Not eating much & being picky

chami

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Silver Spring, MD
Hi,

I would like advise on how to encourage my box turtle to eat more often and not be picky in what she eats since she's been very picky for the past 1.5 months or so. Background on her follows below in the event that helps with any advise you can provide.

I've had my box turtle since May when I found her along the side of the road in my urban community. I built her an outdoor pen outside of my house and she stayed outdoors all summer but starting in Oct., I started bringing her indoors overnight on nights that got colder than 55-60 degrees. In the past month, she is now exclusively indoors for the winter and not eating as much and being quite picky about her food.

While she wasn't too keen on eating greens this summer, it seems like now that she's indoors, she just had no interest in them. I've tried feeding her different green-leaved veggies and even planted weeds such as dandelions in her indoor pen for her to munch on (not happening). I also gave her some purple cabbage (softened from cooking) the other day and she wasn't interested in that either. Recently, she has been nibbling on things that are very brightly colored such as sweet potato and red bell peppers. I also saw that a banana piece that I dropped in yesterday was also nibbled on.

This has been a mild weather weekend so I went outside this morning and got some worms and a slug from my garden and dropped those in her feeding area. She ate the slug and one of the worms (it can take her a few minutes to decide whether or not to go after what's in front of her).

I'm worried that she's not eating enough. I took her to the vet about a month ago to have her checked out because she started to be picky a little before that and he essentially said that she looked good and gave me a de-wormer upon my request. But I haven't given her the de-wormer yet because I am scared of wasting it by putting it on food that she won't eat.

I would love advise from those of you who've gone through something like this before. Thank you!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
93,626
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
All the literature you read about box turtles says that when younger, they eat mostly animal matter...insects, worms, etc.

I offer my box turtles a nice mixed salad of fruits and veggies, and put some worms or meal worms, chicken, etc. on top of it. They usually eat the animal protein first, but throughout the day will pick at the salad too.

Your turtle might be thinking about hibernating.
 

chami

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Silver Spring, MD
Thanks Yvonne,

The vet pegged her at being about 4 - 5 yrs old. Is that still considered young? If so, at what point in time would I start to switch up the balance of what she eats (from more protein into more of a plant-based diet)?

Also, when she first came indoors, I didn't yet have the CHE or UVA/UVB bulbs ordered but since those came in and I installed them, she is more active now and seemingly less inclined to hibernate.
 

diamondbp

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Nov 17, 2012
Messages
3,330
chami said:
Hi,

I would like advise on how to encourage my box turtle to eat more often and not be picky in what she eats since she's been very picky for the past 1.5 months or so. Background on her follows below in the event that helps with any advise you can provide.

I've had my box turtle since May when I found her along the side of the road in my urban community. I built her an outdoor pen outside of my house and she stayed outdoors all summer but starting in Oct., I started bringing her indoors overnight on nights that got colder than 55-60 degrees. In the past month, she is now exclusively indoors for the winter and not eating as much and being quite picky about her food.

While she wasn't too keen on eating greens this summer, it seems like now that she's indoors, she just had no interest in them. I've tried feeding her different green-leaved veggies and even planted weeds such as dandelions in her indoor pen for her to munch on (not happening). I also gave her some purple cabbage (softened from cooking) the other day and she wasn't interested in that either. Recently, she has been nibbling on things that are very brightly colored such as sweet potato and red bell peppers. I also saw that a banana piece that I dropped in yesterday was also nibbled on.

This has been a mild weather weekend so I went outside this morning and got some worms and a slug from my garden and dropped those in her feeding area. She ate the slug and one of the worms (it can take her a few minutes to decide whether or not to go after what's in front of her).

I'm worried that she's not eating enough. I took her to the vet about a month ago to have her checked out because she started to be picky a little before that and he essentially said that she looked good and gave me a de-wormer upon my request. But I haven't given her the de-wormer yet because I am scared of wasting it by putting it on food that she won't eat.

I would love advise from those of you who've gone through something like this before. Thank you!

Her natural clock is taking over. She is used to hibernating so her body is telling her that hibernation "should" be taking place and her metabolism is slowing down. I wouldn't worry just yet. As long as you keep her temperatures decent and have food/water availabe she should be fine. But if she ends up regressing a good bit please let us know. Sometimes taking a turtle out of the wild RIGHT before winter time can be quite strange from the turtles prospective. Come spring time she should become much more active since her body clock will "wake up" so to speak. Good luck


I'm sorry I skipped over the part where you said you got her in May lol. Regardless you should be feeding her more worms/bugs/etc than greens. All of my boxies are starting to slow down with there eating also. In the wild they don't hibernate with much food in their systems.
 

Jacqui

Wanna be raiser of Lemon Drop tortoises
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
39,909
Location (City and/or State)
A Land Far Away...
Sounds like the light are helping her move past the thinking she needs to slow down. Are you also giving her warm soaks?
 

Saleama

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2013
Messages
1,501
Location (City and/or State)
Irving Texas
Go get some super worms. I find that even picky eaters have trouble turning down super worms. They move alot and attract boxies like flowers attract bees! Also, if she is trying to hibernate and you do not want her to, leave her lights on longer each day, about 14 hours. She will probably not eat leafy greens. Try cucumber and berries, carrot and tomato, boiled chicken and boiled egg white. They also seem to love dry veggie omelette and mung bean sprouts. Boxies are very early risers so you might also put her food in late at night so when she rises before the sun is up, she will have food available. They tend to not eat mid day. And no need to soften it by cooking. Good luck with her! One other thing, just turn a bunch of red wiggler worms loose in her tank. She will hunt them down.
 

terryo

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 24, 2007
Messages
8,974
Location (City and/or State)
Staten Island, New York
She's just doing what come's naturally to her. All mine are outside hibernating now, but I had to take 5 little one's in as they are too young to hibernate yet. The three larger one's (three years old) I have not seen for almost a week and the two smaller ones (two year old) only come out to eat twice a week so far. This will go on for a few more months and as we head toward Spring they will start to come out every day to eat. I let them slow down even though they are inside, but check them often. When they do come out they eat fine. I think your box turtle is used to hibernating outside and no matter what you do she will slow down for a while. They just seem to know what time of year it is, no matter what you do. Just my opinion.
 

New Posts

Top