Eastern Box Turtle - Feeding

Ask questions, discussions about turtle feeding (various food, vitamins, minerals, etc.)
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chibicricket
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I have 3 Eastern Box turtles. I've had my adult one, Herman, for the past 5 years. He's a little picky, but eats on a regular basis, and I can usually mash up vegetables he doesn't care for in homemade apple sauce, and it's fine.

I recently got two juveniles from a friend who thought that they'd make great pets for his kids. They didn't even have them for more than 2 weeks before giving them both to me. Can't tell sex yet, they are pretty small. So the slightly larger of the two, Guybrush, eats a lot. But Marley, the smaller one, has not eaten anything in the week I've had them. I've mostly had lizards my entire life, turtles is a newer thing for me, and I've never had juveniles.

I've tried a variety of fruits/veggies/bugs. Marley has zero interest, and instead will bury himself in the substrate. Any ideas?
TurtlesBunniesPlants
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Hi,
Eastern Box Turtles really like to hide. They spend most of their time buried or covered so it is not surprising how kids lost interest shortly after they realized it is not like ninja turtles.
Well actually, they ARE like ninjas in some ways as they are secretive, good at hiding, and you never see them.

In the wild, they become more active after rain fall so spraying water throughly is a good way to encourage him to get out and explore.
In my limited experience, earth worms, slugs, bananas, and blackberries following “the rain” are the most effective for enticing them to eat.
Although they are not supposed to be eating it exclusively, chicken meat and regular fresh water turtle pellets seemed irresistible for them too. I bet they can smell high protein content.

If he still refuses to eat, I would suspect some issues like internal parasites. Most of wild turtles or turtles kept outside have them naturally but it can become an issue especially when stressed by new environment or too much handling, which kids tend to do.
chibicricket
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So, I did get Marley eating. Tried everything. Small crickets, mealworms, earthworms, wax worms, silk worms, roaches, and then just about every combination of fruits and veggies. Usually strawberries are like candy for box turtles, Marley won't touch them. He finally did eat the turkey cat food I gave him as a last resort. Hoping to get an appetite going so he'll something else. This one is going to be a challenge I'm sure!
TurtlesBunniesPlants
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Good to hear both of them at least ate something!
If you have access to relatively not contaminated field or forest near you, you can catch some pill bugs, snails, slugs for the picky one.

Young box turtles are naturally more carnivorous as they live in forest floor buried under leaves and eating those little critters they would encounter in such environment.
chibicricket
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Surprisingly, he won't touch pill bugs. My house is on about 4 acres of forest property, so I've had plenty of outdoor options for him, we don't use any pesticides or chemicals. He's just not interested in anything but cat food. :?:

For my older guy, Herman, I have a little outdoor turtle hutch next to the house that I take him out during the day. It's open air, and it's got edible plants and earthworms in it. I've had the little ones out there while I'm watching them to see if I can get his appetite for other things going.

I've had geckos before that got super picky and never grew out of it. I'm hoping if I just put other food mushed in with the cat food maybe he'll start eating other things.

It's funny because the other little guy, Guybrush, is a total monster when it comes to food. He likes to hide under the driftwood I have in the terrarium, and once he sees me in the morning, starts moving towards his food bowl. He's really friendly, and curious. I love seeing the different personalities come out. Herman is friendly too, but apprehensive. Won't close his shell when I pick him up, but doesn't greet me when I give him food. He waits until I'm gone then walks over to eat. Marley likes to hide, a lot.
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