Your box turtle poop can tell you a lot about its health, what it's lacking and what it needs to remain happy and healthy.
Getting to know your pet inside and out is important, helping you quickly identify when there is a problem, so you can rectify it.
While poop isn't an enjoyable subject for discussion, continue reading to find out more about box turtle poop, what is normal, what is not, and why your box turtle may not be pooping at all.
What Does Box Turtle Poop Look Like?
Knowing the difference between healthy and abnormal poop is important as a box turtle owner. It helps you identify when there could potentially be a problem that needs immediate treatment.
Box turtles will urinate and defecate to eliminate the waste, the same as other pets. The shape, consistency and color of the poop are determined by numerous factors, including diet.
This is why its recommended to get to know what is normal for your turtle, so you can pinpoint when things are not one hundred percent right.
Box turtle poop is usually a log or pellet, which looks similar to healthy human poop. The size is determined by the size of your turtle, with the amount being determined by what your pet has eaten.
Box turtle poop can vary inconsistency, it can be dry or tacky, it can be brown or green. Healthy poop is usually a brown shade and relatively solid. It may or may not have white urates in it.
White poop shouldn't be a concern, as changes are it is urates and not poop at all. Urates are not usually excreted with poop. Urates are crystallized urine which is excreted. You need to learn how to identify urates from poop.
At the same time, white poop could be a result of your turtle eating something it shouldn't have, which hasn't been excreted yet and is giving the poop a white color.
Not all foreign bodies your pet eats can be excreted, which is a concern as it caused a blockage.
Sharp objects can cause internal damage, even if the foreign object is eventually excreted. Internal hemorrhaging can result in your box turtle having a black poop, which is undigested blood.
If there are red flecks in the black poop, but look healthy, then the problem could be low down in the digestive tract, where if the sharp object cuts closer to the cloaca, there may be ample fresh blood in their poop.
If your box turtle is pooping black, you want to seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible, with the urgency needed if the poop has a bad smell.
While poop is very much diet-related and the black poop could be due to eating something, it is still worthwhile seeking veterinary examination.
You will know when your box turtle has diarrhea, as their poop will be liquid and not firm or solid. 3 main reasons cause diarrhea in a box turtle, these include:
Diet plays a role in your pet developing diarrhea. A poor diet that doesn't provide the necessary nutrition can result in digestive issues with diarrhea being the most common symptom, which can also show there is a Vitamin A deficiency.
Fruit is known to loosen the tools in box turtles.
If your box turtle has an infection, this could be the cause of diarrhea. Fungal infections are common and can be lethal if not treated properly, while bacterial functions can cause respiratory problems.
If your box turtle has diarrhea and there is no cause you can find, seek veterinary examination and treatment. The vet will want a poop sample to help identify and treat the cause.
Your box turtle having parasites is completely normal, as long as it is treated properly. But when parasites cause a severe infestation, your pet may develop diarrhea, lack of color, soft shell, and lethargy.
In these cases, ensure you take your pet to the vet for assessment.
How Often Should A Box Turtle Poop
Every turtle is different, so you are going to want to observe your pet over time to identify what is normal when it comes to your box turtle’s bowel movements.
In general, baby turtles will poop at least once a day, compared to adult turtles. A hatchling or baby that doesn't poop for more than one day is cause for concern.
Adult box turtles with a shell length of 4 inches (10cm) should poop every three to four days. If you notice your adult box turtle is pooping daily or less than once a week, there is something not right.
Why Is My Box Turtle Not Pooping
There are three reasons why your box turtle may not be pooping at all. The good news is that these can be rectified and prevented.
Constipation is one of the main causes of box turtles not pooping. This often means your pets diet is lacking in fiber. Fiber-rich foods include dark, leafy greens.
In order to help a box turtle that is constipated, you can provide it with a warm water bath, covering the lower shell and ensuring your pet’s head remains above the water. The warmth of the water helps to relax the muscles, encouraging your pet to poop.
Impaction is often confused with constipation. Impaction is very serious and often caused when your box turtle eats some of its substrate when eating its food. The ingested sand, dirt, or small pebbles cause a blockage.
Veterinary treatment is essential in box turtles with impaction.
You can prevent the risk by reducing the foods you provide with shells or bones and providing a good quality substrate that doesn't have small ingestible pieces.
You may not realize your box turtle can become dehydrated, as you believe the shallow soaking bowl you leave in the enclosure is good enough. Box turtles need plenty of humidity, ranging between 60% and 80%.
Dehydration is a real risk. If you think your pet is dehydrated, provide it with a warm water bath, allowing the shell to be covered, but the head to be out of the water.
Allow soaking for up to twenty minutes. This can relax the muscles and help your pet rehydrate and poop.
Getting to know your turtle is the best way to quickly identify when it has abnormal poop. In most cases, poop problems can be quickly corrected through rehydration or diet.
Always consider the risk of impaction, when feeding your pet and choosing a substrate.