Little Half-Face

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Maggie Cummings

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A few weeks ago a woman brought me 5 box turtles because she lost her job and was having to down-size from a house to an apartment. She's a self supporting single mother and she needed to find a decent home for them so of course I took all 5. 3 are Ornates and one is a 3-toed and 1 is a 3-toed Ornate mix. It is obvious she kept them in too small of a habitat as they are violent and had bitten 1 female Ornate in her eyeball so that has scar tissue over half of the eyeball and they all will bite a person. I have never met a box turtle who would bite before. They are mean and feeding them was like a shark frenzy until I started feeding each separately.
But the heartbreak is a 4 yr old Ornate 3 toed mix who is about the size of a 50 cent piece and is missing half of his face. She admits to putting him in with the rest too soon and someone bit off half of his face and she didn't take him to a Vet. In the pictures you can see his sinus cavity is open and facing upwards. I am having a real hard time feeding him as he bites at a worm and then using his right hand he rakes the worm pulling it over to his right side where he can't see and then he loses interest in that worm and walks off. You all know the raking motion they use to straighten out the food, but as soon as anything is over on his right side he can't see it anymore and walks off. I have gone in my yard and collected rollie pollies as I saw him eat a couple when I first got him. But for some reason he doesn't like mine and won't eat them. I have offered him everything I can think of, and she has a good environment growing in the tank she brought me. I neglected to mention she brought his 150 gallon tank that Little Half-Face lives in. There are red wigglers, mealworms, sow bugs, wax worms and some nameless bugs living in the tank. I have him living in that tank alone, I also offer him all the fruit a box turtle should eat and trout chow. He won't attempt to eat anything that doesn't move. I am at my wits end and I am now afraid he is going to die. I sent an email to the woman asking how she fed him but she hasn't answered. It is obvious why he is so small at 4 years old. He must eat just enough to stay alive. He gets really excited and acts like he really wants to eat, but he's rejected everything I've offered him, except for the worms and like I said once he loses sight of them he gives up...Anybody have any advice for me? The others are healthy beautiful, mean animals. Here's Little Half-Face...

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So there he is...anybody have any ideas for me?
 

Missy

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Aww that is so sad :( Can you use tweezers and hold the food in his sight?
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Missy said:
Aww that is so sad :( Can you use tweezers and hold the food in his sight?

I've tried that too...remember the little Ornate I had named Tweezer? So in memory of Tweezer I have tried the tweezer method to no avail...:(
 

african cake queen

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gee wiz, poor little guy. good luck. i wouldnt know what to do. these guys here are good . some one will help you. lindy
 

dmmj

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have you tried mazuri? or trout chow? I would imagine those softened should be easier for him to eat.
 

Dutch

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i'm sooo shocked about all the sad stories i read here - this poor, poor animals! well, i'm just a newbie, and the idea i have sounds pretty bad as far as the worms are concerned... how about just "small pieces" of worms, like "bite-size"? good luck to you!
 
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Maggie Cummings

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dmmj said:
have you tried mazuri? or trout chow? I would imagine those softened should be easier for him to eat.

I've tried both, even smashed some strawberries in with them. He won't attempt to eat anything that doesn't wiggle, and then after it moves out of his left side he just gives up. It's not a matter of him needing to eat something soft. He tries to eat worms, but when it moves to his right side where he can't see it anymore, he's not smart enough to turn his head and keep it in his vision. He bites a worm, and then you know they rake it with their claws to straighten it out, when he rakes it with his right claw that pulls it out of his vision and he just gives up. I even plopped him in a massive soft pile of Mazuri and strawberries and he just walked out...
 

Az tortoise compound

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Maggie,
What about putting the little guy in a small tupperwaretub with only a worm or two....give him an hour or two and see what happens? That's the only idea I had after reading this. Good luck with him!
 

dmmj

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How about a big pile of little worms so he does not have to try and straighten them out? chop them up and put a pile in front of him.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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dmmj said:
How about a big pile of little worms so he does not have to try and straighten them out? chop them up and put a pile in front of him.
That's a couple of good ideas, yours and Micks. I'm going to try them tomorrow...wish me luck! I really want this guy to make it...
 

Zouave

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Just terrible. Best of luck and bless good hearted people like you. :)
 

Yvonne G

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Yeah, I like both those ideas. Cut up pieces of worms, or give him a pile of small worms and put him with them in a small container (in his aquarium) and just forget about him.

I start my baby box turtles out eating in small tubs of water with black worms. (Those used to be called tubifex worms, for aquarium fish) I just add enough water to coat the bottom of a small cottage cheese container and add a pinch of worms and the baby turtle. Maybe that would work for him too.
 

Lisa Anne

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Since it has to wiggle how about if you put the cut up pieces in with a LIVE worm. When he goes for the wiggle he might grab the bite size pieces.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Laura said:
his name should be Phantom...
babyfood soak to start..
can he open his mouth??

Yes his mouth works just fine. I am afraid to do a baby food soak because his nasal passages are wide open and facing up and the baby food leaves a residue, and I am afraid of a buildup in his nasal passages. I think it would be bad for his nasal passages, look at how they are so wide open and facing up like that. I think it would infect all that open area...
 

Len B

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I feed mealworms to baby boxies using a shallow bowl type container that the worms can't climb out of but the baby turtles can get into and eat what they want and then go on about their business and come back for more any time they want.I raise the mealworms in Layena and have some of that in the bowl also and the turtles will eat some of the layena when they attack the mealworm,Layena has no harmful ingredients,all natural.and mealworms never set still always moving.It's worth a try.Len
 

Isa

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OMG that is just terrible!!! I am so mad, Why the animals are always the ones to pay :(. I am sooo glad he is with you now Maggie. Good luck tomorrow with the 2 ideas you will try please keep us updated.
 
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