Species identification and care guidance

ImATeapot

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May 9, 2022
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One of my roomates has recently moved out and left their turtle behind so I've been trying to figure out how to properly take care of it. I think it's a three toed box turtle but I'm not sure.
 

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Yvonne G

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Yes, it's a three toed box turtle that has been kept too dry.

Get a fairly large plastic tote, large enough to house several potted plants. Use orchid bark as the substrate and wet it well. Add a layer of non toxic leaves all over the bark.

He'll need a heat source, something that keeps the enclosure up in the 80's, a ceramic heat emitter works well. Put it on a thermostat and keep it on day and night.

You can get by with a regular light bulb on a timer to simulate day time . He won't need a UVB light because he'll be getting his vitamin d3 from his food.b

Young box turtles like yours are mainly carnivorous, but I always provide the animal protein on a bed of greens so they get used to occasionally getting a bite of greens. Idrain the juice off a can of cat food and coat the greens with it. You can feed worms, crickets, roaches, etc., some over ripe fruit and the greens.

Provide a waterer large enough for him to easily climb in and out of.
 

jeff kushner

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I hope "Teapot" comes back to tell us how it's doing.....

Tea....you just got some super advise of how to improve his life instantly without a lot of drama or $$ out of your pocket!

Welcome!

jeff
 

wellington

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Wow, your room mate did the poor thing a favor by leaving it behind. They sure didn't try to figure out the right care.
If you follow the advice Yvonne gave you should have a much more happy shelled friend with a better chance at a long life. Glad you took it in.
 

ImATeapot

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I really appreciate the help. I'm looking at buying a tank that opens up from the front. I am not sure how I'm supposed to set up the heater and I can't find a water dish that would be safe for my turtle to use. The ones in my local pet stores dont have sloped sides so I'm worried about him tipping over or getting stuck. I was thinking about making a dish but I don't know what to make it out of.

I've done my best to research as much as I can and so far I've just ended up with more questions and inconclusive answers. One of my big concerns is shell rot, yvonne mentioned making sure the substrate is wet well but doesn't shell rot happen when the turtle stays wet?
 

Yvonne G

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No, box turtles aren't prone to shell rot.

Most of us use plant saucers for water.

A large plastic bin is much cheaper than a glass vivarium.

You don't need a heater. Buy a Ceramic Heating Element (CHE) and a dome fixture with a ceramic base (but don't use the clamp feature on the dome fixture. They frequently fail). You plug the CHE into a thermostat and set it for 80°F. Hang it from a stand or the ceiling.
 

ImATeapot

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Here's an update for everyone who has helped make sure my new friend is happy and healthy.

I did what I could with the stuff I have at the moment and the little bit of spending money I've got. I plan to change and upgrade his setup with future paychecks.
 

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jeff kushner

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Nice setup........you did really well!

Looks to have all the essentials, SAFELY done......

remember with box turtles, keep it wet......I like to say, "think more bog, then forest" but these are NOT desert tortoises and they don't like it dry nor are they really equipped to deal with it.

Those are some nice light fixtures....a nice quality install.

The little lion? Such a girl.......LOL
 
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