FAQs About Red Ear Slider (RES) Turtle
Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of
the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel
Barton, Turtle eye diseases; Recognising and treating
eye diseases in pet turtles by Neale
Monks, So your
turtle has the Flu? Recognising and treating respiratory
infections in pet turtles by Neale Monks, The Care and Keeping of the
Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta
elegans by Darrel Barton,
Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care, Shell Rot in Turtles,
Related FAQs: RES
Disease, RES Disease/Health 2,
RES Disease 3, RES Health 4, RES
Health 5, RES Health 7, RES Health 8, RES
Health 9, RES Health 10, &
Shell Rot, Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 3, Shell Rot, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,
FAQs on RES Health by Type:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Traumas, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,
& Sliders 1,
Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES
Compatibility, RES Selection,
RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES
Female RES exhibiting strange behavior! ... beh, app, hlth,
<Hi, Jenn! Sue here with you.>
I have a 5 inch, female RES named Spike. She's been around for a
little over 4 years and she's strong and healthy according to the
vet, but I'm not convinced! Spike has been swimming frantically in
circles with her neck to one side and her mouth open, thrashing in the
water and ramming into the glass.
<Sudden restless or frantic behavior can occur for a few reasons. A
couple in particular come to my mind with your turtle, Spike, though.
See further below.>
She's normally pretty mellow, so when the vet told me she was fine
except for some excessive scute shedding, I was a little
<Shedding is a natural, normal process for turtles. However,
excessive shedding is not, and can occur for a number of reasons,
including: (1) Too fast a growth rate. This is either the result of too
warm a water temperature which in turn speeds up their metabolism
(water temp. should be in low 70's); or overfeeding. Spike should
only be fed 2-3 times per week (preferably in the morning), and no more
than she can eat in 5-10 minutes. (2) Inadequate basking. You mentioned
below that you take her outside several times a week, though, so this
may not be an issue. However, if you live in a cooler climate where
she's indoors most of the year, does she haul out to bask for a few
hours each day during the 'off' seasons? If not, this may also
be due to either too warm a water temperature or not enough of a
temperature gradient between her water and her basking spot. Turtles
need to be given a very clear choice between cool water (preferably
under 73 degrees F) and warm (upper 80's F) basking temperature.
Cool water is what entices them to get out of the water to bask and
warm up. I try to keep my turtles' water temperature between 70-72
degrees F and their basking temperature between 88-89 degrees F. Also
'¦ do you have a UVB light over the basking area? If not, you
do need to get one. UVB helps turtles to make/absorb calcium which they
need for proper shell health and growth; otherwise they become much
more prone to disease. (3) Inadequate filtration, poor water quality.
Make sure you do a 50% water change at least once each week (more often
if needed), and that you remove all poop and uneaten food right after
Spike's done eating so it's not left to decay in the water
'¦ especially if you don't have adequate filtration -- but
even when you do.>
Spike hasn't eaten in almost two weeks. She's not interested in
ReptoMin pellets, freeze dried baby shrimp, alfalfa sprouts or
anything. The vet told me to coat her food with calcium powder, but
she's just not having it!
<Loss of appetite in conjunction with sudden restless
behavior/frantic swimming is often associated with a (sexually mature)
female turtle needing to lay eggs (yes, even when there is NO male
around!!) At 5', Spike is starting to approach the 'age of
sexual maturity'! See end of this note.>
Her water temp is 76 and her basking temp is 86.
<76 degree water is on the warm side; 86 degree basking temperature
is on the cool side. As above, I'd aim for a water temperature of
70-72 degrees F and a basking temperature of 88-89 degrees.>
She lives in a turtle tank that's 18in x 36in, but I take her out
for backyard adventures a few times a week to explore. I noticed an
email with a turtle acting similarly where you told the owner to wash,
wash, wash everything out...so I did that...and her behavior still
persists, along with her alarming lack of appetite. I just don't
know what to do! I've racked my brain for some sort of
environmental change, but I can't think of a thing. I don't
want her to hurt herself with all the violent swimming...and I
can't sleep at night with her splashing around!
<There are a couple of things that initially come to my mind about
Spike's sudden over-activity:>
<The first is that she may be too warm.>
<Warm water increases a turtle's metabolism and causes them to
become more active. Spike's excess shedding is another possible
indicator that her metabolism/growth rate is high and that her water
may be a bit too warm. Are you using a water heater? If so, no need to
unless (as one of my fellow crewmates has joked many times, you live
north of the Arctic Circle!!) Contrary to what's stated on many
other websites, as long as you provide Spike with a warm basking
option, the water temperature can and should be kept in the low
<With summer approaching, warmer air temperature could further be
adding to the overall affect of her feeling too warm. Even though Spike
is an indoor turtle and not as significantly impacted by the outdoor
climate, my own experience with indoor turtles has been that they often
sense the increased humidity and warmer air temperatures indoors as the
warmer outdoor weather of spring and summer approach.>
<Her open mouth as she's swimming is an indicator that the air
inside her aquarium may be too warm and/or humid, and that she's
trying to seek out cooler air to breathe. Warm, humid air has less
oxygen density. As a result, she may be opening her mouth and possibly
breathing faster and/or heavier in an attempt to take in more
<Besides being too warm, the 2nd thing that comes to mind with
Spike's sudden frantic behavior -- especially in combination with
her sudden loss of appetite -- is that she is gravid and needs to lay
eggs!! This is very common behavior displayed by a female turtle
looking to nest! As noted above, a female RES can be gravid without the
presence of a male; the eggs just won't be fertilized. You
mentioned Spike is 5' long. Captive female RES turtles can become
sexually mature as 'early' or 'young' as 3-5 years of
age with a carapace length of 5'. So it may be your little girl has
finally grown up!!>
<Given that it's springtime, and Spike is now in the 'sexual
maturity range', it's very likely that she IS in fact gravid
(carrying eggs). If so, it's VERY important that you set her up
ASAP with an appropriate nesting spot outside of the water for her to
be able to dig and lay her eggs. If she is prevented from, or unable to
lay her eggs, she can become egg-bound. This is an extremely serious
health condition that can cause a very painful death. So it's
important you act now. Here are 2 links to guides for you to read about
egg laying and how to build an appropriate nesting spot for Spike:
Any help is appreciated, thanks for all you do,
<You're welcome, Jenn! Please try these things out and let us
know what happens with Spike!>
Swollen Turtle Cheeks 6/22/10
One of my slider turtles looks like he has swollen cheeks, he is fine
and seems to be healthy, what do you think?
<What I think is that if his cheeks are swollen, he's neither
fine nor healthy.>
<He may have a general dietary & vitamin deficiency causing the
eyes and/or areas around the eyes to appear puffy -- or he could have
edema, which is a general swelling all over but it appears more
pronounced at the head.>
<Here is a link of basic ailments and treatment suggestions. The
fact that he is still active and eating is a good sign. The BAD NEWS?
If we don't find the problem and treat it -- and find the cause and
correct that too, he won't be fine very much longer.>
Sick RES..pls help 5/13/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a baby RES , bought her exactly 13 days before, last week I
found some white spots on her eyes and on one leg...I gave her
antibiotic also but didn't noticed any changes
<White spots are usually fungal in nature and an antibiotic
won't help fungus>
after couple of days I took her to vet, he gave some vitamin A
<I suspect the Vet saw an eye infection as well. Vitamin A is the
treatment for that>
I am changing water twice a day and daily giving her that vitamin
drops'¦but I guess it's not working, now she is not eating
also not even swimming ..Just laying in dry area..What should I
do'¦please help me I don't want lose her
<We'll do what we can, Darshana. The problem is that when a
turtle gets THAT sick that it won't eat or move, then the sickness
is quite advanced already. I'm enclosing a link to a basic
treatment article. As it says, keep her warm and dry while treating --
she doesn't need water at all except for a few minutes a day to
soak. Make sure it's a very shallow pan and that the water is not
even up to her nose. In her weak state, plopping her in water over her
nose could simply drown her. If the water reaches her tail, she'll
sense it and if she wants a drink, she'll take one.>
<Continue with the vitamins and treat her skin for the fungal
infections as outline here:
Help with our Red Eared Slider
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm really hoping you can help me out!!
<Lets see what we can do>
We have an adult, female Red Eared Slider (she is about 10 inches
long). She lives in our outdoor pond which is 20 foot by 30 foot and 5
feet deep. We have Koi, goldfish and Shubunkin that live in the pond
with her. We just got back 2 days ago from 3 weeks of vacation and
found that the waterfalls had apparently stopped working early on our
trip and our friend just left the pond and threw food in. The water was
pretty stagnant and gross when we got back. The RES was out of the
water when we first saw her and she jumped in right away and swam at
the surface and then the second we walked back in the house she got
out. About an hour later we went out again but she just sat there and
didn't move. We went to pick her up and she was very lethargic and
her eyes were puffy and swollen.
<Indicating a vitamin deficiency>
We immediately isolated her and she's now in the house in a full
size bathtub. We have a heater in the room and the temperature is 87
where we have her. We've got a little water (about an inch deep) at
one end and then no water at the other end. She's poking her head
out and we were just putting ReptoMin in with her but she wasn't
eating it (in the pond we give her Koi pellets and the ReptoMin). So,
we went out today and got her an earthworm and fed her the earthworm
and the ReptoMin with a dropper. We were able to get her to eat that by
basically force feeding her.
<Force Feeding he is probably stressful for her, so make sure
you're using the feeding as a method to deliver the vitamins (read
below and that will make more sense) -- don't feed her "just
to feed her">
She's always been an outside turtle (we got her about 2 years ago
from someone who also always had her in their outdoor pond). Because
she eats with the Koi I don't really know how much she's
getting all the time. I want to make sure that we're feeding her
adequately while we work to try to get her better. Can you confirm how
much we should feed her exactly?
<I feed mine Koi pellets as well. Never any more than they can eat
in 5 minutes.>
She doesn't seem to have a runny nose and the only other issue she
had was a small amount of scute shedding but we haven't noticed
that problem since we brought her inside. Her shell does appear nice
and hard and normal. We obviously won't put her back in the pond
until she's completely healthy and we have the water back to 100%.
Is there any treatment that would be good for her eyes that we can
<Yes, I'll include a link>
I also would like to confirm that, in your opinion, we're caring
for her as we should while she recovers.
<You're doing MUCH better than most people. Keeping her warm and
dry is the #1 thing you did right. When a turtle is sick and/or
debilitated, having to swim & haul out to bask, etc'¦ all
their normal activities '¦ become overwhelming for them. When
she's warm & dry, she may no be healing yet but she's at
If you have any other advice I would greatly appreciate it. We are
trying to see if we can get her better on our own but will take her to
the vet if necessary.
<What I'd like to for her to have a set of vitamin and calcium
injections. Failing that, earthworms and pieces of beef liver (small
pieces) are good. Vitamin 'A' drops like they sell in the pet
stores are a waste of time and money .. but like my grandmother said
about Chicken Soup 'what can it hurt?'>
Thank you for any assistance you can provide. If I can provide you
additional information to help you respond, please let me know.
<Debbie - this is a link about general care. You'll already done
the single most critical part (isolation) but read about swollen &
puffy eyes. As she dries out, relaxes and gains strength, her appetite
may come back, making it easier to slip her the vitamins>
Re: Help with our Red Eared Slider 6/30/10
<Hiya right back>
I wanted to thank you for your feedback and give you an update.
<You are most welcome>
Our RES is doing great. She's been eating, has lots of energy and
is back to 100% - her eyes are clear and everything. I think the
earthworms and cod liver oil really did the trick. I found that getting
the cod liver oil into a straw and then dripping it into her mouth
worked great. She's been doing so well that we released her back
into our pond last night and have been keeping a close eye on her.
She's swimming around, was eating the Koi pellets we put out there
and seems very happy once again.
Again, thank you for your advice and quick response.
<We're amazing, aren't we?>
<Glad we could help!>
need help 6/16/10
Hi, my name is Derek.
<Hiya - I'm Darrel>
I just got two baby slider turtles. One of
them stopped eating. It looks like its eyes are
swollen and it wont open its eyes.
<This seems like the day for swollen eyes>
It wont eat and swim. all it will do is sit under the light. I got a
uvb and heat light. Before all this started it looked like it was
having a hard time swimming.
<He may have been sick when you got him, but let's see what we
It just started to move it head back and forth a little and its mouth
will open a little.
<That part is OK>
It looks like it might be having a herd time breathing but I don't
know. the temp is good in the basking and water. I don't got a
filter for it yet but I try to change the water every day or two.
<No worries there Derek. I've raised many turtles in tanks
without filters by just cleaning them every few days. Turtles don't
need a lot of things and what they do need doesn't have to be
expensive -- we just have to find simple ways to get it done>
please let me know on how to help it. I can not find a vet that knows
anything about turtle.
thank you for your time.
<No problem, Derek>
<The swollen & closed eyes is a sign of a diet deficiency
'¦ usually for a fairly long time. Without Vitamin A and
sunlight (or a good UV-B light) they develop eye problems fairly
<The first thing to do here, Derek '¦ is to treat them both
the same way. Even though the other seems fine (or at least better)
they both have had the same care, same diet, etc. so they probably both
have the same condition, just that one is more advanced.>
<Here is a link about basic treatment - read the WHOLE article
<Now '¦ what I would do is drain the tank completely and
use it as the warm/dry isolation (unless there are other living things
in the tank). Put them in a very shallow bowl of water once a day for a
few minutes (just barely up to their neck '¦ but not so that
their head goes underwater) and offer just one or two pellets of
<Make sure they're WARM '¦ but since there is no water
for them to cool off in, make sure the heat lamp doesn't burn them
(shouldn't be uncomfortable for you to have your hand under for a
minute or so). Make sure the UV lamp is the proper type, make sure they
are getting the UV DIRECTLY -- through glass or even screen doesn't
<Try to get them to eat tiny pieces of beef liver or Koi pellets or
ReptoMin with a drop of cod liver oil on it>
<While you're treating them, read this link about general care
'¦ and try to see what steps might have been missed that led
them to the dietary deficiency in the first place:
Help Needed with my Red Eyed Slider Turtle, blood, hlth.,
Vet. -- 06/9/10
<Hi Sameer!! Sue here with you.>
Need help... I have a pair of Red Eyed Turtle-
<they are actually called Red Eared Slider Turtles>
males- aged approximately 3.5 years. I noticed small blood spots around
Cadbury's ( my turtle's name) anal area this afternoon. I fed
it, and it ate food as usual. I then washed its anal region with Dettol
added in water and applied Soframycin skin cream near its bleeding anal
region. I will be taking him to the Vet, however I would really
appreciate your insights on this. It does have long nails and it has
never been sick until today. Please advise.
< My first thought was like yours that your turtle should be seen as
soon as possible by a veterinarian. However, in response to your
question about offering additional advice, I checked with another
colleague to see if there was anything additional he could offer you.
He agreed that first and foremost anything involving blood is an
indication that the turtle needs to be seen by a veterinarian -
preferably a herp veterinarian who specializes in turtles. Nothing we
have or can offer will substitute for an experienced, hands on
examination. Aside from that, he said that sometimes turtles can ingest
small stones from the gravel bed that tear up their insides as they
pass. If it's small enough TO pass, then it does little damage and
the tears heal. However, if it keeps bleeding, then any form of
treatment is merely treating only the symptom ...making it even more
incumbent that you seek veterinary help. Meanwhile...keep the area warm
and DRY until it heals. 1 turtle tank + a cut is an invitation to
Thanks & Regards, Sameer
<You're welcome, Sameer. I hope your turtle gets better. Please
let us know how it turns out!>
Re: Help Needed with my Red Eyed Slider Turtle --
Hello Sue and WWM team,
Thanks a lot for replying back and your valuable feedback.
<You're welcome! I'm glad it was of some help.>
Here are few updates:
1) I have been unable to locate a herp Veterinarian around and am still
searching for one in my city who specializes in turtles.
<If you find you are unable to locate one in your area through your
own search, you may want to check out this link and see if it
This is a respected website, with links on this page to specialized
reptile vets all around the world. Hopefully, there will be someone on
the list for you that's at least within a reasonable distance from
where you live. It's always helpful to have the name and phone
number of a good veterinarian handy just in case of an
emergency'¦ though it may turn out that you might have to
drive several hours to see one (which is even more of a reason to have
that information handy when needed so less time you need to spend
conducting a search for one when you're in the middle of a crisis)!
Check also to see if there are any reptile associations near where you
live. If so, this could potentially be another good resource for
2) With regards to the bleeding part, it's not bleeding anymore (
nor was there a blood flow yesterday) but rather there was a blood
stain around its anal region which really panicked me.
<I can certainly understand that, I would have reacted the same way.
I'm glad to see that you haven't noticed anymore blood stains.
Perhaps then it might have been something he swallowed that irritated
or scraped the inside of his intestines. Just keep a watch out for any
further blood stains '¦which from your very well thought out
messages, I can tell you already are!>
3) As mentioned earlier and pointed by you, I am only placing Cadbury
in water tank when I have to feed him that's barely 15/20 min.s.
And have been washing his tail region with a Dettol added luke warm
water, drying his tail and then applying the Soframycin cream ( This
cream is usually prescribed by doctors for treating wounds, helps in
disinfecting the wound as well) and I hold him in my hand for 20/30
minutes to let the cream marinate in his skin. Did this trice a day
yesterday and twice today.
<Sounds like you are taking very good care of Cadbury! He is lucky
to have you watching out for him!!>
4) Secondly, he has been behaving very normally as always, begs for
food, eats well too, walks every where in the house, sleeps in his
regular place ( under my bed) and fights with the Poppins ( my 2nd
turtle) when I placed him in tank with him.
<This is more good news! (Except for the fighting, sounds like some
discipline is in order!>
These are a few updates for now. I shall anyways be taking him to a
Vet, as soon as I find one in my city and let you know the details.
<Please try out the above link and see if that helps. If not, and
you're still having difficulty, I'll see if anyone else on the
crew might have some recommendations for you.>
Thank you so very much for your time. Have a beautiful day ahead and
God Bless you and all you folks who work for the website.
<You're very welcome. And thank you for your kind wishes, same
for you and Cadbury. Please let us know if any further concerns arise
Thanks & Regards,
Two Baby Sliders with black spots?
<Hiya! - Darrel here>
I recently bought two baby red eared sliders about a week ago. I
assume they are hatchlings they are only about an inch
<You are a good presumer>
I have ordered all the proper things they need online and have
about half of it, for example I have a 20 gallon tank with about
5 gallons of water in it, I have a big rock above the water for
basking, a temporary heat lamp (waiting for the correct basking
bulb to come in, I am using a 100 watt incandescent bulb) I even
have a fluorescent light for UVB rays. I also have a heater and
keep the water at approximately 80 degrees.
<I usually use a 75 to 100w incandescent bulb as my basking
They're cheap, energy efficient and get the job done!>
I am feeding them Zoo Med Hatchling Formula and Baby ReptoMin
<I use small sized Koi pellets when they're hatchlings and
regular sized Koi pellets thereafter. Koi pellets are a
completely balanced diet! Then I toss in (literally) an earthworm
once a month or so - just as a treat.>
I am making the best out of what I have for my new baby turtles
while waiting patiently for everything else to come in. However
recently one of my turtle seems to have black spots between some
it's scutes and about two of these areas have started to turn
whitish. It has no odor, it's not unusually squishy, or
anything like that it feels normal it just looks kind of gross
and it seems to me that there is something wrong with it. However
I've done a lot of research on it, fearing that it is shell
rot, and none of the pictures look like my turtles problem, one
kind of did but not majorly, and other than that, my turtle has
none of the symptoms of shell rot, nor do any other causes make
<Is the shell nice and firm?>
My turtles are fine they swim around, they eat properly, bask,
all that, their behavior seems normal and fine. I am just getting
worried about him, is there something wrong with him, does he
have shell rot?
<Doesn't sound like it to me, Tylan. Take some household
vinegar on the end of a Q-tip and rub the area and lets see if it
just cleans off. If not, a VERY gentle scraping with the edge of
a razor blade -- VERY gently -- to see if it's a hardened
material or some sort.>
Re: Two Baby Sliders with black spots?
Thanks Darrel, I tried the vinegar and it didn't seem to do
anything however the black spots are no longer so white in the
areas they were.
<That would indicate that whatever is growing in UNDER the
scutes '¦ so the vinegar seeps in, but a scrubbing is
not possible. Keep trying>
Also what is this on his stomach? (first attachment)
<The most likely is simply an abrasion -- he's rubbing
against something that has cut his plastron. Keep him warm and
dry for a couple days and put some Neosporin on it each
The second attachment shows the black/darker spots on his scutes
and In between them and you can see the few white spots towards
his head on his shell.
<He may be heading for a fungal infection. Read this article
and treat accordingly
Re: Two Baby Sliders with black spots?
The redness on the bottom doesn't seem to be on the outside
it looks like it's underneath, it's not open.
<It could be a sign of an internal infection, but that's
normally only seen on extremely sick animals - that would have
many, MANY other symptoms as well. My suggestion is that you keep
him clean around there, alternate days swabbing the area with an
antifungal cream (like Lotrimin) once day and an antibiotic cream
(like Neosporin) the next. Let him stay dry for an hour after the
swabbing (put him in a tub or box with a towel on the bottom) and
let's see what happens in 3 weeks.>
Red Eared Sliders, hlth., nutr. 5/11/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I love your site but was unable to find my answer so here I sit writing
to you ... I have 2 Red Eared Sliders - both we got as quarter sized
turtles. Randolf is about 15 1/2 yrs old and doing great. Squirt will
be 3 this summer. They are in separate aquariums .. my concern is
Squirt. The last few days, he seems to flip himself over ... he has
plenty of clean swimming area and also a rock to get up on and sun.
Today I noticed him holding his head out and back .. as if someone
pulled it out and bent it backwards ..
It doesn't matter if I put him in the water or on his rock, he will
not retract his head. His eating has dwindled to nothing also.
What's wrong????? :(
<That's a strange symptom, Sherry. It sounds vaguely like a
vitamin & calcium deficiency has led to MDB (Metabolic Bone
Disease) and possibly a degeneration or a slippage of a disc in his
neck. This is one of those times where a visit to a qualified vet and
an X-ray are absolutely in order. My guess is that he can't move
his head or mouth as necessary to eat or drink.>
Sherry & Alex
RES fell from balcony!! bleeding from mouth
Hi, I don't know why I didn't think to email you before but the
day before yesterday, one of my sliders managed to climb up what I
thought was an impossible height and fell 4 stories from my balcony, we
found him almost unscratched but bleeding a little from the mouth.
<Actually, damage to the head is very common when small animals fall
long distances. The force of impact is proportional to the weight of
the animal, so small animals hit the ground with relatively little
force. This is why he's survived a fall that would kill a human.
But the neck muscles are relatively weak, so the head of small animals
that fall long distances tends to hit the ground disproportionally
hard. Vets will tell you that when cats fall from high places, they
almost always have head injuries and broken teeth precisely because of
this: they can land on their paws fine enough, but the neck muscles are
too weak to brace the head properly, so while the limbs prevent injury
to the body, the neck can't do the same thing for the head. In
other words, it's very likely your turtle has a fractured jaw or
He seems to be able to stretch and move legs/neck well but due to the
blood (obviously an internal injury) I put him in a separate tank with
about 2cm of warm salty water.
we have tried to contact a vet but it is 'golden week' a three
day long holiday in Japan and all the reptile vets are closed!
<Crisis! He really, REALLY does need to see a vet. It's entirely
possible he could survive this fall. After all, turtles and tortoises
have been accidentally dropped by predatory birds for millions of
years, and many of those turtles and tortoises walked away none the
worse for it. Their shells do provide considerable protection. But for
all that, if there are minor internal injuries, these will need to be
checked, and antibiotics given to ensure no secondary infections. Kept
warm and damp he may be okay for a day or two, but you do need to take
him to the vet as soon as possible.>
I thought he had recovered well and returned him to the main tank alone
today but after a short time of happily swimming about he climbed out
of the water and yawned without opening his mouth and now the bleeding
(although only a tiny amount) has started again, after finding
something similar on a forum I have now put him in a dry box with the
lamps. I haven't tried to feed him yet.
<Indeed. I'd keep him out of water for now precisely because of
the bleeding, and warm water would only promote the growth of
opportunistic bacteria. Don't let him dry out completely though,
and make sure he has drinking water. Spray him with a little water now
and again, just to keep his skin from becoming completely dry.
There's no need to actually make him wet. Take care not to
manipulate him though -- moving his jaws to force-feed him for example
could be very dangerous.>
Please offer any advice for me to help him or to make him comfortable
until we can contact a vet.
<Beyond keeping him warm and dry, there's not much you can do.
Iodine or salty water might be dabbed on any external injuries, but
again, you'll do more harm than good if you manipulate the turtle
<I've cc'ed this to "Turtle MD" Darrel Barton, who
may have some corrections to add. But for now, good luck! Cheers,
Re: re: RES fell from balcony!! bleeding from mouth
Thanks for the reply.
<Sorry it wasn't sooner.>
He's been in the dry box all day and has appeared to take a turn
for the worse tonight, I've put him in a couple of cm of very clean
water to give him a drink.
But wondering if he should be dry or wet overnight.
<Dry, in the sense of not being in water. But not bone dry; if the
air is dry, a gentle spray or splash of water will help.>
I'm honestly so worried about him.
<I can well imagine.>
My girlfriend will take him to a vet tomorrow.
He is still yawning without opening his mouth, he looks in pain.
<May well be.>
How often will he need to drink?
<He'll drink if he needs too; there's little you can do to
force him to drink.>
Thanks so much for the advice.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: RES fell from balcony!! bleeding from mouth
thanks again so much for the replies, I never would have thought he
could climb so high!
<Oh gosh yes, they can climb very well.>
I bought a spray bottle and I'm spraying him every now and then
(although he doesn't seem to like it) I have but him in a box lined
with a damp towel to keep him damp overnight, thankfully it is quite
humid and warm tonight so he shouldn't dry out too much.
we are going to call the vet first thing and try to get an
If this is posted on the site I beg any turtle owners reading this :
DONT UNDERESTIMATE THE CLIMBING ABILITY OF YOUR TURTLE!! he is only
about 4 inches long but managed somehow to climb almost 10" of
vertical smooth wall and then fall 4 stories!!
<Yikes! A timely reminder. Thanks for stating this so
<Good luck to you! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: RES fell from balcony!! bleeding from mouth HELP!!
Just an update on pecka one of my sliders who fell from the 4th floor
balcony of my apartment.
Thanks for the advice you gave it was really helpful but unfortunately
we could not get an appointment at the reptile clinic until late
afternoon due to it being closed all golden week and at about 1300 he
gave up and passed away,
<Too bad. I'm sorry to hear this.>
we are very sad to have lost a member of our household so I'd just
like to reiterate to everyone DOUBLE CHECK AND TRIPLE CHECK ANY AREAS
YOUR TURTLE (or any pet for that matter) CAN CLIMB.
He climbed up a flat smooth wall more than double his outstretched
He will be dearly missed, but we will take it as a lesson in taking
care of our remaining 2 turtles midori and LB (lazy boy).
Thanks again Neale for your help.
<Sorry about how things turned out.>
Not sure what's wrong with my RES.
Hi WWM Staff.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Please help us.
We're not sure what's wrong with our turtle. I live in Ireland
and my Red Eared Slider lives indoors, usually she crawls about the
house since its pretty warm and either sleeps near the hot press or
under my computer desk near the radiator, she doesn't like the
heading/UV tank's and always attacks her reflection in the glass,
so we cannot put her in to one. She is usually a placid turtle and
plays with the kids, we've had her about 10
years, she was about 6-7 inches long when we first got her, my brother
got it off a friend who was leaving the country, and now she is about
the size of an A4 page, maybe slightly bigger, so I cannot give you an
actual age for her.
<That's not important anyway -- she's an adult - that's
what we need to know>
she has never been sick, she runs about the house all day/sunbathes
when its out, and when she wants to swim/eat she goes to the
stairs/bath and waits for someone to put her into the tub.
<Very interesting behavior>
recently she hasn't been looking to go into the water and has been
sleeping a lot, so we put it down to the bad winter this year and just
kept her in the warmest room in the house. everything was fine with her
a few days ago.
I got up for work one day and she was sitting beside my bed as she
usually does in the mornings, I got ready for work and when I left she
had moved over to the radiator, as she usually does and I left. when I
got home she was still in the same place, so I paid no attention to it.
the next morning she was still there with her eyes closed so I put it
down to sleeping. when I got home from work that day I noticed her eyes
were still closed and had sunken into her head, I'd never seen this
before so I searched online and found nothing about it, so I wrapped
her into a towel and put her in the hot press in-case she was cold. I
checked on her every day over the weekend (vets were closed) and on the
Sunday her eyes were back to normal, but
still closed, so I figured she was hibernating/brumating. I checked on
her yesterday and noticed she had went to the toilet, (bowel movement)
and it all seemed fine, so I cleaned it up and let her go. her head
also seems to be in a different position every day I check, one day its
down on the ground, the next its a bit higher, then back down again. I
checked on her earlier and she now has a lot of bowel movements, seems
to be continuing but not actually finishing or coming away. her head is
also pointing upwards, and her head/neck and 4 limbs are swollen. her
eyes are still closed, but seem normal for her sleeping.
<It's sounding like she has a systemic infection>
she is still warm to the touch, and her skin doesn't feel any
different than normal, just looks it from the swelling, her shell seems
as healthy as it has always been. as tomorrow is a bank holiday we
cannot get her to the vets. who incidentally lives 100 miles away.
please help. we don't know if she is dead/hibernating/sick or what
is wrong with her.
<My guess is that she's had a long-term dietary & vitamin
deficiency that has now progressed to a systemic infection. She does
really need to be seen by a veterinarian, even in if it is a long trip.
At the very least
she needs a Vitamin A & D injection, but the main cause for concern
is the edema. Usually a sign of a more serious infection that will
require antibiotics, probably they could prescribe and administer
Baytril (Enrofloxacin) 7.5-10 mg per kg diluted with normal saline
<At this point a veterinary visit is critical>
ps: I should also add that its been 5 or so days since I first noticed
something different in her, but there is no smell of decay from her so
I don't think she's dead, I hope she's not, maybe sick.
<In the mean time, make sure that she stays warm - but not cooked -
About 32C & not hotter. It's dangerous to place a debilitated
turtle into water, since it's likely they don't have the energy
or stamina to swim and the last thing we want to her to do is get water
in her lungs. That said, a shallow bath daily where the water is below
her mouth line (so maybe no more than .60cm) to allow her to hydrate if
she desires -- also the room temperature water will help lubricate her
any help is greatly appreciated.
<I hope this does help, Paul, but I'm afraid this one requires a
hands-on examination. I'm enclosing a link to general treatment
instructions. If you read it completely you may find a few other ideas
to help her.>
My female red eared slider -- 04/22/10
Hi, my name is Kim
<Hiya Kim, Darrel here>
I have a female red eared slider. She was a gift. I believe she is
about 10 or 11 months old. I have her in a 30 or 40 gallon tank she has
rocks, gravel and a light at the top of the tank.
<Make sure the gravel isn't a size she can swallow>
I can't afford a filter for her yet but I do clean her water every
5 or 6 days.
<That's fine, if the tank or container is small enough, then
water changing is actually more efficient than filtering - and even
WITH a filter you'd need to change the water every 6 weeks or
so><<RMF would say/state every 2 weeks>>
I feed her Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle Food 2 or 3 times a day about 8
pellets every feeding.
<That might be a little much, Kim, 8 pellets once a day is more than
Today I noticed green fuzzy stuff on the top of her shell so naturally
I Googled and came to your web site also the back edge of her shell is
very soft. So my question is how do I keep her warm, what can I do to
make it better for her? Currently I took her out of her tank and have
her in a big plastic bowl with aquatic sand.
<Her tank is OK until the problem is actually solved>
I put her under some warm water then dried it off with a Q-Tip and
green came off of her and I do have vinegar but I do not have anti
fungal cream but I do have an anti fungal spray.
<It sounds more like algae than fungus, Kim.>
Please help me I do not have the means right now for a filter or a vet
visit keep in mind she was an unexpected gift.
<This is why pets don't make good gifts unless we're sure
the person wants one.>
<In any case, solving her problems is not going to require a vet
visit or be very expensive. My guess is that she's not getting
enough UV lighting so she can't produce Vitamin D and metabolize
the calcium in her food. 20 -30 minutes a day of sunlight that
isn't filtered through glass will probably firm up her shell in a
month or so.>
<Here is a link to the proper care of Red Eared Sliders -- and
you'll notice that nothing HAS to be expensive. The first order of
business is clean water (no heater), a warm basking area, UV-B lighting
and a proper diet>
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
Hey I need help... Sm. RES... env., hlth. --
Hey my name is David and I have a baby baby RES that the size of a
He/she doesn't eat like I haven't seen it eat and barely
<How warm is his vivarium? Understand that Sliders need a source of
This may be a heater in the water, or a heat lamp above the basking
Heating the water isn't recommended because these clumsy turtles
often break glass heaters. Understand that ambient room temperature
isn't warm enough. Nor is a standard anglepoise lamp or similar. If
you heat the water, the water needs to be around 24 C/75 F. If you use
a heat lamp, the air temperature on the basking rock needs to be around
25 C/77 F. You also need a source of UV-B light. You can buy
combination heat/UV-B lights for just this purpose, warming the basking
rock and providing UV-B at the same time.>
All I seen it do is lay its head down and when I put it in the water it
just floats like it is dead. Its still alive and I think its sick
I'm not sure. Do you no what's going on and what can I do it to
nurse it back to health? Thank you I really want it to survive and
<Likely you're killing it by inches. Most Red-Ear Sliders die
because of inadequate care. Ironically, providing them with the care
they need isn't especially difficult or expensive. Do read:
Re: re: Hey I need help.... RES reading
O.k. hee was my friends turtle and he did a crappy job he didn't
have heat or uvb lights I have a bunch of reptiles and no that they
need heat and uv so he gave it to me and he thought it was just lazy
but I new its sick. How do I nurture it to make it better
<Read those two articles I sent you links to last time. Everything
is there. Cheers, Neale.>
Death of a pet, RES 4/28/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I was hoping you could shed some light on a not so bright situation we
just experienced. We have had a red eared slider turtle for three years
now. We live in Southern Ontario, where the summers are warm and the
Winters quite cold. For the past 2 years the turtle lived in the pond
(which is about 4 feet deep 6 feet in diameter and a shallow end with
rocks) from about April to November at which point she was brought in
the to an aquarium. While she was in the aquarium she would eat pellet
and meal worms, and seemed to grow much faster than in the pond.
<I would expect that, yes. The days and nights are both more
She has been healthy her whole life as far as we know until just
recently. We put her back in the pond mid April and we seen her
swimming know and again as well as basking in the sun (until you got
close then she dives back in). My wife recently clean the pond filter
and the water was crystal clear, but we couldn't see her on the
bottom just figured she was berried in the rocks and mud. Finally to
the point we found her dead the other day just lying on the bottom. We
had a few nights the temperature got down to 36degrees, so we thought
she was just hibernating, but after 3 days of being in the same spot we
took her out. Just for information purposed all her legs and head we
exposed and eyes open with the outer lid covering. I was hoping you
could let us know what may have caused her death, so that we could
avoid the same mistake in the future.
<On behalf of Bob Fenner and the entire crew, we're sorry of
your loss, Matt.>
<Without a necropsy (an animal autopsy) it's impossible to say
for sure. My first thought would be the average daily water
temperature. If the average temp was the same or cooler than the
aquarium, then putting her outside would have had the affect of slowing
her metabolism at a time when she still had plenty of food in her
stomach. The result could have been that as she slowed down with the
cooler water, her digestion stopped and the food simply rotted in her
stomach, causing a septic infection. Realizing that this is merely a
WILD GUESS, of course. I caution people who over-winter their reptiles
indoors to make sure the daily temperatures are warmed than the indoor
average and also to stop feeding them for about 2 weeks before
transitioning them outside. That way if we DO run into any temperature
slumps, they can slow down along with the temp and then pick up again
<But with that said, Matt - everything could have been perfect and
still the unexplained happens. Our fish and reptile friends are very
stoic creatures and tend to show no signs at all even of serious
illnesses for months and even years '¦ until that illness is
<I sincerely hope you have the opportunity to try again in the
Some more problems.. RES hlth.
Savitri is doing little better - I have been keeping her in water 5
minutes a day, twice a day. She is eating a bit, pooping and all. She
does have dry white skin over her head as if she has been shedding but
when I keep her in water for 5 minutes the amount of visible shedding
is much less than before. So obviously this drying thing is working.
Thanks to you.
However there is one problem.
When I keep her inside the empty aquarium she tries to climb out of it
<Sure. She doesn't like it and wants out.>
I even caught her digging for long under the towel (I have a towel in
her dry aquarium). I'm not sure if she is trying to lay her eggs or
just stressed out (I also have doubt about her sex, vet said its a girl
but vet doesn't seem to know much).
<She's stressed and unhappy and trying to get out. Why they keep
digging for hours after hours is an indicator that they're not all
Anyways, so I kept her in a cardboard box with some soft aquarium sand,
some rocks and heat lamp for few hours and I was hoping she would do
her digging again and be happy there. She tried to climb out of it too.
I don't know what she wants or likes. I had read in a website that
cardboard box with sand helps them lay their eggs.
<I doubt she's digging for that reason>
Am I doing something wrong here?. Please help.
<You're doing fine and she is healing.>
Now another problem. After I installed a new filter (Fluval 5) water
has been much clean in my big tank and turtles much more visible (Big
tank has rest of my 3 turtles). While I was turtle watching, I noticed
one of my turtle was trying to bite the other (I think this is the guy
who bit Savitri too). The other one had his/her tail inside and was
trying to hide in the shell in one corner of the aquarium. Now this guy
who tried to bite is seems aggressive and vicious eater and very
<Some individual animals are like that>
Right away I isolated him, as soon as I did that the other two turtles
started swimming in the aquarium freely. This one is very active and
has been roaming around the house fearless (I have cats and he
doesn't seem to care).Now question is what should I do with this
guy?. I already have two set ups of aquarium and I cannot afford to add
a third one so isolating this guy is difficult.
<There is not a lot you CAN do, Samta. Sometimes, when you rearrange
a habitat, the existing animals will all feel a bit less secure, stop
their fighting and settle new boundaries, so to speak .. but other
times that doesn't do much good>
Should I give him away?
<What about offering to trade him to someone else for another
turtle? You should look around on the Internet and see if there is a
turtle & tortoise club near you>
<One very certain thing is never EVER release him into the wild. No
one should EVER do that to any animal, no matter how
"natural" the habitat may appear>
But considering there is so much work keeping a turtle I don't
think I can find someone suitable. Should I keep him dry in the house
to just roam around? and keep him in water once in a while till I find
a new home for him?.
<If you put him in a cardboard box with a tray of water (at least
deep enough to cover his shoulders) You could keep him in there for
several weeks as long as he got to bask in sunlight or under a UV-B
bulb periodically -- and when you reintroduce him to the tank, he may
be a changed personality>
Is there any way to reduce his aggression ?.
Is his behavior short term?.
<No way to answer either of those, Samta - try keeping him out for
two weeks and then we'll see>
My turtles... RES, eye infection... soft shell... lighting,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I really need some help.
Last year I was gifted 2 red ear sliders. they have been growing well
up till now. It all started when the smaller guy had an eye infection
due to which his eyes closed up.
<Eye infections in Red Eared Sliders are almost always a sign of
vitamin deficiency due to improper diet. Lack of Vitamin A and access
to UV-B lighting>
We took him to the wet to get him treated . the swelling came down but
his eyes still refused to open but since we have been force feeding him
he's still growing well. the other guy however has become really
sick. he refuses to eat . and has developed a very soft shell.
<Another sure sign of diet deficiency and lighting problems!!
Turtles can't synthesize or even process Vitamin D without UV
light. Lack of natural sunlight, or a UV lamp PLUS a balance diet are
We are pretty sure he cant see either since he no longer reacts if you
put your hand close to him . he's also started floating around in
this weird way , almost lopsided . he doesn't swim anymore he just
floats around with his legs stretched behind him. he also has no energy
. can you please tell me what's wrong with him and how I can help
him. the vet in my area is pretty useless as he says he's only for
domestic and not wild animals so I have no idea what to do . please
<Happy to help, Debby '¦. If it's not too late. The
second guy needs immediate veterinary attention!! A complex vitamin
shot, perhaps some calcium as well. Then, when you get him back -- keep
him warm and dry and see that he gets at least 20 minutes of natural
sunlight at least twice a day. The sunlight cannot be filtered through
glass or even window screen, as that eliminates a significant amount of
the beneficial light waves.>
<Here is a link for treating illnesses in these turtles.
Make sure you read and understand all the elements that go into
the treatment and begin giving him this care immediately! I'd treat
both of them, too. Even though the first one isn't
"quite" as sick, they both suffer from the same poor care and
require the same treatment to heal>
<While they're being treated and healing, please read this care
sheet -- I'll bet you'll find a number of things in your setup
that you'll need to correct. I hope all works out for them>
Urgent help needed, RES... wound not healing
<Hiya - Darrel here.
I have 4 RES each 4+ yrs old. One (Savitri) got bitten by others and
the wound would not heal. I separated her and applied cream but it
would not heal. After a month I took her to the vet. The vet gave her
Baytril injection and oral medication. After I bought her home she
puked a lot. I increased the water temperature and did not feed her
oral Baytril. The vet called the next day telling me that they had
overdosed her with Baytril. She asked me to stop feeding Baytril and
just apply cream. The wound has healed now but the problem is after 2
weeks of visit to the vet she is not eating much, shedding a lot of
skin, not basking at all, still walking and swimming with a limp as she
refuses to extend the right front leg (she got her injection there) the
<Injectible Baytril will cause skin necrosis (skin death) at the
injection site even if it's just a LITTLE bit over dosed. If the OD
was severe, she may never fully recover.>
<However, Sliders can live very active and very enjoyable lives with
far more damage than that, so don't worry about that part right
I try to clean her water every other day. I don't know what else to
do. I don't want to take her back to the vet as the vet seem to
know nothing. Also, the skin at the injection site is swollen now and
is coming off slowly. Savitri was doing much better last week and seem
to get worse by the day. What should I do?. Your help will be greatly
<Let's get her out of the water while she heals. Enclosed is a
link on the care of common illnesses and it describes how to isolate a
turtle out of water in order to give her some extra help while healing.
Let's keep her warm and dry for a month '¦ just going is
some shallow water each day for a few minutes in order to drink, poop
and possibly eat. Don't worry TOO much about the eating just now
'¦ she's sore and hurting and probably just not very
hungry. Let's concentrate on giving Savitri a warm, dry place so
that she can stay at a constant temperature, relax and heal.>
<Here's the link:
<Make absolutely sure that she gets a slight thermal gradient (one
side of her box closer to the heat lamp than the other -- AND that she
gets 12 to 14 hours a day of unfiltered UV-B lighting. In fact, if you
only have one UV lamp and can't afford another right now, I'd
even steal the one on your main tank and use it for Savitri for the
Red Ear Slider, beh., eyes
<Hiya right back!! Darrel here>
I have a 2 year old, male Red Eared Slider.
<Is his name Herkaber, by any chance?>
Nothing is new with the tank...I do frequent water cleanings and filter
changes albeit not very often water changes.
<Turtles are very tolerant of water quality>
I've noticed over the past 3 days, my poor turtle doesn't keep
his eyes open underwater.
Above water, no problem. He is also not eating as much as usual. His
eyes don't appear to be swollen or any mucous or such. Like I said,
I know I don't do as many water changes as I know I should. I did
just do a complete water change about a month ago. What can I do to
help him out?
<This is just about the worst kind of symptom, Kymberly -- a symptom
with no indicator. No one thing that can clearly be seen as a starting
point to investigate. It's temping to think that it's water
quality and he closes his eyes simply because the water irritates his
eyes, but when you see their native environments they generally seem to
function across a HUGE swing in quality and consistency.>
<There are two ways to go here, Kymberly and I think you should try
both. First, obtain a gallon of distilled water and pour it into a
plastic tub (like a shoebox size) and set it next to Herkaber's
tank overnight '¦ let the water temperatures equalize. Then
when you have the time, take him out of his take and put him in what
will be, for all intents and purposes, pure water. No matter what,
he'll likely open his eyes for a while (because it's all new)
but see how he does after 15 or 20 minutes -- then put him back in his
take and see if the closed eyes are back. It will tell us
<Now here's the more likely thing: Long term conditions have
been less than perfect and up until now he's tolerated it, but
it's starting to take it's toll on him: Basking temp? UV-B
light? Diet? Water temp? Light cycles (day/night)? Compare your keeping
and conditions at every step against this care guide written by an
absolute genius at turtle keeping and see if there is anything to
correct or improve.>
Re RES... -- 03/20/10
Thank you so much for responding...and in a very timely manner too!
By the way, close with the name! Haha (It's Hurley)
<Amazing '¦ considering I make up half this stuff as I go
Anyway, I did what you said,
<Always good to do as I say.>
<Not so good to do as DO '¦.. but that said, some of the
most fun I've ever had came from the worst decisions I ever
I put my turtle in distilled water and he did great! His eyes stayed
open right from the start and he even started eating again! So I
changed the water in his tank. I'm keeping a log of environment
conditions like you said and hopefully this won't happen again!
<The weird thing is that the kind of sensitivity you described is
unusual in the entire genre so it makes me wonder what WAS the issue
with water quality. Hmmmm>
PS, I love the "absolute genius" thing.
<I'm fond of it myself -thanks!!>
Re: Is my red bellied sick? 3/8/10
<Howdy - Darrel here>
So it has been a week and Scooby still remains inactive. I removed the
water heater and made sure the basking area is between 85 and 90
<Both good things>
He goes into the water at night and is a little bit more active than
when I first wrote you but he has yet to eat and I have noticed some
shedding going on. I don't know if his shedding is normal or
excessive but he has small translucent pieces of skin hanging from his
neck and feet. I have read that too much shedding can be a caused by
overfeeding which I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of now, looking
back at how much food I would let him eat.
<Shedding is normal, but it could also be the start of a tiny bit of
I am planning on buying him the proper UVB bulb you suggested tomorrow
when I get paid so maybe he'll turn around then (is that bulb okay
for UVA/UVB and heating his basking area?).
<The UV-B bulbs are generally Compact florescent or tube-florescent
bulbs and they don't generate any real heat. The good news is that
any bulb, like an ordinary incandescent) will do that job just fine --
just make sure you measure the temperature and adjust the bulb distance
Any new ideas on what could be wrong with him?
<The only other thing I'd suggest is taking him out of the water
for a while and isolating him someplace warm and dry for a week or so.
I'll send you a link below regarding the treatment of common
illnesses and you'll see a thorough description of a warm 7 dry
isolation technique: They go in the water just for a few minutes a day
to drink, poop and perhaps eat -- but they spend the remainder of the
day somewhere that does not encourage bacteria or fungus or anything
else that could debilitate Scooby. He doesn't have to be
"sick" to benefit from this treatment ... it helps increase
his metabolism while at the same time allowing him total rest. Give it
Thanks so much for the help
RES... hlth... no data -- 3/6/10
Hi, I have a year old red eared slider and noticed that one side of his
face is larger than the other. It has not always been this way and am
wondering if it is something serious. I have tried to research all the
possible problems and have not found a cure. Please help!!!
<Without a photo, it's hard to be sure, but the best diagnosis I
can make here is to suggest this turtle now has an eye infection, or at
least swollen eyes. This is quite common when sliders aren't kept
well (and unfortunately, most aren't kept terribly well). Do read
Definitely needs to see a vet or animal rescue clinic. Very likely in
pain, and not going to recover without antibiotics and perhaps vitamin
RES Health Issue 3/1/10
I recently bought two small RES about two months for my girlfriend as a
gift and for companionship and also bought everything needed for turtle
care at the time. 30 gallon tank, submersible water heater,
thermometer, basking platform. I have to admit that I did not had a
chance to get the UVA/Basking light, UVB light, and filter until
recently meaning today. (I'm such a bad keeper). I was using a
regular desk lamp to provide the heat and I've been changing out
the water once a week. My girlfriend gives them two a variety of
different food throughout the week, they have dried food pellets, dried
shrimps, live Anacharis plant, a green stuff that you buy from the
fridge at a pet shop, (my girlfriend keeps all the turtle food so I
don't have the label in my head)
One of my turtle (name is Greeny) is now sick, and we're extremely
worry about him (or her, I cannot tell yet. they're only about 3
inches long from tip of the head to the tip of the tail). Around once
every minute, he will extend his two front paws and also extend his
head and seems to be yawning or gasping or something. Then something
like an air pocket forms inside his throat after all is said and done.
And the air pocket remains until the cycle repeats itself. He is also
very sluggish. Normally he will shy away from us when we pick him up.
He is not swimming at all, and hasn't eaten anything since two days
ago (when my girlfriend realized that he seems to be sick). Is this
normal?????? The other turtle (name is Meanie) isn't doing this.
The carapace of Greeny seems fine. I do not see any discoloration, or
<Mmm, reads as a type of respiratory infection to me.>
I've isolated him and put him in a bowl with warm water up to half
of his body. (So the bottom half of him is in water and the top half is
expose to the air) I've put the basking lamp and UVB on him. And
now I'm just waiting and hoping something good will come out from
this. If I have to take him to the vet I will.
<Does likely need an antibiotic injection>
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm
and the Related FAQs file linked above. Bob Fenner>
Injuries on my RES's tail and legs... incomp. w/
their own kind of diff. size 2/9/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm a Red Eared Slider lover from Singapore. I had two
sliders, one was about just 3/4 size of another and I placed them
together till today when I finally discovered something! Just few
days ago, my smaller RES could be found swimming frantically once
in a while, I really had no idea what was going on and I simply
ignored it. Just when I was feeding them, I noticed that the
smaller ones was just swimming with it's front legs and it
just withdrew it's both hind legs and tail. Then I finally
found out that it's tail and both legs were injured; it seems
to be bitten off a little on the legs while the tail.. I do not
know how to explain but I do have a few pictures.
<Sliders are strange that way. They can live in peace and
harmony for years and then one day get into nipping matches and
sometimes terrible fights. The size difference you mention -- one
is 3/4 the size of the other -- is right on the margin of
The injuries is around the end of it's tail while the
injuries on it's legs were at the hind toe nails.
Currently, I have separated them and the injured ones are placed
in salt solution and I changed it twice. I could not afford for
veterinarian so hope to ask for your professional guidance.
<I have an article that will help you and as long as the feet
and tail don't get infected, you can treat them at home. Here
is the link:>
<The big concern is that, like the rest of us, you now have to
have multiple homes for your turtles -- or a big tank with a
Thank You and pardon my grammar errors. :)
<You are welcome -- and your grammar is as good as mine! :)
RES question, hlth f' 1/30/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have 2 Red-eared slider turtles, approx 20 years old.
<TWENTY years old?>
The one turtle over the last 6 months appears to be growing 'out
' of her shell. The head and shoulders are now outside the shell,
as well as the 'thighs' and do not retract back into the shell.
Have not seen any sloughing of scales or new growth on the shell, for
months. It looks like it is being squeezed to death.
<If this has been slowly coming on for a very long time, I'd say
she's just obese. Even if she's getting the same care as a tank
mate, she may be getting more than her share of food>
<If this is sudden onset, then it's Edema '¦ which is a
symptom of a much more serious condition and one that's almost
impossible to diagnose without seeing the turtle herself. Is she eating
and active? Basking and swimming at normal times in the normal ways?
Eyes open and clear?>
<If I were to guess at something '¦ something we could
treat there are no respiratory problems yet. The other turtle in the
same habitat, same food, same care, is fine. Any suggestions.
<here's a link of illnesses and possible treatments. Read about
swollen/puffy body or face and see if anything fits your
Teenage mutant pinkish turtle? -- 1/27/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
here I am again...seeking your infinite wisdom and knowledge concerning
my teenage mutant turtles...
<Trust me, my wisdom is extremely finite>
so, I did all that you told me to do with my tank, the fish, the
and everyone seemed happy and healthy. I put the turtles back into
their newly disinfected tank and even bought a new, bigger filter to
help keep the water clean...
however, I noticed in the last week that my red eared slider has a spot
on his front leg, and each day it has gotten larger. it is sort of
brownish in color and is round. <yuck>
The spot on its leg does resemble the spots that had been on the stupid
and they literally ended up looking like a monster was eating their
flesh from the inside out... I am worried that even after all that I
did, the turtle somehow contracted whatever parasite or disease those
stupid fish had!?!
both turtles are actually eating and swimming normally so far, but I
really don't want a monster to eat his leg off... Or for the
monster to turn my turtles pink and then kill em...so I come to you
asking for HELP!!!
<My suggestion is that you take your turtle to a qualified
At this point there is no substitute for experienced eyes getting a
first hand look and possibly viewing a scraping under a microscope.
Failing that, here is a link to treating common illnesses. I'd
treat for a fungal infection even though this also sounds like
mechanical or parasitic in nature.>
<In addition to the various treatments, I'd swab the affected
area with vinegar one day and sprinkle salt on it the next. Since we
have no idea what the problem is, I'd treat in every possible
I've also noticed that her/his skin is pinkish/reddish now...
<all over, or just in that spot? Pink/red skin is a sign of septic
issues - not a GOOD sign, either>
I promise I'm not making this stuff up just to have an entertaining
email conversation with you!
RES Soft shell issue 1/26/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Last time I posted you helped me through, now again I need your
<Once - was lucky! You think we're good enough to go two for
One of my RES has soft shell on different locations, when I noticed I
immediately took action as your advice. But certain stuff are missing,
I cannot find a UVA light (looked all around the city) and strangely
but true no different type of calcium but the ones that you have to put
in water to dissolve, so the current conditions are:
1. Isolated in a box
2. Light with temperature max reaches 30 degree Celsius
3. Room temperature during light off is 23 degree
4. Eyes are closed but when RES awaken it manages to open so I'm
giving pellets with vitamin A + D (2-3 pellets / 3 times per week)
5. Twice a day I'm putting it in water so it can drink the water
rich with calcium (seems like the RES loves it a lot cant get enough of
6. No sunlight its winter and cloudy constantly here <basically
good. What you need is UV-B light and you should be able to find a bulb
or florescent tube at any pet shop or from many different sources
The thing is that its been almost two weeks and I cannot see any
improvement on the shell its remaining the same... Don't ask to go
to the doctor I've been to more than 4 of them when I go there they
start laughing that someone is actually bringing a turtle to cure (I
know IDIOTS). So pretty much I'm on my own with a sick turtle
(again). Need advice ASAP I don't want anything bad to happen since
I love my RES as if they were my babies.
<We understand. First, by having him warm and DRY, you are
preventing the situation from getting much worse, much faster. This is
a good thing.
I've never had experience with Calcium in the water actually doing
any good -- it needs to be in the diet -- but if he seems to like it,
<Next, feed him all he'll eat of the vitamin enriched pellets
<The only thing I'd change is to get him under a UV-B lamp for
at least 14 hours a day. The original Vita-Lite by Duro is a good
standby UV-B bulb.
There are better, more focused, but I've literally raised hundreds
of turtles, tortoises and iguanas that have known no other UV-B
Zoo-Med's Repti-sun bulbs are an even better choice.>
P.S. one doctor actually advised me to put it on hibernation???? I
don't think so !!!
<Do not go back to that doctor>
Red Eared Slider Swims Funny After Eating
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 5-year-old red eared slider, and about a month ago, she
started shedding her scutes. The scutes were thin and didn't seem
to bother her, and the shell underneath seemed to look fine, so after
some research, I just figured it was normal, and let it be.
<Very normal. Growth. Your little girl is growing up!>
About three days ago, after she ate her dinner, she started swimming
funny, and freaking out by tucking her arms inside of her shell, and
curling her tail in and swimming backwards in the tank. The episode
would last a few seconds, then she would calm down, and a few minutes
later, she would do it again. I watched this go on for about an hour,
then decided that I would go to bed and check her out in the morning -
because it was late, and there was nothing I could do at that point.
The next morning, when I woke up, she was perfectly fine and basking
like usual. She was fine all day until night time when I fed her again.
About 5 minutes after she ate, the same thing started happening with
the arms and tail tucked in, swimming erratically.
The next morning, she was fine again. Today, I just fed her, and again,
the same thing happened, so now, I'm very sure it is somehow linked
to her eating. I'm just feeding her some greens, chopped-up
carrots, and turtle pellets - her regular diet.
<The technical term for this is "weird">
I mentioned the scute shedding just because she had never shed a scute
before until last month when she shed about 10, and I didn't know
if it could be related in any way to this new issue. Her tank
temperature is about 80 degrees like it's always been, and her
basking temp is around 85.
Today, turned up her water temp to around 85, and I moved her heat lamp
a few inches closer to her basking area to bump up the temp there a bit
to see if it would help, but it didn't seem to make any
<WAAAAAAAY TOOOOO HOT!!!!!>
<WAY TOO HOT!>
<way way WAY too hot!>
<Um, did I mention that the water is too hot??>
<Water temp 70-74 MAX and basking temp around 88-90>
<Her problem is that you have her metabolism jacked up so high
there's no 'off' time. She's digesting too fast,
growing too fast and shedding too fast.>
I'm worried about her, but I don't have any money to take her
to the vet.
What's wrong with her? Is this something I can treat on my own?
<Not vet needed. Let the water assume room temperature (unless you
live north of the Arctic Circle) and set the basking temp around 88 to
90 and let her choose -- and she'll be fine>
<Also, standard rule here with turtles: NO IN-TANK HEATERS.
Thank you very much.
<No problems NOW! Read here:
Re: Red Eared Slider Swims Funny After Eating -- 1/27/10
Thanks for the advice. I've re-adjusted her temperature, and
hopefully she'll get back to normal soon. The strange thing is that
this has been her tank temperature for years - I had never adjusted it,
and never seemed to bother her before. I was watching her yesterday
after feeding time, and it almost looked like she was maybe choking on
something. Her mouth kept opening after she ate. I observed her, and
after an hour of slamming herself into the walls of the tank, she
finally calmed down and rested at the bottom.
<Try to examine her and see if perhaps she has a swollen throat.
It's unusual, but this could be a manifestation of a medical
Also, I noticed you mentioned to not use an in-tank heater. That's
what she currently has. What do you recommend as a good heater
<I don't heat their water. 68-73 degrees is fine for them as
long as they have a basking area, so let the water just be at room
temperature. The other reasons for not having a water heater: (1)
Turtles can burn themselves by resting directly on it. (2) Turtles can
break them as they get bigger and cut themselves on the glass.>
RES... care, hlth. 1/26/10
Hey this is Sonal (I'm from India (Mumbai)..)
<Hiya - I'm Darrel from Redondo Beach, California!>
I'm a new owner of A FEMALE Red Eared Slider.
Its been only 7 days I have bought it home.. it must be about 3 months
old ..there are a lot many questions I want to ask
<We have answers!>
she has some white spots behind her neck and somewhere on her hand, so
what should I do to cure it???
<It could be shedding of dead skin or a fungal infection>
also I have heard about Terramycin 250mg capsule. ALSO I THINK SHE HAS
SOME PROBLEM WHILE WALKING......SHE IS VERY ACTIVE WHILE EATING AND
ALSO VERY LAZY,BUT THE OTHER DAY I BROUGHT SOME BLOOD WORMS AND SHE WAS
VERY EXCITED TO EAT IT,SO PLEASE HELP ON THE ABOVE TOPICS.
AWITING YOUR REPLY.
<Sonal -- two separate issues here, both fixed with some reading on
your part. First, read this care sheet. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
<Now that you've read & understood THAT '¦ read
about possible illnesses:
<Sunlight (or UVB), clean water and good food and all these problems
Red Eared Slider, gen. 1/9/2010
<Hiya right back! - Darrel here>
I've just come across this site through a few others whilst looking
for help for my Red Eared Slider.
<Fortunate for you!>
I've grown really attached to him and his filter helps me sleep at
night so I would like to find out how to help him and fast to be honest
because I don't want him to die or get seriously ill.
First question, what filter would you recommended using? Because at the
moment, me and my boyfriend know that we are using the wrong filter but
we are unsure of what filter is best to have. Some people have told us
Fluval and others have said Eheim and now we just don't know what
<I only use filters for water circulation, Louise. Unlike fish,
turtles produce so much waste that it's usually foolish to try to
get a biological filter going. Primarily you keep their water clean by
changing it regularly. As long as it circulates the water and keeps in
pretty clear, it doesn't matter which one to use. If you didn't
have one and were buying one, I'd go for an external canister
filter sized for the aquarium the turtle is in. What I mean by that is
this: if you have a 55 gallon tank used for a turtle, that tank is less
than HALF as full of water as it would be for fish '¦ so if
you buy a filter appropriate for a 55 gallon fish tank, it's more
than good enough for a turtle tank. The other thing I look for
'¦ is what kind of filters my local fish store carries,
because it's frustrating when you need a replacement part for your
Fluval and you find that all the stores in your area carry Eheim
Second question, I think our Red Eared Slider might have a Respiratory
Infection or something. He has no mucus or anything around his eyes,
they are perfectly fine, the same as his nose as well. But this
morning, I noticed that what looked as if he was yawning but it seemed
more of him opening his mouth to catch something. He did this about
twice, normally it's just a one of thing. No bubbles were released
while he did this under water, he hasn't done it above the
<So far, sounds OK>
Also, I seem to hear like a click noise or something. Do they make any
sound? Because my boyfriend thinks that I'm hearing things but it
sounds as if he clicks, again he does this rarely as well. He basks on
his island that we have for him,
<Your boyfriend basks on an island????>
but he prefers to bask when were out the room (which is most of the
day) or when we are watching TV etc when we can't see/watch him -
I've read that this is normal for Red Eared Sliders (?).
<The clicking sound is common, as is the yawning behavior. If
there's nothing else wrong, then don't worry>
He is still eating his food and he even swims backwards and forwards
looking excited and lifts his head out the water when we go to feed
him. We feed him - King British Turtle & Terrapin complete food,
King British Tubifex natural food and some bloodworms (these foods
aren't given all at the same time by the way either).
<Good. I raise my sliders from hatchlings to breeding adults on a
stable diet of Koi pellets. It's completely balanced for them.
Repto-min is another trusted brand, identical to Koi pellets - just at
a much higher cost>
And he's still swimming etc, so he is acting pretty normal to me
apart from at night when we turn his light off, it takes him forever to
go to sleep or sometimes if I fall asleep before he settles, I seem to
think he's had no sleep at all (but that just might be me
worrying). Sometimes he's up about 4-6 hours after I've gone to
bed and I can hear him banging around in the tank.
<This is all normal behavior for a Turtle '¦ but kind of
weird for a boyfriend>
So is there any sign of a slight Respiratory Infection?
<not so far>
Because as I said above, I really don't want the cute thing to get
ill and right now me and my boyfriend are pretty low on cash as well
but if he has to see a vet then we're willing to dig into our
pockets to get him to one but I'd rather use that as a last resort
to be really honest with you, why I asked on here to make sure and to
find out some advice.
<no trip to the vet right now!>
Thank you and I'm so sorry if I have confused you or not made any
sense anywhere, it's really difficult trying to explain what's
going on with him.
<You did very well, Louise! I enjoyed reading about the turtle and
to make a joke or two about your boyfriend as well.>
<Your turtle seems fine, so relax a little. Then read this care
sheet. It covers all the basics of turtle care. There are many fine
resources out there on slider care, and some may even disagree with
what's in this sheet. It's important for you to know that if
any information disagrees with this care sheet, they're wrong and
the sheet is right!>
<As long as you keep him well fed, well lighted and his tank CLEAN,
you should be fine.>
Help with turtles my daughter brought home from school for
Christmas, RES comp. -- 01/03/10
<Hi -- Darrel here>
I am hoping you can help. My daughter brought home 3 turtles from
school for Christmas break. Using your website I have determined they
are red eared sliders, one male, one female and one baby. I think they
were mating yesterday. The male turtle attacked the baby and bit its
<Bad news. Adult turtles can be aggressive and kill baby
The tail was bleeding and "stuff" was hanging out. We
<Good -- too bad it didn't happen earlier>
Today the "stuff" on the tail is black, he won't eat and
he just suns himself under the light. Being the holiday, I don't
know what to do. Any suggestions?
<Yes. The first suggestion is, obviously, veterinary attention. Most
areas have an Emergency Pet Clinic that's open when the regular
Veterinarians are closed. Unfortunately, they tend to be expensive.
What the baby needs is a tiny bit of surgery and some
<Home treatment is a poor second choice, but for many of us it is
sometimes our only option: 1) Keep him warm and dry. No water at all
except a few minutes a day in a shallow bowl of lukewarm tap water in
order to bathe and perhaps eat. 2) Dip the black area (which is, sadly,
dead or dying tissue) in iodine or even hydrogen peroxide in an effort
to keep an infection from starting or spreading. There is a section in
this article regarding Cuts, Bruises and Bites that describes the
treatment in detail.
<Turtles have remarkable abilities to heal and to live complete
lives even after substantial damage, but the bad news is that if the
bite has damaged or killed important tissue of his internal organs,
then this treatment may not be enough. Best of luck to you>
Sudden over activity and decreased appetite
<Hiya -- Darrel here tonight>
We rescued a baby red-eared slider from our backyard this past July. We
found him under a pile of leaves and surrounded by tall cement walls on
our lower patio. He would have likely died if we hadn't found him.
We took him to a local nature preserve who told us he was not native to
our area and that we shouldn't release him into our nearby
We purchased a 20 gallon tank with basking platform, ReptiSun 5.0 UVB
fluorescent tube light, Zoo Med reptile blue day bulb 100 watts and
Zilla nocturnal black light 75 watts.
<Nocturnal light not necessary. In the wild, what they get at night
is -- dark!>
We also purchased a Fluval 405 filter. Water quality and clarity has
been great. Temp of water is 79.5. Up to this time turtle has preferred
a basking temperature in the range of 88 -- 90 degrees.
Once a day in the morning we feed him Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle food and
Sera Reptil Carnivor food, as well as fresh daily red leaf lettuce,
collard greens and mustard greens. We add a pinch of Rep-Cal Calcium
with Vit D3 to his food each morning and twice a week also add a pinch
of Reptimineral H.
<Wow -- you take better care of him than I take of my kids!>
<I feed mine Kay-Tee brand Koi pellets and twice a month, one
earthworm a piece.>
A few weeks ago we also put in about 10 ghost shrimp.
<Excuse me '¦'¦.>
<I'm a... let you finish '¦.>
<But I want to be VERY CLEAR HERE '¦.. >
<I feed my TURTLES the Koi pellets and earthworms, NOT my kids! The
kids eat McDonalds and Domino's, Pop Tarts and potato chips, Coke,
Spaghetti O's, Top Ramen and well, just about anything else you can
imagine two kids eating when they descend on my house like a pack of
<OK, please continue'¦.>
We haven't actually seen him eat any, but right now only 2 are
<Not really part of their natural diet, either. I urge people to
refrain from trying to feed turtles any kind of live food>
So far he hasn't gone much for any of the greens but has enjoyed
the other food.
<None of the greens you mention are part of his natural diet,
either. They trend toward green vegetables more as they get older.
While young, they are more carnivorous, opportunistic eaters
'¦ hmm '¦ again, just like my kids>
He's been doing great up to this point. His appetite has been good,
and he routinely basks for several hours each day. A couple of weeks
ago, we noticed he started cutting his basking time short and was
becoming more active than usual, with a focus on climbing the walls to
try to get out. He hadn't done this since the first few days we
found him back in July. Since he's also tripled his size since then
(carapace now about 3 1/2 " long), we
thought maybe it's because he's getting older and bigger. A few
days ago, we decided to try to fill his aquarium up to the top to
double his swimming area, and made a larger basking platform area above
his tank. However, this change seems to have only caused the problem to
become worse. Now he is focusing his complete attention on trying to
escape and is not basking at all. He would literally be begging for
food in the morning, but now over the last two days he's shown
almost no interest in food. He'll take only a
couple of bites of food in the morning then swim away. We're
completely stumped at this point as to why he's behaving so
suddenly and dramatically different. We feel part of it is due to us
expanding his environment; however as I noted earlier he'd also
been showing signs of changed behavior before we expanded it - in fact
this is what prompted us to try and change it.
<I understand. They're behavior is, at times, inexplicable, but
what you describe is very often caused by stress. Has anything else
changed? Day/night lighting in the room? Heaters or air conditioners
can cause vibrations that you and I can barely hear but can be
literally assaulting his senses. Do you have a heater in the water? If
so, remove it. And anything else that could cause a micro-leak of
<You were right to look at environmental causes, but before changing
something that he clearly understood as 'home' and
'secure' it's best to look outside the immediate
surroundings and look at the bigger picture.>
Other than his changed behavior, everything else still seems fine. Skin
and shell look good, no drainage from eyes or ears, no mouth breathing.
Do you have any idea why his activity level and appetite might have
suddenly changed, especially when this first started a couple of weeks
ago when he was still in his original environment? Thanks in advance
for whatever your thoughts might be!!
<My first thought is that Koi pellets and earthworms might be
healthier for my kids than the junk they're eating now '¦.
But let me shake that off and get back to you '¦.>
<Deeper water is 'nice' but I don't think turtles
appreciate it as much as humans think they do. It's always better
to give them AREA than depth. That said, in addition to checking for
outside influences, cover the sides of the aquarium to slightly above
water level '¦. See if limiting his visibility changes
<Sue, this is a guessing game. It doesn't sound like an illness
or a problem with a capital 'P' at this point, it just seems
like he's a little stressed and all you can do is change things one
at a time until you see an effect on his behavior>
Concerning my red-eared slider. Hlth. 12/29/09
<Hiya right back! Darrel here>
I am writing concerning one of my red-eared sliders. My turtle, Brock,
has been acting peculiar for two or so months. He is nearly 5 inches
long and was caught in a nearby river. Up until today, he was
inhabiting another aquarium with my other turtles--two other sliders
and one map turtle, none older than 9 months. It's a 50 gallon
aquarium with a natural gravel bottom, stacked rocks taken from the
same river we caught him, a heater, a 25 gallon filter, and a UVB
heating lamp. There are also three crawfish, tons of wild snails, an
algae eater, some duckweed and water hyacinth, and a handful of minnows
in the tank as well. I clean the tank pretty frequently and have tried
to adequately recreate his original home-- as well as you can in a
tank--by borrowing things from the river.
<The only thing I'd caution you is that when you set up a
natural environment like that, 'natural' things will happen.
Turtles eat hyacinths AND occasionally algae-eaters, etc.>
Recently, Brock has been incredibly lethargic. He was always a bit lazy
in comparison to my other turtles, but he now spends nearly all of his
time basking, sleeping, or wedging himself between rocks at the bottom
and pulling his head in. I thought he was being lulled into a false
hibernation, so I purchased a submersible heater and for a while, he
spent all of his time perched on it. He's not very curious anymore
and rarely, rarely eats
I've tried different kinds of pellets, meal worms, shrimp, dark
greens, squashes, cucumbers... the last thing I saw him eat was some
crawfish bones and a single mealworm a couple of days ago. I also
accidentally frightened him yesterday and he shot off into the water,
discharging some opaque gunk which I assume is turtle diarrhea.
I read online that ill turtles need to be kept in isolation, but I am a
really poor college student that shouldn't have turtles in the
first place -- I'll be the first to admit that. So, I have a second
10 gallon tank for my baby softshell--he is only a few weeks old. I
took a one gallon fishbowl and submerged in into the sand of the second
aquarium. There is essentially an aquarium inside of an aquarium, so
Brock can have the increased heat and light of my softshell's
habitat without being in contact with him. The bottom of the fishbowl
is sand, because I'm afraid Brock is impacted from eating
gravel--is the sand a bad choice for a slider? I just put him in there
all of half and hour ago and he is, to put it frankly, flipping out and
kicking up all the sand.
<Yes, sand is not a good substrate and yes, they can get impacted.
My suggestion is that you get Brock warm and DRY for a while
'¦ let him calm down and let his insides settle a bit -- more
He doesn't seem to be swimming weirdly and doesn't show any
signs of respiratory infection. He was cranking his head yesterday in
the water, but it looked like he was trying to paw off some shedding
skin with his flipper. Also, there are small, white worm-like parasites
in the largest aquarium, likely from the snails. I read online that
they're harmless, but could this be involved? None of my other
turtles are sick and have showed no changes in attitude. They would
also be exposed to these parasites in the wild, considering they came
from the same river.
<They maybe from the same river, but again it's that pesky old
'nature' thing. Nature provides an environment that is, for all
intents and purposes, UNLIMITED. We can never hope to duplicate that in
captivity '¦ we can only make it LOOK like 'nature.'
If your case, what you've done, without meaning to '¦ is
you have CONFINED Brock to a system that contains worms, parasites and
other detrimental things -- you don't have the literally millions
of gallons of water that spread and dilute things nor the tens of
thousands of other factors that keep the bacteria and fungus in check
I can't afford a vet for this turtle and it's breaking my
heart. I only planned on being a temporary turtle owner--my boyfriend
and I caught these babies in the late spring, with the plans of
releasing them this upcoming spring and catching a new batch.
<No. No. and NO!!!! We never ever EVER release anything into the
wild -- even if it's right where we caught them. Brock has been
introduced to bugs and bacteria and foods that he'd never have
exposed to in the wild and it's changed him forever.>
Any idea what's going on? I would love to be able to release Brock
in the spring with the rest of his comrades.
<I suspect that he's got an internal parasite (probably from the
snails) and he'll have a difficult gut for a while. You were right
not to expose the softshell (I love those little guys) but at the same
time we can assume that the other turtles in the big tank are also
exposed. What I'd do is two fold -- in the long term I'd look
at simplifying my setup: A bit less nature (no sand, snails or minnows
or algae-eaters) and as a bonus, easier to clean. I'll enclose a
'care' link you can read. Keeping them should be FUN and not
just chores and scares>
<Now for Brock, I'm going to enclose a link on treatment. Use
the warm/cry isolation technique where he gets a shallow bowl of water
for a few minutes a day. Let him rest and recuperate in an environment
that requires nothing of him and he will probably be back, up &
around in a couple of weeks>
Thanks so much,
What happen to their appetite? RES fdg. --
<Hiya -- Darrel here with you>
Hi, I have a question about my Red Eared Slider's appetite. I have
2 RES which was separated by me for several months but had recently
reunited as I had bought a new tank. However, one of my RES suddenly
dislike everything I fed him while the other ones eat almost
everything. I have fed them a variety of foods over the past few days
including turtle pellets, cabbages, carrots, grapes but the RES which
has a bad appetite just ate a little of it. What had happened to
<One word: Stress. The change of environment affects some turtles
and not others. Make sure your setup is providing proper temperature
gradients, clean water and UV light. If everything is right, give him
or her 4 or 5 weeks to settle in. As long as he or she is alert and
active, don't worry for at least that long>
immediately help for my two little turtle
Dear Mr. / Mrs.
<Mr. here. Darrel is my name>
Firstly I am sorry for my English.
<Your English is better than that of native-speakers that write us.
I bought two turtles a week ago because of I thought that it is easy to
look after them .. But now I know that I was wrong.
<Not terribly hard, they just have special needs. Once you meet
these needs they are easy to keep>
Whatever. I think my turtles are Red Eared Slider turtles I can learn
from the net . One of them is sick. 2 days ago I noticed a white spot
on neck of my turtle.( I think this spot is called as Ich at the same
<Turtles and reptiles do not get Ick. It sounds like a
I am changing their water everyday also I put the sick one a place that
is full with salty water.
<That usually helps fight a fungal infection>
But in spite of this , today I noticed its legs two more white spot
although the first spot that is on its neck exploded.
<I don't understand what you mean by 'exploded' but if
the pocket burst, then the chances are it is not fungus but a more
How can I do for my turtle ? Can you suggest any treatment or medicine
without going to vet and which is not expensive ?
and treat for Bacterial Infection>
<As the article mentions, without proper antibiotics, the best we
can do is provide conditions that are not friendly to bacteria and make
it easier for the turtle to fight the infection. Pay special attention
to warmth, dryness and plenty of natural sunlight -- but do not skip
any of the treatment steps.>
If you can help me I will be very grateful to you for your help .
<Sinem, there are many things we do not know about your turtles and
many things that we cannot control at this time. Do the best that you
can keeping the wounds clean and the turtles warm and dry and we will
all hope for the best outcome. The treatment article above will help
Cut on red ear slider turtle tail.
somehow my red eared slider turtle got a cut on the tail and now has a
long strand of extra skin hanging off, will this extra skin fall
<Yes. Don't pull at it though.>
and will she get more skin to cover the tail?
<If it's a small cut, yes.>
what can I do to help the healing process?
<Keep the water as clean as possible. Take the turtle out once a
day, and dab the wound with a little iodine ointment, Neosporin, or
similar. Allow to dry (keep the turtle wrapped in a towel to stop it
moving about) and then return to the vivarium.>
does this require a visit to an exotic vet?
<Shouldn't be necessary unless the wound doesn't
thanks so much for your time.
<Do try and identify the causes of the wound, and rearrange the
vivarium accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: cut on red ear slider turtle tail.
I figured out where the wound came from. I saw my other aquatic turtle
bite the tail. they have never fought before.
<Ah, yes, male terrapins can be aggressive. If you have a snappy
specimen, he's best kept alone or in a large group where he
can't bully any one specimen.>
they have lived together for 1 year now.
<He's sexually mature now. That's the difference.>
I have separated them for now. but don't know what else I can do
and why all of a sudden they are fighting.
<Why? Hormones. To gain access to females, males need to assert
their status and dominance. To do that, the males need to be
aggressive. Evolution favours those males that are short-tempered and
fearless, since those are the ones that will be available to mate with
any passing females.>
Re: cut on red ear slider turtle tail.
<... Neale is marked "out">
I just have one more question. I ended up taking the turtle to the vet
and it turns out that what I thought was the hanging piece of flesh was
actually his penis. it got infected and had to be amputated. but turtle
made it through surgery just fine. my questions is I was given an
antibiotic to give him, but don't know how to give it to him? how
do I get him to open his mouth?
<Mmm, you should call your Vet. re this... can be done... carefully.
But there is a good chance of injury if you are clumsy. It would be
much better to use an injectible if you're capable>
or if you have any advice on how I can get him to take it that would be
helpful. the medication is cherry flavored liquid Baytril. thanks.
<Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm
the sections at the bottom on turtle disease. Bob Fenner>
Re: cut on red ear slider turtle tail.
<Trish -- the vet should have printed a dosing/administration
description on the bottle. In the case of cherry flavored Baytril my
guess is that he intended to give it orally, which means prying the
turtles mouth open and squirting a very small amount down his throat.
Injectible Baytril is a more reliable method, but injecting Baytril is
EXTREMELY dangerous. It can easily cause muscle necrosis (muscle death)
and lead to serious complications. It must be diluted AT LEAST 6:1 with
sterile water for injection. While we've been using it for years to
treat turtles, the man who literally 'wrote the book' on
reptile medicine (my friend Doug Mader DVM) is now using
'Danofloxicin' instead of Baytril -- I'm only mentioning
that so that you might mention it to your vet '¦ and also to
plug Doug's book>
<ISBN: 978-0721652085 Reptile Medicine and Surgery by Douglas R.
Is my terrapin, NNS, RES hlth.
I'm panicking now.
is my res dying?
she not move since I took her from outside (to get sunlight).. is she
<Can happen, yes. By all means take a Terrapin outside, but place it
in a large container with water and a rock in the middle. It must be
able to cool down in the water. These animals dehydrate VERY
I'm living in Malaysia n our temp is bout 27-32 degree
Celsius...hmm..I put her on plastic container while I let her bask
outside...pls..do help me!!!!
Re: is my terrapin..sadly she is...
sadly she already dead...
i do place it in a
large container with water and a rock in the middle.
n i put 2terrapins in it...
bt only one survive
<Obviously whatever you are doing isn't good enough.>
do u think it myb bcz d died one had RI (i suspect she had it bcz she
keep gasp b4 dis) and make she overheated faster?
<Respiratory Tract Infections are usually caused by cold air,
inadequate warmth under the basking lamp, and a vitamin deficient
oh ya!n i forgot to tell you dat when the last time i saw her..she flap
over inside her container...n last one thing..do you think i need
heater 4 my terrapin tank with my country tmperature is bout 27-32
<No heater needed in the water. But you MUST have a UV-B lamp over
the rock. This is critically important to long term success. Note that
this isn't a heat lamp (though you can buy combination heat + UV-B
lamps, and these are very good value). Note also that a UV-B lamp
isn't a UV-A lamp or a "black light" lamp. It is a
specific type of lamp used for reptiles that helps them synthesise
vitamins. Without UV-B lamps, reptiles need to spend 5-6 hours basking
under direct sunlight (not through glass).>
anyway thanks 4 sending me back mail.
i'm really appreciate with ur help:)
<Please, use proper English next time. I know you're from
Malaysia, but it isn't your English is bad, it's that
you're using this stupid teenager "txt speak". To make
this web site work, we need questions to be written in plain English.
That way, others can find them via Google, and then everyone can read
them. If you write in this txt speak gibberish, that doesn't
happen. Do be aware that usually we bounce back txt speak messages
unanswered. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: is my terrapin..sadly she is...
I'll try to improve my text in a proper way so other people can
read it too.
thanks for your information about the heater that I'm questioning
about and I'll try to put in in my aquarium.
Wheezing sound from RES 12/17/09
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
Recently, I could hear some wheezing sound from my Red Eared Slider.
However, it doesn't seem to be sick. It still has a great appetite
and is still active.. I've taken good care of it. I do not have a
UV light but I do let them bask in the sun for about 15 to 20
<You're doing well, but 15 to 20 minutes a day is not really
enough. See what you can do about a light -- or at least an hour a day
in the sunlight (remember to give his a place to shade himself).
What is the reason behind it? I do not always hear the wheezing sound
coming from my Red Eared Slider. It just only can be heard for a few
seconds after lifting it up from the water.
<Not a problem -- that hissing/wheezing noise you hear is just that.
As he retracts his head, neck & limbs in order to protect himself,
he expels the air in his body cavity! NOT a problem!>
<Some reading for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
Hi Guy's hope you can help me :) 12/17/09
RES, small, sick
Hi, My name is Rick
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I have a Red Eared Slider- he is small about the size of an English 50p
or maybe slightly bigger :) I have noticed that he could hardly open
his eyes for about 2 days and now today, he has them shut even when he
swims!! I have noticed some grey like slimy stuff on his two back feet,
I used a warm salty bath twice a day and that seems to have gone but
not completely. Some seemed to wash of when he would let me brush it,
that was hard as he kept pulling his feet inwards under his shell.
<Common symptoms of a fungal infection, Rick.>
I'm worried, it seems that he is eating his Turtle sticks, but
can't be sure as sometimes the filter gets them. I have seen him
eat before but that's on my days off. won't get another till
next week. So I have missed him eating!!
<My suggestion here is to change his feeding schedule. Have his
lights turn on early enough in the morning that he is awake and active
by the time you get up -- that way you can drop his food in and watch
for a minute before you leave home. Something like that>
I pick him up and he still has lots of fight in him, I have used some
iodine solution in water to clean him and a salty baths, I now keep him
in a dry container on top of a radiator (Not too hot though) I allow
him to in shallow water for around 10 to 15 minutes a day. it's
been two days or so and he won't open his eyes!
<Your care regimen (keeping him warm and dry) is good. I've
included a link on how to treat fungal infections and you already have
most of it in place>
I live in China now and I can't seem to find any eye drops for him!
My fiancÃ©e is Chinese and she has asked all over! what can I
do if anything?? I don't want him to die !! Like I said he is still
strong will he recover by himself?? are the Turtle sticks a good enough
diet it say's Nutritionally balanced on the pack + Vit-C
<His diet should be based on Koi pellets. They're inexpensive,
easy to find and a well balanced diet>
I have a full spectrum strip light and a heater that keep the water
around 29c I have a thermom- that tell me the temp. I have a sponge
filter and clean that under the tap every two days. PLEASE help me :)
as I don't know what to do here in China-- can't find the right
stuff!! really on my own here!! I save the RES from a small plastic tub
about 2 months ago!! very lively little thing and I felt he needed a
better home the pet shop he was in!! Now even though I read up on how
to keep them it seems he may die :( ... please if you can help please
please do :)
<Rick, the main reason they develop eye problems is a vitamin
deficiency, especially a lack of Vitamin A (this is also covered in the
treatment options I'm including). An injection of vitamins from a
veterinarian would be nice, but we can also treat it with diet.
You're going to have to make sure he IS eating, even if it means
feeding him in the evening when you get home. Cod Liver Oil on some Koi
pellets, a live earthworm or two or maybe even a piece of raw liver ..
something high in iron and vitamins will help him fight the eye
<Between the two, the fungal infection is more immediate, so make
sure you diligently treat that according to the tips in the link. Here
Waiting in hope- Rick
<We're hoping too, Rick! Best of luck!!>
Thank you- Follow up :) 12/19/09
(My Red Eared Slider - Back feet and eye's)
Today I ran some warm water and placed him in it with two Turtle
sticks, he swam around and ate one of the sticks.... after about 10
min.s I was going to take him out. It was at this time I noticed his
eye's were partly open, not fully but the best they have been in
around 3 days or more!
Also he was striking at the other Turtle stick!! He didn't seem to
be able to get it and it took another 15 min.s or so before he could
eat it. I was happy.
<Yes, a little bit of nutrition is enough to get him through this.
Just makes sure it's balanced nutrition>
I gave him a quick salty bath, followed by an iodine bath-very little
water just enough to cover his feet- I then left him to air dry on the
window sill in some natural sun light!
He is now back on top of the radiator. I will buy some liver- Do I feed
raw I guess I do right?- and it needs to be floating in water for him
to eat it right??
<Correct -- and we're talking a miniscule piece too.>
Thank you for your help!!
He seems to be making a come back.. TY TY TY THANK YOU!!!
<Rick .. We're glad to help. Make sure that you continue the
regimen WELL after all appears to be normal. This is because they
APPEAR well very early on .. yet they still have recovery ahead>
RES with algae on shell? 12/13/09
Dear WWM Crew,
I have searched your site (very nice! and quite informative) and the
internet, but I can't seem to find the information that I'm
looking for. I hope that you can help me.
I have a red-eared slider that I purchased in Sept. this year, as a pet
for my kids. He appears to be healthy, happy (as long as I feed him in
the tank) and he's about 4 1/2 inches. Last week I noticed a couple
of dark green/bluish green spots on the edge of his shell. At first I
thought he might have injured his shell as he likes to dive off his
turtle dock (he displays the typical RES dislike for spectators when
basking) and he sometimes crashes into the side of the aquarium. But on
closer observation and after 1 week+ time, the shell appears to be
intact and unharmed, just
discolored. He also has a couple of spots on his back, and now his
turtle dock has the same color green stuff growing on it.
I suspect it's just algae, which should be fine (right? unless it
becomes excessive?), but I can't find a good photo to check and
see. It's not white, brown, cheesy, or soft on the shell, and while
he did shed (his skin, not his shell) recently, that didn't last
overly long, either, and appeared to me (admittedly a novice) to be
just normal reptile shedding.
Other than being stressed when I take him out to clean his tank or look
him over, he's very sociable and seems happy (good appetite, quite
friendly and curious, etc.) as long as I leave him in his tank. In the
beginning I took
him out of the tank to feed him in the interest of maintaining good
water quality (I wrongly thought that behavioral conditioning with food
motivation would work after time), but he got more and more hostile and
he finally bit me. I finally got the hint and started feeding him in
Now he just hisses at me when I take him out of the tank to clean it
every other week, and I just do partial water changes in between, every
few days, which don't seem to upset him as much. I hate to take him
to a vet or probe his shell any more unless there is a real problem, as
he just doesn't like to be messed with.
His setup is unremarkable, except for a couple of minnows which he
seems to enjoy for company and the occasional live plant for a snack.
Sometimes he eats the plants, sometimes he just makes a mess with them.
I offer them about once every couple of weeks and I take them out if he
just steps on them for a couple of days; usually if he is going to eat
them he does so right away, and finishes them completely.
I give him turtle bites, turtle sticks, offer him fresh greens/veggies
(he won't eat them yet), live crickets 1x per week, etc. He has a
turtle tuff full spectrum lamp for basking that supposedly offers the
necessary UVB/etc. His tank is not in the sun, nor is it in a drafty
Sometimes he eats the minnows, but usually he just pals around with
I had him in a 40 gallon breeder, but I'm currently repairing it so
he's in a 20 long at the moment until I can finish sealing the
Filtration is a 50gal+ zoomed canister and a reptile canister filter,
with partial water changes every few days. The water looks very
Thanks so much. I've learned so much about turtles in the past few
months - I had no idea that they were such sociable and fascinating
creatures. I think I spend a lot more time watching him than my kids
Angela Hirte, D.M.A.
(Unfortunately my doctorate is in music, not medicine or veterinary
<Angela, it sounds like you're looking after this terrapin very
well. Algae is distinctive, and if you wipe it with a paper tissue
(like kitchen roll) it comes off easily, and you should notice a green,
often dark green, colour. Whereas fungus isn't coloured and has a
distinctive smell, algae tends to be odourless. Blue-green algae
(actually bacteria) is musty, and looks more like matted fibres, and
usually has a strong colour: red, cyan, dark green, black. In any even,
algae can be simply wiped off as required.
It's not a bad habit to get into. While cleaning the terrapin you
check its overall skin condition, listen to its breathing, and check
its eyes. You can also get the terrapin used to being handled, in
itself a very useful practice, since these animals can become
"biters" otherwise. There's no absolute need to remove
the stuff (in the wild it offers a kind of
camouflage) but it is probably true that a terrapin with a dirty shell
is a bit more likely to have problems with fungal infections because
things like food and dead skin can get trapped. Hope this helps.
Please Help, my RES is sick :( 12/1/09
<Note to readers: the above is NOT something you should say in an
If you see JACKIE in an airport, call her PHIL>
I have another problem with my baby turtle Jacob and you've helped
me a lot before :D
<Mostly lucky guesses?>
I'm not sure if Jacob is a girl of boy, his tail is larger than the
rest of the turtles so I think Jacob is a girl. but recently it seems
as if she is trying to lay an egg in water. It only happens in warm
water, but she pushes out something large almost half of her body size.
It's black and blue, looks like soft tissue and has a white bulge
at the end. She has been doing this for quite some while now, and I
think she wants it to come out but she always sucks it back in. She
also kicks the black and blue thing when its out, so it seems like she
wants it to come out. And when she's pushing, her head goes into
her shell. And the substance is a really weird thing. So I'm not
sure if it's like an egg she's trying to push out..since eggs
are white....or something else. I wanted to pull it out while she is
pushing, but I think that would harm her so I'm not sure what to
do. Jacob is really healthy to, he eats and moves and is always trying
to mate with the others. I just hope it isn't some kind of disease.
If you could help answer my questions in any way, I'd appreciate
<Jackie ... Jacob is very definitely a boy!!! Congrats! What you see
there is his .... um ... errr.... ah .. um .... well, that's his
"party animal" and he's showing it off. Apparently
turtles can get away with things in their tank that we humans can NOT
get away with in our college dorms. Or ... so I've heard.>
<As long as he can pull it back in when he wants, just ignore it and
focus on other things. As long as he doesn't climb out of the tank
at night and dial 976 numbers from your home phone, it's nothing to
<the only thing to do here is scour Jacob's environment for
anything sharp or abrasive ... for obvious reasons>
My beloved turtle, RES... hlth... beh... gen.
<Hiya Rachel - Darrel here>
I have a red ear slider who is about 6" length-wise. He has a
UVB/UVA light, a basking light that keeps his basking spot at about 92
The water in his tank is at 79 degrees. I bought my turtle at pet store
because I felt very sorry for him. There were about 12 other 6"
turtles in a twenty gallon tank with only five inches of water. There
was no room for them to swim or bask. I have a big tank for him and
have filled it up with water. The tank is about 70% water and 25%
basking area. He hardly ever goes into the deeper water, when he does
he seems to be struggling.
<Hmm, what do you mean "struggling?" That covers too much
territory for us to help>
He spends a lot of time on his back fins standing with his head out of
the water in where he can reach up were I have a slope.
<I'm GUESSING that you mean he's standing in the deeper
water, against the glass, with his head up RATHER THAN hauling out on
the slope? If that's it, that is not all that unusual>
This is obviously not normal right?
<I'd like a more detailed description>
Is this because he had so little swimming room at the Pet shop?
<Unlikely -- maybe just what he wants to do...>
Should I lower the water level in the tank so he is more comfortable?
Your help would be much appreciated. Thank you!
<Rach - here's a link that covers all the basics. First make
sure that you're in-line. Next, if you're concerned about his
behavior in water, make a few subtle changes and see what happens. Drop
the basking temp to about 88 and let the water temp go to room temp
(shouldn't have a heater anyway) and see. Next, lower the water
"just a little" and see. Then, raise it back up and move his
basking area a bit. If his behavior is a function of his tank, tiny
changes should result in small improvements ...
until you learn what he's after.>
Re: my beloved turtle, beh., RES
struggling: he swims franticly, all of his flippers are moving
<They do that sometimes>
He ventures out into the deeper water only rarely and when he does he
only goes out for maybe five seconds before he swims right back to the
more shallow end. When he is in the deeper end almost always has a
flipper on the filter to keep his head above the water.
<No problem here, either>
He spends about 90% (when I am around) of his time on his back flippers
in the middle of the shallow area (not against the glass just kind of
floating with his head above the water)
<they do that. Just sitting there, basking there, floating there ...
for hours ... thinking turtle thoughts and not much else.>
<Rachel, nothing here gives me reason to be concerned. As long as he
eats, poops, and does bask from time to time, he seems fine. Like I
said before, if you want to experiment with turtle fung-shuei and
change things a bit, you might cause him to feel differently and
therefore act differently. If not, he seems OK with that, too.>
<Regards - Darrel>
Turtle keeps scratching his face 11/17/09
I have a river map turtle named Too Fast. I changed his aquarium water
and afterwards he kept scratching his face like something was bothering
him. I used "Start Right"
<This is some type of dechlorinator? That should be safe, if used in
the correct amounts. Not especially toxic, so slightly going above the
recommended amount won't cause major problems.>
and "Algae Control."
<Useless poison... wouldn't let it in the house, let alone use
Would that be what was bothering him?
<The latter chemical, possibly.>
I took out about 20 gallons of water and added more untreated water
just in case I had used to much, but he is still scratching...
<Scratching of the face can be a sign of irritation. Water that
hasn't been dechlorinated can cause these symptoms, but so will
(more likely) non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite. So check water
quality, and act
Bob- pls comment on Teenage Mutant Parasitic Turtles? --
Hello there whoever you are!
<The important thing is that *I* know who I am. Most days>
Last time I wrote I corresponded with someone named Darrel who not only
quickly and efficiently answered my questions regarding turtle poop,
but also managed to greatly amuse me!
<You're easily amused then -- most people are
Here I write again seeking advice on my turtles...
Here's what happened...
I went out of town. Whilst out of town my dad met a guy moving and
trying to get rid of his fish.
My dad said "I'll take them to my daughter! She has turtles
and a few fish in her tank! She will love more fish!"
So, I come home to find 2 cichlids and a tetra swimming in my turtle
There WERE 18 cichlids but due to the guy actually moving without the
fish, they had lived in a dirty tank with no food for over a month,
therefore 16 of the 18 died. But my dad didn't realize fish could
have diseases and he put them in anyway. Now I'm FREAKING out
because the 2 cichlids have some kind of weird blackish stuff on
various parts of their bodies. They actually look like whatever it is
eating holes and chunks out of em!
<I'd say that's an understatement>
I tried to figure out exactly what it was online but am still unsure
except for its probably an evil parasite that my turtles and other fish
probably now have! All creatures in said tank are eating well and seem
happy and normal however today I noticed the red eared sliders shell
had a weird scrapeish green spot on top and the other turtles scutes
have been shedding...
<I'm not sure scrapish is a word .....>
Now I'm mad because I don't want my turtles to die because of
<Never mix turtles and fish unless you're making alligator
porridge and then use a blender!>
Any advice and help would be soooo appreciated!
My dad meant well but has no clue about turtles or fish even! I read
that you can't always treat turtles with same meds as fish.
<It depends entirely on the illness and we haven't established
First, get the fish out and into a tank of their own. Break down &
sterilize the turtle tank, too. Remove all organic materials (that
includes turtles and fish). Scrub the tank with soap and water, break
down the filter and clean it as well, then refill the tank and add one
cup of chlorine bleach per gallon of actual water. Run the entire setup
(filters and all) for 24 hours, they drain & refill . Then do it
all again. Then drain and rinse. twice.>
<Before placing the turtles back, give them a dip in lukewarm water
with table salt mixed at approx 4 Tbsp per quart. Make sure they get
completely wet with the salt water, use a Q-tip (brand cotton swab) to
wipe them down everywhere you can reach, dip again ... then let them
dry. Then into their tank. Don't rinse.>
<Repeat the dip every day for a week and with LUCK whatever
parasitic devils are clogging your tank and cramping your style may be
I do not have a heater in the tank just a basking light and day
My husband bought some Ick med but I didn't know about its effect
<It won't cure the turtles but it won't hurt them, either.
But we haven't established the disease, either.>
At this point I'm ready to throw the fish in the pond to save the
turtles but I'll do whatever I need to!
<When I first scanned this, I thought you were complaining about
<The chair was bought by the lady with carved legs>
<and that's a pet peeve, but a completely different
<Been called MUCH worse>
Thanks for your time!
<worth every penny>
<Now that the turtles have been addressed (yet not stamped or
delivered) I'm going to drop a copy of this letter into the mailbox
of none other than Bob
"Knows-everything-there-is-to-know-about-fish" Fenner and ask
him to comment on the fish parasite aspect of this situation. Expect a
separate comment from him>
<<I'd move these Cichlids elsewhere... just administer TLC.
In a cycled system they'll likely recover. BobF>>
New problem... esoteric RES, hlth. --
Now I have a whole new problem. It has been 3 days and
"Zoolander", aka Vern has only eaten 2 pieces of food. I
offered her fruits, carrots, some type of funny named lettuce and her
floating food. Prior to this she ate like a little pig. She is still
very active. Sunday was beautiful here in Western Kentucky and I took
her outside in the yard. She ran around and basked and had a great
I feed her in the am. She has not eaten since Thursday, except for one
bite a day for 2 days. Nothing has changed about her feeding schedule,
type of food, etc.
Should I be worried?
I have read that they can go a long time without food.
<A very long time -- if they are otherwise healthy. That said, a
week is not a long time. Assuming the treatment of having her out of
the water is itself a bit stressful on her, so it's not out of the
realm of possibility
that she's off her feed. Give her a few more days to
Do I need to contact a vet?
<If she hasn't eaten by the end of this weekend, let's put
her back in her tank "like normal" and see is she picks up
her old routines.>
Red Eared Slider attacked by raccoon --
<Darrel here. Sir. (not Knighted Sir Darrel or anything ... just a
I have an outside pond with five female adult RES, all approximately
8'. Today I noticed one of the turtles was attacked by a
<One of the many dangers of housing in ponds. Assuming the water is
deep enough the turtles usually have a reasonable chance, but as
you've found out, this is a situation that carries dangers>
Both of the front legs have been bitten off. One leg has exposed bone,
while the other has flesh just hanging on. I brought the turtle inside
and soaked it in MelaFix to help fight any bacteria. The turtle is now
placed in a dry box with a UV light to help dry the legs out. I do not
have a turtle vet nearby. I was reading through the blogs and read a
posting that stated a turtle survived a similar attack. What else
should I do to help heal the nubs?
<I'll enclose a link about treating illnesses, but you're
already doing it! Dip the legs in iodine twice daily and then let them
dry completely. Put the turtle in a shallow bowl of water (just up to
the bottom of her chin - no higher) so that she can drink and poop and
perhaps eat. Then back to a dry warm place until tomorrow>
I do not want to put the turtle 'down', but do not want it to
suffer. Any advice?
<Jen, it's remarkable how adaptable they can be. I have one that
lost a front leg to an alligator and half of another to a possum and
she's been free swimming in my pond with the others (alligator
removed and possum problem corrected) for 11 years now. Never give up
<Without any front limbs, swimming will be a challenge and it would
be my inclination to house her indoors in a shallow tank with a sloping
bottom once she's fully healed.>
Thank you for any help you can provide.
<Hope it does!>
Worms and egg laying? 11/3/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two juvenile red eared sliders. I caught them in the wild. When
I moved them into the tank I noticed the female releasing translucent
strings about a half an inch long. They were slightly curved and I
thought they were shedding their claws but I'm not sure if that is
possible. I thought it was turtle feces but it ended up not being the
case. My question is, what could it possibly be? The objects didn't
move at all so I didn't think
that they were worms. But could they be?
<My guess would be eggs from any number of internal parasites they
may be carrying.>
<The key here is to suction them out, pay special attention to water
quality (in other words, break the life cycle by not letting those eggs
hatch) and the problem will likely solve itself in a couple
Also, my female has been digging in the sand as if to lay eggs, and I
left her to it. Later I checked the sand and there were no eggs. What
should I make of all of this?
<Well, if she's a juvenile, then I doubt she's carrying
eggs. The problem is that turtles mature by size and sometimes size is
relative. She'd be 4 1/2 to 5 inches normally before she'd be
fertile. If she's smaller than
that it's probably what it looks like, a false nesting behavior and
nothing to worry about. The good thing about Sliders and the Emydid
turtles is that they rarely, if ever, get egg bound. If she is pregnant
(I doubt it,
but IF she is) and she can't find the proper nesting site,
she'll either re-absorb them or just drop them in the water. The
eggs wouldn't survive of course, but it wouldn't damage
<Here's a link to basic care -- best of luck to you!>
Question about my red ear turtle... hlth.
<Hiya right back!>
I have a question about my Red Eared Slider.
<Hmmm -- let's see if I have an answer>
I have 2 turtles one is bigger than the other (Size and Age) they are
both in a 20 gallon tank its been a few months now that my small turtle
has been acting like its sick it doesn't want to eat and it just
wants to be
sleeping all day one of its eyes looks swollen and it seems he cant
open it that easy when it does open it is always scratching its
What could it be??
<Erika, it doesn't sound good. He very likely has some
infections from bad conditions, food or improper heat and lighting --
all things that you can control.>
<Eye infections are usually caused by a vitamin deficiency (again,
from a poor diet), but the good news is that these things are easy to
fix it you are willing to put in the effort to treat him. Here is a
treating common illnesses in Sliders. The first thing you'll need
to do is try to keep him warm and dry (out of the water except at
feeding time) with proper heating and exposure to proper UV
Is there any medicine for this??
<Read that article and treat the conditions as explained>
<The second problem you have is the conditions that caused the
infection in the first place. Compare your conditions to the ones in
this guide and correct anything that is wrong.>
RES turtle questions... sys./lambda, hlth.
I have two red eared sliders, like 4/5 months old.
I don't have a heating lamp yet because it is pretty hot out
<If you live somewhere warm, i.e., temperature doesn't drop
below, say, 18 degrees C/64 degrees F for more than a few days, then a
heater may not be required. However, you MUST have a UV-B lamp. This
needs to go above the basking rock. Contrary to popular misconception,
a plain heating lamp isn't
adequate or even essential. But a UV-B lamp is utterly essential.
Without this, their bones and shell, among other things, won't form
properly. The UV-B light is used for vitamin synthesis. Outdoors,
they'd get this from sunlight, but indoors they won't. Since
glass blocks UV-B, even putting the tank next to a sunny window
one turtle is much lighter in color than the other one.
Its shell is a little bit soft and sometimes he shakes his head as if
he wants to get rid of it. (his head)
the other one is doing fine.
Lately they have been sleeping all day. Hibernating?
<No; these turtles really don't hibernate much, and certainly
shouldn't in captivity.>
Not pooping, not eating
But they are not dead. should I keep them awake, or should I just let
them do what they want to do?
please help. :( thank you in advance.
<More than likely a lack of calcium in their diet and a lack of UV-B
light for vitamin synthesis. First step is to call a vet, so your
sickly turtle can get a check-up and a vitamin booster shot. With that
done, install a
UV-B lamp over the basking spot. Note you're after a UV-B lamp, not
light, not a heating light, and not an aquarium light. Cheers,
Baby sliders. -- 09/25/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have three baby Red Eared Sliders. Two seem to be doing great, eating
normally, swimming all day, etc. Half of my tank I have set up for them
is rocks or gravel built up so they can get out and completely dry off
and bask. There is a slight slope to make it easier for them to climb
up on it.
The third turtle though, seems to be having troubles. He seems to have
been born without nostrils..?
<I'd look at him through a magnifying glass to verify. They may
be small, but they're likely there.>
I have looked at him everyday for about a week now, and I cant seem to
find them. I began looking for something wrong with him because he
drowned about a week ago, and I actually had to revive him. No I
didn't put my mouth on the turtle, but I patted his underbelly and
he coughed up water. After many hours of working with him I got him
somewhat back to normal.
<It's a miraculous process, isn't it? I've done similar
things many times>
He swims slower than the other two, and he sits out of the water
basking a lot more than the other two. I'm not sure if this is just
some sort of deformity, of if it might kill him. Please help me if you
can, I would like to know if you know anything about this? Maybe why it
would he is like this, or how I can help him?
<I'm sending you a couple links below -- one on the treatment of
illnesses in Red Eared Sliders. I suggest that you go on the assumption
that he has a respiratory infection (he probable has one or is
developing one) so what
you're going to do is make a warm & dry place for him away from
He'll get no more than a few minutes in a shallow bowl of water
each day-- just long enough to drink, poop & eat -- for at least 6
weeks. This will give him the chance to heal & recuperate without
having to deal with swimming. Just remember to make sure he gets heat
and UV lighting as well as healthy food.>
The NEXT link is just a general guide on Turtle care that you can use
to make sure you've covered all the requirements.>
Thank You so much.
Black Shell (on a Red-ear Slider) -- 09/08/09
Hi, I have a 4-year old RES, and she has a black shell. Why is
<Well, their shells do become darker with age, and tend towards dark
green-brown rather than the bright green they are when babies. Algae
often grows on their shells, and this can make them look even darker.
Does the black stuff wipe off? If it does, it's likely algae. If
the shell doesn't smell of mould, and doesn't have signs of
pus, deformity, or rotting, I'd not be too worried.>
Is she sick?
<Probably not. A photo would help.>
I also have a 13 year old girl RES who barely ever goes in the water,
only to eat and when she doesn't want the other turtles to sit on
her. Is that bad?
<Difficult to say. She's a fair age now, and could simply be
cranky! These turtles spend much time basking under the heat lamp, and
tend to go swimming in part to cool down. So if the water is too warm,
they might not go swimming so much. If there are aggressive male
turtles in the water, the females might simply avoid swimming to keep
away from them. There's a bunch of reasons. But again, if she's
otherwise healthy and feeding normally, and not showing signs of
disease such as wheezing, runny eyes, sores, or shell problems, I'd
not be too concerned.>
Re: Black Shell (on a Red-ear Slider)
I'll try to send you a picture but it might not work.
<Well, give it a whirl.>
I don't know if it wipes off, I never tried to.
<A piece of paper towel usually does the trick. Handle your turtle
carefully, of course. They can nip if they want to, and if you hold
them carelessly, you could drop or otherwise hurt them.>
I only have one male and he's 4, also. Both 4 year olds fight a lot
and I know why, am I supposed to separate them when they fight? Is it
normal for the 4 year olds to go on top of the 13 year old when
<Yes, they often clamber over each other to get closer to the Sun in
the wild, and heat lamps in vivaria. On the other hand, when turtles do
this underwater, they're usually mating.>
By the way, the 13 year olds name is Tiny. You might think this is
weird, but I think Tiny can read and is really smart. What do you
<I doubt he can actually read. But animals are extremely good at
picking up on signals from their handlers, and will use these as cues
for certain types of behaviour. Read up on a horse called Clever Hans
who seemingly could do sums, but it turned out (just as amazingly) he
would watch his handler, and could tell from his handler when he'd
tapped out the right answer.>
Be honest. And I'm under 13, in case you didn't know. But
I'm not telling you my exact age:).
<However old you are, it's clear you are interested in animals
and taking an interest in the welfare of your pets. That's always a