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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtles 1

Related Articles: 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: RESliders 2, RESliders 3, RESliders 4, RESliders 5,
Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Disease, RES Reproduction, 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

Small Turtle In A Big Pond  3/30/07 Hi, I just built an outdoor pond (4 X 9)  and am unsure of whether I should put my RES in.  It is the size of a half dollar and I have him in a 25 gallon  tub right now.  Is it too small to be put in a pond? Should I wait? Thanks. Michelle < At that size he could be eaten by many predators, like birds, raccoons, possums and snakes. I would recommend waiting another year.-Chuck>  

Two Turtles One Problem  12/5/05 I purchased 2 red ear sliders in July. Both were approximately 1.5 inch in diameter and looked identical. The photo attached is of the turtles. The question is that one is doing very well, and has grown larger while the other has not grown at all. I have not observed it feeding, its eyes seem to be closed most of the time, It remains on the rocks, is very inactive, and when put in the water, it swims franticly to get back out of the water. Could there be something wrong with the turtle? I've been waiting to see if something would change, but since over 4 months have passed, I'm guessing the turtle will not recover. Any suggestions. Thanks, Jason < The bigger turtle is dominating the tank. The smaller turtle is getting less food, fewer vitamins and is intimidated by the larger turtle to a point in which it is stressed and probably sick. I would put the smaller turtle in his own set up. Make sure the basking spot gets up to at least 85 F. Give it vitamin drops and place some Repti Turtle eye Drops by ZooMed in his eyes to get him seeing and eating again.-Chuck> 

Both turtles here are exactly the same age.

Turtle Hides  12/03/05 I have a RES about 3 inches in diameter. It is December now and he is kept in a medium sized tank about 75*F. I bought it a row of fake plants and he is using it to cover himself. He dug a hole beneath a large rock I provided and dragged my mini aquarium heater into it. He hides himself beneath the rock with the heater on top of him so he is out of sight. Is this "normal" or should I be worried? < You turtle should spend a certain amount of time basking under a heat lamp and some time foraging for food. At night it would be OK to rest out of sight but not all the time.-Chuck> 

Turtle With Little Worms  12/2/05 Hi, I have recently noticed tiny white parasites that are swimming in my RES habitat. I have a 55 gallon for him. They look to me to be round and mostly on the glass, but they are throughout the environment. I was wondering if you have any info as to what these are and how I can get rid of them? Could they be some sort of worm, like I have read about on your forum? < Treat the tank with Fluke-Tabs to remove them. Take a fecal sample to a qualified veterinarian that deals with turtles and see if there is an internal parasite problem.> Chubby has had a great appetite but I noticed today that these parasites are eating his pellets, in turn my RES is ingesting them also. What could come of this? <Hopefully they are really not parasitic and just a by product or contaminant that came in with some food or substrate.> These parasites are so annoying and disgusting. I have been looking for some answers but haven't found anything that really sounds like what I'm dealing with here. My turtles health has been excellent and I would like to keep that way. I'm not sure what ingesting these could do to him. Please help ASAP!! I do have some big rock on the bottom that I'm going to take out, to hard to get the yuk out of the bottom. What would you recommend for the substrate, I would like to put some sand down, if so what kind and where should I purchase it? < I would recommend a very fine well rounded non-abrasive sand. The small size means a smaller pore space between the sand grains and less junk getting trapped in there. Get it from an aquarium shop.-Chuck> Also, I don't have any live plants or fish in with him.  Thanks for any information that you could give me. Tammy 

Red Eared Slider system  11/22/05 Hi... I have been through your website but I just want to make sure that I have all the information I need to give my RES a good life. I have a 10g tank and I was told to fill it to about 2/3rds of water and to have a rock for them to get out and bask. I have yet to purchase a lamp but will be doing so shortly. I have a small filter that seems to circulate the water nicely lastly I have a tank heater set at 83F <Mmm, too high. I would set this for the low 70's F. You don't want to have too much change here from room temperature> ....am I set up ok or am I missing something....I am frustrated because the 3 different pet stores I have been too have given me different information. Thank You......Rob <No worries. Bob Fenner> 

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> 

Red Eared Slider Shell Shedding 11/4/05 I have a red slider that is app 2.5" in dia. I have had him since he walked up my driveway when he was a baby. I leave him outside when the weather is nice in a tub of water. There is a large rock which he uses to sun himself. Recently I have seen what looks like his shell peeling. Is this normal, and if not what is wrong. Thanks Karen Normand  < Sounds like a turtle shedding pieces of the shell. Underneath there should be a new fresh shell.-Chuck>

High-N-Dry Turtle 10/25/05 Thank you for the quick response. I have another question, how long can RES stay out of water? Thanks < This depends on the conditions. Out in the hot summer sun not long. Buried in hibernation, for months. During transport I would try and hydrate them at least once every 24 hours and then keep them in a cool damp enclosure.-Chuck> 

Little Turtle Getting Bigger  10/21/05 I am concerned about a hatchling red eared slider that was given to me almost two weeks ago. (S)he appeared fine and healthy when (s)he arrived, but in the last three days has developed some kind of discoloration on or beneath several of (her) his scutes. I've been pouring over all the information I could find, and nothing seems to describe this condition. It almost looks as if water is getting under the scutes or something because when (s)he basks, the light patches fade, but reappear again when the turtle goes back into the water. They do not appear to be shiny when viewed under the water, are not white or furry and are not oozing; they are just paler green than the rest of the shell, and the normal shell markings fade like a letter that has been smudged with water. The little turtle measures about an inch and a quarter from the tip of his shell behind his head to the back by his tail, and this seems too small for shedding if that is what's happening. The shell is uniformly firm, with a little "give" as I understand is normal for a hatchling. The light areas seem to begin between the scutes, and some are totally light while on others the light areas only go about a 16th of an inch into the scute -at this point almost half the shell seems to be affected to some extent. The turtle is very active and strong, eating greedily once a day. I usually offer a few hatchling micropellets, small bits of gut loaded cricket, a quarter of a small mealworm, and shredded carrots or dandelions -- not all of this gets eaten, but is offered. Also I keep a bit of a calcium block and duckweed in the tank at all times. Today (s)he even ate a baby Ramshorn snail. Also the turtle basks regularly at some length and has regular and normal looking bowel movements usually about a half hour to an hour after eating. The eyes are clear and do not appear to be puffy or swollen, and the turtle does not seem to be distressed at all. The water temperature is usually 78 to 82 degrees depending on the time of day, and the temp on the basking rock ranges from 85 to 95 degrees because I try vary the intensity during the day to mimic the natural progression of daylight. I do not have a UVB light source at this time, but try to take the turtle out into the sun with plenty of water and a spot to bask for half an hour to an hour 4 times a week. Please take a look at the attached pictures and tell me what you think is going on with this little turtle because I am very concerned! Thanks so much for your help! < Sounds like a simple case of the little guy getting ready to shed some of the scutes. The scutes turn opaque as they start to lift off the shell. Eventually they will come off in the water. The start to separate at the intersection of the scutes. Your photos were not included with your email but I am certain this is probably what is happening, especially the way it is eating and acting.-Chuck>

Little Turtle Can't See 10/10/05 Hello, We have 2 Red Ear Sliders. Don't know the sex yet, though. The larger turtle has about 3 in. carapace by bites the other turtle's, whose carapace is about 1.5 inches, back feet. The smaller turtle remains mostly on the turtle dock while the other turtle swims most of the time but comes out and basks. The larger turtle is more active and eats just about all of their collective food. How do I help this little guy out? < Separate him from the big turtle. At least during feeding so he gets some food.> He seems to bask with his eyes closed for a good part of the day. We have only had these guys for a few days. The smaller one seems more friendly and will allow me to pick him up. I have also tried "soaking" him on one occasion to see if that would help. He seemed more active but as soon as I put him back into the collective tank, he took to basking again with his eyes closed. Is he just too little and not active or is something else wrong? Thanks for any of your help. I've tried reading the postings on your forum but couldn't find one that matched this situation. Kathy Z <Probably been sick for awhile and that may explain the differences in sizes. I would keep them separated and make sure the basking spot is at least 90 F. The eye thing may be caused by a vitamin deficiency. Get some Reti Turtle Eye Drops from ZooMed. Once his eyes clear up he may start eating more normally.-Chuck> Possible Shell Rot  10/6/05 Hello! I have recently purchased two red eared sliders, they're very small, their shells are maybe 2.75-3 inches long at most. They might be illegal, but I bought them from a licensed pet store .One of them has a white spot on (her?) shell that has been there since I bought her. At first I thought it was shell rot but it's not soft or fuzzy and it hasn't changed in the few months I've had her. She's very active, eats well and enjoys basking on her island under her lamps. I keep the water very clean and she shares the tank with her brother and a handful of hearty zebra danios. The tank is well ventilated and I have a very good completely submerged filter that agitates the surface of the water. She eats turtle pellets and I keep a calcium block and a medicated block in the tank with them. What could the white spot be and how could I get rid of it?  It has a sort of darkish ring around it and I'm afraid she might be sick. Thank you! Sarah < Keep an eye on the spot and measure it. If it gets bigger then it may be shell rot. This can happen underneath the outer layer of shell too.-Chuck>

How Many Red Eared Sliders in a 75 Gallon Tank  10/4/05 Hello, I have a used 75 gallon aquarium that I plan on resealing in order to use for red eared sliders.  We got one RES about 2 months ago and he is currently in a 29 gallon tank with a variety of fish (all of which are fine by the way).  Unfortunately we had not researched RES thoroughly and didn't realize he needed to be separated.  He spent his first month in a one gallon tank with some water before we moved him into the bigger tank so he hasn't grown quite as fast as he could have. I have 2 questions.  First, can we add more RES when we put our current RES into the 75 gallon tank?  Second, how many RES should I plan on having total in a 75 gallon tank?  I was planning on having 3 total but don't want them being overcrowded in the future. Thank you, Brenda < When they are little and under 4 inches shell length the number is up to you depending on filtration and water changes. At around 4 inches they start to get a little defensive of their food and will start to bite other turtles. I would trim it down to three  max because they will continue to grow and the shells of some females may get up close to 10 inches long.-Chuck>

Moving Turtles  10/3/05 Dear Sir: I have 4 Read Eared turtles for five years. they were doing fine until they   became developing constipation...I do have a set up indoors with lamp and heater  and a big tank. During summer we place them in an artificial pond outside and  have prepared a place to bask. In the past weeks I have noticed they have been  constipated so I have prepared mineral oil, fish oil, herbs and I  have given them that with a dropper to help a bowel movement. It has  happened before after my spouse feed them with dry fish so I have done the same  and worked well...So I notice now they are sleeping and staying mostly outside  the water and I am concern of this new behavior. Are they depressed? < When turtles aren't feeling well then they usually stay out more to warm themselves up to raise their body temperature. I don't think they are depressed.> I like to  ask you how can I transport them to FL so I am relocating  and I am looking a way to transport them in short time. The airline wont allows   reptiles...so what can I do? < Go to Kingsnake.com. There are lots of dealers there that ship reptiles all over the world. There are links that will connect you with their website and there you will find ideas on shipping.> I have been told I can send them through UPS next day , can this be safe? < If done properly there should be no problem.> My turtles came from FL so I must bring them back to FL. I have arranged for a   person with a natural pond at home to take them in. I don't want them to   suffer. Do you think they might adjust themselves well to a new   environment? <No problem. They do it all the time.> This lady lives close to Orlando FL and has a natural pond with  fish and her also feed them every day...Do you think they will be Ok? < Sounds like an ideal situation.> Please respond me quick with your suggestions. I don't want anything to  happen to them. Thanks !Myrna < Don't feed your turtles for a few days so they will not have any food left in their gut that will rot. Ship them soon before the weather gets too cold.-Chuck>

New Turtle Sun Shy  8/31/05 I have just recently bought a turtle.  He is a red eared slider turtle.   I just have a few questions so I can continue properly caring for him.   The basking area I have set up for him is just right for basking, but he wont get on it.  Why and is there something I can do so he will? < Check to see if he can actually get on it. Little turtles are also very shy so give him a little quiet time away from lots of activity to get use to his new surroundings.> I would also like to know something about his shell.  When he slides around on the rocks and if he gets on the basking area (he hasn't yet, I am taking him out of the tank and setting him in a pin with a UV lamp so he gets the proper amount of basking in), the bottom of his shell will rub on the rocks, can this cause his shell to rub away any or have scratches on it? < Turtle shells are actually pretty durable but most river rocks have been warn smooth over many, many years through erosion. If your rocks are rough to the touch then I would replace them with smoother stones. Scratches make lead to infections.-Chuck>

Red Eared Slider Setup 7.24.05 I have read the questions posted on your site and did not specifically see these.   If I missed them, I apologize. My daughter received a red eared slider for her birthday (her idea; she researched it first).  It is in a 40 breeder tank with a heater, filter, and a reptile light that gives off both UVA and UVB light.  She cleans the tank regularly.  Since we have had the slider, it eats well, defecates regularly, and is an active swimmer.  We have never seen it climb onto the basking rock.  It remains in the water all the time.  Is that okay?  Should it want to get out to the water daily? Additionally, it seems to have eaten the Dr. Turtle block that came in the starter kit. Since then, it seems to defecate a lot.  Could the turtle get diarrhea?  We removed the block.  Please advise. <Sounds like a great setup, I am not sure the ingredients in the Dr. Turtle block but I think removing it was a good idea.  The diarrhea should pass.  I recall having the same problem when I added one of these turtle blocks.  If the water is warm the turtle does not feel the need to leave the water to bask, you might try turning down the heater in the water if you have one to see if this encourages the turtle to bask.  Otherwise you can take him out from time to time to walk around outside, the sunlight is good for him and drying out helps to prevent shell fungus and rot and similar nasties.  Best Regards, Gage>  

Slider Care Continued 7.24.05 Thanks for replying. Yes, the water is deep enough so that the water covers his back. About 3 quarters of a inch above his back. So do you think that the temperature of the water in the day time(76-78F) is a good temp. for a young slider turtle? What about the night time temp. (about 72F). I have to turn the lamp off, so the temp. goes way down. Is that too low of a temp. to keep the tank at? <72 is hitting the lower end of the scale, when winter time rolls around this could definitely become a problem, I would add a small aquarium heater to keep the tank around 75-78.> I feed him Reptomin Baby pellets. He gets sun-dried shrimp 3 times a week, the Reptotreat brand (b/c it's too fatty to feed everyday.) I just started to feed him gold fish flakes (like 2) once a week. I noticed that on his plastron, he has pale pink lines (like where the shell seems to join in the middle). When I lightly touch it, it turns white for like a second and then it turns back to pink again. It's kind of like when you have a sunburn and touch your skin. I'm thinking it is because he's growing too fast. When I first got him, I fed him about 15 pellets 2 times a day. I know that was way too much now, so he only eats 7 pellets 2 times a day. I heard goldfish food was okay for turtles as a treat, am I right? <I have not heard that, I doubt it will hurt him, I like to stick to turtle food.> So you think in about another year, I'll have to invest in a 20 gallon tank? <I say the sooner the better for a few reasons, you will have improved water quality with a larger body of water, the temperature will be more stable, a warmer side and cooler side of a tank allows reptiles to thermo regulate as needed, more room to swim and exercise, and you can provide places for him to hide.  In a year I think he will definitely have outgrown his current tank.> Is it okay to feed him a blueberry once in a while? <Blueberries should be fine, you might also mix in some salad greens and freeze dried crickets from time to time.> He seems to enjoy munching on it throughout the day. Thanks for your help. Please respond ASAP. Thanks again! Is it too early of an age for him to be showing mating behaviors? Like wiggling his toes and puffing out his neck? I put a stuffed animal by the cage and he showed lots of interest in it. <He might be a little young yet, off the top of my head I cannot recall what age they become sexually mature.  Best Regards, Gage>

Turtle Handling 7.20.05 Hi, I was wondering if you got a young red ear slider if you hold it a lot if he would get used to it and if it can hurt you if you hold it. Please respond. Thank you. <With most reptiles the more you handle them the more they will tolerate you, however they will never really warm up to you like a cat or a dog.  If you dangle your finger in front of their face they may try to take a bite to see if it is something yummy, this would hurt.  They also get a little squirmy when being held and have toenails that can scratch, but nothing too serious.  The most important thing is to wash your hands with hot soapy water after handling them so that you do not get salmonella.  Salmonella will hurt you the following is the definition from dictionary.com "Any of various rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Salmonella, many of which are pathogenic, causing food poisoning, typhoid, and paratyphoid fever in humans and other infectious diseases in domestic animals." - Yuck.  Hope this helps, Gage> Red Eared Sliders Not Eating 7/19/05 I have two baby RES. One female and one male. < You cannot tell the sex on baby red eared sliders until they are around 4 inches in length. At this size I wouldn't really call them babies.> The female seems to be more aggressive then the male. But that's not the problem. The problem is that the turtles have not yet eaten yet. I've had them for 3 days now and they haven't eaten. I've tried baby floating pellets and bits of raw ham. Is this normal for them? And the male seems to spend most of his time under water. He goes up when he's under the light though. Is that also normal? < If you are truly referring to baby red eared sliders then the are pretty small at around one inch. Look at the belly and see if they still have an egg spot on the bottom of the shell. If they are really this small then they just got done absorbing their egg sac and really shouldn't have been sold yet. We have gotten letters from people impulse buying baby turtles at swap meets and then trying to figure out how to take care of them after they get them home. Keep the water clean and give them a basking spot out of the water where they can heat up under a plant light or some natural direct light. Try feeding them small washed earthworms. That will usually get them going.-Chuck> Turtles With a Pain in the Neck 7/17/05 Gentlemen: < There are many ladies on the crew too.> Thank you for having a most informative website. I have two red eared sliders that are about 2 1/2 years old. They are growing rather well. However, about two weeks ago they both developed a rather horrendous puffy lesion on the nape of their necks where it meets the shell. The vet gave some antibiotic cream which has been no help. These lesions have now become somewhat bloody, larger and awful looking. They are swimming and eating, however. There are three other turtles in the group (not red eareds) that are doing fine and do not have this problem. The tank is always clean, good filters, etc. They bask every day in the sun. Any suggestions? Thanks for your assistance, we need some immediate help!! Sincerely, William <Aquatic turtles sometimes come down with a bacterial attack that is followed up with a white puffy skin fungus. I suspect that your turtles are probably a little too fat and the skin is rubbing on the shell and irritating the skin and causing the problem. Feel the shell where the problem is. If it is sharp then I would file it down with a fingernail file to just take the sharp edge off. If they are a little overweight then cut back on the calories not matter how hard they beg. If possible , use a cotton swap to wipe off the white cottony fungus down to the bare irritated skin. Paint the area with iodine or Merthiolate until it dries. Dip the turtles in Repti Turtle Sulfa Dip and then apply the Repti Wound Healing Aid. Place a Dr. turtle Sulfa Block in the water as a preventative. Make sure the water is clean by checking for ammonia. Is the main cause of infections among water turtles.-Chuck.>

Turtle with Shell Problem 7/16/05 Hi~ I have had my RES for over a year and he has a green spot on his back.  I have tried a Dr. Turtle, and I clean his tank about every other week.  I have put Vita shell on it a few times and I don't know what else to try. I didn't know if I needed to change his UV light or what to do. I use to have five gold fish in his tank but I just took them out to see if that would help. Thanks, Kristin < Shell rot is not completely understood as to the causes. If it is just a dark spot on the shell then it may be a scare or abnormal coloration. Shell rot is where the bone degenerates into a cheese like consistency. This can happen underneath the scutes. The area needs to be cleaned of the cheese like material down to the bone and then an antibiotic ointment needs to be applied to kill the remaining bacteria.  For a first defense I would put vitamins in this food. Then I would increase the heat on the basking spot to a higher wattage or put the light closer. Then I would give your turtle a Repti Turtle Sulfa Dip. If after all this the spot keeps getting bigger or deeper then a visit to a good reptile vet is in order.-Chuck> Turtle with Fungus on his Shell and Neck 7/9/05 Hi, my name is Brooke, I have a red eared slider that I got on Easter last year and he seems to have some kind of fungus growing on his shell and neck. Is he sick, will he die, will my other red eared slider die too, is there anything I can do? Please e-mail me back and help me out! Thanks! Brooke < Fungus usually attacks dead or dying tissue. This could be the result of a bacterial infection. Clean the tank. Change all the water and clean the filter if you have one. Your basking light may not be hot enough. Get it closer to the basking spot or get a light of a higher wattage. Dip the turtle in ZooMed's Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip and get a ZooMed Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block for the water. You should see some improvement within a week.-Chuck> Turtle on a Fast 7/9/05 Baby RES not eating 07.04.05 Thanks for the advice! I did get a  filter although I did not get a heater for the water yet...but I have  one other question. My baby R.E.S. won't eat now! It has been 3 days  and I haven't seen him eat a bite yet. Is this normal? Get back   A.S.A.P. THANKS < Heat is the key to a turtle's metabolism since they are cold blooded. The warmer they are kept, the more energy they burn and the more food they require. If the water is too cool or they don't have a hot spot to bask then they simply won't eat.  If it is too cool then the food would be rotting in your turtles gut and that may kill him.-Chuck> Turtle With Bacterial Infection 7/9/05 Dear WWM, I have a male red eared slider that is about 2-3 years old and living in his own tank.  Recently I have noticed that some areas of his skin, particularly around the top of his legs where they fold under his shell, have developed a slightly pinkish tinge. He seems to swim and move quite freely. The skin is also quite puffy in that area. He tends to sleep/rest with eyes closed quite frequently (say 50-60% of the time) during the day compared to my other RES who is a continual bundle of energy.  He doesn't eat a lot but he does eat and he does poo regularly.  I have read in a turtle book about a pink splotchy condition over the entire body called Red Leg - they indicate that this is a bacterial infection.  I am unsure what my RES has got, if anything, if it is related to his sleeping patterns and what I should be doing to correct it.  Look forward to your reply. Regards, Farah Dwyer < Increase the heat to the basking spot. Change the water and clean the filter if you have one. Dip the turtle in ZooMed's Repti Sulfa Dip and get a Dr Turtle Sulfa Block for the water. You need to clean the tank more often. Get Repti Turtle Eye Drops to help clear the eyes.-Chuck> Baby RES not eating 07.04.05 Thanks for the advice! I did get a filter although I did not get a heater   for the water yet...but I have one other question. My baby R.E.S. won't eat now!   It has been 3 days and I haven't seen him eat a bite yet. Is this normal? Get back  A.S.A.P. THANKS <I missed the previous email but cold water will definitely slow metabolism and discourage your turtle from eating.  What's your water temperature?  What foods are you offering?-Gage>

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>

Hiding Turtles I have a big pond and water fall.  It is 15 feet by 16 feet 4.5 feet deep.  A friend gave me two slider turtles for the pond one is a baby.  Then I bought one.  For the first day or so I could see them swimming on the top of the water.  But when I open my sliding glass door to get a better view they went to the bottom.  I have not seen any of them for a few days.  How long can they hold their breath? < Up to a couple of hours depending on the water temp and their activity level. During the summer months it is up to about 20 minutes.> I have a bunch of feeder fish in there too. I have a UV sterilizer that I just add and it is clearing up the water.  I still can't see them.  I have rocks and gravel at the bottom of the pond.  Do they dig in to hide? < They do some digging but not to the extent you are suggesting.> Do the walk away for the pond? < It is totally possible for your turtles top walk away.> It's in my back yard and there is really no where for them to go.  My pond has not a lot of shade I am waiting for the trees to grow.  How do I get them to come out if they are still there? < When turtles get hungry they leave the pond to find food. I would put one of the turtles in a small kiddy wadding pool with some water, a brick to create a basking spot and some cover over the pool for shade. Leave the turtle in there for a few days. Walk up once a day and throw a turtle food stick in right in front of his face. After awhile your turtle will not be afraid and will learn that you are the source of food and actually come out to see you and be fed. Once one turtle does it then the others catch on pretty quick and they will all be out wanting food.-Chuck>

Freshwater Filter Selection, 5/27/05 I have two small red-eared sliders (3 - 3 1/2 in long) in a 10 gallon tank. I will be moving them to a 30 gallon long sometime in the next few days. Currently I have a Whisper in-tank filter, and I was thinking I could just get a bigger version of the same filter for the new tank, but apparently (from what I've read) in-tank filters don't really cut it in aquariums that big. My tank doesn't have any holes in it, either to let a filter hang down lower on the edge, or to come up through the floor of the tank. What are my options without having to find a way to cut a hole in the tank? <Hi Rebekah, Ryan with you today. There are plenty of filter options that will work for you here- Your best non-drilling option is a sump wet/dry filter with what's called an OVERFLOW. This uses suction to take water from the aquarium over the edge, rather than through a drilled hole. Hang on filters are capable of filtering a 30 gallon tank, however. I'd go with a large hang-on style power filter if all this seems a little overboard. Good luck, Ryan> 

Aggressive Turtle I have two Red Ear Slider turtles.  One has red markings and the other has yellow markings.  I have raised them for approximately 3 1/2 years, since they were babies, both probably the size of a silver dollar when I got them.  They started in a 10-gallon tank with a wooden stand to sun themselves on.  As they grew, I slowly upgraded the tanks, and now have a 60-gallon tank with a custom built 6 x 6 inch platform.    The yellow ear has grown to approx 5 inches long and the red ear has grown to approx 4 1/2 inches.  For as long as I have raised them they have been healthy and happy and cohabitated beautifully.  I have over time vacillated about their sex, however I believe them both to be males.  They both have very long front nails, and long tails.  Additionally, over the last couple years they both have performed what your site refers to as the male mating ritual, i.e. the wiggling of the nails in front of the other's face.  From my reading, it appears only male turtles do that....I think? < Yes> Anyway, now that you have sufficient background of my turtles and their setup, I am hoping you will be able to diagnose the problem.  Specifically, the red ear (slightly larger turtle) has in the last 6 months become extremely aggressive.   He will approach the yellow ear as if he were about to do his mating routine and then bite the back of the yellow ear's neck and hold on to the point that I must physically separate them.  Over time he actually drew blood.  Thus, I bought a separator and kept them apart for about two months thinking he would grow out of it and allowing the yellow ear to heal completely.  Unfortunately, although the yellow ear has completely healed, the red ear has not grown out of the behavior, and the second I take down the barricade, he immediately goes after the yellow ear.  It is odd, both are very friendly to me.  I feed them by hand often and they are very gentle, and the red ear even pretty much leaves the fish in the tank alone.  Nonetheless, I can not leave the tank separated permanently and am now pondering giving the red ear away.  Please advise.  Is there something else I can do?  Is there something wrong with the red ear?  If they are both males, is that the problem?  Any help would be very much appreciated.  Thank you. < You are treating you turtle well and they are indeed displaying a breeding behavior. It is springtime and males are looking to court females and drive other males away. You could separate them for a few months and then try and put them back together again but I am afraid you will have the same problem every spring. For a long term solution I would cut back to one turtle.-Chuck>

Aggressive Turtle - II Thank you Chuck for your help. I contacted a local Pet Store and they have agreed to adopt the red-ear. Hopefully he will find a good home with someone eventually. I know he can be a good pet, especially if he has a tank for himself. < Sounds like a win/win situation for all.-Chuck> 

Basking for Sick Turtles Hi. I just got two baby red eared sliders (they are very small about 1 in and I just found out illegal). I really want them to do good in their new little habitat but today I noticed one of the turtles was sleeping on the basking rock (he was there all day yesterday too) I tired to put him in the water and he began to move a little but didn't use one of his legs and kept it in his shell. Eventually he moved it out of the shell and began to use it but he won't leave the basking rock. He looks fine, his shell is hard and he's green. Is there something wrong with him or is there something I should be doing?? Both of them seem not to eat much although this one more so. I tried to give them different things but they still only eat the floating pelts. The other turtle seems to be doing fine and is very active. Please help me out :( < When turtles get sick they tend to stay out of the water. I would recommend a high quality heat lamp so he can raise his body temperature. It would be the same as you getting a fever to kill the bacteria. Make sure that the basking spot can get up to 100 degrees F. When he gets too hot he can always go back into the water. I am afraid that your basking spot is not hot enough to raise his body temp. move the light closer or get a bigger light.-Chuck> 

Basking For a Sick Turtle II Thanks so much!! Should I move the other turtle to a different cage though? <Respiratory infections can be contagious. If you have separate and adequate facilities then separate them. But don't do it if you only have one tank and one light though.-Chuck> 

Sick Baby Red Ear Turtle We have a red slider about the size of a 50 cent piece. We purchased him about 12 weeks ago. He is set up in a small aquarium with water 1/2 full with a floating perch. We keep him under a desk lamp when there is poor sunlight.  Within the past 2 days he has stopped eating. He stays on his perch most of the day. I think I have noticed "sneezing"?  What can we do to help our turtle get back to his old self? < Your turtle probably has a respiratory infection. You need to get a lamp that provides both heat and the proper wavelength of light. Keep the desk lamp on him 12 hours per day over the basking spot. Use a incandescent plant light bulb of about 60 to 80 watts. Use an electrical timer to keep the photoperiod the same. Heat and antibiotics are the only two things that will help. If he is not better in a few days then your turtle should be taken to a vet.-Chuck>

New Red Eared Slider Hello, I just got a slider a week ago. Someone left him in a house once they got evicted, so I really don't know anything about him. I believe he is old and might be sick.  I am taking him to the vet in two days. He eats a lot and is pretty active, but I am a little scared when I pick him up. I heard they can bite. I really like him and want to take care of him. Do you have any suggestion on picking him up. I have to take him to his doctors appt. Should I be scared? Thank you Tammie <Red eared sliders can inflict a nasty bite when they are picked up. I would recommend that you hold him from the back side away from his mouth so he can't bite you. After holding your turtle you need to carefully wash you hands with warm soapy water to prevent you from getting sick. Your vet can get you set up on the right track. They are pretty easy to keep as long as a few requirements are being met.-Chuck>

Red-Eared Turtle with Catfish I have a 75 gal. plastic pond in my backyard, is it possible for my red ear slider turtle to live with my catfish? < Your turtle will probably constantly be taking nips and bites out of your catfish. It may not kill it but it may damage the catfish enough so that it gets sick and dies.-Chuck>

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>

Red Eared Turtles How long can a red ear slider survive outside of water? < They don't need to be wet all the time. They can survive a couple of days in a cool damp environment, like when they are being shipped. They re-hydrate rather quickly. In warm weather I would not let them go more than a day without letting them soak in water for awhile.-Chuck>

Turtle Fun Yata-HEY! I read a lot and gain very good info from here.  Much appreciated. Here is one to make you smile. My Red Eared Slider was a road-rescue,   Friend of mine found it several months ago on a neighborhood street and knowing I'd kept turtles brought it to me.  She was the size of a silver dollar and has doubled in 7 months. At any rate.  I'd tried not necessarily to tame her but I didn't want her afraid of me either.   She hides in her shell and sits and stares when I take her out of her tank but she 'chases' me thru the glass.  Paddling furiously over to the glass and following anything I might be doing outside the tank.   Just found out she has no inhibitions playing in her element as she followed my hand around the inside of the tank as I was pulling moss from the filter intake.  She let's me grab her by her tail or leg and drag her gently thru the water and will boost herself on my hand to get air. Also noticed she loves the heck out of the little waterfall and bubbles coming from the filter and will park herself under it at the surface and take a Jacuzzi break,  ;) Satanta the WhiteBear < These little turtles have a personality you just gotta love.-Chuck> Self-Abusing Turtle Bites Himself in Japan Dear WWM , I have a male red eared slider that is about 2 -3 years old in his own tank. Recently (last few weeks) he has started to bite his left front hand/claw keratin bits. One of the pieces of keratin is starting to look a bit inflamed and pale pinkish, not like a normal white keratin piece - like he has had a good gnaw at it. Is this self-biting normal and do you think he has potentially infected his claw/hand by biting it? If it is a potential problem, what can I do to fix it? Thank you for your time. Regards, Farah < At one point in time there was probably some food stuck on his claw and as he attempted to get to it he mistakenly bit himself. Now he probably thinks the reddish coloration is still food. I would clean the tank and keep it that way to help prevent the infection from getting worse. I would add a Dr Turtle sulfa block to treat the bacterial infection. I would then feed the turtle several times a day to prevent him from getting so hungry he will prefer the food instead of his claw. When the claw starts to grow back and turn back to a more normal color I would make sure he is well fed so he doesn't go back to his old bad habits.-Chuck> 

More Turtle Trouble in Japan Dear Chuck. Thank you for your e-mail. The claw is actually still intact - it's just the keratin piece above it that has got inflamed. Just another quick question if that's OK - we live in Japan and can't get Dr Turtle Sulfa Block's here. Can you point me to a website that sells these and would be prepared to deliver to Japan. If not, what would be a good substitute for Dr Turtle's sulfa block? Thanks again for your time. Regards, Farah < Go to ZooMed.com. They now have a mail order business or may be able to direct you to a shop in Japan. DrsFosterSmith.com would probably be able top help you too. Before I would go to the US for something I think I would go to a pet shop in Japan and try and find Japanese equivalent. Maybe print out the ZooMed Dr. Turtle page from the website and take it with you. If you speak Japanese I am sure they will be able to help you.-Chuck>

Turtle Q's Hello <How goes it?> I have a slider which I have had for about two months now and everything was going good, but lately he has not been so active. He has been sleeping all day, even after I got him a heater, his shell has spots the people at the pet store told me he's shedding. <Hmm.. can you get a picture? Does the turtle have an area to get out of the water, and a lamp (that provides UVB rays) in which to bask?> When he is in the tank he has white stuff around his mouth <Can you be more descriptive\get a picture?> He really doesn't get out of his water; I have to take him out of the tank. <See above question regarding a heat lamp> His eating habits are very good and he is still very strong but I'm still really worried. I did every thing I was told to do, but I'm afraid he's not ok. <Have you been feeding him a variety of food, and bring him outside for a half hour or so of sunshine every other day? Turtles NEED UVB radiation to properly absorb calcium, and the spots on the shell may be decalcified areas. Get him a heat lamp with a UVB incandescent heat bulb, and make certain to take him outside for a half hour of sun each day. Also, obtain a reptile vitamin supplement and add it to his food>  Is it time to take him to the vet or am I being overprotective? <Nothing wrong with a checkup from a vet, they know a ton about animals>  Please help I don't want him to die. <See above :) From now on please use proper capitalization\punctuation, as these letters are archived for future reading> Thanks <You're welcome, good luck!> 

Red- eared Slider, Changing Habitat Hello, I have a few questions that I have not seen answered here and have found very little info elsewhere. I have a 5 year old Red eared slider that I found as a hatchling and am building him a new habitat since he is outgrowing his current one. Let me start off with saying that he is very healthy and active in his current environment even though it is sub par--and that is why I am concerned about putting him in his new habitat. Currently he lives in a 20 gal tank with only florescent lighting and a rock to crawl out of the water. The water is not heated and is usually 65-70 degrees and was only filtered by a BioWheel. I know this is several degrees under what is suggested but he seems fine and has a voracious appetite. His tank was next to (not in front of) a window and even though he could easily climb out of the water onto his rock he rarely spends more than 20-30 minutes at a time basking. He has never had any signs of illness other than occasional dead skin clinging to him. With his current setup I am going with a 55 gallon tank, UV-A, UV-B and a basking light, water heater, canister filter and will provide a larger land area then what he currently has. I am currently cycling the tank with several goldfish that I will leave in for him to eat and expect to do 25 percent water changes every week and complete changes about every 2-3 months but will adjust the frequency if things get too bad. My concern is that since he has adapted to his current environment pretty well over the years, would putting him in the new environment put too much stress on him or should I not worry about it? < Don't worry about him, he will be fine.> If you think this would stress him too much how would you suggest that I acclimatize him. As it is I plan on setting the thermostat to about 70 degrees and raise it a degree or so a week until about 75 degrees but what about the ambient temp in the tank? < Don't worry about the water temp. You room temp should be around 65 degrees in the winter. You can set the water temp for 70 and leave it there if you like.> Should I slowly adjust this as well? < Not needed. They come from areas where the water temp changes all the time.> I have also found very little info about proper water pH and what I have found is contradictory. My tap water runs about 8.4 but with a cinderblock in his tank for support of his basking area it raises it a little bit. The carbonate hardness of the local water makes it extremely hard to lower the pH unless I constantly monitor it and add chemicals almost daily--any suggestions for this or is the pH fine since he has already adapted to it? < Don't worry about the pH. The additional calcium leached out by the cinder block will benefit the turtle.> One last question, about two weeks ago I noticed a small yellowish/white spot smaller than the size of a match head on his carapace. The spot is not symmetrical and is not a fungus. At first I just thought it was a scratch but after reading several sites on proper care and seeing how bad I have been treating him, I am concerned. Could this be from a scratch or is it most likely from the years of inadequate lighting and heat? < It could be the start of a bacterial infection. Adequate basking under a heat lamp should take care of it.> He doesn't suffer from soft shell and I do not believe he has a vitamin deficiency because we feed him a varied diet of vegetable, protein and store bought turtle food and keep a calcium block in his tank. I have called several vets in the area but none of them really seem interested in seeing a turtle and would probably be a waste of time. I have looked on several sites and read up on several diseases and checked out the photos but nothing seemed to match. Are there any signs you would suggest to keep an eye out for as in changes or discoloration? Anyways, thank you very much for your time and any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Robert Bernier < Watch for it if it starts getting bigger . A sulfur block in the water would be beneficial during the transition.-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>

NEW TURTLE Hi you guys. I have enjoyed reading your replies to what seem to be some of the lamest people on Earth, I am sure (helllloooo....you think your turtle has a broken leg? You don't even think of taking her to the vet??).  Here is our situation: I work in the Biology Dept of a community college. 2, 6-inch Sliders (both males) were donated along with their 150 gal tank about a year ago. They are thriving-eating, growing, very social. Someone found a small (4-inch) Slider in their yard and asked if we could take it. I have him here, separated from the others. He is eating reptile sticks, soaking in a small tub of water and enjoying the warming light. I read in the forums to keep him separate for at least a month, which is fine.  I wonder, not knowing anything about this guy, if I need to worry about any parasites or other diseases. The new guy seems healthy, bright, clear eyes, very active, decent appetite. Should I do anything besides the quarantine? I also noticed that someone mentioned to keep the introduc-ee in a bare-bottomed tank. I assume this means no water? He has a tub within the tank so he can get in if he wants. The rest of the tank is medium sized gravel. Thanks ahead of time for your help.  Your forum is terrific. Dandelian Tucker Teaching Assistant II, Biology/Environmental Science < New turtles should be quarantined for a month in a clean aquarium. Add a sulfa block to the water for the month. The sulfa will dissolve into the water and inhibit any bacterial or fungal growth due to trauma.-Chuck>

SICK TURTLES I have two red- eared slider turtles that I have had since July of 2001. They were both the size of quarters when I bought them and now they each weigh 4.5 grams. This past Christmas I noticed that my male turtle (Mustard) was shedding his scutes. It did not seem to hurt him, but I had never noticed anything like that before. I sort of panicked, I was out of town and not near his normal vet so I went to a different one. He said that both of my turtles had a fungal infections and suggested that I let them soak in a diluted chlor-hexadine solution. When I did that, it seemed to irritate their eyes, so I went to suggestion number 2 and painted them w/the non-diluted chlor-hexadine.  Well, after a few weeks, I didn't notice a change in their shells, but I did notice that Mustard was keeping his eyes closed more often. When they were open they didn't appear swollen and they were still really clear, but I was concerned so I brought him and my female turtle (Honey) to their regular vet.  He took a few pieces of their shells and looked at them under the microscope. He said that he didn't see any fungus or bacteria. He suggested that they may be starting to develop one or more vitamin deficiencies. He suggested that I add some frozen vegetables to their diet, and continue w/the chlor-hexadine. I did that and then about 3 days later I noticed two small spots to the top of Honey's shell that seemed to be missing, it looked like bone (white) instead of a green color. This made me take a closer look at Mustard and I found a similar spot on the bottom of his shell only it was pink in color. I called the vet and when he called back he said that they should start antibiotic injections, he didn't look at the turtles, but I picked up the medicine and for about a week and a half I have been giving them the shots.  They are still shedding scutes and now at the very edge of their shell where they were rimmed w/a nice yellow color, it seems to be turning transparent. It's still a yellow color, but you can see through it. It's weird. Not only that, but Honey's shell is peeling so badly that on the bottom there is a piece that if I pulled off her pink shell would be totally exposed. I've just left it. As for their behavior, they both are very active and seem strong. I have noticed an increase in Honey's appetite and a decrease in Mustard's. He still eats, but not w/the gusto that he used to.  Their vet doesn't always seem like he is confident about what he is talking about but unfortunately there are not many exotic vets in the area where I live. There are a million different suggestions all over the web and in the books that I have at home. Some contradicting each other. I read through quite a bit of the turtle FAQ's page and whoever was answering the questions seemed very knowledgeable. Please, I am open to any advice. My turtles are great and I have invested quite a bit of love, time, and money into their care. I'm desperate to get them healthy again.  Thank you for any suggestions you might have.  < Here is what I would do in your situation. It appears your turtles have a deficiency. Either the wrong light or the wrong food. First I would start with the tank. Make sure the tank is clean. Use a good filter and service it often. Change water before it starts to turn sour. Give them a good dry spot to bask under a good light that provides heat, UVA and UVB. Feed a commercial aquatic turtle food and supplement their feedings with mealworms, earthworms, crickets and kingworms. It your water is soft and acid like in the NW U.S. then I would add a tropical fish buffer to increase the pH and increase the calcium in the water. New turtles should have a sulfa block added to the water to prohibit the bacterial infections you are currently encountering.-Chuck>

SICK TURTLES II Chuck, thank you so much for your suggestions. I wanted to let you know that I do have them in separate 15 gallon tanks (maybe this is not big enough). I buy bottled distilled water to fill their tanks.  < I would suggest adding a fish tank buffer to keep the pH above seven and increase the calcium levels in the water.>  I empty and clean their tanks and change their filter media every 30-45 days.  < I would do it more often until they are well, like every week.>  They each have a UVA/UVB light that is on for 12hrs a day along w/a basking lamp that is on for about 5hrs a day. I keep their water temperature at 76 degrees w/an underwater thermostat. Their basking area is usually between 85-88 degrees. I feed them a commercial turtle food and until recently it was every other day. I have tried every day since I've noticed them getting sick. About once a month I will buy them each a dozen or so guppies and every 3 months I'll split about 50 mealworms between them. I actually even feed them in a separate container in an attempt to keep their water cleaner. I have been adding Stresscoat as a suggestion from their vet when last year I noticed their skin peeling. As for the Sulfa blocks....they eat them. Is that safe?  < Eating the sulfa blocks may be their way of expressing a need for minerals.>  I feel like my turtles may have picked up a bacterial infection this past fall when we were re-building their habitat. It took us longer than expected and they weren't exposed to the UVA/UVB lights as often as they should have been. In addition, I was using our tap water (which is well water) filtered through a Brita pitcher to feed them in rather than the bottled water and recently we were given a boil notice saying that our water may or may not have fecal bacteria in it. The Brita pitcher obviously can not filter this type of bacteria, so that's why I've gone to using the distilled water to feed them. I wonder about using povidone/iodine solution to paint on their shells. Their vet said that it would be OK if I diluted it, but did not give me instructions on how to do so. Also, should I leave them in their water all the time, or should I be keeping them more dry? Their vet wasn't sure what to suggest. I really appreciate your help with this matter. Thanks again. < I would feed them a more varied diet with mealworms once a month instead of every three. Keeping the water cleaner will be a big plus. The minerals in the sulfa block are very beneficial. I would try and isolate it with some plastic mesh so the turtles can't get to it directly.-Chuck>

TURTLES WITH FISH Hello. I was wanting to know if there are any kind of fish I can put with my red- eared slider? Another question was that I was reading your info on red-eared sliders and the staff said not to feed them feeder goldfish, which I did for the first time last night is this bad for them? < Large active fish that stay off the bottom work best with turtles. They will eat anything that they can catch. Fish are part of a turtle's natural diet but it should have other things in it too. Too much protein forces the turtle's shell to grow at a different rate than the rest of the turtles body. Earthworms, crickets, mealworms, kingworms and commercial aquatic turtle food make for a well rounded diet.-Chuck> 

My Red Eared Sliders Hi, I bought two RES for my son for Christmas one of them is doing fine and seems to be growing normally. The other my favorite is not growing he is still the same size as he was when I got him and today I noticed that he seems to be off balance he keeps flipping backwards and swimming in circles I have looked him over for injuries and have found none, his eyes look fine the only thing I have done different is I got them some krill said it was high protein. If you could give some advice I would appreciate it. I know of no reptile vets in my area. Thanks Sandra < You don't want to give them a diet too high in protein or else they grow faster than their shell. This leads to a distorted shell that never really looks the same. I would isolate the smaller turtle into his own tank. Makes sure. If he still has a good appetite then I would give him some live food such as mealworms, earthworms and crickets. Make sure to give him a warm dry area to bask. A heat lamp with a full spectrum bulb is recommended. Usually high heat will take care of most of the parasites that affect turtles. Make sure to keep up on the maintenance and keep their tank clean.-Chuck> Moving our red ear slider turtles.... We currently live in Colorado and will be moving to Florida in a few months. The trip will be 1900+ miles. My son has had red ear slider turtles for the past 11 years. He has two loved sliders (one male and one female) that we are hoping to make the move to Florida. We are hoping to move them if it won't be too difficult for them or kill them. I have several questions I'm hoping you can help answer.  First, although we don't want to find a new home for our turtles, we are wondering if it will be too hard on the turtles to move? Would it be less selfish of us to find the turtles a good home here in Colorado rather than moving them? < Keep the turtle. Moving them is no problem.> If you think we can successfully move them 1900+ miles successfully, can you please give us any ideas on how to best go about moving them such a long distance? < Take the turtle out of the tank and place them in a large covered insulated dry box. A store fish box would be fine. Once or twice a day take them out and soak them for a few minutes in a dish of water so they can re-hydrate themselves. Don't let them get too hot or too cold along the way. feed them a couple worms along the way every day to tide them over until they can get set up in their new home.> We haven't thought of a way to keep a filter system running for the long distance so I'm wondering if we can change the water every evening when we stop traveling for the day? < Don't worry about keeping them in an aquarium until your in Florida.> Along this line, will the difference in tap water create any problems for the turtles along the trip? If the water can create a problem, is there an additive we can add to the water to solve the problem? < Turtles really don't care about the chemistry of the water as long as it is clean.> I've heard that many pets get completely stressed to travel and adjust to a new environment. If it seems to be okay to move the turtles, can you give us any ideas on how to reduce their stress? < Keep them dark and cool to reduce their metabolic rate along the way.> Any other tips you have would be greatly appreciated. < I think your turtles will really like Florida.-Chuck> Thank you for your help.  Adrienne 

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>

Turtle Injury - 1\9\05 I have recently bought red eared hatchlings (4) two of them have died. I have a 20 gal long with heater, rocks, filter, basking ramp, they eat pellets and shrimp treats. what can I being doing wrong? <Young turtles need plenty of food, and plenty of UBV light.  Purchase an incandescent reptile UVB heat lamp and a clip on lamp.  Point the lamp at the basking ramp.  Every day or as often as you can, take them out for at least 15 minutes of sunlight, but make sure they don't overheat.  Realize they that will grow fairly quickly, and attain over a foot in length.  If you are going to let them go, make sure they are native to your area, and teach them to catch live food such as feeder fish> Today I was cleaning the tank and had the turtles aside and my dog got hold of one and bit a hole in the shell the turtle is alive but bleed what do I do? <Keep the turtle's injury and water clean, and purchase an antibiotic ointment to rub on the shell for the next 7-10 days.  Make sure to clean the wound and change the water every day to prevent infection until the wound heals.  Good luck with your turtles - M. Maddox> A question about my turtles! Hi! I got two little red eared sliders for Christmas and I love them so   much.  I got them a nice 10 gallon tank (they are only about the size of a  silver dollar each so this should be good for now) with all the right  necessities.   I do however, want to know how fast they will grow.  The  little birth certificate that came with them says they were born last  spring.  They are only about and inch across each.  When will they  outgrow their 10 gallon?  are they hearty? will they live?  thank you  please email me back. Bobbie < Your little turtles will live for many, many years with proper care. You need to have an area were they can get out of the water and bask under a warm light. They will do well on pellet food especially made for water turtles. Occasional earthworms or mealworms will be greatly appreciated. They are messy eaters so keeping the water clean will be a challenge. Nest year they will be about three inches long and need to be in something bigger. Go to Zoomed.com for all kinds of products for your turtles. Make sure that you wash your hands very thoroughly after handling your turtles so you don't get sick.-Chuck> Green Turtle Turning Yellow?  12/13/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> My Red Eared Slider's shell is starting to turn yellow and has very little green left.  He is fed properly and has the correct tank set up. He doesn't act sick and he still eats well. We have had to deal with soft shell before and it looks similar but I'm much more educated now on lighting and diet so I don't think that's what's causing his shell to turn yellow. Is there another disorder that could cause this? I have been to every web-site I can find but can't find anything describing this. Please let me know. <I would be interested to see a detailed description of habitat set-up, lighting types (right down to wattages, brands, bulb ages, height of fixtures above basking area), diet, temperatures....and photos of the 'ailing' terrapin in question. The herp expert I am collaborating with on this question usually works with all the data he can collect, then go with a process of elimination. There are a couple of possibilities that could be linked to diet and/or lighting on this one.   ~PP> Amy

Shedding Turtle  12/1/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have looked on the Web for about 45 minutes and can not find the information that I am looking for.  I have two red eared sliders in a 20 gallon tank with fluorescent, basking lamp, and heater.  I have had them almost a year and they seem to be doing well until a couple of days ago.  One is much larger than the other and is shedding it's skin.  I haven't seen this before - is it normal for a turtle to shed? <Yes, that's how they grow.  They will also shed pieces of their shell.  Are you aware they will need a much bigger tank within a year or so?  ~PP> Thank you,  Danielle Kerr

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>

Question about baby red -eared sliders Hello,     Hello my name is mike, I have 2 red eared sliders that I bought in May, and they have gotten bigger since. One is about 4-5 inches and the other 4 inches.  And just recently I bought two more babies (red eared sliders).  I was wondering if it is ok to put them with the bigger ones. Thank you for taking my question. < Turtles should all be close to the same size. They are incredible eaters and the larger ones would eventually pick on the smaller ones as food items when they got hungry and you weren't around. They may not be able to kill the smaller ones but the could bite off a leg and then you will be taking care of a imperfect turtle for the next 15+ years.-Chuck>                                                                                           greatly appreciated,                                                                                                     Mike D

Red Ear Sliders I have had two red ear sliders for about 6 months. They were about quarter size when I first got them. They seem to being doing well. I am getting ready to purchase a 90 gallon tank for them. I don't know what kind or equipment I should get for them,( i.e. filter, lighting, heaters) I currently have a basking light and a UV light in a 20 gallon tank. I have been doing a lot of reading but can seem to find any answers. Can you help? Thanks a bunch Joni >>>Greetings Joni, Good on ya for taking the time to learn about your charges! These animals need a warm basking spot which can be provided with a heat lamp. This basking area should be in the high 80's to low 90's. Water temps should be maintained with an aquarium heater in the mid 70's. The ambient air temperature of the enclosure should remain in the low 80's or so. They require UVB exposure, so keep this in mind when shopping for lights. Now personally, I don't believe these UVB bulbs on the market are worth the cardboard they're packaged in. My reptiles ALWAYS get natural sunlight when possible. I would create an outdoor area, or small enclosure for them to allow them bask during warmer weather. Having said that, you can use a commercial UVB bulb in the interim. The main heat in the enclosure can be provided with a ceramic heat element, which may only come on rarely (hooked to a thermostat) when the basking light is on during the day. At night, the heater will kick on more often. Thermostats can be purchased at most better pet stores.   Use 1 or 2 Aquaclear power filters on that tank to filter the water. You need filters that provide a rapid turnover, and are easy to clean. Canister filters are appropriate as well. Does all that make sense? Please feel free to drop me a line back if you need clarification. Remember, ambient air temps are what the enclosure is generally kept at. The basking spot is hotter, and the animals should be able to move around within that spot to thermoregulate. Water temp is separate as well, and maintained with an aquarium heater. Good luck Jim<<<

Red Ear Sliders Thanks for the quick reply. But I need help again. I am making progress, My husband and I made a stand for the aquarium  (took us 3 weekends). It is really heavy, we are waiting for some friends to help us move it from the garage to inside the house. I bought a Fluval 404 and an Jager 250 watt heater.  But now I am looking for some type of material to put on top of the tank. I can't find a screen made for my size tank. Any suggestions? >>>Hello again, These critters can't climb the glass, and they don't jump. Just leave an 8" or so gap between the top of the water, or basking area and the top of the tank. Aside from that, screen tops are easy enough to construct from wood and screen material. You can have plexi or glass cut as well. Keep in mind you need some air flow in there. Cheers Jim<<<

A Red Ear is a Terrapin is a RES! >Hi there, >I didn't see anything that would help me on the postings. I have two >RES's and they came from the same tank which was much small than the 55 >gallon that I have put them in.  One is about 5 inches and the other is >3 inches in length.  I have notices that the bigger one is attacking >the smaller one biting at its head and feet and tail.  I am not sure >what to do or if I can stop it? >thanks, >Adaniel   >***I'm sorry, what exactly is a RES? >Jim*** > <Hey Amanda, you've confused us all.  What is a RES?  If you could give us a little more information I hope we can help you.  Thanks MacL> >HUH? >>>Hello, Having finally been enlightened as to what "RES" means (you gratuitous abbreviator you) I can make sense of your post. I'm actually quite a reptile geek, but my experience is mostly with monitor lizards, other lizards and various snakes. I suggest you post your question on a herp site such as Kingsnake.com. Or, call East Bay Vivarium in Berkeley Ca. Best of luck. Jim<<<

I'm Looking to getting a RES Hello! <Hi, MikeD here>      Thanks for taking the time to actually read this. I have been searching online for quite a while researching Red-Eared Sliders. I have a 50gal. tank already.<that could work for several years> I'm figuring that I could possibly have 3 in there, however they can grow up to 12 inches.. so should I just get the one?<they get along well together and are easily sexed at an early age, and bred in captivity so that would have to fall into the individual choice category> Could I have two?<Sure> I'm still a little shaky on this. Also what kind of rocks should I use?<Any, as  along as they can get completely out of the water.> Does it matter if the water is 2ft. deep now, or should I make it smaller and get bigger when it grows?<I'd go shallower initially, then deepen it as they grow.> How much dry land should they have until they reach the water?<They need to be able to get completely out of the water to bask and a good daylight bulb for same  is almost essential.> What should I use for a spot for them to come out?<A landscaped dry land area, flat rock or even a piece of driftwood all work well. If you're planning on breeding them, the female will need a dry land area upon which to lay her eggs. The male have extremely long front fingernails which they wave in the female's faces while underwater and actually NEED to be fed in the water> I have read so much info and yet none of this has been answered for me.. So Like I said I have a 50gal. tank, what can you tell me about how I should go about this?<It depends largely on the size when you get them. As adults they are often kept in kiddy wading pools with an island set in the middle and again, with a basking area MANDATORY! Like most reptiles, FOOD CAN'T BE DIGESTED BELOW 70 degrees F. They occur wild down here and are often seen basking on the banks of ponds, lakes and rivers or on logs rising out of the water.  Meaty foods work best and be careful of many prepared turtle foods, such as dried insects (no food value), krill (contains salt that they can't excrete) and Spirulina sticks (good for BMs, but they need meat as they are scavenger/predators> ANYTHING Would be greatly appreciated.<Hope this helps a little> If  I have anymore questions I will email you. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! ~RES Newbie

Red Eared Sliders (continued) <Hi, MikeD here again> Thanks Mike! For all of your help!<You're very welcome> I did have another question... If I only had one RES Could a 50gal work for it's entire life?<Here I'm almost inclined to say no as these get to a fair size, sometimes dinner plate or larger> How would I set up the kiddy pool inside away from animals?<Animals, as in dogs or cats? Sometimes there's no need to be away from them. that shell is pretty tough and cats aren't likely to get wet to begin with. Most dogs simply ignore them.> Thanks for your help!<You're very welcome> ~RES Newbie

Turtles and Fish <Hi, MikeD here> Please help...I was given (by a pet store) a RES about 12" long<It took me a considerable amount of time to deduce what a RES was, aka Red-Eared Slider. That borders on cruelty to ME, you know! **grin**>.  About a week later ALL of my Koi (15 large) died.  I did not realize I needed to treat the water with antibiotic before I introduced the turtle<You don't. Who told you that?>.  Anyway, I also think the turtle has a bit of ROT<OK, I'll bite, is this just rot, as in an infection or is it another acronym?>.  About 2" long diamond shape, whit sot<White spot?> on the shell.  Also, shell peeling around the area <I'd use either Iodine or Mercurochrome on the spot initially, drying it with a paper towel after it soaks in, then return the turtle to the pond. Also, make sure the turtle has plenty of room to get completely out of the water. If this basking spot is not in sunlight, then you'll need to get a full spectrum light bulb to train on this spot. Sunlight is Mother Nature's first line of defense>.  My question...is this ROT toxic to fish?<NO>  I am wanting to re-introduce Koi as I have treated the pond with medication for 10 days.<Introducing the turtle should have had no ill effect on the fish, and I've never heard of adding antibiotics for this purpose. I'd seriously have to re-think taking advice from them if this is what they are telling you.>  Thank you!<You're very welcome>

Turtle Update <MikeD here again> Thank you.<You're so very welcome. If they settle in and you find that they suit your family as pets, you may wish to consider a terrarium. Depending on what part of the country you come from, a child's plastic wading pool can be set up in a basement that's 1/2 planted land and 1/2 water and can be beautiful and large enough for several years>.  I think they're doing better.<Got my fingers crossed for you!>

Red Eared Slider Aggression <Hi, MikeD here> I have three red eared slider turtles and noticed that the two of them have been showing what I think are signs of aggression.  They take both of their front feet and vibrate them in front of their face while at the same time, aim for one another.  A friend of mine was wondering if this was a sign of courtship?<It sure is! Males have very long claws/toenails on the front feet and they "flirt" with females by placing their paws in front of their face and doing just exactly what you are describing.  Males MAY do this as a sort of "hand jive" with other males as a stylized form of a dance in lieu of real and possibly fatal attacks. You might also want to consider giving the female access to some dry ground for egg laying, where they dig a pit similar to those excavated by their larger, more famous marine relatives!> Thanks! <You're welcome> Slider Fanatic

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

Riddle Me This - Red Eared Slider Questions To who can answer these questions, I have three questions to ask about Red Eared Slider turtles: 1) how do you know if, a Red Eared Slider turtle is dead or alive? 2) < You should see some movement after a few hours after the turtle has been warmed up. If it is not breathing that is usually a pretty good sign it is not alive.> How do you know if, a Red Eared Slider turtle is in hibernation? 3) < Hibernation is a pretty complicated process in which the turtle would bury itself into some soil and emerge after a few months when things have warmed up.> Could a Red eared slider turtle put it self in some sort of comma, to help it heal a problem it might have? < No, sounds like your turtle has died. Sorry-Chuck>

Help I don't want my RES to die To who ever can answer my questions, I got a red eared slider a few months ago and it was doing fine, eating out of my hand and swimming freely. Then about 2 months later, I got another red eared slider and everything was still fine. They got along fine and it was great. Then, about a month later, I noticed the first turtle was staying on the rock for longer than usual. After about a week of her being on the rock, I thought she would need some water so I put her in the tank and instead of swimming (or going underwater, for that matter), she floated, the shell was not fully submerged (air pocket maybe?). I pushed the top of her shell down to get the rest wet and it was then that she started to swim. As she swam, I noticed one of her legs wasnt moving. I took her out of the tank and put her on a table. She started to walk but without using the one leg, like it was broken. I read somewhere that a UVB light was necessary for proper calcium intake (assuming the bones were low in calcium). I bought one for the tank, as well as a night. After a week, instead of recovering, the turtle could no longer move about, and was using her head like a leg. Both turtles shells were starting to get soft. I recently found out that I was using a neutralizer block instead of a calcium and sulfa block, so I have remedied that. It has only been a few days since I got the new blocks, and the turtle seems to actually be dead, only occasionally twitching one of its legs. Anything information on whats going on now, and if theres hope of any recovery would be awesome. Thank you, Josh < The turtles should have clean water and an area to get out of the water to bask in the sun. The light should provide heat as well as light. At this point I suggest you take you poor turtle to a vet for immediate attention. I know they are expensive but a quick vet visit at this point may save your turtles life. If the cost makes this option out of the question I would give him an area out of the water where the turtle can bask under a plant light bulb. These bulbs provide almost the same wavelengths of light as the sun. Leave it on all the time! Provide some reptile vitamin drops at your local pet shop as per the directions on the bottle. If the turtle cannot move then I would place him on the basking spot under the light and let him get good and warm. Once he is warm then he should be able to move to a cooler spot if he gets too hot. If he still cannot move then you will have to physically move him to a cooler spot but still under the light . I would occasionally dip him in the water to so he doesn't get dehydrated. If your poor turtle survives then I would recommend that you get a book on turtles and read it carefully so your turtle can live a long healthy life.-Chuck>

Turtle Quarantine  I have been a turtle fanatic since I was a small child and have renewed my interest in the last two years.  <Awesome, I have been thinking of having a turtle shell tattooed on my back, ok, not seriously but the thought did cross my mind.>  I was given two young RES two years ago and they are now 5-6" from back to front. I have built a small pond and they cohabit with some feeder fish that are now 7-8" long. I am in the process of increasing the pond size and would like to provide them with land area in case they want to leave the pond and "stretch" their legs. Can you provide some direction on designing this area for them?  <Anything that has a nice slope into the water will work fine, a large rock, an upside down pot with rock on top of it, a large piece of wood, a pile of rocks, whatever looks good to you and is functional for them.>  Also today a large RES, 2-3 times larger than my two found its way into my back yard.  <I had a duck run into my garage once, blew my mind.>  There are no ponds, lakes close by although several homes have pools. No one in the area claims the turtle so I would like to adopt it. At this time it is living in a large "tub" but I don't want this to last too long so therefore the urgency of my questions. My question is can all three turtles live together since there is a considerable size difference? If so what can I do to ensure that the new found turtle does not contaminate my others?  <If the pond that they are living in is large enough they should be fine, aggression is a possibility and you need to be prepared to separate them if one of them gets too rough. I would keep the new turtle separated for at least a month, possibly in an aquarium, preferably bare bottomed. This will allow you to observe the turtles behavior, and watch for signs of disease. If something does come up you can treat the turtle before he infects your other two. Quarantine is important in reptiles as well as fish.>  I also have a Florida soft shelled turtle that was given to me that is living in an aquarium at this time but will be relocated to her new pond this summer. Will all my turtles live together or will they need separate homes?  <I am not up to date on my soft shell husbandry, if they enjoy the same environment as the sliders it might be ok, you will still need to watch for aggression. I do not think I ever see these turtles mixed, there could be a good reason for that.>  I want to make sure all is right because I would be devastated if I did anything to harm, injure or cause death.  <Quarantine is the way to go. Best Regards, Gage>  Thank you for your time and assistance - Todd Hunt

Sliders  Thanks for the help! I have just bought my 29gallon tank and have an aerating decoration for the guppies and a basking rock for the turtles. My Eheim filter should be ready in about a week ( I am waiting for the parts to be shipped), so I will be ready for the turtles soon.  <A very nice setup for starters, but they will need a bigger tank in no time at all.>  How long should I run the filter before putting in the turtles?  <eh, I might go about a week or three, no matter what the turtles are going to foul up your water quick, fast, and in a hurry. Water change is going to be your middle name.>  I am going to adopt 2 hatchlings but I don't know if Arts of Nature is a good place to get them. Do you know of any other places I could get them from that is reliable and somewhat inexpensive? Thanks for your time I really appreciate it. Please let me know!  <If you can adopt that is great, you might search the Internet to see if you can find a club or some breeders in your area. Honestly, any local pet shop that has them will probably be your best bet as far as price is concerned. Best Regards, Gage>  -Sarah

Who..? For what? Thanks anyway? >Ok, the lights have been ordered and will be here probably on Monday, the 17th. >>Great, I love getting stuff in the mail or delivered! Where shall I put them? >Thanks a lot for all your help! >>Umm.. ok. I can't help but wonder who you're actually addressing, though. >I'm ordering two Ornate RES from TurtlePimp.com, and they should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday, so everything looks great! >>A pimp of turtles? I you must be raising turtles, yes? From that.. alright, now, I'm just guessing here, but I think Gage may have helped you. He's out, been out for a little while and I don't know when he's going to be back. If it was someone else who helped you, let us know, or next time it's actually better to keep the body of query and response from us in the message. >I really appreciate your advice, thanks for your time. Sarah >>Whoever helped you I'm sure would tell you you're welcome, and.. good luck, something like that. In any event, I hope all works well. Marina

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 >

Housing Red Eared Sliders Hi, I asked you if you should put two males or a male and a female together before. One more question, I have never had red eared sliders before, but have cared for 2 of them for about a month. I was wondering if I should adopt just 1 male turtle? ( I wanted male because I don't have the space for a female.) I will either get 1 or 2 but either way I have a 45 gallon tank with fish in it now, but when the turtles get bigger they will have to move to that tank (by then the fish will have died). <I would go with 1 male in the 45, that should last him a little while, you might find new homes for the fish instead of waiting for them to die, most aquarium fish have a long life span.> When I get them they will be in the12 gallon with NO fish. I have read on other sites that beginner turtle owners should get only 1 turtle (and that 1 turtle will not feel lonely in a tank). Is this a good idea? <I'd start with one, it will be easier to keep the tank clean and under control.> My dad said 2 would be better (they can stack on each other on their basking rock and will have a buddy to play with, but is this better for the turtles to be social?) I don't want to have 2 male turtles fighting each other when they are mature. Other web sites do say that 1 turtle will not feel lonely and getting another turtle after a few years can result in the older one picking on its new friend. I am going to get my turtle(s) at once and put them in a tank together when they are hatchings.  Please let me know!!!!     <The social behavior can be fun to watch, but I think starting with one is a better idea.  One turtle will outgrow the 12gal tank in no time, let alone two.> Can I put plastic plants in the aquarium? (I am going to buy a 12 gallon for now, and it will have a UVB fluorescent light, water heater, rocks and wood for land area, and I'm planning to leave the tank with very few plants if any because they will try to eat them.) <Yes, the turtles will tear up the plants, not so much when they are young, but definitely as they get older.  Plastic plants will work ok because you can always replant them.> Second, I was wondering if putting a male and a female together, or two males, I have read on some web sites that males will bite each other or fight over territory. Some web sites say that a male will sometimes harass a female nonstop during mating season and may bite each other. Thank you for your help, I want to know which would be better before adopting them when it's too late. -Sarah> <Hi Sarah, I combined your two emails, hope you don't mind.  I commend your efforts to research these animals before you make a purchase.  If I were to start out with turtles again I would start with at least a 55gal tank, this will give them some room to grow and you will be more cost effective in the long run.  First you buy a 10gal, then a 20gal, then a 29 gal, then a 55gal, then a 125gal, believe me, that's the way it works in this hobby.  Start with one turtle, it will be more manageable, you will not have to worry about aggression, and it will be a lot less messy as it gets older.  Best Regards, Gage>

Turtle Behavior I have a red-eared slider, I've had him for a few years. But whenever someone enters the room he gets scared and runs into the water. and if someone touches him, he hides in his shell. he also seems depressed. what's a good way to make him happier? Would getting another turtle work? Or what? <This is really just their natural behavior, I am not sure if there is a way to train it out of them, you could start hand feeding some yummy treats like night crawlers, after a while it will probably beg for food every time it sees you, which can get annoying.  My old slider would splash in her tank to wake me up to feed her.  I would not add another turtle unless your system can handle it.  Gage>

Mixing Sliders I have had a male red ear slider for 5 years (he's 7 now) and he's around 7 inches long, today I was given 2 quarter sized red ear babies, I assume its not a good idea but wanted to ask someone else if they could all live together? <I would not mix them just yet, there is a good chance that the little ones will get injured by the larger one.> If yes, how big do the babies need to be to be safe, and will my 7 incher not like having company now since he's gone all his life alone? Please let me know. Thank you <I would wait until they are around 4 or 5 inches, I am not sure of the size of your tank, but it will need to be large to house 3 adult sliders.  Best Regards, Gage>

Slider Company Thank you for the reply. I figured that they were to little now but knew it would be a very long time before they were all equal in size and wanted to eventually put them in one tank. I am trying to get a used 100 gallon but know that for 3 that still isn't probably big enough. Do you know if these guys enjoy having the company of another turtle or because my adult has always been alone will he be bothered by sharing his tank in a few years? Thanks again, J.G. <A 100gal tank is a great start, that is for sure.  I am not sure if the turtles will actually enjoy each others company, but I would try it when they get big enough, just watch out for aggression from the larger one, he may pick on them, which is fine as long as no serious damage is inflicted.  Best Regards, Gage>

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 My turtle has been acting up lately. When I let her out of the tank she goes to a rug and seems to be enjoying herself. Is it possible she is masturbating? Her tank has become real sudsy also? Please help! <Hmm, I am not familiar with this behavior in turtles, you might post your question on some of the turtle discussion forums to see if anyone else has experienced something similar.  Best Regards, Gage http://forums.kingsnake.com/forum.php?catid=32 http://www.turtletimes.com/Forums/default.asp >

Red Eared Slider? 2/24/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a turtle and I don't know what kind it is. <1st of all, I must insist you write in sentences & use capital letters when necessary.  All the questions sent to us are posted on our website & I have to take a lot of time to correct this, before I can send it on to the site.  This takes time away from answering other questions.> I need to find out because I have a project that I have to do. <What kind of project?> It is about the size of a half dollar and it has kind of diamond shapes in the middle of its shell. It has like brownish red by its ears. It is green and yellow do you know what kind it is? <It sounds like a red-eared slider.  Is this your turtle? http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/nature/wild/reptiles/slider.htm> I could really use some help! <I'm surprised you were able to purchase this turtle at that size.  It is illegal to purchase aquatic turtles under 5", due to their carrying salmonella bacteria.  Good luck with your project.  I hope it is not harmful to the turtle in any way.  These turtles need clean filtered water.  They need a lot of swimming room, & a piece of land to bask on, with a heat lamp above.  Small strips of fish, krill, shrimp, crickets & worms are what they like to eat.  They also need a source of minerals for their shell, by vitamins & a sulfa rock in the water.  ~PP>

Can red ear sliders carry worms? We have two small red ear slider turtles and we put them for a few minutes in a small tank we have with ghosts shrimps that our kids enjoy watching. After the turtles swam a while they were taken out and returned to their "homes." Shortly after I notices a long white thin string looking thing in the aquarium with the shrimps that I took to be turtle poop, even though I thought it was odd. A few days later, it was still in the aquarium and while I watched the shrimp swim after their food, I noticed that the "turtle poop" was moving and coiling up and straightening out. The thing is alive. <I imagine that was quite the eye opener...> It makes my skin crawl. <I know what you mean.> It could only have come from the turtles. All we have in the small tank are 7 ghosts shrimps and this thing was not in there until we put the turtles in there to see if they enjoyed it. <Pretty positive that it's an parasitic worm that was in one of the turtles.> Is this possible and should I worry about my children who handle these turtles? <You should always be careful with your children when handling turtles.  Not only for parasites, but also you should be wary of Salmonella.  While usually we associate worms with pet dogs and cats there are many different types of worms that will infest pet reptiles.  The most dangerous of these are called Pentastomid worms, this is probably not the worm in your tank. Those worms are found in the lungs of the turtle and rarely are seen outside the body.  But, I would like to share some info just to give you a bit of warning! They are found in many different animals from snakes, crocodiles, to turtles and lizards.  The eggs of this worm are microscopic and can be numerous in a tank.  If children should put their hands in the water and then eat something they can ingest the eggs.  This isn't meant to scare you away from keeping turtles, just a fact that parents should know.  To treat for these parasites, allow the turtle to dry out for a couple of hours and then place the turtle in a solution of Piperazine for about thirty minutes.>   The We had 3 and one turtle just died one day and we couldn't figure out why. No noticeable infections or anything. Our other turtle looks perfectly fine but the smaller one seems to have lost it's eye sight somewhat. It's always rubbing at his eyes with it's little hands and we have to guide the food into it's mouth because it has trouble finding it. Please take the time to let me know what you think is going on. Do turtles carry intestinal worms? I appreciate your time and hope to hear from you soon. <I suggest you check out some turtle forums to learn more on turtle care.  A really nice article on turtle health can be found here   http://www.geocities.com/dterrapin/disease/  (though, it's a bit hard to read with the green on black type...)  I have found the info to be quite well written and offers many good links to learn more.> Thank you, Maria G. Gonzalez <By washing after handling a herp and by keeping herp cages clean, any risk of disease will be minimized. -Magnus>

Suggested answer to a recent Daily FAQ post Hello there, was looking through the Daily FAQ today (2/21.5) and noticed this post/response: Can red ear sliders carry worms? What caught my eye about it was the presence of ghost shrimp in the tank. Just wanted to note a semi-recent topic on the WWM forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=16157&tstart=15& trange=15 Allivymar had a ghost shrimp with a worm recently and posted photos of the worm, both in and out of the shrimp. I recently encountered one of these as well (I'm DonQuixote on the forums) with a shrimp I purchased recently. The person who sent in the question about the turtles might want to give the photos a look and see if it's similar. If so, the worm might've been in one of the shrimp rather than a turtle. I never even thought to look at ghost shrimp for these things until seeing photos of them both here and on another forum recently. Hope this helps,        Chris Sandusky <Does. Thank you for sending your note. Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibility with RES I was just wondering if there is any kind of fish that would be okay to put in the tank with my res turtle. <Hmm, you will want to choose a fish that you will not get too attached to, incase it gets munched by the turtle, also, something that is forgiving to poor water quality, turtles are messy.  I kept some Giant Zebra Danios with a RES for years.  The second time I attempted the combination all the Danios ended up as food.  I think if I were to try it again I would try Rosy Barbs, they are active and colorful but I am not sure how good they are at dodging turtles though.  So my official answer is no, it is not a good environment for the fish, and there is a great chance they will be eaten.  If I were to try it, I would pick something from the fish store that is very common, very cheap, and a fast swimmer.  Best of luck, Gage.>

Red Eared Slider Age Hi I was wondering how to tell how old my red eared slider is, roughly how to tell. Thank You Jeanne <Hi Jeanne.  I am not really sure how to tell how old a Red Eared Slider is, or any chelonian for that matter.  They can live for approximately 20 years, as they age their colors will be more drab and less defined.  Size can help to factor in the age, unless the turtles growth was stunted at some point in its life.  They can reach adulthood at anywhere from 5-12 inches.  Hope this helps a little.  I am sure your turtle has many happy years ahead of it.  Best Regards, Gage>

Red Eared Slider Housing Hey Gage, thanks for the help. My RES's turtles are finally eating some Repto-Treat Shrimp that I just got for them. I haven't tried the turtle sticks that came with the turtles and hopefully when I try and feed them later on that they will accept it; however, I have one last question. <Good to hear, I fed the Reptomin floating turtle sticks as a staple with worms and crickets and all the other goodies mixed in as treats.> How big is my tank suppose to be? I've heard people say that the length of your turtle times 10 gallons. What the freak! 10 gallons. The one I currently have, I think, is big enough. Its only 3 gallons big [I think. The dimensions are 31.5x18x20cm] and the turtles seem to enjoy it very much. I just want to make sure that the current space to adequate for my turtles John <Oh no my friend, 3 gallons is no good, must be larger, much larger.  These fellas are going to grow, and fairly quickly, up to 12in.  In the long run you are looking at between 80gal and 180gal, or even an outdoor pond depending upon your climate.  The link below is to an article I wrote one morning while drinking too much coffee, give it a read, hopefully it will give you a little more info on what you are getting into. -Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm  >

Young Red Eared Sliders Hey Pufferpunk, <You've got Gage tonight> I would like to ask, why doesn't my RES eat anything. <My guess is they are cold.> I got a new heating pad as well as a rock which they can go under and over; however, my only problem is that they are not eating anything [five days and counting]. <What is the temperature in the tank?  A heating pad may not be enough, they are also hard to regulate.  78degrees would be good.> I fed the turtles the turtle sticks, some lettuce, and ham [which is diluted so that its not really salty]. How can I make them eat? <I'd leave the ham out of the diet, depending upon their size, try some night crawlers (cut up if needed), wax worms, small crickets, and the turtle sticks.> They are just baby RES' so how often should they eat? <Every couple days at least, they are young and growing.> They seems to swim around some but when I just put food in front of them, they don't eat it. <Make sure your water is warm enough and try some worms, everyone loves worms.  Best Regards, Gage> Thanks, John      

Feeding Young Red Eared Sliders O hey Gage, should I go out in my backyard and try and find an earthworm, wash it off with plenty of water [and soap?], and feed it to the turtles? <Worms from the yard will work, rinse with water, no soap.  You can also get them from the bait shop, if the turtles are really small you can use blood worms sold in the frozen fish food section, just thaw them out before feeding.> Does the worm have to be dead when I feed it or do they like it wiggling around in the water? <Wiggling.> My brother said that one of the smaller turtles ate something but the other one didn't. Since one is starting to nibble at things; shouldn't the other do the same? I mean, I don't want one of them to eat and the other one starving when I think that its just not ready yet. Also, is it true that babies don't eat when they are born for awhile until their egg sac goes away or something? If so, how long do you need to wait until they do start eating? Thanks For Your Help John <Whoa, I did not realize they were that young.  I am not sure about the egg sac, I imagine they would absorb it after hatching, but I do not know the time period, and do not have any books handy here at work.  I would recommend purchasing or getting a book from a local library that goes over breeding and rearing hatchling turtles if yours are that young.  Water Quality and temperature are going to be important in raising your turtles up.  You should also find a good reptile vet in your area and have them checked out, especially if they do not start eating soon.  If they have recently been moved to a new tank it could take them a few days to settle down and get adjusted.  There is a good care sheet for sliders located here http://www.anapsid.org/reslider.html I may have already sent that, not sure.  Best Regards -Gage>

Turtle not eating 11/06/03  <Hi, Pufferpunk here. I'm not sure why this popped back into my inbox. I'm sending this back to you, so please forgive me if you already got it. I added a few more foods for your turtle.>>  I would like to ask a few question about my baby Red-Eared Slider Turtle (I'm not really sure if it really is a RES, but it looks exactly the same; however, the red part is yellow and the shell is green) They're only like 1 inch long and for three days, they haven't been eating the turtle stick food thingy. I'm scared that they would die. They are occasionally active and like to dig around. I'm thinking of buying a heating pad for the tank (which is 6"W x 3" D x 4"H) Do I need the heating  <How many turtles do you have? There are special tanks for aquatic turtles w/half of the side glass cut out. That's where you would hang a filter. You need about 2/3 water & 1/3 land, or at least a floating island for your turtle to bask on. Then you can get a clamp-on lamp at the hardware store for a heat source. Keep in mind that your turtle will eventually grow as large as a dinner plate. You have a long while though. Try feeding your turtle/s bloodworms, frozen/freeze-dried krill & or plankton. They will also like crickets, pieces of fish, scallops, squid, or anything I find for cheap at the fish dept of my grocery store.>  <Good luck w/your new friends--Pufferpunk>

Red Eared Slider Feeding Hello: I have a 1 year old red eared slider that's about 3 inches long.  Currently I have him in a 20 Long Fish tank with the water level two-thirds full.  I'm keeping the water temperature at 78 degrees.  Is this correct?  I'm feeding him moist cat food now (salmon flavor -- which he's crazy about -- more so than the ZooMed products) and his poop is a very dark green.  Is that what his poop should look like?  Previously, he was eating ZooMed Can-O-Worms, Mini Crickets, and Earth Worms and his poop was a lighter color and it looked like mini sausage links.  I changed the food for variety purposes and cost (Can-O-Products costs $5-$8/can and the cat food is .39 cents a can).  The tank has a 18 inch 3% UV / UVB light that's on from 7AM - 11PM.  Also, the tank has a terrace with ramp and a lower submerged level that I built. Brian <Hey Brian, everything sounds good except for the cat food, if you are going to use it, it should be a very small part of his diet.  I would pick up some floating turtle sticks to use as a staple, and feed worms and crickets for variety.  He will need a larger enclosure as he grows.  Keep up the good work, check here for more info, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm

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