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FAQs About Red Ear Slider (RES) Turtle Disease/Health 2

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 3, RES Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, 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 with possible fungus -- 06/14/07 I have gotten a 5 inch Red Eared Slider, and recently I've noticed some white spots on his skin and shell. I looked it up and found out about Fungus infections, but I've also read that he could be shedding, which is activated by Overheating or Overeating and is mistaken by a fungal infection. But I'm not sure this refers to the shell. <White spots on the skin are typical of fungus as are small white spots under the scutes and tiny white lines around the edges of the scutes.> Also, a lighter portion of his shell has appeared, which makes me think that he is indeed shedding. <As the scute gets ready to shed, it takes on a milky white appearance, so this could indeed be a shedding of the scute.> But I still suspect a fungal infection because of the white spots. White or gray spots or patches on the skin would support that. In normal growth, Red Eared Sliders usually shed their skin in small sections that are barely noticeable. If you begin to see larger patches of dead, gray skin, that's a typical sign of fungus.> Any suggestions? <Sure. Air, sun and treatment. First, take him out of the water and allow him to stay dry except for a short bath and feeding (about 5 minutes every third day). Second, try to see that he gets as much natural, unfiltered sunlight as you can. Third, treat the skin condition. Start with athlete's foot remedies such as Tinactin, Lotrimin, etc. or the generic equivalent -- look for the ingredient Tolnaftate or Clotrimazole (or any antifungal ending in "azole"). Apply it once a day to the effected areas and as always, keep them clean and dry and you should see a change for the better after about 5 days and the fungus gone after 14 days. Keep treating for a minimum of 7 days after everything looks fine. For the shell spots, I would wait until the rest of the treatment is started -- if it is the normal shedding of as scute, then no treatment is needed. After everything looks better, please pay close attention to his water quality. Clean water helps prevent infections> Thank You very much, <You're welcome, Jay.> Jay Smith <Darrel>

Red Eared Slider with Sloughing Skin  6/12/07 Hello, <Hiya Kevin, Darrel here> I have a hatchling slider that has just gotten over a respiratory infection. This was treated by subQ injections by a local vet every other day for about three weeks. The slider developed a slight redness on one of it's front elbows/shoulders where some of the injections were administered. This turned into what looks like a smooth round blister. <There are two possibilities that come to mind, Kevin. The most obvious is a skin infection at the injection site, in which case the turtle should be treated by the veterinarian. The second is simply that some antibiotics such as Baytril have a burning effect at the injection site that can lead to some blisters and scars.> The vet gave me some creme to rub on it each day. But this does not seem to have helped. In fact the area where the normal skin appears to be missing has doubled in size. Is there anything that can be done to halt the normal skin loss and help the slider to regrow her skin? <The only thing I would add to the home treatment is to keep him dry except for a short bath & feeding each day. Wet skin promotes the growth of fungus and bacteria and slows healing. Try that and see if it helps. But if it doesn't help, or if the turtle appears in any other way to be SICK, I suggest you have him seen by the veterinarian as soon as possible> Thank you for your assistance, <You're welcome!> Kevin

Re: Red Eared Slider with Skin Problem -- 6/12/07 Thank you Darrel. <You're welcome Kevin> Baytril was what the vet used. I couldn't think of the name. Do you expect that the skin will grow back over the blistered or scarred area? Do you think Repti Wound would be of any use in this case? <Kevin, if the turtle is otherwise healthy and active and we're not looking at things getting worse ... just keep him dry (except for a short daily bath & feeding) for a week or so. You can swab the sore with Betadine (or any other similar disinfectant from the local drug store) and let's see how he does. If the wound doesn't look better or begins to look like an abscess, it's time to see the vet again.> Thanks again, Kevin


Red-Eared Slider shells  6/4/07 Hello, <Hi!> I have searched your forum but have not quite found the information I am looking for. <I'll give you some search tips later> I have inherited a couple of Red Eared Sliders and it has been about 2 months that I have cared for them. I have provided the appropriate environment for them and have changed their diet to include ReptoMin and ReptiCal, plus occasional krill and shrimp. <Excellent work!> Their shells have gradually developed a white area between scutes, around the edges and white spots in places. The color change is gradually doing away with the green color of the shell. Their shell appears to be hard and I clean them with Q-tips periodically. There is no problem with feeding or swimming. Any help would be appreciated. <Sounds like what we call "Shell Rot." It could be a bacteria or a fungus and there are many different treatments we can try. First, keep them out of the water temporarily except to eat and then dry off the shells after they eat -- whatever is growing there grows better in a moist environment so we want them to be basically dry. Don't worry about the turtles, at their small size they can go for a week without even being in water and they'll do just fine. Put them IN to bathe and eat ... then take them OUT & dry them off and treat them.> <Now, we're fighting two different issues (1) What is it? (Bacteria or fungus) and (2) Where is it? (Topical and easy to get to or under the scutes and hard to reach)> <Topical Bacteria is the easiest - You can try cleaning their shells with Iodine (Betadine, Povodine or other brand or type) and letting the iodine soak in and dry. You can paint their entire shell with it if that's more convenient. Just try not to get it in their nose, mouth or eyes but even THEN if you do it's not lethal to them. You should see improvement in 3 to 4 days and gone within 10 to 14 days.> <Fungus is next. If the Iodine doesn't improve things then we'll move to an antifungal agent. Start with the athlete's foot creams at your local drug store. Tinactin, Lotrimin, etc. or the generic equivalent -- look for the ingredient Toflanate or Clotrimazole (or any antifungal ending in "azole"). Apply it once a day to the effected areas and as always, keep them clean and dry and you should see a change for the better after about 5 days and the creeping crud completely gone after about 20 days. Keep treating for a minimum of 7 days after everything looks fine.> <If either condition is underneath the shell enough that our treatments don't reach them, we have to fewer options. Some people claim that Fluconazole, a generic antifungal tablet available in aquarium stores, puts enough concentrated medication into the water to get into a n animal's system and kill the fungus from within. I've never experienced that, but other people say it has worked. My main complaint is that after buying ENOUGH of the tablets for the concentration and length of treatment, you may have paid for a trip to a veterinarian which is always our best, but sadly most expensive, option.> Thank you, <You're most welcome, Nathan!> Nathan P. <OK -- now some stuff about searching our site: Go to our HOME page and scroll all the way down and you'll see a Google Search Box on the left. Click the box labeled www.wetwebmedia.com -- that SHOULD be the default position for that button, I'll have to speak to someone about that. BOB?????) <Unfortunately not Darrel... not of our doing, but Google for their Adsense software... Please refer folks to here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm for this option. RMF> after clicking that box, type the word "turtle" and "shell rot" (including the quotes) and you'll get a good solid page of references on our site about turtles, shell rot and suggestions on how to deal with it.

Care For New Baby Turtles Good Afternoon, I wonder if some one can help me, I have recently brought 4 slider baby turtles.  And 2 of them have now got white spots on their shells.  There is nothing growing from these white spots but I am worried I am doing something wrong. < Spots on the shells could be a the start of shell rot. If they are soft and cheese-like they need to cleaned out by a vet and treated with antibiotics. If they are hard and solid it could be something growing on their shell or just dirty water that has left a scum on them.> We also have one that don't seem to want to eat and has been doing nothing but "sunbathing" but his shells has become dry. Can you please help me? Regards Lisa < Check the temperature of the basking spot. It should be at least 85 F. if it is too cool you need to move the heat source closer or get a bigger basking lamp.-Chuck.

Little Turtle Will Not Eat  - 05/02/07 My little RES is not eating. He sits in the basking light all day and rarely goes in the water. He has been like this for two weeks now and we were getting worried about him so I found this food called Repta-Aid. We have been force feeding him for about 4 or 5 days now and he won't open his mouth for the food. Also when he basks his head will bob and his eyes will close. We have another baby RES turtle in the tank with him and the other turtle is doing fine. We have a filter for the aquarium too but it's not doing much. If you can please help us we don't want him to die! Thank you! Bree <Your turtle is sick and is trying to warm himself up under the light. The basking site needs to be at least 85 F. Get a bigger light or move it closer to warm him up. Do not force feed him. If he is not warm enough the food will sit in his stomach and rot. This will cause more harm than good. Hard to say what exactly is wrong with him. may have eaten too much or got cold and now has a respiratory infection.-Chuck>

Turtles Sick, Few Details, Some Photos  -- 4/15/07 Dear Sir, I have 2 nice Red slider baby turtles , but since last few days I have suspected some sickness. I am attaching the photos both the turtles. Turtle 1: Problem:  5 months old turtle , since few days I can see some white cotton skin removing from his body , not from the Shell only from the skin part, little weak and not eating properly, as I have seen some white spots on the shell and the back side. History : Since beginning not eating proper Turtle stick food, only Tubifex blood worms only. Turtle 2: Problem :  2 months old turtle , since few days I can see some white cotton skin removing from his body , not from the Shell only from the skin part, little weak and not eating properly, as I have seen some white spots on the shell and the back side. History: This turtle is eating Turtle stick and other food. I request you to provide me the help and guidance to cure my turtles. Thanks & Regards Sushil Paschal. <Turtle 1 looks like it is overfed and in need of proper vitamins.  I would recommend ZooMed Aquatic Hatchling Tuttle Pellets. Feed three times a week and only when the turtle is hungry and actively seeking food. Check for proper lighting. Turtle #2 has trauma to the highest part of the shell. Looks like he may have tried to bury under a rock or something. Proper lighting and diet will keep the shell hard and healthy. If the areas are soft then it may be shell rot but it doesn't look like it from the pattern in the photos.-Chuck>

Turtle Getting Ready To Shed  -- 4/15/07 I have a really important question, one of my red ear turtle has grayish looking stuff on its shell in the middle of the lines is it OK? < If it is in an area where the scutes come together then your turtle may be getting ready to shed the scutes off its shell.-Chuck>

Turtle's Shell Is Bitten And Damaged -- 4/13/07 Hi. I bought two red eared sliders about 2 years ago and for about the past 8 months I've had them in a pretty large tank with two fish that I got from my brother. The turtles and the fish get along fine and I've never had a problem with them so when I realized that my sister's baby turtles were not happy in their small place I volunteered to bring them to my tank for a while. Well, it was a big mistake. I left for work one day and when I returned both baby turtles had pieces of their shells bitten off. I separated them immediately, but I'm wondering what I should do to care for the turtles. I later found out that the area that was bitten off is called the bridge (between the carapace and the bottom portion of the shell). Does it hurt them? Or is it like nails, that cause no pain when they are cut off? Will it grow back? I will keep them separated from now on, but when they get bigger, can I  put them back in the tank with the other turtles?  Thank you very much for your time. <The bigger turtles took the smaller turtles for pieces of food. Depending how deep the bites went there could be blood flow to the damaged areas. Keep the areas clean and watch for fungus. Keep the tank clean until they shed a couple of times and then the area should be healed over. It is best to keep one turtle per container. They don't get lonely and in fact view each other as competition. When the turtles get older and close to being the same size you can try to put them together but I think there will be problems.-Chuck.>

Second Hand Smoke With Turtles  4/10/07 Hey, Crew! I recently purchased two baby RES. I keep them in a tank in my room, with a sufficient environment. My only concern is that I smoke a pack a day, and smoke most of those cigarettes in my room. Will this give my precious RES any problems? Also, how long does it normally take for these turtles to grow? Sincerely, Black Lungs in New Jersey. < Second hand smoke is not great for any animal. Turtles are not real heavy breathers but they do live a long time. Over many years they may accumulate some of the toxins in the smoke, but I have not heard or seen of any studies that indicate the effects. The water in the tank would be a bigger problem. Water will pick up everything in the air so I would recommend regular water changes and a filter with carbon in it.-Chuck>

Turtle Ate Human hair  - 04/05/07 Hi there, I stumbled across your "FAQs about Turtle Behaviour" page, while searching for a solution to my problem. You see, yesterday, as I was cleaning my RES's tank, I must have shed a strand of hair into it, and that night, I noticed the strand (it's black) sticking out of his butt! Today, I noticed that the piece that was sticking out was shorter than the day before, so I'm not sure if the hair has broken off or if it's just receding back into his body. I'm extremely concerned about what to do with it because if I pull it out, I'm afraid that I'll hurt him, but if I don't, then I'm afraid that bacteria will grow on the hair and infect him. First of all, is this normal - I've never heard of this happening to anyone before, and quite frankly, I would think it was funny, but that's also because I never imagined it would happen to my turtle! Please help! Thanks, Jemima < No big deal. Human hair is pretty much indigestible. Just give him some time and it will come out with no harm done.-Chuck>

Turtle With Respiratory Infection   3/31/07 I have two red ear sliders, I got them for Christmas a few month ago. Both of them are about the same size-5 to 6cm in shell length. One (a darker one) has always eaten a bit more than the other, but now the one that usually eats less has stopped eating entirely. I think it's a male.  I've checked on the internet for his conditions, the one that matches the most is respiratory infections. However, a lot of the information on the web disagree with each other. Some thinks that this could be solved just by raising the water temperature, while other say this is a life threatening illness and should be treated by the vet with shots. I'd like to know if this IS a respiratory infection: -the turtle has stopped eating completely the day before yesterday (March 28th) -he sneezed a few times when I was watching (I'm not sure if he sneezes constantly, but I saw him sneeze a few times already) -he basks on the rock more often than usual -he stretches out his hind legs out constantly (even when sleeping) -he sometimes lays his head on a rock, kind of like what people do when they're tired -he doesn't move a lot -slow response Thank you for your time, Leanne W. <When humans get sick we get a fever. This raises our body temperature and helps fight infections. Check the temperature of the basking site with a thermometer. It should be at least 85 F and hopefully closer to 90 F. I think the water temp should be in the upper 60's to lower 70's F. While the turtle can handle the extreme temperature changes the parasites cannot. Antibiotics are usually needed to get a complete recovery. Untreated, fluid builds up in the lungs and the turtle is unable to breath or swim. For now check the temps while you search for a vet that can treat this infection. The sneezing is a sure sign of trouble. Go to Kingsnake.com and try to find a qualified vet in your area.-Chuck>

Older Turtle With Shell/Feeding Issues  3/30/07 Hello -I have a 9-year old red-eared slider that I've had since she was hatched. She is constantly shedding her scutes and recently I've noticed small white spots on the top of her shell.  At first I would take her out and clean off her shell and use some shell-conditioner (moisturizer?).  But the spots keep coming back.  I can flick off these spots - there is a barely-noticeable dent left behind when I do so - and it doesn't seem to be soft.  The spots do not seem to return in the same place, rather another point on her shell. She seems to be fine otherwise - she basks regularly and eats turtle pellets.  Her eyes are clear and don't seem to have any problems.  I have tried adding other items to her diet (mealy worms, crickets, veggies, etc.) but she doesn't seem interested.  She used to eat feeder fish regularly, but I haven't put any in the tank since she was moved into a 125 gallon tank. There are currently 4 small fish in the tank with her - originally there were 6 fish but she only ate 2 over the course of about 2 years, so I haven't tried them again.  Previously when there were fish in her tank she would eat them almost immediately.  Should I try them again? < No, not needed.> She has two big rocks on which she can bask - both have lights over them.  I have the water temperature around 80 degrees. <Too warm. Drop it down to the lower 70's to the upper 60's.> I would take her to a vet but I'm having a hard time finding one in my area that deals regularly with turtles. There seems to be a lot of algae that grows on the rocks - could this be an indication of a water issue? < Water is high in nitrates.> Can I put algaecide in the tank (I have some that I use for my fish tank)? <Better to change more water and clean the filters more frequently.> I have 2 filters for the tank - I know each brand of filter is different, but is there a general rule of thumb for how often the filters should be cleaned? <I would get in the habit of clean each filter every two weeks. But don't change them both at the same time. Clean one on even weeks and then change the other one on odd weeks.> Does she need vitamins?  If so, how do I get her to eat them? < At this age your turtle should be eating more vegetable matter. Try not feeding your turtle for a week, then add some spinach and kale to the diet. The pellets should be for adult turtles and not for hatchlings.> She's not handled very much and seems to be pretty shy when I get close to her/handle her, so hand-feeding is probably going to be an issue.  Thanks so much for your help!  Kasie < If you have not done so in awhile, I would recommend that you change the light bulbs. Even though they are still lighting and heating the tank, the wavelengths get weak over a couple of years and need to be replaced to make sure that your turtle gets the proper lighting.-Chuck

Older Turtle Questions II  3/30/07 I wanted to mention that if it's a lighting issues, I live in the Northeast so taking the turtle outside right now isn't an option b/c it's too cold. <Once again check the date on the lighting. new lighting may be needed.> On that note, how warm should it be if I do want to take the turtle outside for some sunlight?  Also, I can send a picture of my turtle's shell if that would be helpful. Thanks again, Kasie < The outside highs should be at least 65 F. Less than that and turtles usually just go dormant. Check on the items I have discussed and see if things get better.-Chuck>

Re: Slider Shell question part 2. Turtle Getting The Help It Needs - 04/04/2007 Thanks for your help.  I finally found a reputable vet in the area and he's treating her now.  The lighting is definitely something that could be contributing to her problem, and I have already made the appropriate changes.  Thank you so much! Kasie < Glad to hear that you followed up and your turtle is getting the proper attention.-Chuck>

Worms In A Turtle Tank  3/30/07 We have 2 small sliders in a large tank. Just today have seen many tiny small 'worms' in the water. We have no local specialist shop or vet and will have to treat them ourselves, please have you any advice, we've had them for a year and wouldn't want to lose them, thank you. <To accurately diagnose the problem you need to send a fecal sample to a qualified vet for analysis. The worms is the solution could be treated with Fluke-Tabs but his will not effect any intestinal worms. Keep the tank clean tank the basking spot at least 85 to 90 F. I don't think the worms you are see are parasitic to your turtles but I would still try to find a vet at Kingsnake.com that may be able to help you.-Chuck>

Turtles Not Acting Normal   3/18/07 I recently purchased two hatchling female RES. <At a hatchling size they are really impossible to test.> Both were quite active upon arrival, however, one seems to be more lethargic lately.  (It recently had problem with eating rocks, but I nipped that habit in the bud by removing all of the gravel from the tank.)  The turtle basks on the floating dock for very long periods of time with its eyes shut.  It eyes appear to be larger than normal, so I bought zoo med eye drops and applied two drops to each eye.  When I went back to check on the turtle, I put it in the water to see how it swam.  It swam normally but just slower.  Then it climbed back onto the dock and closed its eyes, and kept opening its mouth.  The water heater is set to 80 degrees and the water is very clean.  I feed it ReptoMin once daily.  It has a heat lamp, UVA/UVB lamp and filter and the water seems to be very clean.  I think that this "illness" may be due to its extended time in a small container filled with an inch of water that became cold in between water changes to the tank. <You have few things that could be going on here. First check the temperature of the basking site. It should be 85 to 90 F. Second, puffy swollen eyes are caused by a vitamin A deficiency. ZooMed Eye Drops have vitamin A. Other brands of eye drops have antibiotics but no vitamin A. ZooMed Aquatic Turtle Hatchling Food is set up so these deficiencies don't happen. Hatchling turtles have different food requirements than adult turtles. I would lower the water temp to upper 60's to the lower 70's. This big different temperature gradient helps control parasites as the basking turtles dive into the colder water.-Chuck> 

Re: Bigger Turtle Still Slow To Respond   3/21/07 Thank you for your quick response. The smaller turtle is doing very well. But the larger turtle is not eating and is not basking, he also has minimum activity. I have purchased a heater and the water temp is @ 74 degrees. I also have a good filter system. We have had the turtles for 3 days now and the tank is already mucky with an odor. < Filter system isn't looking good now.> I have added the water clarifier recommended when filling the tank. Is their anything else I can do for the larger turtle? < The clarifier is a waste of money. Bacteria is feeding on uneaten food and turtle waste creating this ammonia smell. Change some of the smelly water with clean fresh water and clean the filter. The temperature of the basking site needs to be at least 85F. Check it with a thermometer.-Chuck.>

Turtle's Metabolism Is Very Slow   3/18/07 Hi, I own a small (almost quarter sized) red eared slider. I believe it was a hatchling when I bought it. I've been feeding it baby turtle food once a day, but it's been over two weeks and I have yet to see any feces anywhere. She eats, but she also seems very inactive the rest of the time. I wonder if it's constipation. I owned a turtle before this one, and to remedy it's digestive problems I dabbed some sesame seed oil in it's food. I think this did something, because very soon after it went to the bathroom and went regularly afterwards. Should I do this again, or is it not safe? If so, what should I do for my slider besides placing it in warm water to help it go? Is it even constipation? (she seems healthy otherwise, no sores or anything). < Check the temperature of the basking site. It should be 85 to 90 F. Only feed you turtle a couple times a week when it is active and looking for food. Watch it each. At first it will have a big appetite and then slow down. As your turtle fills up it will slow down and should not be fed anymore. Never leave food in the tank. Always watch your turtle eat.-Chuck.

Jen, will you... Are there other practical Cheloniologists amongst us? -- 03/17/07 I'm happy to answer the red-ear terrapin one. Used to keep these and others, know a little bit about reptiles. Given the terrapin in  question is inactive when not feeding, one likely problem is too-low  a temperature. So we need to eliminate that problem before going  further. In a tank with a proper filter, the faeces should get sucked  up pretty quickly, so they may be "out of sight", so to speak. Cheers, Neale <Ahh, good. Thank you. BobF>

Red eared slider constipated? -- 03/17/07 Hi, I own a small (almost quarter sized) red eared slider. I believe it was a hatchling when I bought it. I've been feeding it baby turtle food once a day, but it's been over two weeks and I have yet to see any feces anywhere. She eats, but she also seems very inactive the rest of the time. I wonder if it's constipation. <Greetings. Before going further with this, I must admit to being worried about its lack of activity. Reptile activity levels, both in terms of moving about and the processes inside the body, depend on warmth. Is your turtle being kept in a heated vivarium? What is the temperature? Red-ears do best around 24C(75F) to 30C(86F). Tanks kept at room temperature generally aren't acceptable.> I owned a turtle before this one, and to remedy it's digestive problems I dabbed some sesame seed oil in it's food. I think this did something, because very soon after it went to the bathroom and went regularly afterwards. <Oil will certainly speed up the flow of faeces through the gut. It is also important that red-ears have a balanced diet -- not just meat, but vegetables too. Dried food is nicely balanced but the lack of moisture and roughage may be causing problems. Check out the live food counter at your aquarium shop and picky up some bloodworms: small turtles like these. Surprisingly, plant matter is important, and this will provide plenty of moisture and roughage. Try greens, spinach, shredded carrot, squashed peas, etc. Peas are especially good for relieving constipation -- in humans, fish, and reptiles! Ideally, your turtle should be eating 50/50 animal and plant foods.> Should I do this again, or is it not safe? If so, what should I do for my slider besides placing it in warm water to help it go? Is it even constipation? (she seems healthy otherwise, no sores or anything) <First check the water/air temperature in the vivarium, then check your balance of meaty/green foods is right, and then worry about putting the turtle in a warm bath. (The water in the vivarium should be warm anyway.) Do also check that the cloaca (the "vent" where the faeces emerge) isn't blocked. Also, bear in mind a strong filter (you do have a filter, right?) will wash away the faeces if it working properly. You should be rinsing off the filter in a bucket of water taken from the tank at least once a week, and if it is full of icky, slimy stuff -- that's turtle poop! Cheers, Neale>

Turtle With Respiratory Infection  2/28/07 I need help ASAP.  I have a baby red eared slider who has not eaten in almost 2 weeks. The pet store told us it was not hot enough for him.  So we made the water in the 80's & got him a basking light.  He tried to eat today but something seems to be stuck in his throat.  He is mouth breathing.  Earlier in the week white stuff would come out of his mouth & he was also coughing.  What can we do?  Can we give him a little of our human antibiotics?  There was some kind of medicine at the pet store for sick turtles but I think you have to force feed them. He will not open his mouth on command.  We do not want to loose him.  Can you please get back to me ASAP? Thank you Elena < His lungs are filled with fluid from a bacterial infection. Heat will help but at this late stage I would recommend a vet to inject antibiotics to save his life.-Chuck>

Female Turtle Biting Off Male Turtle's Nails  -- 2/25/07 Hi! I have 2 RES who are 3.5 yrs old and have always lived together happily.  One is a male with .5 inch long nails and considerably smaller then the other one.  Recently I noticed that the little guys was missing a nail and his hand looked a little pink.  Tonight I noticed another missing from the other hand so I decided to take a good look at him.  During his mating dance the female took a snap at him and took off another nail!  My little guy doesn't seem to be in any pain and there is no blood etc.  My questions are: 1.  Is this normal? 2.  Is there anything I should be doing to treat the missing nail. Your help is much appreciated! < These are just a few of the problems people have when they keep more than one turtle together. The male wants to mate and his showing off to the female. In nature she would just swim away. Unfortunately in an enclosed space like an aquarium she has nowhere to go so she tries to discourage him by biting at him. The nails may grow back. Keep the water clean so they don't get infected. Add a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block by ZooMed to inhibit any bacterial grow.-Chuck>
RES With Wound On Foot  -- 2/26/07
Thank you so much Chuck.  Is there anything in particular I should do  with the wound on the foot of the male turtle?  Obviously , I  can't keep it dry...lol. Thanks-Trish < Keep the water clean. Add a Dr. Turtle Block to the water and give him a Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip.-Chuck>

Sick Red Ear Slider. Turtle Having An Attack  2/18/07 I have a red ear slider that I bought about 10 days ago.  The folks that sold it to me don't have a clue.  Today the turtle is in it's enclosure and it is kicking it's legs frantically and opening and closing it's mouth a lot - not really gasping for air but making a popping sound with his mouth.  Now the turtle isn't moving one of it's front legs.  It still is kicking around like crazy - it won't be still at all.  I have had it in the light, in the water, out of the water - nothing seems to help.  Called the vet and we can't be seen until Monday.  Any advice you can give?  I've read everything on the site so I've increased the temp in the cage trying to give the turtle a "fever" but not sure what else to do at this point. < Your turtle may have a respiratory infection and having trouble breathing or actually be choking on something. Pick him up and try to look down his throat with a flashlight to see if there is any obstruction.  Use tweezers to remove anything you may see. A respiratory infection will respond to antibiotics and heat. For future reference I would recommend that you only buy animals from knowledgeable dealers.-Chuck>

Sick Turtle With Shell Rot    2/16/07 I have had a RES for 13 years and I recently purchased a  new female that is about 4 years old, she is sick.  The place that I got her from obviously did not keep their tank clean and now she has shell rot ( I didn't realize this when I got her)  I took her to the vet and spent a total of $700.00 on medical bills and an entire new set up for her to be in alone.  She has been on antibiotics for 2 1/2 months and her eating habits have gotten better and she is more active. However, she never gets out to bask and I have read past articles on your site and tried to lower the water temp but still no basking.  He shell now has pink spots underneath almost like blood below her shell and I can't afford any more doctor bills, what do you think this could be and what can I do to help her? Please help me, thanks!  From-Kirsten < First of all keep the tank water clean. Add a ZooMed Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block to the water. This will acidify the water and inhibit any bacteria growth. You may want to consider adding a ZooMed Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip too. This will  treat any current bacterial infections. As the turtle starts to eat it will need to come out and bask to increase its metabolism. Check the basking site with a thermometer to make sure it is at least 85 F.-Chuck>

Turtle  With Scale Missing    2/16/07 I've had my turtle (its a red-eared slider) for about 5 or 6 years and I just recently upgraded it to a 50 gal tank. One of his scales has fallen off and there's a brownish layer over it. I'm not sure what it is but I don't think its shell rot because it doesn't look white nor chalky. Also, he hasn't been eating much lately. Is this serious? I might take it to a vet but I thought you might help. -Wes < As turtles get older their shell can change color from a bright green to a dull brown. It could just be genetics. Check the temp. of the basking spot, it should be at least 85 F. As the turtle warms up its metabolism will increase as well as its appetite.-Chuck>

Turtles With Shell Problems   2/12/07 Hi, I have 2 RES. One of them is 3 inches and the older one is about 5 inches. Their shell isn't growing at the pace it should be. I have all the proper items that they need but none of the foods I have a good amount of calcium. The smaller one is very energetic and always wants food but I only feed it three times a day. The older one I feed two times a day. I need help concerning their shell. Please help me. < Older turtles need the vitamins and minerals found in green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Reduce the about of animal matter and increase the vegetable matter in their diet to get them back on track.-Chuck>

Turtles With Shell Problems    2/16/07 Ok thank you Chuck. I tried leafy greens all the time but they just smell it, taste it, and ignore the rest. The older one has ate a couple of plants but not any more, and I give them fruits like apples (sometimes) carrots (once in awhile) and various others, I went to your site a lot and I got a tremendous amount of info, and it was very helpful, but I think it has little detail on the turtles shell. Is there any other option if they don't eat leafy greens? < Don't feed your turtle for a few days until they are good and hungry. Then add a piece of green vegetable. Pull it out after an hour. Offer it every day and when they get hungry enough they will eat it. Cuttlebone that is used in bird cages can also be tried. If is almost all calcium and it will wear their beak down too.-Chuck.>

Turtle Not Acting Normal - 02/11/2007 Hello all, I've been reading your site for a few hours now and I still can't find what I'm looking for. < Thanks for trying.> My Red Eared Slider, Manny, was 'rescued' from Chinatown, NY on Christmas about a month and a half ago.  Everything was going fine, he was eating well (not too much, a few pellets and some freeze dried shrimp once a day), and basking a good deal.  Things changed, however.  Manny stopped eating about a week ago.  He stopped basking about 4 days ago.  I have a 5 gallon tank for now (I plan to get another temporary 30 gallon tank when he grows a little more and becomes a stronger swimmer).  I keep his water at between 80 and 85 degrees and his basking site between 85 and 90 degrees.  I clean his tank once every 1 or two weeks.  I forced him to bask (placed him in a container with no water under the basking light) for a few hours yesterday.  Today I took him to the vet today and he gave him a shot of vitamins but he's still not eating or basking.  I read somewhere on your site when they are sick to turn the water temp down to 70, which I did, but now he's still staying in that 70 degree water and not coming out to bask and I feel bad chilling the poor guy.  I only noticed yesterday that he was breathing with his mouth opened when I went to feed him (I feed in a separate tank). He's mouth breathing today too.  There is no discharge or anything seeming wrong with his nose.  The vet said he looked healthy-a good color and there was no chipping cracking or peeling on his shell.  I was just wondering if there's anything you could add to clarify poor Manny's situation.  Thanks so much for your time and help, -Jill <This is a difficult situation. None of the symptoms you have mentioned really stand out as anything in particular but lets cover the basics. The tank set up sounds good. I recommend that the tanks water temp always be set at 70 F. The temp change between the basking site and the cooler water make it difficult for pathogens to survive. The open mouth breathing could be a respiratory infection but that usually is seen with a nasal discharge and the turtle's inability to sink while swimming. Many times these rescue turtle are starved nearly to death. The rescuer tries to put weight back on the poor turtle and they get over fed. The food rots in their gut and the gas and bloat expand the digestive system and starts to displace the other vital organs like the lungs. Turtles are trapped in a shell and cannot expand their waistband when they eat too much. Turtles die from being overfed. I think you have done all you can for now. Keep the water clean and don't try to feed him again until he gets more active and acts like he is hungry.-Chuck>

Poor Turtle Care    2/2/07 Hi, I hope you can help me.  I recently purchased some turtles and they were sent to me.  However, all three sent to me died.  I contacted the place and they had me return the dead turtles.  I don't know what was wrong with them.  I have 2 previous turtles and now my RES is acting funny.  The last turtle and only turtle in with my RES and map turtle was the western painter turtle.  I have correct lamps, basking and floating docks and food.  Vitamins are given.  The last turtle (western) died around two weeks ago.  My RES is blowing small bubbles from his nose but no always, and I am putting drops on his eyes as he basks frequently and it looks like his eyes are puffy.  I am worried he is going to die.  I lowered the tank temp to 70/72 so he would get out and bask more.  Please help..... < Your turtle is suffering from a respiratory infection. The basking site temp needs to be at least 85 F, with 90 F being better. Antibiotics from a vet would greatly help. The puffy eyes are from a vitamin A deficiency. ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops are needed.-Chuck>

Turtle With Respiratory Problems  1/29/07 Hi There, I've been regularly reading the posts at your site. My query is about RES turtles. I have 2 RES. Couple of weeks ago one of them started swimming lopsided. As per my vets instructions I isolated it from the other turtle and increased the water temperature to 32 degrees C. Also, I gave it some multivitamin syrup administered along with the food (freeze dried blood worms) it would eat it without a fuss. I kept it separate for 6 days and noticed that the swimming is back to normal. Now again after a few days I have noticed it is swimming lopsided sometimes and normal sometimes. Plus a little white mucous from the mouth when basking. Appetite and activity seems fine though. The water temperature is never below 30 degrees C. Should I start giving it some antibiotics?   Basks normally and gets into the water each time it sees me approaching the tank, expecting some food. What are the other possibilities of its swimming lopsided? I mean could it be that its rapidly gaining weight and cant hold the weight of the shell or something like that? I am just thinking loud....Please help! ~DC < Sure sounds like pneumonia to me. When the turtle swims lopsided their is fluid in the lungs. The mucous you describe is the turtle trying to rid itself of the bacteria. Check the temp of the basking site. It should be up to 85 F. Maybe even up to 90 F since it is already sick. When you increase the temp., it is like you getting a fever to fight off the infection. Antibiotics are usually needed for a complete recovery.-Chuck>

Little Turtle With Puffy Eyes   1/28/07 Hi, I am a student at a college in New York City, and I was asked in December 2006 to take care of a couple red-eared sliders a friend had bought in November in Chinatown for $10. She had only been feeding them lettuce occasionally and had kept them in a small bowl about 8" diameter. < Not good, but typical impulse buy.> I brought them back home with me to PA and put them in a small aquarium (about 1" by 2") and have been feeding them baby turtle pellets and lettuce.  I brought them back to NYC with me, but decided not to return them unless my friend bought them an aquarium and heat lamp. < A humane gesture.> One of the turtles is very active (seems scared of me), but eats often.  The other turtle simply basks on a rock under the heat lamp all day (the temp. in the tank varies from 80-90 degrees during the night/day as I turn the light off at night).  He never eats, and I have noticed his eyes have become swollen, which I know is a sign of vitamin deficiency.  I think he is going to starve himself to death if I don't get him to eat.  I have tried putting the reptile sticks right in front of his mouth, but he just swims away or else does nothing.  He won't open his mouth.  What should I do to get it to eat? < A vitamin A deficiency has caused the turtle's eyes to puff up. Get some ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops. When the swelling goes down offer ZooMed Aquatic Hatchling Turtle Food. Offer veggies like kale and spinach. Lettuce has almost no nutritional value. ZooMed Also offers a nice little book titled "Proper Care and Maintenance of Water Turtles" by Phillip de Vosjoli. This will help you with all the basics.> Thanks. P.S. The turtles are only about 1" -1.5" long, so I have the water depth at about 2".  There are no filters, so I replace the water every 4-5 days.  Is this correct? < If you have no filters then the next best thing is water changes. If the tank starts to small then you need to change the water.-Chuck>


Shell Problems On A Red Eared Slider   1/23/07 Hello, I have a red-eared slider that is about one year old. He's been doing great, until today when I came home and noticed that there are dry, tan spots on the arches of his shell when it is dry. When his shell is wet, some of the green comes back, but some spots are brown. Also, some spots of the shell seem to be wet when other spots do not. Attached is a picture. Is he shedding his shell, or is this shell rot? Also, if it is shell rot, would you be able to give me advice on how to treat this? Thank you, Jenna < Unfortunately the pictures didn't come up on my computer. Shell problems are caused by a lack of vitamins and/or improper lighting. You turtle is a year old so you should already know what a turtle looks like that is getting ready to shed. Older turtles do change the color of their shells as they grow. Many shells become very dull and browner in color. Older turtles require more vegetable matter in their diet. I would recommend you be on the safe side to change your light bulbs to all new ones. Add vegetables to the diet like kale and spinach. Add a Turtle bone from ZooMed that is like a cuttlebone for birds. It wears down the turtle's beak and adds calcium to the diet. Add a ZooMed Dr Turtle block to acidify the water and inhibit any bacterial growth. The basking area needs to be at least 85 F. If it is too cold then move the heat source closer or increase the wattage of the heat lamp.-Chuck>

Turtle Not Eating   1/28/07 Hello again, Thank you for your response. I have placed a Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block in the tank, and I have also purchased a ZooMed Sulfa Dip. If there is potentially something wrong, will this help any more than the sulfa block? < The Sulpha Block with acidify the water and inhibit bacteria and fungus growth. The turtle's shell is bathed in medication over time. The dip is a very strong one shot treatment. I would probably give them the dip first then leave the block in the tank and monitor the turtle's progress.> My basking area is also around 85 degrees. Also, would reptile vitamins with calcium help just as much as a cuttlebone? <The Turtle Bone will also wear down the beak of the turtle so it doesn't get over grown. The retile vitamins has many other things in it besides calcium.> However, my turtle has not been in the water/eating lately. I have a feeling that he is trying to go into hibernation, considering that the weather has gotten very cold the past week or so, and I have not seen any other symptoms. Would this be a valid conclusion? Thanks, Jenna < In the past few weeks I have gotten many questions concerning turtles not eating and sitting out of the water not moving for long periods of time. Most of these cases are from turtles being overfed. The turtle should be fed three times a week. Feed the turtle until his eating starts to slow down. He is getting full and all the leftover food needs to be removed from the tank. If you leave the food in their tank then it may spoil and he will still eat it but it will give him digestive problems.-Chuck>

Turtle Not Eating, Potential shell rot?   1/29/07 Thanks for this second reply. I had two turtles in my tank, until this past Friday, when the one who was not eating and had brown marks on his shell died. I still never figured out what was wrong, and now my second turtle is exhibiting these same symptoms. He gradually stopped eating and will swim in the water, but not touch his food. Do you think there is any diagnosis for this? Thank you, Jenna < I still think they are/were eating too much of the wrong food. Heat is recommended to increase his metabolism and properly digest his food.-Chuck>

Little Turtles Not Moving   1/23/07 Hello, I was wondering if you could answer my questions. I believe that my baby red ear sliders are either sick or malnourished. I have had them for about a month now and they have been pretty active, and now all they do is sit under that basking lamp all day. They are in a ten gallon aquarium with two pumps and a basking area with a UVA bulb that gets about 90 or so degrees. I have gravel and some big stones so they can relax in the water. There basking area is completely out of the water it's like a turtle tree house. I also have a heater and change the water at least once every two weeks with a nice rinse of each filter. I also bought them bait fish. I take them outside at least for 2 hours a day if not more and they just are not staying active. I have not seen them eat in about 4 days and all the fish are still there. They refuse to dive and one sleeps upside down in the water belly up. Their shells are also really soft and when you put a little pressure on the outside of the shell it will bend. It is almost like bending leather yet it is still supportive. They are only babies so I was wondering if there was something wrong. They both also have a brown spot on their head, it's like a discoloration or it could be normal I'm not sure. I use a sulfa block in the water and the brown spot was not there when I got the turtles. Thank you so much! Kyle <Your little turtles are overfed on the wrong food. Little turtles need a varied diet of insects, fish, worms and vegetable matter. You have let them stuff themselves on bait fish. Bait fish have almost no nutritional value. These fish are barely maintained to stay alive. When you let the turtles eat the fish at will, they overate, and now the fish in their gut has started to rot causing gas and all kinds of intestinal problems. Stop feeding the turtles. Remove all food items from the tank. Allow them to bask and heat themselves up. Turtles die from being overfed. Hopefully the heat can generate enough digestive enzymes to move the rotting food through the turtles digestive tract. If your turtle do survive and act hungry, feed them three times a week. Feed them pellets made especially for baby turtles. Watch them eat. When they start to slow down they are getting full and should not be fed any more and the remaining food removed from the tank.-Chuck>

Re: Blind Hatchling Turtles On Their Way   1/15/07 Chuck, I wrote an e-mail in Dec. 2006 about two RES that were born without eyes. I just wanted to write and say thanks for e-mailing me back. They are both eating pellet food now and are doing quite well. Now that the ball is rolling, it should be easier going from here on out. I just wanted to thank you for being so dedicated to helping people with their animals. It means a lot to me, and I know to others as well. The title of the letter is "Blind Hatchling Turtles Given A Chance", well they were, and they're going to make it. Thanks again from Robin, Kermit, and myself. Joe Bob Jamida < Glad to hear that they are eating and going to make it. I know I speak for myself and the rest of the crew for thanking you for your kind words. Good luck with the little guys. I know they are in good hands.-Chuck>

Little Turtles Overfed  1/9/07 Hello Crew, My name is Samantha and I am a complete turtle freak! I have raised box turtles since I was a kid. I just bought two baby RES's about a week or so ago and for the first couple days they seemed fine and dandy, Swimming all around eating pellets, and kelp like crazy. As I have mentioned I have had them for about a week now and am a little worried. I have a dry basking area with a UVA Incandescent lamp for them to bask in at about 90 degrees, two filters, a water heater set to about 75 degrees and a thermometer for the water. The thermometer shows that it is constantly around 75 degrees and it does not fluctuate much. The turtles no longer eat any more and they are almost dead like. They don't hardly move at all! I got them some bait fish and they ate 2 of them and there are still two left yet they just sit under the lamp with their mouths closed sprawled out. They never want to get in the water and when they do its only for about 2 minutes until they are back under the lamp. One of the turtles doesn't open his eyes. If you pick him up with his eyes closed he will open one and it takes about a minute for the other one to open. About 2 days ago he couldn't open any of them for about 5 minutes after you pick him up. They do not have any lesions or shell deficiencies except their shells on their bellies are soft. The top is hard but the bottom is a little flexible. I let them outside in a bowl with damp cloth and they just lay around soaking up rays. I keep their water clean and I just don't know what to do anymore. I have researched and researched on the internet on different problems. They just won't eat and they do not move. If there is any advice you could give me that would be great! Thank you, Samantha < The little guys have so much food in their stomach that they can't move. These full stomachs are putting pressure on the rest of the internal organs. They are trying to heat up enough to digest the huge meal. Turtles die from being over fed. Hopefully it is not too late for yours.-Chuck>
Re: Sick Baby Turtles (Red Ear Slider). Overfed Turtles II  1/9/07
Thank you so much I had no idea that I was over feeding them because I had never seen them eat! Thank you soo much for your help. I hope that I have received this info in time so that they won't die on me. Should I just feed them once a day maybe and thanks again! Sincerely, Samantha < If they are eating, then they are on the road to recovery and out of the danger zone. If they are not eating and still lethargic I would leave them alone until they start to show some movement. In your first question you indicated that they were eating pellets and kelp like crazy, so I assumed that you had watched them eat. Dumping food in the tank and taking off is not a good idea. Do not feed them until they are actively seeking food. Then feed them 3 to 4 times a week. Watch them eat until they slow down, then stop. They are full and do not need to be feed any more until the next time.-Chuck>

Turtle With Eyes Shut... sorry, no Nicole Kidman pix, nor crazy Tom    1/2/07 Hello, I have 2 baby red-eared sliders. One of them is clearly older then the other, as he has a larger shell and darker colors. He is also shedding. I have noticed that with all the shedding he has had his eyes closed a lot, is this normal? I have been giving him warm-water and salt baths and also bought special powder to bath him in, and he still keeps them closed. I'm worried bout him and wondering if this is normal so I know with my other one and as well as with my girlfriends other 2. please help. A Very Worried Turtle Owner < As turtles grow their dietary requirements change. The eye problems may be the start of a vitamin A deficiency. Add some greens to the diet like spinach and kale then get some ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops and follow the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Turtle Growing Quickly   12/6/06 Hey guys. First of all, thank for all the invaluable info that you guys provide. I looked through, and couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, hence, the email. First of all, I just adopted my little RES from a guy who couldn't keep her anymore. I don't think he had a clue about what she actually needed as far as caring for a turtle, so I'm trying to set her up now. In the last week, however, she has developed a pink color in the seams between the scutes on her plastron, she is growing like a weed and eating like a pig at the moment. So, I have 2 questions. First of all, is it possible to overfeed her?   < Absolutely!> She seems to be hungry and wanting food at least 5 times a day. She spends the majority of her time on her rock, basking under the sunlamp, jumping in for a little paddle every now and then. I don't think that she ever really got to swim before I got her either, though. (she looked almost frantic in the water the first few days, but seems to be more comfortable now)  Second question, her shell is peeling at the moment, both carapace and plastron, and very quickly. Could the pink be just because she is growing so quickly? Or should I be more concerned about soft shell, or some other vitamin deficiency? Thanks again < If turtles get too much protein the excess is stored in the shell. The shell becomes very hard and distorted. The shell eventually becomes a straight jacket and stops growing as the turtle grows. Back off on the food to three times a week. Feed enough until the turtle's eating slows down and then stop. As the turtle grows you should offer more vegetable matter like kale and spinach. If the shell gets soft between the scutes then it may be infected-Chuck.>

Worms In A Turtle/Gut Loading Crickets   11/24/06 Hi - I have a 3 year old female RES that I've raised from a baby. My son noticed lots of very small white worms in her tank. We cleaned out everything and took her to the vet. The vet gave me several vials of Panacur (a white powder) and suggested that I try to gut a worm or cricket and fill it with the powder and give it to the turtle 1x daily for 3 days and repeat in three weeks. It's impossible to fill a cricket w/ powder (I've tried) and of course when she eats everything is flying out of her mouth anyway! I looked online (and found this site) and asked the vet about Piperazine and he said it doesn't work.   Is there an easier way?! Thanks, Helen < Getting the medication into the turtle through the crickets is worth a try. ZooMed sells a can of dead crickets, in their Can-O-Crickets line of foods. Take one of the crickets and slice it length wise with a single edged razor blade. Open the body cavity of the cricket with tweezers and fill the cavity with the medicine. Put a paper clip on the cricket to close it up and place it in a plastic bag in the freezer. Might as well do a few while you are at it. The crickets are already dead so you don't have to go through the execution stage of the procedure. Take them out for a few minutes before you feed them to the turtle. If you turtle is tame she will take the crickets from the feeder tongs.-Chuck>

Turtle Shedding  11/18/06 I have two red eared sliders, that I've had for about a year.  I've noticed in the past couple of days that they seem to be  shedding a lot on their front and back legs, and also a little on their  necks.  I thought it would go away, but it hasn't yet.  Is this  normal, if not, what could have caused this? < The skin could be shedding and a fungus is feeding on the dead skin. Try and keep the water clean and add a Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block to inhibit fungus and bacteria grow.> Should I take them to the  vet? < I don't think that this is needed at this time.> I have also noticed that they each have a few small brown spots on  the bottom of their shells.  Their behavior, eating habits, and breathing  seem normal; they don't look sick, as I've read other red eared sliders look  obviously sick.  As I have been also paying more attention to them the past  few days,-past day especially- I noticed that they haven't defecated in the past  day, and was also wondering if that was normal.  I would appreciate any help you could give me-Thanks. < Pay attention to the brown spots and see if they get bigger. Could be the start of shell rot. Check the temp of the basking spot with a thermometer. It should be around 85 F. The water temp should be around 65 F. Increasing the temps should increase their metabolism and get them eating again.-Chuck>

My Red-Eared Slider, reading   11/15/06 Hi! I have a red-eared slider that a friend of mine found at a stockyard at his work. I'm not certain how old he is, but he is very tiny; tiny enough to be placed in the palm of my hand and have room to walk on to the other hand maybe about the size of a silver dollar). I'm worried because I haven't seen him eat yet, I had him for about a week. I have turtle food pellets that I give to him, sliced carrots, and romaine lettuce. But he won't eat any of it. <Likely needs warmth> I'm also worried because he has a very light red film on his shell. It's hardly noticeable when he's wet. His shell isn't soft anywhere either. I thought it could be from the water drying on his shell but I'm not sure. He also has too little dents on his belly that I'm wondering if I should be worried about. They aren't even cuts, but still I'm not sure. I'm keeping him temporarily in a 5 gallon hexagonal aquarium meant for fish. I'm not sure if the lighting and heating are adequate. I keep the tank between 74 and 80 degrees. The lighting is the bulb that came with the tank that heats up the tank also. Let me know what to change about the care I provide.   Thanks. <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Third Turtle Isn't Doing Well  - 11/11/06 Hello, I was checking over the FAQ but still unsure about this. I am not a turtle owner but I volunteer at a nature center and we have noticed one of three red eared sliders (adults) has not been eating and is getting rather thin. It also appears to have some raised areas on the front of the shell; I suspected shell rot. The other two in the tank are fine and feisty but this fellow isn't interested in eating and doesn't move around much. They have a huge tank, a log to bask on, and a lamp. Any advice would be appreciated.-SB < When turtles are kept together there is usually one that gets very intimidated and is bullied by the other turtles. They get stressed and refuse to eat and then get sick. I would isolate the sick turtle in his own separate container and make sure he has a good basking site that gets at least 85 F. The heat will stimulate his appetite. Add a Dr Turtle Sulpha Block to the water to inhibit bacterial problems. If it is really bad and continues to get worse than consult a vet.-Chuck>

Sick Little RES   11/6/06 For four months our two RES one inch babies have lived in a filtered tank with a basking area. One has grown larger and was eating the other's food so we fed them separately. Then the larger one was being aggressive waving its claws at the other and stepping on it so the little one was now not basking or eating well. < This is common when keeping two small turtles together.> We gave the larger one away. It ate well for a couple of days. The next morning it was floating upside down with its eyes open. It was horrible. I thought it was dead. I set it on the basking area and began searching for info. I put in only one inch of water and set the temperature of the water to about 85 degrees then I placed it on a wet cloth in the basking area because it wasn't moving a lot and I didn't want it to get too dry. I came home from work and it was swimming around. It hasn't ever eaten much. I gave him a bit of ham four days ago because he ate it before, but it hasn't eaten in four days. My son thinks its belly looks swollen.  I offered pellets, lettuce, and a grape, but it just sits in the warm water looking around or sleeping. It will swim away if I put food by him. There is only one exotic vet near my home. I called them and they did not know what was going on. But, like I said when I came home from work it looked OK. The one we gave away was thriving, strong, and always begging. What can I do now? I have been reading about them for months. My husband said the are the best set up turtles he has ever seen. Could the other turtle have intimidated it so much that it sick nutritionally? Can I save it? < Check the temperature of the basking area. It should be around 85 F. I would recommend that you keep the water at around 65 to 68 F. Turtles need heat to properly digest their food. Your little turtle probably over ate now that the other turtle is now gone and had developed gas and intestinal problems. Watch the rations and check the temps.-Chuck>

RES with Bacterial Infection  10/30/06 Hello WWM, <Hi Jennifer, Pufferpunk here>    I hope you can help me with this problem.  My RES has been ill since April. He has pinkish legs near the shell and the legs are very swollen and white at the shell (see attached pictures).  He rests very frequently, although he does eat and swim around occasionally. I searched the WWM FAQs and the closest one that this sounds like is the one entitled "Turtle With Bacterial Infection 7/9/05" but I'm not sure if it's the same problem as that letter doesn't mention that the skin there is white. Recently, I noticed another RES turtle that shares the same tank has begun to develop pinkish tinge in the legs (but not swollen).  I wonder if it too has now caught the same disease. <I would say you are not keeping their water clean enough.  They both have developed bacterial infections.  The white may be the skin dying.  What kind of filtration is on there?  What size are they & how big is their tank?  How often are you changing the water?  Are you removing uneaten food?  All things you need to consider.  I have had success using Melafix for redness of the skin but if it's gotten to the stage of swelling & necrotic skin, I'd contact a vet for something stronger, you can use in conjunction with that.  ~PP>    Toronto, Canada

Rescued Turtle Throwing Up  - 10/25/06 I rescued a 5 year old female red slider a week ago.  I temporarily have her in a plastic baby pool outside with a basking area where she can completely dry off.  She gets about 5 hours of full sun a day (I live in southern Cali).  At night I put a submersible heater in the pool so that the water never gets below 73 degrees.  During the day the water will get to 80 degrees.  I feed her ReptoMin, freshwater shrimp, frozen bloodworms, and whatever veggies she will eat (so far just carrots and cucumbers).  She was kept in horrific conditions  (that's why I took her in) .  She was in a 20 gallon tank with 2 inches of muddy water with multi colored gravel and a piece of drift food.  She was being kept in a child's bedroom.  The mom told me that they forgot about her for 6 months one time (books piled in front of her tank) and that she was fine.  Luckily the turtle seems in pretty good health: she feels heavy, she just shed her scutes and has a bright colored shell underneath (that's not soft).   My only cause of concern is that this morning I fed her some freshwater shrimp, I then changed all the water in the pool  (I do everyday) and about 2 hours later  I saw her jump off her basking area into the water and throw up all the shrimp undigested!  Could she have overeaten, should I be concerned?  She ate some veggies and some ReptoMin tonight and seems fine.  Her stools also vary a lot: sometimes they are very runny and flatten at the bottom of the pool like mud and sometimes they are well formed.  Is that normal?  Thank you so much < Turtles that have been abused for a long time tend to over eat. They then need heat to help digest the very large meal. When on the basking site they are trying to heat up to digest a meal. When startled, they flee into the water that is much cooler and the meal is not yet fully digested. This may cause the turtle to vomit up the undigested portion of the meal so it will not rot in the gut. Now that winter is approaching try smaller meals-Chuck>

Turtle With Trauma To The Neck Area  - 10/22/06 Hello!  I have a red-eared slider who is about 11 years old.  The tank she is in is actually a horse trough.  I built a shelf that sits just below the water which has about a dozen large rocks on it.  Things have been fine for years.  Then about three weeks ago when the turtle "Lurtle" was out for some sun, I noticed a large wound on her neck.   I emptied the tank and found a medium sized rock at the bottom, and I believe this rock after falling off the shelf caused the injury.  The wound was not bloody, it almost looked like a wet scab had formed.  I have made sure to clean the water every few days, but the wound actually seems to be getting worse.  And today, when I checked the scab, it was raw.  Where the sore is located, every time she extends her neck it rubs against her shell.  She seems to be acting fine, still eating, swimming, basking, etc.  Are there at home remedies or should I go ahead and take her to the vet?  Also, do you have any suggestions about her tank to make sure this does not happen again? Thanks, Kara < Sounds like the wound has gotten infected. Keep the water as clean as possible. Use the Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip by ZooMed and the Repti Wound Healing Aid. The Dr Turtle Sulpha Blocks will inhibit bacterial growth and keep things from getting worse. Use some PVC pipe to make a shelf so she can get out of the water but also hide underneath it. Attach some wood to the PVC shelf and she will be fine.-Chuck>

Sick Turtle Needs Warmth For Puffy Eyes And Soft Shell  - 10/15/06 Hi, I had 2 red ear sliders for about a year and one died and the other one now has swollen eyes, it looks like bubbles over its eyes. It won't eat. I try to hand feed it with tweezers, but its not working. Also, the shell is really  soft and it stays on the basking area forever. I know that means it is sick, but  I was wondering if the soft shell disease is contagious to the three other  turtles(2 res and 1 yellow belly) and what to do about it and the fact that it  can't see or eat? Please help. Thanks, Stefani from  Indiana < Check the temp of the basking site. It should be around 85 F. If it is not warm enough then move the light source closer or get a bigger lamp. Heat will raise the body temp like you getting a fever to fight a disease. Get ZooMed Repti Turtle Eye Drops for the puffy eyes. The soft shell is from a lack of calcium in the diet. Get ZooMed Aquatic Turtle Food and add some washed earthworms and green vegetable matter to the diet when he can see again. The "diseases" are actually caused by environmental factors as opposed to parasitic infections.-Chuck.>

Turtles Won't Eat  9/26/06 Dear Crew! I currently have two red-eared sliders, one is 2.16 inches long (Sunday) and the other is 2.75 inches long (Monday). I have no idea what their sexes are, but I'll just refer to both as males. I can't appreciate any difference in their tails or claws!! I have had Sunday for a around 5 months now and he has been doing fine. I feed him once a day and his meal consists of turtle pellets, peaches and carrots. He had developed eye problems earlier but thanks to you guys, is doing fine now. He lives in a 20 gallon tank with a full-spectrum lamp and an elevated shelf of rock that he can stay completely dry on. I don't have a filter in the tank but I change the water every week and I feed him outside the tank in another bowl. He's very active and not at all aggressive. Every morning I put him out in the sun, in a tub of water with a huge rock he can easily climb onto. He gets around 6 hours of sunlight, roughly. I also give him a dip in warm, saline water every day for 5 minutes, just to be on the safe side. Now, around 10 days ago, I got Monday as a gift. He's bigger and darker and also meaner!! He tried to bite my finger when I held him. I, unknowingly put him in the same tank and did not worry about the situation because they were both getting along fine. I have only seen Monday snap at Sunday once and that did not leave any lasting damage. I found out just now, as I was reading through the FAQ's that red-eared sliders do not get along very well. I have decided I'll separate the two, but they get along really well. They bask on the same rock and sleep quite peacefully together. I should not take any chances, right? < As they get older they may see each other as competition and become more aggressive.>  Why I was reading through the FAQ's is because, they have both stopped eating for the past three days! Sunday had a really healthy appetite. Monday used to eat less but he was very active so I did not worry. Now they have had not a single bite in the past three days. They are both still active. Monday basks a lot and his shell is peeling so initially I thought that maybe it's shell-rot because I thought I saw white, stringy feces. But after reading the links on your site, I am almost sure it's not that because his shell in not soft and it's a very dark green. None of the other FAQ's answer this query so I am bothering you with this long mail. Oh and there's a lump on Monday's fore-head. I had not paid much attention to it but a thread on your site caught my attention. Do I incise it, in case it's a worm pocket? My biggest concern though is that they are not eating. Not even the pellets that they were both very fond of. I live in Pakistan and we do not have reptile vets here. I am hoping this will be a problem I can treat at home. Please advise! Waiting anxiously for your reply, I remain with kind regards. Sidra < Your turtles need a basking spot that gets up to at least 85 F. If they are not able to heat up then the food in their stomach rots and they get sick. heat up the area and see if they get better. Heat also helps fight off parasites.-Chuck>

Turtles Won't Eat II  9/27/06 Dear Chuck! Thanks for the prompt reply. I'll start working on a new tank for Monday. About the eating problem, I am sorry I forgot to mention in my earlier mail that they do have a basking spot under a full spectrum lamp that gets pretty warm, around 90F. They love basking there and they also love basking in the sunlight. So in all, they get around 12 hours of heat!! Of course, in both situations there is an available pool of water where they can cool off. Should I leave the lamp on for longer after I bring them in out of the sun? It said on a turtle care site that they need to bask for around 6-8 hrs. Am I giving them too much heat? < Not as long as the water is unheated or relatively cool, under 70 F.> And I have two new questions! I found one of the turtles, the younger one, swimming on his back today!! I freaked out and took him out but he seems in good health! In fact he even ate a little today. I have searched your site in hopes of reading that a turtle swimming upside down is normal but no-one else seems to have reported one. Please advice!! < Not normal but could happen. Watch him closely for a few days for signs of stress.> And The older turtle has a lot of white spots on his body, specially on the legs. They look like growth of tissues. Is it a dietary deficiency? < Not really. Growths on the skin could be bacteria or fungus. Keep the water clean and add a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block to inhibit bacteria.> And please also tell me if changing their feeding time has an effect on their appetite? And for how long does it last? Should I revert to the old time if they don't eat at the new time? <Turtles should be fed in the morning so they have the entire day to heat up and digest their food. Feeding them in the evening causes the food to sit in their stomach until it can be heated/digested the next day.> Once again, I remain with kind regards. Sidra

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