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Advice

Discussion in 'General Turtle Care Discussion' started by smoyle, May 30, 2017.

  1. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Yeah I was looking at them yesterday but no one seems to have them at this time of year, when's the season?
     
  2. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    They should be available in the warmer months from Spring onward.
     
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  3. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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  4. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    The problem with those is that the taste of them may put him off Silkworms for good. I once bought a can and they stunk something terrible.
     
  5. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Ah, no worries. Thought the can may be easier than trying to keep them alive - don't really have time to look after more live animals with a cat, chickens, turtle, fish, shrimp, yabbies etc - but not worth putting him off them. Might try some live ones if I can find them. Thanks!
     
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  6. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hey mate, silkworms aren't high maintenance and require very little room. You could get a dozen live ones and keep them in a Pisces cricket container like this with fresh beetroot leaves (if you can't get mulberry leaves.) They will survive for weeks like this. Give one to your turtle every 2-3 days. Too easy.
    20150927_102037.jpg

    Apologies @smoyle I've edited this post so it now shows the full image I intended to upload. The previous image was a tiny preview of this actual image.
     
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    #46 Aussiepride83, Jun 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  7. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    OK cool, just ordered some, they should be here next week. It'll be yet another experiment hey!
     
  8. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    My basic silkworm setup is a shallow cardboard box with a piece of paper on the bottom, silkworms and mulberry leaves. The box needs no lid as they do not climb out. Silkworms just require their enclosure be cleaned every day, (which involves manually picking all the silkworms up and removing them from the box/container and tipping all the silkworm poop and old leaves/stalks in the bin. Then simply put a fresh piece of paper on the bottom of the box, add fresh leaves and tip the silkworms back in and they'll start eating again immediately.)
    20161007_154149.jpg
    The one thing with silkworms is they eat and eat and eat 24/7 they do NOT stop. This setup pictured here went through a 50 litre garbage bag of fresh mulberry leaves in just 1 and a half days! I went to my parent's house on a Friday afternoon, (my parent's house is about 8-10Km from mine and luckily they have a massive mulberry tree in their back yard) and raided their mulberry tree, by midday Sunday I was completely out of leaves and had to go and get more! Thankfully by the end of that bag, they'd started to spin their cocoons (which at that stage you cut an egg carton in half and place in the sides of the box), the worms will spin their cocoons in the little egg cup compartments.
    20161120_094650.jpg
    *Note. Silkworm silk will naturally be golden or pure white in colour. This is a normal natural variation. If you feed them beetroot leaves instead of mulberry leaves, their silk will be pink. When the moths emerge from the cocoons, they are heavy and flightless, they basically flutter around the floor of the box until they bump into another moth of the opposite sex, when they find a partner, they mate and the male then dies. The female shortly after mating will lay her eggs (the tiny grey specks you can see scattered everywhere in the photo) and then she too dies. It's all over in a day or 2 and the cycle begins again.

    If you cannot get mulberry leaves or beetroot leaves, there's a product called silkworm chow https://www.amazingamazon.com.au/catalogsearch/result/?cat=0&q=silkworm+chow however I personally cannot vouch for it as I've never used it. I have heard many people say though that silkworms will be a lot more accepting of it if they've been offered it from the moment they hatch rather than given to worms that have previously had access to fresh leaves, these individuals tend to snub the chow entirely according to a lot of peoples' experiences.

    Silkworms are pretty cool once you start keeping them, a lot of primary schools around the country still use silkworms and their life-cycle as their introductory for young children into the world of science and biology, which if you ask me is a lot better than dissecting frogs (which was common back in the day.)

    Something you may or may not know about Silkworms - (Bombyx mori) they're native to Northern China and the Chinese have used them for at least 5000 years to make silk. Unfortunately, there are no wild silkworms left in the world, they're extinct and the species in now entirely reliant on humans for their survival. Only domesticated forms of silkworms are available today.
     
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  9. Rodney

    Rodney Juvenile Turtle

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    Hi Kevin,


    Does the Mulberry tree need to be of the white species or will the black species also suffice?
     
  10. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hi Rodney, I was unaware there was different types, I'm assuming you're referring to the colour of the fruit - like as in grapes? If so, then the black variety is the only one I've ever used.
     
    #50 Aussiepride83, Jun 18, 2017
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  11. Rodney

    Rodney Juvenile Turtle

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    Hi Kevin,

    Yes there are different coloured fruits. I think they are different species. The black type seems to be more prevalent in our area. Good the silkworms eat the black type.

    I have just planted the white type for the silkworms and all of the leaves dropped. I guess they are deciduous. Do you maintain the silkworms in the egg stage when no leaves are available or only feed them beetroot leaves? Thanks.
     
  12. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    The white Mulberry trees were specifically cultivated for feeding silkworms. The white or sometimes pink fruit is very bland compared to the black Mulberry that is tasty and sweet. The leaves from either tree are good for Silkworms. I love black Mulberries and are my favourite berry to eat so I planted the black Mulberry trees.
     
  13. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hi mate, yes the black mulberry leaves will be fine. I keep the eggs in the fridge until spring so I don't have silkworms without mulberry leaves.
     
  14. Rodney

    Rodney Juvenile Turtle

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    Thanks Kevin, I will give the silkworms a try. They seem to be a good choice family wise. There is no possibility my family would be happy with roaches of any species.
     
  15. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Silkworms are pretty family friendly, the only downside to them compared to roaches is they require feeding a specific type of food constantly and you can't forget about/neglect them or they'll quickly perish. Roaches on the other hand are survival specialists which thrive on neglect, my roaches are spoiled though as my colony lives in my backyard compost bin, (a repurposed 240 litre wheelie bin) and gets a variety of kitchen scraps daily. That aside though, roaches can live for 2 weeks without their heads and only eventually die of starvation! It's also been surmised that roaches would be the last living thing on earth after the apocalypse. That, I believe. Silkworms are already extinct...
     
  16. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Thanks Kev and Craig. I don't think I'll have enough access to mulberry leaves, but the ones I bought come with chow so that should be fine.

    Question though - I bought 25, and was thinking I'd keep 5-10 out and feed one to my turtle every 2-3 days. The rest I was thinking of freezing a) so I don't have to keep feeding them, b) so they last longer and c) so they don't go to the cocoon stage. Obviously I'd thaw them again before giving them to my turtle, and obviously it's less preferable than live food but would that work OK?
     
  17. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    I've never frozen them mate so I've got no idea sorry.
     
  18. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    The silkworms are doing fine, I'll have to get some beetroot leaves soon but that's no problem.

    Strange question though - I measured my turtle when I first brought it home, and again a week ago. Both times I measured 4.2cm. Today I measured it and it was 4.6cm. Woah, I thought, that's a big jump for a week. I've been feeding it the usual size of its head daily, except for one night when I fed some cichlid gold pellets to the fish, but the turtle ended up eating a lot of them - possibly up to 30. Normally I feed the fish while the turtle is out of the tank, so I'll be making sure I always do that in future, but I didn't expect it to eat them because it doesn't much like them when I feed it to him in the separate container.

    Then I realised I may have misread my calipers the first time/ two times. I have on occasion taken the measurement from the left edge of the calipers instead of the 0. I think I remember specifically making sure I didn't do that this time, though I could be wrong about that. The distance between the edge and the 0 is 4mm, which would be a hell of a coincidence.

    20170625_184554.jpg

    So I wanted to check - is it possible for a Macleay to grow 4mm in a week just because of the pellets? If not, I have measured wrongly. If it's possible, maybe I didn't.

    By the way, this one is still completely different, super active and super strong. Good signs.
     
  19. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hi mate, it is possible for such a growth spurt to occur but it's also likely that you've measured wrong. Are you weighing the little guy too? If so, did he reflect a substantial weight increase that would compliment a 4mm increase in length?
     
  20. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    He was 13g, now 14g. So an increase, but not substantial.
     
    Update: a month in, this little fella is fit, healthy and active - all things my last two were not. More confident than ever it was a genetic issue with them and not my husbandry! What a relief. Doesn't like silkworms unfortunately but otherwise a very healthy appetite, chasing fish around, swimming almost non stop.
     
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