Animal Stories - Ornate Wood Turtle


Animal-World Information about: Ornate Wood Turtle

   Even a well acclimated Ornate Wood Turtle can be quite shy when first approached, but it will quickly peek back out looking for a snack!
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Wendy - 2013-10-12
I just recently bought a young painted wood turtle. My only other experience has been with a russian tortoise, so I am learning the differences between the 2! 'Ribbons' has been shy, although I spend time with her hoping to warm her up to me, but she's not really eating. Twice now I've gotten her to eat part of a grape. Actually thinking about going to the store and buying her some small fishing worms. Think that'll help? I built her a 30'x60' table, and I have coconut fiber substrate and hay for her to dig in, and I am wanting to add some plants. Anyway, this past month has been a learning experience, I just hope she starts eating better. I do provide fresh dandelion, spring mix, turtle treats, and dry tortoise formula. And a large water dish. Missing anything?

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Daisy - 2010-05-20
I have an adult wood turtle named QQ. She loved eating banana, and sometimes took some vegetable. But these days, she dislikes anything even her favorite banana. I have tried small fish and worms. But she just refuses them.

I keep QQ in a large dry glass tank with another small tan where she can swim in. The temperature is 69~78 F. The humidity is 45~50%.

Would anybody who is familiar with wood turtle give me some suggestions?

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  • Brendan - 2010-07-09
    Daisy,
    The only thing that I can get mine to eat is Blueberries. Have you tried them?
  • hur - 2013-03-16
    Mine loves worms.
  • Vicki England - 2013-07-23
    I'm a new owner of paired at birth male and female wood turtles. They are from Costa Rica. I had to switch their dry food and they wouldn't touch it for about a week. Now they love it. Also, I've tried lettuce, bananas, blueberries, all of which they wouldn't eat. However, they love strawberries. I don't know what I'm going to do about that this winter when it's more difficult to find them. I'm still getting to know them. I am fascinated and have bonded with them. I believe they have bonded with me as I greet them each morning. I hold them both up at my eye level and we gaze at each other. Anyway, I don't know if this helps, but I hope so.
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Paul - 2011-05-01
I live in El Salvador and we adopted one of these tortoises 15 years ago when he was about 10 inches long, and since then has grown around 2 inches more. As is mentioned for the ones from Nicaragua, its shell is not colorful. Locally, they tend to hibernate through the food-scarce dry season (around November-April) then spring into activity with the first rains of the rainy season (May-October). During hibernation they will often "disappear" to the bewilderment of their owners, hidden away in nooks and crannies. They love to eat any insect they manage to catch, as well as a wide variety of plants. A sad ethnographic note: it is widely believed here that tortoise's blood is an aphrodisiac. Our tortoise was rescued from a group of hunters who were about to use him in that way.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-02
    I am glad you rescued your tortoise. I am also glad that you enjoy him.
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abe - 2010-02-15
Regarding: Trying to climb out of tank.

Torts and semi terrestrial turts need a visual barrier when housed in tanks... they do not know there is glass in their way.

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  • Daisy - 2010-05-20
    Would you please tell me how you feed your turtle and what kind of environment you provide for it? Appreciate!
  • reverend jackie - 2010-11-07
    I've found this to be true. I put small live potted plants around the inside, and they stopped.One quick question for anyone....How big do these guys get? I'v had one described by a friend as ä palm and a half in size? Would that sound like a young one to you or full grown?
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Steven Goldhar - 2007-11-20
In contrast to what was said earlier, our Ornate Wood Turtle does hibernate. I did not know this when we bought him however in his second year he began to often try and climb up on the tank walls when we were near. After watching this go on for months I decided to put him down outside the cage. He would find a secluded spot and just stay there in his shell. After a few days, not understanding the behaviour I would bring him back into his tank only to see him repeat the action of trying to get out again within a day or two. After deciding to go online to look for some answers I read about their hibernation. I then took "Munchie" out of his tank and put him down near the area we had prepared for him according to the guide I found online. Munchie hybernated the first year for six months!! If it wasn't for signs that we knew he'd come out for some water we would surely have thought that he was dead. Sure enough, when he was ready, he appeared right in front of his tank waiting for us to put him back. His second year of hibernation lasted 4 months. He never crawled up the walls again or showed any obvious signs as he did the first time. Now I follow the guide which said that leading up to the fall season hibernation he will eat greater amounts of food then slow down or stop when ready to hibernate. This year, being his third hibernation season, I took him out and placed him near his spot about a month ago however he made his way back to the tank later that day, obviously not ready for his long sleep. This time seems to be working for him. Wow! What a learning curve! I can only imagine what he'd say to me if he could talk. He'd probably say "It's about time you let me sleep! I've been trying to tell this for two years!".

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Buslady - 2007-09-15
Most of this info is correct, except they do not hibernate; hatching is not as easy as they say. They go into diapause, a halt in development, and hatching could be 5-8 months. My oldest was 8 months. He's 10 months old now and growing fast. Never toss an egg no matter how long it's incubated unless you're 100% it's bad.
They are more aquatic than was most articles say. My group is kept in two Waterland tubs and often hang out in the water. They need water deep enough to cover their shell and substrate deep enough that they can dig and hide. Fake foliage will help them hide as well.

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ThE cAt - 2007-02-25
I have an ornate wood turtle named Shebella Chewpull, or Sheba. the best advice I can give is to keep your turtle friend in a central location where they will easily be noticed, as they cannot draw attention to themselves. Sheba loves superworms and yours probably will too

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