Dozer The Gulf Coast Box Turtle
Dozer, a Gulf Coast Box turtle, was probably caught as a baby in the wild about 25 years ago. Our traceable knowledge of Dozer begins around 1985 when he was in the care of an abused little boy who in turn abused animals. Dozer was shot by BB guns and was generally abused and mistreated. He was taken by the boy’s grandmother who, with only good intentions, kept him in a 2ftx1ft crate next to her stove and fed him iceburg lettuce and occasionally raw hamberger meat for 10 years. Iceburg lettuce has next to no nutritional value and raw hamberger is rife with parasites. She meant well, but 2 years ago when Dozer was brought to us he was in pretty bad shape. His skin was grey, dull and flakey. His eyes were infected and his nose had gone spongy and one nostril had even collapsed! And he had the beginnings of mouth rot.
He was funny – When he came to us we presented him with a variety of fruits and vegetables and insects for him to eat, things he had not been getting but needed for nutritional reasons and would have been eating if he were wild. He refused to eat anything but Earthworms! So we added tons of vitamin powder to his meals and after several months of a steady diet of worms and the occasional vegetable we could trick him into eating, he was a new turtle! His skin became glossy and smooth. His eyes became the bright red they should be. His nose even started to regrow his second nostril!
Dozer cannot be released out into the wild because he has been a “pet” for so long and because there isn’t that much “Wild” left for him to go to. All we can do is make a good home for him. It’s been two years and he is living in a 10ftx5ft forested enclosure. He has a pool and plenty of shade and edible plants in his miniature forest. He just needs a female to share his home with and he will be set!