Figuring out what to feed a newly rescued box turtle is not a job for the faint of heart (or mind).
When Bruce first joined our little flock in May 2015, I figured he would probably like whatever Malti liked.
Boy was I wrong.
To this day, Bruce has never deigned to even sniff Malti’s all-time favorite treat, freeze-dried mealworms. He isn’t keen on greens (at least he and Malti share that in common).
For fruits, he tolerates apple, mango and blueberry and the occasional fig and flat-out ignores all the rest – even banana, which I have it on good authority is a food box turtles are supposed to love.
But if it is alive and wriggling and chock-full of protein, Bruce is on it. His bright red eyes start to whirl and his pupils get really big. His gaze becomes so focused I half-expect to see laser beams shooting out to “neutralize” the prey.
Before I even really see him move, his snake-like neck has extended and retracted, with the unlucky prey in tow. He makes this adorable “clacking” sound when he chomps, too.
Mealworms, earthworms, escargot (garden snails and slugs)….as long as they are alive and moving, they are likely to be welcomed effusively and as quickly dispatched.
Of course, live prey can be hard to come by, especially in certain seasons of the year. During these times, I am lucky to have a Plan B in my back pocket – steamed organic salmon.
Bruce loves salmon so much he will “hunt” it just like he does an earthworm, staring it down with his red whirling eyes, snaking his neck out and back to capture it in one swift CRUNCH.