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Not eating in winter

January 28, 2009 | By Michele B.

Sasha with a big ole worm

Sasha, my three-toed box turtle, is not cooperating with eating this winter. She's always been stubborn the way it is, since she ONLY eats food that moves. But now, she is not even eating much of that. She seems to do this every winter, but it still worries me.

Any suggestions?
Laurelm6
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Laurelm6
5 years ago

she's cold. so am i, but i'm not a reptile.

if you don't hibernate your tortoise, soak her 45 minutes a day in warmish water and feed afterwards. they are stimulated by the warmth of the water and should eat after that.

make sure her lamps and heater are making her comfortable and always present her with interesting fresh food. tortoises eat a lot of one thing and then they go off it for a while. i'm usually on the run to figure out what mine will eat.

also i put the food right next to mine instead of somewhere else in the pen, they are pretty lazy in winter and won't even mosie down the pen to explore sometimes if they are cold and lazy.

try some lean fresh hamburger as a stimulant with a nice red worm and some roma tomatoes. mine go for that combo no matter what. i do see her nibbling her mineral rock a lot. but they just eat less in the winter. they are supposed to be hibernating. so it's kind of normal. just warm her up well and see what she does afterward. let us know.

Michele B.
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Michele B.
5 years ago

Thank you. I'll give that a try this weekend. She's not particularly fond of earthworms (or red worms)...I think its that she doesn't like the way they wrap around her nose when she eats them. Before I learned how bad they are for her, she was a HUGE fan of eating goldfish. Her current favorite is wax worms. Yes, I've created a reptilian junkfood junkie.

Do you cut the roma tomatoes up?

I've had her for 14 years (or more - can't remember the exact year I adopted her), so I really should be used to this. But she's such a tiny thing (very small for a three-toed box turtle) that I always worry.

Leah G.
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Leah G.
5 years ago

My turtle is also a picky eater--but all year round, not just in the winter. I'm always trying different things, b/c I never know what he'll take an interest in. He is 24 now though, so I guess it's not life threatening! Currently he's enjoying romaine lettuce, and this kind of yucky box turtle food from the pet store: it's little cubes of chicken soaked in a fruity yellow syrup. Ack! It's the first pet store food he's ever eaten though--he rejects any of those other "turtle foods" you can buy.

I'll also try feeding him after a soak--he definitely likes his baths, but it never occurred to me to try to feed him right after!

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