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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Reproduction, Breeding, Rearing

Related Articles: My Turtle Laid Eggs. What do I do? by Darrel Barton 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:  Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Disease, Turtles in General: Turtles, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, AmphibiansOther Reptiles


Red eared slider turtle      4/1/19
I have 5 baby red eared slider turtles they were good but one of my turtle stop eating and it is not moving much.
<It's not a good sign when turtles stop eating and moving. Usually means they're too cold (need a heat lamp for basking); but can mean they're sick (don't forget a UV-B source). Let's have you do some reading, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/rescarebarton.htm
Five Red Ear Sliders will need A LOT of space when mature, so be sure you understand their needs. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red eared slider turtle      4/1/19
But I can't understand what is going on with only one All the four are good they eat & play
<So far.>
But only one is not looking good
Plzzz help me.....��
<You have not sent me any information. Tell me about their home. For example:
(1) What source of heat do they have?
(2) What sort of UV-B lamp are you using?
(3) What do you feed them?
(4) How big is their tank?
(5) Can they bask under the heat lamp easily? Same for the UV-B lamp?
READ where you were sent, and see what you ARE NOT doing right -- that is likely the answer. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red eared slider turtle     4/3/19

I have a water heater bulb
<Not sure what you mean here. A heat lamp over a rock is traditional. The water can be room temperature. The turtle will warm up on the land, and cool down in the water.>
I don't use any uv-b lamp I provide direct sun light at least 4 hr per day
<So no glass between the sun and the turtle? That should be fine.>
My tank is 30 gallon
I have also 7 fish in it
<Not a good idea in a tank this small.>
I feed them aquatic turtles food sticks
<Should be fine.>
And I notice today it has discharge from mouth. Is my turtle dyeing?
<Hard to say because you haven't offered enough details. DO some reading, in particular the sections on eye and respiratory tract infections; here:

Baby RES won't eat- really worried!       8/13/17
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
Ok- so we got (2) baby RES about 3 weeks ago, They are only about 1.5 In. Have tried different types of pellets, live crickets, lettuce and tiny pieces of ham (read on website somewhere baby res like that).
<Not really. As hatchlings they tend to be carnivorous and become more omnivorous as they get bigger>
Take them out and put them in separate feeding container and leave them alone for about 30 min. Have not seen them eat anything- EVER- talked to pet store people, researched online and getting nowhere! Temp of tank is about 78
<A bit warm – tank water should be room temperature and requires no heater at all>
with good basking area (day and evening bulbs) and UVA/UVB bulb as well.
<They don’t need evening bulbs. They wouldn’t have one in the wild, would they?>
Also- now one of them has a little reddish tint/buildup and looks like couple small bubbles on edge of shell that were not there yesterday.
<It’s hard to say from way over here. The reddish tint can be a sign of sepsis, which is a technical term for an infection that has spread to the whole body -- but I’ve seen that from a tank that had a red brick in it too – even though the water stayed perfectly clear, so it may not be serious at all.>
<For feeding, I’d take them out of their tank and put them in a bowl with just a bare covering of water, not even up to their shoulders … and place a small amount (and I mean just barely enough to be picked up with a toothpick) and place it in the bowl. I usually don’t place it in front of them … if they are active I place it somewhere else and let them discover it.>
<Here is the explanation of light, heat and food. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Too Many Hatchlings!     6/30/17
Hi, Guys -
I've spent this afternoon perusing your website and have found it to be very, very helpful. Thank you for taking time to answer all the questions people pose.
We've had red-eared sliders for about 25 years, with a backyard pond (in a secure courtyard) that houses three RES (one male, two female) and one Yellow Cooter, all different ages ranging from about 20 to 5 years old and all are about 7-10" long. Until last year, we never had any viable eggs.
Now, we keep having viable clutches and we're overrun with hatchlings. We now have the original four, two yearlings and TEN hatchlings that range in age from 2 days to 60 days. It's gotten to the point where we put a small
garden container of water for hatchlings to find so they don't die in the monkey grass.
Here's our problem - we can't build a pond big enough for 16 turtles, and we're worrying that we will keep having more and more babies. Can you help us sort through our options?
We've discussed turtle birth control, but condoms would probably just slide right off and those long male fingernails would probably puncture them, anyway. ;->
Seriously, we probably need to bring the male RES in and put him into a separate aquarium, which will help with the current adult maternity ward problem we have. But what do we do with all of these babies? They'll get eaten if we put them in the pond (unfortunately, that's already happened to two other hatchlings we didn't find in time) and they can't be released into the wild for the same reason.
We've heard that you can't release pet turtles into ponds because they don't have the skill set to find food and manage the cold weather. Though our winters are relatively mild here in Dallas, Texas, it still gets pretty cold and would probably kill them.
Next, how big do the yearlings need to be before it's okay to add them to the pond population? Our current yearlings' carapaces are about 3.5" long. We think they will be okay outside, but we don't want them to be hunted by our larger, older turtles.
We love our shelled beasties and will take care of them, but clearly, we need to find homes for some of these babies, and find a way to stop the production line we've got going.
Thanks for any ideas you can share!
*Michele​ and Mark
<Hello Milan Family,
First hand I would like to say that the love for your sweet pets is admirable.
I would like to suggest that you check your local listings for a Turtle/Tortoise rescue center or perhaps there is a Turtle/Tortoise Society that offers foster care. Call around for pet shops that sell aquatic life and ask if they can be of help to you.
If you use Facebook, you can reach out that way as well.
I hope that this has been of help and I wish you the best of luck.

Terrapin, red eared slider; beh. and repro. f's      12/29/16
hi Jon here:)
<Darrel back at you>
My Red Eared Slider has not been eating much for the past 2 weeks and has been thrashing around and always seem frantic. Now I changed it to a bigger tank and tried to fit him a little bit of leafy vegetables. it refuses to eat the stalk and only after 2/3 leaves it stops eating. I read online that its behaviour maybe because it is gravid and my mom claimed she saw and threw away a white oval object from its tank a few days ago .
<That was going to be my first guess as well. The easiest way to sex a Red Eared Slider is to remember that males are smaller (4-6 inches) and have long “fingernails” on their claws. Females are larger and have short, stubby claws.>
so how do I confirm if its gravid or not I presume it is a female as its bottom is flat. is there any other way to confirm ? and how do I proceed from here ?
<The presence of an egg in the water combined with the frantic activity at egg laying time is really all the indicator you need. Your slider is a girl>
<As far as the egg laying they will form eggs with or without the presence of a male and they will expel the eggs anywhere, even in the water, if left no other choice – SO this entire thing will run its course. What you can do is allow her out of the tank frequently, walks around the room, half a day in a dry bathtub, etc. to help her exercise which in turn helps the process. I wouldn’t let her outside because the presence of grass, dirt, plants, etc. might trigger an actual nesting response that can take days and days.>
<She may also reabsorb the eggs that have not yet formed a shell layer. >
<One way or another, this will pass and her appetite will return>
I look forward to your advice and help thanks [��]

Gravid Red-Eared Slider      7/10/16
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I have received help and encouragement from you all twice before and alas, here I am again.
<welcome back!>
I have a larger ("9 shell approx.) female who has "laid" unfertilized eggs in her 90-gallon tank several times in the past. She is gravid again now and has been for about a week-and-a-half. Two questions:
1. How long before I worry that she has not deposited her eggs? In the past she would show the usual signs (flailing about, not eating, digging motions with front and back feet) for just a few days and then would "lay" the eggs in the water of her tank. She would then eat them, creating a huge mess. So: how long can the process take?
<they can carry the eggs for several months without any particular stress>
2. Because she eats the eggs and it makes a huge mess in the tank (usually requiring a full cleaning), and because from what I read they need a nest, should I be keeping her in a large bin with a few inches of damp potting soil. But she is unhappy in there and wants back in her tank so I keep putting her back in there. This has led to a back-and-forth between tank and bin. What is best?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
<I struggle with that one as well, Linda. When I see them in a natural setting they wander about for seemingly days and then dig a hole… and then the hole isn’t right so they abandon it and then go somewhere else and dig another. This can go on for days and I want to just talk to her and say “hey! It’s a HOLE! It’s not a 3 bedroom duplex off of Cabrillo and Carson … it’s a HOLE just like the last 6, so lay your eggs already!”>
<This, of course would do no good since turtles rarely listen to egg laying advice>
<My point is that we build a nesting box and then they act like we’ve put them in prison! Since we have no idea at all what they’re actually looking for, our attempts to provide them what they need fall flat. Hmmm … in that way turtles are not unlike my ex wife – but I digress>
<Turtles are usually the least problematic with regard to eggs. They don’t get egg bound easily. Sometimes, they just reabsorb the eggs and the cycle starts again next year. Occasionally they get egg bound and the eggs just sort of calcify into these hard stone-looking things that adhere to the inside of the oviduct … but even then what happens is the turtle becomes infertile… it’s almost never life threatening like in Iguanas and snakes.>
<If it was me, I’d just continue to let her drop them in the tank>
Linda Abbott Torrance Mother to Lucy the RES
Gravid Red-Eared Slider      10/11/16

Hi again, Darrel.
Since Lucy my RES lays eggs a lot lately (yearly around this time it seems) and then eats them, it does make a huge mess in the tank. If I am home as she lays them, I pick them out of the tank, but usually I miss it. She's now been laying eggs over a couple-months' long period and I'm going insane about what to do. I change most of the water and then she lays more eggs...I fear poor water quality and could use some advice. I have all the test kits. I haven't taken a recent reading but of course a month or so ago the reading was a bit high. I have a couple of Prime products but ultimately I fear I have to keep changing the water over and over, which then messes with the bacteria.
<Red Eared Slider like Lucy live happily in ditch water ... I've even seen them living in sewer water. This is about you and YOUR stress more than hers!! LOL>
<All things considered, I'd do a full water change every weekend ... but I simply mean A) Drain the existing water into a sink and B) Fill up the tank with untreated, unfiltered, ordinary water from the garden hose. This will keep the bacteria counts and the nasty odors in check until she's done for the year>
Thank you once again,
Linda in Torrance

Red Eared Slider question        4/20/16
Ok so I have done a lot of research on the internet about red-eared slider reproduction. The problem is my turtle does not fit any of the articles I found. I have a 20+ year old female named Houdini because she is an escape artist. She currently lives in a 360 gallon pond with Timmy and TC and Emma. All are red eared sliders except Emma who is an eastern mud turtle, and Timmy is the only male. The pond area has a beach and basking rocks. This is where Houdini does not fit the articles. She escapes the pond area and I find her in the grass. Then 2-3 days later I find dead baby turtles in the grass. I never find any eggs or where she might have buried them. And the articles say she could be laying 20 eggs but the most I have found is 3 babies. The articles also say that the eggs need 60-80 days after they are laid before they hatch. So what is the deal with 2-3 days?
<They are possibly hatches from eggs from the last time she did this>
Could she be giving live birth?
<No. The biology of the eggs doesn’t allow that>
Is there any way to convince her to lay the eggs on the beach so the babies can find the water before they cook? (I live in Phoenix AZ). I have had the pond builders out three times to try to escape proof the pond area but she lives up to her name and keeps escaping but I never see where she is getting out. It is very sad to keep find the dried up baby bodies in the grass any help would be appreciated
<A beach-type area is not where a freshwater turtle would choose to nest. My suggestion is that you make a fenced area in the grass next to the pond … say 16’ by 10’ surrounded by hardware cloth that is buried 6 inches into the ground and about 12 inches up and then a 6 inch lip bent inward. Then connect this area to the pond boundary somehow … so that it’s easier for her to walk down the corridor than to climb over the rocks. Provide shade area and sunlit area and then see if she can find a place to bury her eggs during the next nesting season.>

Found new baby RES turtle outside need to know if it's okay to introduce my 3 year old turtle       4/20/16
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I'm needing to know if my 3 year old RES turtle will get along with the baby RES turtle will get along with it? I have them separate right now but my daughter rescued the baby today at school he was about to get stepped on
so she grabbed him and the school gave her a bowl to carry the baby home.
We're not sure if the turtles are boys or girls so hopefully you might be able to help me thank you so much!
<I wouldn't mix them. It's not age but size. An adult turtle may inexplicably see a hatchling as a snack... but even if they are closer in size, a minor snap form the larger one could be fatal to the baby>

Res turtle; young troubles     3/3/16
Dear Crew
<Hiya, Darrel here?
I have a baby res and I've had it fir about three months and it doesn't eat unless I fed it and its shell is really soft and I've been cleaning it and taking out side from time to time and I need to know for sure what they eat
and I would like for you to get back to me as fast as possible please and thank you
<No problem. - EVERYTHING you need to know is right here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<The fact that his shell is soft is not a good sign - it may indicate you waited too long to ask the questions and may now need to read about treating illnesses

Red-Eared Slider Gravid we think--when should we worry?    /Neale   5/30/15
Hi there,
We built a 1,000 gallon pond for our turtles, Koi, and goldfish. Miss Kitty is about 8 or 9 inches long, we picked her out of an aquarium she seemed miserable in at a fish store. She’s been in the pond for a year, swimming happily and plopping off her various basking shelves when we come outside (we live in Los Angeles, California). About two weeks ago, she stopping slipping into the water when we came out to sit by the pond. Then she began climbing out of the pond to the upper area (fenced in) that’s about six feet long and 3-4 feet wide. It has sections of sand (we’ve added more of this, so there’s now a mound of it in the area just outside of the second photo), dirt, and dried leaves. Just over a week ago, she started staying in place in this area when we open the gate to clean the skimmer. She only returns to the pond to sit on a water-covered shelf at night, and comes out again for the entire day and evening. We have a lot of water lettuce and water hyacinth and don’t know if she’s eating them (it could be our two smaller turtles), she doesn’t seem interested in lettuce, pellets, or the dried river shrimp that I put out.
I suppose it’s obvious that she’s gravid, she has bulges on either side of her tail (I don’t know if you can tell from the photo), and my wife thinks she can feel eggs when she runs her finger over the bulges. Miss Kitty is also holding her tail close to her back side, and I mean, it seems like it’s glued there. Should we be worried? How long should we wait before taking her to the vet?
Sorry this is so long. We’re nervous turtle parents.
<Do look up "egg binding" as a problem in turtles. It's fairly common. Once it happens, meaning the eggs aren't released, you need veterinarian help. Prevention is easier, by providing somewhere females can lay their eggs.
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Red-Eared Slider Gravid we think--when should we worry?   /Darrel   5/31/15

Hi there,
<Ho there! Darrel here>
We built a 1,000 gallon pond for our turtles, Koi, and goldfish.
Miss Kitty is about 8 or 9 inches long, we picked her out of an aquarium she seemed miserable in at a fish store.
<You were right, she was>
She’s been in the pond for a year, swimming happily and plopping off her various basking shelves when we come outside (we live in Los Angeles, California).
<me, too>
About two weeks ago, she stopped slipping into the water when we came out to sit by the pond.
<So … you’re writing about her plopping stopping?>
Then she began climbing out of the pond to the upper area (fenced in) that’s about six feet long and 3-4 feet wide. It has sections of sand (we’ve added more of this, so there’s now a mound of it in the area just outside of the second photo), dirt, and dried leaves. Just over a week ago, she started staying in place in this area when we open the gate to clean the skimmer. She only returns to the pond to sit on a water-covered shelf at night, and comes out again for the entire day and evening. We have a lot of water lettuce and water hyacinth and don’t know if she’s eating them (it could be our two smaller turtles), she doesn’t seem interested in lettuce, pellets, or the dried river shrimp that I put out.
I suppose it’s obvious that she’s gravid, she has bulges on either side of her tail (I don’t know if you can tell from the photo), and my wife thinks she can feel eggs when she runs her finger over the bulges. Miss Kitty is also holding her tail close to her back side, and I mean, it seems like it’s glued there. Should we be worried? How long should we wait before taking her to the vet?
<Wait a while longer. She's not exhibiting the "normal" behavior for egg-laying which includes a lot of nervous activity and digging quite a few test holes. But the gravidity is probably accurate and she may be egg-bound. The good news is that Red Eared Sliders and their kin are extremely self-contained in this area - they usually lay the eggs, even it they just squirt them out into the water. What I'm saying is the case of a slider being egg bound to the extent that she requires medical attention is EXTREMELY rare - not on the top 25 things I'd worry about (do worry about, by the way) with my pond turtles.>
<What I'd guess is that our weird weather this year has put her 'out of cycle' in the sense that she's not getting warm enough to fully metabolize and lay the eggs, but not cold enough to become torpid (sorta like hibernation).>
<Here's what I'd do. First, stop worrying. Next, take her out of the pond area when you have so time. Put her on the deck, the porch, back yard, living room, etc. so that, after she gets over the shock, scare, she starts walking around. What I'm getting at is exercise and activity - it will help loosen her up. I'm sure you know this, but when you have a turtle or tortoise out for a walk, you can’t let them out of your sight for even a second. That whole 'hey, I'm slow and ponderous' thing they have going on is an act -- as soon as they know they aren't being looked at they can move at lightning speed, not unlike Weeping Angels -- you drop your gaze for 10 seconds to get a glass of water … and your turtle is down the block trying to hitch a ride to Vegas.>
<What you DO need to be on the lookout for is alertness. As long as Miss Kitty is alert, aware of you and her surroundings and reactive to your presence, then you need only be aware of her condition. By the way, the progression is aware-concerned-nervous-worried-scared-desperate and, at present, I'd only be aware. I'd like you to arrange for her to exercise, as stated about and otherwise give her the space to work this out. If she hasn't perked up by the end of our June Gloom here in LA, then write back and we'll move to "concerned" and come up with another plan>
Sorry this is so long. We’re nervous turtle parents.
<I appreciate that you're good parents. It's so much better for them for you guys to worry a little>
Re: Red-Eared Slider Gravid we think--when should we worry?         6/1/15

Thank you Darrel!
<No charge!>
Whew. I suppose the internet is a bit of a horror-show, all those videos about egg-bound RES and operating on the poor things.
<People worry about a lot of stuff. I had a Red Eared Slider that someone brought me that had BOTH from legs bitten off by raccoons … and she lived a long and happy life, ate, swam, mated and laid eggs. They are remarkably resilient creatures>
I moved a rock (that I didn’t realize was blocking part of the pull-out area, and have added organic pet friendly soil and four more buckets of sand to the exercise area, so now the dry area is 11 x 7 feet (minus the room two trees take up). She’s been doing a considerable amount of exploring--she seems to like hanging out on the ground cover under the banana leaf plants. I’m attaching a photo of our pond. You can see Miss Kitty on the bottom right corner, that area is 4-feet wide, and she can travel up to the big plants in back. I suppose if she likes excitement, she can go in the shallow upper pond and ride the waterfall to the big pond, but she doesn't seem interested in that. We’ll put the dogs inside and let her run around the patio (and never take our eyes off of her!). Would an hour at a time, two or three days a week be enough for exercise?
<Way more than enough. All we're doing is keeping her active so that things can jostle around if they need to.>
On another note, is it possible that a five-inch long turtle can become gravid?
<That's on the small side, but yes.>
I notice that Margery has the bumps and tail posture that Miss Kitty has. Is it possible that turtles are just built this way and I didn't notice until I became neurotic about Miss Kitty?
<VERY true -- the bumps people fret over are often as not just hip bones. And remember, egg binding in the Emydid turtles is rare -- they've been known to plop them out in the water as they swim for food. And also, when a slider DOES get egg bound - the USUAL result is simply that the calcified eggs ruin the reproductive tract and she can't lay eggs anymore -- a complication where the eggs cause any kind of internal injury or disease is rare … so what you are worrying about … is rare upon rare>
Thank you so much for your comments. We can breathe now.
<yep - relax.>
Sara (and Jenn)
<By the way, that's a SERIOUSLY pretty pond you guys have! Speaking for Bob … we wouldn't mind a set of pictures we would use in some article showing people "how it's done">
<NOT … you understand … that we'll ever actually get AROUND to writing that article … but having the pictures would still be great>
Fw: Red-Eared Slider Gravid we think--when should we worry?         6/1/15

My wife wanted to make sure I told you how much we appreciate your weeping angels comment. It's a perfect description!
<She's obviously a woman of taste, style and intelligence! She should give herself great credit for getting the reference!>
Fw: Red-Eared Slider Gravid we think--when should we worry?         6/1/15

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Re: About my res hatchling      4/26/15
Hi again this is the recent picture of velvet . The White spots have become more . Is it fungal infection ?
<from everything I see that looks like the normal mottled coloring they get as they grow.><<No pic found. B>>

Re: About my res hatchling      5/23/15
Hi. I have a red hatchling . The White patches are still there .you said it might be shedding.
<Dead skin sloughs off in sheets; underwater this is obvious, almost like picking sheets of PVA glue off your hands. But out of the water the dead skin can look less obvious, but will look a bit faded compared to the new skin beneath it. Dead skin has no odour; fungal infections are very obviously smelly.>
But for safety am applying beta fine and letting the turtle dry for some time a day . And today when I applied beta fine and put it dry.
<Do you mean Betadine, as in old fashioned "iodine"? Why?>
I saw some powdery white dust on the eyes.
Not in the eyes the eyes seem normal and wide open and no discharge.
<So you're medicating by throwing white powder over the face of a turtle that has perfectly normal eyes?>
There were some white powdery things over nose to . I took picture but sorry isn't that clear
<Indeed. But I stress: why? All medications are toxic to some degree, that's how they work, by poisoning stuff. They're not magic pixie dust that makes everything they touch more wonderful. If your turtle is not in trouble, medicating is simply going to stress it to some degree, outweighing any good you might be doing. Do instead operate by the precautionary principle. What do your turtles need for good health?
Calcium-rich greens-based diet, UV-B light, and sufficient warmth under a basking lamp. The tragedy about reptiles as pets is that people are too cheap to buy the stuff they need to STAY healthy, then desperate to avoid trips to the vet by buying bogus medications that achieve little/nothing if conditions aren't right. Do read, understand the roles of diet, UV-B and warmth in the lives of reptiles. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: About my res hatchling
Thanx . But you don't understand my question . I didn't sprinkle any white powdery medication. I applied betadine one the shell coz it appeared like fungal infection but it could be shedding too.
<As stated: shedding skin is very obvious, and scutes peeling away from the shell should be obvious too. Not these? Then do read:
Diagnose, then medicate. Not the other way around!>
I noticed something over the skin on the face some thing white and powdery so I sent you the pic and asked you if you know any thing about it . I have the uv thing and basking light . But am not sure what to feed it . Am just giving turtle pellets for now . Any suggestions?
<Many. But do read:
Feeding not difficult. Koi Pellets a good staple; augment with various green foods (cheap aquarium plants such as "Elodea" work nicely).>
Am not desprate to avoid vets but am worried because I am from a city in India and no one know anything about turtles . I know better about turtles than the vets here . No rep vets :)
<Understood. But it's more about legality than expertise. In India, as in the UK, antibiotics can't (or at least, shouldn't) be sold without a prescription from a doctor or vet. This is a good thing because it helps to avoid antibiotic resistance, but it's awkward for reptile-keepers.>

My daughter got a baby red eye slider turtle...       4/10/15
My name is Rachel my daughter got a baby red eye slider turtle we didn't know it was going to be hard to take care of them
<Not hard, but there are some non-negotiables that even a child's love can't get around. Turtles are less expensive to keep than, say, a dog or cat. But you do need to have a basking lamp, a UV lamp, and a reasonable amount of swimming space. Do read:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/RESCareBarton.htm
Darrel puts together a system for these beasts that costs $28. Takes a bit of do-it-yourself here and there, but nothing major.>
but we can't afford the lights or anything we have him in a 10 gallon tank I put him outside at least for his water could get warm but then we could worry it at night because water is cold
<You're right to worry. Turtles don't do well in cold climates. If you live somewhere subtropical or warm temperate (such as Florida) your turtle could be kept outdoors all year around, but it's risky (from predators, if nothing else) and cold snaps can easily kill pet turtles which don't have the warm resting burrows wild turtles exploit.>
my daughter loves the turtle very much if there's anyone you know of that will donate the lights that'd be great
<Do read Darrel's article... some of this stuff can be had for little money, secondhand even from thrift stores and the like. Here in the UK we do have charities that help out with defraying the costs of pets (the PDSA for example) but rarely reptiles or fish. I don't know where you live, you don't say, but searching around for animal welfare charities local to your part of the planet may be helpful.>
I have cancer until the money is very tight right now but if you know people who donate equipment the lights and everything that'd be great her baby red slider turtle is like her best friend and we would hate to lose it
<Indeed, and I sympathise, but if money is tight, taking on the responsibility of a pet reptile is not a good idea. If they get sick, you'll need veterinarian assistance, and that's pricey. If you don't buy the non-negotiables they need up front, then they will surely get sick. So it's a slippery slope. I stress again, Darrel's article provides ways to economise, but all pet animals require upkeep and turtles easily live 15, 20 years if properly cared for, probably longer. I've cc'ed Darrel in case there's something he can add. Cheers, Neale.>
Re.... RES....       4/11/15

This is Rachel I live in corona ca
<Indeed. Is this connected to your previous message about your daughter's per turtle? Again, and to be clear, Darrel's piece tells you everything you need to know. If you can't accommodate a pet turtle humanely in your present circumstances, the right thing to do is rehome it, perhaps via a state/local animal welfare organization. Cheers, Neale.
Re.... RES....       4/11/15
I would appreciate that cuz I know he's just not doing that goods cause he had a little bit red between the creases of his shell
<Not a good sign. Or perhaps English understatement should be avoided. A bad sign, perhaps of incipient Shell Rot. Do read, and help yourself:
To be clear-as-crystal: reading is free, this web site is full of such free articles, and prevention of diseases in reptiles MUCH cheaper than
Re.... RES....       4/11/15
If we can find sone ine who us welling to donat light and that be great.
<No doubt. But I/we can't help you in this direction. READ the article Darrel wrote; he literally priced his set-up at $28. If you can't afford that, YOU SHOULDN'T be keeping pet reptiles. Seriously. They're not cheap pets and they're not easy pets. More to the point, they're terrible pets for children.>
My daughter lives her turtle very much he moves ever were he eats very good
<At the moment. Turtles, like most reptiles, get sick slowly. From one day to the next things can seem okay, but across a month or two, it's obvious the animal is ailing. READ the articles you were sent to. They're there so you can HELP YOURSELF. Missing the warning signs of problems with reptiles, such as red scales, is how they end up sick and dead. Some understanding (and compassion) is needed.>
she dosent wont to kise him
<Kiss him?>
thank very much
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re.... RES....
How do I puches a start up kit it come with what it need for now yes I could do$28
<Read Darrel's article; one of the links I've sent you maybe 3 times now...
Re.... RES....
If u know of a club we can talk to please ket me know
<I do not. But it took me all of 5 seconds to find this website on Google:
Suggest you write some of these people, maybe throwing in the odd "please" and "thank-you" if asking for stuff/help. Works wonders.>
am going to put him some were out of water hopful he be ok in onther tank
<Honestly, I have no idea what you're asking me here. Please, READ those articles before hitting the keyboard again. That'd be great. Cheers, Neale.>

Thanks. Re:        3/13/15
I just wanted to say thank you for the information that was provided to me back in November concerning my baby Red Eared Slider. Because of this, my "baby" RES is no longer a baby. He is healthy and growing steadily, probably doubled in size from where he was when I first e-mailed. I was also able to rescue a baby from another house where he wasn't being properly cared for, and he too is now happy and healthy. I appreciate the advice I was given, and it's saved two cute little guys' lives.
Thanks      3/17/15

I just wanted to say thank you for the information that was provided to me back in November concerning my baby Red Eared Slider. Because of this, my "baby" RES is no longer a baby. He is healthy and growing steadily, probably doubled in size from where he was when I first e-mailed. I was also able to rescue a baby from another house where he wasn't being properly cared for, and he too is now happy and healthy. I appreciate the advice I was given, and it's saved two cute little guys' lives.
<Ah, this is good news to hear. Darrel's not about, but I'll be sure to pass on your message. Have fun with your pet turtles! Cheers, Neale.>

Turtles; RES, beh. & Repro.       2/26/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red eared slider turtles, both about 2 years old since I got them. I believe one is male and the other is female, but I'm not completely sure. I notice one turtle (the smaller one) swims up to and I front of the bigger one and starts to *tickle* her face.
<AND he has long 'fingernails' - because he's a mail>
Well the turtle that I believe is the female has started becoming a little restless at night and is constantly swimming and looking around. I'm not sure if she is pregnant or not.
<The term is 'gravid' which is a $5 word for saying that she has eggs inside her>
She is only 2 years old, but she is actually quite large.
<And turtles get sexually mature by size, not age>
Her shell is probably about 6 inches or so, and she is kept in a 60 gallon tank. I read in a few articles and a couple videos that you could feel behind their legs for eggs, but my turtle is very shy to people and doesn't like you to touch her or pick her up. She immediately suck's in her legs and arms.
<No worries. Unless you are experienced it's hard to tell an egg from a bone anyway. Her actions seem to indicate that your suspicions are correct>
Also, she is aggressive. Not towards the other turtle, but mainly toward me. When I pick her up she hisses at me and if my hand is close to her head she will try to bite me. I'm not sure why she is acting this way.
<Some are like this naturally, they have their own personalities, but females also get that way around egg laying time.>
<Thing is, it's very hard to make a nesting box for a water turtle. I suggest that you get a dark sided plastic tub, approximately 24 inches by 16 inches by 30 inches tall (all these are VERY approximate). If you find a container the right length and width, you can fabricate higher sides even by using cardboard taped in place around the edges. Add a basking light just like the one you have on your tank. Make a mixture of Vermiculite, play sand (sandbox sand) and potting soil in equal parts to cover the bottom 6 to 8 inches deep, more if you can. Turn on the basking lamp and point it toward one corner of the nesting box, so that part of the substrate is HOT, areas around it are warm, and places further away are cooler.>
<Place her in the box and for most of each day, returning her to the regular tank in the evening. With any luck -- and a lot of patience on your part (this can take weeks) she'll figure out what she's supposed to do.>
<The hard part is that you have to notice when she has finally laid the eggs. Usually you can see a change in her demeanor -- she's calm again.
Either she laid the eggs -or- if she hadn't found the right spot and the eggs hadn't shelled yet (the hard outer shell forms last) she may reabsorb them.>
<If you get the eggs, here's what to do next:
http://www.xupstart.com/wwm/turtle_eggs/index.html >
Let me know!
re: Turtles

Thank you! I'll try it!

Red eared slider, repro. f'     2/4/15
I have a large female slider that is about 11 years old. She is in a 150 gal plastic feeder trough the size of a bath tub that is 2/3 water, with a divider and 1/3 sand with a ramp to get out of water and onto sand to bask.
I have a Fluval fx5 filter, uv lights, basking light and heat lamp. Very nice setup and she is very healthy and seems content. She lays eggs several times a year. Do turtles go through "menopause" and eventually stop laying eggs? At what age usually?
<Reptiles don't have a menopause (in fact few animals do) though fertility does decline when they get very old (typically, older than they'd get in the wild). Since Sliders can live an easy 30 years or more with good care, and in some cases well over 50 years, you shouldn't expect any noticeable decline in egg laying for some time yet. Around her 40th birthday perhaps!
Cheers, Neale.>

Turtles mating habits?    12/23/14
I've got two RES turtles. I've had them since they were hatchlings. One is a female, the other a male.
Recently, my boy has been showing signs of wanting to mate (i.e.; his ritual dance, the fluttering in her face, following her around, etc.) but my girl wants nothing to do with it. She almost acts like she's afraid of him, which I know isn't the case. But, it's weird. They'll be swimming along happily, they'll eat normally, all that, then he starts fluttering and when she turns away, he follows back around to the front and opens his mouth at her. Almost like he's going to bite, but he never does.
And then repeat. All the time. I've tried separating them for a while, and everything is fine. But, she will not let him mate with her, and I don't know where to go from here?
Any tips?
<None really, beyond separating them. Male Sliders are very persistent, and occasionally females accept them and lay eggs. These are a hassle to rear, and the market for turtles is saturated anyway, so the expense of rearing them isn't justified. Ah, I hear you cry, I'll just chuck out any eggs. If only it were so simple. Female turtles lay their eggs in dry sand, well above the waterline, and if some equivalent isn't available in the aquarium, they often become "egg bound" holding onto the eggs for too long.
This involves a trip to the vet if a miserable, painful death is to be avoided. So read up on making a "sandbank" for your female! In short, your life (and hers) will be much easier if the two genders are kept apart.
Cheers, Neale.>

res and egg laying      11/7/14
Hi guys!
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I found your site and LOVE it!
<We're kind of fond of it, too>
So informative!
<And we're handsome, suave and debonair -- thanks for noticing>
Ok, so I've got a female red eared slider who's about 6" long. We recently got her a tank mate. He's about 4 1/2 or 5" long. For some reason, I feel like I should make a box for her to lay eggs in, with vermiculite and peat moss, like I learned on your site.
<A noble idea… the problem is that female turtles have definite ideas of where and when to lay eggs>
So, a couple of things I really don't know: how frequently do they lay eggs? (Dogs go into heat twice a year. is it the same for turtles?)
<They usually lay once a year>
And is there a certain time of year?
<Right when you least expect it and are unprepared for it…
that said, usually in late April or May. In addition to diet (lots of calcium and Vitamins) the changing of the light cycles is a big trigger. As you change the lamp timers from 6 hours a day (winter) to 7 hours and then 8 hours and eventually 9 hours (summer) it triggers mating and egg-laying responses.>
(It seems that if the egg box should be kept at 90 degrees, then it's a summertime thing. I live in Sacramento, California, fyi, if climate matters.)
<85-93 is about right>
I'm not sure how to know when to put her in a box to lay out of the water in her tank.
<No one is. Often, when she's gravid, she'll go irrationally active. Swimming frantically, climbing on the rock, jumping off the rock … just crazy. So you take this as a sign that she's gravid (pregnant) and ready to lay eggs, so you pick her up and put her in the egg box… then she looks at YOU like "what's YOUR problem?" and then does nothing. For three days. Just sits there. So then you figure it's a false alarm and you out her back in the tank. And then she lays her eggs in the water!>
That's if for now.
<The key is, in my experience, the egg box can't be something "new" to her. It has to be a place she's familiar with. If you can't connect it to the side of her habitat (so that it's part of her normal home and can go in and out as she pleases) then place it in the same area and place her in it for 24 hours once a week, every week, starting now. Then perhaps in May she won’t see it as a freakish change … she'll feel comfortable … and lay eggs>
Thanks so much! Vicki (btw, my friend has a slider who is as big as a page in a magazine! she insists that he's not even 3 years old, but he's HUGE! why would that be?)
<First, he would be a she. Second, unless she's obese she'd be far older than 3 years. Send pictures!!>

Red Eared Slider Turtle question/ Repro.      10/22/14
Hi there.
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have a question about my turtle's recent behavior. Some quick background info, he is a red eared slider, a little over 5 inches long and I think 8 years old. I took him in from someone else so I'm not positive of his age.
He lives by himself in a 55 gallon tank. He has a heater (water is about 78 degrees), filter, basking area (temp about 88 degrees), UV light. He eats pellets and I've been working on him to eat vegetables. His previous owner
never fed him veggies.
<No need for heater if you live below the Arctic Circle. Room Temperature - 68-74 degrees is best.>
So the question.... I noticed a couple weeks ago a black object coming out from his tail. It was not out long, maybe 5 seconds at the most. Some quick research told me it's most likely his penis.
Since then I'd say 5 times a week, no more than once a day, he swims around frantically for a few seconds with part of his penis out. Then he quickly pulls it back in. I know that male turtles will sometimes show off, and as
long as it goes back in it isn't a problem. My concern is he swims frantically when it happens, like he's in pain or surprised by the whole situation. I was concerned he was constipated, but I was able to see last night that he is going.
<Nope - he's just excited, and showing it>
Should I be concerned by the frantic swimming while part of his penis is out?
<Not as long as he's a turtle. If your boyfriend or husband does it, then you have a problem>
Boy, this is not an email I ever thought I would be writing, or an issue I thought I would be dealing with lol
<You'd be surprised how many times that question comes up in turtle advice>
Also he has been acting more restlessly sometimes, for example digging under his heater or trying to climb behind his filter. Thanks for any info you can provide.
<As he has reached maturity, he's been feeling these urges. This is the time of year for it as well. Nothing to be concerned about (except I think you should get rid of the heater) and this behavior will likely subside in the coming months>

Red eared sliders. Reproduction ish.       10/10/14
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a male and a female Red Eared Sliders living together in a 100 gallon tank for the last year and a half or so. They have done the mating rituals before in the past with no issue.
<So have we all>
They stick together for a while and eventually come apart.
<Sounds like my life, too>
Tonight however, she became very aggressive after sex and clamped on to his penis with her mouth and would not let go.
<I'm going to be very clear here and say OUCH!>
I ended up having to intervene as he started to bleed badly. I separated them and put her in a bucket and left him in the tank. He eventually got his penis to go back inside his tail, but now I'm wondering what the hell that was all about? I'm sorry if I've grossed you out, but I'm concerned.
<Thank you for writing, David. This is one of the more odd problems I've seen. It's not like he come home reeking of perfume or had some other turtle's lipstick on his ear, is it?>
Please help!
<To answer your question, we will never know what it's all about or why a female would choose to do such a painful and harmful thing. It's not normal by any means - although their courtship can be a little rough the biting and scratching is normally just around the arms and legs. This is a case of her going completely off the 'deep end' {to make an aquatic turtle pun} AND, of course, I'm speaking about turtles only here.>
<I would separate them for a while longer and re-introduce them after a few weeks. This gives him time to heal and recuperate. When they are put back together, make as many changes to their habitat as possible.
Rock/basking place, water level, orientation to natural light, etc. in order to make them both a little less familiar with their worlds>
<The best thing I can tell you is that Sliders are remarkable resilient:
Whatever problems it may have caused him, he'll very likely survive it just fine.>

My 4 1/2 yr old RES turtles, i have been leaving them out of water, in the house, and put them back in tank while feeding alone, for almost an year now. They seem to be doing fine with female sleeping around all the time in one place and male moving a little bit here and there in between.
Can turtles mate outside water?
<Not Red-Ear Sliders, no.>
or if they do while in tank when feeding, can they be left on land after that?
<After mating, yes, the female can be removed to another tank and will come on land to bask as normal. She'll swim normally, too. Fertilisation is internal, so after mating it doesn't matter much what she does. Generally though breeding Red Ear Sliders is not recommended for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact far more baby turtles are produced than there are people able to keep them PROPERLY. So any eggs produced should be destroyed.>
And they doesn't seem to be eating their pellets these days at all, at least from past 4 days, what can i do about it?
<Wise turtles. Pellets are okay as treats, but not a good staple diet.
Instead offer fresh greens (pretty much any cheap aquarium plant will do, including Pondweed/Elodea) alongside plant-based pellets (Koi pellets are excellent) rather than the typical high-protein reptile pellets. Do have a read here:
And here:
Feeding isn't difficult for this omnivorous turtles, but many, MANY people get it wrong even so!>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Neale.>

Urgent advise is required for my Red Eyed Slider Female Turtle; repro. beh.    /Neale       6/26/14
I seek counsel for my female red eyed slider turtle. She is with me since September 25, 2011. Very small then and has eventually transformed into a beauty with a shell size of 20 cm.s. She has a healthy routine of basking, feeding and playfully enjoying in my lawn.
To my surprise she laid an egg today in her water tank. Though without mating. I was confounded and dumbstruck at this site. Sadly the egg was soon destroyed by her only within a few minutes after laying.
I am still perplexed at such turn of events. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Looking forward to hear back from your forum soon.
Varsha Jhawar
<Greetings. Provided your turtle is laying eggs, you really don't have anything to worry about. It's normal for turtles to sometimes lay eggs, even without males. Problems happen when the female can't lay her eggs. That leads to "egg binding". It is quite common when female turtles are kept in vivaria (aquaria) with only a little bit of land. So for now, relax! Cheers, Neale.>
Urgent advise is required for my Red Eyed Slider Female Turtle     /Darrel
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I seek counsel for my female red eyed slider turtle. She is with me since September 25, 2011. Very small then and has eventually transformed into a beauty with a shell size of 20 cm.s. She has a healthy routine of basking,
feeding and playfully enjoying in my lawn.
<Sounds great>
To my surprise she laid an egg today in her water tank. Though without mating. I was confounded and dumbstruck at this site. Sadly the egg was soon destroyed by her only within a few minutes after laying.
<they do that>
I am still perplexed at such turn of events. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Looking forward to hear back from your forum soon.
<Nothing to worry about Varsha. Turtles and tortoises gestate eggs all the time, even when no male is or ever has been present. Usually, when conditions aren’t right, their bodies just absorb the egg and we never know. Once the egg has shelled (the outer surface has formed) they will lay the eggs regardless. This is completely OK and nothing needs doing. The only thing I suggest is that you get the egg(s) out of the water before she breaks them -- if that happens there is a huge cleanup to deal with>
Varsha Jhawar

Female RES Boffy      6/19/14
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My little boffaloffagus (I know, my six year old named her) has been acting at little different the past few days.
We have had her for almost two years, she is 5-6 inches long. I have her in a 60g aquarium with a floating log, good filter, UV light and basking lamps are good, proper temps..ect
Just two days ago I noticed that she has been constantly swimming against the glass. She would do this occasionally when she wanted out (I allow her to dry dock at least an hour or so a day) but when I take her out recently she gets vicious! Hissing, snapping, and in the past she wouldn't do this. I've also noticed that her rear end, near hind legs is swollen?
<You'd be vicious too if your rear end was swollen>
She is eating fine, basking a bit more, not lethargic or anything. She isn't like digging with her hind legs so much as swimming frantically at the glass and being generally restless.
Could she possibly be gravid?
<That would be my first guess. She's the right size and the description is pretty spot on.>
<A Slider will eventually just drop the eggs in the water if she can't find a suitable nesting spot. If you have a garden or even an enclosed patio you could put her in … take her from the water at dusk and leave her until daylight … after she accepts that as 'normal' she may drop the eggs in there.>
<Either way, this is a teeth-clencher because she's acting strange and there's not a lot we can do.>
<If she hasn't dropped the eggs or started acting normal in another three weeks, write back>
Re: Female RES Boffy      6/22/14

Thank you! I live in an apartment with no patio, can I just put some sand or dirt (no potting soil with chemicals obviously) in the spare aquarium and put her in a dark room with the shade drawn (moonlight?) and night ?
<Yes - you can. She may not finding it as comforting as you'd think it would, at least not at first. Just keep in mind that A-she'll get used to it and B- one way or another, this will all pass>

Red Ear Slider question, babies... beh., hlth.     12/7/13
We just got two baby red ear sliders, we have a 20 gallon tank for them and nice rock and filter. We found out we need a uvb light so were going to get one of those asap. But my question is one turtle seems very happy and active, but the other one appears to not be able to take its back legs out of the shell. It seems to want to, we can see its little muscles wiggling
down there but no feet ever pop out. It swims fine and just seems to drag itself along the rock with its front legs. Is this a sign of illness? Its shell also seems to be curved in the back by its legs. The turtles are probably about 2 inches. Any information would be helpful.
<Hello Alex. Sounds to me like Metabolic Bone Disease, which is a catch-all name that describes problems where reptiles haven't been given the right (i.e., calcium-rich) diet and/or adequate UV-B lighting. Cutting a long story short, without adequate calcium and UV-B, reptile bones don't grow properly. Bowed legs and difficulty walking are two common symptoms.  Given the right conditions from now onwards, you can hope subsequent bone growth will compensate for any problems thus far. You've mentioned a new UV-B lamp; do also review diet, and in particular pick up some sort of reptile vitamin supplement with calcium in it. Fresh green leafy foods have lots of calcium, and as you may be aware now, turtles will do well if given a bunch of goldfish-style pondweed to graze on. Our resident turtle expert Darrel recommends Koi pellets as an ideal staple, and some brands of these will be rich in calcium too -- so choose these ones.
Cheers, Neale (bcc'ed Darrel for errors/omissions).>

my turtles are mating & it's Oct.    10/14/13
Hi, I have a female red slider The male is yellow, I know that they will inter breed but it is oct. I got the pair from my niece this summer she has had them for six years. I built them a habitat outside. ( we live in no. cal.) They have a pond that is 10' by 5' 3' deep, they are fenced in & we have a cover for night to keep them safe. they have been in it for 3days.
This morning I went to uncover them & they were attached. Should I be concerned by the time of year? Should I set up a nesting box. Should I not Hybernate them ?
What to do...
thank you
Erin Johnson
<Hello Erin. So far as turtles mating goes, provided the female can get away from the male when she wants too, then no harm done. If she can't get some peace and quiet, then yes, constantly being with an amorous male turtle will "wear her down" and potentially cause stress-related problems.
Now, in the UK it is universally recommended that casual hobbyists don't hibernate turtles kept outdoors. Instead, the advice is always to bring them indoors. Why? Because unless a turtle has the right amount of fat before it hibernates, it will die. Estimating the weight of a turtle ready to hibernate depends upon various factors; with tortoises (what Brits and Australians call the land-based turtles) the calculation is called the "Jackson Ratio" and you can find out about it online. There's presumably something similar for aquatic freshwater turtles (what here in England are called terrapins). Do also understand that turtles don't hibernate in snow or ice! They would naturally dig some sort of appropriate burrow, in many cases in the bottom of the ponds, actually under the water! During their winter sleep they are (amazingly!) able to absorb enough oxygen from the water to survive -- assuming the water isn't too warm (so using pond heaters isn't a good idea) but also assuming the water isn't too cold (if the pond freezes solid, then it's death for the turtle). It's all very complicated, but in the wild, turtles select their winter quarters carefully, but even so, mortality is very high, especially among young turtles hatched that year. Anyway, without a shadow of a doubt the safest approach is to create an indoor enclosure you can use from the time air temperature sinks below, say, 10 C/50 F. In spring, once all risk of frost has passed, you can release them back into the pond. Since this is a temporary enclose, a very basic (and inexpensive) system can be created; see here:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale (cc'ed Darrel and Sue, our turtle experts).>
Re: my turtles are mating & it's Oct.    10/14/13

I couldn't add a thing to what Neale said!
Well done!!
<Thank you both. B>

Red eared slider; repro.      7/25/13
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have a pair of 5 y/o Red Eared Sliders. We got them as babies and did not know we had a male and female until last year. This year the female has laid 2 eggs in the tank. I've done online research and set up an appropriate nesting area. My question(s) are: She buries herself but does not lay until I put her back in her tank. (I am guessing stressed from being moved) how long should I leave her in there?
<It's a complicated and not well understood process>
I hate to think I am disturbing her...  (She is in a tub, with the V, soil and peat moss, she also has the UV light)
<Don't worry about disturbing her.  It's not like she has a job or has a family to take care of.   As lives go a Slider's life is on the easy side>
How will I know if she is egg bound?
<I wouldn't worry about that.  They only lay from 2 to 6 eggs and they plop them wherever they happen to be.  Egg binding in sliders is extremely rare>
Do I keep moving her back and forth nesting to tank?  Thanks for your time and I apologize if this has been answered thru another thread.
<No worries>
<The thing is, only she knows for certain and she won't tell us.  In my pond, where they have water and land and can move freely - they'll come out & wander around, nose into corners and under plants and then head back to the water.  Another day she'll haul out of the sand pit and rest there all day, then just go back in the water.   Then on another day she'll dig a hole, turn around and examine it and then abandon it.  Four days later - maybe just at dawn- she'll dig another hole RIGHT NEXT to the hole she abandoned, lay her eggs and walk away.  The only way I can describe the entire process would be to describe the way women go shoe shopping -- the process cannot be understood by a man, period.  This process can't be understood by humans.  She'll dig when she wants to dig.>
<That all said, once you see that frenetic behavior, place her in the nesting box and leave her for at least three days.  During that time she may feel comfortable enough too dig - OR she may just expel the eggs on the vermiculite at which point you can collect them and incubate them>

RES egg-laying     6/1/13
<Hiya, Darrel here>
Thanks so much for your fantastic and informative site.
<Thank you, not only is it kind of you to say, but you show exceptionally good taste and intelligence for noticing!>
We've emailed you before with regards to our red eared slider, and we have another question for you today!  Our turtle friend, Horace, appears to have laid a few eggs in his (ahem...her) tank.  She is alone, so they are obviously unfertilized eggs.  We did a little research and found out that RES females do not like to lay their eggs in water.  She is currently in a 55 gal. tank, 8 in. long, and 3 years old.  Do we need to build some sort of elaborate "nesting" area for Horace?
<Not necessarily.   Female turtles will often gestate eggs and then simply reabsorb them.  If conditions are right, the eggs will develop their hard shell and then the eggs can't be absorbed and they'll start looking for places to lay them.  When no suitable place is available they'll usually expel them into the water as Horace did.  So it's not that she didn't like or dislike doing it, it's just what she did>
And, if so, does this mean Horace needs to become an "outdoors" pet (since we do not have a garage or basement) in which to set up a "nesting area"?  Lastly, we live in Arizona, where the summer temperatures are typically in the hundreds.  This must be too hot for Horace outside, right?  What do you suggest.  Is it time to try to get rid of Horace.  Say it ain't so!  Please solve all our problems!
<No, it's not time to get rid of Horace!!  She's happy there and well cared for.  The reason I know is, like I said - it bad conditions she'd not even gestate the eggs.>
<Now what to do?  Hmmm.  And outdoor pond is a great project for people who would like a water feature in their yard.  However, we have to fight Mother Nature's 100 degree days combined with her 2 degree nights AND predators like birds and raccoons and then on top of that deal with Algae, Politicians and other forms of pond scum.  It can be a fun family project or it can be like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer … it real benefit except that it feels so good when you stop!>
<In the spring time, you might notice Horace getting… anxious.  She may seem nervous, unwilling to feed,  more active than normal but not in a normal way…  hard to describe but you'll know it when you see it.   Get a large plastic storage tub with high sides from a Building Supply store and a bag of peat moss and a bag of Vermiculite.   The Vermiculite now comes only in large (2 cu ft) bags called Therm-o-Rock.   Mix half & half into the tub until it's about 8 inches deep and then place it in well lit room then put Horace in there and see what she does.   You may have to arrange some sort of additional walls so that she can't climb out, but if you leave her in there for a couple days and nights, she might decide it's worth trying.>
<Don't worry about her not eating or basking.   She's well equipped to go a week or two without either of those.  On the other hand, after a few days, if she's just sitting there looking at you like she has no idea what she did to be put in turtle jail, put her back in her regular tank for a day or two and then try again>
Many thanks,
Ricky and Jacqueline
<See? Now you have NO MORE PROBLEMS!>

Turtle reproduction     4/26/13
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have 2 turtles.
<I have 21 turtles.  And 15 tortoises, 2 iguanas & 2 cats>
The male is just a little over a year old and is 4 inches.
<That's very large for only a year old, more like the size of a 3-4 years old>
The female is my daughters, she is a little under a year old and is 4 inches.
<Your daughter is only 4 inches????>
<Oh wait - you meant the turtle.>
 I don't know much about how fast they grow, but that seems to be fast to me. Anyway, my male turtle is now "courting" the female. I find him mounting her often. So my question is, is it absolutely 5 inches and 4-5 years of age before they can reproduce?
<Nope.   The years normally stated are relevant only because that's they normal number of years it takes for them to reach the size of maturation.   Males mature between 3 to 4 inches and females between 5 and 6 inches -- note, those are also approximations>
I don't want any surprises!!!
<Well, she won’t mature for another inch or two… AND the rate of growth slows with age.>
If need be, I'll make a nesting box so she has the ability to lay eggs. But I'd really like your opinion on this matter. And I'm sure of their ages due to the fact that they were both the size of a quarter when we both got them. My only concern is the health of my turtles! And they've been fed pellets, crickets, earthworms, shrimp, plain cooked chicken, (the male LOVES ham), and tuna. Also duck weed, and foliage. I also provide a turtle bone and add those fortified vitamin sinkables to their tank. They also have their basking light and floating dock. So if you have any information that can help me to understand the reproduction part of this, I would gladly accept it! I've read many different things on it, but it always puts the age up there, but also says its size, not age!!! Thank you ;)
<The sad truth is that the immature female will have to endure the advances of the male for quite a while yet before it becomes something she wants.  Hmm … not unlike us humans, huh?>
<As far as general care, there are things I'd change.  As much as they like what you're feeding them, it probably isn't as good for them as you think.  Koi pellets as a basic staple and an occasional earthworm would best approximate their natural diet.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Turtle reproduction     4/26/13
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have 2 turtles.
<I have 21 turtles.  And 15 tortoises, 2 iguanas & 2 cats>
The male is just a little over a year old and is 4 inches.
<That's very large for only a year old, more like the size of a 3-4 years old>
The female is my daughters, she is a little under a year old and is 4 inches.
<Your daughter is only 4 inches????>
<Oh wait - you meant the turtle.>
 I don't know much about how fast they grow, but that seems to be fast to me. Anyway, my male turtle is now "courting" the female. I find him mounting her often. So my question is, is it absolutely 5 inches and 4-5 years of age before they can reproduce?
<Nope.   The years normally stated are relevant only because that's they normal number of years it takes for them to reach the size of maturation.   Males mature between 3 to 4 inches and females between 5 and 6 inches -- note, those are also approximations>
I don't want any surprises!!!
<Well, she won’t mature for another inch or two… AND the rate of growth slows with age.>
If need be, I'll make a nesting box so she has the ability to lay eggs. But I'd really like your opinion on this matter. And I'm sure of their ages due to the fact that they were both the size of a quarter when we both got them. My only concern is the health of my turtles! And they've been fed pellets, crickets, earthworms, shrimp, plain cooked chicken, (the male LOVES ham), and tuna. Also duck weed, and foliage. I also provide a turtle bone and add those fortified vitamin sinkables to their tank. They also have their basking light and floating dock. So if you have any information that can help me to understand the reproduction part of this, I would gladly accept it! I've read many different things on it, but it always puts the age up there, but also says its size, not age!!! Thank you ;)
<The sad truth is that the immature female will have to endure the advances of the male for quite a while yet before it becomes something she wants.  Hmm … not unlike us humans, huh?>
<As far as general care, there are things I'd change.  As much as they like what you're feeding them, it probably isn't as good for them as you think.  Koi pellets as a basic staple and an occasional earthworm would best approximate their natural diet.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Re: my turtle water, Now RES repro. beh.    2/3/13
Dear crew hi
I've been caring for my turtle for a year now and I never thought that when he get bigger and older it will be harder to care for him he is a red eared slider and caring for him was pretty hard for me and as I found out these few weeks that it was a boy I became a bit worried that some aggressive behavior will come out from him because I got another turtle that is not a red eared slider and because of its thick and so long tail and its nail are sharp but not so long that is came into my hands as I hold it but the red eared slider have been doing this thing that he put his hands in front of the other turtles face that the other turtle turn its head the other side I've been noticing that for a long time but I thought it is just a away of contacting or something but until today when I noticed that the red eared slider is trying to get on the other turtles shell and he get his tail I think somewhere on the other turtle body (is it trying to mate?)
<Ah yes. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resreprofaqs.htm
so I wish u can tell me why is he doing that and what does it mean and is there a way I can stop him from doing that because if my mum find out  about the way they look she will think that's not an appropriate thing for a 14 years old girl to see so please I need a help with that because I don't want my mum to get rid of them specially the guy Amy < I didn't change his name even after I found out that he is a male
thank u
sorry for asking u all of these questions
<Do learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. I suspect we have much more to share w/ you of interest, use. Bob Fenner>

Female RES mating call     1/13/13
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a question about my 10 year old female Red Eared Slider. I bought her when she was about the size of a quarter, before I knew that was illegal.
<***************** STOP RIGHT HERE **********************>
<I want to make it perfectly clear that it is NOT illegal to be a Red Eared Slider the size of a quarter!!!! 
The guilt and shame we heap upon these tiny creatures is really sad and some of them require years of therapy to become functioning members of society.
It's perfectly OK to be a Red Eared Slider of any size.
It's also OK to OWN a Red Eared Slider the size of a quarter.
It's just illegal to sell or offer for sale a water turtle with a shell less than 4 inches long UNLESS that turtle is sold for educational or scientific purposes.>
She has grown well over the last 10 years and eats well. She currently is about the size of a football and is housed in a monstrous enclosure my Dad built. It has a huge cattle-trough-sized swimming area, basking rock with heating light (on a timer) and the water temperature is 80 degrees. She eats commercial turtle pellets regularly and goldfish/Rosies and Anacharis plants as monthly snacks.
<No fish please - not part of their diet and usually carry parasites.   Use earthworms (easily obtainable at most pet stores) instead>
<The only thing I'd change is the water temp.  It should be around 68-72 degrees, so that she can choose to warm under the heating lamp or cool off in the water.  At 80 degree water she has only the choices of "hot" or "warm."  That is why she's as large as she is for her age>
About two weeks ago, she made a high-pitched squealing sound I have never heard from her. Over the next hour, she did it 3 more times. I searched the Internet for answers and the two most common answers were either the beginnings of a respiratory infection or a mating call.
<Turtles make no mating calls at all.  They WILL however - make 976 number calls if they have access to a phone line and I guess those could be considered "mating" calls Never let a Slider use your phone, your internet or your credit cards - they have NO financial willpower at all!>
<Adult land tortoises make a grunting noise DURING mating, but no mating call>
I made an appointment with the nearest terrapin vet and carted her off the next day with a heating pad in her crate. The vet said her eyes were clear, she's a healthy weight and all looks well, so it must have been a mating call.
<No - it's likely just a squeaking noise that has no specific meaning>
I realize that turtles are happier in a solitary environment, but I am starting to wonder a bit about her behavior. If she truly made a mating call, is she just acting instinctively or should we give her the opportunity to mate? A fellow teacher in my building has a male RES that is constantly trying to mate with her 2 female RESs. (She had to separate them!) I am reticent to expose my RES to another habitat, different germs, etc... but is mating a necessary part of happy turtle life?
<No, it's not.  They do fine without it.  Mating leads to eggs which leads to babies which leads to many mouths to feed and lots of expenses and they always want money and to borrow your car and bring it back without gas until one night they bring it back with a HUGE dent in the rear door that they can't explain and then later they drop out of college after 3 years>
Do I need to schedule a conjugal visit?
<Seriously … no.  As far as we can tell, there is no emotional connection as we see in higher species.>
Was her high shriek a mating call at all or was she just vocalizing?
<Maybe she's singing!  What kind of music does she listen to?  I have a Rhinoceros Iguana that sounds remarkably like Shania Twain when I've been drinking heavily ….>
She's healthy and I don't want to disrupt her, but I'm wondering if mating would make her happier. Perhaps I am just projecting human feelings onto an instinctive RES behavior.
<Yes, it's called Anthropomorphism and I think the best pet keepers I know all do it.>
I'd love some advice.
<I think you're doing fine.   Alma (is her name Alma?) needs UV-B lighting which comes from natural sunlight unfiltered through glass or even window-screen -or- from a specific lamp like a Zoo-Med Reptisun bulb made just for that purpose>

Turtle Behaviour, RES repro.     11/18/12
I have a red eared slider turtle of just over ten years. She is about the size of my hand. I have never had any problems with her at all but over the last week she has started to stand upright in the tank and bang her shell against the glass. She only does this when I am in the room and in particular while I am sleeping. I have gotten out of bed to feed her, I pick her up and talk to her. It doesn't seem to matter what I do when I put her back in the tank she just starts all over again until I give up on sleep and leave the room. I have noticed she has not been eating as much (less then half) of what she normally does. Tank conditions (size of tank, temps, filter) have not changed in about 5 years. I am at a loss of what is should try.
<Hello Nicole. While it's possible she simply wants to get out (especially if the tank isn't all that spacious) my guess is that she wants to lay some eggs. There are two clues here: lack of appetite and nighttime activity.
Why? Well, when reptiles start to form their eggs, their stomachs are squished a bit, so they want to eat less. Plus, aquatic reptiles typically lay their eggs at night when it's safer for them to come out of the water.
Put these two things together and you may see my train of thought. Anyway, a vet can help here, partly by providing an injection that causes the female to lay, and also by giving your turtle a once over to make sure she's otherwise okay. Installing some sort of land area a square foot or so in area and with 3-4 inches of sand will provide her a place to lay her eggs, and it's a good idea to do this before the turtle becomes egg-bound, so the female can lay when she should have done. Sounds like you've missed the boat here. With the eggs stuck inside her, she'll be in increasing pain and eventually the eggs go bad, rot, and the resulting infection kills the turtle.
Oh, and don't get mislead by thinking that females kept alone don't get egg-bound -- they can and do, though the eggs will be unfertilised of course. Cheers, Neale.>

Baby Red Eared sliders, gen.     11/7/12
I bought two baby red eared sliders that some guy was selling in a parking lot. I created a little home for them with plenty of wet and dry land. They have a filter and a heater.
<Do you mean a water heater? If so, you don’t need or want this. You want the water to be in the cooler range, around 68-70 degrees F.>
I shine a lamp on them during the day for basking,
<What kind of lamp? Is it a heat AND UVB lamp? You must have both.>
however my little girl seems to be burrowing into the rocks at night. I have to dig for her next morning. I put her on my palm and took her outside and she seemed to like the sun,
<Yes, they not only like the sun, they absolutely need the sun for their health. That’s why I mentioned the necessity for having a UVB bulb for their set-up.>
but why is she hiding?
<Most likely she’s just timid. Not unusual, especially when they little and if you just got them. It’s also possible she may be timid of the other turtle. It’s also common when you have two turtles that one will emerge as the more dominant one. Hopefully she’ll become more comfortable with her surroundings as time goes on. Just keep an eye on things to make sure there’s not something else going on.>
The heater I bought for them is made for aquatic turtles as it has a little cage around it to protect them from the element. It supposed to keep their temperature at the correct setting.
<As above, take this out.>
I bought them 6 kinds of turtle food. One eats really good but the little girl just wants to hide.
<How much, how often are you feeding them? Be careful not to over-feed!>
What am I doing wrong?
<Adela, it could be you’re doing nothing wrong! It could also be that she’s just scared of her new surroundings or of the other turtle. It could also be she may not be feeling well. And it may be that there IS something you do need to change about your care and set-up.>
<From what you wrote, it looks like you’re off to a good start, but I’d need to know more specifics before I could give you a more definitive answer. How long have you had her? How long has she gone without eating? How often and how much food have you been feeding her/them? (They should only be fed every other day as much as they can eat in 5 minutes or so, then remove the uneaten food.) How often do you change their water? (still need to change frequently especially if it’s a smaller tank, even with a filter) Has she been out basking every day? What’s the temperature under their heat lamp? Do you have a UVB lamp? These are just some of the questions that would help pinpoint whether or not there are any issues in her care or set-up that may need to be adjusted. I’m going to give you a link here to our basic care guide – read this over carefully and see if there’s anything you need to add or change about your care and set-up:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm  >
<I will add also that IF she continues not to eat, is not basking, or you have a feeling she might be ill, then the best thing to do is REMOVE her from the water completely and put her in a warm, dry set-up (still with UVB), and with some access to water for a few minutes each day to drink. We call this “Dry-Docking”. Here’s a link with more specific instructions for how to do that just in case things don’t improve (and actually, it can never hurt) --
<Good luck; I hope she comes around! Any other questions or concerns after reading through all this, feel free to write us again. ~ Sue >
A. Mac in Los Angeles

Baby res; see through eyelids? - 10/31/2012
Hi, I have a baby red eared slider that I bought in the street a couple of weeks ago. He is about 1-2 inches big. He is in a small tank with some gravel. I tried to feed him some pellets and lettuce but he hasn't touched them. Other than not eating he has been active and moving around. However, the past couple of days he's been sleeping. I think he may be hibernating but I'm not sure nor am I sure if he is in an adequate environment to be hibernating. Although he is an indoor turtle, it has gotten colder due to Hurricane Sandy. I can clearly see his eyelids are closed but the weird thing is I can see through his eyelids and see his actual eye. I can even see his eye moving around sometimes with his eyelid closed. His eye that I can see behind his eyelid seems to close again when I assume he is actually sleeping. I've moved him around to make sure he can still open his eyes and he can. His eyes do not seem to be swollen. So what I want to know is my turtle going to be ok? Is this normal with his eye situation?
<Hmm… can you start by reading here:
Eye problems are very common when turtles aren't kept properly. Classically, the eye appears to be closed all the time because the eyelids have become swollen. For sure a trip to the vet is necessary. More than likely the vet will provide the turtle with a vitamin injection and will then give you some tips on better care. It's a cheap, quick fix at this stage, but left alone, the underlying problem will become serious, eventually fatal. Hope you're able to help this chap before it's too late, Neale.>

Shy male     8/15/12
Hello, i have a sexually mature RES turtle and a questionably sexually mature female, she will occasionally try courting with him, but he often seems scared, or bashful. What would cause this behavior?
<... as you state, the current lack of maturity of the male, interest of the female. Read here:
and the linked FAQs file RES Compatibility. Bob Fenner>

Red Eared Slider - age and sex?    7/14/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've been reading up on your site...
I've got a couple of questions.
<OK - We probably have answers - of which more than 58% will be accurate!>
First Question: how old and how long does a Red Eared Slider turtle have to be to tell if it's a male or female?
<Age doesn't matter at all.  They mature with size>
Mine is a little over the size of a fifty cent piece.
<That's way too small to tell.  When he or she gets to be about the size of your closed fist -maybe around 4 to 5 inches front to back - a male will begin to get noticeably longer front claws.  Basically long fingernails. 
And I mean LONG.   Once he starts to develop them, you will absolutely know.>
<Also, around 4-5 inches, he'll start slowing in growth.  Females will continue to grow until they are 7 inches long (or even more)>
My next question is why does he follow my hand around the tank?
<To Buddy - human movement means food is coming!   Plus, they have individual personalities.  Buddy may just be friendly.>
Is it because he use to me feeding him? When I first got him he was tiny until we figure out if he's male or female were calling him buddy  (aka) squirt.
<Well here's the cool thing:  Buddy has no ears!   So you can call him anything you want.   He has no sense of sexual self, no ego and social anxiety disorders.  You can rename him "Priscilla" if you want and he'll be just as happy.>
Thanks for any information we can give me this site is awesome
<Just keep Buddy away from credit cards, debit cards and checkbooks.  Red Eared Sliders have NO sense of money or financial restraint of any kind.   
If Buddy gets a hold of your bank account, he'll wipe it out in on or two calls to the Home Shopping Network!>
Re: Red Eared Slider male or female?    7/22/12

Thanks for replying back
<No charge!>
The information u provided was very helpful.
<Glad to know we hit the mark!>
I'm just now getting buddy to eat the pellets we got for him, He would rather have a fly, a moth and a grasshopper than the Pellets. When I'd give him his pellets he would take them like he was going to eat them then he would spit them out. Why did he do this?
<I think that it's just not a taste they're used to - sorta like when we open a box of mixed chocolates and bite into one, only to find out it has a mango, ketchup & dish soap filling>
And is it ok for him to eat the insects? He is so cool and interesting to watch.
<As long as he is healthy, he can have a few.  They are not high in any real nutritional content but ARE high in fat.  Think of typical insects as being the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of the reptile world:  Nice for an occasional treat, but really, REALLY bad as part of the diet.>

4 baby Red Ear Sliders    6/23/12
Hi there.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My name is Adam, and my Wife and I recently bought four baby RES. I've only had them for about a month now. They are very slightly larger than a quarter (25 cents). I bought a 50 gallon tank, filled it 1/3 with water, using the appropriate amount of ZILLA aquatic reptile water conditioner. I then put in an AQUEON water pump/filter. Filled the bottom of the tank with very smooth rocks from the local pet store, and on the end farthest from the pump, I made a slope coming out of the water right under the ZILLA 75watt / 120volt heat lamp. Right next to the ZILLA 13watt / tropical25 UV lamp. I also put in a TETRA FAUNA aquatic reptile water heater preset to at 78'F. The have two little fake floating pieces of land which they thoroughly enjoy hiding under if they get nervous.
<So far, so good>
There is also some fake plants for privacy that they all 4 seem to recognize and use often when coming up for air... I turn the lights on every morning at exactly 8am. And off every night at exactly 11:30pm. I feed them once every other day, but sometimes I'll see one or two digging at the rocks at the bottom of the tank, searching for bloodworms, and I'll give 'em a snack. Right now, I honestly don't know what to feed them besides BLOOD WORMS. I threw in a couple small pieces of store bought LETTUCE one time, but they didn't even nibble at it. So far there doesn't seem to be any problem with competition for food or light or anything, but they are still all the same size.
<Go get a bag of SMALL sized Koi pellets or Repto-min floating food sticks.  That's your primary food from now until they double in size - then go to regular-sized Koi pellets for the rest of their lives.   These pellets/sticks are highly plant-based and fully balanced for raising turtles.>
When they get a little bigger, I'm sure I'll have to separate them eventually.
<Not necessarily - turtles can be very social.  Don't worry about that until you see serious aggression.  The males will stop growing at the size of a closed fist and the females will continue to grow>
They are very friendly, and it seems they are becoming more comfortable and not as nervous when I go to feed them or clean their tank. We handle them whenever I clean the tank, which is once, maybe twice, a week. Although I don't ever handle them when I feed them. I turn off the water pump/filter and do my best to give them privacy while they eat. These 4 little guys are the first RES turtles my Wife and I have ever owned. I think I'm doing good so far... But I need a professional opinion. Please help with what to feed them, what I'm doing wrong, or if I can do anything to make them happier... And should female and male (brothers and sisters) be raised together? Should I separate them? And if so which ones, and when? Thank you for all your help!
<I think you’re doing fine already!!  I wouldn't bother with the water conditioner though - save that money and add it to the replacement UV light fund, etc.>
<Make sure they have basking heat AND UV-B, 72 degree water (room temp NEVER a heater if they're indoors and 88-92 degree basking area.>
<read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Also: Name one of them Herkimer and never EVER let them near your Checkbook or Debit cards - Red Eared Sliders have absolutely NO sense of money or restraint!>
Sent from my iPhone

eggs    3/21/12
Hello, I have a couple of questions.  I have an eleven year old female Red Eared Slider. She was with two males about four years ago and since then has produced eggs. Could these eggs be fertile?
She seems to be having a hard time with this last batch of eggs.
<Not uncommon, but see below for why.>
They are large and have a shell on them. But they never seem to end. She has been laying for about a month off and on. Do they ever stop producing eggs?
<Menopause is not something that happens to animals; in most cases they're fertile until they're so old they die for one reason or another. That said, very old animals often become less fertile and may well stop laying eggs.
But it isn't something you can predict.>
Thank you for your answer.
<There's a good article over at the Tortoise Trust, here:
Laying eggs is something turtles do readily and shouldn't be a problem. The problem is that often we keep turtles in very unnatural environments, specifically, ones without soft, dry sand where they can lay their eggs. If you change their habitat to provide for that requirement, the problem essentially goes away, and you can remove the eggs (whether fertilised or not) at your leisure. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: eggs    3/21/12

Hello Neale,  She had a respiratory infection and was on a antibiotic.
<I see.>
Not sure if it helped because she still is wheezing,
<Any worse than before? The wheezing isn't good. Perhaps a quick call to the vet, animal rescue or similar for advice?>
I have two containers for her. One just has peat moss in it which I keep watered down. This is the one she loves to stay in. I put her in water twice a day. In the mornings to feed, drink and go to the bathroom. Then she wants to go back to the peat moss. But you said sand would be better.
Should I get child safe sand?
<Honestly, she should lay eggs in either. I'd have thought sand more natural, and perhaps the best would be a mix of sand and coir (coconut fibre, cheap and easier to use/clean than peat).>
Thank You for responding. ~Lisa
<Always glad to. Cheers, Neale.>

Hello! RES, small/baby... sys.
<Hi Lauren! Sue here.>
I have a question about my baby red ear slider turtle. "He" is very tiny (silver dollar size) and I've read set ups for tanks and followed for what I thought was best for him. I noticed he never wants to come out of his water. I have a whole section of his tank with dry rocks and a lamp, yet he will bury himself under the rocks and poke his head above the water. It's been about a month since I've had him and not once have I seen him just hanging out on dry land. Is there something causing him to do this?
<It could be he's still nervous, but I would have expected him to come out and bask by now. It's possible he might have come out when you're not around, but for now let's assume he hasn't to be on the safe side.>
<It could be your water temperature is too warm and the land isn't warm enough to entice him to come out. The water should be kept cooler (68-70 degrees F range). A heat lamp and a UVB lamp (both are needed) should be right above the rocks, and the temperature should be in the 88-92 degrees F range). The cool water is what typically gives them that extra motivation to come out and warm up.>
Should I take him out of his tank and make him be on dry land every day for a while? I just want him to be okay.
<Yes, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get him in a warm, dry place for a few days if he really hasn't been out of the water for this entire period. However, rather than make him be on his land, I'd remove him altogether and place him in a separate warm, dry enclosure for the next few days, except for a few minutes each day to drink, eat and poop. I've attached the following link that has instructions for exactly how to go about doing this. See under the section entitled, 'Immediate Treatment -- ISOLATION'.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
I saw him way under sized, in a dollar store and felt I had to save him and I don't want to cause him any harm due to my lack of turtle knowledge.
<Poor thing! It's the unfortunate reality of the trade. And thank you for trying to learn as much as you can to take good care of him.>
please help! Thank you,
<You're welcome, Lauren! It sounds like you've done some reading, but I'm attaching the following link to our care guide just to make sure you have all the necessary basics covered:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Give this a read, check your water and basking temperatures, and let him get warm and dry under heat and UVB for a few days. Hopefully one or all of these things will give him a jump start! Good luck, and write us back if you need any further help with this, or if other questions or concerns come up. ~Sue>

Can you discourage egg-laying? 9/21/11
Hi Crew!
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Our Red Eared Slider Portia is about 9 yrs old and 7-8" long and has been laying eggs
about 4 years. At first she had a clutch every 6-8 months, but she's picked up speed. She's had at least 3 clutches already this year. Is there any way to turn down the frequency on our egg-laying machine?
<Not really. MOST of the conditions that inhibit egg laying are in fact less optimal for her health.>
<The reverse is also true. The fact that is so fecund (a $5 word meaning that she lays lots of eggs) is a tribute to the care you give her. When an animal is in bad conditions and receiving poor care, reproduction is the first internal system to shut down>
Each fall, we re-set her lamp timer so she gradually has fewer hours of light in the winter (from about 12 to about 8 hours -- still more hours of light than our Chicago winter). She's in an area that gets diffused natural light, and lots of traffic and artificial light. We cut back on her food accordingly during the colder months. She's definitely more active in the warmer weather, but she's also had clutches in the winter (her first was a Christmas present).
<About the only thing I'd do is set the timers to 12 on 12 off and leave them there. The photoperiod CHANGES are a major signal to gestate and lay eggs. But as you have already found, it's not 100% - they can lay at any time>
She does not have a sandbox, so the eggs end up in the water. She promptly finds them and eats them, fouling the tank.
<Yup - that's why we try to give them egg laying strata even when the eggs aren't fertile> After reading through your site, it seems providing her with sand might alleviate the cleanup since I'd have a better chance of removing the eggs before she opens them.
*If I were to add a sandbox: How deep should the sand be? Would it matter whether the sandbox was near the basking lamp?*
<In you case, I'd go a simpler way. She should start exhibiting laying behavior before she actually lays. She should start moving differently, acting restless and active all the time '¦ like she's looking for something, etc. When that happens, take her out of her tank and place her in a plastic storage tub filling with 6 inches of vermiculite (plastic tub and vermiculite potting material both available at your local building/home supply store).>
<Put the basking lamp on the side of the tub so that it shines on one end, not the other (and doesn't melt the side of the tub - I learned that one the hard way) and just leave her in there for a few days. In most cases, she'll try to dig and lay, but sometimes just drops them in the potting soil. Then, when she's done, take her and her lamp back "home">
She has about 50 gallons of water in a 75 gallon bow-front tank and a 8" x 16" basking area (concrete pavers sitting atop a submerged plastic footstool so she can swim underneath). I know she really needs more water, but right now I'm not in a position to buy a bigger tank.
<No she doesn't. Sounds perfect for her!>
I have started looking at large, relatively inexpensive containers like plastic feed troughs. I'm trying to figure out how to get such a large thing home from a store, and how to convert it into a proper turtle environment. Those pre-formed pond liners seemed perfect until I realized: a) they must be installed in the ground for support -- they don't hold their shape when filled with water like a wading pool does, and b) the basking lamp would melt them.
<The preformed pond liners that they sell at Home Depot & Lowes WILL actually hold their shape even if filled 3/4 of the way. I store a few in my garage and set them up all the time as temporary holding ponds. Here's another tip if you need to fill one all the way: from the ground to the underside of the lip is a measurable distance. Have the home supply store sell you a 2x4 cut into exactly that length and then place them upright around the edges and the preformed pond will support the full weight of the water.>
<As far as the basking lamp is concerned, just don't point the lamp right at the edge of the plastic>
<All that said, one Slider her size will do nicely in the tank you have - evidence the fact that she's growing and feels so healthy that she's trying to reproduce>
*Thanks ! Laura*

Newly Hatched Red Eared Slider   8/18/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My turtle laid eggs and four of them hatched this past week
<Isn't that just the coolest thing, ever?? I've been breeding sliders and Sulcata tortoises for years and still, every time the hatch starts '¦ it brings a big grin to my face>
but they like to dig themselves in the ground. Is this normal? I live in Texas and its very hot here, is it that they are trying to cool down? I keep them in the shade and keep the ground moist. I tried keeping them inside already but they still dig themselves in the ground. Should I put them in a tank with water or should I leave them there for a little longer? I put them in shallow water a few times already but I don't know if they are ready for a regular 10 gallon tank.
<They're ready for a 'normal' aquatic environment about 4 hours after they're hatched, so yes you can. They don't need really deep water and they do need EASY methods in and out. In the wild, a hatchling will head for the water and then the safety of the floating weeds or grasses. They won't completely haul out of the water for many weeks because they don't feel safe. In captivity I give then 4 inches of water in a sloping container (an aquarium with one end sitting on a piece of wood to angle it) so they have a beach-like ramp. I place a low wattage incandescent bulb about the dry end for warmth and a UV-B florescent bulb across the rear, hanging about 6 inches up from the bottom.>
<Make them feel safe and they'll swim and bask to do turtle stuff really soon.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thank You
Re: Newly Hatched Red Eared Slider   8/25/11

Thanks for the tips.
<Uh - we don't accept tips, but we DO accept donations (see bottom of main page) should you ever be so inclined>
Can you also give me tips on what to feed them at this age or when to feed them.
<For hatchling water turtles, I go to my local fish store and buy small-sized Koi pellets -- I was actually surprised that they came in sizes, but it you look you can find a small size. I feed them all they can eat in 5 minutes, 4 times a week. One of the biggest danger to our pets is that we over-feed them>
Thank You again
<No charge!>

new female/male turtle aggression   8/15/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two Red-eared sliders, both males. We did receive them as a Christmas present, and about two months after we got them, they started having aggression issues and fighting. We did separate them and the larger one is in a 90 gal aquarium and the smaller is in a fifty gallon aquarium.
<That aggression can be permanent, but it can also be temporary>
Recently, I had an acquaintance give me her female red-eared slider. The larger male is about six inches long, the smaller boy is about four inches long and the new female is about eight inches long. I had the larger male and the female 'meet' in my tub so that they met in a neutral place, and they seemed to be able to move around each other, and didn't care about the other being there. After we put both of them in the 90 gal aquarium, the male started trying to bite the female.
<That's normal behavior for them>
We then switched it up and tried the female with the smaller male, and after a few hours, he started to try to bite/intimidate her.
<She must be a cutie>
We truly would like to keep her, but don't have any room for more aquariums. Have we missed any steps in how to add an additional turtle? We want to make sure we exhaust all ideas before giving her back and telling her owner that we cannot adopt her.
<Sometimes, when introducing a new animal into a collection, it's helpful to rearrange the environment - move the rocks, plants, basking areas, rocks, etc. so the tank appears "new" to both of them.>
<In your case, however, what you have is normal male/female aggression. The biting is their way of communicating. Females often bite males, too. It even happens in the wild and even though it seems like she's a victim, I can tell you that when she has had 'enough' she's well able to defend herself.>
<I would introduce the female to the smaller male and I'd arrange their tank so that they can get visually away from each other when needed -- adding a brick or additional log -- any sort of new thing where they can be on opposite sides and not see each other. Give them two weeks of this mayhem and after a while they will settle down>
We appreciate any help or ideas.
Thank you so much!
<You're welcome>
<Also '¦ when you find yourself in need of temporary housing, think past aquariums!! I often use the plastic 18 & 28 gallon tubs that you can buy inexpensively at hardware and building supply stores. They're not pretty, of course '¦ having one in the Living Room floor complete with lights clipped in the sides and cords running on the floor will not win any beauty prizes, but it's a quick & cheap way to create another, temporary housing arrangement for little money and on short notice.>

Newbie with a Baby RES    8/12/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm a new Red Eared Slider mom, and a very nervous one at that, because my retarded self has done more research after getting turtle than before. My Franklin is the size of a half dollar and very active, so I'm guessing he is healthy and happy. I have a few questions if you don't mind, I have gone over as many pages of your Q and A and not sure if my answer has totally been answered. Ok here goes
<Sometimes our A's are not as direct as the Q's '¦ so fire away>
1. first day I didn't know how strong the little (assuming) guy was and he wiggled out of my fingers and fell to the ground, I looked him over and he seemed fine (now I'm more cautious). After reading some of your advice I started to get nervous. This happened 2 weeks ago and he still seems fine.
<That are built incredibly well. They survive drops, tosses, bites, even Raccoon attacks. In the wild they even survive in lakes and rivers that freeze over winter (do not try ANY of this at home>
2. I have a 30 gallon tank, it's not long but more of a deep kind, I have a Fluval U4 (something like that) in it and I feed him in a critter carrier as to not dirty his tank.
When it comes to eating, well he sucks. He came with some kind of round hard tiny food (which he liked), but the dog got it, while I was cleaning the critter carrier (lesson learned), so I bought him ReptoMin. He (still assuming gender) refuses to eat, I even went a day without feeding him, then the following day I got scared and gave into the krill (which is his fave by far), mealworms, and baby shrimp (he is ok with it but not like he is with krill).
<Well here is a problem. They often fixate on one kind of food and try to refuse all others. It becomes a test of wills '¦ one in which HE is likely to win because every tendency YOU have is to nurture him.>
<Repto-min is a perfectly balanced food for turtles. So are Koi Pellets and they're a lot cheaper. Offer him two sticks or three pellets in a shallow bowl of water every day for 5 minutes. If he doesn't eat, put him back in his tank and don't worry about it. I've been doing this for over 40 years and there is one thing I can tell you '¦ when Franklin gets hungry ENOUGH '¦ Franklin will eat.>
3. lighting= I have a repti Glo 5.0 (said to be the UVA), I have a basking light (I don't remember exactly brand but it said it also provided UVB), they are on automatic timers over his basking area. My water is about 10 in deep (he seems to love to swim all over investigating daily and is more entertaining than TV) and temp is around 77 degrees (no matter what I do to try to cool it down a little that's the temp it ends up at). His basking area is 90 degrees (used a thermometer), we have a dragon air bubble thing in it (only because the turtle seems to like attacking the bubbles and I don't turn it on all the time just for a half hour or so)
<All that sounds fine>
Ok here goes the questions,
We have not tried to make this look like a turtle environment, but we have provided the floating rock, lights, and clean cage.
<Your setup looks GREAT to me!!>
Instead we used some fish tank decorations to go with an Asian look. (nothing I don't think could hurt him since all seems smooth). We have a big Budda where Franklin seems fine relaxing on his head or hands, This rock like thing with cave under, which Franklin goes over and under.
<That's the only thing '¦ make sure, sure SURE that the cave is big enough that Franklin can't get stuck under>
He has his floating rock, where he basks on and off on, (he is so cute when he does his superman pose all stretched out).
<Yep '¦ seems very relaxed, doesn't it?>
Anywhoo, Is this a bad set up for him, oh he seems to like the filter current, he swims against it, bites the nozzle thing then floats away, or he swims on outer edge then swims with the current really fast. (We assume he is just entertaining himself). The question to all that is, Is my set up ok?
<I like it. It's nice, easy to clean and fun to watch. Ya dun good!>
Feeding Franklin is like feeding my middle child, I know (via your site) that the ReptoMin are what's good for him/her, but he simply won't freakin eat it. Being that he is so young I hate to let him go more than a day without eating. Is this wrong?
<Just like your middle child '¦ ONE of you will win every battle of wills. It needs to be you>
also, I like to think I watch him closely, but I have never seen him poop, or I don't know what I'm looking for and when I give in and feed him what he wants, I never see him poop like everyone says (during his meal time).
<At his size the poop can be very small particles that are hard to notice>
I have Googled for pictures (I know that sounds gross) but nothing and every description I have come across is different, so I still have no flippin clue.
<I like it>
I will attach pictures of our tank for you to tell me what you think.
<Great setup AND great pictures, thanks!>
Thank you for your time and any suggestions you may have.
<He's my suggestion: Most pet stores will carry earth worms, or larger earthworms called Night Crawlers. Let Franklin starve for 3 days. Go get a dozen night crawlers and when you place Franklin in his feeding pan, which should be filled about up to the middle of his shell (1/2 to 3/4 inch maybe?) '¦ give him 3 minutes, then add one worm. Give him 5 minutes to eat '¦ and if not, he goes back to his tank and the worm goes out in the garden, grass, lawn or potted plant (they're good for the soil). The remaining worms can be refrigerated until tomorrow's attempt. NOTE: Label them CLEARLY to avoid any family snacking drama!!!!>
<Franklin should accept a worm after a few exposures and that will get him off is fixation. Then don't feed him for ANOTHER 3 days '¦ then offer him the Repto-min. All this changing around should shake him out of his rut>

Newbie with a Baby RES, Merritt's go    8/14/11
<Hi, Merritt here.>
I'm a new res mom, and a very nervous one at that, because my retarded self has done more research after getting turtle than before.
<Red Eared Slider>
My Franklin is the size of a half dollar and very active, so I'm guessing he is healthy and happy. I have a few questions if you don't mind, I have gone over as many pages of your Q and A and not sure if my answer has totally been answered. Ok here goes
1. First day I didn't know how strong the little (assuming) guy was and he wiggled out of my fingers and fell to the ground, I looked him over and he seemed fine (now I'm more cautious). After reading some of your advice I started to get nervous. This happened 2 weeks ago and he still seems fine.
<RES are more of a watching pet than a pet that you handle, so handle him as little as possible. Also, due to him being young, the babies tend to carry salmonella on their shells, so wash your hands when you are required to touch him.>
2. I have a 30 gallon tank, it's not long but more of a deep kind, I have a Fluval U4 (something like that) in it and I feed him in a critter carrier as to not dirty his tank.
<A side affect of having res, they tend to be very messy and require lots of water changes and strong filtration.>
When it comes to eating, well he sucks.
<He would do better at eating if you fed him in the water. Give it a try.>
He came with some kind of round hard tiny food (which he liked), but the dog got it, while I was cleaning the critter carrier (lesson learned), so I bought him ReptoMin. He (still assuming gender) refuses to eat, I even went a day without feeding him, then the following day I got scared and gave into the krill (which is his fave by far), mealworms, and baby shrimp (he is ok with it but not like he is with krill).
3. Lighting= I have a repti Glo 5.0 (said to be the UVA), I have a basking light (I don't remember exactly brand but it said it also provided UVB), they are on automatic timers over his basking area. My water is about 10 in deep (he seems to love to swim all over investigating daily and is more entertaining than TV) and temp is around 77 degrees (no matter what I do to try to cool it down a little that's the temp it ends up at).
<Water temperature range can be between 75 - 86 degrees.>
His basking area is 90 degrees (used a thermometer), we have a dragon air bubble thing in it (only cause the turtle seems to like attacking the bubbles and I don't turn it on all the time just for a half hour or so).
<The basking area can have a temperature between 88 - 95 degrees. So still doing well.>
Ok here goes the questions,
We have not tried to make this look like a turtle environment, but we have provided the floating rock, lights, and clean cage. Instead we used some fish tank decorations to go with an Asian look. (nothing I don't think could hurt him since all seems smooth). We have a big Budda where Franklin seems fine relaxing on his head or hands, This rock like thing with cave under, which Franklin goes over and under. He has his floating rock, where he basks on and off on, (he is so cute when he does his superman pose all stretched out). Anywhoo, Is this a bad set up for him, oh he seems to like the filter current, he swims against it, bites the nozzle thing then floats away, or he swims on outer edge then swims with the current really fast.
(we assume he is just entertaining himself). The question to all that is,, Is my set up ok?
<The setup is not bad but try to make is resemble his natural habitat with more plants (live or fake), caves and other things to keep his interests, that is possibly why he seems to bother the filter. Also, make sure to do a 25% water change every two weeks to keep the aquarium clean.>
Feeding Franklin is like feeding my middle child, I know (via your site) that the reptomin are what's good for him/her, but he simply won't freakin eat it. Being that he is so young I hate to let him go more than a day without eating. Is this wrong?
<Going one day without eating will not kill him. Also, try feeding him crickets, wax worms, earthworms, blood worms, aquatic snails, daphnia, silkworms, krill, mealworms, (plants next) dandelion, mustard and collard greens, squash, carrots, green beans, bok choy, kale, and romaine lettuce or other dark, leafy greens. Offering him a larger selection of food might entice his appetite.>
also, I like to think I watch him closely, but I have never seen him poop, or I don't know what I'm looking for and when I give in and feed him what he wants, I never see him poop like everyone says (during his meal time).
I have Google for pictures (I know that sounds gross) but nothing and every description I have come across is different, so I still have no flippin clue.
<When they poop, you will know it. Hence, them being so messy. With the different food offerings he might start eating regularly and you can see him poop more.
I will attach pictures of our tank for you to tell me what you think.
Thank you for your time and any suggestions you may have.
<Thanks for the pictures and good luck! Merritt.>
he is attacking dragon hose in the far left corner,,, teehee He does that when I turn it off. I just noticed the water on pic looks cloudy, but it's bubbles from filter basking while I clean the big tank
Chasing my finger "looks like big yummy worm"!!

Re: Newbie with a Baby RES   8/15/11
Thank you so much Darrel,
<Yer welcome!>
Now I'm not going "is that a bubble out of his nose???" or "Did he yawn more than once???", "Am I killing him with this food??" oy.. I love your sight and will continue to read your Q an A stuff, I learn a lot from it.
<Thanks for the kind words>
Keep up the awesome work! Oh, 1 more thing? I really don't know how to feed a worm to a turtle. Do I just put it in with him?
Will he choke if it is to long?
I think this is going to be the hardest part for me *eww* but I do anything for my babies (Repti one included).
<Me too>
Again, Thank you so much, I just have fallen for this turtle and so have my husband and 3 boys. I'm hoping to have him till our final years, and I can't wait to see how big he is going to get... ok now I'm just rambling... Thank you =o)
<No problem Shawn. I've had some of my guys for '¦um '¦ well '¦ geez .. has it been THAT long??? Before either of my grown kids were born. Best of luck to you!!>

Red Eared Slider, beh., repro.     6/1/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 3inch Red Eared Slider, about 6months old. He basks regularly but constantly swims against the glass of the tank while in the water. He never just swims around the tank. He is always in the corner trying to swim thru the glass. Why is he doing this, and is it normal?
<He's doing it because he has a brain the size of a grain of rice. I don't know WHY, Timothy, but some do and some don't. It's nothing to be concerned about. Remember, in the wild, there is no such thing as a clear boundary -- something they can't see but prevents them from moving forward. In a pond, or even the same sized tank with opaque sides, they don't behave the same way.>
Also, is it possible for a Red Eared Slider and Yellow Bellied Slider to breed?
What will the babies look like?
<Baby turtles>
<OK '¦ a little more detail on that last one. All the Sliders, Cooters, etc. will interbreed and the results are extremely variable. Often you might get a yellow-bellied slider with a pink patch near the ear.>

Baby Red Eared Slider    5/23/11
Monday, May 23rd, 2011
<Yes it is!!>
First I want to say I have searched your site with the Google Toolbar as instructed and I didn't find what I was looking for and if you have already answered these than I am sorry I didn't check well enough, any who here's some background.
<No worries - but we do SO MUCH thank you for trying. Sometimes we actually get letters from people who write "I didn't want to waste the time searching so I thought I'd write and ask" -- to which we often reply "well I don't want to waste the time answering ...>
(My name is Danielle by the way though I don't find that as important, hehe)
<Hiya - my name is Darrel and oddly, I find that important. If it wasn't my name then how would I know when someone is trying to get my attention?>
I have a baby turtle named Fiona; she is about the size of a silver dollar though I know sexing isn't possible I like to think she is my princess! She has a 10 gallon tank with the water as deep and her shell is long because that's what I read somewhere was safe.
<Yeah - it's not bad. As long as they can completely submerge they will be able to feel safe>
I feed her ReptoMin baby turtle food; about 8 pellets a day, as well as occasional veggies.
<That's a BIT much '¦ if she's over a year old, feed her all she can eat in 5 minutes, 3 times a week. One of the biggest problems we see in pets is obesity from over feeding>
She has an all spectrum light and her water is around 80 F and her tank air at about 71 F ish.
<OK - first problem. The surface of the basking area should be around 83-90 degrees and the WATER should be 68-71 degrees. You seem to have it backwards. They need to bask to warm up and swim to cool down>
She has a basking rock and is best friends with the cat! They play through the glass its super cute!
<Cats have a funny way of changing their friendships without notice, so please makes sure the tank has some sort of cover, OK? Don't ever assume that the cat has pure motives. I have a cat that seems friendly and loving toward my iguanas when I'm watching, but when I'm not she commits crimes and attempts to implicate them.>
I change the water about once a week and put in those turtle shaped water things I don't know what brand I use because I just buy whatever is cheapest at Wal-Mart.
<Those are probably calcium blocks or mineral blocks. The problem is that turtles get their calcium and minerals through their diet and not the water. Repto-min is a perfectly balanced food for her, so you can dispense with the blocks!>
Question 1:
<Darn '¦ a test '¦ and I didn't study>
She has been shedding which I know is normal but I looked at her tank tonight as I was playing with her (she chases my finger) and her water was very dirty, like the little clear wispy pieces of skin where everywhere! She has never shed this much, I am worried. I checked her for white spots, dull spots, inflamed areas of skin; really anything that didn't look normal and she was fine besides the shedding. I know its normal but to what extent?
<If there is anything unusual at all its that there may be a bit of fungus growing in the water because the water is way too hot. The shedding skin may be growing a bit of fungus, but not enough to actually infect Fiona yet. Keep the water clean and after you get the basking temp problem fixed, Fiona will dry out under the basking lamp and that will help keep her skin in good shape.>
Question 2: She has never been in deep water and a couple days ago while cleaning her tank I decided to try a new set up and put in more water. She sank right to the bottom and freaked out! She was swimming frantically from one end to the other and I let this go on for about 10 min.s until I got worried and didn't want my little girl to drown. Is it possible to help teach her how to swim and float or are there tips I can use for getting her used to deeper water?
<When given a choice, turtles would rather have a wider and longer enclosure than a deeper one. If you notice her when she's in water, she's swimming back and forth far more than she's diving down. I'm just mentioning that for when she gets bigger and you're going for a larger tank '¦ look for tanks that are as long and as wide as possible.>
<as to Fiona freaking out, she did that because things were changed, not because she's afraid of deep water. Here is what I suggest:>
<1- set things back to normal>
<2- fix the water temperature. Turtles do NOT need heated water if you live south of the Arctic Circle. Let her water be the same as your room temperature>
<3- make sure that the tank has a cat-proof covering of some sort>
<4- slowly increase the water level in her same tank. Add about an inch of water every other day - making sure to change the level of her basking area AND as you slowly raise THAT, you have to move the basking lamp a bit higher as well. If you make the changes slowly enough, Fiona won't notice that she's having more fun>
Thank you so much for taking time out of your day and answering my questions!
<No problem - we enjoy doing it>
Re: Baby Red Eared Slider   5/25/11

I do have a cover!
I know I don't trust my cat that much, haha. I have fixed her water and basking area temps as soon as I read this. I will also stop buying those blocks!
You guys are the best!
<Hmmm - I don't know about THAT '¦ but we ARE better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!>

Slider laid egg    5/21/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a female red eared slider, a few days ago I noticed that she had laid an egg in the tank even though she doesn't have a mate.
<They do that sometimes. The egg is rarely fertile.>
I read the articles the said but substrate so that she can bury them or she would get sick from holding them in.
<Not EGGxactly, V. If she holds them in she can get egg-bound (the hard eggs get stuck in the oviduct and calcify - and yes, that can be bad>
My dilemma is that I have bought the substrate and she still hasn't laid the rest of her eggs (it's been three days). She is beginning to make me worry, should I place her back in the tank?
Just need some advice about the next steps to take.
<It's VERY possible that she only had that one egg. Or that only that one egg developed a shell. Prior to "shelling" they can simply re-absorb the egg and live to lay another day.>
<Now, as to your other concerns, Red Eared Sliders are one of the hardiest turtles around. They are able to hold shelled eggs for more than a year and have no problem dropping them right in the water. Naturally an egg that hits the water won't be fertile even if there was a mate, but they usually aren't shy about laying them just to get rid of them.>
<So step 1 - don't worry.>
<Now step 2 - Put her back in her tank and give her 2-3 days of normal care & let her calm down. If she DOES calm down, then she's likely passed the egg she formed and this is over. If she remains 'frantic' like she needs to get out of the tank almost all the time, THEM put her back in the substrate box for a couple of days '¦ then, if needed, repeat this process>
<My bet is that she'll take to the water, take a day to calm down and this will all be over>
Thanks in advance
<yer welcome>

New baby RES turtle,   5/20/11
<Hi Sadie, Sue here.>
We just got a new little RES turtle about four days ago. It was an impulse purchase (yes I know we're not supposed to do that but (s)he looked so lonely and needed a home an we had been thinking of getting a turtle for a while) so we didn't know anything about (her) his needs, both present and future (we were thinking dessert turtle but got RES instead). We have present needs currently met (housing, heating, lighting, filtered fresh water, basking area, etc.) and I have been doing research on the breed,
<Wow, even though it was an impulse purchase, it sounds like you've done quite a bit of research already in a very short time! Good for you!>
but I still have a few unanswered/conflicting answered questions.
<Here's a link to an easy to read (and humorous!) article that covers most of the basics:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<A couple of key points: One is that the lighting (usually but not always separate from the heat lamp) needs to be UVB lighting specifically. The other is he needs to be given a clear choice between cool (not heated) water (around 68 to 70 degrees) and warm, dry land (around 88-90 degrees.) Besides diet and water quality, UVB and the proper temperature gradient are two of the most important things necessary to maintain his health.>
That they live somewhere between 20 to 40 years if properly cared for, and that they get to be about a foot long.
<Females can reach up to that length; males are typically smaller. See my note below about size -- if your turtle's top shell (carapace) is already 3-4', you should be able to tell soon, if not already, whether you have a 'he' or 'she'! >
But some things I still haven't found out (hard as I look) is: How fast do they grow (ours is about 3 or 4 in. long and quite young as far as I know)? How many inches per month/year?
<There's really no "set rule". Many things can and do affect their growth rate like what/how much they eat, temperatures, etc. They do, though, tend to grow faster in their early years (until their top shell length or carapace reaches about 3-4' - which sounds like where yours may be at - if so, your turtle is more a "teenager" than a baby!) After that, their growth rate slows down considerably. Because of all the variables, I can't give you a firm number, but it will likely be a few years before yours reaches full size.>
My younger siblings (ages 9-13) like holding and petting the turtle (they are very careful and gentle and wash their hands thoroughly before and after) and I wanted to know if this is ok,
<A good rule for washing hands is to sing the Happy Birthday song twice and you'll be fine. By the way, I'm impressed you mentioned washing before and after! People can also pass along illnesses to turtles! You're right to be concerned about it, especially given he's a new turtle and you don't know what conditions he lived in before you got him. You may want to consider bringing a stool sample to a vet, and have it tested for parasites and other disease carrying organisms.>
<Having said this -- and always practice good hand washing no matter what) -- a lot of the hype with turtles (and salmonella in particular) started back in the 1960's when turtles were kept in little plastic 2' dishes with dirty water on coffee tables, and toddlers were literally putting the baby turtles in their mouth. I'm not saying there is no risk of it happening when they ARE kept in the right conditions. But the problem that arose back then with salmonella (and that still gets so widely publicized), was more a result of the poor conditions the turtles were kept in than it was because of the turtles themselves. Any animal can harbor salmonella and other infectious diseases if kept in these kinds of conditions; not just turtles.>
and, if so, how long the turtle should be handled outside of water?
<The simplest answer to this would be for as long as he puts up with it! Seriously, though (and this is much easier said than done when you combine a 'new pet' with younger children especially, who want to touch everything!), I'd really try to leave him alone as much as possible for a few weeks until he settles in. Turtles are not like dogs and cats; it can take months or longer before they get accustomed to being held (and many never get used to it!) How much any given turtle will tolerate is very specific not only to the species, but also to the individual personality of the turtle as well!>
<While it may be more stressful for him initially, keeping him in the center of family activities will help him get used to all of you more quickly, as opposed to being tucked away in a corner someplace. It will also allow you to watch over him more often for any sudden changes in behavior that could signal he's ill (a sudden change in their normal pattern of behavior is often the first and only sign they're sick until it's too late).>
<Also, one other note about handling in case you're not already doing this -- make sure to hold him with both hands; one that's completely supporting his body and legs underneath, the other hand cupped over the top of him. Even though their shell offers them some protection, they can still suffer extensive internal injuries if they're accidentally dropped, even a short distance. Even better if you hold him directly over a softer surface in case he suddenly moves and catches you by surprise.>
Also, I wondered about diet, there are so many different things that have been suggested and I wanted to know what is the most needed for a healthy diet on a regular basis (we are already using baby turtle pellets)? And how much/often should I feed a growing turtle?
<Good question! Unfortunately, it's also a question with a lot of conflicting answers! Be careful about what you read on some of the websites. Many foods they list offer more risks than benefits. For example, things like feeder fish often harbor diseases that can be transmitted to your turtle if you feed them to him. >
<This is a case of the simpler, the better -- a good quality turtle or Koi pellet (3 times a week only; important not to overfeed) and an occasional earthworm or two every month or so as a healthy treat. (See the care link I included for you at the top for more about feeding). The turtle pellets you're feeding are fine if they're a good quality one like ReptoMin. You can also feed him Koi pellets which are essentially the same thing; only cheaper!>
<You can also try some greens, though they may not interest him as much until he's older. I occasionally do with mine, especially on the 'off' days from the pellets, if they seem to be exceptionally hungry. It's a way to satisfy their hunger without risking overfeeding them, which you don't want to do. If you decide you'd like to do this occasionally, below is the list I use:
I use the ones listed under 'Beneficial and Recommended' and occasionally some under 'Moderate'. If you do offer him some greens, don't use iceberg lettuce; it has no nutritional value. >
Lastly, I live in the mountains of Arizona so it's very cold in winter and very hot in summer. Outdoor living for the future would not be an option when the turtle out grows (her) his turtle tank. My question is, what are some possible indoor arrangements that we could use when the time comes? Preferably not incredibly expensive, but still comfortable for the newest member of our family.
<That's great you're already thinking ahead! Really the only limits to an indoor turtle habitat are your imagination and your budget! If you Google 'indoor ponds' or 'indoor turtle ponds' you'll see what I mean! However, here are a couple of things to keep in mind no matter what you land up deciding on:
1) Turtles appreciate length and width more than depth. A 'breeder' style aquarium will offer him more surface area to swim around than a regular or tall tank will.
2) A rectangular shaped closure will filter the water more efficiently and will be easier to maintain than one with a lot of twists and turns.
3) If you're on a tight budget, splurge on the best mechanical filter you can afford and save on the enclosure. If you don't mind not being able to watch your turtle under water, a preformed pond will give your turtle much more 'surface area' for the dollar, and some of them do come in rectangular shapes. >
<When the time comes that you really start to seriously plan this, write us back and we'll give you some more direction. Hopefully by that time Darrel and I will have completed the article about larger systems that we're supposed to be working on (right, Bob?!! Darrel??! Ho buoy'¦) ><<Uh huh. B>>
<Hope this helps. Feel free to write back with any more questions. It can be overwhelming when you're just starting, especially with all the information that's out there!>
Thank you -- Sadie

Baby Red Eared Slider, care... the Net, rdg.    5/17/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We found a baby Red Eared Slider on our church porch almost a month ago.
<Wow. Did someone abandon it? Was it in a container?>
As soon as we got him I did all sorts of research and got him the correct lights and all that stuff.
<Good: Here is an article that covers all the basics and it's written by a really BRILLIANT man. You can trust everything it says -- and if you get any advice to the contrary, that advice is wrong>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
I didn't notice it before but I noticed in the last week or so that the tail part of his shell is flexible. I am getting mixed answered by looking online.
<That's the problem with the Internet. In all candor, I think when historians write about us two or three hundred years from now, the Internet is not going to be viewed as a good thing. It has made us believe anything, it has made us almost too lazy to think and given us the attention span of fruit flies.>
some things have said it is normal and others say that it is not good that it is soft shell. He is eating just fine other than I cannot get him to eat the pellets only the little shrimps and krill.
<I'll get to that in a moment>
He will go to the basking area and bask as well as be in the water.
<That's good - and he's getting basking heat as well as UV-B light? Remember, UV-B can't penetrate glass very well and even screen can stop it>
Nothing seems to have changed other than his shell is flexible. It isn't mushy just a little bendy on the edges.
<Well, I'm bendy around the edges too and I consider myself in excellent health for a man of 72. (The problem of course, is that I'm only 50)>
If that makes any sense.
<It does. The thing is that a young turtle's shell IS a bit bendy around the edges and firmer in the middle. Soft shell is usually VERY soft -- a poke in the middle of the scute next to the top spine will feel mushy and springy all at the same time.>
I have put a cuttle bone in there because I read that he would get calcium from it.
<Not unless he turns into a parakeet -- and if THAT happens, you'll be famous>
I would just like to know for sure if it is good or bad.
<Sara - Turtles get their calcium and vitamins in their diet and unlike birds, they're not disposed to gnaw on anything that isn't dinner. Cuttle Bones, calcium blocks, etc. make the pet owner feel good and the companies that sell them a lot of money, but that's about it.>
<We've covered basking and UV above, so now we go to diet. I raise hatchlings all the way to adult breeders on nothing but Koi pellets and an occasional earth worm. The Koi pellets are a fully balanced diet for almost all water turtles and definitely perfect for sliders. Repto-Min floating food sticks are good, too. In fact, they're identical in composition, just a lot more expensive.>
<The krill and shrimps are, by comparison, more like Peanut Butter Cups and M&M's, so naturally he'd rather have those. The problem is that he's probably fixated and not likely to give in easily. He figures that if he refuses the good stuff, he'll melt your heart and you'll give him the bad stuff. You have to have a tougher skin that he has.>
<He's eating, active, swimming and basking and your shell concern seems to err on the side of caution '¦ so draw a line in the sand here. Don't feed him for two days, then offer the pellets. If he turns up his tiny nose at you, scoop the pellets out after 5 minutes and wait two more days and try again. Repeat that 4 day cycle once more. Within the next 8 days, he'll eat the pellets and you can do a little victory dance.>
Thank you.

Re Red Eared Slider - info & corrections... PPs corr./redux  4/3/11
Thank you for the response...
<No additional charge!>
I actually didn't even realize I had misread (and misspelled) puffer's name until I read your response. In any case.
<Yeah - onward & upward!>
I do have an actual question about my baby Red Eared Sliders. I have 2, and have a large aquarium for them (large for their current size... about 1.5"). I have added sand on one side of the tank... enough to have a sandy area sticking out of the water. I also have a basking platform that I moved close to the sand and placed the basking light over. So they have plenty of room and a choice of terrain to bask on. They seem to like it and whenever I come home from work or being away for whatever reason, if I very slowly and carefully open the door to that room I usually find at least one of them basking until they notice me and jump into the water. I've only had them for just over a week now, but I noticed that one of them has taken to burrowing in the sand under the water. I thought maybe it had to do with the water temp so I checked the water temp (75F) and added a thermometer strip to the side of the tank last night. So water temp seems to be good... I have read that some burrowing is normal but it seems the turtle is burrowing and sleeping and I'm a little concerned that it won't be able to get free and breathe when necessary.
<Usually that's not an issue, Alan. As long as you don't construct a hard surface "cave" or branch overhang, etc. where they could actually get trapped, you should be OK.>
The other turtle is so active and always swimming around and watching me when I am near. When I pick up the burrowing one it will usually sit in my hand for a moment and look at me and then start looking for some place to burrow in to. I held it with in my left hand last night with my right hand loosely cupped over top and it went toward the back of the little cubby my hands were creating and proceeded to try to dig in deeper through my fingers. Also, this was right after I pulled it out of the sand and it was very sluggish in moving for a little bit. It perked up after I held it for a while though and started acting normally. Does it sound like I have anything to be concerned about? And is the burrowing under water a potential hazard for the little turtle?
<Basically, it seems like you have a shy turtle, because you wrote that when you sneak in you find "at least" one of them - implying that sometimes you've seen two. I'm a big fan of giving the turtles cool water (68-72f) and a warm basking area (88-93f) and letting them choose where to spend their time.>
<Meanwhile, watch the basics. Do they eat heartily? Sometimes you have to withhold food for a day or two and maybe even feed them in a separate bowl so that you can watch them. Shells firm? Eyes clear? Basking regularly (that one is hard with a shy turtle)?>
<If you go into that room and stay there '¦ bring a book and sit quietly and read '¦ does the shy one eventually come out and if so is he or she active?>
<The other thing to keep in mind is that it's only been a week. Keep your routine constant; spend some quiet time (such as sitting, watching/reading, etc. not invasive time - no handling) every day for another week or two and see how they are when they relax.>

Sexing my Red Ear sliders  1/26/11
My 2 Red Ear Sliders are 7 inches and at least 8 years old. They often do the mating thing where they vibrate their legs in front of each other.
<The one with the long claws is the male>
I'm curious about the sex of my turtles so I know what size tank they will need full grown.
<From seven inches, their rate of growth slows down considerably, TJ. The next two inches can take the next ten years or even longer. Many environmental factors in play here, but the size of their enclosure is not a factor in maximum size.>
I saw them mounting in the tank the other day. Do same sex turtles ever mount of is that a sure fire way in telling that the top is a male and the bottom a female? The male (the one on top) was born with a tail defect. It is a little knob instead of a long tail. The bottom shell is also almost black verses the bottom turtle that has very few black spots on her belly. The top guy I think has a little place where his shell goes in a little near the end of his bottom shell. He is a little (1/4") larger than the turtle he was mounting. Aren't females supposed to be larger than males the same age?
<Females grow a little faster, yes - but mainly they keep growing AFTER the males have slowed. The easiest way is to note that mature males (5-7 inches) will have extremely elongated front claws - they use these to "flutter" in the face of the females'¦ a technique that I have myself tried on a number of occasions without success>
Thank you!

Red Ear Slider, sexing, sys.    12/16/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just have a couple questions, I was wondering if you can help me.
<I've often wondered if I can help people, too.>
I have a Red Ear Slider and for the characteristics it seems like a male but I have notice already twice that a black looking sack comes out of the turtle's butt apparently and it keeps it out for a few minutes and then it suck it back up, any idea of what that could be?
<Yep! That's his .. um '¦ er .. ah '¦ party animal. It comes out when he's sexually excited (and NO ONE knows what excites a male turtle) and will go in by itself>
Another question is, I recently bought a bigger tank and I got those colored rocks to put at the bottom of the tank, how recommendable is that?
<As long as they are too big to swallow, it's not a problem>
and do you have any other recommendations, I'm afraid the turtle will eat them.
< Generally I use a bare tank floor and decorate it with large stones spaces apart '¦ and this is merely because turtles are so messy it makes the tank much easier to clean.>
Thank you very much!
I hope you can help me.
<I hope so, too!>
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

red slider turtles  12/7/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
we have had 2 red sliders for almost 8 years. They have always seemed happy and one does not seem to dominate the other. We have always assumed that the turtles were of different sexes as we have seen eggs laid in the tank about 4 times over 8 years. Before the eggs are laid the turtles become agitated and dig in the gravel at the base of the tank. One turtle has distinctly longer claws and is about 2 inches larger than the other which has shorter claws. The longer clawed male?
<Yes. But then again, males are usually smaller than females>
also doesn't have a tail (and hasn't had since we have had them as tiny 1.5 inch babies which we bought in a market)
<Must have been bitten off - because they do come with tails as standard equipment>
The smaller one has shorter claws and so we assume she is female.? She has a longish tail (1.5 inches). As I am writing this they are sitting calmly in the water and are nose to nose as if in some sort of mating ritual. Its December in LA so am wondering what they are up to.
<It probably IS a mating ritual. He gets in front of her, nose to nose and waves his fingernails in her face - as if to say "see? Look at these long nails? Aren't they the coolest thing ever?" SHE on the other hand is saying "Oh great! Just look at himself with his long nails '¦ here *I* am can't grow pretty nails to save my life and here HE is waving HIS mails in my face!!! I have a mind to bite his darned tail off!>
<At least .. that COULD be what they're up to>
Also both have what look like small, very bright gold shiny patches on their shells.
As I have had these guys for years I thought it about time to be sure of my facts re who is laying the eggs and if everything is ok. The larger one often blows bubbles underwater while the smaller one often swims against the glass as if to get out of the tank.
Are they ok?
<They seem to be fine, yes>
who lays the eggs?
<The female>
<Oh wait -- you meant which one IS the female? The one with the long fingernails is the male>
Why does one not have a tail? Should I separate them or keep them together?
<They seem fine to me. If you got yourself a Tupperware tub (maybe 18 gallon size) and filled it half way up with a mixture of potting soil and Vermiculite (sort of an artificial potting soil) and put her in it when she gets agitated and starts digging '¦ you might get some viable turtle eggs>
Thanks for the help. I have enjoyed reading though your website.
<Thanks!! We enjoy putting it together!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Baby Red eared slider turtle shedding skin near neck... please help  11/11/10
Hello Sir/Madam
<Hiya - Darrel here today>
I am Sandeep from India, I own a baby RES turtle, gifted by my friend as he had to settle abroad. The turtle (Sonu-his name ) is between 3 to 4 inches (approx) in length and I am using a homemade tank which is about one and a half foot in length, one feet at breadth and about a foot in depth (Sorry, am not sure in terms of gallons).
<That is quite all right, Sandeep. Size and surface area are more important to turtles anyway>
Sonu from day one is very active, he loves swimming and seldom gets onto a basking area (its just a bridge, which keeps his body outside water). The basking area doesn't have any uva/uvb lighting arrangements, but everyday from morning (say 7.30am till 2pm) I keep him in open under direct sunlight with the basking facility. I also do change water daily and I feed him with pellets 3 times a day and two sticks each feeding, once in a week I feed him spinach leaves or smashed banana. Till today, he was doing fine, but today I observed lot of shedding of skin around the neck region, I checked his shell, its hard and healthy (touch wood).But, the shedding of skin a kind of transparent skin was shed, like we see on a new born snake. My concern: Is this normal?
<Yes - and no. Turtles shed their skin periodically, but they normally do it like humans do - which is to say that it comes off in such small pieces that it's hardly seen and rarely noticed. To shed in such big sections is not ALWAYS bad. It is unusual and sometimes a sign of bigger problems>
Am I over feeding him?
<Yes, a little bit. You should feed him all the food he can eat in 5 minutes, four separate times per week. It is O.K. for him to be hungry and want more. Your diet is good and balanced. You can also use the fish pellets they feed to Koi carp. That is what I feed all my turtles>
Is this a fungal Infection?
<Does the skin have an odor when you remove it from the water? Does the skin underneath look clear? Does Sonu have any foul odor? If your answers are "no" then it probably is not fungus>
Now, I am planning to get a heater, uva/uvb bulbs. What do you people suggest?
<First - do not bother with the heater. Let the water remain at room temperature. Our intention with water temperature and basking temperature is to give Sonu a choice and let him decide when to warm up under the lamp and when to cool down in the water>
What would be the specification or brand that I would be looking for with the bulbs, heater or is my current arrangement is good to carry further.
<For UV bulbs, look at the ZooMed line of bulbs and see if you can find something in your size and price range>
<Sandeep, my only concern so far is that Sonu needs to bask and he doesn't seem to do it. Part of the situation (notice that I did not say "problem") is that when Sonu is outside from 7 to 2 in the tank you mentioned, the sun is probably heating the water significantly and therefore he is already warm (so - no desire to bask). Also in 1 foot of water exposed to the noon sun in your part of the world there is significant UVB that is penetrating.>
<My suggestion is this: When you get the UV/B bulb and place it over his bridge. Stop taking outside for a while, allow the water to be near room temperature and see if this encourages him to bask.>

baby res help 11/10/10
Hi, I am Mackenzie
<Hi Mackenzie, Sue here with you.>
and my RES is acting strange when he is in the water. I can put him in the water but he goes crazy!!! and when I put him in the water and get him out he opens his mouth a lot,
<The behaviors you're describing can be fairly common, especially if he's a new turtle or you put him in a new environment. Turtles typically exhibit this type of behavior when they're either stressed out and/or scared. However, it would help if you could send me some additional information to better pinpoint the most likely cause, including:
'¢ Is this a new turtle for you? How long have you had this turtle?
'¢ What type of enclosure are you keeping him/her in?
'¢ How long has your turtle been living in this enclosure?
'¢ How big is the enclosure (length, width, depth), and also # gallons?>
and I don't think he is eating.
<Again, if he is a new turtle, it's possible it may take him a few days before he feels comfortable enough in his new surroundings to eat. I also need more information here as well --
'¢ Why aren't you sure if he's eating? Are you staying with him while he eats and know for sure he's not? If not, you should stay and watch him during feedings. Allow him about 5-10 minutes to eat, watch him during this time, and then scoop out whatever uneaten food is left so it doesn't decay in the water.
'¢ How often and what are you feeding him?
'¢ Do you have a heat lamp and also a UVB light above his basking area? What is the air temperature right above his basking area? And what are you keeping the water temperature at? (should be around 70 to 72 degrees F)
'¢ Does he get completely out of the water and bask for a good portion of the day after you feed him? If not, he should be. Turtles require heat (around 88 to 90 degrees or so) in order to properly digest their food so it doesn't rot in their stomachs and make them sick. They also require UVB light so they can properly metabolize calcium from their diet.
'¢ How are you keeping the water clean? Do you have a filter? How often are you doing water changes? Turtles drink the water they eat and poop in, so it must be kept very clean or they will become sick.>
if you can help send something back. >
<Mackenzie, please write back with the information above so we can better help you. In the meantime, you should compare the care you're giving your turtle to the care guidelines listed in the link below to see if there's anything you need to correct (i.e. such as proper heating, lighting, basking, water temperature, water quality/filtration, feeding, etc.).
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thank You,
Re: more care, baby  RES    1/22/11

I'm applying Povidone iodine solution mixed with a little water to its jaw four times a day and it has gotten more active than before. Open eyes, walking, looking about instead of lying limp. But its not able to eat anything and I doubt it would be able to unless the swelling slows down. What can I do about its diet until the swelling slows?
<There really isn't much an inexperienced person can do on a baby slider, Sarah. Tube feeding and injectible nutrition can be handled only be veterinarians and/or experienced hobbyists.>
I looked for vets but they don't look at turtles.
<Your next best bet is to try to find a turtle or tortoise club in your area. Often times you'll find an "old hand" that has experience with basic first-aid & treatments who will be willing to help you and show you>
<Failing that, you have to keep doing what you're doing, hoping the swelling goes down with that treatment. Remember: Warm and Dry!!>
My cousin and I give our turtles fish pellets in lukewarm water twice a day and have them bask in the sun at least one hour everyday.
<Fish pellets - as in Koi pellets - are a good basic diet and an hour of sunshine EVEN IN ADDITION TO UV-B - is great>
<This article (same as was quoted earlier) covers your basic care http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Baby RES turtle, sys., env. dis.  -- 11/07/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've looked all over the site trying to find the answer to my question. So I hope I don't sound like a broken record to you. I had 2 Red Eared Slider turtles (Snaps and Num Nums) I got them in July of 2010. They were 1 inch in diameter and are now 2 inches. They started with a 55 gal tank with silk vegetation and a water heater.
<OK '¦.>
Living in Washington state it starts to get cold in October needless to say it starting to get cold (down to 50's during the day and the mid 40's at night). I had turtles in California and never had to get them a basking lamp
<Well yes, you DID have to '¦ it's just for some odd reason, they didn't get sick and die>
so it never occurred to me to get my baby turtles one. So my problem is both babies stopped eating about two weeks ago. The little one of the two had started basking and one day I went to see them and he was completely limp. He didn't move and so I called my vet and he said I need the heat lamp and a UVB light so I rushed out and got both lights and placed them in there. Sadly Nums did not make it :( but now my other baby turtle is doing the same thing the other one did now all she does is bask and she doesn't go to the water. She won't eat at all I even tried flavoring her pellets with tuna water(as suggested on a site and she didn't even look at it) I have her on ReptoMin pellets. Her water temp is 74degrees. And how close should I have the basking light away from the basking rock? It's a 100watt bulb and it's the night one so I can keep it on all day and night.
<I don't understand what a 'night one' means. A basking lamp is normally a regular old incandescent bulb. You CAN use a heat lamp if you have one, but it's not necessary. Both the basking/heat lamp should be on approximately 12 hours a day as should the UV/B lamp. The basking area should be around 88-93 degrees. You can measure that by leaving an oven thermometer on the spot, under the lamp, for 5 minutes and then check the reading. Move the lamp up or down depending on the adjustment and test again. Then be sure to clean the thermometer.>
<Here is a link that coverers the basics: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
How long does it normally take baby turtles to bounce back? I'd like to know if she will eventually go back to normal or if I should do something for her. I really don't want to have a second baby turtle funeral :( thank you for your help.
<We'll do what we can>
<The first bit of bad news is that by the time ANY fish or reptile shows outward signs of illness, they've already been ill for quite a while and by then are VERY sick. The second bit is that it's more acute in babies.>
<First, get the baby OUT of the water completely. At this stage all that would do for her is offer the opportunity to drown. What she needs is a vet visit, an injections of vitamins (A& D mostly) and calcium and a drop or two of some liquid food.>
<Then she needs to be warm and dry, where the warmth is coming 24/7 from a heating pad on the bottom and 14 hours a day of UV/B from above.>
<Please read this link, get her warm and dry IMMEDIATELY and then see what you can do about a vet visit.>

Question: Red Eared Sliders got Stuck together during mating  10/2/10
Dear Crew at WWM:
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Please advise if this is normal.
<Anyone who knows me will tell you I don't know much about "normal" but I'll try>
We have two red eared sliders, male & female, who are greatly loved and well cared for in our backyard pond. This morning we found them locked together- they had been swimming freely and eating 15 minutes before. Both are old enough for mating activity- and the male, named Cruiser, has been flirting with his front legs twittering in her face for a year. We were scared for him because he was obviously stuck inside her- he was dangling and hanging off her in what looked unsafe for his breathing under water.
<Well, turtles don't breathe underwater. They hold their breath underwater>
Meanwhile Harriot swam around dragging him behind her.
<Kind of like a man at the mall while his wife is shopping>
We managed to gently hold both of them above the water while I poured some vegetable oil on 'the stuck part' so that he could break free. Is this normal mating when in water- or was this a mating accident?
<Nope - that's how it's done.>
<I also have to tell you that you took a HUGE risk to try to separate them --- that very often causes major damage to the male's organ.>
Female is about three times the size of the male, fyi.
I saw them mate once before this past Winter- during their months in a kiddie pool set up for warmth inside the house. But poor Cruiser- he was just dangling precariously behind Harriot- and his head was tucked in his shell. His member, fyi, was much larger than we expected,
<That's why a guy like Cruiser can get a hottie like Harriot!>
'¦ and it took another 12 minutes for it the swelling to subside before he was returned to our small backyard pond. We were just frightened for him and didn't want him to drown- he was dangling, immobile, and not moving while stuck to the back of his mate. Please advise what is normal- or if this was a freak accident.
<No, Sandra - everything you describe is typical turtle courtship. At first, it seems a bit bizarre, but then take a look at human mating behavior and see how Cruiser has it made: A least when being dragged behind Harriot, he doesn't have to hold her purse. He doesn't have to endure movies where she cries through most of it, doesn't have to take her to expensive restaurants where the menu is based on color coordination and a 2 oz portion costs as much as a small Asian car and Cruiser NEVER had to tell her that she looks good in those HIDEOUS pedal-pusher stretch pants!>
We love our turtles dearly and want the best for them- so thank you to WWM for this incredible forum. Thank you.
<Yer welcome!>
Sandra in N.M.

RES hatchling question    9/13/10
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
If I leave the UVB and basking light on for 24 hours once in a while will they be okay????
<Yep - they'll be just fine. The amount of UV-B light they get isn't enough to hurt them even if left on 24/7 >
Thank you!
<yer welcome!>

Aggressive turtle behavior  9/12/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red sliders in a 50 gallon tank. They are 19 and 14 years old.
The smaller and older one that I believe is the male has been attacking the other one. He grabs her from the front and tries to bite her face.
<That's turtle courtship>
I have had to separate them before by taking them out of the water. He won't let go. I am afraid he will drown the other.
<It's not likely he'll drown her, but it is stressful for her>
The larger one also seems to be sloughing off some of her skin. It looks like she has fuzz on her legs.
<She probably is shedding and the chances are that's all it is. Just to make sure, it's important that the water is clean and that she gets plenty of drying out under the basking & UV lamp. Make sure those are in proper
place and that the UV is within it's useful life - many people don't know, but UV lamps will continue to glow and 'appear' normal for quite a while after their UV effects have diminished. Follow the manufacturer's suggestions for maximum useful life, usually rated in # hours.>
I feed them floating sticks and dried shrimp.
<I'm not a fan of the dried shrimp - they're high in fat, low nutritional value and not even close to a part of their natural diet. I feed mine exclusively Koi pellets -- with an occasional (once a month) earth worm just as a treat.>
Any ideas?
<Yes. Take them out of the tank for a few days. Place them in a dry tub or box with the basking light and IV lamp from their tank place over the box. Drying her out will help with her shedding skin and a complete change
of environment may help the male to back off a bit. Either way, she gets a break>

Turtle anatomy  8/30/10
Hey Sue...
<Hey there!>
There is a serious problem this time...
<Maybe, depends. . .>
I'm attaching a photograph of my female turtle. It looks like a hernia or something has happened to her.
<You may want to re-think the *her* part -- see below!>
But whatever it is, it's scaring the hell out of me. Everyday I clean my tank and my turtles...and when ever I put them in clean water, they poop..both of them. But for the last 2 days, while I was cleaning,
I observed this black colored thing hanging from her anus (when I keep her in the clean water.) Could you tell me what exactly is happening with her, and suggest me some medicine to cure this?
<Well, I THINK I can tell you what's happening here, but to the best of my knowledge, no medicine has been invented yet to cure it! Heeee!! I think what you have here is not a female, but actually a male turtle! And, yes, male turtles are quite *well-endowed* shall we say!! To those who are unsuspecting, it can be quite shocking when they see a male turtle's *private parts* (or as another crew member refers to it -- their *party animal* -- for the very first time!! It even was for me -- and I KNEW about it!! Bob --- can you show *X-rated* turtle pix on WWM?!! LOL!)><<I think so...>>
<Remember my *Option 2* in my August 18 reply? It looks like you do in fact have a male turtle that's growing at a different rate than your other turtle (who's still too small at this point to know which sex it is for sure).>
<Read here to learn what to do (and also what NOT to do!) when you see this *display* happening!:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
< Scroll down this article until you come to the heading about *Odd Body Parts'¦and what NOT to do*. Most important here is NEVER try to press his organ back in!>
<Was he able to retract his organ shortly after? If not, you will need to *assist* him the best you can, again -- WITHOUT attempting to press it back in. If you took my advice and are keeping your turtles outside the water right now, the best thing is to temporarily place him in water to see if that makes it easier for him to retract it. Alternatively, you can try spreading some mineral oil or regular vegetable oil on the bottom of your tank (or very smooth surface) to make it slipperier for him and see if that works.>
<If it has remained out for the last 2 days, and none of the things mentioned above or in the link work, you will definitely need to take him to an expert who is experienced with turtle anatomy and have them try to reinsert the organ. But do not attempt this yourself or you will likely injure him!>
[I'm trying to get all the things you recommended me the last time. It will take some time for me to arrange everything for my turtles.]
<Glad to hear you're trying to get all the things you need for your turtles! Except for trying to fix this latest situation with your one turtle, they are perfectly fine (and should be) being kept out of the water in a warm, dry environment until you're able to get what you need for them.>
There is one more problem: I stay in a (country) where it's not allowed to keep turtles. So I doubt if there are hospitals and doctors specially for turtles (if in case a Doctor is needed.) If you know some place (in this country), do let me know.
<I'll be happy to do a little research on this for you and see what I come up with.>
I request you not to put my mail in your library because I fear I might land into some trouble (because of the rules). I hope you would consider my request.
<I'll pass your request along to Bob to see if he can either block out or remove your name, location, etc. from your earlier messages to WWM.><<... Sue... where is all this?>>
thank you very much for your help.
<You're welcome! Please let us know how this all turns out!>

No more babies please, RES    7/27/10
Dear WWM Team,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have read all your threads about turtles with great interest but, sadly, they do not answer my problem.
<Then we'll do it real-time>
I live in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates where I have three adult terrapins (red eared sliders). The female is 9 years and the two males are 6 years and Myrtle is now laying eggs very successfully. We have five babies so far, all doing well, and Myrtle, who has a wide expanse of fenced in garden (very well fenced in as she is an escape artiste supreme) is still laying eggs.
<The more natural the enclosure, the more they'll do natural things>
However, as shocking as this may seem to turtle lovers everywhere, I don't want any more babies. The total of 8 we now have, is fine but that's enough so I need to know about turtle contraception (tried Googling that but it
nothing came up) Short of scouring the garden and destroying any eggs I find, which seems so mean, is there anything I can do? My vet is at a loss and happily admits to never having had that question asked of her before!
<Even if you separate her from the males, she can still be fertile for a few years.> <Technically, a vet could do something akin to a tubal ligation, but it's horribly invasive and hideously expensive.>
<What you CAN do '¦ assuming you're allowed to do it '¦ is over-water the garden during her egg laying season. The eggs won't begin to develop and eventually become part of the garden fertilizer.>
<Or, collect the babies and offer them for free adoptions to other interested parties locally>
Dubai, UAE
<Jane -- I shot a note off to me friend who happens to actually have "written the book" on Reptile Surgery. I'll let you know what he says>

RES actions after laying eggs   7/24/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have read a lot about female Red Eared Sliders and how they act before they lay their eggs, but how do they act after laying eggs?
<They kick back, light up a cigarette and lazily blow smoke rings!>
My female RES is @4.5 yrs old and is 12" in length.
<That's HUGE for a Red Eared Slider '¦ and at least double the size I'd suspect at approximately 4.5 years old>
She stopped eating her turtle pellets about 3 weeks ago and won't eat and veggies or fruits (tried various ones per vet)( she has guppies in her tank with her, we think she is only eating the babies),
<A turtle's diet should be Repto-min food sticks and/or high quality Koi pellets. Period. No fish, no snails '¦ and maybe an earthworm or two, once a month, as a treat>
she was in perfect health and was told to monitor her weight and bring her back in if she lost 20-30 grams (which she has maintained). Last night when I took her out she started trying to dig (we were in doors 2 am) she did the digging motion for 2 hrs then calmed down, so I put her back in her tank (120 gal). At 6 am she was restless again so I took her outdoors where we had some sand and she dug for about 4 hrs and then she laid many eggs (no males for fertile eggs), some off which the eggs seemed busted, which I read on your sight they can get infections for, and to monitor your turtle for not eating, swollen eyes, etc. My question is if she wasn't eating her normal diet 3 weeks before laying eggs, and doesn't seem to have an appetite after laying eggs, she was really tired, which I can understand why she's not hungry right afterward--how long before do they start to go back to a normal appetite or should I be worried, a couple of days?
<Oh no '¦ even a month sometimes. USUALLY they're ravenous within 4 days, but they can go a month before the appetite returns. Make sure your food source is rich in calcium, as she has depleted a lot of her own in order to shell the eggs.>
This was her first egg laying, but has had the lack of appetite, the last couple of years, but only lasted a couple of days. She lost about 100 grams after laying the eggs and her eyes aren't swollen and are clear.
<All good signs, Gail. At her size, she's done growing and she should start to have a smaller appetite. In fact, your #1 health concern for her now is obesity. At her size and age I'd feed no more than she can eat in 5 minutes every third day.>
Thanks for your time, Gail Bannister
<No charge! In fact, I enjoyed it!>

Female RES exhibiting strange behavior! ... beh, app, hlth, repro 6/22/10
Hey Crew!
<Hi, Jenn! Sue here with you.>
I have a 5 inch, female RES named Spike. She's been around for a little over 4 years and she's strong and healthy according to the vet, but I'm not convinced! Spike has been swimming frantically in circles with her neck to one side and her mouth open, thrashing in the water and ramming into the glass.
<Sudden restless or frantic behavior can occur for a few reasons. A couple in particular come to my mind with your turtle, Spike, though. See further below.>
She's normally pretty mellow, so when the vet told me she was fine except for some excessive scute shedding, I was a little frustrated!
<Shedding is a natural, normal process for turtles. However, excessive shedding is not, and can occur for a number of reasons, including: (1) Too fast a growth rate. This is either the result of too warm a water temperature which in turn speeds up their metabolism (water temp. should be in low 70's); or overfeeding. Spike should only be fed 2-3 times per week (preferably in the morning), and no more than she can eat in 5-10 minutes. (2) Inadequate basking. You mentioned below that you take her outside several times a week, though, so this may not be an issue. However, if you live in a cooler climate where she's indoors most of the year, does she haul out to bask for a few hours each day during the 'off' seasons? If not, this may also be due to either too warm a water temperature or not enough of a temperature gradient between her water and her basking spot. Turtles need to be given a very clear choice between cool water (preferably under 73 degrees F) and warm (upper 80's F) basking temperature. Cool water is what entices them to get out of the water to bask and warm up. I try to keep my turtles' water temperature between 70-72 degrees F and their basking temperature between 88-89 degrees F. Also '¦ do you have a UVB light over the basking area? If not, you do need to get one. UVB helps turtles to make/absorb calcium which they need for proper shell health and growth; otherwise they become much more prone to disease. (3) Inadequate filtration, poor water quality. Make sure you do a 50% water change at least once each week (more often if needed), and that you remove all poop and uneaten food right after Spike's done eating so it's not left to decay in the water '¦ especially if you don't have adequate filtration -- but even when you do.>
Spike hasn't eaten in almost two weeks. She's not interested in ReptoMin pellets, freeze dried baby shrimp, alfalfa sprouts or anything. The vet told me to coat her food with calcium powder, but she's just not having it!
<Loss of appetite in conjunction with sudden restless behavior/frantic swimming is often associated with a (sexually mature) female turtle needing to lay eggs (yes, even when there is NO male around!!) At 5', Spike is starting to approach the 'age of sexual maturity'! See end of this note.>
Her water temp is 76 and her basking temp is 86.
<76 degree water is on the warm side; 86 degree basking temperature is on the cool side. As above, I'd aim for a water temperature of 70-72 degrees F and a basking temperature of 88-89 degrees.>
She lives in a turtle tank that's 18in x 36in, but I take her out for backyard adventures a few times a week to explore. I noticed an email with a turtle acting similarly where you told the owner to wash, wash, wash everything out...so I did that...and her behavior still persists, along with her alarming lack of appetite. I just don't know what to do! I've racked my brain for some sort of environmental change, but I can't think of a thing. I don't want her to hurt herself with all the violent swimming...and I can't sleep at night with her splashing around!
<There are a couple of things that initially come to my mind about Spike's sudden over-activity:>
<The first is that she may be too warm.>
<Warm water increases a turtle's metabolism and causes them to become more active. Spike's excess shedding is another possible indicator that her metabolism/growth rate is high and that her water may be a bit too warm. Are you using a water heater? If so, no need to unless (as one of my fellow crewmates has joked many times, you live north of the Arctic Circle!!) Contrary to what's stated on many other websites, as long as you provide Spike with a warm basking option, the water temperature can and should be kept in the low 70's.>
<With summer approaching, warmer air temperature could further be adding to the overall affect of her feeling too warm. Even though Spike is an indoor turtle and not as significantly impacted by the outdoor climate, my own experience with indoor turtles has been that they often sense the increased humidity and warmer air temperatures indoors as the warmer outdoor weather of spring and summer approach.>
<Her open mouth as she's swimming is an indicator that the air inside her aquarium may be too warm and/or humid, and that she's trying to seek out cooler air to breathe. Warm, humid air has less oxygen density. As a result, she may be opening her mouth and possibly breathing faster and/or heavier in an attempt to take in more oxygen.>
<Besides being too warm, the 2nd thing that comes to mind with Spike's sudden frantic behavior -- especially in combination with her sudden loss of appetite -- is that she is gravid and needs to lay eggs!! This is very common behavior displayed by a female turtle looking to nest! As noted above, a female RES can be gravid without the presence of a male; the eggs just won't be fertilized. You mentioned Spike is 5' long. Captive female RES turtles can become sexually mature as 'early' or 'young' as 3-5 years of age with a carapace length of 5'. So it may be your little girl has finally grown up!!>
<Given that it's springtime, and Spike is now in the 'sexual maturity range', it's very likely that she IS in fact gravid (carrying eggs). If so, it's VERY important that you set her up ASAP with an appropriate nesting spot outside of the water for her to be able to dig and lay her eggs. If she is prevented from, or unable to lay her eggs, she can become egg-bound. This is an extremely serious health condition that can cause a very painful death. So it's important you act now. Here are 2 links to guides for you to read about egg laying and how to build an appropriate nesting spot for Spike:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtleReproArtDarrel.htm >
Any help is appreciated, thanks for all you do,
<You're welcome, Jenn! Please try these things out and let us know what happens with Spike!>

Need Red Eared Slider help, please! Comp., Repro.  - 5/23/10
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have 2 male Red Eared Sliders that are around 4 or 5 inches and have been together in the same 75 gallon tank most of their lives.
<So far, so good. Just about the right size environment for 2>
About 6 weeks ago we were given a female slider that is around 8 inches and have kept her in a kiddy pool for quarantine purposes.
<A big girl>
This afternoon we decided that it was time to finally put her in the tank with the two males.
<Queue the menacing music '¦..>
Everything was fine for the first half hour or so,
<Just like in the movies '¦ things are quiet '¦.. TOOOO quiet!>
then things went downhill fast and got really scary. As males will be males (LOL) they were trying to "court" her to the point of her needing a restraining order, LOL! She finally started biting at them and even started chasing them around to bite them.
It was when she got hold of one of their front feet and took it and her head inside her shell that we grabbed her up and finally got her to release his foot.
<Yeah - turtles play rough>
She is back in the kiddy pool, but to be quite honest, the kiddie pool has got to go soon as we have a small house and it is taking up way too much room. Not to mention the cat and two Labs that are just way too interested in her.
<Between two Labs and a cat - my money is on the turtle.>
Is there ANY hope of them co-existing in the same tank at all???
<there is some, yes>
If so, how do we go about getting them there?
<What you've experienced is to some degree normal behavior for Red Eared Sliders. At the size differential you've described she has a clear advantage and when she gets snappy, the others are usually wise enough to get out of her way. Usually this little bit of combat is to establish limits and the bites aren't hard enough to break the skin (sometimes the males will lose a fingernail or two). While sliders do fine on their own, they also do just fine in colonies and other large groups with little or no serious combat. There are two concerns here. First, when we house groups of any kind of animals we should always give them ways to get AWAY from each other. In aquariums we put big rock formations in the middle to more or lass make a right & left half. When we dig turtle or alligator ponds, we make them "U" or even "Z" shaped, etc. That way, two animals that aren't getting along can go to places that are out of visual range of the other and both can feel like they've "escaped." This is a bit hard to do in a 75 gallon turtle tank, but see what you can do. The unknown here is the female. She may settle down after everyone settles down, or she could be just mean. My guess is the former and here's what I'd do>
<One at a time, while you have the time to baby-sit, take the males out of the tank and put them in the pool with her. Let her learn to tolerate them in her own territory - and just one of them. The pool is likely not deep enough for her to drown the little one and there is enough room for them to get away from each other. A couple hours of that each day gets them accustomed to each other AND the disruption of their routines tends to "reset" a lot of their territorial and combative instincts. After they've all become bored with fighting each other, you can try moving them to the tank again>
Thanks in advance.
<yer welcome>

RES gravid and hibernating? 05/07/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My rescued 2+ year old RES which I was told by a vet was a male, turns out gravid after I noticed that she dropped single eggs on two separate occasions about 2 days apart.
<That pretty much overrides the Vet's opinion, doesn't it?>
She does seem to have more, as the area behind her rear legs is indicating. I proceeded to get some moss in efforts to provide a nesting area, I covered the tank so she would lay them.
<Not sure what you mean by 'covered the tank' I'm guessing this is not her usual tank filled with water & a basking area, correct?>
Next morning now she is herself buried under the moss with a toe sticking out. Should I be concerned at this juncture?
<Nope - not yet. You've given her an entirely new environment and she's adapting to it. Let her just 'be' in the new setup for a few days, maybe a week. Make sure she has access to water, even if it's just a shallow bowl she can climb into, and otherwise let her have some time.>
<Here are a couple of links -- the first is general care on Red Eared Sliders -- just review it and compare how you keep her to the guide. The second is on eggs and incubation. The chances are probably 95% that the eggs are not fertile '¦ but we never know FOR SURE '¦ so maybe, if she lays more, you can try to incubate them.>
<care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<eggs: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtleReproArtDarrel.htm >
She has shown no real issues other than what I have described in the two years I've had her.
<Sliders tend to be issue-free and easy to care for. Just don't let her near your checkbook or ATM card '¦ Sliders and Cooters are COMPLETELY irresponsible with money and credit!>
Thank you.
<Hope it helps!>

Red eared slider nesting area question   4/28/10
Hello Wet Web Media crew.
<Hiya again Russ -- Darrel here>
My name is Russ. I have a couple short and simple questions for you.
I have a 100 gallon preformed pond that I built in my house that I keep my two 6"+ female red eared sliders in. I also have a separate 20 gallon preformed pond that is attached to the other pond, and I have a 50/50 mix of play sand and potting soil in it for the nesting area. Is this the proper nesting substrate for a female RES?
<Sounds like it will work just fine>
Do I need to have a heat lamp and/or a UVB light over the nesting area?
<Not a UV lamp '¦ you COULD suspend a small low wattage bulb (like 40 watts) suspended over a portion of it to keep the soil around 75 degrees or so, but that's completely optional>
Also does the nesting area substrate need to be kept moist?
<Moist is good '¦ wet is not -- it shouldn't be rock hard, but if it feels wet to the touch then it's too moist and she'll probably not nest there. Think of it this way -- no more moist than the potting soil was when it first came out of the bag>
Thanks for all of your help.

Aquatic turtle incubator question  4/19/10
Hello, my name is Russell.
<Hiya Russell, I'm Darrel>
My Red Eared Sliders recently mated, recently as in 5 days ago. My male bred with both of my females. My first question is this, is it okay to only have one nesting area, even though both of my females are carrying eggs?
<Yes, that's fine. The only thing to watch for is that a female has no problem digging into an existing nest and breaking those eggs in the process. I have this problem with my herd of Tortoise right now, so I have to collect the eggs immediately after they are laid so that the next female doesn't choose the same spot>
I should mention that I keep both of my female Sliders in a 100 gallon preformed pond that I built in my house.
I usually keep my male in a separate tank, but he escaped and got into the females pond. I also have a smaller 20 gallon pond that I raise plants and fish in for the turtles. I emptied that pond and this is what I am using for the nesting area. It has a 50/50 mix of potting soil and sand in it.
<Sounds good. Does it get any natural light that would warm it in the mornings?>
My second question is this, do I need a heat and/or a UVB bulb over the nesting area?
<Not usually, no. When the females are ready to nest, maybe 3 to 10 weeks from now, you'll see a marked change in behavior. They'll be overly active, very fussy and not calm at all except when sleeping. That's the time to allow them access to the nest area -- the best of all possible worlds is the ability to explore from their pond to the nest area and wander back and forth. This is much better than moving them to a separate nesting box -- although that will also work, it just means you have to be more observant. The WILL drop eggs in the water if they can't find a suitable place and, of course, those eggs will not develop>
And my last question is this, once my turtles lay the eggs I plan on using an incubator. I am going the cheap route and using a old plastic storage container as the incubator. Do I need a heat lamp over the incubator to keep the temps up? Thanks for all of your help.
<read this: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtleReproArtDarrel.htm>

Is my turtle pregnant?   4/13/10
Hi this is Kris.
I read all of your articles about turtles and reproduction. I have a male red-eared slider and a female (not exactly sure what kind of turtle she is; she is a bit darker green with bright yellow lines). I noticed her tail getting bigger and harder in the last while, also she has been basking lots lately, and in the past couple of months she has been digging a lot. Today she was on the bottom of the tank with the male on top of her, and his tail curled right underneath hers. After that he moved and she started pushing out black tissue out of her tail. At first I thought she was getting rid of
waste, but then it got very big and that is when she sucked it in. What is that? I have never seen her do that before. Also, in the past couple of months the male has been waving his claws in front of her face and trying to climb on top of her, but I never thought anything of it, because I thought it was just a little fight.
<Hello Kris. It's entirely possible your female wants to lay eggs. To ensure she can lay eggs, she must have access to something like a cat litter tray filled with sand. Place this on the dry land part of the vivarium. It needs to be big enough she can climb in and dig easily; a cat litter box is about the right size. Once the eggs are in the tray you can
dispose of them as required. Given she has a "hard" tail and is excreting unusual waste products, it is VERY likely she's egg-bound. The black stuff could easily be the foul products of egg decay. Take your turtle to a vet immediately. She's likely in considerable pain, and egg-biding will eventually kill her unless fixed. The vet will usually administer hormones -- usually Oxytocin, I believe -- and that causes her to lay the eggs. This isn't expensive or difficult, but does need to be done. There's no at-home remedies that work. The usual problem is that people keep these turtles in vivaria without trays of sand, and the female holds onto the eggs too long, and eventually the eggs become too hard to pass out normally. Without treatment, egg-bound female turtle WILL die, and in a very painful way. So call the vet now!!! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Is my turtle pregnant? - 4/13/10

Thank you so much!
<You are most welcome. Good luck! Cheers, Neale.>

Red eared turtles... fdg... repro.  3/1/10
Hello...I am the proud owner of three red eared turtles one female and two males... Of the three the largest one (female ) seems to have lost her appetite she sees to look for secluded spots (which I have provided in there 45 gallon tank) and she is not eating... I tried feeding her alone but she doesn't bite. Otherwise she seem OK. I do provide vitamins in the water, but I am worried about her. The other two males appetite is terrific... should I be concerned? Please advise Thank you
<It's likely she wants to lay her eggs. It's very important she can do so, otherwise egg-binding follows, and that can/will kill your pet. Make sure the vivarium has a stable tray filled with soft sand where she can lay her eggs. Something about the size/shape of a kitty litter tray will do, with sand almost to the top. She'll take it from there. There's a good review of egg-binding here:
Most folks don't bother looking after the eggs. There are already far too many Red-ear Sliders in the pet trade! Cheers, Neale.> 

Red-eared slider pregnant? 1/9/2010
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a question!
<Maybe I have an answer!>
I received a red-eared slider almost three years ago for a birthday gift. My friend was fishing and stepped on a hatchling ( I assume this since it was the size of a quarter) and tore its plastron. After a luxurious two week trip to the Sulfa Dip spa and salt-water sprays the wound began to heal and the white spot around the injury dissipated. When we first got her, we knew nothing about caring for her. I was scared to return the gift to her natural environment for fear the biotic she was used to would hinder her healing process.
<Good choice. We never ever EVER return captives to the wild unless we know exactly what we're doing '¦ and most hobbyists don't>
Luckily I took a herpetology course that semester and learned a small pink cereal bowl was not an adequate environment for Garietta (she was a Gary and has a playmate Cooper- then Gary turned out to be a she and Cooper still a he) so now she has a 55 gallon aquarium with UVA and UVB lights/ a heat lamp/ 18' basking surface/ and two filtration systems. Her water is kept at 75 degrees; the basking area is 90. I change the water every three weeks and treat her to calcium blocks as soon as they dissolve (can you give a turtle too much calcium especially if she eats it?)
<No need to heat the water unless you live about the Arctic circle. I'd like to see the water lower than 73 degrees>
<Calcium blocks are of little value. ZERO value unless she actually eats them. Some turtles do nip at them from time to time, but most don't. A properly balanced diet (which can be nothing more than Koi pellets) will supply all their dietary needs>
Lately she has been acting very strange. She sleeps a lot and doesn't spend any time on her basking log. She eats and her level of activity is diminished. Also her skin is shedding excessively. The flaking is transparent but frequent. The ventral portions of her fore and hind legs are becoming pale in color. Also the water smells like garbage. I changed it four days ago- she has been acting sluggish for a week- and it did not smell like that before. It smelled earthy like is usually does when it needs to be changed before this *trash odor* episode. I am guessing excessive shedding points toward some kind of stress of bacterial infection.
<Fungal infection is my guess.>
These playmates have stopped mating.
<I stop mating too, when I have a fungal infection>
I described the situation to a local vet and they want to x-ray her to see if she's pregnant. Isn't that harmful to any potential offspring that are hiding out?
<Not the behavior of a gravid turtle. (Gravid is the $5 word for a reptile with eggs)>
What is this dire smell?
<that smell is the symptom of the problem>
The water is clear and no debris is evident. Please let me know what my next steps should be and your opinion is on this matter with Garietta. Cooper was purchased from a pet store two weeks after Garietta arrived. He has never had any health issues.... and currently does not exhibit the same tendencies as his partner.
<Seeing as how they share the home, we'll treat them both as if they do. Fortunately for you, we happen to have a BRILLIANT article on treating common illnesses in Red Eared Sliders and I'm sending you a link!>
Any help is appreciated!
<That's what we do here at Bob's House of Wet Questions and Half Baked Answers!>
Kelly K
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
Re: Red-eared slider pregnant?   1/16/10

Hey Darrel thanks for the link! I am placing her in isolation immediately. She is such a big turtle and I think the reason she got the infection is partially due to how small the basking area is... but it's the largest I can find at PetSmart. It's 9"x18". I threw it away after the last cleaning of her habitat ( I noticed black spots on the bottom of it). She however is almost 12 inches long.
<That's HUGE for a Slider!!>
She is 6 inches across. When she gets onto the dock, she looks awkward at best, because she is partially submerged, and squirmish. The only reason I turned the heat up is because it seemed to help her infection when she was a hatchling (unfortunately I am a biology geek and not a turtle expert so I know a thing or two about why fevers are so effective LOL ). Where could I find a larger basking area?
<I use rocks/ bricks or cinderblocks if the tank is big enough>
How would I go about dis-infecting her contaminated dwelling?
<Here's what I've written in the past: brilliant words, too!)
I love my little Garietta (well not really little) and cannot wait to help her. Thanks for such an expedient reply.
<Sorry I was late. Out of town>

Caring for baby red eared sliders  11/15/09
Hello Crew,
<Hello Samantha,>
I've just acquired two baby red eared slider turtles.
<Oh dear. Do understand these animals are time-consuming and quite difficult to look after, and make very poor impulse purchases.>
They're roughly about the size of a quarter. I'm not exactly sure how to care for them, I've read up on care for adult sliders but caring for babies is quite different then caring for adults.
<It's actually not so different. The main thing is that water isn't so deep they can't breathe easily. A good ball-park estimate is that the terrapin should be able to stand on its back legs and poke its nose out. So look how big the shell is, add about 50%, and that's a good depth of water for very small terrapins. There needs to be a ramp or similar that allows the terrapin to climb out onto its basking spot (to stone under the combination heat/UV-B lamp).>
I'd like to know everything there is to know about caring for them from the time they are young to the time they are adults.
<Read here:
I don't think it is fair to keep them as full grown adults, would it be wise to let the go in a lake or is that fatal because they've been in captivity for so long? ( I live in Michigan ).
<This would be extremely cruel. Captive specimens have no idea how to survive in the wild, and would be run over by a car, eaten by a predator, vulnerable to diseases against which they have no resistance, and very likely to starve to death. Without having the experienced of wintertime torpor, they will have no idea how to build up fat reserves or find suitably safe resting spots. This IS NOT an option. Either buy these animals with a view to keeping them for their full lifespan (around 15-20 years) or else don't buy them at all and keep something else, like a pet rock or a cactus. It's as simple as that. You can't buy animals with a view to letting them loose when you get bored with them or find their needs too demanding.>
Please get back with me with all of the caring information I need to know.
<It should really go without saying that you must find out about an animal BEFORE you buy it as a pet. Anything else is irresponsible.>
Thank you so much for your time :) Have a good day!!!
Samantha R.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

RES hatchlings  11/15/09
<Hello Samantha,>
I've acquired two RES hatchlings. I have an African clawed frog as well, he's about two years old. My question is, can hatchlings swim well in deep water period?
<No; risk of drowning.>
Because I was thinking about combining my AFC and RES in the same tank, with of course a place for basking.
<Bad, bad idea. Terrapins likely to physically damage the frog. Frogs sensitive to poor water quality (see: Red Leg) while terrapins are notoriously filthy animals that put a huge stress on filtration systems.>
But my AFC needs deeper water to swim around in. Is this a bad idea?
<Yes, very bad. These animals are not compatible.>
Samantha R.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Hatchling Red Eared Slider  11/15/09
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hiya Reid - Darrel here>
I'd like to start off with a brief history before getting to a question or three in the hopes that it might shed some light on why I am so terribly, terribly unprepared. Please feel free to cut any of the background information should this email get posted somewhere.
<No problem: Edited for spelling, length, content and dangling modifiers.
Pretty much everything except editing in my own questions.>
My mother had a waterfall and five foot deep pond crafted in our backyard some years ago. She added a few Koi and Shubunkin.
<It is just me -- or does SHUBUNKIN sound like something an immigrant from the "Old Country" might say? Actually it sounds like something you'd hear from an old time comedian in the Catskills: "Get OUTTAHERE YOU SHUBUNKIN YOU!">
A friend of hers was working at an animal shelter, and as a result we've both fostered and adopted all sorts of critters over time. Over the course of a few years we were approached with fair sized Red Eared Slider turtles because her friend thought they might do well in the pond. We quarantined them, one by one as she delivered them, in a kiddy pool, in half shade and half sun. A few sources we explored mentioned that they enjoyed live food (such as insects and feeder goldfish).
<Not really. They're not equipped to be hunters in any real form ... as you are about to find out>
We provided them with several goldfish, which were all ignored in favor of the turtle pellet food. They're either all lazy or extreme pacifists.
Either way, the goldfish grew and prospered right alongside the turtles.
They're now ridiculously large.
<I have two "feeder" goldfish offered to my turtles 12 years ago that are so large they started bullying the turtles at feeding time and had to be moved to a Koi pond where, as we speak, they are the complete masters of that domain>
Each turtle eventually made the pond their home, and mom commissioned the addition of a "beach" for any digging or basking the turtles might have wanted to do. They ignore the beach entirely, but the entire backyard seems to be their playground when the mood strikes.
<Absolutely normal. They'll leave the pond for weeks or months if allowed.
Don't allow>
One that we call Big Momma is the primary wanderer among the group of six... seven... I've honestly lost count over the years. We joked, saying time and time again that she's trying to add to the family. Typically nothing seems to come of it. Perhaps due to predation, poor soil circumstances, temperatures not conducive to tiny turtle creation, etc.
However, a year or so ago we spotted a new arrival floating about in the pond. He'd instinctively made his way back to his momma, dad, and extended family. He seemed to be thriving and wasn't itty bitty so we left him be.
<Dangerous, but we all do it once in a while.>
This morning was a different story altogether. Big Momma has been at it again. My sister was on her way out the door, headed off to school when she spotted what she thought was a rock. She nearly kicked it. Thankfully she realized what it was, and picked the little guy up. He's about the size of a United States quarter. He'd been headed toward the street instead of toward the backyard where the pond is located. Mom and I decided to bring him inside and care for him rather than pointing him toward the pond. His size worried me, and I am concerned that he might not do well in spite of having seen another youngster in the pond a little while back.
<A wise move>
Given our past means of turtle accumulation we've never needed to care for mini turtles. He's so very small, and I'm afraid of not doing right by him.
I recently read that he will or has absorbed a yolk sac. I read that the split where the sac is absorbed has to close before he's introduced to water or there could be fatal complications. I've checked his underside and I can't tell if he's healed up well enough for any sort of water introduction. I feel awful because we didn't research everything right away, so we just went with gut instinct and put him in a very shallow bowl of water until we could purchase an enclosure for him. His nose was never under the water, but he's so young that perhaps he simply shouldn't have been placed in any body of water regardless of how shallow it was.
<No problem. They swim with yolk sacs attached and heal just fine. The split will take the better part of a year to go away completely but once the inside part is closed, the little guy is hermetically sealed.>
<When I hatch out turtles and tortoises, I dip the yolk sac in Betadine (Iodine) just as soon as they clear the shell casings and then I place them in cardboard egg cartons (sack hanging down) for a few days until the sac is absorbed. Nature, of course, allows them to absorb as the turtle is moving about, but then nature is cruel sometimes. I ripped sac will almost always cause a deadly infection. Better safe than sorry. But in your case, that is all water under the bridge.>
He also hasn't got his eyes open. I don't know if that's because he's only days out of his egg or if it might point toward something being wrong with him. He moves very little, but I've read that he'll be inactive for a week or two while still living off of the yolk sac he's absorbed.
<To a certain extent, but he could be ill or stressed from any number of reasons - read on>
He's presently in his enclosure. We purchased gravel, large enough that it won't get caught in his shell. It covers the bottom of the tank. I've mounded it up on one side and flattened it out. On top of that there's a moist paper towel that he's sitting on. The gravel slopes downward into very shallow water, primarily to keep the environment moist.
<Nope: Warm & dry is the ticket here. I'm sending you a couple of links, one on general care and the other on treating illnesses. The key point of the illness article is what I call warm/dry isolation. Read that section and house him accordingly. Warm & dry except for 10 minutes a day to hydrate, poop and maybe eat. This will stimulate his metabolism.
Meanwhile, set up a habitat for him as outlined in the "Care" article>
The tank was half full of water before I began to research things. He sat on a floating dock. I was terribly worried about him being unable to get himself up onto the dock. I told my mother I thought he might drown if he fell off the dock or slid down the ramp into the water. After researching it we found a website that said they could easily drown at his size/approximated age. I bailed out most of the water and rearranged the tank so that I felt he'd be safe. We have a red lamp on him to keep him warm. I believe it's a UV lamp, but I'm not entirely certain. I'll make sure he's got both heat and a UV lamp tomorrow.
<The red heat lamps don't produce any substantial amount of UV. Try a ReptiSun Compact Florescent from my friends at ZooMed -- or something equivalent IN ADDITION to a daytime heat lamp>
I guess what I'm trying to figure out is how to best maximize his chances for survival. He's a very special little guy. He couldn't have found us at a more appropriate time. I want to give him every advantage that I can. I appreciate any and all information, suggestions, and links that may be provided.
- Reid
<NO problem, Read -- Reid these two articles. (heh heh heh)>
<Care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
<AND ... as an added bonus .... should you ever find EGGS ......>
< http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtleReproArtDarrel.htm>

Worms and egg laying?   11/3/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two juvenile red eared sliders. I caught them in the wild. When I moved them into the tank I noticed the female releasing translucent strings about a half an inch long. They were slightly curved and I thought they were shedding their claws but I'm not sure if that is possible. I thought it was turtle feces but it ended up not being the case. My question is, what could it possibly be? The objects didn't move at all so I didn't think
that they were worms. But could they be?
<My guess would be eggs from any number of internal parasites they may be carrying.>
<The key here is to suction them out, pay special attention to water quality (in other words, break the life cycle by not letting those eggs hatch) and the problem will likely solve itself in a couple months>
Also, my female has been digging in the sand as if to lay eggs, and I left her to it. Later I checked the sand and there were no eggs. What should I make of all of this?
<Well, if she's a juvenile, then I doubt she's carrying eggs. The problem is that turtles mature by size and sometimes size is relative. She'd be 4 1/2 to 5 inches normally before she'd be fertile. If she's smaller than
that it's probably what it looks like, a false nesting behavior and nothing to worry about. The good thing about Sliders and the Emydid turtles is that they rarely, if ever, get egg bound. If she is pregnant (I doubt it,
but IF she is) and she can't find the proper nesting site, she'll either re-absorb them or just drop them in the water. The eggs wouldn't survive of course, but it wouldn't damage her.>
<Here's a link to basic care -- best of luck to you!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Aggressive male RES to female 10/2/2009
Thank you for all of your information. I think I have found most of my answers from piecing together different question FAQ's but I would like to verify.
<Fire away.>
I have two RES 1 male 1 female and have had them for about 5 years. We have been doing fine until recently. The male fans the female and strangely the female fans him back but they get along fine. two days ago the female was on the docking station and as she was sliding off the male grab her by the neck in his mouth and they flipped under the docking station but he would not let go. We finally got them separated but she had some skin missing on her neck. She is bigger than he and has always held her own in fact she was the dominant turtle until now. If he comes up behind her and climbs up on his back we can see he is stretching his neck to maybe bite again but she panics and drawing her front feet in she spins until he falls off and then she faces him backing up away from him still her front feet in the shell. She will also bring her head in for protection. He has bitten at her a few more times.
<What you describe is not all that uncommon. If the habitat is big enough, adding another female or two will help, by dividing out the amount of time the male can pester any one of them. But apart from that, the only real solution is to keep the two turtles separately. They aren't "social" animals as such, and don't get lonely.>
We separated them for awhile and then got them some shrimp in a jar because I had heard they will get aggressive when they need protein. We normally feed them pellets and floating sticks. We were afraid to give them much else because we had given them goldfish and they got worms and the vet said $200.00 later, that if was from the fish.
<As you'll see on WWM, we do warn people about this. Feeder Goldfish make pet animals sick. There's no excuse or reason to use them. None. Nix. Nada. In the case of turtles, these animals are herbivorous for the most part, so leaving them a bunch of cheap aquarium plants (such as Elodea) or a few leaves of romaine lettuce is fine. Sure, they might ignore it for a while, like fat kids brought up on candy who've suddenly been presented with a salad. But you know what? They'll get over. When they get hungry enough -- which may take a few days -- they'll eat the green stuff you give them.>
We tried giving them boiled chicken lettuce and carrots at the vet's suggestion but they would only eat the pellets and floating sticks.
<Chicken, and indeed any meat from a warm blooded animal, should be avoided. The problem is this: any fats in warm blooded animals are liquid at warm body temperature. But in a cold blooded animal, those fats turn solid, and in doing so, clog up the blood vessels or wherever else they are. In the long term, this can cause damage. So, when feeding cold blooded animals, you generally stick with cold blooded prey: small pieces of white fish, shrimp, earthworms, and so on. Cold blooded animals adapted to eating warm blooded prey, such as venomous snakes, are different of course, but your turtles would not fall into this category. Their diet in the wild is largely plant material, carrion, and various invertebrates such as snails, aquatic insects and worms. Koi pellets -- not reptile pellets -- make the best staple, augmented with fresh green foods, at around a 50/50 ratio. Meaty treats like unshelled prawns, snails, and whole lancefish would be good sources of calcium and could be offered once or twice a week.>
They don't seem to be eating anything for the last couple of days since these attacks have occurred. I am believing it is because she does not want his advances and he doesn't care so he is going to grab her and force his way but just wondering if it could be something else. I am going to remove her to a bucket to temporarily get her some treatment and then swap them out taking turns on who gets the tank and who gets the bucket.
<Don't really see how this is going to work in the long term.>
I do not have any other way at this time. They are in a 100 gal tank with a Fluval 450 filter and a good heater but I notice the filter does not keep it that clean we need to clean at least once a week and sometimes redo the water in just a few days could this be from not eating their food?
<Do you mean a Fluval 405? Or a Fluval 4? I'm not aware of a Fluval 450 and can't find it on Google. Anyway, a Fluval 4 (or indeed any internal canister filter) would be hopelessly underpowered for turtles. Been there, done that! When I started with turtles back in the 80s, internal canisters were widely sold but I quickly learned they were useless for such messy animals. The Fluval 405 is a big external canister filter rated at about 340 gallons/hour. For a 100 gallon tank, you'd need a turnover rate of 6 times the volume of the tank, minimum, to keep the water acceptably clean, and realistically 8 to 10 times the volume of the tank. In other words, you'd be looking at 600 gallons/hour as a baseline, and anything up to 1000 gallons/hour for crystal clear water. So the fact your water is murky and the filter needs cleaning very frequently doesn't surprise me at all.>
Ok now that was a long paragraph but I have more. I have seen the female lay her eggs in the water and I have tried to take them out immediately to dispose of them (I do not want to hatch them) but she will drop an egg and immediately spin around bite it and then the male eats it. I never know when she is going to lay her eggs. I try to watch her behavior but do not always catch it in time. How bad for them is this behavior.
<It's harmless. In fact, if she wasn't laying eggs, that would be worrying, because egg binding is a significant cause of mortality when females are kept alone.>
She has done this every few months for the last 2 years. I thought maybe he was waiting for her to lay some eggs because she is not eating, lays on the bottom of the tank and basks a lot first thing in the morning but I
have not seen her lay any eggs and thought maybe he was pushing to do so and she won't?
<I wouldn't read too much into this.>
To reiterate: 1) What should I feed them on a daily basis. I have read so many things I would just like one simple answer as to what would be best and what to add to their diet periodically.
<Koi pellets and fresh green foods (most cheaply/easily, bunched of Elodea pondweed left in the tank until it's all gone).>
2) What does this aggressive behavior seem like with all of the different scenarios in place
<Males by their very nature want to mate as often as possible. Females can only mate when they ovulate. So there's a tension there. In the wild the female would be able to leave the male's patch, or the male would wander off and find a more responsive female. But in your terrarium, neither can happen. The easiest solution is to add one or more females, so that he can't pester any one female all the time. Alternatively, egg crate could be used to create a divider. Provided there were two basking spots under UV-B light sources, this would work fine. You can also lower the temperature in winter. Males are friskier in spring, and become less interested in mating in winter. So by introducing seasonality -- within reason, given the
tolerances of the species -- you might simulate this in captivity.>
3) What should I do about her injuries
<Very minor wounds should heal by themselves. If the skin is damaged such that the turtle is bleeding, apply Neosporin or similar topical antiseptic daily and keep the turtle on land (warm, wrapped in a towel to stop
wriggling) for, say, an hour to allow the medication to soak in. If that doesn't help, you may need to have the vet take a look.>
4) What should I do until she heals
<Ideally, keep the female away from the male.>
5) Should I try to reintroduce them after she is better if I have to keep them separate
<Separation has advantages.>
6) What about the eggs as I do not want to keep them but are they harmful to the adult turtles
<Not harmful.>
Anything else you can tell me considering all the scenarios going on would be appreciated
Thank you
<Do review here:
Re: RES turtle questions
thank you so much for your help.
( you all really have a great website!)
<Glad we could help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Aggressive male RES to female 10/4/09

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I appreciate your advice.
<Happy to help.>
I did want to make a correction from my original post. I actually have a 50 gallon tank and a Fluval 405, not 100 gal and Fluval 450. So the Fluval 405 should keep the 50 gal tank clean for at least a week but it seems to get murky in about 2-3 days. What could I be doing wrong.
<There are two things to think about. Provided the ammonia level if zero, you have enough *biological media* in the filter, and the water isn't directly dangerous. But if the water is murky, that means you haven't got enough *mechanical media* to trap silt, bits of dead skin, faeces, uneaten food, and so on. If the filter you have doesn't keep the water clean with weekly water changes, then a good idea is to invest in another filter, and this time fill it exclusively with mechanical media, such as filter floss or coarse sponges. Choose a filter that's easy to clean, so you can rinse off the mechanical media, or replace clogged media, as often as you need.
In practise, it's almost impossible to keep turtle aquaria clean unless the tank is very large and the filter very powerful. It sounds incredible perhaps, but a 50 gallon tank with a Fluval 405 will likely just not be up to the job. Sure, the turtles are healthy, but the quantity of water (likely half the volume of the tank, if you allow for the basking spot) and the mechanical media capacity of the filter won't be adequate. So there's a decision to make here. Do you want a bigger tank and/or bigger filter to keep the water clearer, or can you live with things as they are, and just siphon out whatever much you can, as often as you can.>
Every week or 2 my son completely drains the tank, scrubs it down and cleans out the Fluval and replaces all of the media.
<Do remember not to replace the *biological media* all at once, otherwise ammonia levels will spike. If the media is just filthy black, and totally covered with revolting goo, then the thing is that the filter just isn't big enough. If the filter is the right size, the mechanical media strains out the solid particles of waste, so that the biological media in the next compartment along stays clean enough all it needs is to be rinsed.>
The water is beautiful and then 3 days later we have to change out half of the water. Also if I get test strips what should the ammonia content and PH be and what else should I be testing.
<The ammonia should be zero; the pH anywhere between 6 and 8, but ideally around 7.>
I also read that you are supposed to give them their food and whatever they do not eat in 5 minutes take out. Is this correct?
<For dried or meaty foods, yes. Live Elodea plants can be left in until they're gone, while fresh green foods from the grocery store, like romaine lettuce leaves, can be left a day or two without problems.>
We feed them turtle pellets and sticks twice a day just a small handful.
<Too much of this type of food!>
Could this cause the murky water.
If I change to the food you suggested (Koi pellets, plants, lettuce shell fish etc) do I need to scoop out what they do not eat if so which of the foods and what can stay?
<See above.>
How often and how much should I be feeding them?
<A good baseline is that 4 days of the week you let them eat the green foods, and then the other three days you supplement this with Koi pellets, small bits of shellfish, frozen lancefish, and so on.>
You mentioned that I could turn down the water temp to reenact the winter and that may help calm the male down a bit. I have a heater that is meant for water turtle tanks and it has a preset temp so I am not sure how I can do this, however I do have another heater that I used originally that is adjustable I can use. What I need to know is what is the actual temperature for Red Eared Sliders?
<You shouldn't need to heat the water at all. The idea is that your basking lamp warms up the turtle, and then when it dips into the water, it cools down. In the wild, and in captivity, the optimal conditions for these turtles are where they alternate between warmer air and cooler water temperatures all through the day. The water shouldn't be much cooler than, say, 18 C (68 F) but unless your home gets very cold in winter, that
shouldn't be a problem.>
I have heard that it should be 78 degrees with a +/- 4 degrees and that this was critical.
<It's critical they have access to a basking lamp that allows them to warm up, yes. The idea they need heated water is old fashioned and increasingly deprecated by reptile experts. Among other things, they destroy glass heaters! (My specimens did this at least twice!) So, you concentrate on the heating light and the UV-B light, and forget about the glass heater. The T Rex Active Heat MVB lamp for example does the heating and the UV-B, all in the same bulb. Other brands may be available in your area. But note that UV-B isn't the same as UV-A, and it's UV-B turtles need.>
I keep it around 77-80 all year long and have for the past 4 years. The fact that the male is just now getting aggressive surprised me but maybe she is just less approachable.
<What you're describing just isn't uncommon, and male Red-ear Sliders often end up being kept either singly or in large groups. They don't work well in "pairs" since they don't form pairs in the wild.>
So how low of a temperature can I go to mimic the winter and what is the absolute lowest to not cause harm to the turtles?
<In winter you might choose to have the heating lamp on a lower setting or not on for so long, and you could use a standard wall socket timer for this. Instead of being on for 10 or 12 hours, as in summer, reset it for only 6 or 8 hours. A thermometer could be used to check the air temperature, and so long as it wasn't much below 18 C (68 F), you'd be fine. In summer, an air temperature around 25 C (77 F) is ideal. These reptiles come from the "Deep South" of the US, so that's the kind of climate you're replicating.>
Thanks again your crew and information is fantastic
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnancy cycle of red eared slider turtles. 08/02/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
Last July 25, 2009, I accidentally acquired two red eared sliders from our senior pastor at church.
They were male and female ---
<The pastor and his wife? Or the turtles?>
--- and his wife said they had the turtles for 3 years. The female is approximately 6 1/2" long (minus head and tail)
<You didn't remove the heads and tails, did you???????>
and male I think is approximately 4" long. My fiancé and I have seen them mate.
<This story is getting creepy>
If mating was successful, how long before the female shows signs of carrying eggs? If she is gravid, how long before she decides to lay the eggs?
<Egg laying in the Emydid turtles is seasonal, Aileen. Usually they mate during the summer and fall and the female will start looking for nesting sites as the weather warms, often digging many tests holes before deciding on the right one. If an acceptable nesting site isn't found, they'll sometimes lay them right in the water. These eggs are rarely viable, even if you catch them within seconds of dropping, but we always try because we're always hopeful.>
I am enclosing a picture of their aquarium. Very simple set up really. I forgot the tank's capacity but its dimensions are 36 1/2" x 15 1/2" x 17 1/4". Only have few rocks, fluorescent lighting, basking lamp and platform, and in tank filter Whisper 20i. The basking platform and lamp and filter came with them.
<I'm going to take a wild guess that the fluorescent lighting isn't a proper UV wave length for reptiles, Aileen. If it came with the tank, it's likely a fish light, usually intended to enhance colors. At best it would be a plant-Lux bulb designed to grow green things. Do so research on the Internet and find a bulb of the same size & wattage that is specifically fro reptiles -- they'll thank you later>
Their previous tank was smaller than this current one. The old tank dimensions were 30 1/2" x 12 1/2" x 12 1/2". Do you think this size tank and set up should be ok? I took out the smaller rocks they came with and just left a few bigger rocks. Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
<Beyond the lighting change, that tank is none to large for them, Aileen, but it's not small either. Turtles appreciate wide open spaces, but do just fine in conditions that many other animals would feel cramped.>
<As far as egg laying in concerned, I suggest that you get a dark sided plastic tub, approximately 24 inches by 16 inches by 30 inches tall (all these are VERY approximate). If you find a container the right length and width, you can fabricate higher sides even by using cardboard taped in place around the edges. Add a basking light just like the one you have on your tank. Just keep it all handy>
<In the spring, as the days get longer and the weather warms, look for changes in her behavior. She'll be overly active and antsy and just very clearly acting like she's having a bad hair day. Make a mixture of Vermiculite, play sand (sandbox sand) and potting soil in equal parts to cover the bottom 6 to 8 inches deep, more if you can. Turn on the basking lamp and point it toward one corner of the nesting box, so that part of the substrate is HOT, areas around it are warm, and places further away are cooler.>
<Place her in the box and for most of each day, returning her to the regular tank in the evening. With any luck -- and a lot of patience on your part (this can take weeks) she'll figure out what she's supposed to do.>
<The hard part is that you have to notice when she has finally laid the eggs. Usually you can see a change in her demeanor -- she's calm again. Either she laid the eggs -or- if she hadn't found the right spot and the eggs hadn't shelled yet (the hard outer shell forms last) she may reabsorb them.>
<If you get the eggs, here's what to do next: http://www.xupstart.com/wwm/turtle_eggs/index.html >

Red Ear Slider Behavior/Reproduction  7/27/09
My name is Char.
<Hello Charlene,>
I have 2 red ear sliders that I got last December when they were about the size of a quarter and was told they were about 2 months old. So, I believe them now to be 8 months in age and one is 4'' long and 3.5'' wide and the other is 3.5'' long and 3.25'' wide. I noticed last night that the smaller of the 2 was "fanning" himself and now today the other has also done so.
My question being: in males does size or age play a role in their sexual maturity?
<Appears to be both, with males needing to be a certain size and a certain age. But, as with most animals, males are probably more "flexible" in this regard than females. In any case, males will be at least 2 years old before they are sexually mature, at which point they should be a good 10 cm or so in shell length.>
I know that females need to be at least 6'', but I can't seem to be able to find anything pertaining to males. I've started to wonder if the smaller of the 2 is looking for a female companion as he also tried to mount
himself onto the larger male.
<As with male animals generally, sexual behaviour tends to appear from quite an early age, even if the male animal in question wouldn't be big enough to attract (or fight for) a sexually mature female. Sex-play
behaviours will certainly be exhibited, as will aggression, long before the male animal will be able to secure access to a mate, or, where relevant, protect the nesting site or offspring. What your Red-ear Slider is doing
falls comfortably into the range of normal behaviours exhibited by the species. Nothing to worry about. Keeping two males won't cause any problems if the habitat is big enough, though as you'd expect, sexually mature males are aggression and will fight if overcrowded. Most people find keeping singletons best. They certainly don't need "friends".>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle nesting behavior   2/16/08 Hello, <Hiya Rosio - Darrel here> I have a question in regards to my two Red Eared Sliders. <You have questions? We have answers!> I have a female (about 4") and a male (about 3") RES. What I want to know is how to identify if Ziggy (Female) is pregnant? <She's a bit small to be pregnant, Rosio. Turtles become sexually mature by size, not age and females are usually mature around 6 inches, so at 4 inches my guess is she's too young. > She seems to get on the floating dock at times and scratches in a digging manner with her kind legs, sometimes moves in circles like if she's searching for something. I've looked online and found a few things but I'm still not exactly certain how to tell is she's pregnant and looking for a nesting area. <That's common in immature females, Rosio. It is a form of nesting behavior and biologists believe it's the same instinct ... almost as if it's 'practice' behavior.> Also, if she is pregnant what exactly should I do as far as nesting goes (what type of soil to use etc.)? <Always good to be prepared, Rosio. Here is a link to a guide about egg laying and incubation: http://www.xupstart.com/wwm/turtle_eggs/index.html > Currently they are in a 30 gallon tank which is mostly filled with water and of course a proper basking area. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Here's a link to a brilliantly written article on the basics of keeping, Rosio. Compare your care against the guidelines given and adjust accordingly.> <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> Thank You! :-) Rosio George <You are most welcome!>

Red eared slider courtship and tail biting   1/29/09 Hello my name is Russell. <Good evening, my name is Darrel> I am having a problem with my red eared sliders. I have 4 turtles in a 100 gallon indoor pond. There are three red eared sliders, one male and two females, and there is a male painted turtle also. I noticed a long time ago one of the female sliders, who is about 6 and a half inches long, and the male slider, who is about 5 and a half inches long were doing the courtship flirt with the males claws. But today, the male bit the female's tail. Is this normal? <Normal for turtles, Russell, yes. Males do get a little nippy from time to time during courtship, so this is not unexpected> Should I separate the male from the rest of the turtles? <As long as it doesn't get too out of hand, no. If it's excessive and her tail appears to be really damaged or she appears distressed, then yes.> Was this part of the breeding ritual? <Not for PEOPLE, Russell ... a lesson my brother learned the hard way ... but for turtles, yes it is. Like I said, as long as it doesn't get out of hand, she'll eventually accept his advances and the violence will subside.> Thank you for your help. <No problem!>

Hatchling Hibernation 11/10/08 Hello, <Hiya Sandy - Darrel here> I have some Red Eared Sliders born March 2007. <Cute little guys, aren't they?> I kept them in the house until June 30, then in a pond outside. <The pond was both fenced [they are amazing climbers] and covered [they make great snacks for any number of birds, raccoons, possums, etc], right?> I live in Sacramento, CA. That winter of 07, I put them in a large Rubbermaid container in a insulated out building with proper lighting, filter and temp. Then back in the pond when weather warmed. <I've done the same thing many times, Sandy and I live in Los Angeles -- far south of you. The only thing to watch for is that we wait until the weather is actually warming ... not just a warm 'spell' that turns cold again and distresses them.> If I leave them in the pond outside this winter, will they freeze to death? Water temp today now at 2:00 pm is 59 degrees. <Important points here, Sandy. In northern climes, some lakes and rivers freeze over and the turtles simply shut down [hibernate] and get through it. But what's important is that not all survive it! They CAN and DO die from hypothermia! But freezing isn't your concern, Sandy. The real killer is that "too cold to metabolize food but not cold enough to hibernate" weather that Central and North-state are famous for. When they're too warm to hibernate but too cold to digest food, the food rots in their gut and they die from internal infections... and being reptiles, just like most fish .. they LOOK just fine ... right up until the hours before they pass on.> Should I put them in the out building again this winter? Shell size is 2" to 3". <I certainly would. 4 inches minimum for outside wintering and even then make sure that your pond is big enough [mostly deep enough] that the water resists "sudden" changes in water temp from our "oddly warm" days to "amazingly cold" days -AND-AND- this is very important .... stop feeding them about a month before so that the food has time to pass through.> Thank you so very much for being there for be to ask you this question. <Yer welcome! We like being asked!> I want to do the right thing. <In your case, the "Right Thing (tm)" is to continue to house them over-winter for at least another two years ... maybe even longer.> Sandy

Mating and eating poop (RES health; repro.)  9/8/08
Hi There!
How are you?
<Keeping it real.>
I have 3 RES since March this year, 'Turt' measuring nearly 5 inches ( which I believe is a female), 'El' about 4 inches ( male?) and a 'Little Lu' at about 2.5 inches.
Recently it seemed like El is trying to court the female turtle. This has been going on for about 2 mths now. HE will try that 'hand fanning' thing to get the attention of the female turtle. Occasionally the female turtle will either ignore him, bite him or sometimes do the 'fanning' thing as well.
<Pretty normal. So long as there's space in the tank, and more than one dry land patch, so the female can "get away" from the male, they should be fine.>
What I am afraid of is, will Turt get pregnant at this stage?
<They don't become pregnant as such; male reptiles certainly do fertilise the females internally, but what happens is the female then sets about putting shells around the developing embryos, and then puts the eggs in a nest. This needs to be a basin of sand big enough for her to crawl into. A plastic food container a couple of inches deep filled with sand will do, though don't forget to build a ramp so she can get in! If she can't lay her eggs, there is a risk they'll get stuck inside her, leading to a painful death (or expensive surgery). So you need to fix this problem before it happens by giving her a nest of sand if she looks to be exploring the land part of her tank and behaving like she's trying to dig. Sometimes she'll lay her eggs on rock, or even under water, and this proves what's going on, and it's time to put the "sand pit" out. Do see here for more:
I am not sure how old they are. When I first got Turt and El, they were only about 1 to 1.5 inches. Turt grew really fast the last few months and is constantly begging for food.
<These animals do indeed grow very fast; in my opinion, they aren't good pets because of this, despite being widely sold. I say this as someone who kept the species for a while, though eventually having to rehome them at a tropical wildlife theme park once I went to university.>
Recently she also started eating turtle poop.
<In itself not a bad thing, though hardly common; do make sure you have a constant supply of green foods. These turtles will feel hungry all the time without greens, and moreover will become prone to diseases. Do see here:
Essentially any cheap aquarium plants (like Elodea) will do fine; these are easy to obtain and completely safe. With those in the tank, you only need to offer protein-rich foods (like reptile sticks or earthworms) a couple times per week. Cheaper, healthier, safer!>
The other two however doesn't seem to feed as much. The tank ( 2 feet tank) the RES is in, doesn't have dirt or sand pit. Is there anything I should be concerned about?
<See above; in theory, yes.
Thanks so much,
<Cheers, Neale.>

RES turtle question... beh./repro. mostly, plus keen insight into the human cond.    8/18/08 Hi - I hope you can answer my questions, as I don't know how to do it on your website. <Quite simple. Start on the Freshwater page, go to Livestock, and then browse the Turtle articles and FAQs. Failing that, there's a Google search box. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm > I have two sliders, about 11 years old, probably from the same "litter" (is that the correct word?) and very, very friendly. They are great pets, very responsive, eat out of our hands and we love watching them. They live in a 10 gal. turtle tank, <Whoa... 10 gallons? That's WAY too small for them. At 11 years old, these things should be the size of dinner plates. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm > have a nice big floating rock on one end, and love to stand up on their hind legs on the rock and hang on the sticks that support the rock with their front legs. They both learned this trick on their own. <Hmm... suspect they learned this more from necessity than any sense of fun. This habitat is just too small for them.> They get along really well, and the only time there's competition is when they eat. One is bigger and dominant, but they never fight. <OK.> Last year they started this fluttering thing, and reading your website I see it's courtship behavior. It seems to be mutual, no one turtle chasing the other, and both seem to have the same length of nails. My husband wonders if they are gay -- well, OK, maybe, but maybe they are of different genders and I can't tell. <Trachemys scripta elegans is easy to sex. Males have much longer claws on their front flippers than females. Males also have longer, thicker tails with the cloaca (the combined anal/genital opening) near the tip rather than close to the shell.> So, if they aren't the same sex, what should I do? There is no sand in the tank (it's a water tank, so sand never occurred to me). Should I try sand, and what kind of sand? <Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtlereprofaqs.htm > I see no evidence of sex organs or even mating behavior. The fluttering is lovely to watch -- so gentle and sweet. We feel it's communication on a level we can't quite understand, and are not meant to understand. Sometimes they do it twice or three times a day, and sometimes not at all. Today and yesterday I saw it again. <Glad it's providing entertainment! Yes, it is quite a strange thing to see...> However, if I should be doing something for them, can you let me know? <If nothing else, a bigger habitat.> Their names are Yin and Yang and I have them since they were very very small. It's interesting how you can get to really like turtles -- never thought it would be possible, but they really have fun personalities! <It is certainly possible to become fond of any pet animal, even one with such limited intelligence as a terrapin. I always thought they have very pretty faces, especially eyes.> Thanks for any advice you can give -- Susan <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Nesting for Red Eared Sliders 07/07/08 We have two turtles, one male, one female. I read you can use potting soil to set up a nesting place for the female, but need to know for sure. I am new to this so, I need to know exactly how to set this up, and can I place the nesting for her in the tank along with the male. Your assistance is very much appreciated. <Greetings. I'm not sure I'd use potting soil, as it's likely to become really messy in the vivarium as the turtles move in and out. I'd tend to go with silver sand or maybe even something like moss or coir (coconut fibre). In any case, you will need to put a fair sized tray filled to a depth of 5-8 cm/2-3" somewhere on the land area of the vivarium. The tray will need to be at least big enough for the female to climb onto and move about. So something the size of a largish Tupperware or even a cat-litter tray would be perfect. As you may well realise, females need to lay their eggs somewhere, and if they can't, they are VERY prone to becoming "egg bound", a fatal situation unless prompt vet attention is provided. (And yes, this is all very demanding, but Red-ear Sliders are absolutely NOT "easy pets" and that's why we routinely tell people not to keep them unless they're very committed and have the time/money to lavish on them.) There's no real need to rear the eggs unless you absolutely want to; Red-ears aren't endangered in the wild, and selling or rehoming the babies won't be all that easy. Reptile eggs are never easy to rear because they must be kept warm and mustn't be shaken or rolled over. There's a great article on this topic over at the Tortoise Trust, and I'd heartily recommend having a read through: http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/Nestsites.htm Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Nesting for Red Eared Sliders 07/07/08
Thank you for your quick response. Will her nest need lighting? or can I place this on the other side of their tank. <The eggs certainly don't need light. But they do need warmth, if you want them to hatch. Otherwise just remove the eggs and destroy them.> I actually have a large plastic container that they reside. Also I read on your site that it's best to have 50/50 volume of soil and water for her nesting place. <Can't say I agree with this; sounds too "wet" and prone to becoming waterlogged. Would go with plain sand, periodically sprayed with a houseplant mister (or similar) to keep it just damp but not wet. Reptile eggs "breathe" through the shells, and if the shells get wet, the embryo will suffocate very quickly. You need a fairly open, airy medium for the eggs to sit in so the oxygen can diffuse in and the CO2 diffuse out. Hence sand is ideal, or moss, or whatever. Feel free to experiment, just so long as you understand what you're aiming for.> Do I need to separate her from the male. <Not really.> They get along very well, and are a pleasure to watch. They also enjoy music. <How funny! Yes, these reptiles can make excellent pets, and have fond memories of the species I kept when younger. But they are demanding, and sadly all too often purchased by/for very young children after 'Teenage Mutant Turtles' or whatever the heck they were. Cheers, Neale.>

Pls respond  4/1/08 how can I tell if my red ear slider is gravid I got her from a pet store she was in with 2 other males now she digs up the gravel what should I do if she is <If she's old enough to be laying eggs (i.e., at least 10 cm/4" shell length) then yes, she may well be wanting to lay eggs. Sexing Red Ear Sliders is very easy. The males have very long front claws (longer than the foot itself) and the tails of females are shorter than those of males and the cloaca (opening) is nearer the base of the tail. She will be ready to lay eggs about two weeks after mating. You need to provide a dry sand area to one side of the water where she can lay her eggs. If she can't lay her eggs, she can become egg-bound, and that will kill her, PAINFULLY. There's a nice summary of the details here: http://www.redearslider.com/reproduction.html I'd certainly concur with that author that rearing the eggs isn't worth doing. Unless you specifically want to try your hand at breeding these reptiles, remove the eggs and destroy them. Cheers, Neale.>

I think I have a pregnant turtle! 3/2/08 Hi there! <Hiya, Darrel here> I received two red eared sliders as a gift on Valentine's Day. <Nothing says "I love you" like a pair of Pseudemys scripta elegans> I am still trying to make out if one of them is a male or female. I know the smaller one is a male and was doing the mating vibration thing to the other turtle. He did this relentlessly for about two days and now seemed to have stopped. <Relentless amorous advances ... then suddenly stopping? Typical male -- I wonder if it's Turtle Basketball Season or something> The other turtle has been digging in the rocks a lot and sitting on the ramp under the light. I know this is common behavior for a female turtle that has eggs to lay. The smaller male turtle has yet to use the ramp and doesn't dig hardly at all. <Are you saying he never basks? Even if she's monopolizing the ramp and even if she keeps asking him where the relationship is headed every 10 minutes ..... he still NEEDS to bask.> I live in snowy Minnesota and it is not a good idea to take my turtle outside right now if she has to lay eggs. What exactly should I do if she has to lay eggs? Or is it possible that she is a he? They both have the same length of nails and their tails are almost the same. <Well, I'd like to know exactly how big they are (inches). Males do not generally make advances toward other males, so just on that shred of evidence my guess would be she's female. She may be sexually immature and not ready for courting though. Thickness of tails and length of nails can often be subjective (except a sexually mature male's nails will CLEARLY look as if they need to be clipped) so let's just deal with the behaviors.> Can you give me any advise? I attached a picture of the turtle in question. <From the pictures .. and just guessing at the relative size to the stones in the tank (assuming they're medium to small size) then I'd guess that both of them are immature and not mating and I doubt she's gravid (with eggs). Write back with measured sizes> Also can turtles hiccup? I think the male turtle got scared of me and got the hiccups... <Rest easy, it's not fear. It's something they just "do" from time to time and I've never seen it related to any outside stimulus.> <Stacy, the only thing I didn't like to hear was that the smaller (male maybe) turtle isn't basking. That is an issue that you have to address. I'll send you a link on general care, just for double checking your setup> Thanks, Stacy <Yer welcome> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm

RES that have mated?  11/13/07 Hi, <Hiya!> Please help. <Let's see what we can do for ya today> Last Feb/07, I got (4) 1/2 dollar size red eared sliders. They are now about 5" long. <That's a healthy growth in 11 months! Make sure you're not over-feeding, OK?> I have 2 male and 2 female. <Females get bigger than males and males grow long front claws as they mature> They have all lived together really well until yesterday. My husband caught one of the males doing "it" with one of the females. <We're all assuming that "it" has no relation to the character from The Addams Family, right?> Last night he was doing the claw waving at the other female but she was holding tight lol. <Yes, a sexually mature male will wave his long fingernails in front of a female as if to say "See what I got? Want to come over to my log?"> I thought they were too young to mate? <Well, you know these young turtles today -- it's on all the logs and river rocks and in the trees and everywhere they turn it's sex, sex sex. Britney SpurThigh and T-lo laying eggs, Ice-Turtle rapping about it .... they just can't get away from it!> I am getting the females their own tank this weekend. <That may be a bit drastic though -- this behavior does calm down and it is natural, but separating them is a good idea if the original setup doesn't have enough room for her to get AWAY from him when she's not in the mood.> My other question is: do you think she is pregnant? Or is she too young for that? And if she is, what do I need to do for her now? <If she's the same size as he is, then she has an inch or so to grow before she's sexually mature -- at least, that's the way it's SUPPOSED to work, but when they grow from a half dollar size to five inches in 11 months, many other things may be possible> Also, she has been staying on the basking dock for about a week now, she does get off every once in a while to eat, so he might have gotten to her sooner. Do they do "it" more than once? <Yes, they "do it" as often as he can get her to stay still for it until he's no longer in the mood and then he calms down. This can and usually does subside around the end of winter or early spring, but there will always be some of it going on. As far as what to look for, yes -- after a while she'll go off her normal schedule and seem more sedentary. Then she'll start acting as if she's nervous, almost pacing back and forth on the dock area ... as if she's looking for something. That will be your indication that she needs a nesting box (We'll have more on that by the time you need it). Right now it's more likely that his unwanted attention has given her a little stress and most likely why she's spending time on the dock. After you separate them, give her a week or so to settle down and then write back and keep up updated> Thanks in advance for any help. <Yer welcome!> Angela <Darrel>
Re: RES that have mated? 12/15/2007
Hi, <Howdy!> Thanks for your reply, when I get the females in the new tank, should I go ahead and set it up with some dirt at one end, just in case? <No, not yet -- read on> I know they grew really fast, I feed them a little each day, with the Zoo Med pellets, carrots, apples and lettuce. I am surprised that they don't fight or bite each other, thank God. They are the cutest things. <I think so too. Surrounded as I am with dogs, cats, fish, all manner of Iguanas, Tortoises and turtles, the little Red Eared slider is still right up there with my favorites.> I ( my husband lol) am going to build them a pond in the backyard starting in the spring since they are so big and just bring them in for the winter. We live in Texas so we really don't have much of a winter here. <OK now. I think that's a great idea. Just ONE THING about ponds, Angela .... one VERY IMPORTANT THING about ponds ...... after your husband gets done building it, complete with all the oops and ouch and all manner of things that go with that .... IT IS NOT OK for you to say "Now, that's great honey, but can you move it a little bit to the right so I can see how it looks over there?"> This is really a great website and this is the second time ya'll have helped me. <It's what we do and why we get the big bucks, Angela! (actually we don't get the big bucks. Or even the little, tiny bucks (although we do sometimes get to take the recyclables home after a company party) we just do this because we enjoy helping people like you!> At the start, one of them had the swollen eyes and was really sick and ya'll helped me pull her thru. Thanks so much. Angela <You are most welcome.> <Now the reason I don't think you should try to make a nesting box inside the aquarium is because it's about 300 ways of being messy and it rarely if ever works out. It's unlikely that she's gravid (with eggs) at this young age and even if she is it will probably be spring before she lays and by then you'll have the pond.> <Meanwhile .. right here on my desk is a half finished article on keeping sliders and other water turtles outside in ponds and I promise you that I will get off my big, fat, lazy butt and finish it and publish it here before the end of January -- and part of that article will be how to provide nesting sites! It you don't see it by Feb 1, please write back and ask for it, OK?> <Darrel><<I will! RMF>>

Turtle egg in tank  12/12/07 Dear Crew, <Hiya -- Darrel here> I have a red ear slider that I got as a gift four years ago. She is in a 100 Gallon breeder tank, with a filter, light and heater. About two weeks ago I had to change the water everyday because it had a really bad smell. She was be very mean and hissing also at me she has never done this before. Then one day ago I found a egg -that was broken. Is this regular behavior for them to be like this with the smell? <A lot of different questions there. Yes, a broken egg in the water can cause an almost unbelievable smell. While I have no experience with any of MY Sliders being any more or less snappy around egg laying time, it has been known to happen.> If so how often do they do this? Is it every year more or less? <More or less being the operative, yes.> She is 6 " -7" across and 8"-9" long. <Nice size!> <What you should do, at least now, is provide her an area to try to lay and bury those eggs even though they're not likely to be fertile. I wouldn't try to do this within the tank. Start with a mix of water and vermiculite in a shallow Tupperware container until you have a soft mulch - (50-50 of each by weight not volume!!!!! this is critical ... soft & moist like a piece of cake NOT soupy or watery) place that container in the corner of a cardboard box and then place her in there. If you give her some privacy she may decide to try to lay the remaining eggs (if there are any). It's OK to leave her in the box even overnight -- maybe even all day each day for a week except for 10 minutes a day in the tank to drink & eat. If that doesn't work you may have to provide a more complex and suitable next area.>

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>

Red eared sliders: We had 5 babies - 11/26/07 Hi Bob, Boy do we have questions. <Darrel here in for Bob today ... and wow do I have answers!><<Always a hoot Darrel. RMF>> We have a male and female set that are 7 yrs old. Several months ago our male slider started being mean to our female. <Staying out late, spending his paycheck and then telling her that her shell looks fat?> He chews on her and makes her bleed. <Icky.> We tried separating them and reuniting and she is still afraid of him. <I'd be afraid of him too if he bit me and made me bleed! Yikes!> Now, we just found 5 quarter size babies. <Congrats!> We have removed the father from the habitat. <Kelly & Jeanie's Protective services!> Now we think the mother is trying to eat her babies!! Would she do that?? <I've had the urge to eat MY kids from time to time .... or at least banish them to a foreign land!> What is our fathers problem?? <Esteem issues?> What do we do? <OK, now for the more serious stuff ......> <Sliders are normally fairly social and colonial creatures and can get along well in groups (although they don't NEED groups in any way) but a key to this is a LARGE enough enclosure that they can get away from each other when conflicts and aggression issues crop up. It's not possible to know what goes on in the micro-little brains with any certainty but there are two separate issues. When literally CRAMMED into small spaces, lets say 100 animals in room enough for 10, their internal mode shifts to bare survival instinct -- they don't waste energy fighting. On the other end of the spectrum, when you have 10 animals in enough room for 20, you rarely if ever see this form of aggression because they seem to have enough or [what we call] personal space and when any issues arise, they have room to get away from each other completely. It's in-between those two extremes that territorial issues arise when two animals "go at it" and the weaker one simply can't get away. The other issue is simply that yes, there are some animals that are just plain MEAN. You have three options here: 1) Rearrange their enclosure so that all past notions of "territory" are tosses aside and everything is new again. This slight of hand is an old aquarist's trick when introducing a new fish into and established tank -- all the existing guys are so busy trying to find what end is "up" to even notice the "new guy" until after the new guy isn't new anymore. 2) Make a larger enclosure. Two Sliders of breeding age/size should have at least a 100 gallon pond and much more space if we're talking about an aquarium. 3) Is simply keep them separately or build a partition.> <Babies!!!!> <I love hatching time. I collect the eggs and incubate them but every so often I miss a few and it's always delightful to come across a baby when cleaning the pond.> <Yes, the adults will eat the babies. Nothing personal, you understand. Maybe 80% of the time they can get along fine but eventually a hungry adult will see the baby as a quick meal and you'll lose them all. In the wild the babies avoid the open water of the adults and hug the banks and the weed clutter where they can hide. In captivity, yes, you need to keep the babies separately or (again) in a partition in the bigger enclosure.> Thanks, Kelly & Jeanine <Yer Welcome!>

Red Eared Pond Sliders Male Attacking Female   7/25/07 Dear Crew, <Hiya! Darrel here> We have had the male for 5 years and the Female for 3 years. The male had been abused by his previous owner who allowed his dog to use him as a play toy, he was completely white when we got him and he is healthy now. The problem is that when we put him in with the female outside he attacks her. He has almost completely removed her tail, today I had to physically separate them. If we put them in the bath tub together he doesn't do this, it is only when they are in the pond outside. Can you please help us they are wonderful pets and we would hate to have to part with one of them but I am very scared that he is going to do a lot more damage or maybe even kill her. <That's a real possibility, Tammi. It sounds like you have a naturally aggressive animal there.> <When you take them out of their natural element and place them somewhere new, their natural instincts for survival (combined with stress) override their natural aggressive and territorial instincts. In the wild she'd have virtually unlimited space to simply get away from him, so if your pond isn't big enough for her to get away and stay away, you can either fence them off from each other or find another home for him.> Thanks Putzakitty <I've been called MANY things, Tammi, but never Putzakitty. I'll have to think about if I like it.> Tammi

Cucumbers for Hatchling RES's   4/19/07 My RES Hatchlings LOVE Cucumbers they float on them and then when they get hungry they munch on them and eat the center out of them. After reading some sites about which veggies are good and not good for them - none mention cucumbers... I was wondering if these are good for them or not. They sure seem to love them. Jen < Usually young turtles prefer a meatier diet when they are younger. The cucumbers are fine as long as they are getting plenty of protein in their diet from commercial hatchling food, insects and worms.-Chuck>

Turtle Questions, RES sys., repro.  - 04/04/2007 I have a few questions that I have been looking for answers for online and am hoping that you can help. I have 2 red-eared sliders that I have had for a year. I have a heat lamp, UV light and an underwater heater.   I have noticed the past few days that the neck area on both turtles in scaly and shedding - is this normal? < As turtles grow some shedding of the skin is normal. FYI, If your UVB lamp is over a year old you need to look into replacing it. Even though it still lights up, the UV in the light has diminished and needs to be replaced every 12-18 months depending on the brand.> Also, what should the water temp be?  I have found ranges from 75-85 degrees, and every time I go into the pet store, someone tells me something different. < In the wild the warmest it probably would be is in the upper 60's to the lower 70's depending on what part of the country they are found in. This is the range that I recommend. I rather have the water a little cooler than warmer. I think when a turtle heats himself up on a basking site and then dives back into the water that the temperature shock helps control parasites.> Lastly, do I need an area with dirt for the turtles?  I have read about rocks, floating logs, etc.  I do have 3 places where they can be dry, just not dirt.  I read that females need dirt to lay eggs, and will not lay eggs if they become pregnant and cannot find a place to bury it.  Should I have dirt 'in case', I have no idea the sex of these turtles. Thank you so much!! Karen < Female turtle are larger than the males. Male turtles usually have longer tails and longer front claws. A gravid female turtle needs a sandy area to dig a pit and lay her eggs. If no area is available then she will just expel them in the water where they will be eaten.-Chuck>

Baby Turtle Being Overfed   4/2/07 My hatchling RES, about an inch long, must have possibly eaten a whole pellet (about a centimeter and a half long) usually I break them up into smaller more manageable pieces, but I came home yesterday to find a huge poop in the tank, usually they are about 2-3 millimeters long and small, this one was larger than the pellets, in both length (about 2 cm) and diameter. I noticed Fred's cloaca (I think that's the right term) was huge and looked stretched out.  Should I be worried? (I know gross question, but I'm really worried it was like an organ or something) < A prolapsed colon is caused from an extreme bowl movement that has traumatized the area.> They have everything they need and are happy and healthy otherwise. 20 gallon tank (for now, while they are babies, I will upgrade as they grow), ZooMed turtle dock, basking light w/ UVA/UVB at 90 degrees, water temp at 75, filter, etc. I feed them guppies (which they are not very good at catching. any suggestions on slower feeder fish?), < Feeder fish are not great food for little turtles.> tiny Ramshorn snails, < They may have a problem passing the shells and contributing to the condition you are so concerned about.> occasional red meat, Gammarus pellets, and offer leafy greens although they don't even recognize them as food.  They've got fake plants to hide in and a cuttlebone for calcium. Am I missing anything?? Thanks in advance, your site has helped with so much already. < I would recommend ZooMed Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food as a base diet and add the other things as treats. The vegetables will be more important in their diet when they get older. The key to feeding turtles is to watch them while you are feeding them. At first they act like they have never eaten before. Soon they slow down as their belly begins to fill up. You should stop feeding them when they start to slow down. Never leave food in the tank for them to eat later. When they start to move around and hunt for food then they should be fed again.-Chuck>

Aggressive Female RES  -- 2/25/07 For the past several years I've owned two red-eared sliders.  I  believe from what I've read one is female and one is male.  In the past, the  female tended to be a bully, but on the whole they coexisted nicely in the  same 50 gallon tank for years until now.  I just noticed what I  thought to be a sore on the foot of the male.  I attempted to brush  it, thinking it was fungus or such, however it started to bleed and I realized  that it was a healing wound.  When I returned them to their tank I watched  for a while and noticed the female attacking the male, particularly the healing  wound area and the other foot.   She was actually attacking the foot of the  male.  Why all of a sudden? < Could be pregnant.> Is she suffering from PMS? < It is getting to be spring in some parts of the country. A pregnant female turtle doesn't want anyone around when she lays her eggs.> Do I  have to keep them separated all of a sudden?  Which will be a problem due  to space limitations. Thank you. Trish <Get a tank divider but supply a basking site for the male too. Try putting them back together in a couple of months. Sometimes the female like her space and will continue to harass the other turtle.-Chuck>

Sexing Red Eared Sliders  - 1/18/07 Hi, I have 2 red ear slider turtles.   and I want to determine the sex of them.   They look about the same size.   but one is darker than the other one.   A lot darker. Can you help me? < At about 4 inches, males will start to very long front claws and  longer tails. Females will have a much larger body.-Chuck>

Turtle Wanting To Lay Eggs   12/18/06 I have two sliders, male and female and had to separate them  last year because he was ready to mate and she was not. They fought hard. When they rejoined the tank together this year for about a half hour  (!!!), he mated with her in 10 minutes. < How romantic.> That was four weeks  ago. Now she is digging in the gravel like none other and is  frantic, up and down the dock and swimming a lot then digging gravel. I am  worried.  Is she getting ready to lay eggs and cannot do it in gravel? Is  this a normal ritual? Is she okay, when do you worry? This is all new to me  and I am scared I will miss a critical moment and she will egg bind and  suffer.  Do I add sand?  Should she have medical care?  She will not eat and seems okay but very busy. This is the third day.  Oh ,  Lord. Anyway, anything you say will help.  The internet stuff  is all over the map. Thanks, Penny < Female turtles need to leave the water and lay their eggs in about 5 to 7 inches of damp sand. Without an area to lay her eggs she will probably abort them in the water where they will be eaten by either turtle.-Chuck>

Turtle Wants Out   12/3/06 Ok Hi, well I have a turtle. and its tail is getting very large, I have never had a turtle before and I'm just wondering if maybe that is a sign of pregnancy??? Also it has been digging a lot and its made many attempts to escape its tank. It has every thing a turtle needs rocks to crawl on and a lamp. But am worried that if it isn't a pregnancy then it may be a disease??. <Turtles lay their eggs in damp sand. Provide an area where she can get out and dig a shallow depression to lay her eggs. Red eared sliders lay their eggs at almost any time of year.-Chuck>

Turtles Laying Eggs  10/06/06 I have two RES a male & a female. I've had them for around 3 years. We don't have any sand in our tank just rocks at the bottom & a floating rock shelf. Does that mean that they won't be able to lay eggs? <If she has no place to lay her eggs then she will probably just abort them into the water where they will be eaten by the adults.> Also I got a baby turtle in a separate cage but it won't eat. All it does is sit on the filter. Is something wrong with it?- Tory <Check the temp. of the basking site. It needs to be about 85 F.-Chuck>

Hatching Turtle Eggs   9/16/06 Hi I'm now positive that my red eared slider turtle is going too lay eggs and I need to know a few things. 1. Do I need to incubate the eggs?<Yes> 2. How do I do this? Thanks a lot <Lots of good tips on this web site that will explain the basics. You will then understand what is involved and then you can decide if you really want to go through all the hassle. Baby turtles are very very cute and being able to hatch them out is a lot of work. Keep in mind that after awhile you will be looking for homes for these little guys and not everyone what's this responsibility. Here is the website, http://www.tortoise.org/general/eggcare.html)-Chuck>

Female Turtle Very Active  - 09/13/06 Hi there, I have two red eared slider turtles, a male and a female. Lately the female (the larger of the two) has been acting strange and, every time I walk into the room that the tank is in, she starts splashing around with her legs really aggressively and make water go everywhere. I thought the problem might be because she's hungry and excited that I'm there too feed her, but even when I've fed her heaps she'll do it continually, so I'm out of ideas and I was wondering if you could help me out, thanks! < A number of things could be going on here and we will address them one at a time. Older turtles need more vegetable matter in their diet. Try adding some greens like spinach and kale. The additional fiber will make her fuller, longer and she will not seem as hungry. As fall approaches the days are shorter and winter will not be too far behind. Many turtles use this time to fatten up before hibernation so they can survive a long winter on stored fat. Lastly, she could be pregnant and wants out or a dry sandy spot so she can lay her eggs.-Chuck> Was: Female Turtle Very Active, Now: Pregnant RES Turtle  - 09/14/06 Hi there. Thanks for replying so quickly! My turtle is only  3 years old so she probably is pregnant due to the circumstances (she also has vitamins and things in her food) and I was wondering if you knew of any other characteristics and signs turtles show when they are pregnant and if she is pregnant how do I set up the tank?? thanks again!! < We got a couple of questions similar to yours this week. I consulted with a real turtle expert and he seems to think that the females may be gravid with eggs and are indeed looking for a place to lay them. Turtles lay their eggs in soft sand. The female excavates a shallow 4-6 inch hole and lays her eggs. They are then covered up and the female has nothing more to so with them. You will find a few websites with very detailed information on setting up and hatching turtle eggs.-Chuck>

Turtle May Be Wanting to Lay Eggs  9/9/06 I have two Red Ear Sliders. One male and one female.  They are in a 40 gallon tank with 20 gallons of water.  There is a platform for basking with a heat lamp. The last few days the female has been trying to climb out of the tank.  I feel that there is plenty of room for both turtles.   Do you think she is trying to find a sandy area to lay eggs?? < The male could be harassing her wanting to breed or she could be looking for a place to lay eggs. Usually they lay their eggs in the late spring, but they are known to lay eggs during almost any month it is warm. After a while she will lay her eggs in the water and the turtles will eat them. If you really want to breed them then you will need to provide a sandy are for her to lay her eggs. Then incubate them for a few months .-Chuck>

Breeding RES's  7/15/06 Hello from New Zealand. I have a 6ft long tank which is about 20inches high & 20inches wide. Mt turtles are between 4 & 6 inches. All 3 turtles are female red eared sliders. I don't want a male in with them as the tank isn't set up for breeding. My question is what would be the best way to set it up for breeding? There are platforms at each end both 10 inches wide & 13 inches away from the bottom of the tank. I was thinking about maybe subdividing the area under one of the platforms to set it up for breeding. Was gonna put a piece of glass under the ramp to separate the water from the sand but keeping the ramp there so the turtles can get onto the sand easily. Would this work? how do I keep the sand moist? Once set up I will look at getting a male turtle. I'm sure he will be very happy lol < You need to set an area up so there is about with about 6 inches thick of sand at one end. This area should remain fairly dry but do not let it totally dry out. usually in the springtime a female will dig a pit in the sand and lay her eggs. Within a day the eggs should remain in the exact same position and moved to an incubator. There they will hatch in about 60 days at around 80 F. There are many techniques online for breeding these turtles. I would recommend that you check them all out and find one that works best for you.-Chuck>

Egg-Laying Turtle?  5/31/06 Hi, <Hi Linda, Pufferpunk here.> I am hoping you can help me.   <I can try!> I need some help with my red eared slider. I was told it is a male but now I am wondering about that. He/she was given to me a few months ago. I put it in my pond and there it stayed until recently, it kept escaping. This worries me because it is an above ground pond so he can't get back in by him/her self. <Ummm... obviously, it can.> When it got out about a week ago I found him/her swimming in my pool two days later. He/ she got out again the next night and I found he/she on the side of the pond digging a hole (this was when I first suspected it may be a female.) When I picked him/her up to put back in the pond it started hissing at me (I never new turtles made noise before). I put it back the pond and again it got out the next night. When I found him/her in the morning where it had been digging the night before but the hole was covered up and the turtle was walking away. I put it back in the pond and so far for the last two days it has stayed there. If it is a female is it possible that she has fertile eggs in her since I got her and is just now laying them? <The average gestation period is two months but if she doesn't find a suitable place for laying her eggs, she might retain them inside. During the last two weeks you will notice that she will spend more time on land, sniffing and digging around in order to find a proper place for laying her eggs.  So there just might be eggs in the hole.> I don't want to disturb the area until I know for sure that I won't be disturbing fertile eggs. <Keepers who have a good basking area prefer to leave the eggs where they were laid, a good point of doing so is that they do not need to handle the eggs, digging them out could damage the eggs or some of them. A bad point is that monitoring buried eggs could be a bit difficult. The worst that could happen is that one egg goes bad, get fungi and then spreads to the rest of them.> I tried to research how to tell the difference between males and females and now I am even more confused. Everything I read said that males are concave undershells, long toe nails, and short tails. Mine has a flat under shell, short nails and kind of long tail. <Sounds like a female.> This is kind of hard to tell because every time I pick him/her up it quickly tucks it's tail tightly in but it looks more the longer one in the pictures I have. I am also concerned with him/ her falling out of the pond and getting hurt or landing upside down and not being able to turn over. Should I build a ramp so he/she can go in and out of the pond at will? <Definitely!>   Can any one help me with my dilemma? <Just leave her alone, she'll know how to act like a turtle.  They spend a lot of time out of the water basking.  Make sure she has sunny & shady spots to hang out in.  I use Hosta plants to edge my outdoor turtle habitat & around 1/2 of the pond.  Here's a great site for water turtle info: http://www.geocities.com/fleaworld/  ~PP> Linda

Expecting Red Eared Slider  5/14/06 I have a feeling that my RES might be pregnant. Her tail is swollen and she is acting weird. She has lost appetite and is twitching (which is something she normally wouldn't do.) Is this a sign of pregnancy? < It might be. It is the right time of year. Give her an area in which she can get out of the water, dig a pit in the sand and lay her eggs. If that does not work then check the basking spot with a thermometer and make sure it is at least 85 F. The increased temperature will help fight off any disease. If no eggs are laid in a couple of weeks then think about getting her examined by a vet.-Chuck>

Mystery Turtle Laying Eggs  - 5/11/06 I have 5 sliders. One of them has laid 2 eggs that I know of I don't know which one though. Can you give me some advice as to figure out who is laying and what I can do if I can get to the egg before one of the turtles breaks it?      thanks   Chris      < The females are the bigger turtles. Place the females in an enclosure where they can get out of the water and dig a pit in some soft sand. The females will lay their eggs in the pit and cover them up. If the eggs are kept warm and moist they will hatch in a couple of months.-Chuck>

Shipping Baby Turtles  - 04/08/06 We are hoping to purchase a few baby RES turtles.  We live in northeast Pennsylvania and are awaiting the warm temperatures.  At what minimum temperature do you think it would be warm enough for us to consider having the turtles shipped? Thank you for you assistance. < Baby turtles are usually born in the spring when daytime temps are in the 70's. Most reptiles are shipped in insulated boxes so they don't change temperatures during transit. I would not ship anything unless the lowest temp was at least 40 F and well above freezing.-Chuck>

Red Eared Slider Egg Incubation   3/21/06 I have a female slider living in my pond and she laid two nests of eggs a few weeks back.  We are wondering how long it takes for the eggs to hatch? Thanks, Sarah < At 80 F about 60 days. Longer or shorted depending on the temperature.-Chuck>

Sexing Red Eared Sliders  - 03/05/06 I have too red ear sliders they are pretty much the same size there in a 20 gallon tank with a turtle dock a whisper 20-40 in tank filter and a bubble maker which they really enjoy. I feed them pellets and different kinds of washed worms. I think they may be mating but am not sure there only about 4 inches long and (kinda chubby).  I'm really not sure what sex they are but one has a fatter and longer tail than the other. Is it a boy or a girl?  Please tell me any info that you recommend, I need to know about how to take care of my turtle!!!!!!!!!!!!!! < Males are smaller than the females, have longer front claws and longer tails.-Chuck>

RES Looking For LOVE.  - 03/05/06 I read that when RES males perform their "mating dance" with females they extend their front claws and they vibrate while facing the turtle.  Even though you said that males might simply "dance" with other male turtles, my RES does this dance with a black and blue striped African Cichlid fish.  He even follows the fish around the tank vibrating like that.  Is my turtle just being weird or is this normal?  Thanks for the help! < Normally they perform for a female RES. When a female is not present they have been known to perform for rocks filters and other fish. It will go away after awhile.-Chuck>

Breeding Turtles   2/7/06 Hello. My name is Kelly and I have 3 Red Eared Sliders. In the spring/summer we usually keep them in our pond outside but in the fall/winter we keep them inside. I noticed that the oldest male was fluttering his fingernails in front of our females face. Ever since I saw that the female hasn't acted the same. Is this due to that she has eggs and is about to lay them? If so, our indoor aquarium doesn't have soil for her to lay her eggs. What should I do? <She is probably pregnant with developing eggs and will probably lay them when you place the turtles  back outside.-Chuck>

Breeding Red Eared Sliders   2/3/06 Hi, Recently I inherited a beautiful 6 year old red eared slider and I introduced her to my 10 year old male slider.  They got on very well immediately and before I could stop them, they mated!!!  I have now decided to keep her in a separate tank.  My questions are: Is she definitely pregnant (i.e.. is she fertile all the time)? < It sounds like both animals were in good shape and I would assume that she is pregnant.> In her tank, there isn't any place for her to bury her eggs.  Does that mean she will not lay them even if she is pregnant? < When the time comes if there is no place to lay the eggs then she may become egg bound or probably abort them in the water.> When will she start laying eggs? < RES's usually lay their eggs in the spring when the weather warms up.-Chuck> Best regards, Davie

Slider Sexing Hello, We are Child Development Center in Weston and we do have a red ear slider turtle who's name is Chocolate she is about 10 years old.  We were actually wondering if there is a way to tell if a turtle is male or female.  If you can provide us with this information we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you, Beginnings' kids <Hi,  the easiest way to tell is to look at the claws on their front feet, the males will have much longer claws than the females, the underside of the males will also be slightly concave.  The females will usually grow larger than the males.  Good luck, keep those little hands washed.  Best Regards, Gage>

Red Eared Slider Eggs Under Water  Hi there- I've read a lot about turtles laying eggs, and now it's happened to me. well, not me, but my turtles. She laid two eggs. what I'm concerned about is the fact that they're underwater. is that safe? also, I found them trying to clean out the tank, and I'm afraid I jostled one a little bit.  1. can they still hatch underwater (safely)  2. can they be moved around at all? how delicate are they? thank you thank you thank you thank you. -nick  <Hey Nick, sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I do not have much experience breeding sliders, but am fairly certain the eggs should be moved to an area where they can be properly incubated. Check out the link below for some more information.  http://petshub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10729   Best Regards, Gage >

Red Eared Slider Turtles <Hi, MikeD here> First of all, thanks for the speedy reply!<You're welcome>  If it is a female and male and they are courting one another, than what do I do if I do not have a space for them so that she can lay her eggs?<That's a tough question that only you can answer. If she HAS to she may lay them on the rocks or even in the water, but there's an equal chance that she'll retain them and become egg-bound, which can be fatal. My solution, of course, is to get a larger container where you can build a dry land section to the terrarium>  They are all in a 20 long tank with about eight inches of water with about 10 inches of rocks piled up so that they can get out of the water and "bask" in the heat lamp.<Nowhere near large enough. They will grow to about 10"-12" long each>  Also, one of the sliders got out of the tank and fell to the floor!<Might I suggest a screen top as well?>  It's shell is cracked a little bit but its been eating and swimming fine.  Someone had recommended to put baby oil on the shell to promote growth.<I'd use a good antibiotic ointment for a day or so, then superglue along the crack, depending on the size of course>  The other two have been digging in the rocks quite a bit.<They'll likely injure themselves soon if you don't fix this situation as well>  I don't know if they are looking for a place to build their nest, but I don't know what I will do if I have turtle eggs!<I'd be more concerned with your turtles surviving than about any eggs, which certainly won't. They can be hatched and the babies raised quite easily, but not without a well designed enclosure, which you do not have. My honest suggestion is to do some reading and consider building a terrarium for your charges where they can be healthy and you will then truly enjoy them> Thanks! Slider Fanatic

Slider Stuck First of all, thanks for the speedy reply!  If it is a female and male and they are courting one another, than what do I do if I do not have a space for them so that she can lay her eggs?  They are all in a 20 long tank with about eight inches of water with about 10 inches of rocks piled up so that they can get out of the water and "bask" in the heat lamp.  Also, one of the sliders got out of the tank and fell to the floor!  It's shell is cracked a little bit but its been eating and swimming fine.  Someone had recommended to put baby oil on the shell to promote growth.  The other two have been digging in the rocks quite a bit.  I don't know if they are looking for a place to build their nest, but I don't know what I will do if I have turtle eggs! <I hate to say it, but if you cannot make room for them, it is in the best interest of the turtles for you to find an appropriate home for them.  It is all too common for a pet store to sell young sliders with a 20long setup.  Great for them, they made the sale, but what about the turtle?  They need a lot more room than this.  Climbing out of the tank just emphasizes the point.  A cracked shell should be looked at by a vet, it is hard for us to see the extent of the damage.  I recently had to find a new home for my Mexican musk "honey".  Heartbreaking yes, but it was in her best interest, which is what we have to consider.  We may be attached to them emotionally, but they are going to die. If they are courting and breeding is not the plan they should be separated, there is a chance that she could become egg bound and die.  There is no chance for a successful clutch without the proper conditions.  Best of luck, and please consult with a quality reptile Vet for the best way to handle your current situation- Gage> Thanks! Slider Fanatic

Female Turtle Bit Off Male's Claws?   1/9/04 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> We recently came back from vacation and while cleaning the 150 gallon tank that holds our two red eared sliders (6 inch male and 10 inch heavy female) <What a nice sized tank for 2 turtles!  So many folks don't give them enough room to live.> We realized that the male's long beautiful claws had been replaced with some awful wounds. There may be one or two claws left but they look like stumps now. <What leads you to believe the female caused this?  I've never heard of turtles attacking each other's claws like that.  Maybe his foot got caught in between some rocks?> They seem to be healing fine (not much red left on them). Is there anything I should do to shorten the healing process (like antibiotics, extra vitamins, or separating them)? <You could try adding Melafix (sold in the fish dept.) to the water.> He harasses her constantly and always seems to be fluttering her face. I have not seen him do this since we've gotten home but he is still continuously trying to get it on. I even saw "it" out today. It is the middle of winter and I am wondering why he is still trying to mate. <Sorry to say, that is the male of most species' behaviour!> The temps in the water are about 69-71 degrees. Should I change the water temps. I have yet to turn the heater on because I thought they still have yet to calm down for the winter but can do so if recommended. (They have had eggs in past and once we incubated them and about 40% hatched but are not hoping to do this again at least until the house is warmer -spring/summer if not until next year 2006). <My opinion is that if you are not planning on seriously hibernating them for at a least a 6 week period, I'd keep them warmer.> They eat well - lots of goldfish, pellet food, and snacks like worms, crickets, etc. with extra reptile powder vitamin on some of their food. They seem to get along fine except when he's incredibly horny. What can we do to give him the equivalent of a cold shower when he's getting out of hand? OR is it possible the wounds are something else? <Sorry, I don't know any way to "cool" him off.  There is a possibility that his nails just got too long & shed naturally, or got caught on something.  I try to trim mine when they get overgrown.>   His eyes look clear and he seems to be fine with exception to his swimming skills decline do to the actual wounds. Can you recommend a good book that would cover these topics - I may need to learn more even though we've had her for 9 years and him for 7. <It sounds like you are taking great care of your turtles--even breeding them!  I like this site to search for info: http://www.turtletimes.com/> On a side note, we've always wanted to get a pastel and are wondering if another male or female would be safest to introduce? We will be sure to wait until it is large enough to go in their tank and disease free but what would get along best (a female we guess would be better)? <Actually, getting another female would probably take the "heat" off the other one.> How often are you supposed to feed them - we are sometimes erratic with a feeding schedule and while we are writing in were curious if this is bad for them. <Binge & purge feeding is most natural.  Feed well every 3-4 days.  You could save some $$$ by buying the cheapest fish you can find at the produce market.  I cut up into bite sized strips & freeze,  then thaw in warm vitamin water, as needed.> Thanks, Sara Yule Producer Wiggle Puppy Productions <What are Wiggle Puppy Productions? I really love my new JRT, Kalvin the Krazydog!  ~PP>

Red eared slider baby hatchlings I had 4 new red eared turtles and 2 of them died I keep the water clean I have a 20 gal long aquarium, basking ramp, light. filter .... I have well water do turtles water need to be tested like the water of fish and if so what are the levels I need to keep < Water chemistry is not as critical for turtles as it is for fish. If the turtle shells are soft and mushy then the lighting is wrong. They need a bright warm full spectrum light to bask. These little turtles are usually pretty hardy under the right conditions. Hopefully you are giving them a varied diet.-Chuck>

Red- ear slider My Uncle works for the water dept and last year brought a turtle to me and asked to put it in my 500 gal pond. It appears to be a male, long tail short claws. He just found another one in the street and brought it over, I think it is a younger female, long claws, shorter tail, will they get along? I have several Koi and about 6 smaller goldfish, my original turtle never bothered them and I'm hoping they will all get along. Any problems with this situation? <Shouldn't be - though you may want to feed them from time to time with prepared foods, or they may snack on your goldfish if they can catch them (which isn't too likely). M. Maddox>
Red- ear slider - part deux
Thanks for the quick response, but I went this morning and checked on everyone and my larger turtle has the little one cornered and is biting at its head, feet, tail whatever he can get a hold of...I got worried for the little ones safety and took her out. Is this a mating thing or is he that aggressive?? <Hmm, no luck with them together I guess...if he doesn't like her, I would wait until spring to re-introduce her and see how it goes. Good luck! M. Maddox>

Sexing Turtles Hi. I have two red-eared sliders. One of them I just got, and it's bigger than the other one. I don't know what sex either of them are, but I think the smaller one is a girl, and the larger one is a male. The big one that we just got, I noticed, has recently started blowing bubbles a lot. What does that mean? Write back as soon as possible!! ~BY <Red eared sliders are usually very easy to sex. Males are usually smaller than the females, have longer front claws and a much longer tail. The bubbles thing is normal. If they are blowing bubbles at the surface like they have a mucus then it might be signs of a respiratory infection. Simply blowing bubbles under water is not a problem.-Chuck>

Sexing Red Eared Sliders Hi. I have two red eared slider turtles and I was wondering what age I can tell what sex they are?- Sean age 9 me , not the turtles < Red eared sliders sex can usually be determined when they are around four inches long. At that time the males should be developing longer front claws and have a longer tail. Females of the same age should be larger than the males. -Chuck>

Red Eared Slider Questions  11/10/05 I just got my Red Ear Slider on the 30th of Oct. I don't know how to tell their age or sex and I would really like to know. < Females get larger than the males. Males have longer front claws and a longer tail.  They grow pretty fast until they get around 6 to 8 inches and then slow down a bit.> I named him Tom, but I don't know if that is right. He is currently living in a five gallon tank w/ a UV ray light and a basking light. He has a turtle dock to get out of the water and bask, he has a bubble maker and other decorations. I feed him Zoo Meds Hatchling aquatic turtle food. I also put in Reptisafe in the water to get rid of the bad stuff. The water is about 3/4 of an inch above his shell.  I have a picture of a turtle sitting up facing his tank. He loves to sit on the rock and look at the turtle.. too cute! I am thinking about getting another RES, how many and what sex should I get? < I would recommend not adding another turtle.> Is there anything else that I can feed him to make him feel better? < He will appreciate live foods such as washed earthworms, mealworms and kingworms.> I think he may be constipated. What color is normal for turtle feces and urine? < The color is a reflection of the items he has been eating.> I have not seen any in the tank so I'm thinking he may be constipated. How do you know and if he is what do I do? < A small turtle fecal material may be small and caught up in a filter.> He is shedding and I want to know if it's ok to be shedding this young, he is still a hatchling.  Thank you, M. L.  < A young turtle should be shedding. It is a sign that he is growing.-Chuck> 

Gay Turtles?  11/29/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have 2 male red ear slider turtles in a 75 gallon aquarium. One is about 5 inches long the other slightly smaller. Every once in a while they stroke each other with their front claws. But lately the smaller one has been trying to bite bigger one. They sit together on basking platform eat well like to float on weeds together but the little one seems more aggressive. The bigger one does not seemed to concerned about the little one. However I thought he might be getting stressed out with this little turtle bugging him all the time so I separated them. Well the big one started swimming back and forth along wall would not bask. Then after a week I put them together again. The big one stopped pacing wall and basked again. They got along fine then 2 weeks later I noticed little one being obnoxious to big one again. What should I do? They miss each other when gone but bite each other when together. They are both males they have the long front claws. Thanks <As far as I know, the claws are not how turtles are sexed.  It is by their tail.  The males have short, stubby tails & the females have long, fat tails.  It doesn't seem that they are hurting each other.  It seems more stressful to keep them separated, as the larger one stopped basking, when the smaller one was gone.  There has also many instances of homosexuality in the animal world.  ~PP>

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