Look at that Smile!

The Littlest Turtle

Slight pyramiding and a swollen right front leg upon arrival

Five years ago, this little one was taken from the wild, given to a child and kept in a tiny aquarium. A small bowl for water, and a small bowl for processed turtle food were the only items in her small home. She sat in the dry mulch, day after day, with no place to hide, her only light was what came through the small window where her tank was placed. For 5 years she did not grow. Her child owner, 8 at the time of her incarceration, loved her, but had not been coached on how to take care of a turtle, nor had any of the adults in the household bothered to do any research on the needs of such a tiny soul.

On October 12, 2019, I was able to admit her into the sanctuary.

This small tank was her home for 5 years.

She came with very dry flakey skin and a swollen right front leg that she was unable to use, initiating a visit to the vet. Fluid was drained and an x- ray taken showed no broken bones and at home treatment with a MRM laser unit was prescribed. A week later, an abcess drained, allowing her to build strength in her leg and begin to use it again.

She immensely enjoyed her first swim and has acquired a taste for live food.

She will spend her first winter here in a controlled environment in the greenhouse, where hopefully she will do a short period of brumation, when she is ready, and next year she will be acclimated to where native turtles like her should be; outside.

She is one of the lucky ones, the damage she sustained to the growth of her shell during those five years seems minimal. Her shell is a little domed, with slight pyramiding, but now with proper food, humidity and light, she should continue to grow into a small adult.

Please support our efforts to provide for turtles like our little Baby, and help us continue to educate children of all ages about the importance of protection of Habitat for all our native critters.

and, Please, with any pet, do your research for proper care, and never leave that responsibility to a child.

Look at that Smile!
Look at that Smile!

2 thoughts on “The Littlest Turtle

  1. Seth Clemens

    Is it safe for box turtles to eat earthworms daily? I have heard that they are a staple in their diet but also can hurt their kidneys. But I imagine if they could find them daily in the wild they would eat them daily. Please let me know what you think. Thanks

    1. Shelley Whittington Post author

      HI Seth. Baby box turtles are most likely strictly carnivorous in the wild and rely on a supply of small earthworms, pill bugs and other small invertebrates they find under the leaves. As they grow and explore their habitat they experiment with anything that is edible. It is how they survived millions of years and a variety in their diet is very important for a healthy box turtle. A good percentage, perhaps 60 to 80 % of their diet in the wild is still insects, carrion and other found proteins. A diet of strictly earth worms would most likely cause imbalances in the long run.


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