eastern box turtle help :( anyone know what this could be?

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eastern box turtle help :( anyone know what this could be?

Post by Saybs444 » July 17th, 2014, 8:43 am

I've been finding eastern box turtles lately with seriously gunked up orifices. Thus far I've seen three (they have only been females that seem to suffer from it bcuz I have found males that did not have this issue but of course this could all be coincidental) one of which seemed to be very old (very worn shell and no way to tell age at all) and extremely suffocated by this crap. She was trying to breathe and u could hear her from far away which was how I came across her. If it were possible for me to do so without being terribly unfair to the turtle, I'd have brought her back with me to do what I could to help her or get her to a rehabilitator, but it was a very long walk and she was very obviously stressed by my mere PRESENCE. I went back with some supplies ready to bring her back with me in a better way but of course I couldn't find her. After this in OTHER locations I've encountered two other healthier and younger looking females with this issue. Is it normal that I would come across so many female box turtles or even just box turtles of either sex at all, that had respiratory infections like this? I'm very worried about this although it could be nothing and just a coincidence. The last one I found I brought home to bathe in warmish water and get as much gunk out of her mouth as I could (it was quite a bit). It was difficult bcuz I was trying to do it in the least invasive was possible as to not stress her out. Ultimately it took a while but I was pleased ENOUGH that I put her back where she was found (on the other side of a street she was attempting to cross) bcuz my heart was breaking knowing she was so unhappy being handled and prodded. Should I notify anybody of this occurrence? I can't stop obsessing over it.

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Re: eastern box turtle help :( anyone know what this could

Post by ZantiMissKnit » July 17th, 2014, 10:36 am

You are in Massachusetts, correct? Is there any way you could get them (provided you find some again) to the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth? http://wildlife-education-center.com/ They have been treating sick and injured wildlife.

At any rate, you may want to give them a call to see what they think. I'm concerned, but I am not a veterinarian so I can't give you any advice.

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The Jake-Man
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Re: eastern box turtle help :( anyone know what this could

Post by The Jake-Man » July 17th, 2014, 10:50 am

I've heard of this malady occurring at least once in box turtles in my area (SC PA). I do not know enough about box turtles to give you any information on what it may be, but I can tell you that I've learned that herps are very resilient.

Early this summer I was hiking through the most herp-diverse area I know of in my area, when I came across a very sick black rat snake. Both eyes were bulging out and white, and a brown crust covered most of the head and 15% of the body. It's breathing was audibly labored, and it was lethargic. After calling a few people, and since there are many sensitive species in this area, I decided to collect it (legal with a PA fishing license) to see if it could be tested for an ophidiomyces infection. I took it home, and held it for about 5 days before I worked out transport for it through MACHAC to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center. The day that the MACHAC employee came to my house to pick it up, the snake shed in its holding tank. It immediately lost 95% of the brown crust from its body, began breathing normally, and appeared to have regained about 75% of its vision (one eye was still cloudy). The snake is still alive, and is being held at a university to see if the infection flares up again.

Moral of the story: I'm now much less worried about herp diseases, unless I find dead specimens. I'm no herp epidemiologist though, just sharing a personal experience.

If you're truly worried about this, maybe you could try contacting the USGS National Wildlife Health Center yourself. They were surprisingly prompt answering my questions and returning calls.

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Mike VanValen
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Re: eastern box turtle help :( anyone know what this could

Post by Mike VanValen » July 17th, 2014, 12:28 pm

Wild box turtles are susceptible to respiratory infections, and epidemics are known in wild populations. It's terrible, but normal for the species.

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Re: eastern box turtle help :( anyone know what this could

Post by spinifer » July 27th, 2014, 10:58 am

pictures would be helpfull..... :roll:

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