Three Toed Box Turtle with a large lump (any ideas?)


9 Years
Apr 27, 2010
Vernon County, MO
My town is nearly infested with Three Toed Box Turtles, my property is no exception. I have a good five or so acres behind my house with heavy brush cover and plenty of trees, bugs, and water. Turtle heaven! I tend to go on walks, find turtles, photograph them, then release them back in the woods again where their safe and sound. Generally, this whole process takes around 30 minuets, including walking time. Juveniles are my favorite with their teeny tiny little size

Turtles, of course, are not harmed in any way, just photographed and released again.

Today I found a stunning male box turtle all decked out with big, bright colors. I don't usually come across males, so I was pretty excited. I snapped a few shots (patiently waiting for him to come out of his shell) when I noticed...hey, this guys got a huge lump on his head.

Any idea what it is? I have him in a special 'turtle tank' with cover and plenty of water. I'm hoping he'll relax so I can take a closer look at that thing. Right now, I'm hoping it's just a tick so I can get it off him and send him on his merry way. He's such a handsome dude I'm hoping it's not cancer or something...I would rather have him wander around and sire plenty of adorable baby turtles.

Sorry i can't help but thank you for caring enough to help the poor guy, he is stunning. Would like to see some other photos you took.
There is a fly that parasitizes box turtles. Sort of like a warble on rabbits. It is a non life threatening situation. (There is probably a maggot developing in that swelling.)
I worked for a vet for 9 years and his hobby was turtles and snakes. That turtle has an abscessed (sp) ear. I used to have to help with this all the time. He would hold the head out of the shell by "pinching" the neck with his thumb and forefinger. He would then use q-tips to pop and press the thick puss out. After that we would take a clean syringe filled with betadine and water mixture and flush the area out. Sometimes there would be a pretty big hole in there. You need to clean it out, but wear gloves or be sure to wash your hands thoroughly because you can get sick from them. If you have some topical antibiotic drops you can put them in there as well. Hope this helps.

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