Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, or Raphael?
April 13, 2011 6:11 AM   Subscribe

Calling all herpetologists! ID this turtle that showed up in my garage. Photos here.

Geographically i'm in south Georgia along I-75, fairly close to a fast running stream. I can't match him with any of the photos I've seen in my research. The closest looking to me is the Spotted Turtle, but there is a definite ridge on the back of this baby. The shell is about 1 1/2 inches long with a high dome. There are very small yellow spots on the head which appear to be symmetrical.

Any tips on care are appreciated. You can see the house he is in now and I do need to set up some type of lamp. I bought Wardley's reptile sticks and put in some broccoli and basil leaves as that's all the green I had available.

I'm not decided on how long I'll be keeping him, I do see this as a fairly short term pet for observation by my children. When he does get released, it will be in a nature preserve nearby.
posted by Talia Devane to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Very likely a young eastern box turtle; they're very common in the area. I found one and kept him for a couple weeks when I was a kid, but I sure don't remember what I fed him. This site looks pretty informative.

Turtles can carry salmonella bacteria and I've heard warnings against having them as pets, but I really don't know the risk. Maybe someone else has more expertise on this.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:33 AM on April 13, 2011

Response by poster: Box Turtles have a hinge in the plastron (bottom shell) so they can close up to avoid predators. This guy does not have that ability.
posted by Talia Devane at 6:45 AM on April 13, 2011

The hinge in the plastron doesn't develop for a couple years; he's probably still too little.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:13 AM on April 13, 2011

It looks to be either an eastern box turtle or a florida box turtle, but either way the care is the same. They need a large enough enclosure that there is a temperature gradient, a basking spot that stays around 90, a uvb light, fresh water, and veggies and crickets (or another protein source) to eat. Memail me if you want, I work in a pet store and have a florida box turtle.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 7:19 AM on April 13, 2011

Take a look at the pics in Metroid Baby's link. It's definitely a baby Eastern Box. And Percy is a great name! Turtles are great pets, IMHO.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:37 AM on April 13, 2011

Response by poster: I hadn't found that information on the hinge developing later. He sure doesn't have that ability now. Metroid Baby's link is the first I've seen that had a significant number of baby and juvenile photos.
posted by Talia Devane at 8:30 AM on April 13, 2011

Best answer: Regarding the salmonella issue, yes, many or most reptiles are salmonella carriers, and no, you don't want that (been there, done that, it's pretty gross and it probably won't kill you, but you might wish you were dead). But if you wash your hands with soap and warm water every time after touching your turtle or after cleaning your turtle's enclosure, there's really nothing to worry about. The whole "BAN REPTILE PETS OR YOUR CHILDREN WILL GET SICK" is ridiculously alarmist, in my opinion, but do make this a learning opportunity for your kids about washing their hands.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:06 AM on April 13, 2011

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