and got chilled.

Unrelated to that idea, another possibility is that it may have come out of hibernation a bit too early and was cold shocked by that.
 

Jax Clegg

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You first load them up at Youtube then copy/paste that URL here
I know it's not ideal but I've only had a couple days to get it ready and when I removed the soil I ended up just taking out the waterproof liner it was in to get stuff done faster.
Turtle
I don't know if it would be a good idea to add back the soil yet or not. What I have might not be the right mixture and I really don't want to do anything that would irritate his eyes
 

Jax Clegg

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If you can find some slugs, snails, or earthworms, the box turtle might go for those.

Since it seems rather tame, maybe it escaped from someone who lives near you and got chilled.

Unrelated to that idea, another possibility is that it may have come out of hibernation a bit too early and was cold shocked by that.
I've tried all of those except for snails. I even got meal worms from the pet shop to see if he'll eat those but nothing. Ive tried every veggie in my house as well.
If he was a pet turtle someone may have left him at my house knowing I keep reptiles but even then idk anyone who would do that- I found him on the road in front of my house and I'm out in the country and don't have many people around.
Also I have cats and seen a few people say to mix warm water into hard cat food do you think that would work?
 

Jax Clegg

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His eyes are open now but he's not wanting to move much at all and hes breathing out his mouth, he has some mucus bubbles when he breaths like that- what humility would be best for his breathing? I can adjust the humidifier if it needs to go higher or lower
 

Yvonne G

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I know it's not ideal but I've only had a couple days to get it ready and when I removed the soil I ended up just taking out the waterproof liner it was in to get stuff done faster.
Turtle
I don't know if it would be a good idea to add back the soil yet or not. What I have might not be the right mixture and I really don't want to do anything that would irritate his eyes
I use soil for my indoor box turtles (not many are indoors, only ones requiring special treatment). I buy potting soil with no additives or perlite pieces and mix it with dirt from the backyard. I put broken pieces of tile around the feeding area and waterer to keep those areas dirt free. My indoor box turtle enclosures also have many, many plants to offer the turtles shade from the harsh lights, and cover to make them feel secure.
 

Yvonne G

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His eyes are open now but he's not wanting to move much at all and hes breathing out his mouth, he has some mucus bubbles when he breaths like that- what humility would be best for his breathing? I can adjust the humidifier if it needs to go higher or lower
Sounds like a respiratory infection. Getting the enclosure temperature up to 85F day and night will help him shake that off.
 

zovick

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I've tried all of those except for snails. I even got meal worms from the pet shop to see if he'll eat those but nothing. Ive tried every veggie in my house as well.
If he was a pet turtle someone may have left him at my house knowing I keep reptiles but even then idk anyone who would do that- I found him on the road in front of my house and I'm out in the country and don't have many people around.
Also I have cats and seen a few people say to mix warm water into hard cat food do you think that would work?
Cat food has too much protein content for tortoises, but I am not sure about turtles. I would say it would be OK for a couple of days or so to see if it would get the turtle to start eating, but feeding it over a long term would very likely cause liver damage.

Have you tried feeding it any strawberries? They usually like them.

You could also try going to a bait shop and buying some red wigglers (a type of worm) to see if those might get the turtle to eat.

Maybe try a minnow or some other type of fish. Chicken liver, heart, or other parts might work, too.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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If you can find some slugs, snails, or earthworms, the box turtle might go for those.

Since it seems rather tame, maybe it escaped from someone who lives near you and got chilled.

Unrelated to that idea, another possibility is that it may have come out of hibernation a bit too early and was cold shocked by that.
And remember that wild tortoises can also seem pretty tame, so it is hard to tell whether someone has lost theirs. I would look for any missing reports, bu
 

Jax Clegg

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I use soil for my indoor box turtles (not many are indoors, only ones requiring special treatment). I buy potting soil with no additives or perlite pieces and mix it with dirt from the backyard. I put broken pieces of tile around the feeding area and waterer to keep those areas dirt free. My indoor box turtle enclosures also have many, many plants to offer the turtles shade from the harsh lights, and cover to make them feel secure.
I have bags of organic top soil, play sand, worm castings and sphagnum/peat moss that I can mix together and use. Would it be ok to use dirt even if he's still having trouble breathing and swollen eyes?
Also I'm still not entirely sure what to do with him. Do you think it would be alright to release him outside once he's no longer sick? I don't have a permit to keep box turtles and it's illegal to keep them as pets here without that.
 

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