Bruce Explains Box Turtles: Hay

When I was little, I thought hay was for horses.

Later on I learned hay is also for guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters and sheep.

Now I know that hay can be for chickens and cows too (to roost on and eat, respectively).

But never in a million years did I suspect a box turtle might enjoy hay.

Bruce has introduced a great many “firsts” into his mama’s life, not the least of which is how multipurpose hay can be.

For example, say you rent your casa rather than owning it. This means your landlord may not be super cool with you digging up his lawn to place predator-proof netting down. He may also not be down with you removing the sod to add textured soil, gravel, rocks, reptile bark, moss, hiding coves, swimming pools and edible greenery.

He also might not be keen (go figure) to have you install an enclosed predator-proof hutch over it all to keep your box turtle in and the other wildlife (including his pet dogs and cat) out.

So instead, you buy a picnic table and put your box turtle’s outdoor hutch on top of it. Problem solved. But then when it comes time to hibernate, a new problem arises.

There isn’t sufficient insulating soil for your box turtle to dig down into to ride out the winter feeling warm and comfy.

Enter hay.

Hay is a way of building up rather than down. Hay is very insulating and surprisingly moisture-resistant. Along with a combination of exterior tarp material and an underlying foundation of dense soil, hay can make the perfect little outdoor hibernation enclosure for the box turtle in question.

As a bonus, hay is also a perfect place for a too-warm box turtle to estivate in the summer!

Newly awakened from hibernation and tucking into his first meal, Bruce “hunts” an unlucky stray piece of hay, mistaking it for a tasty earthworm.

And remember…..

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