How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Anna Your Own Question

Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 9358
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
Type Your Reptile Question Here...
Anna is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

For turtle specialist. A couple of months ago I saw a box

Customer Question

For turtle specialist. A couple of months ago I saw a box turtle digging a hole and laying her eggs in my back yard here in northeastern Georgia. Reading online I learned that the nest could be vulnerable so I built a hardware cloth enclosure around it and have kept an eye on it regularly, and it has not been disturbed.it is coming up on 70-75 days when the babies could emerge and I need advice ad to what to do next. Should I put a small pile of leaves in the enclosure for them to hide under and get shade? Should I provide water? How long should I keep them until removing the enclosure? I would appreciate as much information as possible on how to give the turtles their best chance of survival. Multiple experts are encouraged to weigh in. Thank you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX X'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles.It's very kind of you to want to help these turtles, and box turtles need all the help they can get.

Once the babies hatch, they live on the remains of the yolk sac for some time. They normally do not leave the nest for several days, and sometimes they even stay there through the winter. Regardless, they don't travel very far for months and spend most of their time hiding and looking for food in the soil and leaf litter. So, yes, adding leaves would be an excellent idea.

Hatchlings are very vulnerable to predators. They hide so well that you may not even see them. Besides providing leaves, you can put out a very shallow water container, for example a small flower pot saucer or a margarine tub lid. They can drown if they can't get out of their water container, so keep it shallow. You could protect them even more by leaving hardware cloth around the area until next spring. The fence you make should be about 10 feet by 10 feet if you choose to do this. That won't protect them from every predator, but will increase their chances a bit. A cover made of hardware wire would help even more. I'm going to give you a link to a site with more information. It will tell you much more about box turtle hatchlings, and may give you other ideas to help:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/11/1073198/-Backyard-Science-Eastern-Box-Turtle-Eggs-and-Hatchling-Turtles#

If you need anything else, let me know in a REPLY. I wish you much success in helping these little ones.

Anna
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for your response. I will check the link you provided. I am not able to fashion a 10x10 foot fence with top since the nest is right at the edge of the woods. how long should I keep them in the small (20x16 inch) topped enclosure that is over the nest currently? And how will I know when it is time to release them?

Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
You're welcome. Under those circumstances, I would leave the smaller fence in place for about a week. Then check on them to see if they have emerged from the nest yet. . They will dig their way out of the nest when they need more space. That's when you'll need to free them. If you haven't had rain for some time, you could sprinkle the ground to wet it like a rainfall would because when the ground is too dry, they can't dig out.

Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 9358
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
Anna and other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Anna--further to our previous discussion, I want to ask if you know of any organizations or experts who will raise turtle hatchlings until they are big enough to survive the world. Is so, can you advise how I might search for such? Thank you. XXXX, X have started to water the ground to soften the soil for when the babies are ready to dig out of the nest. Do you think it would be a good idea to have a wide path of forest ground debris leading from the enclosure to nearby bushes and the woods so that on release day they have safe covering? Other than fallen leaves, would you recommend anything else to be included in the enclosure for their first weeks stay? Like moss....or twigs....?

Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
Hi,

A path of forest debris may be helpful. The other items - moss and twigs- that you listed certainly won't hurt anything.

Some wildlife rehabilitators may take the hatchlings to raise if you are actually able to catch them. If you'll give me your state, I'll look for rehabbers there.

Anna
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Since they will be in the enclosure once they hatch, I trust they will remain safe for awhile. I live in northeast Georgia. Thank you for your help.

Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
Most of the rehabbers in Georgia are in the central region. There are a few who take reptiles. However, they may prefer to leave them wild. The only way to find out is to call and ask them once the babies hatch. Here are links to the lists:


http://wildliferehabinfo.org/Contact_A-M.htm#GEORGIA

Scroll about halfway down on this one:

http://wildliferehabber.org/st_disp_list.php


Anna
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Many thanks!

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

for Anna, reptile expert: To date, no hatchlings have emerged from the nest. Leaves are falling as the temperature drops. Should I assume that these baby turtles did not survive? Or is there still a chance that they will emerge come spring after hibernating the winter away?

Expert:  Anna replied 8 months ago.
Hello again,

Yes, there is still a chance the babies will emerge in the spring. With a clutch laid late in the season like this one, the hatchlings sometimes simply hatch and immediately go into hibernation. Then they come out in the spring, looking for a good meal. I would just leave the nest alone. Make sure it has a good covering of leaves, but beyond that, there isn't anything you can do to help. The babies ahve either gone into hibernation, or it's possible the eggs weren't fertile to begin with. In either case, there's no harm in waiting until spring.

Anna
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for that glimmer of hope. Can you tell me when I should start watching for the possibility of them emerging in spring? You might recall that I have a wire cloth cage around them to keep them safe from predators, so I would want to be watching for them to emerge in order that they have food and safe passage into the woods.

Expert:  Anna replied 8 months ago.
Start watching when it starts warming into the high 50's to lower 60's during the day. When that happens, you may want to remove some of the leaves so the sun can warm the ground. The warmth will let them know it's time to wake up. I hope they are all right. You've done so much to help them, and I would love for you to see them emerge in good health.

Anna
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Thank you! I will be back in touch come spring....hopefully with some good news.


P.S. Would mulch make a good warm covering for the winter months? Instead of leaves....

Expert:  Anna replied 8 months ago.
What kind of mulch did you have in mind?

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much. Great knowledge of reptiles! Will use JustAnswer again if further problems arise. Stephanie KY
< Last | Next >
  • Thank you so much. Great knowledge of reptiles! Will use JustAnswer again if further problems arise. Stephanie KY
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Anna

    Reptile Expert, Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2652
    Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/MsAM/2012-6-9_16426_anna.64x64.jpeg Anna's Avatar

    Anna

    Reptile Expert, Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2652
    Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    5721
    30+ years experience as veterinary tech and 15+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    522
    2003 Graduate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    273
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    157
    12 years of experience in emergency, surgery and medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    Voice for your pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    1132
    Veterinary Technician for 15 years