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FAQs About Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles Reproduction/Young

Related Articles: Turtles, Shell Rot in Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

FAQs on: Yellow Bellied Sliders/YBS/Cooters 1, YBS 2, YBS 3, YBS 4,
FAQs on: YBS ID, YBS Behavior, YBS Compatibility, YBS Selection, YBS Systems, YBS Feeding, YBS Disease,

Related FAQs:  Yellow Bellied Sliders/YBS/Cooters 1, YBS 2, YBS 3, YBS 4, & Painted Turtles, ( Other Aquatic Emydids (Bog, Pond, Painted...),Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, & by Species: Musk/Mud Turtles, Softshells, Snapping Turtles, Mata Matas, Tortoises, & AmphibiansOther Reptiles

Help; RES repro. ish      6/6/2015
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently rescued 2 RES they are about 13yrs old & previous owner thought both same sex & supposedly never had eggs I was immediately able to determine 1 is male the other female & the female laid a few eggs in the water about a week or so ago.
<They do that frequently. If the eggs are submerged for more than a few seconds they are, sadly, ruined>
i am not positive if 3 or 4 eggs laid maybe as she laid at night & they maybe ate part of them. Anyway she appeared frantic yesterday so I quickly built nesting box in Rubbermaid container & i saw top of at least 1 egg & then she buried herself again how long can or should I keep her in nesting box I only have a red heat lamp over it but I don't know if she's done or if she needs to be back in the water.
<She can go weeks without being in or having access to water>
she has no access to water when in the nesting box & she never stopped or slowed her eating so I am nervous she needs to go back in water so she can eat & without uvb light I don't want her to get sick.
<That would take months of non-exposure. You're doing fine.>
my vet closed early today before I got home from work & saw she laid eggs I am scared with her in the nesting box & have no idea if she's ready to go back in water any support is greatly appreciated I have been trying to read info online for 4hrs now & am desperate thank you
<You're doing fine. She's done laying eggs for now and if you put her back in the water she should calm down in a day or so.>
<As far as the eggs in the nesting box - read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtleReproArtDarrel.htm >
<good luck> 

Baby yellow belly sick      3/21/15
Hi i am writing because i have a new hatchling and its sick. I have had the hatchling for only 10 days and by the third day i noticed its eyes were closed. By the 5 day i took my baby to the vet. It has been given two antibiotic shots and no improvement. We took the hatchling to the vet today and it was given a vitamin a shot. It hasn't eaten since we got it. I have mealworms, blood worm, hatchling pellets and purchased critical care flakes to try and feed via dropper with no luck. We also were prescribed eye drops. It just doesn't seem to be improving. It lives in a 10gallon tank with basking lamp and UVB light and filter with floating dock. I have purchased water conditioner and have been cleaning tank every couple days.
I am at a loss as to why my hatchling isn't doing better and i don't know what else i can do. Do you have any additional suggestions?
<If a turtle doesn't eat, then it won't put on weight, so your problem seems to be getting your turtle to eat. Let's review. Turtles, like all reptiles, have appetites dependent on metabolism which is in turn dependent on ambient temperature. They won't feed much below 18 C/64 F, and it's significant that baby turtles emerge from their eggs in time for late spring and summer rather than the middle of winter. So check the temperature of your vivarium. If the turtle spends most of its time basking and very little time in the water, the water may be too cold. Check its temperature. While it isn't standard practise, you can put a regular aquarium heater in a turtle tank to warm the water, up to 18-20 C, and that will be quite helpful in "intensive care" situations. Do remember turtles mostly feed in the water, so if they're staying on land all the time, they
won't get much to eat. Next, review the range of foods on offer. Some floating aquarium plants are a good "buffet" meal for any turtle, so grab some of those to start with. Also review the range of meaty foods.
Earthworms are like crack cocaine to most small predators, so if you can find some, try offering these. Since you're already getting help from a vet, then your turtle is getting the best possible support already, but as described above, there are some ways to entice starving turtles to eat.
Force feeding is possible but extremely risky. If you force food into the turtle, there's a good chance it'll go down the wrong pipe and suffocate the poor thing. So while your vet might be able to do this, I would never recommend it to pet owners. On the other hand, using a toothpick to place a very small morsel of food inside an open mouth is doable, particularly if you have a turtle that likes to "snap" when picked up. A tiny piece of prawn or a smear of tropical fish flakes would do the trick nicely. Don't try and force its mouth open though; again, the risk of doing more harm than good is a very real one. I've cc'ed Darrel, our turtle expert, in case he has anything to add. Cheers, Neale.>
Fw: Baby yellow belly sick /Darrel      3/21/15

<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am writing because I have a new hatchling and it's sick. I have had the hatchling for only 10 days and by the third day I noticed its eyes were closed. By the 5 day I took my baby to the vet. It has been given two antibiotic shots and no improvement. We took the hatchling to the vet today and it was given a vitamin a shot. It hasn't eaten since we got it. I have mealworms, blood worm, hatchling pellets and purchased critical care flakes to try and feed via dropper with no luck. We also were prescribed eye drops. It just doesn't seem to be improving. It lives in a 10gallon tank with basking lamp and UVB light and filter with floating dock. I have purchased water conditioner and have been cleaning tank every couple days. I am at a loss as to why my hatchling isn't doing better and I don't know what else I can do. Do you have any additional suggestions?
<My immediate concern, Heather, is to get him out of the water. Although they are normally aquatic, when a turtle is sick the warm wet environment works to help the bacteria or fungus or whatever is ailing him. We have a treatment that has become affectionately known as "dry-docking" which means to take him out of the water and keep him warm and dry while he heals and/or recovers. You can read all about it here:
<As far as his underlying sickness, the loss of appetite and the closed eyes all point to a vitamin deficiency, which in turn is part of a dietary deficiency, which Neale already covered.>
<You've given him the vitamin shot already. If you dry-dock him it will help him rest and recover - then it's a question of if we caught it in time. For what it's worth, if you've only had him 10 days, he was malnourished and vitamin depleted before you got him.>
Re: Fw: Baby yellow belly sick
Darrel I will remove the hatchling immediately from the tank with water. I was thinking the same thing as far as it already being sick when i got the hatchling. i just really hope we can save him or her at this point so i want to make sure i do everything possible. We also have a older red ear slider in a 20 gallon tank which he "Soup" yes we named him soup started out as joke but stuck. He is about 5 inches across his shell and have had him for a year. He is very active and friendly. I noticed last night his stool is soft like he has diarrhea. He eats feeder fish, pellets and meal worms. Should i be concerned or do you think i should first add more greens since we really haven't been giving him much? Sent from my Boost phone.

Re: Fw: Baby yellow belly sick       3/28/15
Hi all just an update on are hatchling. After a couple antibiotic shots and a dose of vitamin A her eyes healed and she is active. She started eating today for the first time and looks great. Thanks for all your suggestions.
Dry docking was a great idea and she perked up after we did that.
<thanks for the feedback, Heather. The lesson learned here is that with fish and reptiles it's MUCH easier and HUNDREDS of dollars cheaper to keep them healthy than to nurse a sick one to health. In your case you inherited a sick one and many thanks for your efforts!!>

Help with slider egg       8/9/14
<Hello Kim,>
I found your website while looking for information on incubating a yellow bellied slider egg.
<Fire away.>
This egg was laid on 6/30/14. I have kept it in the same position it was when laid.
When it was first laid there was a noticeable dent in one side. The dent filled in nicely after a few days. I have kept this egg in a plastic container with potting soil in it on my porch (out of direct sunlight). I keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby and mist it each morning and evening (not the egg but the dirt). I keep a lid on it but sitting askew because it doesn't have holes drilled in the top.
I started to candle it and have been able to detect an embryo and vessels.
The night before last I noticed movement of the small embryo. I have candled it every day since and continue to see movement. I also decided to place a white paper towel over the dirt to keep the egg from getting dirty so it would be easier to see through the shell when candling. I just nestle the egg in the paper towel and then cover it slightly.
My problem/question is that this morning I noticed a concave dent in the bottom that runs the length of the egg. I also notice that the side (where the original dent was) seems weak.
<May well be if the shell was deformed. As the embryo grows, water pressure inside the egg will change. Since reptile eggs aren't hard in the same way as bird eggs, this can result in the shell imploding or expanding slightly.>
I'm concerned because I have read that this denting/collapse usually happens either when they die or right before hatching.
<Indeed; see previous statement.>
I don't think it's dead (yet) because I did see movement this morning. It is also too soon for him to hatch (the egg will be just 6 weeks old on Monday - and what I see moving is a very small spot). Do you have any answers as to why the denting has happened? And is there anything I need to or should do?
<Try to do as little as possible. This is the golden rule with reptile eggs. Turtles have been multiplying away busily for some 200 million years, and they really don't need our help. Indeed, the many endangered species would do better if we left them alone, and that's almost always a good idea with pet turtles too.>
I bought an aquarium heater, Styrofoam cooler, and thermometer today with the thought that I might need to make an incubator that may keep him at a more constant temperature and level of humidity. But I'm not sure. If the dents are ok and not hurting things or if there is something I'm doing wrong, please let me know. I live in south Alabama if that helps.
Thank you so much for your help!!
<Rearing turtle eggs is very much trial and error. Everyone has their own method (see the Internet for a slew of these!) though the fundamentals are widely accepted. Since there's nothing you can do if the turtle egg is damaged, carry on what you're doing, avoid handling as far as possible (cracking the weak spot is more lethal than the egg simply having a weak spot) and hope for the best. Have cc'ed our turtle expert, Darrel, in case I've missed something. Good luck, Neale.>

My turtle was bitten, and incomp. f's     10/16/13
I really hope you guys are still answering peoples questions!
Last Thursday 10/10/13, My yellow bellied slider had his penis bitten by our soft shelled turtle when he was fanning... it bled for a few minutes and then stopped.. this isn't the first time it's happened and usually it just goes right back in after a few hours but today is 10/15/13 and it's still out.. there is swelling and the skin around the cloaca is all ripped... I called around today and could not find a vet in the area that takes turtles... I'm really worried about my little man.. i tried the honey trick I read online but that didn't work.. and there's no way I could manually try to put it in because it's just too swollen.. is there anything I can do?? I really don't wanna lose him :(
Thank you,
<Angela, you really need to get this guy to a vet. If it's still bleeding some hours after the damage, then there's a very high risk of bacterial infection (e.g., septicaemia). Chances are he'll need to be kept out of water for a while until he heals. The vet will fill you in with the details here. Also, and I cannot stress this too strongly, Softshell Turtles (Trionyx spp.) should only ever be kept alone. They are extremely nasty animals that bite first, ask questions later. They're dangerous to their owners, let alone any other poor animal trapped in the same glass box as they are. There's a pretty useful summary here:
Cheers, Neale (bcc'ed Darrel, our turtle expert).>

Cooter egg temps   7/22/12
I have 10 Eastern River Cooter eggs incubating. What temperature should I keep them to try to produce males?
<Often, the cooler end of a turtle's natural temperature range produces more males, but there are exceptions that have the reverse pattern, and the details for the subspecies Pseudemys concinna concinna are not known to me at least. There's a scientific paper called "Sex determination in turtles: diverse patterns and some possible adaptive values" that you will
definitely want to read, whether through your local/academic library or online. Obviously, if you keep the eggs too cold, say, below 18 C, they'll not develop at all, so some research and perhaps experimentation will be essential. Cheers, Neale.>

Sexing    4/12/12
Hi, we have 2 yellow bellied sliders, which we have had since new year (2012), the previous owner said he got them as hatchling in October (2011), so by calculations they are around 7-8 months old. My question today is how old do they need to be before I can sex them? they both look the same, as in same short front claws, tails same length, plastron on both seems
flattish, etc. One has 4 1/2 inch shell from top to bottom, the other is 4 inch. Please help, I would love to breed these eventually, and we are in the middle of building a raised pond in my Garden for them to go into during the day in the summer (live in UK cold here, afraid to leave them out over night). Thanks for your help in advance. Bray Family in Devon UK.
<Turn your terrapins upside down. Males have their cloaca (the combined anus/urogenital opening) close to the base of the tail, with the "thin" part of the tail extending a long way past this opening. Females have a much shorter "thin" part of the tail, and its generally no longer than the cloaca, whereas the male's tail will be twice as long, at least, as the cloaca. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sexing

Hi I have taken a photo of tail on Ernie, and Burt's looks the same. Can you tell if they are female?
<Do read my last message. Photos with the tails curled back don't really help much. If the tail is twice as long as the cloaca, or more, it's a male. Many photos online to help. Cheers, Neale.>

My Yellow Bellied Slider babies are not Basking!     3/13/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently purchased two yellow bellied baby sliders -Bella and Boo- 2 weeks ago.
I'm not too sure about their gender. I tried to compare the claws and looking at the flatness of their bellies but found it all difficult. They look too much alike! However since Bella's shell was slight bigger than Boo's, I just made out that she was the female.
<They don't start showing their sexual characteristics until they get bigger, so any comparison NOW isn't likely to be valid.  HOWEVER … they don't seem to care, either.   I have a very large Female Slider named 'Mike' and she seems to be just fine with that>
They both seem quite happy and healthy in a 10 gallon tank (don't shoot me! I'm saving for a bigger one) and a good filter.
<That's a fine size to start them out>
The water temperature is always at 20 degrees Celsius.
<That's 68 Degrees (f) for those of us here in the Land of Gallons>
UVB light is inserted. I have put some dry logs with an easy access for them to do some basking. However until now, I have never seen them basking!! Maybe the light is too far?!
<Well, they need a heat lamp to generate the higher heat and you didn't say if the UvB lamp is fluorescent, which would generate no heat, or incandescent … which would.>
<There are two things to think about.  One - and this is not at all uncommon - small turtles are often very nervous and will NOT bask … or will jump in the water at the very first sign of people … or even vibration:  It could be that they 'feel' you coming and jump in the water before you get a visual sighting.>
<The second thing … sometimes something in their enclosure just isn't "right" to them: like perhaps a vibration from a filter, a buzzing from a lamp.  I once consulted with someone who had their tank on top of the television (telly to those of you in the Olde Worlde) and when it was turned on, the vibrations from the speakers made them nervous.>
<My first suggestion is that you change a few things around, maybe just one at a time - and see what effect, if any, it has on their behavior>
And another thing.
<Thing Two>
I have checked their bellies this week and it seems to discolour quiet a bit. I remember when I got them their bellies were nice flat and yellow. Now it seems bloated as well?!
<Bloated is not the same as discolored.   Please write back with more detail - but in the mean time DON'T worry too much about it.  A bit of color change is very normal  ... what we don't want is for them to get bloated and fat from eating too much>
I was planning to take them to the vets but I stumbled upon your website and I thought I would as your help first.
<Yes, save that money for something else>
Please, I'm looking forward for your guidance...
<I hope I helped.  No write back in much more detail on their bellies.>
<Darrel - California>

Itty bitty turtle committee. 10/19/2011
<Hiya! - Darrel here>
I have been really enjoying your site and all the information that I have read.
<Really? Hmmm.>
I see that some have the same sort of issue as mine, however, the circumstances are quite different. On July 29th of this year I purchased two Yellow Bellied Sliders. When I bought them they were both the size of a half dollar. Their names are Rockstar and Dude.
I have them in a reptile aquarium that is roughly 20 gallons, aquatic reptile filter, water heater that keeps the water about 76 degrees, I have both lights that I was told to get. I do water changes and tank cleanup every Sunday. They are fed ReptoMin pellets once in the morning (2 pellets each) and once in the evening (1 pellet snack).
<So far - so good. Water temp is a tiny bit warm (68-73f is better), but otherwise OK>
Rockstar is now about 2 inches long and is very social with me and she is your typical beggar when it comes to food. Dude, on the other hand, eats well and basks often, but he is not growing like Rockstar is.
<That's normal as well>
Both of my turtles are very active and I do separate them when feeding since Rockstar is bigger and will become aggressive when eating.
I have been thinking that Rockstar may be a female being that she is growing faster than Dude, but the difference in their sizes are pretty extreme and I am not seeing any growth on Dude's behalf.
<It's a little early to deduce sexes just from disparate growth rates, but then since it doesn't matter to them which sex WE think they are '¦ no harm, no foul.>
I am concerned about my little turtle. Please help.
<Actually, there isn't any help needed - other than to assure you that you're doing everything right. It's very common that one of a pair will grow much faster than the other and not always for any known reason. A dominant animal will thrive a bit better than the secondary or sub-dominant animals and we just have to accept that. By the way, the term dominant in this case doesn't mean aggression or anything like that - just that Rockstar is the more dominant of the two. By comparison, Dude eats fine, basks, swims - does all the things we know he should do '¦ seems to get along just fine with Rockstar '¦ and yet doesn't grow as quickly. It just happens.>
<Concentrate on your care -- here's a link to all the basics. Please compare your care with all the subjects covered, make sure you haven't overlooked anything '¦. And then just sit back and enjoy them!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Mrs. Johnson

Yellow Bellied Slider Hatchling Questions    6/17/11
Dear WWM,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I had a couple questions regarding my new turtles.
<Well, let's see if I have a couple of answers>
They're each about 1.5" in shell diameter.
1. I noticed one of them sleeps with its neck almost completely outstretched and its head resting on the basking log, is this an indicator of the turtle being unwell?
<Well, it's not normal, so yes. It's an indication that he's ill>
2. Their eyes are very slightly swollen and I've been giving them eye drops daily, but I wanted to know what are some good foods that are easy for them to eat but also rich in vitamin A.
<An earthworm, beef or chicken liver or shredded carrots - but with that said, they need quite a bit more than just that. They should be warm and dry, have extra amounts of UV-B lighting and a full vitamin supplement in their food initially. The first link I'm going to give you is on treatment of illnesses.
What is important to note is that illnesses to due to dietary or environmental conditions took quite some time to develop and will take quite some time to heal. During this time, their "normal" warm, wet habitat can actually be a detriment to them. Also make sure that they are eating a well balanced diet. ReptoMin food sticks and a good quality Koi pellet are perfect foods. Coat a few pellets with Cod Liver Oil and offer them during the feeding period.>
<Now, while they guys are in the ICU, you can take the time to go over their normal housing and see if you have a proper setup. Here is a link to basic care instructions:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm it's important to note that while they don't need very much in the way of specifics, they absolutely need what they need. Food, temperature, UV, etc. Read the entire article and measure your care against the standards.>
3. Do you have any recommendations on how to change the water in their tank? It's not exactly easy carrying out 6+ gallons of water every week and generally only the bottom of the water gets cloudy so I wanted to know if it's possible to remove the bottom water and just pour in clean water to replace it.
<Essentially yes. Just like in a fish-based aquarium, you can siphon out water from the bottom, actively using the tube to suck out visible particles, and then replace that water with new water. If you have just 2 or 3 hatchlings and 6 gallons of water, you can repeat this partial water change 4-5 times before a full, complete drain, wipe & refill every 6th time>
Thanks so much for the help, I've spent many hours reading information on the site!
<You are so very welcome!>
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider Hatchling Questions    6/19/11

Thanks for such a fast reply, I know my turtles will appreciate the immediate help I can give them.
<Time is always of the essence in treatment of turtles and fish, Jon -- they often show no outward signs of sickness until the condition is quite advanced>
I read through the two articles and honestly I feel like I have a very adequate environment set up.
They are in a 20 gallon long tank with two filters (a hanging one and the zoomed filter that looks like a rock waterfall). The basking area is between 87-91 degrees and the water temperature sits at 76.
<A tad on the warm side. 68 to 73 is best -- plain old Room Temperature.
No heater needed or even desirable>
They have the basking light and a UVB bulb that are on for 14 hours each day and then there is a red bulb that turns on at night which keeps the tank at ~81 degrees over night. I'm feeding them Zoo Med natural aquatic turtle food (hatchling formula) should I abandon this?
<No - it's a fine food, Jon. I'm just partial to plain old Koi pellets - I raise hatchlings to breeders on that one staple formula>
When I put the turtles in isolation do I need two separate containers for each of them, or can both be in the same one?
<the same is fine. Not only are we not talking about infectious diseases here, but even if we were - both would be exposed to it. So yes, by all means keep them together>
Should I continue with the heating light then red light at night to maintain the day/night cycle?
<It can't hurt>
Thanks again.
<You're welcome, Jon>
Jonathan Hsu
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider Hatchling Questions    6/22/11

Dear WWM,
<Hiya again Jon - Darrel here>
I'm sorry to follow up and let you all know my turtles died.
<On behalf of Bob Fenner, Neale, Sue & the entire crew, we're sorry for your loss, Jon.> I suspect they were sick since my brother bought them (he bought them from a site that sent him YBS instead of the RES he ordered) and gave him 3 for the price of 1.
<Jon - the common problem with fish and reptiles is that they are very stoic. They will make every attempt to look and act "normal" until they are SO sick that they are hard to treat. My guess is that yes, they were likely sick when you got them>
I have over $300 worth of equipment and have two questions.
1) Is there a species of aquatic turtle that will not grow to such sizes as the RES/YBS?
<No, but then again they take many years to get HUGE. Their growth slows quickly after the first three years, so it can be a long, long time before they outgrow a normal-sized in-home tank>
2) What is a reputable organization to purchase turtles from?
<It's really hard to recommend, Jon. There are so many sources out there and most simply buy & resell what is available. All I can say is to turn to the Internet and ask various suppliers what guarantees they will offer you.>
Thanks again for all your help despite my best efforts not being good enough.
<Jon - there was likely nothing you could have done. If they had been sick for a long time before they were sent to you, then their fate was most likely sealed before you got them. I really hope you don't give up>
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider Hatchling Questions   6/28/11

I appreciate the condolences, it hasn't been a pleasant couple weeks since I took in the turtles.
<The loss of even the smallest of us diminishes us all>
I've been looking into different species of turtles and the Southern Painted Turtle peaked my interest.
<It's a very pretty turtle>
It seems like it doesn't grow very big but for the most part has the same general care as a YBS except it might need a stronger heating bulb than I currently have (75 watt) and a small submersible heater for the water according to my readings.
<No water heater. The care for the Painted turtles is essentially identical to the sliders: 68-73 degree water and 88-93 degree basking.>
You all have been so helpful I wouldn't dare get another turtle without consulting your opinions though so any insights you have would be extremely appreciated.
<We appreciate the kind words, Jon. Painted Turtles are a nice looking breed and you might also look at the Graptemys (Map Turtles). They are on the small side - smaller than painteds - but just as interesting looking.
They are more aquatic than sliders, actually I think because they're more shy, so water quality is slightly more of an issue. That said, I certainly enjoy the ones I have. http://www.xupstart.com/wwm >
Thanks so much for everything.
<yer welcome, Jon. Darrel>

yellow bellied sliders, sexing   2/4/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've Googled every combination of words that I can think of
<My personal favorite is to type the following into Google: FRENCH MILITARY VICTORIES
And then, instead of clicking "search" click "I'm feeling lucky">
to find the answer that I'm looking for and then stumbled onto y'all, so I'm hoping you can help me out.
<We're glad to be able to "catch" your letter>
<Get it??? You stumbled in? And we "caught" you?
First, my 2 yellow bellied sliders are healthy and appear to be happy. I've had them since the end of May 2010 and they are really flourishing. So my question is not so much an emergency/life or death question, just a curiosity one.
<Did you know that the term "Y'all" is actually singular?>
I have been on a relentless search trying to figure out what gender my turtles are. One (Shelly) is quite a bit larger than the other, Harry. However, she tends to be something of a food hog too.
<Yep, you say "Y'all" when you are talking to one person>
Their nails are not radically different in length, nor are their tails. I have noticed Harry doing the little nail flutter thing in Shelly's face, but sometimes Shelly does it back to him when he's doing it, but not always.
<As in - when you're talking to one person, you say "Y'all be careful">
It doesn't seem like Harry is laying claim to his territory as when she swims away from him, he follows her to continue fluttering. It's usually only then that she does it back to him.
<When you're addressing more than one person '¦ it's "ALL Y'ALL"!!!>
<[Editor's not: Man, you're weirder than usual today.]>
I'm DYING, yes dying, to know if I might have a boy and a girl, as I have several family members who have become infatuated with my turtles, wanting one of their own. Got any ideas?
<You're not saying how big they are, Lisa. If you got them as hatchlings in 2010 you likely have about 4 years before any significant sexual characteristics develop. And that 4 year number is based on "average" growth because turtles mature according to size, not age and we need to see them get to be about 5 inches long before the males start maturing and the females keep growing.>
<What you may have at the moment is merely one dominant animal that gets a bit more food and thrives just a bit more and grows just a bit faster.>

Turtles, sys., holiday feeding  12/24/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just got two baby yellow bellied sliders. I've had some before, and I have all the necessary equipment e.g. Filter, heater, dock, lights and gravel.
<No heater please. Water temp should be regular room temp and the basking area 88-93 degrees. We want them to have choices in warm or cool>
The man at the store told me that I shouldn't feed them for 2 or 3 days so they can get use to their new surroundings first, is this true?
<Not a HUGE deal - they eat when they're hungry and not when they aren't -- BUT a healthy baby turtle can go 5-8 days without food (adults as long as 3 months) ****IF they are healthy and normally well fed****>
Also I am going away and I have someone to look after them but should I tell them that they shouldn't feed them? I will be gone for about two days will they be ok unfed?
<For two days, I'd rather you not feed them than have someone feed them too much and foul your water>
<Yer welcome>

Yellow-bellied sliders ears suddenly turn red  11/30/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a juvenile yellow-bellied slider (approximately 8 months old -- male). Last night I had to remove one of the other male yellow-bellied sliders because he was becoming aggressive and biting the others.
<that happens sometimes. Hopefully it's temporary. An important thing in keeping any group of animals is realizing that there WILL be fights for dominance and position. The two best ways to avoid any serious injuries are
1- Keep the sizes relatively even (not hatchlings with adults, etc.) and
2- may sure that the enclosure is large enough that they can get away from each other, meaning out of visual range, when they need to. Sometimes putting up a visual barrier that semi-divides the tank or enclosure into two sections is all it takes>
Tonight I notice that his ears have suddenly gone red. The other juvenile (small age -- female) can from the same group of hatchlings and still looks like a yellow-bellied slider.
<That is unusual, to say the least>
Can you please give me any suggestions as why this would happen and if it is possible that he is a red-eared slider. If so, will she also develop the red markings?
<All of the sliders, cooters, painteds, etc. interbreed easily and produce many variations in offspring. That is likely the case here -- that what you have is a Red Eared Yellow Belly. Usually the combination of the various genes expresses in the egg and they simply come out in various shades and patterns. What caused this transition after birth is unknown. It's not UNHEARD of .. but very rare. Whether or not it will happen to any of the others is unknown. And, in the overall scheme of things, unimportant.>
<If, on the other hand, one of those guys develops opposable thumbs and begins to cruise the Internet late at night ordering all sorts of turtle toys on your credit card '¦ THEN you have a problem!>
Thank you
<yer welcome!>

Please help us! 5/16/09
<Hiya, Darrel here>
We have two small turtles. They are about the size of a half dollar and have yellow belly's with beautiful markings.
<Regardless of the species, they sound like water turtles of the family Emydidae (most of the hard shelled water turtles) of which the most common is the Red Eared Slider. Do a web search on "red eared slider" and "yellow belly turtle" and see what images pop up.>
One of them keeps throwing him/her self on it's back. Then when I turn it over the right way he/she sticks it's head out of the water and opens it's mouth really wide. Then it climbs back on the side of the rocks..and pushes it's self back onto it's back and looks like it's dead but it's not... The second turtle seems to be scared or something as it swims around back and forth in the tank...I have no clue of what's going on. Could you please help me?
<It sounds like they don't have quite the right environment, Teresa. I'm getting the idea that he's in water shallow enough that he can press his head against the bottom and flip over while in the water. If that's the
case, that's too shallow. At the same time I'm going to guess that they don't have a basking areas that is dry enough and warm enough. I'm enclosing a link on the basic care of this kind of turtle and it's important to know that they don't need very much, but they do NEED what they need. Please give it a solid read and compare your keeping to the instructions in the guide -- then do what you need to do to correct things.>
<Meanwhile, There is a possibility that I'm just not understanding you very well. It's been said that I have a mind like a steel trap ...>
[Editor's note: He does actually have a mind like a Steel Trap: everything that goes in, comes out mangled]
<.... but sometimes my mind picture isn't what you really meant, so please don't hesitate to write back with more explanation. In the mean time, fix things up for them and let's see what happens next.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Baby Turtle Identification -- 01/22/09 Hello Crew, <Hiya Brittany, Darrel here tonight> I live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and I found a baby turtle inside the automotive shop where I work. I took the cute little thing home with me and it has done incredibly well thus far. I want to be sure I'm giving it the proper care though, and I haven't been able to figure out exactly what type of turtle it is. <That's a nice picture, Brittany. If you'll select Google Images and put in "Pseudemys" in the search bar, you'll come up with many pictures of the family -- of which the Red Eared Slider (P. scripta elegans) is only one group. Many of the Cooters and Plain turtles are native to South Carolina as well.> I'd also like to know if it is male or female. <There are no visual difference at that size, Brittany, Turtles attain sexual maturity with SIZE, not age, so until Fabian gets larger none of the sexual differences will be visible. The GOOD news is that they don't seem to care, either. I have a female Florida Cooter named Albert and she seems to be just fine with that name.> I've had it in a tank with water and a place where it can climb up and a light, etc. Generally, he stays at the bottom unless he is eating and he likes to dig in his rocks and when I take him out of his tank to clean it he generally winds up burrowing himself in the folds of a towel. From what I can find on the Internet, he looks a lot like a red eared slider by his shell, but does not have red ears at all, so I'm confused. If you could help me determine what type of turtle I have and offer some tips on the best care and feeding it would be greatly appreciated. I've grown rather attached to the little guy. Welcome to my world, Brittany! They're fun and personable animals that, trust me, will grow on you and become a part of your family. Here are some pics of my family:> < http://www.xupstart.com/wwm> I've attached the only photo I have of him at the moment, please let me know if you need more/better photos. <Do the research Brittany, and after you make a more specific identification, write back with a pic of the two of you!> <As for care, it's Identical to the Red Eared Slider and here is THE BEST care sheet you'll ever need> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> Thanks! Brittany <You're welcome!>

Baby Turtle not Eating  3/17/07 Hi, <Hi Emily, Pufferpunk here> I just got a baby yellow bellied slider turtle. I've had him for about 4 days now and he still won't eat anything. I've been feeding him ZOO MED'S AQUATIC HATCHLING TURTLE FOOD and a little ZOO MED'S TURTLE TREATS. What should I feed him to get him to eat? And how long does it usually take for a baby turtle to start eating? I was wondering if I could feed him raw meat, since he won't eat anything else. What do you think?   <Baby animals need to eat a lot of food.  Try small pieces of fish, worms, freeze-dried plankton.  Make sure his water is very clean & keep the temp around 78-80 degrees.  ~PP> Thanks,  Emily,  CT
Baby Turtle Won't Eat  - 03/20/07  
Hi, My turtle still won't eat, I've tried feeding hatchling aquatic turtle food, and some Jurassic-pet meal worms. It might be because his water is too cold. We've gone to every pet store and none of them had heaters that worked. Since the water is too cold, we put him in a big bowl filled with enough warm water that it covers his shell, but all he does is swim around. All the websites that I've been on said to try meal worms. I put them in the bowl and the turtle just lays there. How long can he go without eating? He's only a hatchling. Please HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!Emily,         CT <Your little turtle will eat when he is hungry. Offer the food when he is active and starts to move around. Don't offer any food for a couple of days. offer one mealworm or washed earthworm. If he starts to eat, then only offer enough food until his feeding slows down. He is getting full. Little turtles that eat too much food at one time can die. The food displaces internal organs and cuts down on the turtle's internal circulation. They have little room to expand in their shell. Check the temp. of the basking site. It should be at least 85 F.-Chuck>

Yellowed Belly Hatchling Basks With His Eyes Closed   12/31/06 Hi, I have bought a hatchling Yellow-Bellied Slider, and before buying I researched a lot. I have had him for a day, and I'm feeding him on ReptoMin food sticks. He ate yesterday, which seems okay. I have noticed that when he comes out of the water onto his basking area (which is at 85 F), he tends to close his eyes. He keeps them open in the water and when he's sleeping (he sleeps at the top of the water), but when he gets up onto land and basks, he closes his eyes (his eyelids are like a clear-ish film). I just wanted to know if this is normal, or should I be worried? Thanks. < Basking lights are very bright and the eyelids are there to protect your turtles young eyes from too much light. If the eyes get puffy or do not open then there is a vitamin A deficiency and ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops are needed.-Chuck>

Baby Turtle With Puffy Eyes  5/11/06 Hi, I've been having some problems with my baby yellow-bellied slider. He's about the size of a quarter, and has been doing great until about the past two or three weeks. He's having trouble opening his eyes (there seems to be some kind of film over them), wasn't eating, and spends most of his day sleeping on the dock. He also does this unusual movement with his neck (it's seems like he's moving it in and out of his shell). I've taken him out of his normal tank last night (there is also a red-eared slider in there) and placed him separately with a stronger heat lamp. As soon as he was placed in there, he ate, jumped in the water and started swimming for about an hour, and soon went back to sleep. Since then, he's only been in the water once today, and I'm pretty sure he hasn't eaten. The vet said that there is nothing wrong with him, but I still have a feeling something is going on. Would it be possible for someone to help me solve this problem? Thank you, < Clean the tank and treat the eyes with Repti Turtle Eye Drops by Zoo Med. The extra heat was a very good idea. Between the drops and the heat your little turtle should be fine in no time.-Chuck>

Turtle Waving  - 04/19/06 Hello!  My friend has a female yellow-bellied slider.  She has a certain ring that she will sit next to the tank and move it around in front of the turtle she will put both of her front "paws" above her head and wave them around. Why does she do this? Thank you for your help!-Beki < Males usually respond to objects that resemble other turtles in an attempt to mate. If the stone on the ring sticks out while forming a fist or closed hand then it loosely could be interpreted by the turtle as another turtle. See if he/she still does it later on in the year.-Chuck>

Keeping Yellow Bellied Sliders  4/6/06 Hi Bob, < Chuck, this time.> Recently I bought 2 yellow belly sliders and at the moment they are approx. 1 1/4 in long, I have them in a 27 litre tank with a floating island and they seem to be happy enough. My only fear is that I am feeding them dry shrimp and I'm afraid to give them any fruits or small vegetables because am not too sure whether or not they are too young for this type of food. Also do I need to give them any additional nutritional pellets or vitamins? If you could tell me what age is ok to be feeding them different types of food I would greatly appreciate it. I'm not too sure of the sex yet because they are still quite young but just in case will I need to prepare for breeding or incubation? Thanking you Tommy < Young turtles are more meat eaters. When they get three or four inches then they start to eat more vegetable matter. Veggies can be offered at any time and won't hurt them. Try spinach and kale. Zoo Med makes a commercial aquatic turtle food that can be supplemented with insects and worms. Proper lighting with UVA and UVB, will provide the turtles with the means to produce their own vitamins. females get bigger than males and males have longer tails.-Chuck>

Sexing Yellow Bellied Sliders 10/22/05 I got two yellow bellied sliders about a year ago. One is larger than the other and has longer nails. Which one is male or female? < Usually the female is larger with shorter nails and a shorter tail.> Also the smaller has seemed to be sleeping a lot is there an explanation for that? < Could be sick. The larger turtle is dominating the tank and the smaller one is not getting the nutrition and care it needs.> And last how can you tell if a yellow bellied slider is pregnant? < Females are large, fat and have an incredible appetite. Especially in the spring time when things warm up. Though this is not always certain, adult pairs will usually produce eggs.-Chuck>

Turtle Food 1/11/04 WWM Crew. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Please can you tell me the best food for my turtles I have 1 painted (2 months) old and 2 yellow bellies (3 months). I live in the UK and food seems to be frozen bloodworms, frozen daphnia and frozen turtle food. I would like to give them a good diet. <I have an African Sideneck, Asian map & soft-shell turtle (in addition to 6 box turtles).  They eat cut-up pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, turtle & cichlid pellets, earthworms & crickets.  Make sure to use reptile vitamins w/calcium on their food, at least 1x/week.>   Thank you for your time.  Damon <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Turtle Feeding Hi, I just got a pair of hatchling yellow bellied sliders about a week and a half ago.  They are about 1 and 1/2 inch in length.  I am feeding them Zoo Med's Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food about once a day and they don't seem to be eating.  This is what the man I bought them from suggested I feed them.  On the first day I got them I fed them and they seemed to eat a little bit but now I don't ever see them eat the food.  I have tried removing them from their habitat and putting them in their own separate containers with the food for about an hour an still nothing.  Do you think it is just me or do I have a problem?  Please let me know.   Thanks! ~ Jenn <Hi Jenn, I would give them a chance to adjust to their new surroundings and offer a variety of foods, make sure their temperature is warm. Check out the link below, for similar issues, I am sure they will come around.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/sliderfaqs.htm >

Turtle Questions Hi, My name is Ben I am 12 years old and I have some questions that I would please like you to help me with. I got two yellow bellied turtles for Christmas. They are now nearly 5 months old and already are showing signs of mating. The male is maneuvering in front of the female and flapping his front legs franticly. No biting occurred so maybe they were just playing. I don't know. Could you please help me? < Five months is pretty early for mating behavior in turtle. If they are really older and you have had them for only five months then it could be a mating behavior. Females are usually larger and have shorted tails. Males are usually smaller and have longer claws and a much longer tail.> Also I have a large enough tank to last them a while but when they grow I know you're supposed to move them out side into a pond (which I have the resources for) but I live in cold and wet Ireland and even in the summer it's not great so what should I do when the problem arises? < There a number of things you could do. For long term housing you could get a very big aquarium, large plastic tub or any other large clean vessel that would hold water. You then need to set up and area where they can get out of the water to bask themselves. This could be a log a pile of bricks or anything else. Over the basking spot you need to give them a light source that provides heat, UVA and UVB light for up to 12 hours a day. The water can be heated to 65 degrees F using a titanium submersible aquarium heater. You really should go with the metal heater so the turtles don't break like they would a glass one. A large siphon hose could be used to change the water in the tub. Look at pond filters to keep the water clean. Basically you are making an indoor pond. Natural sunlight through a window will help but I would still recommend these other things to be sure.-Chuck> Yours sincerely Ben P.S. I think your site

Breeding Turtles Hi there.. Quite a few years ago I was young and decided I wanted 2 pet turtles, so my dad brought home 2 baby yellow belly sliders, and I'm guessing about a year ago [I was living with dad, the turtles were with mom] one of them laid eggs. We're not sure which one we still don't know if ones female, ones male, or they're both female or what], mom tried to incubate them following a book she had, but they died, it didn't work. Just tonight I noticed they were acting funny so I walk over and there's a single egg there, being messed with by one of the turtles, pretty much torn apart. Frankly, We don't know how to deal with this, and I have some questions. Their habitat is a large tank not sure how many gallons], full of water, with a big rock in the middle they can climb on to bask and regular fish-take rocks on the bottom. There's also a heat lamp over the tank. I believe I remember being told that sand would get in their shells and irritate them, is that true? <No.> Don't they lay eggs in sand/dirt? < Sand is needed for the turtles to deposit their eggs. If there is no sand then they have not place to deposit the eggs.> How exactly can you tell when a turtle is preparing to lay eggs? < Usually the female will excavate a pit in a sandy beach along the river or stream bank. once the eggs are laid the female buries them and takes off.> I've seen this on some sites but they're all different, and I wonder if there's any other way of predicting it? < Not really. If your turtles are in good shape then you can pretty much expect this sort of thing every spring.> Do they lay eggs once a year or.. is there any usual schedule or is it just random? What does it depend on? < Usually in the spring when the weather starts to warm up.> If we found eggs ..not torn apart and battered around =/] in our tank, what do we do? < If you have a pair of turtles with one being a male with longer front claws and a longer tail , then you could set up a sandy area for the female to deposit her eggs. If you have two females then the eggs are infertile and should be thrown away.> Take them out, and what exactly do we need to set up an 'incubator' for the eggs? What sort of dirt/container/whatever do you recommend? How will we know if they are fertile? What are your personal thoughts/opinions on this? Any tips? ANY Help on this would be very much appreciated! -Chelsea. < Turtle eggs can be moved in the first day and placed in a sandy type medium. They should remain moist so they don't dry out and maintained between 75 and 80 degrees. In 8 to 10 weeks the eggs should hatch. I would recommend you do a Google search for breeding turtles to get some specific facts on breeding your specific species of turtle.-Chuck>

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