Baby Eastern Box Turtle Care

Baby Eastern Box Turtle Care


They need lots of moisture and can be finicky about eating at first. Since they just hatched, the yolk sac will provide nutrition for the initial days.

Click here for a pdf on box turtle feeding

I use a set up that I borrowed from Sandy Barnett, which has a wire mesh false floor that allows a reservoir of water, with a drain tube, that allows me to keep the sphagnum moss very moist. Most of us use that moss for our hatchlings as they spend most of the time buried in moist substrate, which is very important for their shell development. Sometimes I will see the baby up on the surface hiding in the fake plants, while other times I have to dig her up to feed her. Even though they are spending time under the surface, UVB light is still extremely important for their proper health and development.

I would suggest bringing them indoors and setting up temporary on very damp paper towels in a small dishpan like smooth bottom bowl or pan with the same shredded on top as cover . Place on the paper towels and cover with the wet shredded pieces. This will help protect the yolk sac area until healed. Keep in a warm room . When healed I remove the paper towels and keep them in very damp clean new Zealand sphagnum moss. Here is my wording I give to everyone as to new hatchlings as to starting food...
"Box turtle hatchling tip/help. Boxie hatchlings may take up to one month to start eating after hatching. Some may eat a few days out of the egg. First foods to offer are what they would find in the wild. Small thin moving earthworms, sow bugs (a/k/a rollie pollies or pill bugs) , or cut up bite size pieces of earthworms or nightcrawlers. To stimulate appetite, soaking in shallow tepid water prior to feeding can help. Only start water soaks after yolk sac area is fully healed. Many hatchlings also will eat items in the shallow water, including presoftened hatchling pellets or attack moving worms."

That article I linked from Sandy had similar advice on how to keep them while they have the yolk sac. I have never dealt with one that still had that. After I had been giving my new hatchling bits of nightcrawler for a few weeks, I started mashing up a couple soaked omega one pellets and mixing it with the worms so she couldn't separate them, so now she is getting in pellets too, but she hasn't started eating them alone yet. My last surprise hatchling, who is now three, ate everything right from the get go, even vegetables.

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Baby box turtle care
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