inherited box turtle, can turtle grieve?

Lovecollies

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My uncle passed away last week and I inherited his box turtle, I think he is a three toed box turtle. this turtle has to be over 45 years old. I am 43 and the turtle was purchased when I was a baby, and my mother remembers the turtle being the size of her hand when she bought it from the pet store as a birthday gift for my uncle. this would have been in 1976.
The turtle has lived in a 10 gallon tank this entire time. The same tank. no substrate, no heat lamp. kept him in the kitchen. no windows either. I cant believe he lived for so long like that.

I don't know anything about turtles. So I quickly did my research. I got him a plastic tot 40"L x 17"H x 21"W.
I figured that was better than what he had for now. I plan on making him a habitat outside in the spring. i put organic soil about 3 inches deep in the bottom and 2 inches of leaves over that. I bought a night time heat bulb and put it over a piece of tile. I figured the night heat lamp would be better, since he has never had one. it is 70 watt.
I also gave him a pool 3xs the size he had before. and a small led lamp for light on the other side of container. I have him under my 55 gal fish tank, In a sunny formal living room.

I have not changed his diet from what my uncle was feeding him. lettuce, carrots, apple, grape,hamburger.
I figured that would be too much of a shock. He came with live worms, my uncle fed him 1 worm a week.
I have not given him a worm yet.
He buried himself in the dirt and leaves and has not come out. its been 5 days. I have been checking him, and he is still alive. response when I touch his back. but he has not eaten that I can tell. I am giving him fresh food everyday and changing the water in his pool.

What am I doing wrong? Is he grieving? Should I put him back in his old 10 gal tank? How long will he stay buried?
 

Toddrickfl1

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He's not grieving he's mad because his surroundings have changed. They don't like change, and they will sulk. Also it's the time of year for them to be brumating. If he's not warm enough he may be trying to brumate.
 

Yvonne G

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I second what Todd has told you. Even though he's lived his whole life in sub par conditions, those are the conditions he has grown used to. It was his territory, so to speak.

Be strong. Set up his new enclosure the best you know how, and read box turtle care sheets. Be stronger than this little tortoise, and be patient. When you're sure his surroundings - heat, light, food, etc. - are correct, then just offer him the good diet along with live, wiggly items, and hope that he comes around.

Also, box turtles are quite fond of water. Take him out daily and soak him in something he can't climb out of. Soak him for a good half hour or so.

Once he's used to his new surroundings and he understands he's safe, you can try some of the ways we have posted in the box turtle section for enticing box turtles to eat. You'll find them pinned at the top of the box turtle section.

It would be a good idea for you to post pictures of the turtle just to make sure it really is a box turtle.
 

Lovecollies

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He's not grieving he's mad because his surroundings have changed. They don't like change, and they will sulk. Also it's the time of year for them to be brumating. If he's not warm enough he may be trying to brumate.
Thank you for your help. So should I just leave him alone? I feel so bad for him, I wanted to make things better, not shock him.
 

Lovecollies

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Thank you all for your advice! I think I understand him more now. I will soak him and post a pic of him. I tried to identify him off pictures on the internet. My aunt told me he was a double hinged box turtle. When I looked that up I could not find that species.
His nails are super long. Not sure about his beak. I will get some good pictures and post of him.
Thank you again for your help. Merry Christmas to all!
 

Cathie G

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Thank you all for your advice! I think I understand him more now. I will soak him and post a pic of him. I tried to identify him off pictures on the internet. My aunt told me he was a double hinged box turtle. When I looked that up I could not find that species.
His nails are super long. Not sure about his beak. I will get some good pictures and post of him.
Thank you again for your help. Merry Christmas to all!
I put large flat rocks in my tortoise enclosure for that reason. Like a natural emory board. I try to do simalar for our house cat and bunny. Merry Christmas to you also.
 

Lovecollies

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20191213_203838.jpg 20191213_204057 (1).jpg I posted early about a turtle I inherited from my Uncle. My Uncle passed away last week and I was given his turtle. The turtle has to be at least 45 years old. Was in a 10 gal tank with no substrate. Anyway make a long story short,
I would love if someone could tell me what kind of box turtle he is and if they see any issues. Like does he look healthy and ok or is he sick? I don't know anything about turtles. I am trying to learn very quickly.
Thank you all for your help. 20191213_203746 (1).jpg
 
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PJay

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This is Terrance. If anyone could tell me what kind he is and if they see anything wrong with him etc.. That would be great!View attachment 283727
You have a three toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis.) The beak is a little overgrown and there are some spots on its plastron (bottom shell) that could be of concern, there may be some shell rot there. Another picture of the shell when dry would be needed, the light reflection off the wet shell makes it difficult to tell for sure.
 

Thatrandomsum1

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Def a box turtle lol. Old guy so that's pretty good too. They like a mixed diet of soft bodied insects or earthworms along with some fruits and greens. Gotta have a probably about 2 inches of substrate, coco noirs works well, I use a mix of soil and reptiles bark for my guys because I grow plants in his tank to munch on. I'd go to google and do a bunch of research on him. Lots of boxes are relatively same care. Be careful on fruits and veggies also, dont want too much sugar
 

Pastel Tortie

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My box turtle does her own thing. On her own schedule. It's a good thing they're so charming and have such wonderful personalities, because they can easily drive you crazy (make you frustrated) if you let them. Especially in the winter, when they're less likely to be interactive (at all), eat, or do much of anything to provide progress updates so you know they're okay.

The main thing between now and spring is to make sure your box turtle doesn't lose a lot of weight. Give your box turtle plenty of opportunities to eat and bask, but don't stress if the turtle doesn't take advantage of them, or not to the fullest extent.

Tracking your turtle's weight on a regular basis is a sanity saver. Kitchen scales that measure in grams work great for box turtles. Keep a record somewhere so you can refer to it later. (It's not a question of IF, but WHEN it will come in handy.)

I have separate columns for tracking my boxie's weight pre-soak and post-soak, as well as where I can make notations about intake and output (turtle poop), as all of that can affect the turtle's weight.
 

newboxiemama

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I also adopted a boxie that grew up in awful conditions...he spent 2 months scared and buried. It has been about 8 months now with correct substrate, lighting and diet and I have a COMPLETELY different turtle. Playful, curious and always hungry! Gorgeous shell and colors now as well. Turtles are resilient - so great that you're giving this little guy a new happy home :)
 
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