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FAQs About Red Ear Slider (RES) Turtle Disease/Health 3

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, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider CareShell Rot in Turtles,

Related FAQs: RES Disease/Health 1, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Health 4, 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 Reproduction,

Red Eared Slider behavior 07/14/08 Hi, <Hiya, Darrel here> I have a few questions for you, I hope you can help me care better for my son Pauli: <I'm going to read on before I make any leaps of logic here> 1. I bought a RES, her eyes were swollen shut and were draining pus. I went to the Pet Shop and got drops and other medicines, the tank has UV lights, the water temp was fine, and I left her in the sun for 30mins a day, but after a week she died, I just want to know what more I could have done as I am scared to buy another one, I got too attached and then got sick when she died. <On behalf of Bob Fenner and the entire crew, we're sorry for your loss, Chantell. Buying an animal that is already showing signs of illness will almost never have a happy ending. The predators of fish and reptiles usually go for the weak and injured animals first, so if you're a fish or a turtle it pays NOT to be sick or injured, but even if you are sick or injured -- it pays to not APPEAR to be sick or injured. For this reason fish and reptiles are very stoic animals - they often will appear to be just FINE until suddenly they appear REALLY sick and this is often just hours before they die. Most fish or reptiles have had a debilitating disease for weeks -- sometimes even months -- without any signs that you would see unless you were looking closely and knew just what to look for> <You did the right things -- Vitamin A (injections are best but drops usually work), massive antibiotic injections and sunlight are three of the four things needed, but by the time the eyes are weeping pus, the fourth item you needed was a small miracle. Again, our sympathies.> 2. Also I have a male Red Eared Slider named Pauli that I have had for about 8 months now. He is healthy and beautiful. Last night I was talking to him and he started to make funny sounds, like he was "talking" back to me. I called my husband as I thought I was imagining it but he did the same. He swims to the top of the water with just his head out and then makes the sounds. Is it normal? <Is he telling you to kill your landlord or buy stocks in an Internet Startup? I know that sounds crazy, Chantell, but take it from me -- I breed turtles ... and turtles don't know ANYTHING about the stock market!> <Seriously, the can make a sort of clicking sound with their jaws and something resembling a hiss/growl as they breathe. The thing to do is make SURE that it's not the bubbly/raspy sound of breathing through an upper respiratory infection. Look closely for bubbles coming from the nose as he breathes.> 3. Pauli eats anything meaty and leafy, but he refuses to eat the pellets we give him. I have tried to mix it with meaty things but he is too clever, he eats the meat and leaves the pellets, when he does occasionally bit into one he spits it right back out. Do you have any suggestions how to get him to eat it? <Yes I do, but you're not going to like it. After you verify that Pauli is otherwise healthy you stop giving him food of any kind except Tetra brand Repto-Min and you offer THAT only once a week for no longer than 10 minutes & then you remove it and try again next week. Week after week. Into next month and maybe the month after. Until Pauli gets hungry enough to eat. It's a contest of wills, Chantell. I once went .... brace yourself .... in fact sit down .... I once went THREE AND A HALF YEARS with a Box turtle named Clara that had fixated on strawberries and wouldn't eat anything else. Every week, every month, every year .... nothing. I was convinced she was trying to out-live me until one day she turned a corner and ate the earthworm I'd offered. After that, everything was fine except for her incessant chatter about investing in some company named goodell or goober or Google or something like that!> <Make sure that water temp is not too warm -- and that basking temp IS nice and warm. Available temperature choices are a major factor in eating habits.> 4. Last question, Pauli sometimes has the habit of swimming around and then doing a 180degree turn in the water when visitors come over, is he playing? <We're not sure if turtles have that level of sentient awareness, Chantell, but they sure do entertaining things!> Thank you, <You're welcome!> Chantell P.S We don't have vets in the UAE specializing in reptiles, so a friend suggested this sight. Keep up the great work, I learned a few things from the site. <Keep the kudos coming! We're vain & shallow & respond well to praise!!!!!!>

Red ear slider turtle fungus? - 07/13/08 Hi, <Hiya, Darrel here> I have 2 red ear slider turtles, one male, one female. They are about 6 years old. Lately I have noticed that the scales are coming off of the female's bottom shell and her skin is a pinkish color instead of yellowish. Is this normal or is there something wrong with her? <Yes and no Lorri. As turtles grow the thin outer layer of their shell, Carapace (top) and plastron (bottom) become almost transparent and then shed. As they come off, what you clearly see underneath is an identical scale (actually called a scute) taking it's place. So if what you're seeing underneath is like that it's a normal sign of growth. If you're seeing something else, as if the plastron itself is turning mushy and disintegrating, then you have a serious problem that requires immediate professional medical help. Same thing, essentially, with the skin. Normally, turtle skin sloughs off in such small pieces that they're almost never noticed. If the sloughing skin is in bigger sections .... almost as if the skin looks "fuzzy" then it's a sign of an infection, usually fungal. You can search here on Wet Web for many FAQ's about slider fungus. Ultimately, better conditions, better lighting and proper nutrition are the solution -- AND the prevention.> Thanks for your help <Hope it helps, Lorri>. Lorri < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

res shell problem 7/6/08 hi I have a res, I got it 5 months ago it is just a baby. I feed it aqua fin food pellets. it has always being healthy but for the past few weeks it has developed white lines and brown patches over his shell. Im attaching pics. is this shell rot? <Greetings. Any brown smears or patches on the shell should be examined carefully. 'Shell Rot' is usually accompanied by a distinctive "bad" smell. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtshellrot.htm But the main thing to remember is this: provided the turtle has a UV-B lamp to bask under and is receiving a diet rich in calcium (e.g., krill or small pieces of lancefish 1-2 times per week) Shell Rot should as good as never happen. Poor water quality is the triggering factor, so check the water has no ammonia in it. Kept properly these turtles are very hardy, but unfortunately there are always some people who keep them without the ultraviolet (UV-B) basking lamp they MUST have, and/or feed them pellet foods instead of the correct balance of plants and calcium-rich foods they actually need. Such badly kept turtles do indeed end up getting sick from Shell Rot, Respiratory Tract Infections, etc. And then they die. So, check you are providing what I've just mentioned, and if not, act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

RES shell problem - 7/2/08 My room mate has a red ear slider about 3-4". She is active and eats well. She has a sun lamp and occasional sun exposure and plenty of basking space. I recently noticed that the center of her shell appears to be brown rather than the green that the edges are. There is a definite ring where the color changes from green to brown. Is she just getting ready to shed that part of her shell or is she sick. I have done some research and just can't seem to find an answer and was hoping you could help. <Likely no problem here... as younger, growing turtles often do display such color differences. I would suggest you read through our Red Ear Slider area: Starting with Darrel's excellent article: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm and on to the linked files above.... and try to assure this animal is receiving sufficient nutrition, particularly Vitamin D... for shell growth. Bob Fenner>

RES, Terrapin- R infection. 06/02/08 Hi there, <Hiya Suyi -- Darrel here today> I tried looking everywhere for answers about turtle poop. Recently my 7 month old red ear sliders have been pooping red poo. They are still really active, and eating a lot. Could it be due to their diet? They are feeding on pellets and occasionally veggies. Recently the pellets that I bought are redder in color than usual. <Interesting question, Suyi! For most of us, odd colored poop isn't a good sign and the color red is almost always associated with blood. But at the same time, red in COLOR is not always the same as BLOODY, so it can leave us wondering. In general, a condition causing a bloody stool will not affect all animals at the same time. Even if it was from a common source the progression would be different in each animal.> What should I do to make sure they are ok? <I would go to a local pet shop and buy some ReptoMin brand turtle food sticks (made by Tetra) and feed that exclusively for a week. If their poop returns to a darkish green then you know that it's just coloration from your choice of food.> Best regards, Suyi < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Injured Turtle Arm 5/12/08 Hello Crew, <Hiya Justin, Darrel here> I have a small yellow bellied slider (around 2.5 inches) that recently got its front right limb bitten by a larger (6 inch) red eared slider. <ouch!> The arm is still intact and seems to not have been fractured in any way. However, it is now somewhat brown in color, and the smaller turtle swims around with it tucked to its side, only swimming with both arms occasionally. <You would too if someone bit your arm. That he uses it sometimes is a good sign> I already separated the smaller turtle to its previous tank (10 gallons). He/She now lives in the tank with two gold fish (originally meant to be fed, but ended up becoming... "companions"). <That happens all the time, I have some "feeder" goldfish that have almost become Koi> First, I realize I probably need to disinfect the wound, but I don't know how, and with what. Second, after disinfecting, I need to let it scab over, but what if the wound has already scabbed over? or you can't tell because its kinda.. soggy looking and brown. <First, lets take the turtle from the water and keep him dry for a week. Nothing overly complex, even a cardboard box with high enough sides is OK. We want the wound to be DRY and stay dry until healed. Do this right away.> <Once dry, get some iodine solution (Betadine or something like that from a local drug store should be very cheap) and pour some on the leg each day for about a week> <It will be hard for him to move around because turtles don't "limp" very well, but using the leg is great and keeping it dry is critical> Third, is there anything I need to add to the water to keep it cleaner? and how often should I change the water? <I'll give you a link with simple care instructions, but basically filtration is needed to keep the water clean and you should change the water frequently enough that it looks and "smells" clean.> Also, will the two gold fish, shrimp, or crickets that are fed, contaminate the water? <Umm, well, once he's healed, the goldfish are now part of the 'family' and you shouldn't be feeding crickets or shrimp anyway. Small Koi pellets (read the article in the link) is the best quality food you can give the turtle and the goldfish will thrive on it, too.> Thank you very much! <yer welcome! Re: Injured Turtle Arm 5/13/08 How do I give him food and water while keeping him out of the water? <While it's true that turtles eat in water (or at least eat BEST in water) food isn't our # 1 concern. We're worried about infection and water and moisture are what we need to fight here.> And now that I look a little closer, the back leg is also bitten, but this one is just a cut, the front leg however now looks swollen and I can't tell if this... equivalent of the wrist area is broken. The front limb is so swollen (or broken) that it's always bent downward, but he still uses it and walks on it when I take him out of the water. <And walking around on it is probably painful for him as well. Given more time and resources you could keep in something small enough that his activities are limited -- no ability to use the arm means he rests it. But mainly I WANT THAT ARM DRY AND COATED IN DISINFECTANT RIGHT AWAY. If he's other wise healthy he can go a long time without food and water ... plus after a few days of being very dry and disinfected, you can put him in a small dish of water for about 5 minutes every other day and offer him some food at that time. But right now, get it dry, keep it dry and disinfect it. After about two weeks you'll have an idea how well it's healing and whether or not he's ready to get wet again.> Thanks again. Justin <No problem! Regards/Darrel>

Re: Injured Turtle Arm 5/19/08 Hello Crew, <Hiya Justin, Darrel again> He looks like he can bend his wrist area again, hopefully meaning its not broken. <good> Is it better to leave him in a small container that he tries to climb out of (to limit his space.. will he just give up and stop moving)? or just leave him in the.. 1ft by 2/3ft tub he's in that he's in? he sometimes walks on it.. and tries to crawl out still... it has a heating lamp and a shaded area. <that sounds fine. Dry plus the ability to regulate temperature is fine> When do I know I can put him in water to eat/drink? and should I keep him out of the tank until he's completely healed? <5 minutes at a time, 3 times a week - shallow pan, just so he can drink. Wait a 3-5 weeks until the skin looks WELL healed before putting back in his habitat> Also, his tail is shorter... the thinnest part of it is gone seemingly.. will this have much of an effect on his life (just noticed...)? <Not at all, Justin. Turtles are very resilient given half a chance!> Thanks again! He seems to be getting better. <Glad to hear it -- keep up the good work!>

Re: Injured Turtle Arm   5/23/08
<Hiya Justin -- Darrel here> So, I try to feed my turtle when I give him his 'baths' now, but I don't know what to feed him. He ate carrots, and I'm out of crickets and meal worms (haven't fed him those since he was injured, but he eats them), but I've always tried getting him to eat either the Koi pellets or the Turtle Pellets, and he won't eat either. Is there any approved or effective method of turning turtles to pellet food? <Generally speaking -- if you have a turtle that's otherwise healthy all you have to do is wait and when he gets hungry ENOUGH ... he'll eat the pellets. In this case he may not eat at all in the strange and different surroundings and mainly what we want is hydration (drinking) -- much more important to him in the short term than nutrition> Thanks again, his arm is making progress, but he doesn't ever bend it at the wrist area, leading me to believe it may be broken after all, the swollenness of the hand area hasn't entirely disappeared yet either. His back legs are still cut, but that's about it, they look like they'll heal over time. I'm just worried about his front arm (and I guess his tail is a hopeless cause?). <Nothing is ever hopeless, Justin. I have a rescued Slider in my pond that lost his entire front leg to a raccoon, Needless to say her 'walking' is strange and comical -- more of a flopping around that really walking -- yet she thrives enough to lay fertile eggs every year! Once the cuts on the skin (front & rear) have healed over and you're sure that you've got a handle on preventing infection, you can place him in the main tank (away from the meanie that snapped at him in the first place) for an hour or two -- you might find that after a half hour or so his appetite returns. As long as he gets dry after that and back to his healing routine, a few hours in the water will be good for him. Darrel>
Problem with RES and white stock above head  5/8/08 Hello WWM, <Hiya, Darrel here tonight> We have 3 red eye sliders, with the temp been 78-82, feeding them ReptoMin, two filtering system and all Reptisafe for the water treatment. I Also have uv light that I cant not remember at this time the ratings on it. Now about the wound or whatever. It started as a white spot and now today its showing what appears to be reddish color and the skin is peeling... <The water temp is a little high -- 65 to 78 would be fine -- let then bask under a heat lamp to get any warmer. I'll include a link at the bottom of the page. ReptoMin is a fine food, a good quality Koi pellets are essentially the same food for a lot less money> I've attached a link to my photobucket so you can see the pictures. Hopefully be a better explanation for the turtle...can you please inform me on what this might be perhaps?? <Good pictures, Gino. Everything I see points to simple mechanical damage -- that means rubbing or cutting on something, even on the top of his carapace (top shell) as he climbs in or out of the water. It is too localized and right near where the neck tends to rub on the shell to be a systemic infection.> <Read below for my recommendations? Thank you. Gino PS: Is it possible that rocks might have gotten in its neck and cause it to get injured???(there tank we put them into when clean has rocks in it) <Yes, somehow this is an injury and we want to heal it before an infection sets in. First, take him OUT of the water and keep him out until the neck heals. You don't have to go to any great expense ... even a cardboard box with high enough sides that he can't climb out will be just fine. An animal is as generally good shape as this one appears to be can be without water and/or UV for months if necessary, so don't worry about that. (A) Take him out to some place dry (B) After his skin is actually dry, dribble or drop some Betadine or any kind of iodine solution on the neck (C) Every day, place him in a shallow bowl of water for 5 minutes to hydrate and eat -- he may NOT eat, don't worry about that yet -- and then when he's back in his box and dry, repeat the Betadine. Keep this up for a week or so and the skin should heal nicely.> <In the mean time, observe his behavior for how & why he was straining & rubbing his neck -- or look for the sharp rock or corner in his permanent home. Once he's healed and you've found & fixed the source of the abrasion, he can move home again an get what otherwise looks like GREAT care from you.> <Regards, Darrel P.S. read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm  > http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a46/gEE805/IMAGE_203.jpg http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a46/gEE805/IMAGE_201.jpg http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a46/gEE805/IMAGE_199.jpg http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a46/gEE805/IMAGE_197.jpg this picture shows how the neck looks from a profile shot http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a46/gEE805/IMAGE_194.jpg http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a46/gEE805/IMAGE_191.jpg http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a46/gEE805/IMAGE_188.jpg
Turtle floats on water has pale shell and doesn't eat 4/12/08 Dear crew I got two RES turtles from a pet store last November they seemed to be healthy and active back then. Two months ago one of them started having some problems, his eyes swelled shut and he wouldn't eat. I took him to a vet who gave me some antibiotic eye drops and antibiotic to put in his bowl. He seemed to be ok for 10 days and regained his appetite but after a few days he stopped eating again, his shell has become pale, he floats on water usually tilted on one side, blows bubbles from his mouth and it sometimes sounds as if he is sneezing. I'm really worried about him. please help. Im having exams this month and couldn't go through all the FAQ's and the ones I did, none of them had all these problems combined in one. he is an inch long and I feed him turtle pellets twice a day the pet store owner told me that) The other one has some white patches on his shell, I've tried to research what it might be but came up with no answers. Any idea what this might be? he is otherwise healthy and active and has a good appetite. your quick response will be appreciated <Without any additional information, I'm going to assume the turtle is being maintained in conditions lacking in these ways: * Too cold. Check the temperature. Should be around 25 C/77 F. * Not enough UV light. Reptiles MUST have a UV-B lamp for basking under. Non-negotiable for indoor specimens. Turtles kept outdoors will obviously get enough UV-B for the sunshine. Please note that regular aquarium lamps aren't adequate for this. The lamp must explicitly be stated as a UV-B output lamp. Your local reptile store will be able to offer a range of suitable lamps. * Wrong diet. Red Ear Sliders are herbivores. Second only to insufficient UV-B, the quickest way to kill a terrapin of this type is to give it a meat/pellet based diet. It must have green foods. Juveniles need 50% fresh greens, adults more than 75% fresh greens. Review the FAQs on this topic here for details, but the easiest options are cheap pond plants (Elodea, Cabomba, etc.). http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resfdgfaqs.htm * Dirty aquarium. Red Ear Sliders are messy but also sensitive to ammonia/nitrite. A 20-gallon tank with a filter offering at least 4-6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour is mandatory for juveniles up to about 3 inches shell length. After that, you need to bear in mind adults get to dinner plate size, and expect to get nothing less than 55 gallon system. Water changes should be as close to 100% per week as is viable. In other words, siphon out as much water as you can without necessarily taking the tank apart of exposing a hot heater to cold air (it will crack). Clean the filter media every few weeks (likely 1-2 times per month, depending on how big the filter is; the bigger the filter, the less often you'll need to clean it). *Swollen eyes and respiratory infections (which yours have) are classic symptoms of terrapins (and indeed reptiles generally) kept badly. So review the needs of the species you're keeping and act accordingly. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm Simple as that! If your vet doesn't specialise in reptiles, feel free to print off these articles and let him/her have a read. Note that a Vitamin A injection, perhaps along with antibiotics, is the key step in palliative care from the perspective of the vet. Your main job is to review conditions, diet, UV-B, etc. I can't state this strongly enough: reptiles of any type are not "cheap and easy" pets, so if you don't have time to read things, then quite possibly a reptile isn't the best choice pet for you, at least not right now. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: turtle floats on water has pale shell and doesn't eat 4/12/08 Dear crew, Thanks for your quick response. <Happy to help.> Just to fill you in with a little more details, I am keeping my turtles in a bowl which I was told will be sufficient and also that they will not grow any bigger than they presently are (this again told by the pet store owner). <Garbage! Your pet store owner took advantage of you, I'm afraid. Please do get, and read, a book on keeping pet turtles. They need big enclosures and easily reach 20 cm/8" in captivity, and potentially more.> However, I change the water every day making sure its warm enough and place them in sunlight everyday for a few hours too. <No heater? Changing old, cold water with new, warm water won't work. You do need to change the water at least weekly of course, using dechlorinator as well, but you also need a heater and a filter.> but when indoors I use a regular 40-60 watt bulb. <Placing the turtle outdoors for a few hours when the weather suits probably won't work either, unless you have ambient outdoor temperatures of at least 18 C/64 F for at least 9 months of the year. The turtle will need a good 8-10 hours of good basking time. In other words, the climate and day length has to be identical to that of their natural habitat, the warmer states of the southern US.> should I stop taking them outside in direct sunlight and use a UV B lamp instead? <Yes.> Thanks again for all your help. You don't know how much I appreciate it. I've printed the articles and will take them with me to the vet tomorrow. <Very good. Do also visit the excellent RES site, here: http://redearslider.com/ Best of luck! Neale.>

Terrapin- R infection. - 4/3/08 Dear crew, I got myself a little red ear slider approximately 2 mths ago now, it stopped eating for a week n the half and I brought it to the vet which gave it antibiotic solutions. It didn't do too well, so on the second trip to the vet, we started it on antibiotic injections instead. After that it started eating, not much but it put on 2 grams. I have been feeding/soaking it in mashed up pellets, fish meat/soup, prawns, boiled egg white and egg shells. It started becoming more active, however suddenly it slowed down and stopped eating again and the shell became soft really quickly. This brings me to the 3rd trip to the vet, which prescribed vitamin/calcium injections. It's shell is continuing to soften and I recently noticed that the skin around its body is becoming flaky white. It also started to do the 'statue' position where it will just sometimes stagnate itself. I noticed that currently it is not moving it's front left leg.. The vet said that it has Metabolic Bone Disease and gave it a prognosis of 50/50%. I have been caring for it for a month, am getting tired and feeling helpless. The vet said that because it is only young (couple months old) that it is harder for it recover. Can you please advise me of how else I can help it? I have attached a few pictures of Meeno. Breaks my heart to see him/her suffer. Thank you.-Su <Greetings. Do need some more information here, specifically about water quality and most importantly basking. Terrapins, and indeed all reptiles, need access to UV-B light to properly metabolise their food and build strong bones and shells. More specifically, it helps them produce Vitamin D, and without UV-B, they end up with a set of problems somewhat similar to Rickets in humans. No matter how well you feed them otherwise, without UV-B, they cannot stay healthy. To provide UV-B you need a special sort of lamp held above the basking area. The lamp will need to be replaced periodically (consult with the manufacturer for specifics here). From what you're describing, a lack of Vitamin D could definitely be one thing worth considering. Do also remember they need plant food as well as meat. Your terrapins in the wild eat about 50% plant material, and adults more than 75% plant material. There are plenty of FAQs and articles on terrapin/turtle diet here at WWM, but as a quick thought I'd recommend plain pondweed (Elodea/Anacharis) as a cheap and safe vegetable food for reptiles. Put a bunch in the water, and let your pet graze at its leisure. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Terrapin- R infection. - 4/3/08 Dear Neale, <Hello again!> Thank you so much for the prompt reply. I will be getting a basking lamp with uv-b light tomorrow. As I am from Singapore, I usually just put them near the window from morning till night as some sun light do come through. <Ah, but glass stops UV-B light! While they will get enough UV-B if kept outdoors, they will not get enough UV-B behind glass.> After that I use plain spotlight bulbs at night for a couple of hours for the turtle to bask. I turn off the lights at 11pm and put them out again near the window at 8am. I also use plain tap water. <Ordinary spotlights don't really do anything. Reptiles will certainly bask under them and enjoy it, but it won't provide enough UV-B. So replace the spotlight with the UV-B lamp, and you should be fine!> At this point in time Meeno has stopped eating, are there any food recommended that will entice it to eat? <I wouldn't worry about it. Once the reptile has some good UV-B light, he will hopefully get better and hungrier. But some plant material, like aquarium plants, as mentioned before, will be good.> I have visited the vet in total 4 times, and am very embarrassed to disturb the vet so many times. <Don't be. It's good to care about our pets. It's the people who *don't* care, who *don't* go to the vet, who should be embarrassed.> Is the skin condition dangerous? <Long term, yes.> <Cheers, Neale.>

Help: White, pink, and brown sores on RES upper thighs near tail  3/26/08 Hello. Our nine inch long female Red Eared Slider has a dime sized sore located on each of her upper thighs. The sores are white, brown and pink and are slightly swollen. She is acting normal in every respect. She is hungry, swimming around, and basking in the sun. <Likely a secondary infection (Aeromonas spp. or similar) caused by physical damage and/or poor water quality. Dietary issues may be a factor as well: these reptiles are partial herbivores and need lots of green foods to get all the vitamins and minerals. Finally, lack of Vitamin D (via basking under a UV-B lamp) is another factor. So check diet, UV-B availability (old lamps need replacing!), and the ammonia content of the water.> She shares a 200 gallon pool with two other turtles (one male, and a baby female). About two weeks ago, lulled by the sun and a fresh school of goldfish, she arose from hibernation. The pool is relatively clean, though it tends to grow green algae. <Sounds fine.> Does this sound like a fungal or bacterial infection? <Likely, but as I say, a dietary/UV issue could be at work too.> If so, how should we treat it? <If the sort is already more than few mm across, then it's time to call the vet. Septicaemia becomes a real issue, and once established, it's a painful and slow death for the reptile.> Thank you in advance for your attention to my e-mail. -Mary <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Help: White, pink, and brown sores on RES upper thighs near tail Thank you very much. You have been very helpful. -Mary <Cool. Good luck at the vet, and wishing your little turtle a speedy recovery! Neale.>


RES with weird behaviors, hlth. issues, reading  03/18/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Doris> This is my first time writing to a webpage with a question so I'm not quite sure if I'm doing it right or not. I have 4 RES. One RES is older by two years. About 45-50 days ago I purchased 3 baby RES. I've recently changed the 20 gallon tank to a 40 gallon tank, with a floating island and a basking light. When I came home I noticed that one of my turtles weren't moving in the water. I took him/her out to see if anything is wrong, it seems that the right eye isn't fully opened kind of like a lazy eye. I placed it on land and realized it stretched out its neck and opened its mouth like it's trying to take in oxygen. After taking oxygen the RES "lazy eye" opened like before. Is my RES not ready to be in such a big tank with that much water? <Reads like it is having troubles... with both breathing and its eyes...> Or could it be lack of oxygen? Is my RES sick? <The latter> I hope you have an answer to my questions. By the way this is a great site. Thanks for having this site for people who have questions like me. Sincerely, Doris. <Please make use of it. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm toward the bottom... on Turtle Diseases. Bob Fenner>


Red ear slider turtle.    2/16/08 Dear Crew <Hiya Shirley - Darrel here> My daughter has had her turtle for approx 6 months. In the past month the turtles shell has become soft and is kind of "chalky" looking on the top. On the underside of the turtle (belly) it is soft as well and almost looks like it has a small amount of blood seeping through. <Soft shell is a sign of lack of Ultraviolet A&B light -- basically lack of natural sunshine -- and a vitamin deficiency due to lack of diet. The seepage of blood indicates that this is fairly advanced> I live in a very small town and there are not any specialty vets any where around. Please help me my daughter really loves this turtle. <well, we can easily clean up the care issues by making sure that the turtle gets adequate amounts of unfiltered sunlight and a balanced diet (I'll enclose a link for you with some further info) but treating a turtle this much in decline will not be easy.> <First, you're going to need to go to a vet .. even if they have no reptile specialists in your area. If nothing else you need an accurate weight and some liquid calcium diluted in a saline or sterile water solution that you can inject at 5 mg/kg, daily for 1-7 days.> <In the mean time, keep him dry and warm with access to natural sunlight or a UV lamp (see the link) and place him in water for no more than 10 minutes a day to hydrate and eat. Best of luck to you> <

White stuff on a terrapin   2/4/08 Hello, I don't know much about file size so I hope the picture I'm sending isn't too big. <Too small... too blurry.> Well, here's the dilemma; I have two red eared sliders who have been living pretty happily in my dining room. However, after dumping all the water, soaking rocks and such in salt
water, and replacing with tap water treated with Reptisafe yesterday, I have noticed a white substance growing on one turtle, and floating in the water. I'm not sure if this could be a fungal infection because the pictures I have found on the internet don't look much like what I'm seeing. I also considered that it could be a mineral deposit build-up because I have very hard water, and I don't know how much the Reptisafe purified it. Thanks for any help you can give me! <Can't really see anything in that photo. Are you sure the terrapin isn't moulting? Terrapins shed their skin in sheets, and as this comes off, it looks a bit like thick cobwebs. Lime scale and fungal deposits are distinct patches on the shell or, less often, the skin. Testing for lime deposits is pretty easy. Get some lemon juice or vinegar, use a little to moisten a Q-tip or similar, and wipe the white stuff. If the stuff is lime, the acid in the vinegar/juice will react with it, and you'll see it (maybe) fizzing but certainly wiping off easily. Fungal infections won't come away like this, and tend also to have a distinct smell. Cheers, Neale.>


Worried about my RES 1/31/08 Hello Crew, <Hiya Amanda - Darrel here tonight!> I have looked over almost every question on your site and haven't found the answer I need. <let's see if we can't fix that here tonight> I'm not sure how old my sliders are but I have two one male one female, Both about 6 inches long. <Respectable size for a female .... HUGE for a male. Does he have the elongated front claws that males get?> The female had an eye infection a few months ago so I did what I was told and separated them, and gave her a sulfa- dip 3 hours a day for 7 days. The infection seemed to be gone and she was more then ready to get back in her bigger tank. A couple days ago I noticed she was spending extra time on the basking platform under her light. Every time I come near the tank she stretches her neck out, puffs it up and starts opening and closing her mouth. I called the store where I got (they helped me with the eye infection) and all they said was she is going blind. <Perhaps they are turtle psychics?> That doesn't make sense to me. <Nor to me ... in the first place, if the turtle is going blind how would it see you to puff up and snap at you?> Do you have any idea what she is doing? Her eyes are clear and not puffy, the tank is clean and running well. She has a basking lamp, filter and a heater which is set at 76 degrees. Please help me. <I'd like to see the temperature under the basking lamp to be 88-92 degrees and no heater at all in the water (unless you live in Alaska or keep them in an unheated room. General rule, no heater for turtles!> <Now down to Miss Snappy. Let's start simply -- is she active and eating? Swims well? Has no trouble hauling out to bask and regardless of how often ... does eventually dip back into the water all by herself? If the answer to all of these is "yes" then my guess is that each time you walk up to the tank she puffs up & gapes at you as if to say "I'M NOT GOING BACK INTO THAT ICKY SULFA WITHOUT A FIGHT, MISSY!!!!" If that's the case, giver her time to get over the feeling of being threatened> <If any answer is "no" then write back and give us more information> Thank you very much. Amanda


PLEASE HELP!! RES hlth.  1/31/08 Dear Crew, <Hiya Ed> My girlfriend decided to buy a poor little Red Eared Slider that was slightly larger than a quarter and had me take care of it. <One of the many drawbacks to having a girlfriend is that they are ALWAYS bringing their turtles over ... day & night ....> I've only had it for 4 days and today when I got home he stuffed himself in a corner. When I moved him out to see him he had a huge blister between his head and his right claw. The blister was easily bigger than his head and the skin had completely peeled off. It was a clear blister with red blood I assume pooled at the bottom of the blister. It looks horrible. As soon as I saw I made some calls to the local vets but all the reptile vets where closed for the day and the emergency center told me to wait till tomorrow to call a rep vet. I tried putting him in a sulfa dip but the E.R. vet said not to because of the blister. I took him out put him in a 10 gallon tank with a heater set to 78 degrees with clean water only an inch and a half deep with a basking rock and a heating lamp. The rock is far enough out of the water where he can stay relatively dry and still have easy access to the water. What should I do? Put him back in the dip or what kind of meds should I get him. <He doesn't need to be in the water at all right now, Ed. Take him out and place him somewhere warm and dry. If you CAN ... coat the blister with Betadine (Iodine solution) if you can coat the blister without getting it into his eyes, nose or mouth -- just a drop or two -- and wait to see the Vet> I'm planning on visiting the vet but am afraid its going to cost me a lot. I don't mind paying but if its an excessive amount I'm not sure if that's an option for me at this point. <I understand. Most people don't realize that a veterinarian goes through the same length of training as a human doctor (MD) and has to deal with dozens of different types of patients, none of which can even tell him or her where it hurts. Often a Vet visit is even more costly that a human visit.> I really want this turtle to live because I already have another Red Eared Slider in a similar tank that is already 4 inches big. I've never had a single problem with him so that's why I'm so shocked about what happened to this little guy. Please help. <I hope you can arrange a visit with the Vet, Ed. The cost will be well worth the piece of mind for the office visit and I doubt that actual treatment will be that complicated. My guess is the vet will aspirate the blister, coat it with a topical antibiotic and tell you to keep him warm & dry for 8-9 days.> Ed


Red Eared Slider - Black Lines  -01/30/08 Hello! <Hiya Samson, Darrel here> I have a quick question about my Red Eared Sliders. They are about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. Recently, I have noticed that the lines between their plates are getting black and becoming thicker. I was wondering if this is natural, because when I see other turtle pictures, their shell has no black lines between the plates and it appears shiny. Could it be from my turtle's diet? My turtles are in a 20 gallon tank with a UVB light, heat lamp, and heater. I used to feed them a few pellets a day, feeder fish (once in a while), and veggies (once in a while). After reading your help tips I plan on feeding them a larger amount, because before, I did not feed them a lot since I feared they would get fat :] Anyways, I am worried about the black lines on their shell. Is there any way I can make their shell look better? Thank You! <So far, everything seems just fine. The black lines in the margins (between the scutes) is completely normal in juveniles and that fact that you can see it clearly is a credit to your efforts as a pet keeper. Keep up the good work!!! one thing -- skip the feeder fish, OK? When it's treat time, feed them a couple night crawlers (earth worms) from the pet store -- they usually come in a container of a dozen, so feed them a couple and put the rest out in a garden.> Samson


Turtle trouble 1/17/08 Hello WWM! <Hello - Darrel here tonight? I have purchased a Red Eared Slider hatchling about two weeks ago, and it died today. <On behalf of Bob Fenner and our entire crew, we're very sorry for your loss, Jake. All creatures great and small deserve our consideration in life and our sadness in passing> He was showing no symptoms of any disease. He died very fast. <Reptiles and fish are generally stoic animals, Jake. They are very clever in hiding any outward signs of distress until, quite suddenly, they appear VERY sick. Usually they've been sick and going down hill for a long time and by the time they show signs we can see, they are often too sick to be saved except by the most heroic and expensive methods.> It seems to have this white build up on his head and legs. I know for sure that it is not just skin from shedding. It does not fall off. It just sticks there. <Without an examination by a qualified person, my best guess would be a fungus. It's common in the Emydid turtles (sliders, cooters, etc) and in the conditions in which most hatchling sliders are kept commercially, it doesn't take much for the infection to take hold and take over.> I am concerned about my other turtle, he is a Yellow Bellied Cooter, and he has some of the same White build up. He is eating fine and swimming great. I also own a Mississippi map, about 2 months old, and a Western Painted who is about the same age. They are doing fine. <Several issues, Jake. First, the fungus is almost always present and an otherwise healthy turtle can exist in a tank or enclosure without any ill effects. What changes is any condition that weakens the turtle or gives the fungus even a temporary advantage.> Do you have any advise? <Yes I do. This is serious and we have to fix the problem. First, I would take the turtles out of their tank/enclosure to a warm & dry place for a few days. Make sure they stay warm and dry and place them each in a shallow dish of clean tap water for about 5 minutes every day in order to drink, poop and eat, then back onto dry land. Remember that moisture works to the advantage of the fungus, so we want them dry. Spread a topical antifungal like Lotrimin or Tinactin or similar generic ointment from the drug store over the infected areas once a day (make sure not to get it in their eyes, mouth or nose) for at least 10 days. Next, drain their enclosure and scrub everything with hydrogen peroxide (same trip to the drug store) and make sure not to get it in YOUR eyes, mouth, nose or furniture/carpet, etc. - follow the safety precautions. This includes pumps and filters. Rinse. Re-fill with water, add chlorine bleach (same precautions as the peroxide) and run the filter, etc. overnight in order to kill as much fungus and bacteria as possible. Drain & rinse. Refill and drain/rinse again. Set it up and leave it running for the rest of the 10 days the turtles are being treated.> <This will have removed or neutralized most of the fungus, so now we have to see that it doesn't get us again. Pay VERY close attention to your water quality, Jake. Your Graptemys (Map turtles) have thinner protective mucous layers that the cooters & sliders AND they spend much more time in the water ... making them more likely to get infections. The next thing and most common reason for fungus and even bacterial infections is not enough heat & light. All your turtles need a warm basking light and good UV lighting in order to regulate their temperature, but also to dry out the water loving fungi. Last, check & recheck your care against the guide in the link below. The #1 way to treat this condition is to never let it happen in the first place.> Thank you so much! <Best of luck to you!!!> Jake < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>


Sick turtle, RES   1/8/08 Hello <Hiya Amanda - Darrel here> I have two baby Red Eared Sliders. They both are about the size of a silver dollar. One is very active and eats really good. The other one basks all the time. I have noticed a couple of small white spots on him. One is on his foot and it looks like one is on his neck. When I have put him in the water it looks like he(?) may be shedding under is neck too. <It could be shedding dead skin, which is normal - or it could be a bit of a fungal infection> I clean my tank out a least once a week. I have recently purchased the sulfa dip and started that. <I'm not really a fan of those commercial dips. I'm not saying they don't work but I haven't seen them work very well. I've swabbed the affected areas with common household vinegar (keep it out of his eyes, nose & mouth) and for some fungal infections I've used Tinactin or Lotrimin or any kind of common athlete's foot treatments with pretty good success. The key is to treat the area and then keep the turtle out of water for 6 to 8 hours afterwards. They can go weeks without water in they're put into a shallow dish for even a few minutes every other day just to drink and eat.> I have not experienced him eating. He still has activity b/c he will move around if I touch him. I have a 10 gallon tank with about 2/3 full of water with a rock to get out of the water and a floating dock. Over the dock is a 15w UV light and my water temp stays around 76*F. <Sounds pretty good. I'd lower the water temp to around 73 and make sure that the basking area is warmer (check out the link enclosed)> Any suggestions on what I can do to get him to eat? <I use Koi Pellets from my local pet store. It's a perfect balanced food for most water turtles -- again, check the link> <regards, Darrel> <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

VERY sick little turtle 12/20/07 Hi guys hope you can help me with this. <Hello again> I'll try make it short -I have a sick 5gm red eared slider-symptoms are gasping for air /not eating since 3 months/wasting/tilt in water/doesn't like water anymore/swollen eyes/red marks between scutes [looks like blood]/bones are becoming softer lately. She still passes urine ,sometimes stool. There is absolutely no vets familiar with turtles here N.B. I just graduated from medical school and I can give her IM injections in hind limb <The first thing to say here is that a 5 gram baby turtle that has been ill for 90 days in usually in very bad shape and at this point the odds don't favor her. This is not to say we won't give it a try> My attempts for treatment: 1-a course of Chloramphenicol 50mg/kg for 11 days---->made the neck swelling nearly go away till reaching a point of no further improvement then I stopped it <You've written about this before, Ahmed and I'm going to tell you the same thing again -- Chloramphenicol is an antimicrobial used mainly in treating amphibians and certain fungal infections and not normally prescribed for turtles> <*> <*> <OK everyone, listen up and pay attention. As I've told you all and Ahmed on previous occasions, I'm not a veterinarian nor, as far as I've been told, is anyone here on Wet Web. Consequently it is not our position or desire to recommend drugs, dosages, courses of treatment that IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM is to be taken as a substitute for actual veterinary medicine, OK?> <*> <When you have an animal that is noticeably ill, it is my advice and the advice of WWM that you seek out proper medical advice from a trained professional and that you follow that advice. <*> 2-after about weeks of the first course Lincospectin for 4 days [I wasn't sure about the dose and there was nearly no improvement so I quit it ] +3 injections of {vitamin A, C and E} with a day or 2 interval between each other <Continue the vitamins and add calcium unless you're sure she's getting enough in her diet, otherwise her body is leeching the calcium from her bones to keep her heart pumping> 3-then I tried putting dissolving Oxytetracycline in the water {a fish vet told me to} I did that for 5 days and today is day 6------>not sure if there is an improvement 4-tank water is dechlorinated and I change it everyday ,temperature is about 27C/UVB she is quarantined N.B: these were not the conditions before she gets sick {was worse} <Take her out of the water and keep her warm and dry. Continually being wet when she's unable to properly regulate is an invitation to a secondary infection and/or fungus even in the best of cases. Put her in water for 5 minutes a day to hydrate and perhaps eat and then out again. warm and dry!> 5-the site of injection I use is indurated and shows swelling after injections wonder if the antibiotics get absorbed - what I am asking for is: 1-what do u think about the condition and about what we can do? 2-Shall I use another course of antibiotics? if so----PLEASE mention the names and their doses the antibiotics that I can get are: 1-enrofloxacin <This is generic Baytril, which I've recommended to you in prior emails. 10 mg/Kg once a day for 15 days. You'll have to dilute it with sterile water in order to bring the dose down AND because it has a tendency to burn the skin at the injection site -- and you already have a problem with finding useable sites now.> hope u can help me waiting for your reply thanks for your time <That's all I have for now, Ahmed -- I hope it helps -- Darrel>


Turtle Egg Problems   12/9/07 Hi there, <Hello - Darrel here> A few weeks ago I got my red eared slider from a cousin, who kept her in poor conditions (no UV light, water often dirty, fed raw chicken). She now has proper environmental conditions here. <Glad to hear that> For the past week she has been in nesting mode and has laid several eggs but is unable to lay the rest (at least 5, as seen in x-ray at vet). She seems satisfied with nesting conditions (access to potting soil, plenty of warmth, light etc) and her appetite is still robust. She is unresponsive to Oxytocin and calcium injections. <OK, she's having access to good veterinary care as well, congratulations. Are you giving the injections or the vet? The only reason I ask is that I ran into someone once who'd been sent home with Oxytocin that was administering the injections in the front limbs as you would an antibiotic when it has to be injected in the rear of the animal to be effective. Just a double check on that detail> Instead, she is excreting stringy material, some bright yellow, some pinkish or red, from 1 to 3 cm in length. The yellow ones are more common. They are curly. What are these? Embryos and yolk strings? Dead parasites (they do not move)? <It's likely that they are the crushed/destroyed remnants of some eggs as well as some dried blood from the process. This would indicate that the Oxytocin IS working but that the eggs were just too old to move smoothly. Without examination that would be my best guess.> I'd rather try everything before we move on to surgery. Suggestions? Could an infection be to blame? Does she just need more time? Problems from poor nutrition at her prior home? <All of the above can be playing a role. Many of the attributes from poor conditions and diet linger and a few never go away. What you could do (in this case ask the Vet to do) is to irrigate & flush the ova tract with fluid once a day for a few days. Dried eggs stick to the tract as if they were glued in place yet they will soften just a bit and it reduces the tearing of the duct walls. Whether this will be any real benefit remains to be seen. If it were me, I wouldn't delay the surgery because at this point there's nothing to be gained from letting those eggs remain in place. Eventually they'll calcify and become so attached to the duct walls that surgery would leave her unable to lay more eggs> Your comments are much appreciated! <Let us know how it works out>  

A swollen turtle needs examination  11/12/07 Hi, <Hello> I have a Red Eared Slider, I have had him for a while now and he has been doing fine. I'm not to sure what's wrong with him now, this morning he was swimming around and looked healthy, but when I came home from work he doesn't want to move, his eyes stay shut, and he looks swollen on his legs and around his tail (butt). It's very swollen looking and it looks like a clear skin... is he ok? <I'm sorry to hear this, Angela. I'm not sure what's wrong either but it sure doesn't sound good.> <First, let's get him out of the water. If he's in distress at all, he doesn't need the added work of trying to swim or regulate temperature. Put him somewhere warm (around 90 degrees, no hotter) and dry and allow him to rest. When you say he's swollen you mean everything, correct? The skin seems puffy and the spaces inside where the legs go and the skin attaches to the shell seem inflated? These can be signs of internal gas build-up brought on by an infection, but also from a number of other sources. The best thing to do, of course, is have him seen by a competent veterinarian.> What can I do? <In this instance, your turtle needs to be physically examined by someone with experience possibly, if there is a store near you that specializes in reptiles, someone there might give you better advice than you'd get from a regular pet shop. Also, look on the Internet for a turtle or tortoise club near you. Usually they have a phone number for someone who can get you in touch with an experienced keeper that can examine him and help you determine the cause. Until then, keep him warm and dry and place him in water for just a few minutes each day to drink and possibly eat.> Please help!! <One of the more frustrating elements of keeping fish and reptiles or almost any 'exotic' animal is that they're very stoic -- which is to say that they hide any and all signs of their weakness or illness very well. In the wild, it makes sense to never let the predators see that you're weak or injured -- it's a viable survival technique. But in captivity, they also disguise their conditions from us ... until they are so ill or so weak that they can't hide it anymore. So to us, our fish and reptiles often look healthy and then very suddenly they appear very, very sick. I hope you can find a veterinarian or experienced keeper in your area to help you examine him and find out what's wrong.> <Regards, Darrel>

Re: A swollen turtle needs examination 11/19/07 Thank you so much!! He is already starting to look better and his legs are starting to get back to normal. I have a very small amount of water in the tank right now with the rock he sits on.. he finally jumped off the rock and back in the water :) speedy says thank you.. and so does my daughter) thanks again for responding!!! <We're always happy to help, Angela!>


Hatchling Slider with odd behavior 10/21/07 I wrote you recently about a hatchling Red Eared Slider that was exhibiting some strange behavior; spinning in circles as it swims, flipping on it's back and stretching it's neck up and back over it's shell. It has a great appetite, basks regularly and spends equal time in the water. I keep the water temp around 80 deg. and the air temp in the aquarium basking area at 90. The turtle cannot swim below the surface. It spins in circles as it swims because it is trying to get to the bottom and cannot. When it wants to go to the bottom it clings to objects in the aquarium and descends them holding on with its claws. The flipping on it's back is also a result of it's struggle to get to and explore the bottom. I have even held the turtle to the bottom for a sec. or two and then let go and it quickly rises to the top like a fishing bobber submerged and then released. The Slider's' appearance is healthy and maintains a good appetite. It is fed a balanced diet 3 times a week. Could the turtle have underdeveloped lungs, one working lung, or some sort of equilibrium imbalance? <Those are all possibilities, Lorie. In addition to those sometimes a pocket of gas can be generated from an internal infection and I've actually seen turtles act this way temporarily because they simply had ... gas!> <At the moment, your best course of action and treatment is to pay SCRUPULOUS attention to detail regarding habitat, water quality and hygiene. Read and re-read the article here: (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm) and compare your keeping to the suggestions. First off, I'd lower the water temp to something around 72 degrees (That's around 22.5 for those of you living in the developed world) and give him a wider "choice" for his thermoregulation pleasure. Next I'd make sure that he's getting unfiltered UV lighting when he is basking.> It seems to have poor judgment skills; when it eats, it attacks the food but often misjudges and misses them. <One of the endearing traits of turtles is their often comical behavior -- but let's stay away from terms like "Poor Judgment" unless you catch him ordering products from late night TV infomercials or sending money to a Nigerian lawyer.> I'm searching for answers about its condition have been unsuccessful. <It's difficult TO answer because what you're describing is a consequence of some condition -- much like seeing someone with a limp and trying to guess how he got it> I wonder if it is a permanent condition, or will it grow out of it.....or worse, die? <Once again, yes -- it could be any of those things. GENERALLY speaking ... if an animal is thriving, which is to say "active, alert, feeding and growing" then they will either grow out of or learn to compensate for any handicaps they may have. Once in a while an animal can exhibit every trait of thriving and compensating and then one day, suddenly and unexpectedly, succumb to a condition or disease that they've been carrying almost since birth. Technically, a trip to an experienced Herp Veterinarian and the resulting $698.20 medical bill would yield a guess from an expert ... but still only a guess ... with the likely result being that you're told to pay attention to habitat, water quality and hygiene until a more clear-up symptom appeared. When the responsible pet keeper does his or her part in providing a superior habitat, Red Eared Sliders can be amazingly hardy.> <regards -- Darrel>


Re: Slider in crisis - past? 10/30/07 Thank you guys you are the best <We try> I didn't reply earlier as I was waiting to see what happens next <Story of MY life, too> I have some good news and some bad news 1st bad news: about the injections, I couldn't do it she is too tiny (5gm) <I'm not sure I get the connection there, but O.K.> I went to the reptile specialist of the zoo (shockingly he didn't know much more than I did) <Not as shocking to me, either> Good news is someone told me about applying cod liver oil drops to her eyes I did and it improved dramatically (she became awake nearly all day) I got her some worms and she seems to love them she now eats exclusively worms and she moves (she was not moving freely for about a month) <There's nothing particularly about Cold Liver Oil that would clear up a respiratory infection, but there's a saying that dates back to the earliest medical treatment in the cave man days: Nothing succeeds like success -- if she's up & eating and we're not merely disguising a bigger problem, then we just be happy! > SO MY FIRST QUESTION IS :IS THIS AN IMPROVEMENT?? <You're there with her and we're all WAYYYYY over here ... so you tell us> Anyway later I stopped applying the oil drops to her eyes instead I was putting it on the worms (dried) then after about 4 days she closed 1 eye then the other <Off hand I'd say this doesn't seem like an improvement> Q.2: SHALL I USE IT AGAIN AS EYE DROPS?? <I'm not as convinced as you are that they did anything other than provide her some comfort> I noticed something else though through out the period when she opened her eyes its color was white (other than the pupil) not greenish as it used to be <The Iris is white? Or the eye is surrounded by a fungal coating? I'd need a much deeper description to discern anything meaningful here, but it's beginning to sound like an eye infection, which I would treat with topical Neomycin OR the Chloramphenicol you keep mention.> 3rd:IS THIS DUE TO AN INFECTION??? CAN I USE ANTIBIOTICS FOR IT?? <I think we covered antibiotics earlier, didn't we? You couldn't use them> About the calcium deficiency which is increasing she doesn't eat other than worms she doesn't want to eat cuttlefish bone I tried spraying calcium carbonate on the food but I guess I do it wrong (doesn't seem to work) I read about getting the worms gut loaded with calcium but I don't know how <Let's try to get her off of a diet that's not healthy for her in the first place, OK? Obtain some Repto-Min food sticks and feed her one or two of those soaked in water. Sliders are omnivorous eaters and it's highly unlikely that she'll refuse them if she's really hungry. You can dust the sticks with ReptiCal for a general-purpose vitamin supplement.> 4th: How can I supply calcium or get the worms gut loaded with it? <See above> About the antibiotics I don't have except Chloramphenicol and I read that its dose for turtles is 50mg/kg I might try doing it again if it's the only way <The advice I gave you in the past letter was an emergency situation that included the possibility of imminent death. If that isn't the case then I repeat that you need to seek competent veterinary advice> Q.6: Is there an antibiotic that CAN BE GIVEN ORALLY? IS THE DOSE THAT I MENTIONED RIGHT? <There are no oral forms of the common antibiotics used to treat internal infections in turtles that can be administered to such a small animal, Ahmed. The oral forms are enclosed in HUGE pills including 99.97% inactive ingredients to protect the animal's stomach (usually a horse, llama or camel) from the caustic active ingredients -- just not terribly appropriate for your needs. Your case presents as an indication of injectibles.> <1 Make sure she's warm and dry and access to very CLEAN water> <2 Make sure she has access to very direct (completely unfiltered even by window screen) sunlight -or failing that- direct exposure to UV light> <3 Moderate amounts of food> <4.Address [possible] the eye infection, any fungal patches and/or skin ulcerations individually> <Best of luck - Darrel>


Please help, RES hlth., Neale chimes in  10/16/07 I seriously need help and hope somebody replies. <we'll see what we can do - Darrel here> I have a baby Red Eared Slider. It has been my pet for about 7 months now. She has been sick over the past month through which she ate only 2 bites of fish. About the nutritional history she didn't like any kinds of food except cooked chicken and meat and fish and egg white. She was the best in health and was too active all the time she used to like basking in the sun (than the other) at 1st it stopped eating at all then her eyes were swollen and kinda white and maybe I saw her sneezing or coughing and having a nose bubble a few times all that disappeared except not eating and swollen eyes. <There are some nutritional issues here, but we'll get back to them> Then I took her to a vet (the most popular I know) and he looked very not experienced with them he said its the disease of the eye its herpes and its fatal and its non treatable I kinda wasn't convinced) but its really kinda difficult here to find a vet who is good with turtles. <True> Anyway after that she started GASPING FOR AIR and making noise from time to time while breathing and her neck is swollen too (ears) I suspected a respiratory infection I raised the temperature of the water to 30 C for two weeks now with no improvement and now she always stands on the hind limbs (as if standing on legs )while she is leaning on the walls of the container NOW maybe the swelling around eyes is not that much instead the skin around the eyes is darker and she kinda cant open them the neck is swollen she is very wasted doesn't eat anything the most posterior part of the shell (the part she stands on) is going soft she sometimes does an EXAGGERATED gasping that looks scary but goes away if I make her stand as she likes. <I see ...> IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO I want 2 give her antibiotic injections but I don't know how or where exactly in the forearms and I don't know about the dose and we don't have Baytril so I was planning to give her either Ampicillin or Chloramphenicol wish somebody can help me with that. <I'm truly sorry for your troubles, Ahmed. Your turtle is truly sick and there may be not all that much that can be done. I'm not sure about a Herpes diagnosis and your guess about upper respiratory infection seems more in line -- certainly more typical. Baytril would be the treatment of choice but it's expensive, hard to administer and strange as it may seem, is very stressful to an already stressed animal.> <The first thing I'd do is remove her from the water except for a few minutes each day to bathe, drink and eat. Other than that, keep her warm (around 31-32 C) but not cooked under a heat lamp. Natural sunlight is a very potent ally in this fight, but getting enough without overheating her is going to be a challenge. I'd like to hear more about what treatment the veterinarian gave her. I'd also like a second opinion here. Neale?> <Darrel, I agree with you the Herpes diagnosis sounds dubious. The description is much more like a standard bacterial infection of the respiratory tract (essentially pneumonia-like infections). Pretty common among reptiles when kept in less than perfect conditions. Anyway, the only way to cure this particular little terrapin is for the owner to find a vet experienced in treating reptiles. Most are not, and such vets will be a complete waste of time and money. In the short term the owner must take special care to avoid chilling the reptile. But without antibiotics it isn't going to get better, and only a vet can decide the precise antibiotic to use for this particular infection. In fact because the infection is probably caused by multiple bacteria, the vet is likely going to have to use a cocktail of drugs. Your correspondent could point their vet at the following page of the Merck Manual for more. http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/171407.htm Hope this helps, Cheers, Neale> <So there's your second opinion and he brings up a good point. If you can't find a good reptile vet in your area, it is certainly reasonable to print out some information for him.>

Re: please help: RES hlth.  10/18/07 First of all Thanks for your reply Darrel <You're welcome> about the vet he didn't suggest any treatment he said either she is going to live or die and there is no treatment for viral infection. I suggested that if he was sure we can use antiviral (acyclovir) which is used in human and iguanid herpes he said its not effective (but he looked like he didn't know). <Neale and I agree that a viral cause is not likely. Hoof beats=horses, not zebras. Think URI> I searched up the net and I found a little about herpes except for sea turtles and it looked awful (fibropapillomatosis) and I found a lot about pneumonia and that if I had these symptoms I should see a vet which is useless in our case. <My friend Doug Mader DVM does a significant amount of surgery for the Sea Turtle Rescue program in Marathon Key, Fl and I can assure you that your turtle doesn't have that.> SO if I am going to do something its going to be done by ME even if it was injections I know its going to be difficult as she is sooo tiny (about an inch and half) but if I can do something its better than watch her die <Welcome to the club Ahmed. We routinely spend ridiculous amounts of time and money on our pets -- often way out of proportion to our budgets -- for that very reason> The 2nd problem here is that in case it is bacterial not viral, there is no "Baytril" that's why I suggested Chloramphenicol <Well, the vet IS right about one thing. If it is viral there is little to be done, but it's not. Everything you describe sounds bacterial.> The 3rd is the dose and site of injection I read in an article that it should be 2 mg/kg (mine is in grams) about the site I read that it should be in the front legs (but which part???????!!!!) <*> <READERS Please note: The following is an emergency condition under which I am violating a basic principle of responsible pet care. I am giving specific medical advice without myself being a medical professional or even examining the patient. I am doing this based on an ongoing communications with the pet owner and after consultation with a colleague in which we both believe that (A) there is no other path available to the pet owner and that (B) doing nothing will result in certain death for the pet and that (C) - read below - the pet owner has a reasonable chance of being able to obtain and administer the required treatment.> <*> <This is NOT to be taken even REMOTELY as standard advice or even worse, to be thought of as a reasonable standard of care: A reasonable standard of care in cases such as this is to find a responsible and experienced Herp (reptile) veterinarian and follow his of her advice to the letter! PERIOD!> <*> <I'd have no problem doubling that dose to 5 or even 8mg/kg for a case that's been going on this long. The injections may be given intra-muscular (into a thick part of a muscle) or subcutaneous (just under the skin.) Evidence suggests that it's quite irritating to the animal, so diluting it 50/50 with sterile saline AND then injecting that half in each front leg is acceptable. Reduce to 3-4 mg after 3 days for the balance of 21 days.> There is another problem though which is she doesn't eat (it's been a month now) and she doesn't open her eyes except if I keep bothering her till she only opens one eye but they're not much swollen now but their skin is dark. <A tiny bit of liquid calcium and liquid vitamins orally (grimace - or even injectible) wouldn't hurt> About the condition I am keeping her in 12x6 inches with little water only enough for her to walk not swim (she usually even doesn't walk she just stands on 2 back legs resting on the wall) the water is always clean and dechlorinated and the temp is 30 C is this enough????!! <At the moment, I'd rather see her dry & warm and only hydrated (bathed) a few minutes a day.> If you can help teach me about the injection thing or tell me what to do that would be great <That's the best we can tell you right now, Ahmed and we're all hoping it helps> N.B: I am in medical school (last year) so um kinda familiar with scientific talk an injections but not to turtles of course <Ahmed the sad truth about reptile and fish medicine is that by the time we keepers notice their illness, it's usually in a very advanced state. The reason so many exotics (which in this case includes turtles and fish) are lost under veterinary care has as much to do with the fact that only very advanced cases are even noticed by us as it does finding a qualified vet. Never in the history of the world has the phrase "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" been more a reality than in animal husbandry. We're doing everything we can do for your little girl and we're all hopeful, but at the same time, as I think you realize, the odds do not favor us. Still, move ever forward with hope as our light> Thanks again <Best Wishes. Darrel, Neale, Bob & everyone else at WWM>


My Red Eared Slider is sick! 10/16/07 Hi, <Hiya -- Darrel here> I found a baby Red Eared Slider turtle in a dry plastic container 1 year ago. It was the size of a toonie. <You're Canadian, eh?> I rescued the poor little turtle and I noticed that his shell was really soft and there was a slimy white guck around his mouth. I would remove it with a q-tip everyday so he could eat and I would brush his shell with soap. The slime disappeared after treating him with a fungal medication and his shell became hard. I always had to hand feed him because he wasn't able to do it by himself. I have a feeling he is blind due to the fungal infection he previously had. He has no sense of directions and he keeps knocking his head in the glass. He panics all the time and splashes the water everywhere. <While it sounds like he has some problems, YOU seem to be doing a great job> Today after I cleaned his tank, I noticed that his mouth was open under the water. After examining him for a couple of minutes, some orange stuff came out of his mouth. He puked like three times. I don't know what's wrong with him. I noticed that there was some green spots on his floating bridge. I wonder if that's making him sick. Is there anything I can do? How do I make him eat on his own? I was also wondering about how to keep his tank clean. I seriously need to wash his 15 gallon tank once a day because it stinks so badly. I tried three different kinds of filters and none of them worked. Any info would be great. <The first thing is that you're right -- one turtle under three inches (7.6 cm) should not be fowling a 15 gallon tank in a day. Put him in a different container for a day or two, scrub this one thoroughly with bleach (take safety precautions) and kill any and all kinds of organics. If there's gravel, wash it in beach as well. Filters, filter tubes, logs .. everything that comes in contact with the water. I suspect that you have some waterborne parasites, fungus and/or mold.> <Meanwhile, let him stay dry and warm, clean the shell and mouth area as you have been doing and see that he gets ample amounts of sunlight or UVA/B lighting. When you finally put the tank back together (after rinsing 3 or 4 times and letting it sit for a day or two) don't feed him in there. Take him out to a small container, bowl or whatever and feed him there. My guess is that keeping his habitat cleaner will go a long way to keeping him healthier.> <Now, as to the regurgitation, you could be looking at a severe parasite infestation or even an advanced infection. Without a trip to the vet you won't know for sure, but being dry and warm for a few days will help both possible conditions.> Thank you for your time. <Hope it helps>


Turtle Care - 10/08/2007 Dear WWM Crew, <Greetings,> I have emailed you previously regarding to a sick turtle of mine. Thank you very much for your reply, I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, the turtle died on the fourth day after purchase. I suspect her death was caused by pneumonia. Frankly, I'm still feeling very sad about it. <Hmm... pneumonia relatively uncommon, and without access to a microbiology lab, not something you can prove. Mostly turtles die from not enough warmth, poor water quality, lack of vitamins, wrong diet, etc. Review basic care before justifying your conclusion here.> The other turtle, Alphonse, is quite healthy. He's grown to about 1.5 inches. I've noticed that he likes to bite a lot. When the other turtle was alive, I noticed that he bit her feet and shell for a few times. Is that normal? <Yes.> I thought about getting another turtle, but I am afraid that Alphonse might attack, so I did not. <Red-ears are basically tolerant, but males at least will try and establish a pecking order. No harm is done, provided there's enough space. They don't *need* friends though, so if you don't want to buy another specimen, don't.> Currently, I have a 10 gallon tank, a floating dock for him to bask on, UVA and UVB lamps, and a submersible heater. I change his water and clean the tank every 3-4 days. <Too small... these animals need a 20 gallon tank from the start simply to maintain good water quality, and once a few inches long you need something closer to 55 gallons. Please bear in mind these are BIG animals. You also don't mention a filter. A filter is more useful that water changes, because a filter removes ammonia in "real time", while water changes merely dilute it periodically. Of course, you need to do water changes *as well*. When shopping for filters, look for one providing 5-6 times the volume of the water in turnover per hour. So in a 55 gallon tank, let's say half-filled with water, you want at least 5 times 22.2 gallons = 112.5 gallons per hour. You'll find the turnover rating on the filter pump and/or packaging.> Also, I was wondering how long could RES babies go without food. <Many days, even weeks. Reptiles are very good at fasting, especially when the temperature drops. But this isn't an issue for Red-ears. When you're away on holidays, simply stick a couple of bunches of Elodea or Cabomba in the aquarium. You can buy these plants in bunches from any aquarium shop, very cheaply (around here, they're around £1/$2 a bunch). The Red-ears will happily eat them while you're gone, and being plants, they don't pollute the water. They also stay alive until eaten, so can be used indefinitely.> Currently, I feed him everyday in the morning (ZooMed aquatic turtle food + shrimp treats). But I need to travel in December, and I am quite concerned about leaving him by himself for 3 weeks. Should I find someone to take care of him while I'm away? <Add more greens! Red-ears should receive about 50% their diet as green food when young, and 70%+ when adult. This is ESSENTIAL for their vitamins. Dried turtle food is best used as a treat: it lacks moisture, and many reptile keepers believe causes problems with constipation if used as the exclusive diet. So, try this, alternate between green and meaty foods each, i.e., one day they get greens, the next day dry or frozen foods.> Thanks! Allison <Cheers, Neale>


Semi-question... RES shell hardness, fdg.  10/3/07 <Two different emails & not a question to be found> Hey, <Hiya, Chris> Sorry to bother you. I was just wondering is it normal for an Red Eared Slider' back shell near the tail) however the rest of the shell is hard. He has an appetite and seems to be very active. Thanks for your help. <Answering the question is never a bother, Chris ... FINDING the question sometimes is .... in this case, I think you missed part of a sentence> * <If you're asking about the shell being SOFT ... then .. no. The shell is usually uniformly firm. Perhaps a tiny, TINY bit weaker in that area, but if it's so much weaker that you can really feel it, up the UV lighting and check the diet> * <Email #2> I wanted to know if it was also okay to feed Koi pellets to a baby red eared slider all the time until they are a juvenile <It's not only OKAY ... it's great! It's a perfectly balanced, heavily vegetarian diet for their entire lives. You just may have to buy smaller pellets for the babies, although I usually don't -- they seem to go at the big pellets and take them in chunks.> <regards, Darrel> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm


Dark spots on RES 10/01/07 Hi, I have two RES that my boyfriend and I bought at the same time. They started off the same size, but one of them has grown much too big, much too quickly. The vet said he was huge for his age. Any ideas as to why that would be? Also, they've both started to get dark green (almost green-black) patches on their scutes. Are they melanistic, or is there an infection? They also have a few little whitish spots that don't go away when I press on them (b/c sometimes when they're shedding, they get white spots, but those are just air bubbles under the scutes that are falling off). The last time I was worried about their shell, the doctor said they just had mineral deposits. Should I scrub their shells before I make the (expensive) trip to the vet? Thanks! Clare <Hello Clare. Red-ears grow quickly. Much more quickly that most folks realise. With reptiles growth depends very much on the personality of each animal. Dominant males often monopolise access to food, so grow more quickly. That's likely what's going on here. One solution is to provide food that allows each terrapin to graze at its leisure, for example Canadian pondweed. Stick some in the tank and let them graze. Other green foods, such as Sushi Nori and curly lettuce leaves can be used in the same way. Now, white patches on shells can be either minerals or fungus. Minerals will only be a problem in hardwater areas. They will be obviously chalky, and you should be able to feel them scrape off when rubbed with a fingernail. Mineral deposits are harmless. Fungus is different. It is associated with poor water quality, typically terrapins that are kept in too-small an enclosure with too little filtration and insufficient water changes. Doing a nitrite test is a good way to check the water quality. Fungus normally feels soft or slimy; think about something like Athlete's Foot and you have a very fair idea of what a fungal infection is all about. Dark spots can be caused by a variety of things. With terrapins there are typically three factors. The first is insufficient calcium in the diet. To some extent the right plant foods and periodic feedings of things whitebait will help, but almost always terrapins need to have some calcium sprinkled on their food. Any reptile shop will sell you this food supplement. It's cheap and easy to use. Secondly, terrapins are often given insufficient light. They MUST have access to UV-B light for basking; without this, they cannot synthesise Vitamin D, and the result is malformed shell plates (among other things). Finally, water quality. Bacterial and fungal infections are the plague of terrapins kept in dirty or cramped conditions. Without a photo it is difficult to be 100% sure of what's going on with your terrapins, but I hope this helps, Neale>

A tail of a missing ... tail... RES  9/13/07 Hello, <Hiya Mags!> I am at a lost as to why the smaller of my two Red Eared Sliders turtle tail seems to be swollen and has disappeared? <How can it be swollen AND disappeared?> They are 3 years old and after reading form web sites I would assume the larger of the two would be the female and the smaller one is the male. I have no idea what could be wrong with him. He is eating and acting fine. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. <Barring a medical condition the only thing that jumps to mind is that he's simply obese -- the skin and organs can grow much faster than the shell and it can make the tail appear to disappear ... but when that happens they just look chubby all over.> <Can you send us a few pictures perhaps?> Mags <Regards, Darrel>

Is Our Red Eared Slider Dying? 9/13/07 Hi, <Hiya right back> I have a red eared slider about half a year old. He seemed to be doing okay, but today we found him laying on his back, just below his basking spot (we have rocks with a few different levels for him). He wasn't thrashing or anything, he was just laying there with his arms and legs stuck out. Is he dying? <Doesn't sound like it -- sounds like he'd fallen and got tired of trying to get back upright. Probably as big a scare for him as for you!> We usually feed him one big, or two or three smaller, worms a day, in addition to some red food (keeps in the refrigerator, is pieces of fish, I believe) we bought at the pet store, and greens. However, we gave him a little bit of roast beef sandwich meat today (very very tiny bit). Did we hurt him? The worms feed on gut load, as do occasional crickets if we buy them, and his water is changed every week. He seems to be a bit fat, so we're wondering if we're overfeeding him? <Yes, it does sound like you're feeding him too much and maybe not, all things considered, the right things. Read the link below and home in on the food section. Then remember Pizza and Arby's are People Food!> We also have a big aquarium, heater, turtle basking bulb, big gravel we bought at the pet store, and a few different places for him to hang out on rocks. We put on of those dissolving turtles in the water when we change it, and he also has a cuttle bone to chew on. <Forget the heater (unless you live north of Point Barrow) and let the little guy CHOOSE between the cold water and the warm rock under the bulb (again, see the article - it was written by an expert!> My husband bought him from a street vendor, which we later found out is illegal, so we've tried really hard to give him a good life and the right conditions. <Just remember, as you bring him up ... it's important for him to know that HE is not illegal .... or is HAVING him illegal. Only the street vendor did something illegal. Yanno ... so many of these little turtles grow up stigmatized by that illegal thing and it hurts their esteem and they end up joining turtle gangs when they get older and then roving the pond edges at night ... chewing on grass and getting the girl turtles in an egg-bound way.> Any advice you can provide would be very appreciated -- we don't want him to die! <Nor do we, here in the Wet Web Media World! It doesn't sound like you have a "condition" on your hands ... but you might want to review the link (written by an expert, remember) and do an audit of your care. Thanks! -Erica <Mahalo! Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

RES Shell crack   9/2/07 Hello <Hiya -- Darrel here> My red ear slider recently went through a lot of skin shedding, so I reduced the amount of food I was giving. He has stopped shedding but now has a gap on one side (right side) of his shell, between the outer scale thingies and the next, larger sections on the shell. Is this a crack? Is it normal? <It's hard to say from that description, but let me see if I can explain what I think you are seeing: The scutes grow fastest and thickest at the center, so when the little guy grows TOO fast, the spaces between the scutes will just LOOK deep by contrast. That's not a crack and it's normal for a turtle that's growing too rapidly .... even though growing too fast is NOT normal and not healthy. Make sense>? He is still actively swimming and eating as he was before the gap appeared. I don't think it's shell rot, but have overhauled his living conditions anyway. <That's always the best thing -- since they are fully in our hands it's always a responsible thing for us to assess and re-assess our quality of care> Problem is, I live in China so it is unlikely I could find a vet to help (or supplies to fix him at home) if it is a serious problem. <In your case, reduce the feedings, keep the water VERY clean and make sure the temperature variants between hot basking & cool water are present .. and let's just see how he goes.> Any ideas?? <Doesn't sound like a huge problem, but could you perhaps send pictures?> Thanks Kristy

Re: RES Shell crack 9/5/07 please see attached photos of "wu gui" - turtle in Chinese. Note the bottom right side of shell Hello My red ear slider recently went through a lot of skin shedding, so I reduced the amount of food I was giving. He has stopped shedding but now has a gap on one side (right side) of his shell, between the outer scale thingies and the next, larger sections on the shell. Is this a crack? Is it normal? He is still actively swimming and eating as he was before the gap appeared. I don't think it's shell rot, but have overhauled his living conditions anyway. Problem is, I live in China so it is unlikely I could find a vet to help (or supplies to fix him at home) if it is a serious problem. Any ideas?? Thanks <Kristy -- as I suggested in the first mail, those fissures look like what I described earlier, an artifact of his accelerated growth. Continue your review of your care and reduce the food & heat and I think you and the Wu Gui will be just fine, Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm


Illegal Turtle, RES not on the lam, but sick-env.    08/26/07 Hi Crew, I got my Red Eared Slider in Chinatown and later found that he was illegal. <Hi Amanda -- First, you need to understand that your turtle is NOT illegal. He has done nothing wrong, broken no laws and is not subject to any penalties. Please make sure he understands this, OK? I'd hate to have him go through the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. Same goes for you. Nothing illegal about having him. It's illegal to sell or offer for sale any of a group of turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches except for a few purposes, one of which is educational. Are you learning? Then everything is fine -- so tell him it's OK!> I've had my Red Eared Slider for about 6 months and it hasn't really grown. It's a hatchling about 1.5-2 inches in size. It's shell has gotten really soft and slightly deformed one side is caved in a little the other side is rounded), and he has pyramiding. This is probably due to not getting his UVB rays so I've begun taking him outside more and have ordered a UVB ray bulb. But lately he's been acting really strange, he's slow and lethargic and hasn't eaten much in the past few weeks, and within the last few days he's stopped eating all together. He also gets really stiff and doesn't always move when he is touched, even if his head gets touched. I don't know what is wrong with him or what to do, please help! <I'm sorry to hear that, Amanda. And I agree with you, it seems like a lack of proper lighting, maybe diet and general conditions, too. I'm enclosing a link that I'd like you to read and really REALLY measure your care against this outline. Heat, light and proper diet is all it should really take. I'd like to think that if you read the enclosed guide and adhere SCRUPULOUSLY to what it says, you can help your little guy out and get him back on the right track.> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> --Amanda <Regards -- Darrel>
Re: Illegal Turtle 08/27/07
thanks for responding but its already too late, he died today. thanks anyways I appreciate the time you took to respond. <On behalf of everyone here, Amanda, we are truly sorry for your loss. As responsible pet keepers we all have a responsibility to learn everything we learn and do everything within our power to see that our little friends get the best lives possible, but sometimes it's not enough or we're too late or we just make a mistake.> <I think that a very good way to honor the time you had with him is to read the links and learn more about what is to be done and to make yourself ready and more prepared just in case another opportunity comes along.> <All the best from all of us.> <Darrel>


Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question, sys., hlth.  08/26/07 Hi Neale, I had another question about our Red Ear Slider Turtles, They are doing really well. I still need to get them a UVB light for them but money is tight. There was just one thing about there shell, I don't know if it is because they are growing but it seems almost as if the shell has a sandpaper type feel to it as to before it was smooth. That is it for now. Thank You, Ryan <Hello Ryan. Glad the turtles (or terrapins, as we say here in the UK) are doing well. Yes, a UVB light *is* essential, and not something you can skimp on for too long. So while I appreciate economy, sometimes it's easier to spend a little up front than have to deal with the expensive problems of a sick turtle down the road. Now, as for shell texture. This can mean a variety of things. Healthy shell should buff dry and smooth when you wipe it with kitchen roll, so that it feels like fingernail to the touch. If the shell doesn't feel like that, you have a problem. Shell-rot is one problem, caused by bacteria and/or fungi. It's essentially identical to Finrot on fishes, being caused by poor water quality and/or physical trauma. Treatment is similar too, using antibacterial or antibiotic medications. Shell-rot is usually associated with cracks, scratches, sores, smelly pus, etc. Left untreated, just like Finrot, it can turn into septicaemia. Another common problem is "soft shell". The shell will feel pitted, as if it is dissolving away, and in places the shell will feel softer than in others. The two factors behind soft shell are UVB and calcium: your turtle needs both. The lamp provides the one, the diet the other. I hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question 08/26/07 Hi Neale, Going to go pick up a UVB light first thing tomorrow morning, I just have some questions. If I get a UVB light will I have to have an open top? Will the glass filter the UVB? Also the new growth on the turtles is smooth like a fingernail, it is the old stuff that has the sandpaper texture could it be the UVB not getting to them before when they were younger? They do not have any scratches, cracks, sores or smelly pus. So I think we are ok there. Thanks, Ryan <Hello again Ryan! Yes, glass cuts out UV light, so the lamp needs to go under the hood, if you have one. Realistically, terrapins aren't that good at climbing, so assuming the vivarium is reasonably deep, you probably don't need a hood during the day. Put the hood back on at night to keep them warm. As for the shell, provided the new growth is sound, then the texture of the old growth is relatively unimportant. Old shell plates flake away eventually. I suspect you are on the money about the UVB being an issue with shell growth; problems with diet (calcium) and UVB are at the root of most problems people have with terrapins. Good luck, Neale.>


Red ear slider fishing accident 07/30/07 I don't really have much of a question but I would still like to share this. Earlier today, me and a couple family members decided to go fishing at a public pond. We were not catching much of anything until my dad hooked a red ear slider. He struggled with the hissing critter to try and dislodge the hook which was embedded in it's tongue. After a couple of minutes the hook snapped in half and after realizing part of it was still in it's mouth I turned to my dad. "We need to take it in, We need to take it in!" I told him. After he figured it would be okay he tossed it back in. I feel horrible about it. I could have done more to help it. I expressed this to my father but by then the turtle was long gone. What baffled me was that this was the second time he hooked one just not in the same day. I don't think the turtles in a public pond could be hungry enough to go for bait. I do think they are used to the company of people and a little too friendly for their own good. This whole situation is really bothering me and I just need to let someone know. Maybe you can use this and if so I hope it can help some other people. Thank you for listening. <Hello Saundra. Well, it's hard to know how the terrapin your captured will do with half a hook in its mouth. It may fall out by itself eventually; or it may remain in place for the next 30 years of its life; or it may turn septic and kill the turtle slowly (and painfully) over days or weeks from blood poisoning. Take your pick and pray to the Turtle Gods. If this was me, I'd have taken more care about removing the hook, but if the hook had snapped, then this was perhaps a time to take the terrapin to the local humane society animal sanctuary for first aid. As for the fact a red-ear slider took the bait, that's not real surprising. They're omnivores that snap at anything. They've become established in some ponds here in England, and periodically eat ducklings, much to the consternation of parents trying to console distraught children who've just seen cute little yellow bundles of feathers being dismembered by a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle"! So the fact they have a go at something as easy as fishing bait doesn't surprise me one bit. Cheers, Neale>


Slider surprise, dis.   7/31/07 Hey guys, <Hello.> You helped me out with a question about my two little slider hatchlings back in June, I was hoping you could shed some light on this strange occurrence. As I said, I've got two small hatchlings, one about two inches long and the other about three. I have had to keep them apart for awhile since the one has had a respiratory infection. After extended Baytril treatments, she seems to be recovering and gaining weight. Just very slowly getting over the injection site blister. <Cool. Reptiles can be slow to recover from diseases, partly because we know so little about the pathology of reptile diseases. Optimal diet, ample UVB light, and lots of warmth are the three keys though.> I felt it was time to put them into a common tank and get them used to each other again. The tank is very clean with just some water and floating dock for now since I am only putting them in there for a few hours a day while I monitor their behavior towards each other. But the first couple of times I put them in, the smaller slider started growing this long (4-5"), thin, white, ribbon-like substance out of its rear end. It didn't take long to get long. And it finished and came free after about 10 minutes. The turtle doesn't seem to have any ill effects. But it has happened several times and it hasn't ever happened to the other slider who has always been healthy. Any ideas what this substance is? <This sounds a lot like intestinal worms, possibly a type of flatworm given your description of the worm as "ribbon-like" though flatworms are more typical of predatory reptiles than herbivores like red-ear terrapins. Not uncommon among farm-reared terrapins, especially if the conditions on the farm were less than perfect. Treatment is tricky because some of the common de-worming drugs used on mammals and fish can be lethal to terrapins (such as Piperazine). Instead, drugs like Fenbendazole are used instead, dosed at 2/3rds the body mass of the terrapin (the other 1/3rd is taken to be shell). Because of the complications involved with diagnosing the type of worm and choosing the appropriate drug, it is an extremely good idea to consult a vet before doing anything else. The terrapin *won't* get better by itself, so doing nothing isn't an option. Obviously the main problem with worms is that they prevent the terrapin from putting on weight. In the longer term, they can end up killing the terrapin.> Thank you for your time, Kevin <You're welcome. Neale>


Shell is Dark and my thoughts are cold - 06/27/07 Hey, I have had my RES for a few months now got him from the pet store everything was fine until a few weeks ago my turtle's shell is dark and around the right side the shell is its normal color the shell has been dark for quiet some time was hoping it would turn back to its normal color The turtle eats about every four days turtle bites I try to not feed it so much a few bites at a time and he swims around sometimes but usual he stays in one spot however I have noticed that he is not basking like he used too the water is at 70-72 and its warm here so I know the basking area is a lot warmer I am just unsure of what I should do please advise Amanda <Amanda, I hate to seem unduly fussy here. I usually run people's letters through a spell checker and often I'll clean up the sentence structure just a bit -- so that our kind readers might better understand. In THIS case, Amanda, the problem is that I, your intended helper ... don't even understand. Your email is one long run-on sentence with only the occasional capitalization to guide me in picking out sentence fragments from a morass of seemingly random words. With that said, it's not my intention to punish the turtle or even you -- but I'd like you to understand that as I repeat your letter below, my answers are based on a GUESS of what I think you said ... and it would be so much better for your turtle if I knew more exactly. OK? So here goes: Hey, <Hiya - Darrel here> I have had my Red Eared Slider for a few months now. I got him from the pet store. Everything was fine until a few weeks ago when his shell began to turn dark. <A Slider's shell will darken with age, but since it happened so quickly we should be concerned that water quality, sunlight (UVA & UVB), temperature and diet can all be problems that will cause the shell to darken.> My turtle's shell is dark and around the right side the shell is its normal color. The shell has been dark for quite some time was hoping it would turn back to its normal color. <This is a problem, Amanda -- I just don't know what you mean. The entire right side? The rim of the shell? You've only had the turtle for a few weeks, so did this begin right away?> The turtle eats about every four days. <That's fine. Probably best if he ate every other day, but it's best to underfeed than to over feed> turtle bites <what?> I try to not feed it so much {just} a few bites at a time <That's fine, too. Tell me, WHAT do you feed him?> and he swims around sometimes but usually he stays in one spot. However I have noticed that he is not basking like he used to. The water is at 70-72 and its warm here so I know the basking area is lot warmer. <Warm to you may not be warm to him> I am just unsure of what I should do. <My very first guess is diet - that he's not eating the right THINGS and so he's not digesting them properly. Koi Pellets. Tetra-Min food sticks are good ... lettuce, hamburger, veggies, brine shrimp, etc. are not good.> Please advise. <Please write back with the following things: 1)How big is he? 2)What do you feed him? 3)How do you keep the water clean? 4)The top shell (called a carapace) is divided down the center ridge and into little plates called scutes. Is the darkening all over the shell, or all over just a portion of the shell? If so, what portion? I want to help you but I need a clearer explanation of what you are seeing. 5) Add some punctuation, please.> Amanda

Re: Turtle -- progress report 7/10/07 Hey guys... <Hiya right back> Hope all is well in your worlds. <In general, yes - thank you for thinking of us> I wanted to let you know that my lil guy is great now! Warm water was the key to the appetite thing...now he is a chow hound, and seems to have all his instincts kicking in. He has a couple of temporary tank mates for this month and he seems to be more at home with some friends. I think the calcium thing could be great but won't it just float off into the water since they eat underwater? <A little bit will, some will stick to the worm -- and it's just something to try> Well, it's worth a shot! <Yes, but if he's eating and active then just keep up a balanced diet and he'll be fine without supplements> Thanks for the time and the consideration that you put into your replies, his shell no longer has the striation thing and though he is still a bit soft around the edges he is doing quite well. Once more thank you for all the information. <You're more than welcome -- we're here to help!> <Darrel>

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