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New owner pf Box.turtl

Discussion in 'American box turtles' started by Janine2468, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    Hello all! I have just recently purchased a baby box turtle. There was a woman at the shop who seemed very helpful but she did confess she had other reptiles and amphibians and not specifically a box turtle. I have been doing a lot of.research (before and after my purchase) and need some guidance on some things. First, is my set up the best it can be? I have him in a 1x3 (feet) terrarium (i cant remember the exact gallons but it is pretty big and one of the biggest the store had). I have substrate of 'plantation soil' which was recommended. I have a 26 watt UVB which I was advised to turn off for 12 hours (night) and on for 12 hours (day). I have a 100 watt heating lamp which always stays on. A water dish of fresh shallow water daily, his food which is just the basic box turtle food (I have also been feeding him some small chopped veggies and he loves live mealworms). I have a thermometer and hygrometer to ensure proper temps and humidity. And of course plenty of hiding places. However, I have come into some issues. First, I have been finding it diffiult to keep his humidity up (only at about 50%) when I know it should be more in the 60-70% range. His temperature seems to be good as it is always between 70-80. I had tinfoiled the top of.the enclosure (leaving openings for both lamps) to try to keep some humidity in but does not seem to be doing much. I spray substrate everyday (im fact I have had to pour about half a liter of water onto substrate) and it doesnt seem to keep humidity up all day. I even bought a fogger which seems to help a little but I dont think I want to continue using it as he does not seem to like it and runs to hide when it is on.
    Should I be using something else for substrate. Maybe something to keep humidity and holds moisture better? The stuff I am using now seems to dry pretty quick. I noticed some people recommended mulch or top soil but what kind specifically and is it just the gardening stuff you can buy at lowes or home depot?
    Also, I noticed many people use live plants in their turtle enclosures. If so, what kind? I am worried about this as the turtle may try eating them and dont want anything toxic.
    Lastly, is there anything I should ensure he is getting in his diet? I do sprinkle a little vitamins on his food and he seems to be eating his box turtle food (as well as some fresh veg I put into the dish as well) but he seems to love mealworms and doesnt really eat the crickets we have been trying to feed him.
    Thank you
  2. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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  3. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    If you covered the entire top in foil and have damp substrate you should have plenty of humidity. Can we see photos of the setup? And turtle as well?

    Also, you need a long tube uvb flourescent, not a coiled 26 watt one. And add some worms to his diet, as in earthworms. Red wighlers, cut up nightcrawlers....id skip the crickets.

    Provide cuttlebone in his enclosure also.
  4. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

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    The coiled light bulbs can hurt their eyes. That is why the long tube light is good. Just adding my two cents!
  5. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    Hello. Thanks for your insight. Here is a picture of my enclosure (as well as the top lighting situation). I did end up buying some repti-bark and moss from the petstore here to mix in with my substrate I have in there now. So far it seems to be helping with the humidity. I do also want to get a plant for his home but unsure what kind of small plant is best. I dont want to put anything.in there that may be toxic to him. Thanks

    20180109_100430.jpg 20180109_100434.jpg
  6. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    That looks good! It should be nice And humid in there. Just get the long tube flourescent uvb. Do you have a temperature gun?

    Oh, I see you asked about substrates we use. I personally use peat moss from Lowes and I mix long fibre sphagnum in that I order on amazon.
  7. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    No. I do not have a temperature gun but maybe I should invest in one. Also, should I have a heat pad in there as well or is the lamo sufficient enough? He doesnt even seem to ever sit under the heat lamp. He likes borrowing in the dark places
  8. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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    Are you using a red bulb? That isn't recommended. It makes things look odd colors to torts. That could be why he is avoiding it. The screen top is blocking some of the light and UV. If you want to keep the screen, you should cut holes for the lights. The lights shouldn't be angled. They should be pointed straight down, and the foil should wrap up around them, so there isn't all that space for the heat and humidity to escape.

    It should be dark at night. If you need more heat, you can use a CHE, which provides heat without light.
  9. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    Thanks for all your feedback. I was given all these setup guides by the lady at store. Other people commented that my set up (besides coiled bulb) was good. And watching other videos it seemed I was doing fine but now I am confused. If not using the red heat lamp, what should I use? Also, if I am supposed to turn it off every night, how will heat keep in his enclosure. I live in Canada and it gets pretty cold at night, even in our own home. I was placing the bulbs right on the screen at first but noticed it was getting a little too hot in there which is why I moved it up a little and I do agree the wrapping the lights will probably help with the humidity. What are the best lights to be using in your opinion?
    Thanks
  10. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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    You can use a regular 60 watt lightbulb for basking during the day. As I said before, if you need heat at night or additional heat during the day, you can use a ceramic heat emitter (CHE) which provides heat without light.

    If your UVB is a coiled bulb, you should get rid of it. A fluorescent tube is a good choice.

    Here is some more information: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/box-turtle-hatchling-care-sheet.97144/
  11. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    I am going to switch out those lights right away. Thanks for the advice. Obviously the lady at store had no idea what she was talking about. I always had lizards, snakes and other reptiles and they LOVED HEAT and whenever I hold my baby turtle he seems cold and so I worry about the heat in there even when it says 75. But it sounds like they enjoy the damp and dark. Hmm.
    Thanks again
  12. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I never use red lamps, but I do use the black reptile heat bulbs. I put it on a rheostat. It' in high during the day and at night I turn the knob down to low/medium for gentle heat at night. No heat pad needed.

    My box turtles react to the red but never the black ones.
  13. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    Good to know thank you
  14. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    These are the black heat. They come in regular incandescent and spot bulbs:
    https://www.petmountain.com/product...lack-heat-incandescent-bulb-for-reptiles.html
    Most here like to use CHE but I like these. I would not use a separate white incandescent for day. Box turtles don' like it overly bright anyway so your flourescent light is enough for visible light.

    The poster above was correct about not using the red ones though. Somehow I didn' realize the red in the photo before. Go with either the black heat or CHE for day and night with a tube uvb for 12 to 14 hours during the day. And yes, get a temp gun! When you enclose things for humidity it also holds in heat so you'll need to check temps in case you need to turn the heat down a bit.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  15. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I also didn' realize you always have lights angled, I thought that was for photo only. They need to sit on screen as you'e losing humidity that way. If too hot get lower wattage bulb or a rheostat.
  16. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    Hey guys
    For the long UV bulb, is this good? Also, what wattage should the CHE be? Thank you

    Attached Files:

  17. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    That is fine, though I usually recommend the 5.0 for box turtles.
    It' hard to say what wattage since it depends on ambient temperature of the room, size of enclosure, etc. If it were me I'd try a 60 or 75 watt since you have the top enclosed.
  18. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    I knew the 5.0 was preferable for the uv lamp but they 10.0 was all they had. Then we seen the the 5.0 at another store. We can take.it back if it makes a big difference? I uploaded pic of 5.0 we seen if you think it will work better? The CHE we got was 65 watts. I guess we will see once I get my temperature gun. Also, i got a digital hygrometer and I think it is working better (more accurate) than the other cheap one I had. It is showing my humidity is where it should be. By the way, what is a good humidity? 70%?

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  19. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    If you'e going to set the uvb directly on the screen top keep the 10.0. If you are not going to have screen obstructing the uvb then get the 5.0. 70% humidity is perfect. 65 watts sounds good, though you won' really know until it' up and running for a few hours.
  20. Janine2468

    Janine2468 New Member

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    Yes. And I am buying a temperature gun tomorrow to make sure. So one thing I have been worried about. I have had many lizards and snakes in the past and I know they loved the heat. They were always fairly warm when I carried them and handled them. My.baby box turtle always seems cold to the touch. Is this normal? He is always hiding way under thr substrate and I imagine it is cold under there. Is this normal?
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