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I always wanted to know the difference between wintering outdoors and indoors

Discussion in 'American box turtles' started by Saleama, Apr 7, 2014.

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  1. Saleama

    Saleama Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    ...and now I do. Last fall we found five baby box turtles in the garden. While we knew this was a small number, we did not find any more and come early November, all the turtles went down under the hay and in the hide box for the long winter. The five tiny babies, all around 6 - 8 grams, came home wth me and were placed in a 29 long for the winter. They were fed a diet of berries, bananas, salad greens (not much of which was eaten) red wigglers, wax worms, meal worms and crickets (none of which ever escaped, lol) and only went under for about two weeks in January. I am not sure why they did it, but they did.
    Then, as they will every year, everybody started to wake up and we pulled all the hay and started prepping the garden for spring. We found four babies that had managed to stay hidden all winter in the garden. Unfortunately, two of them did not make it, but, two did. And here are the pictures of baby box turtles and how different they are when over wintered outside compared to inside.

    1.jpg
    1b.jpg
    1c.jpg
    1d.jpg

    The smallest and the biggest are from the same clutch. Their mother is an Ornate/Three Toed LTC (20 years) and their father is a Three Toed LTC (also 20 years) both turtles rescues from a flood back in 1993 or 1994. They weigh in at 5 grams and 32 grams. There are two more from this clutch but the tiny one was buried and the bigger one (who is way more colorful) was given to my PetSmart manager as a going away present.
    The one in the middle with the zipper deformity, is a Three Toed and from the same time frame as the other two. Both his parents are LTC Three Toed from rescued pets no longer wanted, also from 1993-1994 time frame. I included him in the picture to show how much smaller the Three Toed babies can be. He is just under an ounce at 22 grams. His two siblings are 26 and 28 grams and just slightly bigger.

    One day I will get a good camera that will allow me to take much better shots than these. I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures anyway.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2014
    Maggie T likes this.
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    So cute
  3. jeffstort

    jeffstort Member 5 Year Member

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    I got my baby 3 toed right before winter and he was inside for the winter and he to is really small
  4. ascott

    ascott Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Indoor overwintering; complete and absolute control over heat/humidity/light/safety.

    Outdoor overwintering; no control over heat/humidity/light nor safety.
  5. Team Gomberg

    Team Gomberg IXOYE 5 Year Member

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    I want to make sure I understood.. The larger ones were wintered INDOORS and the smaller ones were wintered OUTDOORS. Yes?
  6. Saleama

    Saleama Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I was speaking of the size difference and growth rates. I know that they do not eat and do not generally grow over winter but with the adults, it is hard to tell how much growth they miss out on when hibernating. I hope to find all the eggs and bring them in this year instead of letting the harsh Texas summer determine how they hatch.
    [hr]
    Yes Heather. The large one was kept up and housed indoors. We found them around mid October and brought them in. They hibernated inside but only for a few weeks. The small one, from the same clutch, was not found until the first week of April. We are guessing him and the other one found alive never actually left the nest as there was some small egg shell fragments near where they were found. The two that did not make it through the winter looked like they had moved but did not get back under in time or maybe not deep enough. They were found on the other side of the garden where there was no hay or cover materials.
    [hr]
    Jeff, all of them were about this size in October when we found the original 5. Over the winter, the indoor babies put on any where from 20 - 25 grams gaining, in some cases, 5 times their original weight. The outdoor babies were actually a little smaller, 5 grams instead of 6 - 8, so I am assuming they lost a gram or so over winter. Not too shabby for having spent 6 months buried under snow and ice and hay.
  7. lynnedit

    lynnedit Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    How interesting! The ones that made it through winter are the tough ones. :D
    It will be interesting to see how their growth compares over Summer.
  8. TortsNTurtles

    TortsNTurtles Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    They are so cute!! I can't wait to someday find baby box turtles :)












    ;
  9. Saleama

    Saleama Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Where are you located? If you are close to Dallas Texas, I may be able to help you. I have way too many and with a 5.6 group of adults now I am sure I will have a ton more come fall. We found anywhere from 9 - 19 with the old 3.2 group!
  10. Here's a little guy brought back from my sister IMG_1675.JPG IMG_1678.JPG

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  11. Jacqui

    Jacqui Wanna be raiser of Lemon Drop tortoises Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    How do you know the one was from the same clutch?
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