box turtle

 Scooter the Box Turtle
When we acquired Scooter we were not sure of gender but later discovered Scooter is actually a female. She does not mind her name and we chose not to change it.

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Family Dog/Cat Dangers

 Most of us not only have turtles or tortoises but also have a dog, cat or both. They are usually the sweetest things on four feet and wouldn't harm a fly. But please remember that although our four legged loved ones are docile they are are still wired to react to moving objects and to be curious. It's their nature. Leaving them alone for just one minute could be fatal to your turtle or tortoise. Over the years I have heard so many accounts of the family dog or cat mauling ones pet and the owner devastated by the loss/injury of their shelled pet. Sometimes the turtle makes it, but too often it is mauled beyond help. I've decided to start this page with testimonials from those that have lost their turtles to those terrible tragedies to try to make others aware of the dangers. Some may be from a neighbors cat or dog that is not kept inside or fenced in, some may be anonymous, but all are sadly true.

Here's a couple of the posts:


This is an example of some of the e-mails we get:

"I have an 11 month old Sulcata, and my parents Dauschaund and Min Pin chewed him up.  I am not at home but I will be Tuesday.  What can I do for my little guy?  They chewed his shell until it looks bruised or does it have blood in it?  on his underside he has a spot smaller than a dime that looks bloody.  Alot of shell damage though.......PLEASE HELP!!"

Subject: HELP need to plaster a shell.  chaucerone 

My first and only Russian tortoise got attacked by a dog and the vet
said that I need to plaster his shell. Can anyone offer me advice on
doing this?
Please please no berating comments as if I had been able to avoid this
situation I would have. Dushka (Russian for BELOVED) is my baby and
this was his first and last night out in his outdoor enclosure. We have
a fenced in yard and his enclosure was fenced as well but my Father's
dog hopped the enclosure. Thanks in advance from both Dushka and me,

Subject: Dushka has passed on.  chaucerone 

Hi everyone I just wanted to thank you for all the advice but Dushies
injuries were too extensive even with the medical care our vet gave him. I know

this isn't a religious forum but if possible can you send prayers of whatever
sort your religion offers both to Dushies spirit and to my Father who is
inconsolable (his dog did it). Again thank you everyone for all the support and
am done with shelled angels for quite a long time since they are not safe here.


Subject: Re: [RussianTortoise] Cats with torts?  
Hi Chris,

My daughter got 2 torts this summer and we built them a nice outdoor open
enclosure. The neighbor's cats got into the pen and killed our Sunny girl. It
still stresses me to think about it. I know that many people here have torts
and cats with no problems so I would think it depends on the cat. Also we have
a wireless fence around our yard and the torts didn't seemed bother by it at all
and their pen was close to a small section of the wire. I hope this helps-

Carol and Jen

"I just want to warn you about dogs.  My dog was always very good with my
tort, he seemed not to give him much thought, but one day last spring I let
the tort out in the backyard to munch dandelions and I left the dog out
there for a moment while I attended to my kids.  When I went back to get the
tort, Rocky, the dog was just walking away from the tort and I knew
something was wrong, Rocky acted like he was in trouble.  I screamed, Rocky
had bitten big chunks out of Maya's shell.  At least a fourth of her shell
was gone and you could see her insides.  It was the most awful thing.

And then suddenly she came out of her shell, I thought she was dead for sure
but she wasn't.  This horrified me even more because I knew she was
suffering.  This happened on a Sunday of course, so I had to pay a extra fee
to have the vet come in.  He said there was nothing he could do but put her
down, and so that's what he did.

No matter how nice you think your dog might be, don't ever trust them.  I
actually think Rocky was just curious as to what was inside the shell.  I'm
sure he meant no harm, but he did none the less.

I hope no one else has to witness such a tragedy, it was nearly the saddest
thing I've ever seen, and I felt so terrible.

Take care,



[RussianTortoise] Dog tried to eat my RT!!

I left my RT with my neighbors for the weekend.  They have a very smart full blooded collie who has interacted with my RT before and we have had no problems.  In the middle of the night on Sat. the collie decided to go downstairs and take Boomer (my RT) out of his box and beat him up pretty bad.  My neighbors found Boomer hiding under a chair in the living room which is down the hall from the room he was in.  He tore the first lining of the shell but didn't go very deep.  Boomer has markings all over though.  I am so sad and so are my neighbors.  They said Boomer wouldn't eat for an entire day and wouldn't come out of his "hole" he made for himself in his box.  I just picked him up tonight and he seems to be doing great like nothing has happened.  His shell dosen't have any puss or signs of infection yet, but I am wondering if there is anything I should do.  He is eating normally and running around like he used to.  Any suggestions are  greatly appreciated!!  
 ~Amy Y.
By Echo - May 9, 2006 - Russian tortoise group:

This is very hard for me to write, but I feel I must, as a warning to others and part of my healing process, so here it goes. On Sat morning as the sun broke through the sleppy fog, I knew it was going to be a great day for the girls (Harmony&Sundancer.) Around 11, as the sun peaked over the large pine tree and flooded the patio with her warmth, I immediately got the girls out of the garage pen and put them in their outdoor pen with an abundance of weeds freshly picked, then I started working in the garden. My best friend came over about 12:30. At 12:50 she said she needed to run to the bank before it closed at 1:00, the bank is about 4 blocks away. I relized that I too should go to cash a few checks. As usual, I went to the tort pen to put the girls back in the garage, while I was gone. Looking at them, they seemed so happy and content to finally be out enjoying the sun. In a split second decision I decided they were safe with the chicken wire lid on, and I'd only be gone a short while. In that same split second decision, I had decided that there was no point in getting my dog (Sierra) all loaded up in the truck just to go to the bank, after all she is getting older (14) and would prefer to just lay around the house if there are no parks involved in this trip. On the way to the bank, I called in on my cell for a few sandwiches at the deli across from the bank, so they would be ready when we were done banking. They said it would be about 15 min. The banking went fast and there was time to spare, so we went across the street to the lumberyard so I could pick up some play sand for the pen, in and out in 5 min, grabbed the sandwiches and headed home. I had been gone for no longer then 35 min. As I came through the gate and walked towards the pen, in my horror, I saw chunks of wood all about and the lid had been chewed into a worked off, screaming I looked in and saw Sundancer sitting there, but no Harmony, scanning the pen and surrounding patio, still no Harmony, my mind racing, my heart pounding, I scream "Where's Sierra?" she was on the lawn with Harmony, I fall to the ground screaming "Is she dead, is she dead?" as my friend rushed over to the scene. Sierra immediately ran and my friend said "Yes, I believe she is" I grab Sundancer and run her into the garage and put her in their table. Crying hysterically, I cannot believe this is happening, my friend says I better not look at Harmony, it's not good. I run into the house and grab a bandanna for my friend to put Harmony in, she does and takes her into the garage to continue assessment, all the while I'm screaming "are you sure, she's dead, touch her little leg and see if she moves" the answer comes back "No". An hour later, I am sobbing, digging a hole in which to lay my beautiful little girl, I place an Abutilon flower on her wrapped body, my friend still picking up small pieces of her shell from the lawn. How could this of happened? I know better, about dogs, I've read the horror stories of which I am now living, My dog Sierra, a loving dog who had been raised with 3 cats and a parrot. I've had the girls in their pen many of times while in the front yard gardening, Sierra always laying in the house showing no interest in them, How could she all of a sudden so viciously chew in to there pen, why did this happen? If only I would have put them inside, If only I would have taken Sierra with me, If only I hadn't gone to the bank, If only, 2 very haunting words now.
Author not disclosed:

Jake was living in a large reptarium up on a table, beside a coffee table inside a room which has doors which close from the rest of the house, but did not lock.  One half of the reptarium top was unzipped and had his light hanging over it.
Monday, the evening of May 19th I was watching TV and noticed the dog (Sarah, 6 yr old rescued Border Collie mix has been with us for about 10 months and has never been allowed in the tort room) wasn't sitting beside me where she usually was.  I got up to look for her and the tort room door was open and she was coming out - I went in to check and Jake was on his back and pretty chewed up.  Sarah would have had to get on the coffee table to get to Jake.  The reptarium wasn't chewed on or ruined, so I have to guess Sarah climbed on the table and snatched him through the open section of the reptarium.
Jakes injuries were rather startling:  The entire skirt was chewed, he had the entire left side of his shell disconnected from under front arm to near leg and his plastron had one puncture and was chewed towards the head area.  After calling every emergency vet in the city, one finally agreed to take a look, clean him up and start antibiotics.  They were very honest that they were not Tort vets, but the vet in the office had owned tortoises and was familiar enough with their care that they could keep him in a sterile environment and quiet for the night.
I picked him up at 7:30 AM the next morning and took him to Virginia Beach Animal Hospital (His regular vet - we do check-ups yearly at a minimum).  They asked me to return at 5:30 while they assessed the situation and they could tell me what they could/would do.  On return I met Dr. Morris and Sherman (The desert Tortoise that had been hit by a car 20 years ago and now lived at the vet's).  Dr Morris explained that repairs could be done, but the biggest issue was infection and they had to keep Jake 4-6 weeks to ensure a sterile environment and do the repairs (pins to lend structure to the shell and patching - which they didn't want to start for a few weeks while they tried to ensure no infections).  He said days 4-6 were usually the initial time they'd know if he was going to fight, but overall it would be a long haul.
Jake survived almost two weeks with some ups and downs.  I don't have the specific list of treatment he received here yet - But if I get it, I'll let you know. The last I saw him he was alert and active, although his walk was a bit wobbly from the shell damages.  He was eating well except the Thursday after his injury (Thursday).  The Doctor's first thought was it was either a hydration issue due to the shell compromise (they were bathing him in sterile water 2 times a day) or he just wasn't responding well to antibodies.
The door now has a lock, and for inside housing we are buying the zoo med Houses (which have a locking lid with bars on it) until the others are too big - then we will come up with something else which is "more" dog proof.
Debra wrote:  "We just came back from dinner and came across a horrific scene. Our redfoot has been mauled by our dog. We left her crated but some how she was able to open up the crate latch. She went over to the tort table and must've smelled our Colorado. Colorado has been mauled to the point where a piece of his shell has been bitten off exposing his insides. We can actually see her guts where her right front leg is positioned. He has his head stuck into his shell. The worse part about it is that Colorado is still moving, he's still alive...meaning that he is probably suffering (though he seems calm). I don't know what to do!!! Should I take him out of his misery or is there a way to help him? I'm afraid to take him to the vet (which might be closed anyways) as I'm sure he will say to end its life. HOW SAD!!! Please, I need some urgent advice. I'm here with the little guy, talking to him and he actually responds buy sticking his head out of his shell (like he always does when I talk to him). HELPPP!!!"
Her tortoise did not survive.





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