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post #31 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
As I've been saying, like has nothing to do with it. Dietary requirements do. A few wise keepers and breeders have made omelette treats with chopped up veggies in them, add some red bell peppers for a bright attractive color and I doubt any turtle could resist. I chop all my veggies finely and mix fruit in - cut small as well. It makes it harder for them to pick it out.I'm sure they hate my scheming ways to make them eat well!

If you decide to release them, they need to go back to the area you found them. Turtles have home ranges (actually most animals do), when relocated out of it they face starvation, dehydration, and predation as they won't know safe places to hide/nest. They managed that area for the last 6-30 years (maybe more) just fine.
I hope they come out of hibernation safe and sound. Make sure to give them a nice soak so they can rehydrate after the long winter.


Wild mud turtles are icky. Wild muds, musks, and snappers always smell like something rotten. That beauty in the picture I linked to sure had an odor.

Vixen, have you been able to find all the proper lights, fixtures, and thermometers you need? If you have problems getting supplies and supplements at your local pet stores, or just want to save a little money, you can try this online store http://www.reptilesupply.com/
I have bought bulbs and other items from them a few times, no problems at all and had very quick processing + shipping. Some people have complained about their orders being slower to process, though.

...Check your state laws before messing with any wild life. Texas now has a law that if you so much as get out of your car to move a turtle they can fine you with hunting on public land.
In Arlyn's case, species like gila monsters and tortoises have strict protection in some states. You can actually get in trouble for "molesting" them just by being close enough to photograph - without proper permits. I'll look forward to those pictures, but please don't get yourself in trouble!
You have so much good information that I could learn so much from. Maybe I will work with these turtles. I have 1 male and 1 female. The female is really a nice turtle! I really like her. She is a happy turtle

I did bookmark your sites that you posted for Box turtles. I will have lots of questions for you!!

I'm glad I popped into this discussion.
post #32 of 53
Vixen - Turtles are very very dirty creatures. They eat, they poop, they spend a lot of time in the water. Because of this you have to either get a filter made for a turtle or get one for double the amount of water you intend to put through it. 20 gal water = 40 gal rated filter.

Cheapest way to do the lights since you are only using a 20 gal for now is to get a large enough fixture to hold your fluorescent bulb. A 20 gal is what, 24" long? (I only have 29s and 30s) To cover that and be able to reuse it when you upgrade tank sizes I would suggest no smaller than an 18" bulb. The common brands are exo terra and zoomed. Exo terra makes higher percentage bulbs (7%, 8%, 10% UVB output) but because your turtle(s) will be sitting close -ie less than a foot away from the light fixtures and bulbs you can probably use a 5% by either brand.
Prices for the hood tube fixtures range around $25-$45 for 18"-24" type sizes. Or at least they should if your pet shop isn't over priced. UVB fluorescent tube should be around $20 for an 18".

For heat lighting, you can use a normal incandescent house hold bulb. Since you have a 20gal you may only want to use a 40watt. I think the bulb type is called A19? (fixture name?). You will check on the clip lamp to see if it is rated for this - most are that size. Exo terra makes a clip lamp with a built in dimmer, zoomed does as well but despite saying it was for A19 size bulbs they don't fit.
Lamp should cost $10-$15. You can turn them off in the evening. If your house get very cold during the winter you will need to use a red heat bulb.

An easy way to make sure the lights are on 12-14 hours at the same time everyday is to check a hardware store or walmart for a cheap appliance timer. $5-$10

If you have problems getting a digital thermometer with a probe for putting on the basking spot you can check hardware stores and walmart. These may vary in price from $12-35, depending on how fancy you get. This is important - if the basking spot is too hot your turtle won't use it and may stop eating.
For the water you can use an aquarium thermometer if it has the 60-80s range. Don't use the silly stick on thermometers, the glass temp is completely useless to you.

Also, as I've been going on and on about diet. You can't feed pellets everyday. They're more like a couple times a week meal, with 2-3 veggie days, an insect day, and a day of no food. You don't need to feed the turtle a lot with it's little, meals should be about the size of it's head and what it can eat within about 10-15 minutes. An obese turtle isn't a happy turtle and can have serious health problems along with even swimming problems.

Too much info? (again?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by abbycats View Post
You have so much good information that I could learn so much from. Maybe I will work with these turtles. I have 1 male and 1 female. The female is really a nice turtle! I really like her. She is a happy turtle

I did bookmark your sites that you posted for Box turtles. I will have lots of questions for you!!

I'm glad I popped into this discussion.
I hope all of this can be helpful to you. What kind did you say you have again? And do know, if you get the setup right and provide them with even the basics they will start breeding. Be prepared for babies even if you do not collect eggs for indoor incubation. I had an oops clutch over winter outside, boy was that a surprise in spring. Check your state laws concerning limits. One oops clutch and you could have passed the legal limit (though I fail to see how it's any of their business, that would be captive breed and not wild caught ).
The same to Vixen, if you get a boy and girl and do everything right... in a few years eggs may be an issue.
post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
I hope all of this can be helpful to you. What kind did you say you have again? And do know, if you get the setup right and provide them with even the basics they will start breeding. Be prepared for babies even if you do not collect eggs for indoor incubation. I had an oops clutch over winter outside, boy was that a surprise in spring. Check your state laws concerning limits. One oops clutch and you could have passed the legal limit (though I fail to see how it's any of their business, that would be captive breed and not wild caught ).
The same to Vixen, if you get a boy and girl and do everything right... in a few years eggs may be an issue.
I have 2 Box turtles. What do I need to do for their outdoor enclosure. The last turtle we had was in an outdoor enclosure in our garden and she dug under the wood that was surrounding it and ran away from home.

The turtles we have now are in the house hybernating.
post #34 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by abbycats View Post
I have 2 Box turtles. What do I need to do for their outdoor enclosure. The last turtle we had was in an outdoor enclosure in our garden and she dug under the wood that was surrounding it and ran away from home.

The turtles we have now are in the house hybernating.
That depends on how you want your pen to look and what your local animals are - raccoons, dogs, neighboring children.

Some people use concrete blocks, some use plywood -painted, I've used picket fence panels on one of my pens.
You need to have the walls buried 2 feet down or have the pen bottom lined with chicken wire. I prefer burying the pen walls as they need to dig fairly deep when hibernating outside, chicken wire would get in the way. If that won't be an issue you can use it.

1 adult box turtle needs a minimum of 4'x4' of pen, so 2 would be around 8'x8' or anything totaling up to very close to the same amount of square feet.

Here's some above view pictures of my male's pen.... I let it get a little wild in there last year, though he loved it that way. 8'x11'x3 1/2' tall (2' down)
http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q...tpen-right.jpg
http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q...ltpen-left.jpg

...I can't find the pictures of my babies' pen. It's 8'x5' plywood (unpainted, I was lazy), has 2' underground and about a foot and a half above. With 3 wire mesh lids.

The pen needs good morning sun exposure and some evening sun. Mid day doesn't matter so much as they're usually hiding then. - BUT, if the female lays eggs she'll need a nice sunny spot to put her nest. Drainage needs to be good, and of course don't use a part of your lawn that floods. lol

If your soil is clay you'll need to add other soil, sterile top soil that usually cost $1 a bag from any garden center (or walmart) works, I add a bag or two of play sand too. You need to make a couple spots in the pen where you dig down 2-3 feet and mix in peat moss, this is for winter and you'll put their hides/turtle houses over it. The peat helps hold moisture too for the those dry summer days. Water can be provided in a number of containers, try to use a food grade plastic or other safe plastics, and remember UVB might break it down some (though it's cheap to replace containers each spring). Some people have successfully used litter boxes New ones of course, with some large rocks in them to make it easier to get in and out. Shallow rubbermaid or sterilite containers work too. Water needs to be changed daily so find something that won't be too difficult for you to take care of.

Old logs, large bark pieces, large flower pots with holes in the sides or anything else you can creatively turn into a house or decoration works.
For the pen, bigger is better. You get to plant stuff in it.
Last year I planted yellow squash in my baby turtle pen... they kept eating them, so I didn't get any. The leaves make great shade. Greens like turnip and collards grow very fast, provide great shade, and if the turtles don't eat them... attracts grasshoppers. I'm going to plant green beans this year. If they don't eat them, or eat much, we can eat some ourselves. (I bet I get a bunch of beans with little wedge shaped bites taken out of them)

No nightshade family plants - tomato, potato, peppers as the plants are toxic - but, tomatoes may be fine with adults who won't try munching on the plants (not sure about the flowers). Also, anything you plant in the pen is potentially at risk for being crushed by the turtles walking over it.

Similar set ups work for aquatics when it's time to put them outside, with more focus on a pond.

It is a lot of work, the toughest part is the digging. I really suggest you start that before the weather gets too warm.
post #35 of 53
Thank you!! I have a lot of yard space to chose where to put the enclosure. I need to check in the garage tomorrow to see if we have left over fence slats from when we put our fence around the house. This will be a cool project!

We have a 6' privacy fence around our whole perimeter so dogs and kids are not a problem. Cats don't seem to mess with the turtles.

I will make a plan tomorrow to work on this!! Thanks
post #36 of 53
Our box turtles were in a brick enclosure. But be careful that the bricks cannot be climbed up on - just enough of a foothold on a crooked brick and they can climb out. We had that happen a few times.

I always checked the bricks every few days. I would say the bricks were probably 5-6 bricks in height. At least double the height of a turtle standing on its hind legs.
post #37 of 53
Bricks are a great idea too!!!
post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by abbycats View Post
Bricks are a great idea too!!!
From GoldenKitty's description - if small bricks where used and not secured, not really... It's a bit like leaving your front door partially cracked open and hoping that your cats don't realize it and get out.
Box turtles are amazing climbers. (I love this person's pictures, I always get a good laugh out of them http://forums.kingsnake.com/view.php?id=1506971,1506998 )
If you're going to build a pen, do it right so you won't have to worry about any escapes. You shouldn't have to check and fix it daily or every few days. If/when an escape happens you'd probably be very upset!
You can use concrete cinder blocks ( sat here for 15 minutes the other day and couldn't remember the word cinder ) but you need to reinforce them so they won't move as a falling cinder block or even a smaller brick can seriously injure a turtle. Wood driven down through the holes can work to secure them. Just beware that the slightest toe hold is all they need. Adding a wooden lip that overhangs the inside of the pen walls by a few inches could prevent that, as could adding lids. You still need to prevent dig out escapes.

And for some good news, I found 7 out of 9 of my babies up today! Three of them ate some grubs I found in the pen when I was cleaning the winter straw out.
post #39 of 53
These were good size bricks - they worked well as long as you didn't have that toe hold like you mentioned. If you use fencing, then be sure the holes are not big enough to get their shell thru.

I guess a more solid wall (brick or boards) would be best outside.
post #40 of 53
Thread Starter 
Hey Ive got another question...

How does the Water Heater thing work.. I got one with my fish tank (used) but im not sure if its broken or not...
Right now when I turn it on it gets really hot.. like untouchable hot... is that what its suppose to do or is mine broken??

-

And as for the Turtle Pic strange_wings posted... I didnt know Turtles could be so acrobatic!!!
post #41 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vixen16 View Post
Hey Ive got another question...

How does the Water Heater thing work.. I got one with my fish tank (used) but im not sure if its broken or not...
Right now when I turn it on it gets really hot.. like untouchable hot... is that what its suppose to do or is mine broken??

-

And as for the Turtle Pic strange_wings posted... I didnt know Turtles could be so acrobatic!!!
if its a general aqaurium heater it should have a notch on it too change the heat,... have you got a thermometer in the tank?
post #42 of 53
Thread Starter 
Not yet... I havnt got everything yet... I just wanted to se if I should buy a new heater or not.

Im not sure if the Temp Valve thingy helps at all... I couldnt touch it to se... is it suppose to get really hot?
post #43 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vixen16 View Post
Im not sure if the Temp Valve thingy helps at all... I couldnt touch it to se... is it suppose to get really hot?
That honestly does sound too hot. Maybe the temp control broke or some the of wiring is faulty now. Was it a cheaper brand?
If in doubt, and not wanting burns for yourself or your turtle, do some research on water heaters and get one that has a very good review. It's been so many years since I used one that I couldn't help you with what's available now.

Maybe make a separate thread asking about aquarium heater in this section or the lounge as the fish people may not check a turtle thread.

You may have to find a way to section off a water heater with some wire mesh to keep the turtle from messing with it, or as I've seen pictures of one person's turtle doing - laying on it. The water heater caused some shell deformities.


And more good news, another baby up today! 8 of 9 now.
post #44 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
That honestly does sound too hot. Maybe the temp control broke or some the of wiring is faulty now. Was it a cheaper brand?
If in doubt, and not wanting burns for yourself or your turtle, do some research on water heaters and get one that has a very good review. It's been so many years since I used one that I couldn't help you with what's available now.

Maybe make a separate thread asking about aquarium heater in this section or the lounge as the fish people may not check a turtle thread.

You may have to find a way to section off a water heater with some wire mesh to keep the turtle from messing with it, or as I've seen pictures of one person's turtle doing - laying on it. The water heater caused some shell deformities.

Im thinking about picking one up from Wal-Mart ((here))...
But im not sure how well it'll work.
I was also gonna hide it behind a fake Plant or somethin... you know so the turtle cant get to it but it'll still warm the water.

Im only filling my 20gal tank half way... so when I get my Heater should I get one that heats 10-15gal or 20-30gal.
post #45 of 53
You have to keep water heaters submereged a certain depth in water depending on the heater or it'll wreck it. So, look closely at the heater you purchase comapred to how deep you plan to keep the water.
post #46 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
You have to keep water heaters submereged a certain depth in water depending on the heater or it'll wreck it. So, look closely at the heater you purchase comapred to how deep you plan to keep the water.

Any Heater I get is gonna be Submersible... even if I get the one from Wal-Mart. But if I do have to leave a piece sticking out than ill Suction-Cup it to the side of the Tank behind a Plant.

Oh and the Waters only gonna be about 6-7inches deep.
post #47 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vixen16 View Post
Any Heater I get is gonna be Submersible... even if I get the one from Wal-Mart. But if I do have to leave a piece sticking out than ill Suction-Cup it to the side of the Tank behind a Plant.
I think you misunderstood what she said. If it sticks out of the water it will ruin the heater. So you may not be able to put it in there vertically.

And a fake plant will not stop a turtle... you'll be lucky if it doesn't try to bite off pieces of it. It will try to rest or even climb on anything in the aquarium at some point.
post #48 of 53
Thread Starter 
Oh oops maybe I did... hmmm... i didnt know that.

Ok what if I hid it under a rock or somethin?

Or what if I stuck it Horizontally right under his Dock? that way it still heats the water and he cant lay on it?
post #49 of 53
It won't do any good under a rock, you'd be heating more of the rock then the water or risk overheating the heater because the rock would hold the heat.

Just get a small piece of 1/4 inch wire mesh from someone, you would probably only need a 12"x12" piece (unless your heater is longer). A pair of wire cutters and a pair of needle nose pliers and you could make a mesh tube to go around the heater in just a few minutes. This will keep the turtle away from the heater and still allow water to flow around it.
The mesh is known by the name "hardware cloth" if you have to ask at a hardware store for it.
post #50 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
It won't do any good under a rock, you'd be heating more of the rock then the water or risk overheating the heater because the rock would hold the heat.

Just get a small piece of 1/4 inch wire mesh from someone, you would probably only need a 12"x12" piece (unless your heater is longer). A pair of wire cutters and a pair of needle nose pliers and you could make a mesh tube to go around the heater in just a few minutes. This will keep the turtle away from the heater and still allow water to flow around it.
The mesh is known by the name "hardware cloth" if you have to ask at a hardware store for it.

Thanx!! ill look for it the next time we go to town!!
post #51 of 53
I want a res too! I was reading on a turtle forum a sticky on the proper things you can feed them that they can eat feeder fish like goldfish or guppies. Do they really? I was thinking of having a tank set up appropriate for a turtle way before we actually get a turtle with a few fish in it. How big does a tank need to be for just 1 red eared slider turtle? Like I said, I would like a few fish, even if the turtle will not eat them I read that the fish will help keep the tank clean by eating the remainder of the turtles dropped food and some of his droppings. Would goldfish or guppies be better for that? I figured that guppies are smaller and therefore more likely to be eaten (that is just a guess on my part).

One other question, relating to cats and turtles. I know that turtles tend to carry samonilla and you have to be careful and wash your hands. What if your cat comes in contact, are they at risk and what should you do? Thanks.
post #52 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2raven View Post
I want a res too! I was reading on a turtle forum a sticky on the proper things you can feed them that they can eat feeder fish like goldfish or guppies. Do they really? I was thinking of having a tank set up appropriate for a turtle way before we actually get a turtle with a few fish in it. How big does a tank need to be for just 1 red eared slider turtle? Like I said, I would like a few fish, even if the turtle will not eat them I read that the fish will help keep the tank clean by eating the remainder of the turtles dropped food and some of his droppings. Would goldfish or guppies be better for that? I figured that guppies are smaller and therefore more likely to be eaten (that is just a guess on my part).

One other question, relating to cats and turtles. I know that turtles tend to carry samonilla and you have to be careful and wash your hands. What if your cat comes in contact, are they at risk and what should you do? Thanks.
I've heard that if the fish get too big, they will nip at the turtles. We have 2 RES, but they are my SOs and I don't really know much about them. Maybe someone else will know if this is true?

We haven't had problems with salmonella. Our cat doesn't really pay much attention to the turtles, and we don't let the turtles out of the aquarium.
post #53 of 53
Start over with the beginning of the turtle threads I linked and information. It will tell you how big your aquarium or chosen enclosure needs to be. Minimum is 10 gals for every 1 inch of turtle.

Legally sold turtles are 4 inches (federal law), so you would have to start off with a 40 gallon or larger. I strongly suggest you try to adopt! You will end up with a larger turtle (4-8 inches) but you will be doing a turtle and a reptile rescue a big favor. Believe it or not, reptile rescues have much more trouble then a cat or dog rescue does just because the care requirements cost so much.
-If you find a store selling hatchlings then they are breaking federal law - I suggest these stores be reported as most hatchlings are shipped there and sold when barely two weeks old, and of course most meet sad ends because they're too fragile to survive novice keepers mistakes. A bit like people selling or giving away kittens under 8 weeks old...

No fish or other cage mates that can be viewed as food. It will eventually happen even if you think they get along fine. Turtles are predators... and often scavengers, they will take a meal opportunity whenever they can. If you choose to get two turtles, do not get different sizes as the smaller turtle will be bullied and even injured. Don't mix species, it's just one more complication for the keeper.
Minnows and guppies can be used as feeder fish, goldfish are too fatty. Insects are another good choice - earthworms, nightcrawlers(cut up), crickets, superworms, silkworms, and roaches are preferred over mealworms or waxworms. Don't forget veggies, even if your turtle seems picky. You can make them eat properly - it just takes effort and being more stubborn then a turtle.

Please put a lid over your turtle's enclosure. Why worry about your cats getting sick when a lid can prevent the issue. In general though, cats and dogs are less sensitive to bacteria than humans are - wash your hands and no licking your turtle. As with all creatures, turtles can also carry parasites - pinworms, gardia, candida being more common ones. These can quickly make a turtle's health go downhill so having a proper herp vet (one that treats reptiles and amphibians) is a must.

You must research proper temperatures, UVB, food, and supplementing. A mistake in any of these areas can result in gross shell deformities or worse, death. (Just posted the other day on a reptile forum explaining that to a person who asked why their turtle got crusty eyes and died - of course the person didn't take the poor turtle to a vet when they knew it was sick. )


Also, make sure your daughter knows this is a hands off pet. While turtles can be held occasionally, they really don't like it and never let them "air swim" - feet hang in the air. It's very upsetting to the turtle. Plan for a turtle that will eventually reach 8 inches to a foot in diameter. If you don't have a yard, a spare room, or won't have one where you can build a pen and pond in a few years, this is not the pet for you.

Expect to spend around $300 for the initial setup and turtle.

Any other questions? Most areas have been covered over and over, if not in the two threads I linked to then in a few others.
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