I'm a college student ( environmental science/ biology double major) conducting research on diamondback terrapins. In addition to my personal project, I'm helping with a long term mark and recapture study and with nest protection. One day while I was working I found a hatchling that was injured and being attacked by carpenter ants. I picked it up, removed the ants attacking it and examined it, when I noticed that it had a strange injury on its nose. It appeared that part of its nose was missing, either chewed off or removed some other way. My supervisor suggested I take it in and attempt to rehabilitate it and see if the wound would heal, since the hatchling was weak at the time I found it. This is where the problem starts.
The hatchling at first had no desire to eat. Finally, I was able to get it to eat some canned oysters. It also takes some bites at calci worms. Just when I thought the problems were solved, I noticed it was scratching it's wound yesterday. As I watched he removed what remained of his nose and now posseses just the lower bit of the top jaw; since this is the hard crushing part of his beak that remains I think its enough to still eat but it is still a gruesome injury. I'm afraid the injury will not heal at this point and may hinder feeding, something he already does little of. I also am at a loss as to what it is that caused it, (besides maybe metabolic bone disease?) and what I can do besides let nature take its course. When I picked up the piece he removed it was soft, and it seems like it should not have been, when looking at the place it came from. It likely should have contained bone.
My setup is as follows, but this is temporary as when I return home in two weeks I will be upgrading him to a filtered tank:
-5 gallon tank, filled partially with brackish water made from insta-ocean and purified tap, since my basking platform is quite small it is shallow. UV-B lamp (although I admit I received it from my supervisor, I don't know how old it is, and it likely needs replacing) and a heat lamp. I am performing daily water changes because I do not have a filter. I have been trying to feed him canned oysters, baby reptomin pellets, calci worms (soldierfly larvae), small, clawless shore crabs, periwinkle snails, earth worms, among other things. He has shown interest in the earthworm, calciworms, periwinkle and oysters, and has only eaten the oysters.
As for the injury, I know the description above isn't adequate so here are some pictures. The first in the album are after it worsened and the last few are before.
Pictures by bwilliamson218 - Photobucket
any help you guys can give is much appreciated, I'd like to do what I can for the little guy.