Baby musk turtle...help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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Baby musk turtle...help

Hi all, I picked up a baby musk the other day from my LRS. It is about nickel size. I've had it for about 4 days. I set it up in a 20gal, with about 3-4 inches of water, and rocks and driftwood that give it varying depths. A few plants too. The little guy doesn't move. He will stay in one position for about 16 hours straight, then he might turn around. Also, he typically stays out of the water, which is odd as they are known to be mostly aquatic. I'm not positive he has eaten, I think maybe two reptomin baby pellets. I've tried offering fruit and bloodworms too, with no interest. I'm afraid he's going to die, any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 08:32 AM
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I don't know the name of them but he needs a reptile bulb for vitamines (D) I believe.
I would check/w someone in the reptile dept of a shop.
Then what temp are you keeping it in there ? The water needs to be at least in the low 80's as a baby turtle is born in early summer when the temp is going up.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Forgot to mention I have a basking light with UVB. It's 100 watt....not sure if my water temp


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 10:17 AM
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I don't know the exact size of these when born but it does go by the size of the subspecies and the size of the female whch laid the eggs also...smaller eggs from a younger female will produce smaller babies and a large egg from a full grown female will produce larger babies.
Saying this one may still be feeding from pre birth stored energy. Not likely but possible.
Can it get completely inside of it's shell or does it look like it is a bit too big to fit completely ?
And make sure that the basking light faces one end of the tank from the middle.
That way the other end is completely without this light. Not on one end facing the whole tank. Placing it on one end facing the whole tank doesn't give him a place to get away from it if he wants to.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Raymond, he doesn't seem to be able to retract much into his shell. What would this indicate?
Good call on the light, I'll do that. A bit if hope this morning. He was in a different spot when I woke up, and in the water!


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 03:35 PM
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If it was easy for him to completely hide in the shell he would be skinny and have less time to get over whatever has him not wanting to move around.
Those can't actually completely get into the shell like a box turtle. The box turtle has a hinged shell. But these don't so it doesn't close like the box turtle can.
But still it sounds like he is either carrying some baby fat or has eaten.
They like chicken liver(the adults) so he may eat it also. My brother feed his box turtles canned dog food(among other things). If you can get minnows that he will recognize. Those other things you may need to rub on his face first(carefully).

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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I really appreciate you taking the time Raymond. Thanks


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I'll keep you posted on him!


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 05:59 PM
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We used to give small bits of egg yolk to box turtle babies. You might try live food too -- maybe some mealworms or fruit flies. Most reptiles prefer high protein diets as juveniles. Some live food might catch his interest.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 06:51 PM
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If your turtle is lethargic, it may have contracted RI (respiratory infection), as of right now what's more important is an area for the guy to bask. Keep the water at 80 degrees if you suspect something, keep us updated. I have owned various turtles for years.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 08:31 PM
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I just noticed you said you have UVB but didn't mention anything about heat. I agree with those that said to mind your temperature. My experience is with tortoises, but a lethargic baby tortoise usually means there's not enough light and/or heat. We use ceramic heaters for our babies. You will also want the light on long enough that the turtle believes it is one of the warmer months. If musk turtles hibernate, this is especially important as light is one of the triggers for hibernation. If he is too cold, his calorie needs are lower, so if he has some weight he is not in immediate danger. However, his metabolism is still running so you will want to warm him up and get him eating. I hope he does OK. It sounds like you are a conscientious owner.

If your UVB light produces heat, check the temperature first. We use fluorescent UVB that does not produce heat and heat separately. Not all UVB bulbs produce heat.

Last edited by GreenAcres; 08-17-2014 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Clarification
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks GreenAcres, I picked up a 100watt basking bulb about 4 days ago and have been using it roughly 9 hours, should I do more? He's still not moving around. Haven't seen him eat either. I'm going to try to get some small minnows to see if that gets his attention. I am in florida, would it be better to stick him on the porch? Away from predators, but catching some short direct sunligh (2 hours)


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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I picked up som tiny minnows yesterday. After adding them, I moved the turtle to the water as he had been basking the entire day and had not moved. He didn't seem to care about the fish, but he did float/swim a bit before getting out of the water.
Two things I noticed: he has algae growth around his neck, he seemed agitated by it and was moving his head oddly and trying to scratch it with his legs. Secondly, there were times when he would just sit with his head/face resting on the sandy bottom and his butt up towards the water surface. This looked odd, and I've never seen a turtle do this before. He was in the water 10 minutes tops and then out on his rock again and hasn't moved since.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 11:35 AM
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He may, by instinct, be trying to rid himself of the algae by staying out of the water.
I would wait till someone experienced/w it to suggest a % of Peroxide mixed in with water in a seperate bowl which you could place him in for a while to kill that algae.
I have found a couple of them with algae on the shell but not directly on them.
In the FWIW category, I go fishing in a large lake and there is one who hangs out near a spot I go to. See him like every other trip there. He is about 9" long and 4" wide.
Must be very old.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 11:54 AM
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