Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs About Turtle Disease/Health 3

Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton, Turtle eye diseases; Recognising and treating eye diseases in pet turtles by Neale Monks, So your turtle has the Flu? Recognizing and treating respiratory infections in pet turtles by Neale Monks, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Shell Rot in Turtles, Turtles, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care,

FAQs on: Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 2,
FAQs on Turtle Health by Type: Diagnosis, Environmental, Traumas, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,
FAQs on RES Health by Type:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Traumas, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,
FAQs on:
Shell Rot, RES Disease, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,

My pet turtle      2/20/17
So my turtle seems to have a spot on his shell that is soft and I have done a lot of research and it sounds like soft shell. That when a turtle has soft shell is to get a vet. So I asked my parents to get a vet for them because I don't want them to die. I love them so much but they said no I don't think they understand. So please help me I do not want them to die I love them.
<Adam; sorry to state, our "turtle folks" seem to be out, away from their computers. Please read here re other people's experiences, cures with similar soft shell issues:
Bob Fenner>

I'm not sure what's wrong with my Turtle could you help? Mystery deaths, w/o much info.    12/7/16
<Hiya, Darrel here>
My name is Emma and I recently got 3 Brisbane short necked turtles for out pool that we have covered into a pond due to no one swimming anymore.
Unfortunately one of the turtles was found dead a few weeks after we got them, not sure what killed it. Anyway, my family and I have noticed that one of the other 2 turtles hasn't been seen for a few weeks until today about 11:30am Australian time, we're not sure if they're both males or both females or what their sex is but when I spotted the 'missing' turtle today it's shell was bobbing up and down in and out of the water which I have never seen before, I have tried Googling answers but I couldn't find anything useful. Could you please maybe help me?
Kind regards
<Unfortunately, Emma, we get a tremendous amount of letters such as this and there is very little we can do to help. Without pictures or a more detailed description of the behavior or activities it's impossible to tell what may or may not be going on. When in doubt, with a water turtle, get them out of the water and get them somewhere warm and dry for a while. We call it Dry Docking. Any hard shell water turtle can go a week or two with no water at all and can go literally for YEARS out of water if they are given a short bath every day or so (like 10 minutes) to drink, poop and eat. >
<Most of the problems a turtle can have get worse when they are in a warm, humid environment and get a little better when they are warm and dry. It doesn't cure the turtle, but it helps him heal himself a little bit better.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >

No body in my turtle shell      8/25/16
Hello Crew:
I completed the Google search (all I could come up with was a gimmick for "answernow.com" or something like that name where you pay for an "expert" to give you an answer but if you don't like the answer they will refund your money.) They started with asking me for $28.00 before getting started. NOT.
<Smart choice>
Anyhow, I have, had a roughly 15" yellow ear slider named, Mr. Big,
<a perfect name for a turtle that size>
in my outdoor pond in Florida. I fed him/her feeder gold fish about once a month, purchasing 10-20 each time.
And just let him eat of course when ever. I supplemented with floating turtle sticks and diced romaine a few times a month. His habitat is overgrown with flowers and greenery he always seemed happy. He would come up to the door when I came out to feed them as did Crush my red ear slider, from Sacramento.
So, I left about three weeks ago with someone agreeing to flush out the pond (I insert my garden hose and let it run for about an hour this flushes the water out over the edge soaking into the ground around the pond watering all the lawn and other plants.
<You might consider a filter as a secondary method of doing this>
You can see clear down to the bottom when you do this. This pond is about 5'x5'x3' deep and sits inside a security fenced 25'x15' area.
Well, according to the care giver when I told him what I found he swears he saw Mr. Big just this weekend. I think he is lying and forgot to change the water, therefore causing the turtle to get so weak/sick that he couldn't get out of the pond and he drowned.
<I agree with this idea. Turtles don't just leave their shells.>
When I went out yesterday to feed and talk to Mr. Big and Crush, only Crush greeted me at his gate. Mr. Big stayed in the water. This wasn't like him to not acknowledge me so I touched him on his back. This usually gets him moving; this time it did not. Then I pushed on his shell to maybe wake him; this still prompted no movement. I then attempted to pick him up but his shell finally tips to the side and I see no body of Mr. Big!!! When I picked up his shell, there is NO sign of his body at all!!!
What other explanation could there be?
<It sounds like something happened wile you were gone. I would suggest finding a new caretaker before buying a new turtle if that's what you desire. The only plausible explanation is that it died and was decomposed or eaten by the time you got to it. Sorry about your loss, and good luck in the future!>
Thank you for your reply!
<You're welcome>
Re No body in my turtle shell      8/26/16

> Hello Crew:
Hiya Darrel here
> I completed the Google search (all I could come up with was a gimmick for
> "answernow.com" or something like that name where you pay for an "expert"
> to give you an answer but if you don't like the answer they will refund
> your money. They started with asking me for $28.00 before getting started.
> NOT.
Good Choice
> Anyhow, I have, had a roughly 15" yellow ear slider named, Mr. Big, in my
> outdoor pond in Florida. I fed him/her feeder gold fish about once a
> month, purchasing 10-20 each time. And just let him eat of course when
> ever. I supplemented with floating turtle sicks and diced romaine a few
> times a month. His habitat is overgrown with flowers and greenery he
> always seemed happy. He would come up to the door when I came out to feed
> them as did Crush my red ear slider, from Sacramento.
Sounds nice
> So, I left about three weeks ago with someone agreeing to flush out the
> pond (I insert my garden hose and let it run for about an hour this flushes
> the water out over the edge soaking into the ground around the pond
> watering all the lawn and other plants. You can see clear down to the
> bottom when you do this. This pond is about 5'x5'x3' deep and sits inside
> a security fenced 25'x15' area.
About the same situation as my pond
> Well, according to the care giver when I told him what I found he swears he
> saw Mr. Big just this weekend. I think he is lying and forgot to change
> the water, therefore causing the turtle to get so weak/sick that he
> couldn't get out of the pond and he drowned.
> When I went out yesterday to feed and talk to Mr. Big and Crush, only Crush
> greeted me at his gate. Mr. Big stayed in the water. This wasn't like him
> to not acknowledge me so I touched him on his back. This usually gets him
> moving; this time it did not. Then I pushed on his shell to maybe wake
> him; this still prompted no movement. I then attempted to pick him up but
> his shell finally tips to the side and I see no body of Mr. Big!!! When I
> picked up his shell, there is NO sign of his body at all!!!
> What other explanation could there be?
On behalf of Bob, Neale, Sue and the crew, we're sorry for your loss, Connie. When we do out best and we still get these results it's a sad situation and when we look for causes we sometimes accidentally cross over and look for blame. When you find a turtle shell - just the shell - in or out of the water, the cause is 99.999% predation. A raccoon or a heron or other natural hunter ... none of which are good at honoring security fences, found Mr. Big at a time he was unaware. They key (in case you were wondering) is no sign at all of the flesh. When a turtle drowns they drown intact and very quickly decompose to the point where predators won't touch them. Sadly, short of a screen mesh over the top of the pond itself this is simply an occasional hazard of outdoor keeping. My latest solution to this problem happened quite accidentally. I was walking down the street one day and apparently tripped and fell over two over-sized adult German Shepherd rescue dogs. I no longer have raccoon, skunk, bird or squirrel problems ...
but on the other hand sometimes I have to stay in the living room and sleep on the couch when there's no more room on my bed. It's a fair trade!
> Thank you for your reply!
> Connie
Re: No body in my turtle shell      8/26/16

I just got done cleaning out my pond. I flooded it I didn't feel like draining it with the sump pump the sky looked like it was ready to open up but it hasn't yet. What I do is drop my garden hose inside the pond (roughly 6'x6'x3' deep) and turn it on for about 2 hours. letting the water run over and out through the rest of the habitat. I could see some bones in the bottom when I turned off the water and began scooping out the debris. As I scooped I was starting to get some tissue as well. Extremely upsetting NOT the way one wants to take up and prepare for burial of a pet!
I will be talking to said care(less)giver again you can bet on that!

Turtle query. Hlth. concern; immotile       8/22/16
Hello and thanks for your time.
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have a turtle, and he just seems to stay in one spot of the aquarium all day, near the bubbles of where water is coming out into tank (filter). Is this ok?
<It would be better if he moved around like normal>
Also, he can see his reflection in glass in that area, should I try and cover this up so he is not " mesmerized", as that's what I'm thinking is the problem.
<Could be, but usually it's a fear of leaving that safe spot>
Also, I've noticed that he never goes up on his dock. I spoke to pet shop the other day and they suggested a lamp, which I purchased. He went up on it one day, but I haven't caught him again doing it, just swimming in his bubbles.
What can I do to make him swim around his whole tank and go on his dock!
<First thing: read this article and make SURE you understand what it says -- AND THEN UNDERSTAND that he NEEDS everything it says.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Turtle question; hatchling cond.s     7/25/16
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
My turtle is a hatchling he is very small and I recently got him about 1 month ago. I have UVB light a heat lamp and a basking area I also have the water at 80 degrees.
<That water is too hot. Water should be room temperature and no warmer and the basking area around 88. The goal here is to offer him a choice of warm or cool and let him decide what he needs. Right now you’re giving him a choice between warm and warmer>
I recently noticed near his tail the edge of his shell seems soft well it bends sort of.
That is the only place effected.
<That’s normal for a turtle his size>
The turtle is active and eating he has no other problems and I recently got him a cuttlebone for calcium.
<I’m not a big fan of supplements, Mercedes. If the diet is correct then you don’t need supplements and if the diet is not correct, then we should correct the diet. That said, a calcium bone that they might chew on doesn’t hurt. The idea of putting calcium in the water (those calcium blocks that dissolve) is a waste of your money. Calcium dissolved in the water doesn’t get into the turtle’s body in any effective quantities>
<read here about everything you need to do – don’t skip anything http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Need urgent help.... Turtle eye dis. reading
I have 2 res 1 are perfect and 2 are not it has swallo eyes and not eat last 10 days I buy taiya eye drops today and I apply but what can I do to save him plz help me
<Please read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/turteyedisart.htm
And write back w/ further concerns if all is not clear. Bob Fenner>

Sleepy Turtle       10/19/15
This question seems like a little thing but I'm a bit scared. My turtle is sleeping a lot during the day and he never used to do that. Should I be worried?
- Jordan
<It can be a very bad sign when reptiles become lethargic. But it can also mean nothing much at all. Here's the bad situation: lack of warmth, lack of UV-B light, and lack of proper diet. All these things can cause slow decline in reptiles, and eventually they reach a point where they're dying.
Slowly, for sure, but dying. Here's the good situation: temperate zone reptiles kept at room temperature will often slow down, quite normally, during autumn and may even rest up completely during the winter. As day length increases in spring they'll perk up, and by the middle of spring they're back to their normal selves. So basically, ask yourself whether you're keeping a turtle that rests in winter (clue: none of the common pet species like Sliders or Red-Ears do; at least, not safely). Now review its environment. When was the last time you changed its heat lamp? When did you last change its UV-B lamp? Both these need replacing every 6-12 months.
Without heat, reptiles of all kinds become lethargic quickly, and without UV-B, long term problems develop that make reptiles very sick. Let me send you to some reading, here:
Should help! Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Indian roof turtle       9/25/15
I have an Indian roof turtle (*Kachuga tecta*) named Begum who is 15 years 6 months old now. She has been sick and off her diet for more than a month now. I took her to the vet and he said its a respiratory infection. She is wheezing and gasping a lot.
We are giving her Enroflaxin antibiotic injections (3 doses are done) and putting her on nebuliser (every day). I recently read about dry docking. So she has been dry docking for the past 3 days and I'm keeping her warm with a 40W bulb (since room temperature is 22-29 deg C). We are now force feeding her with cod liver oil and the vet also gave her a vit A injection.
She has been extremely restless - and has to gasp to take air in. She was up all night one day, but seems to sleep a bit now near the 40W bulb while dry docking. The problem is - I do not know if she is recovering or just tired after all the gasping. We can also see some red spots on her front legs (the vet suggests its haemorrhage) and red spots on the inside of her
mouth. Her shell is also deformed, lately. Please help so that Begum may get some relief soon.
<Turtles take a long time - sometimes months -- to recover from infections.
Patience is a must. Also, regarding the Cod Liver Oil and things of that nature ... once you've got her started, don't force feed her every day - three times a week is enough. Remember that the Cod Liver Oil is GOOD - but the force feeding is stressful. We want to find a balance.>
<one last thing, I'd try to get the temperature to 32C. 88-92 degrees(f) is a better temperature for Begum -- the bacteria multiply faster at higher temperatures, so the antibiotics also work faster>
Warm regards,

Re: Sick Indian roof turtle      10/4/15
Firstly, thank you for the prompt reply.
<You’re welcome, I’ve been traveling much lately and don’t have access to the internet.>
The vet shifted from 3 doses of Enroflaxin to 7 doses of cephalosporin, plus nebuliser. After that and continuation of dry docking, we can see that there is quite a lot of improvement in Begum's health now. The swelling of the soft parts between the legs has gone now and the gasping has stopped.
<That’s good to hear>
However, she is still not eating. We are continuing giving her cod liver oil once in three days - as you suggested.
<Appetite goes away when you’re sick PLUS these treatments, while necessary and obviously working – are an assault on Begum’s system. Let’s wait a little longer before we worry about appetite. Next visit to the vet, ask for a Vitamin A, D & Calcium injection. Just one.>
She had her eyes closed for a day. The vet recommended applying Moxifloxacin ointment on the eyes. She has now half-opened them, but still sleeps a lot.
<she’s weak, that is not surprising or unexpected>
Plus, we can see some mucusy and bloody mixture at the corners of Begum's mouth, which she releases into the water whenever we let her in her tank (only for 5-10 minutes, twice a day). I have attached an image of the same.
<that’s fine, don’t worry about it>
Also, her shell is deformed and I suspect it is metabolic bone disease (after going through some forums and websites). I have also attached an image showing the shell deformation. What treatment do you recommend for that?
<Calcium (note the injection above) – but worry about that AFTER she beats this illness>
Also, we noticed that her nails have grown very long in a very short span (of two days!). Is it a cause of concern? (Image attached)
The stools that she passes are very hard and rubbery. Initially, we panicked as we thought it looked like some organ. But it later disintegrated in the water. Is this because she is only having the cod liver oil? (Image attached)
Earlier, we did not put a UV light above her basking area. She used to be in direct sunlight for two hours, basking for about 4-5 hours and otherwise in water. Also, her diet was only lettuce leaves - she refused to have turtle / fish food. Now, we have got a UVB lamp (Hagen exo terra reptile UVB 100 13W). However, the website does not guide us regarding how long should the UV light be kept on. Could you advise on that?
<For healthy turtle care, I match the UVB light to the daily cycle in my area. For Dry docking and treatment, you could leave it on for 24 hours if you want – 18 hours at least>
<Lettuce is a really bad diet!! It contains no nutrients at all and is likely to be what led us here in the first place.>
<Some turtles are known to ‘fixate’ and accept one kind of food and refuse all others. Box Turtles (Terrapene Carolina) are notorious for this. I had one that would only eat strawberries. We fought for over a YEAR. For a solid year she would turn away from the food I offered and every day I wondered if she would die … and for almost 400 days she ate nothing AT ALL… until one day, like it had never happened, she start to eat the earthworm I’d offered. During that time she had several injections of glucose, Vitamins A, D and E and Calcium … but no solid food for over a year.>
<Let’s get Begum health first then worry about diet>
There is very little information available on care if Indian roof turtle (Pangshura / Kachuga tecta). Is there any specific I should think of while caring for Begum?
<Yes, I agree. We know much more about their skeletal arrangement than how to keep one alive. My suggestion is the basics: Clean Cool Water, Warm Dry Basking, Low-Fat, High Protein Diet and UVB>
<one thing, several biologists had reported them as poor swimmers. If this is the case then any aquatic environment I would make would have a least one sloped side so Begum could just “walk” up the slope to breathe. At least, when Begum heals and it’s tie to return her to a normal cycle, I’d START with that to make it easy on her>
Also, when I put Begum in water for some time, she starts floating. Im really worried.
<She shouldn’t be in water deep enough to float!! Just enough to cover her cloaca and enough to let her drink.>
Warm regards,
<Dhruvang – you and Begum still have a long road ahead to full recovery. Be patient and consistent>


Re: Sick Indian roof turtle      10/4/15
Just got your reply, but I have sad news. Begum passed away on 30th September. She was really slow and not responding since morning. By afternoon, her eyes were looking sunken in and there was no movement except breathing. I suspected she was dehydrated and kept her feet immersed in shallow water, but either it didn't help or it was too late. She breathed her last at around 3pm, exactly 15 years and 6.5 months after we got her.
And the house doesn't seem the same without her.
I want to thank you for putting up such a great website forum that help people like me who do not have access to vets specialising in reptiles and amphibians. Also, for your replies in trying to assist Begum's recovery.
Thanks a lot!
<On behalf of Bob Fenner, Neale, Sue and the entire crew, we're sorry for your deep loss. This is the problem with reptiles and fish ... by the time an illness is noted it is usually so far progressed that recovery is extremely difficult. I will say that with a caring person like you, Begum most likely had a longer and easier life than she would have had in the wild, so should another turtle come into your keeping, that turtle would be very, very lucky.>
<Again, sorry for your loss>

Malaysian turtle sick :(     6/4/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My Malaysian turtle is about one year old, it had become lousy a couple of month before,
Now it has stopped walking and its limbs seem to have shrunk in size..and a lot thinner than before...its skin has started shedding and it floats in a tilted fashion...it eats regular turtle food...I am really concerned about it...
Please help as soon as possible :(
PS I am from India and it's humid in here..in case its due to the weather
<Well, Shaurya, I agree there is a problem. The little guy has been sick for a while and slowly getting worse even before we noticed. The best, proper course of treatment would be to get him to a veterinarian for an examination. Specifically I'd ask for injections of Vitamins A & D as well as Calcium.>
<If that's not possible then our next course is to treat him at home.
First off, there are many different kinds of turtles called "Malaysian" turtles and not all are fully aquatic. Please research on the Internet and verify that your turtle is an aquatic variety. But in ANY case, during his illness we want to keep him warm and dry - we call it "dry docking" because when a turtle is sick, the wet tropical environment is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus that can take advantage of a sick animal>
<As long as he is eating, add to chicken or beef liver to his diet. Just a few very small pieces that he'll eat along with his pellets -- liver is filled with iron and vitamins that he needs right now. Read more here:
While this article is targeted toward the Red Eared Slider - every section is also right for your little guy. Read, treat and luck!>

little white bubble      3/17/15
I have a male painted turtle that is about 6 years old. He has a very small white spot on the back of his neck that looks like a blister. What could this be and how would I treat it? His tank is kept very clean, his appetite hasn't changed, and he is very active. He is the only turtle in his tank.
<If the spot isn't infected, then "dry docking" the turtle for a while, and using H2O2 or povidone-iodine to clean the wound/blister should work. Don't be afraid to keep the turtle fry for days, weeks. Provided the turtle is warm and has access to drinking water, they're fine like this for a long time. Aquarium water is inevitably a bacteria-laden soup, hence keeping the turtle dry. Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm
The section on dry-dock about halfway down is the bit you want to read closely.

Turtles... random... disease...     1/15/15
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My turtle usually has all four legs on the gravel in his tank at all times. He had about 4 inches of water in his tank. I woke up this morning and he was standing underneath his basking dock and it looked like his back was stuck to the bottom of it. He still stays mostly grounded. His front legs stay down but his left back leg doesn't stay on the ground. His whole back side rises up as if it's floating but not his front half. So he ends up at an angle and can't get his back half back down. He can still swim and everything, but I didn't know if it was normal for them to partially float like that.
<Ah. The back floater. There are a number of conditions that can cause this, none of them BY THEMSELVES are serious. Sometimes they get gas bubbles in their intestinal tract and it tends to make them float unevenly. Sometimes it's the back, sometimes it’s the side. This works its way out after a few days as … well … as gas bubbles in our intestinal tracts do.>
<It's also possible that there is simply an air bubble trapped in his abdomen and those just come and go.>
<Now for serious things: An internal infection. A bacterial infection can cause gas bubbles in the abdomen, but that will be accompanied by a sickness and the sickness will be accompanied by other symptoms: no appetite, lethargy, dull-looking eyes, basking all the time, soaking all the time, bloody stools, etc.>
<As long as he's just an odd floater for a week or so and otherwise alert, active ... basking and soaking like he usually does -- and eating, I wouldn't worry.>
Thank you for responding!
<No Charge!>

Want medicine for my turtle     11/11/14
I have read your suggestions and understood that my turtle has vitamin a deficiency...I'm from a place we don't have a reptile vet. Can u please state the website where I can buy vitamin a drops r pills for my RES turtle ? thanku..waiting for your reply
<You should be able to buy Vitamin A in liquid form at any pharmacy or drug store online or in your area.>
<If your turtle is eating, the best source of Vitamin A is small pieces of chicken or beef liver.>
<If you use vitamin A drops, dip his food in some of it as well so that he gets it internally which is where it's most needed. Also, don't forget the UV-B light!! This is an important factor in curing any vitamin deficiency.>

Re: TURTLE HELP!!!     8/13/14
I have a lot of questions, but I promise I'm a good mother to my turtle.
However, my heater and UV light broke because the PowerPoint went haywire.
If the water gets too cold for him. Is that dangerous for his health?
<Assuming the turtle is indoors and assuming you live south of the Arctic Circle, then no heater is needed. The water should be room temperature (68-73 degrees) and the basking area 88 to 93 degrees - so that he has a choice to warm up or cool down. Water hotter than 75 degrees begins to become unhealthy for him. So -- good news - No Heater needed. Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Terrapin not using his back legs!      7/14/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I wandered if you could help me, I have a yellow bellied slider, I've only had him for a year now, I'm his 3rd owner so am unsure about age and gender although I am pretty sure he's male.
<Sliders get sexually mature with size, not age, so he may not be big enough to easily tell yet>
He's been really lethargic lately, sleeping a lot of the time, not basking, however he's still eating completely normally. I noticed last night that he's not using his back legs when swimming and will quite often just let
one or both of them drag behind him, when you pick him up out of the water he kicks them about but it's almost as if when he's in the water, he doesn't know what to do with them anymore. He has started to kick one of them about whilst in the water today but the other one he is just literally letting it drag behind him.
Is there anyone that could possibly have some advice for me to follow as this is my first terrapin and I'm not too sure what will come out of this?
<What comes to mind is a vitamin deficiency. This could be caused by diet or lighting/heat or a combination of things. The first thing I would do is isolate him (we call it dry docking) because when a turtle is ill, the warm, wet tank can cause more harm than good. Read here about dry-docking and treating for vitamin deficiency.
Feed him small pieces of beef or chicken liver.>
<Incorrect lighting can lead to metabolic problems as well, Read here and make sure ALL your care is up to the job:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<The important thing with a turtle that has trouble swimming or is lethargic is to not leave him alone in water deep enough than he may drown>

sick turtle      7/10/14
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I woke up this morning to find my painted turtle on her back motionless at the bottom of our tank. She has never done this before. I tried moving her to her rock and she remained motionless. I believed her to be dead and removed her from the tank and placed her in a box and I was preparing to bury her when I noticed the towel she is wrapped in move!!
So now I know she is alive but do not know what could have caused her to behave this way? My vet isn't in due to the holiday. Any thoughts on here behavior and any tips to help her until I can get her to my vet?
<Yes --- keep her warm and DRY for now. Do NOT put her in water where she might drown.
Read here under dry-docking
<When it's time to hydrate her, place her in a shallow bowl of room temperature water that is not as high as her shoulders (so that she has to bend her head down to drink, but not drown)>
<As fast as what caused this, it could be a range of environmental or dietary issues. Read HERE to see how her care is compared to what she needs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thank you!

Reddish Turt       4/23/14
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I do not know much about this turtle due to the fact that it is my son’s turtle who has gone to the Philippines for a year.
<The turtle has gone to the Philippines for the year?? Where did she get that kind of money?>
I have read hours on care for this turtle, and I am looking for a vet.
<Oh wait … your SON when to the Philippines for a year leaving you with the turtle. THAT makes more sense!>
I also have just moved here, and live at the border of Georgia in Wildwood. So far most vets will not see turtles; especially, in Tennessee.
<I know that problem well. Know the difference between Zoos in Chicago versus Zoos in Tennessee? In Tennessee …. The plaque that has the name of the animal also has a recipe …..>
The turtle does not appear sick, and he is eating a lot every day. I see now that could be a problem. He will not eat veggies, but he will eat a lot of earthworms (from outside) and store turtle food.
<The AMOUNT we feed our pets is often their biggest health problem>
I have cleaned all of his water out twice in the less than a month I have had him and wash everything including the gravel. Today I came across a site that indicates that may be a problem. He pushed a section over the filter out and fell about two feet into a bucket last week. He did not appear to be hurt.
<Turtles are incredibly resilient. We've all experienced that or something similar and the turtles usually survive just fine.>
He’s coloration and baggy skin is what I am concerned about. Today, I took a good look at his basting area which is made from rocks. He could be hurting himself as he is getting back into the water. I have pictures which I am emailing to you. My zip code is 30757 if you know of a vet that will see a turtle in the area.
<Jeannie, from what I'm seeing and hearing, I'm not as concerned as I would have been many years ago. The reddish coloration can be a sign of sepsis, but that is a last-stage infection. By the time an animal becomes septic it hasn't eaten or basked or barely moved for a month or more. It just doesn't happen in otherwise healthy animals.>
<The problem is not water quality … but even so sliders are very tolerant of water quality problems. It doesn't appear to be environmental either. What I mean is we often see turtles with reddish marks on the plastron (bottom shell) because they bask on and scrape along red bricks or old, red logs, but that's not the case here. My next thought is dyes in the food. You should be feeding her a diet of Koi pellets and an occasional earthworm. The baggy skin is just not an issue unless this has come on very suddenly, which I doubt, and the coloration could be natural or a result of internal bleeding from that fall… the latter being a condition that will subside over the coming weeks>
<My suggestion is to not fret and not go to a vet. If she is active, alert, swimming, basking and eating, then chances are very much that she (and you) will be just fine.>
Thanks, Jeannie

Sick Turtle      4/1/14
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have had a Mississippi (or Eastern) Mud Turtle for about ten years.
Recently, he has become sluggish.
<How recently? A day or two is not a problem - a week or two IS a problem>
He hardly ever moves around, and often stays in the same spot for several hours at a time. He doesn't seem to be
eating anything, and he seems to have a little bit of flaking on his head.
Any ideas? It has been hard to find information on this particular species.
<For all practical purposes a Mud turtle can be treated like a Red Eared Slider -- in fact almost all the hard-shelled water turtles require and respond to the same basic care. Mud, musk and snapping turtles differ in that they are more aquatic - but they DO haul out from time to time and need basking and UV lamps same as a slider.>
<As with any turtle, when they become sick and/or debilitated their water habitat becomes their enemy more than their friend, so the first thing I'd do is take him out for 24 hours - let him dry out completely - and then put him in a shallow bowl of clear water. Give him a few minutes to get accustomed and then offer him a tiny bit of food. Perhaps an earthworm or a very small piece of beef or chicken liver.>

Help needed for male Indian Roofed Turtle    3/23/14
Please help me.
<You bet!>
I've had an Indian roofed turtle for eight months now.
<From this angle he looks a lot like a Red Eared Slider>
I keep him in a turtle tank with a water heater set at 26 C. I change his water at least once a week, and put in filtered water.
<That's fine. Normally I leave my turtle's water unheated unless you live where the temp can drop below 8C or so>
I feed him turtle food(4-6 sticks) or freeze dried worms twice a day.
<Very little nutritional value in freeze dried worms. The simplest and best diet is simple a high quality Koi pellet. It's vegetable-based and very well balanced>
Yesterday I noticed these balloon type patches of white loose skin on his hind legs which stretch out when he kicks but gather up when he's relaxed.
I'm not sure what it is and I'm worried.
<Don't worry>
The skin isn't there on his front legs. Please tell me if I need to be worried, and what I can do to help him
<Your turtle is getting a bit chubby. That's where it starts, right there in the hind quarters. Now, a certain part of that is normal and it's healthy as long as it doesn't get out of control. Now that he's no longer a baby, you should cut down a bit on the feeding. Start by feeding him 6 sticks ONCE a day ... then cut down to 5 days a week. He'll protest -- he'll act frantic -- he associates you with food. It will make you feel bad that he is acting SO hungry .... but he's trying to trick you to get more food. Don't let him win!>
I live in a country which doesn't have vets that look after turtle
<You seem to be doing a FINE job of caring for him!>
I've attached pictures for your reference.
Hope to hear from you soon

re: fw: Help needed for male Indian Roofed Turtle      4/8/14
Thank you so much for replying!
<No problem>
But my turtle is still not okay and I don't think its related to weight.
He had stopped eating for nearly ten days. Recently his appetite is back but he's not at all active, especially out of the water. He used to run  all over my bed and climb my pillows! If I take him out of the water now he just likes to sleep.
<That is a sign of illness - or at least an indicator that things are not well>
I think he's constipated as well. I haven't seen any poop in his tub for nearly 5 days now!
<well - if he stopped eating 10 days ago. No poop after 5 days ago is about right. Now that he is eating a little bit, you should start seeing poop in 4 or 5 more days>
The size of the bubbles have also not reduced. I'm attaching a better picture of the bubbles that are on his hind legs.
<The pictures are not definitive. They look just like a turtle that is getting chubby, but no activity is a sign that something else may be at work. I strongly suggest you read here about what we call "dry-docking" and take him out of the water for at least 4 weeks. Once a turtle starts to get sick, the warm, wet environment of his normal tank becomes a factor working against him. Keep him warm and dry for 4 weeks, with a daily bath and feeding. His activity level will be down, it's stressful to be out of his element - but if he is working on some sort of internal fungal or bacterial infection, the dry-docking will really help him:
Hope to hear from you again!
re: fw: Help needed for male Indian Roofed Turtle      4/8/14
Will try it.
Thanks so much for the quick response!

Re: Help needed for male Indian Roofed Turtle     4/15/14
Your advice on dry docking worked! His bubbles have gone now!
<It is a LOOOONG process. All you have done so farf is help alleviate a few symptoms>
However I now have another problem. I think he's got RI. He keeps opening and closing his mouth...and today when I put him in his food bowl to eat, he sneezed three times. (Twice in the morning, once in the evening. He didn't eat anything both times).
<Same problem>
What can I do to help him with this?
<You already are. Dry-dock him for at least 6 weeks and with a bit of luck he'll get stronger and stronger as his immune system beats this.>
Thanks again, in advance.
Wouldn't know what Itchy (that's my turtle's name!) And I would do without your help!
<Just keep Itchy warm and dry as he heals>

Red eye terrapin   2/18/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I bought my son a terrapin recently. We brought it from Singapore to Malaysia. While in Malaysia, the terrapin started to develop white spot on the shell, towards the tail.
<A white spot can be many things, often it's a sign of fungus which can often happen when the turtle does not bask in enough sunlight to get completely dry.>
<If no UV-B light is available, direct sunlight is good as long as the turtle can get out from under it after some time.  10 minutes a day in a dry pan under direct sunlight is OK as long as he can then be put back into cool water.>
Since then, the terrapin refuse to eat.  We normally feed the terrapin with Nutrafin basix which according to pet shop, contains all the nutrient required by the terrapin.
<I use Koi food which is available in pellets at most pet stores.  It's a great and balanced diet of almost all water turtles and it's very inexpensive>
Appreciate your advise as I'm not aware of any reptile vet in Singapore.
<No reason to rush to a vet just yet.  Please read here and understand the need for UV-B light and see if you can arrange for some sunlight for him each day.   He should have a warm basking place and cool water so that he can choose what he needs. 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<In most cases a fungal infection will clear up after a few days of access to good sunlight.  If you feel it needs to be treated, read here about
fungal infections: 
Re: Red eye terrapin       2/26/14

Hi Darrel,
<Hiya Esther>
My baby terrapin is still not eating and I notice that is back legs are coated with a thin whitish coating. I managed to find AZOO bacterial and fungal drops meant for turtles and tortoise.
<OK, now yes - this is beginning to get serious.  The very first thing to do is to "dry dock" him.   Water (and a warm moist environment) are no longer his friend.   We need to keep him warm and DRY except for a short bath daily.   Apply the anti-fungal drops according to directions, but the dryness and exposure to proper UV lighting is you most potent weapon against the fungus.
Please read all about it here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  > Also got Nutrafin slow release calcium supplements. But I'm concern that the terrapin is not eating. It had been about 10 days already and it seems to be very weak. Hardly move now. What can do with the non eating issue and can terrapin continue to survive not eating for so many days?
<10 days is not a terribly long time to not eat… but not moving and seeming to sleep all the time is a sign but he has been sick for much longer than 10 days and we just didn't notice.   If it was possible, I'd ask a veterinarian to give him a multi-vitamin & calcium injection.   Any veterinarian can do this, even one that treats dogs and cats - since the injections are the same and the dosages are available from the manufacturer's web site.>
<If that is not possible then it's not likely you can force-feed the terrapin.  Instead, keep him warm and dry and the instructions say… help him fight off the fungal infection and his daily luke-warm water bath may stimulate his appetite.>
re: Red eye terrapin       2/26/14

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately the terrapin died last Sunday.
Hopefully we'll be better with the next terrapin. We actually took care of two terrapin successfully and they are now as big as a small saucer.
Didn't encounter any problems with them. Still can't understand why this baby terrapin became so sick. Anyway thanks for all the help.
Re: Red eye terrapin      2/28/14

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately the terrapin died last Sunday.
<On behalf of Bob Fenner, Neale, Sue and the whole crew, Esther, please accept our condolences>
Hopefully we'll be better with the next terrapin. We actually took care of two terrapin successfully and they are now as big as a small saucer. Didn't encounter any problems with them. Still can't understand why this baby terrapin became so sick.
<The fact that he died after 10 days was an indication that he was sick far longer than that.   It's the major drawback of dealing with reptiles and fish... they work very hard at looking and acting normal even when they're sick, so by the time they show signs on the outside they've been sick for a long time>
<the best treatment, they say, is prevention.  So the main thing we can do for our little ones is make sure and double-sure that all of our care meets their needs>
Anyway thanks for all the help.
<You are most welcome.  Send us pictures of the bigger ones!! -- Darrel>

Spiny Softshell Shell Lump, HELP!    1/27/14
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My step son "rescued" a spiny soft shell turtle about 7 years ago from a sandy river in southern Louisiana. Ever since, I have been taking care of her. I have done a lot of research and believe she is a female Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle.  I keep her in a tank with about 4 inches of fine, smooth gravel with about 8-10 inches of water. I use spring water to fill the tank and use a water filter. Any deeper and she doesn't seem happy.
<yes, they like to be able to bury themselves and stick their necks out like a snorkel>
We try to keep her water temp between 70 and 75 degrees F at all times. In the dead of summer (and it can get to 100 degrees around here) her tank MAY get to 77 - 78. But that isn't the norm.
<That's OK for short times>
She eats aquatic turtle pellets and, every few months, when it's time for a full tank cleaning, she gets her fill of feeder fish. These are the only two things she will eat. She has grown steadily and hasn't had any health problems, cuts, bumps or anything up until now.
<If by turtle pellets you mean Repto-Min or a high quality Koi pellet - that's what I feed all my turtles, including the soft shells.   As for fish … I'd MUCH rather see her get an earthworm or two as a treat.  Feeder fish are notoriously poor food and prone to carrying parasites>
I have been searching all day and can not find anything on her new problem.
<Well - let's see what we can do>
Her pump went out a few weeks ago. I've been adding fresh water but I could not physically bring the tank outside to clean it until my husband was home. When we went to clean the tank, I place her in the sink filled with fresh water.  When I placed her in the sink, I noticed that she has a lump on her body. I was not around for her last tank cleaning and my husband would not have noticed anything abnormal. The lump isn't obvious unless you're looking at certain angles. It covers about 1/4 of her shell. She's about 7 inches across. There doesn't seem to be any cuts or infection. She's acting normal. The lump is about as raised in the highest spot as her spine is.
<OK - a lump THAT size is unlikely to be a tumor.   That sounds more like what I'd call, for lack of a better word, a malformation.  In a perfect world I'd like to see an X-ray from the top and from the side, but the next best thing would be a physical examination and a really detailed description.>
I'm hoping you can shed some insight on what this may be and how to treat this if it is something that isn't a normal occurrence.
<It's not>
Please help.
<Sure -- let's start with this.  Take Turdi out of her tank and let her dry off.  Next what I want you to do is pick her up and feel the entire shell.   This is not the easiest thing in the world because Soft Shell turtles have short tempers, long flexible necks and painful bites.   An assistant would be a really good idea here.   The assistant has something like a rubber kitchen spatula in his hand and his ENTIRE JOB is to use the spatula to continue to block Turdi's head from moving in you direction - pressing the neck down, pushing it to one side, etc. whatever it takes to keep the mouth away and occupied.>
<Start with the rear flap.  Flexible and leathery?  Then move around the edge toward the lump area how flexibly is it?  Does it feel hard under the leather?  Or mushy?   Use as many words and as many ways to describe the entire shell.   This will narrow down the possibilities and we'll try to decide what it is and then what to do about it.>
Turdi's Mom 

My Turtle's dead but we don't know why 12/15/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
It's Jess and my mum.
For some reason, my terrapin Squirtle's died. She was eating fine and we fed her this morning, the temperature of the tank was at 26 degrees Celsius, we'd only cleaned the tank last week, she was in perfect health with no broken shells or damaged limbs and she just died.
<On behalf of Bob, Neale, Sue and the entire crew at WetWebMedia, we're sorry for your loss, Jess.>
When we last saw her, she was basking under light then went into the water for a swim then she didn't move. Why did she die?
<It's hard to tell, Jess.  In veterinary terms the examination of an animal that died is called a Necropsy and it's a fairly expensive thing - normally only done when one of a group or collection died and it is critical to know the cause of death in case if affects the others.>
<The problem is that turtles are slow growing and therefore also develop their diseases slowly, so Squirtle could have been sick before he showed even the first symptom - and then only shown the tiniest symptoms, hardly noticeable, until one day he was so sick that he died.>
<what we do in cases like this is review what we do know and see what we might have done wrong.  Was his environment consistent with his species?  
Was his diet healthy for him?  Was he over fed and fat?  Was he getting the proper amounts of heat and UV lighting?>
<The point, Jess, is that if you did everything right and you observed him regularly and saw no symptoms or odd behaviors - then there is not likely anything you could have done that would have changed what happened.>
<If you research the species and you found something they need that he didn't get, then you need to make sure that you learn from that and are better prepared the next time>

Sickly turtles    9/11/12
A little over a year ago, I got my first turtle. Based on my research, I have gathered that he is a yellow bellied slider. His name is Donnetello.
He's been pretty healthy. I'd like to think I've done a good job with him.
Anyway, I got three more turtles yesterday. I got a box turtle (Raphael), the man called it a "side-necked" turtle (Leonardo. His head goes in his shell sideways), and a little res named Michaelangelo.
Raphael and Leonardo are doing well in their habitats. However, Michaelangelo is sickly. Her eyes are swollen and she's breathing with her mouth open because of a mucus discharge from her nose. From my research, I've gathered that she has an eye and a respiratory infection, as well as fungus on her shell. She also has deformities on her shell, probably from lack of care. (The man I got them from obviously wasn't taking care of them, which is why she's in such bad condition. There was no way I was leaving those three angels with him.) I have put her in a basking area, in Donnetello's old tank (he has been moved), and I read to clean her eyes with a solution of sea salt and distilled water.
My question, basically, is how can I make her better and is her shell beyond any form of repair? I can send pictures if needed.
There isn't a vet for reptiles close to where I live.
Thank you for any information you can give me. Knowledge is always power, especially when it comes to my ninja turtles.
<Hello Sabrina. Your turtles are showing classic signs of bad care. Do you provide UV-B lighting? Are you ensuring the turtles have a warm, dry basking area they can all use? Are you ensuring their diet is rich in calcium and other minerals? Are you providing plant-based foods, either fresh greens or Koi pellets? Whether or not a vet is close to you doesn't matter at this point -- you need to find a vet that treats reptiles and get to them, ASAP. Failing that, local animal rescue may be able to help and put you in touch with someone who can treat these turtles (but don't bank on it). Meantime, have a read of these articles:
Once you get these turtles to the vet, he or she will give them vitamin injections particular to whatever deficiency they have, and antibiotics for the respiratory tract infections, and probably some medicines to give across the next few days or weeks. He/she will also be able to discuss with you what you've been doing wrong and how you can prevent these problems
occurring again. Turtles aren't difficult to keep, and kept properly, don't get sick very often -- but those few requirements they do have are completely non-negotiable, and if you skip things like UV-B you end up with <?>

Ornate Box Tortoise, repro. issue?   8/1/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Jaremiah - Darrel here>
I am really worried about my estimated eight year old ornate box tortoise.
She mated with a male about two months ago and I started finding eggs but it turned out to be another tortoise we have, she however has not laid any eggs and is becoming lethargic and I am worried she is egg bound.
<I wouldn't worry too much, Jare - while tortoise and turtles do get egg bound, it's a LOT more rare than people think.  Usually, if conditions aren't right to lay the eggs and/or they don't expel the eggs, they simply re-absorb them.   They don't become a problem until the hard shell forms and that usually happens just before laying>
She won't eat but she will soak in her water in some kind of trance most of the time.
<I feel the same way many days, recently>
The rest of the time she stays in a trance with her arms, legs, and head out of her shell.
<That's only because she can't swill Bourbon>
She was digging holes and seemed to be preparing to lay eggs.
<Sometimes they dig around and for whatever reason decides it's not going to happen, but it's too early to know that yet.>
I cannot afford a vet and it is so sad is there anything I can do to help her if she is egg bound.
<The only thing to do is soak her in 3/4 inches of lukewarm water for 20 minutes a day.   Occasionally that will stimulate expulsion.>
<But if you're asking me, monitor her for now.  Let her be.  Offer food every other day or so, but let her go through what she has to go through. 
If she's still in this torpid state by September, then consider the baths>
FW: Ornate Box Tortoise     8/5/12

Thanks a lot, I have recently notice she has one eye she doesn't open and some liquid was coming from it today. So I brought her inside in an aquarium until she feels better. Is this ok. I personally despise people who keep turtles in a small confined area, My habitat is almost 100 square feet, but it is over a hundred degrees and she doesn't dig into the mulch like the other turtles.
<Discharge from the eyes, called 'weeping' is not uncommon in some turtles, but it's not common in Box turtles.   See about giving her a vitamin A supplement.   If she's eating, very small chunks of liver (beef or chicken) can be given along with their regular veggies and they usually gobble them up.>
<In a large garden-type area like you describe, are we sure that no one has used any pesticides or snail-bait?  Or fed her a snail from another garden that did?>
Re: Ornate Box Tortoise     8/7/12

We have used Seven on our vegetable garden that is about ten feet away from their habitat. We wash everything we give them. Could this be it.
<Snail bait is toxic to turtles - but unless she ate a turtle pellet or ate a snail that had eaten a pellet, it wouldn't be a factor.>
She is a little lazy sleeping most of the time.
<It's not a great thing that she's sleeping most of the time, but then again my box turtles are healthy and they're only active during the morning and dusk hours.  In the middle of the day they usually seek shade and sleep.>
<If you continue to be concerned about her lethargy, bring her indoors for a few days and see if more moderate temperatures and simply a big change stimulates her in any way>

Sick Western Painted Baby Turtle      2/22/12
<Hi Tish, I’m Sue.>
I bought 3 baby western painted turtles two and a half months ago. They were all between 1" and 1 1/8" when I got them. The one I'm worried about has been staying mostly in the basking area for the past 4 days. When I put him in the water to try to encourage him to eat he just floats around the tank and blindly finds his way back to the basking area as soon as he can. Not eating means that, of course, I haven't seen him poop either. I don't know if his eyes are swollen but he doesn't seem to open them and bumps into the side of the tank when he's floating and when the current from the filter gets hold of him he swims like a madman but still doesn't have his eyes open. On the rare occasion I have seen his eyes open over the past few days, they're only open a slit. His eyes are sort of a whitish gray color (shut).
<Swollen or closed eyes are a sign of Vitamin A deficiency, fairly common with captive turtles.  What have you been feeding them?>
He has also developed dents (pits maybe) on the tail end of his top shell and has two dented spots on the underbelly.
<Are these spots hard or soft to the touch?  Soft shell spots in particular need to be addressed.  Shell deformities, whether hard or soft, are also a sign of dietary deficiency, and also potentially incorrect lighting and basking temperatures.>
One on each side about  midway between his head and tail. They live in a 40 gallon turtle tank. Temperature is kept at about 76 to 78 degrees.
<Too warm, should only be 68-70 degrees.  Turtles need an environment that allows them to choose between cool water and warm dry land.  See more about this below. >
They have a reptile day light for 12 hours and a reptile night light for 12 hours a day.
<Is it specifically a UVB light?  If the package said simply “Reptile light”, it may or may not be UVB.  Many are only UVA.  However, turtles specifically need UVB to properly digest food.  Lack of UVB can lead to vitamin deficiencies that besides affecting their eyes and appetite, can also lead to serious shell and bone diseases.>
<Also, what is the temperature under the basking lights?  Besides a UVB light, make sure their basking temperature is warm enough.  They need the right amount of heat along with UVB to process the nutrients from their food.  It should be in the range of 88-90 degrees.>
<It’s also important that all 3 of your turtles are out basking for several hours a day under the heat and UVB.  Keeping the water cool and the basking area at the right temperature will help encourage them to get out during the day.>
They are all three growing at different rates and he is the medium size one at this time but the other two are still eating and active whereas he is not.
<It’s fairly common for turtles to grow at different rates.  As long as they’re all thriving (alert, active, eating, basking, and growing) there’s no need to worry.  It’s good you wrote us now about your one turtle looking and acting noticeably different, because making the necessary corrections now in their diet and/or habitat conditions will also hopefully prevent the other two from becoming ill.>
Not only am I worried about my sick pal but I am worried about if having him in with the other two will make them sick as well.
<Tish, the problem isn’t whether he will make the other two sick, but rather something about the diet or habitat you’re providing them which, if left uncorrected, could eventually also make your other two turtles sick. >
<The first thing you need to do is remove your sick turtle from the tank and place him in a warm, dry enclosure (with UVB) until he’s better.  Read the linked article below under the section called *Isolation* for how to do this correctly.  Also read two other sections in this article:  *Swollen or closed Eyes* and *Soft shell* -
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >  
<Next, I’d highly suggest taking him to a vet for a Vitamin A shot (preferably a vet who’s experienced and knowledgeable about turtles or at least exotics).  An injection will provide him with the best and most immediate relief of his vitamin deficiency, and will also help to bridge the gap over the next few days before he gets his appetite back and opens his eyes again.>
<Also -- if the dents in his shell do feel soft, the vet should also give him injectable forms of Calcium and Vitamin D.  Soft shell is indicative of metabolic bone disease and left untreated can be fatal. >
<Once he gets his appetite back and depending on what the vet finds/recommends, you may also want to consider adding a phosphorus-free Calcium with Vitamin D3 powder supplement to his food (especially if the light you’ve been providing up to this point hasn’t been a UVB light). Rep-Cal makes a good one.>
<I’m also going to give you 2 other articles written by our crew members.  The first one describes Vitamin A deficiency in more detail including symptoms and what to do to prevent it:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm >
<This last article is our general care guide.  Read it over carefully and make whatever changes are necessary in either their diet and/or habitat or general care so they stay healthy:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Please write us back after you read these if you have any other questions or with an update on him. I hope this will help! ~Sue >

Peach Fuzz on my Red Ear Slider 11/4/11
Hello, <Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a little turtle in a 10 gallon tank with a filter, but there is a whitish peach fuzz on the turtle and the rock he sits on. Please tell me what it is and what needs to be done for him.
<Hard to say from the brief description - sounds like a surface fungus.
Swab the turtle with some vinegar (try not to get any in his nose or eyes) and allow him to dry for an hour before putting him back.>
<Meanwhile, break down his tank and clean it with a diluted bleach solution, then rinse thoroughly before setting him back up.>
<The turtle shouldn't be developing a fungus as long as he has proper UV and basking (heat) lamps and the water should stay clear provided it is changed often enough.>
<Read this short article and compare your care standards with the suggestions and you can prevent this little thing from becoming a big thing!><<Yikes! Didn't realize the citation wasn't here till now!>>
Thank you for your time.
<yer welcome!>

Turtle in obvious distress 10/13/11
Hi & pls Help me here,
<Hiya - Darrel here -- I'll try>
For almost 3 years now I got "*Kachuga smithii pallidipes*" a Brown Roof shelled Fresh water turtle from Pakistan, its usually found in South Asia in India & Pakistan.
<They're nice>
My This turtle size is 9.5cm, but I don't know if its male of female. It for last two days was swallowing water & pushing it out through its stomach (shit out, poop out) as if cleaning its stomach. It's not eating anything at all.
<You mean through it's cloaca?>
Now its just spinning like a dog towards its tail, when I massaged/rubbed gently with my fingers its shell it calmed down. But now in water its extremely Bending & stretching its neck forwards it back shell.
<It does sound it is in distress>
I think my turtle is experiencing Stomach pain or Tail pain. for last 3 days its not eating anything. just moments ago it just stopped blinking as if its eye became blind or something...
<From the videos you supplied, Ryan it is indeed a very strange behavior and not behavior I've dealt with personally. The next stretching and swimming behaviors are odd, but combined with the unblinking eye and turtles reaction to being touched, it almost appears to be neurological in nature, maybe even like a stroke.>
<The biggest problem is that almost all the diagnostics for a condition like this are out of reach: We're not going to MRI a turtle or anything like that.>
<My first most important suggestion is to keep it out of the water. In it's current condition it's likely to drown. But then again if it's not blinking it's eyes, you'll have to periodically wet him down .. taking care not to get water in his nose.>
<I realize that it's not much help, but for what it's worth, turtles have an impressive ability to heal and cope with various disabilities if given the chance.>
<I wish I had more for you - but I WILL pass this on to a colleague for additional advice>
*My Turtle Images:*
1 Turtle
Intro< https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-wE8ZOiPnI44/TpRp3jh5GrI/AAAAAAAAAqo/m2V9rgZi_SQ/s0/DSC00095.JPG>
turtle< https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-DerkLAPT930/TpRp6AUg2QI/AAAAAAAAAqw/TLT0PJwP888/s0/DSC00096.JPG>
turtle< https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-B1LF6uP5MLY/TpRpzNc-x0I/AAAAAAAAAqg/u8enIS4aKTk/s0/DSC00097.JPG>
turtle< https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-_iQg4K6RtH4/TpRqOUpvEII/AAAAAAAAAq4/NGJ9B-LNCRk/s0/DSC00098.JPG>
5 Turtle Neck Bend to
extreme< https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-_qlRBQXTCn4/TpRqSBpE57I/AAAAAAAAArQ/U8P9Q5hS50c/s0/DSC00101.JPG>
6 turtle
neck< https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-O0ji7N8RArI/TpRqPPxNguI/AAAAAAAAArA/i74v1VLFYQA/s0/DSC00102.JPG>
7 turtle
neck< https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-9tKeFTw9_UE/TpRqg0wkS2I/AAAAAAAAArw/QIOhxTmsW8c/s0/DSC00104.JPG>
*My Turtle Videos:*
Turtle 1 - The white Spotted shell has the issue < http://youtu.be/hKD6eZOhTaU>
Turtle 2 - it's swimming weirdly & its eyes no more blink:( < http://youtu.be/ZcQ2SAahJgA>
Turtle 3 - Neck Bending & Eyes not blinking, maybe it's in Pain< http://youtu.be/3Wl4TeXiOLA>
Turtle 4 - When I Rubbed it's shelled it calm downs for a while < http://youtu.be/UOQNt-IdMVo>
Turtle 5 - I thought turtle died, but in my Mom's hand it became alive again< http://youtu.be/8zA-ujr6csA>

Urgent Map Turtle Help! 9/14/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently rescued a map turtle and a red-eared slider which were class pets at the school where I teach.
<Thank you>
The RES is thriving and the map turtle was active and healthy, so I took them home and put them in a 5 gallon tank filled halfway with a filter, basking dock and a 60W light bulb because it was all I had.
<That's all I've had sometimes - and it's a start>
I also have a sulfa block in there and I feed them floating turtle pellets from the LFS.
<Switch to Koi Pellets. The same basic balanced diet, just less expensive>
Both turtles have been doing great, however, for the past two days the map turtle has been sleeping all day on the basking dock and sometimes in a plastic plant in the tank with her eyes closed. I put the food in the tank, but I do not know if they are both eating or if only one is. I have actively seen the RES eat, but not the Map.
<Lethargy is not a good sign and usually includes lack of appetite>
When I move the map turtle, she doesn't even budge. I have to either pick her up or shove her to even get her to slightly move her arms and legs. I love the turtles, so please help me! What can I do?!?!?!
<Start by reading this:
<Even though only the Map turtle appears to be in distress, treat them as if they are both sick - in other words, what we're going to do here can't hurt>
<Get them both warm and DRY. (It's all explained in the article). We're not 'curing' anything here, but making it easier and more restful for them, less stress and hopefully that will help them be strong enough to pull through it.>
<Turtle care is basic: Clean cool water, warm dry basking area, proper food and UV-B lighting. Providing these is usually all it takes.>
<While you have them in dry dock, make sure they get natural sunlight, not filtered through glass or screen. Put them in a cardboard box and arrange it so the sun shines into half of it while the other half is in the shade provided by the walls. Remember that the angle of the sun changes that shading, so don't do this close to noon.>
<Meanwhile, read THIS article regarding basic care. The same care works fro Map turtles with one main exception: They tend to be a little more nervous and shy than Sliders and will spend more time in the safety of the water. This means less time under the hot sun / basking/UV lamp which means a greater chance for fungal or bacterial infections to take hold.
For this reason Map turtles require a bit more attention to water quality than a slider does.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Mainly, for the moment, I'm more concerned about them being warm and dry and exposed to UV than I am about feeding. If (and that's a HUGE IF) they have been truly healthy for the last year (and not just seeming healthy) they can go for a month without eating. Get them in an all-warm, less stressed environment and see how they fare>

Turtle Help! 8/16/11
Hello Crew,
<Hiya- Darrel here>
I am in desperate need of some help for 'Snappy', my Snapping turtle...
<Chelydra serpentine>
He's been acting very weird for the past few weeks ~ Little movement, floating around funny... & he recently stopped eating. He's getting very thin & boney, & it appears as though there is some sort of air pocket in his side that's making him float kinda sideways... I've attached a photo of him which will show you what he's been doing for days now.
<Yes, Snappy is clearly in distress. More than that, a snapping turtle of his age and size should be pudgy almost fat.>
I've tried all of his favourite foods & he won't even open his mouth! Before, he'd go crazy snapping all the treats I've been trying to offer. :(
<He's ill, that's for certain>
I've been in contact w/ a vet in my area, but they don't really deal w/ Turtles, let alone a snapper, & they would charge $150 just to look at him. I'm guessing it would be a money grab, as they probably know less that I do.
<I agree that in this case I'm not sure it would do much good, but it would still help>
I've had snappy for over 12yrs now & he's never acted like this before. Please let me know if there's any advice you can give me that you think will help restore him to his normal happy self!
<Get Snappy out of the water IMMEDIATELY and until further notice. Right now!>
<The immediate concern is that he's going to get so weak that he wont be able to get his head above water to breathe. Put him on the floor while you find a cardboard box or plastic tub anything . Get him on dry land!!! What Snappy needs right now is to be warm and dry while we figure out our next step>
<Now, my concern is that a snapping turtle of his size -- to be so thin and emaciated - this has been going on for a long time. Either he's medically diseased perhaps a bowel obstruction, tumor in the stomach, etc. or he is metabolically distressed from lack of proper diet and/or improper conditions.>
<If possible, I'd have a veterinarian administer injections of Calcium lactate (250 mg/kg IM) and a multi-vitamin. You may be able to obtain Calcium glubionate over the counter at a pharmacy. You give that orally (opening his mouth will be a very dangerous challenge) and use a syringe with no needle to squirt in 1ml twice a day>
<Now that constitutes emergency treatment. The next step(s) are up to Snappy and I'm sad to say that the outlook is not good. As I stated, if it's a serious internal medical condition it would be very hard to diagnose and even harder to treat. If it's a metabolic emaciation, he may be too weak to recover.>
<In this article, it tells how to keep a turtle warm and dry for a period of weeks. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm Snappy needs the warmth and he needs the rest.>
<Place him in a shallow bowl of water just barely up to his shoulders and allow him to drink and (maybe) poop. Try to get him to snap at a piece of beef liver and perhaps an earthworm. After a few days of being dry and warmer (the warmth is important) he may perk up enough to eat and eating/nutrition is critical to his recovery.>
<In the event that he perks up and begins to eat again, it's important that he get calcium in his diet, either as natural foods, such as whole fish or as a supplement.>
<Krysta - my concern is that for Snappy to be so skinny at his age .. this condition has been going on for a LONG time and someone either didn't notice or didn't know what he was supposed to look like both are failures on the part of the pert keeper.>
<Keep him warm and dry, try to get him foods high in vitamins and calcium and we hope everything works out for you>

Re: Turtle Help! 8/21/11
Thank you very much for your help, Darrel,
<No problem!>
I'm on it right now! I had him out of the water & sitting in my bath tub last night for a couple hours & he seemed to be doing ok & has started passing bowel movements again...
<Always a proud moment for a parent, huh?>
I don't know if there was a blockage or something? But he only stopped eating a few days ago, so hopefully whatever it was has passed. He still looks pudgy when he's sitting flat in the tub, so I guess that's good, but he looks thin when he's outstretched form his shell... & It happened so quickly! :(
<That's the big challenge with our reptiles, birds and fish, Krysta - they look great on the outside even when they're getting sicker on the inside so by the time they show really distinct changes on the outside, they're very VERY sick>
I haven't done anything crazy or different in his diet, so it's really weird... But I did some investigating & apparently the store from which I purchased some of his live feed from recently had a problem w/ their feed about a couple weeks ago & had to stop selling them! :S
<That's one of a dozen reasons NOT to feed live feed, Krysta. Even with my snapping turtles, I feed a base of Koi pellets. I supplement that with whole, but very dead, previously frozen fish.>
But they said it was a type of fish disease that wouldn't affect a turtle...
<Probably not, but then unless they're sending samples out to the lab, it's also safe to say that they only know what they noticed, not everything going on>
At any rate, I have taken him out of the tank & will administer the care that you have outlined for me. Thank you for all your advice, I sincerely appreciate it! Fingers crossed Snappy can pull through!! He's a fighter, that's for sure! :)
Best Regards,
<Yer welcome, Krysta. Keep us posted, OK?>
<PS: Krysta, I deleted the reference to your web site - (folks, Krysta is a singer, songwriter, model and actress!!) -- because of the creepy stalker-types. Not in our audience, of course . But the creepy stalker types on our crew!!!!>

raw spot 3/26/11
me again-
<YOU ???????>
<AGAIN ?????????????>
<Hiya Barb!!!! Darrel here (again)!>
One of my turtles now has what looks like a raw spot on the back of his neck where the edge of his shell rubs against it. Should I treat it with anything?
<Take him or her out of the water and let him (or her) dry off for a few minutes. Dribble some Betadine (iodine) on the back of the neck and then let her sit somewhere until she dries off.>
<Do this every other day for a week and see if it improves>

Sick Diamondback Terrapin 1/23/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have had Scooter, our Diamond Back Terrapin for 7+ years.
<A very pretty animal>
Got him as a hatchling. He's been in a 75 gallon, fresh water (well), w/Emperor 400 filter tank for the past 6. Shares the tank with a goldfish that is 5 inches long, that was a feeder that he never ate.
<Ah the long history of feeder fish that became pets. I had a feeder fish that was in my main turtle pond for 11 years. We finally named him Bruce. We eventually removed him from the turtles and put him in a Koi pond where he became the undisputed ruler of the entire pond. 24 inch monsters come to eat AFTER Bruce as eaten. So we have a rule now - no feeder fish>
Have had basking platforms off and on, but he never uses them. Has always preferred to swim, and has been very active.
<Although they are very aquatic, they should always have a warm basking spot available.>
Two weeks before Christmas, we bought another DBT (thought he'd like a friend), but foolishly didn't quarantine it first, ----
<I rarely quarantine aquatic turtles either. Generally, all turtles carry all of the susceptible bacteria all the time anyway. Salmonella, E-Coli, pseudomonas, etc. are all detectible in health turtles. It's only when a debilitating condition exists does the native bacteria have the ability to multiply out of control>
---- and it had some sort of fungus. Four days after adding it to our tank, Scooter had white spots on his legs.
The other turtle went back, --
<I wouldn't have done that. After all it's not his fault and even if it was, he certainly didn't mean it. Moreover, the effort to treat two is not much more than treating one and then there would be TWO healthy terrapins. As it is now, Mary is still out there sick>
-- and Scooter went into a brackish bucket. The tank was cleaned and disinfected (bleach 1:100).--
<I use 1 cup per 5 gallons (that's about 1:80) then a dash more. I'm very aggressive. Make sure you run the filters while you do this - the filter basin, the lines, pumps and cords that hang into the tank all should be immersed. And, of course, the filter media trashed>
-- And fish and Scooter put back in. Several days later, more white spots.
<The fish?? The plot thickens>
Started Nolvasan soaks (1:10) 30 min./day, and then put Betadine or Neosporin on the spots, and dry docked Scooter for 20 hours/day. After 5 days, didn't see improvement (and he was very agitated at being handled so much and being out of the water), so we went to the vet.
<I get agitated too, when I'm out of my element and handled too much.>
She gave took a scraping of the spots, and saw bacteria and fungus under the microscope. Also took an x-ray, but lungs were clear. Gave him a Vit. A shot to "boost his immune system".
<Good move>
Gave me Panalog cream to 'slather' all over the turtle, put him under a UV light to dry for 15 min., then back in the tank (now a 5 gallon bucket, with filter, and daily water changes). Scooter didn't like this either, and did a lot of hissing/trying to bite me. Was still swimming actively in the bucket.
<I'd be doing more than hissing at you if you did that to me. So far, so good>
(note: during this time, the fish developed red streaks in the fins, so he was put into a 20 gal tank w/filter, w/ first Melafix, then Gentamycin; he improved after 5 days, so he's back in the big tank)
<So it may not have been Mary at all? What we know for sure is that we don't know.>
<What kind of fish?>
After two weeks of this treatment, the spots (now actually patches) were getting worse, so back to the vet. She suggested stopping the cream, and treating the water with Gentamycin for two days. If that worked, we were to do another two day treatment with gent. If it didn't work, we are to add Ketaconazole to the water instead. No more basking time, or cream.
<In my experience, I'd extend the basking time not lessen it. Here's the fundamental problem with bacteria: Bacteria and Fungi are ectothermic. That's a $5 word that means they take their internal temperature from the host environment. As you cool a bacteria by cooling the host that it lives on, the slower it grows and the slower it multiplies. That sounds good at first except this: Most antibiotics work by interfering with a bacteria's reproductive cycle, so the slower the bacteria grow and multiply -- the longer the cycle to kill them. The same bacteria that we can get under control in a human (98.7 degrees) in 7 days can take 4 MONTHS at 75 degrees. So when I'm treating a turtle or tortoise for a bacterial infection, I turn UP the heat to get things moving faster>
<Now, as far as fungi are concerned MOST fungi are happy to multiply in warm, moist spots and they don't do well in DRY spots -- so once again, a warm "dry-dock" is your friend when treating a sick turtle>
It's the third day now, and I've noticed Scooter's activity decreasing (actually over the past week), he now floats with head and legs pulled into his shell, and lets the filter current push him around the tank. He hasn't been eating for several days, and I haven't seen any poop either. The water is cool/RT, around 71 degrees. (He's now in the 20 gal tank, w/filter). The patches seem to be the same. The vet had told us to lay off any treatment for a few days, and leave him in the fresh water, that the gent. might have been too strong. After that, she said the Ketaconazole might not dissolve in the water properly, and suggested a fish medicine that has Metronidazole and Acriflavine in it (Hole in Head Guard by Jungle).
<A whole lot of treatment going on and not a whole lot of results>
My question is: does this treatment sound right? (aka, is the vet on the right track?); since he doesn't seem to be responding to any treatment, does he sound like he has something that he won't recover from, and thus is suffering and should be euthanized?
<Nowhere NEAR that point yet>
We are angry with ourselves for being stupid, and frustrated that nothing seems to be working. Any suggestions/comments would be greatly appreciated.
<John -- keep in mind that the veterinarian has two things going for her. ONE - she's seen a scraping under a microscope while I have not and TWO she went to 4 years of veterinary school followed for 2 years of residency learning about animal medicine while I spent the equivalent 6+ years immersed in fancy cars and fast women. Or possibly fast cars and fancy women I'm not sure which, maybe both - honestly, most of the late 60's and 70's are just a blur>
<That said, I think youre trying too may things too rapidly. Keep Scooter warm and dry. Put him in a box or pail with a regular old pharmacy-type heating pad set on low or medium, wrapped in a towel. The real trick is to find a heating pad that doesn't have that maddening 'auto-off' feature. The good news is that the cheaper ones usually don't have it. Arrange the box, tub or pail so that Scooter can't get COMPLETELY away from the heating pad. Make sure that the UV-B bulb is over the tub and on for at least 12 hours a day. Each day for the next 14, take Scooter out of the tub and place him in a shallow bowl of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. Enough time to drink, poop and possibly eat. I'm not worried about the lack of appetite at this point, but the lethargy is mildly concerning. Continue the topical treatments and let's see what changes in the next 7-10 days>

Common Musk Turtle that got sick or I bought sick `12/27/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I Have a question that I have been trying to find an answer for and had No luck. I have read this forum many times and I think it's the best forum in The web.
<Thank you! We think so too!>
Well basically I recently owned a 1 year old Common Musk Turtle that got sick or I bought sick I really don't know I only had her for a few months.
Her symptoms were floating sideways, sneezing and coughing, puffy eyes, she wasn't eating and it would bask almost 24/7. I did everything I could I quarantined her in a 10 gallon because she had a 1 year old RES for a tank mate and I raised the temperature of the water and everything. I took her to a local reptile vet and to be honest he wasn't that good he gave me some liquid antibiotics that he said should make her better and it didn't and she sadly died :(
<The Musk Turtle most likely had a respiratory infection. Keeping her warm was a good idea, antibiotics necessary and she also needed to be DRY. When I have a turtle with a respiratory infection I keep them warm & dry for 2 MONTHS putting them in shallow water for less than 5 minutes a day in order to poop, drink and eat>
I wanted to know if the RES could also be infected she is my cousins turtle and I added her to the tank when my Musky was already acting weird to be honest I thought having a tank mate would make her better.
<Turtles are not social animals, Manuel, they actually live a bit better singly. Red Eared Sliders can be kept in groups, so long as they are approximately equal size and there is adequate room for turtles that are acting snippy to get away from each other>
Right now I have the RES in a 10 gallon because I recently bought a 1 year old Razor Back Musk Turtle and I have him in my main 40 gallon after cleaning it because I didn't know if the tank could still have the disease in the water. I wanted to know how long do I have to wait to know if the RES wasn't infected by my Musky that died so I can put her back in my 40 gallon. So far the RES isn't showing any signs of sickness and its been in the 10 gallon tank for a week...
<A good cleaning of the tank will be good for all occupants, but what Musky died of was a common bacterium that is ALWAYS present. Musky just got weak, possibly from poor care before you got him, poor diet, etc. and as a result of BEING sick, the bacteria got a chance to catch hold and grow. The Slider is in no real danger as long as he gets UV-B light, basking light (88-93 degrees on the basking area), cool water (68-72 degrees) and good food (I use Koi Pellets because they're fully balanced and cheap)>
Thanks in advance
<You're welcome>

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

Floating hatchling 11/22/10
Hi crew.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a question I have a little wild hatchling turtle that was given to me since I like and have two other water turtles (red eared slider and alligator snapping turtle).
<Just so you know the entire snapping turtle family will have no problem at all eating a slider at their earliest opportunity. Snapping turtles (Chelydra and Macroclemys) are two species that are always kept alone. They'll even eat each other>
I don't know what kind of water turtle it is just that it is indeed a water turtle. It was found outside very small even still had it's beak
<egg tooth>
-- to break the shell. I took it to a local pet store to try to find out some info on what kind it is and they told me to put it back but also said it would most likely die since it was born so late in the year and it is now cold.
<You're right in that regard>
I am an animal lover hence the two dogs, two cats, now three turtles and a gerbil that I am not just going to let it die without giving it a chance. It wouldn't eat for about a week or two which I read was normal for new hatchling.
He now does eat occasionally not daily but does eat.
<Nor should he eat every day. Turtles in captivity expend very little energy. At the most, feed a captive turtle all it can eat in 5 minutes, 4 times a week>
He seems healthy for the most part except he floats evenly not tilting to either side.
<That's normal .. so what do you mean by "healthy except" ??>
He is in a small plastic tub with heated and filtered water and I also have a UVB light on him.
<OK for now>
He can swim although not very well and I have never seen him go to the bottom and sit, occasionally he somehow manages to get himself upside down.
<The problem with shallow water is that they CAN get themselves upside down and don't have the water depth to easily turn over.>
What can cause the floating?
<Turtles can float. Not seeing the problem yet but I have a guess>
I did notice once when I cleaned the tank I accidentally made the water I'm guessing a little to warm (he started like panicking) but he didn't float.
Although he didn't care for the too warm water he sank like a normal turtle would. I am completely lost on this and why he floats with water 77 but sank when it was warmer (I didn't take the temperature of the water but it felt a lot warmer than the normal). Any suggestions on what is wrong with the little fellow.
<Not yet - but 77 degrees is too warm for a typical water turtle. We'd like the water temp to be in the low 70's and the basking spot to be in the high 80's to low 90's so that the turtle can make his own choices about warm or cold.>
<Mary, can you please do this? Can you use a camera, even a cell phone camera, to take pictures of all three of your turtles and then email those to us? What I'd like is a picture from "almost" head first, meaning directly at the shoulder one from 4 feet away and one as close-up as you can get it without losing focus. If I can see pictures of all three turtles, I may have some answers and suggestions for you>

Yellow faced turtle - injured? 10/2/10
Hi there!
<Hey there Ho there!! Darrel here there!>
Thanks for taking the time to read this :)
<No problem Shinji - it's why I get the big bucks>
I purchased two yellow faced turtles about 1.5months ago, from a coworker. They are a turtle local to the Northern Territory of Australia, and they are aquatic. They originally came in a tank about 250L, but we made a raised pond for them which is 300L of water with a lip around the edge for them to sun bake and exercise on.
<Sounds good so far>
They are about 10-15cm long, brother and sister. I feed them every second day with frozen food (which I defrost first). I also treat them with things like lettuce, and prawns and fresh fish as we get it. We planted around the tank with lettuce and parsley for them to eat as they wish, and they love eating one of the floating pad plants we have in the pond. Oh! And I'm an avid fish keeper, so I have two filters in the pond, and do water changes weekly.
<Sounds very good. I would do a bit more research on their diet in the wild. If you're describing genus Elseya you can reduce the fish & prawns as they grow and gradually replace that with regular Koi food pellets. It's less expensive and actually better for them>
Lately I've noticed the boy developing splotches. These splotches are the colour of rust, and started near his mouth, but I have now found them on his tail and underside of his shell. One or two are small on his legs and very slightly raised. Maybe a scab, but too small to tell. None are bigger than a 5c piece.
<I think a 5 cent piece is far big enough to examine.>
His shell is hard, and clean, eyes are clear. He's VERY active and feisty and will claw my hands up when he doesn't want to be held anymore, and looks around attentively. The girl is much shyer and will hide whenever anyone goes close. I haven't been able to catch and inspect her. She's way too fast a swimmer, but on the weekend she had small marks at the corner of her mouth as well.
I'm not sure what it is caused by. I have Googled and read tons of stuff, and the only thing I have come up with is they might be mild scrapes from something in the tank. But I don't think they've eaten anything that would hurt their mouth? It's ridiculously hard to find information on these turtles so I don't have much to go on.
<I agree>
Do you have any idea what could be causing this?
If you have no clue from the description, I can take pictures in a couple days.
<If you take pictures, make sure that you have focus - often people try to get too much of a close-up and all we see are blurry colors>
Thank you for any help you can provide! Our whole family loves them and we don't want anything bad to happen!
<Shinji - what you describe is odd. It's hard to get a visual in the mind of what youre actually seeing, so let's run down a general list.>
<First, can you rub the brownish spot with a Q-Tip or cotton swab and get any of it to rub off? If not, what about a swab dipped in alcohol or even vinegar? Does anything loosen the material? If it any of it rubs off, does it have an odor? (If you use vinegar, don't bother with the smell test). You can use the eraser on a #2 pencil as well. Try a very small area. I know this sounds mean, but if we can't tell what it IS we can often guess what it is by seeing what's UNDER it. If you rub a piece of and there is raw skin underneath (like a wound) then it may be a scab.>
<If you wet the area with hydrogen peroxide and the "scab" turns white, it's possible that it is a mold growing on the skin and putting root-like material down in the tissue. The more we find out how it reacts, the more we can focus on what it might be>
<In the mean time, take them out of the water and keep them warm and dry for 3 or 4 days. I'm giving you a link on treating common illnesses, but that link has a section on what we call "Isolation treatment" which is how to keep them warm and dry for long periods -- almost every condition causing these spots in encouraged in warm, moist aquatic conditions and DISCOURAGED in warm DRY conditions. Try it for a few weeks and see how the situation changes. Also, and I can't stress this enough, unfiltered natural sunlight!!! Direct sunlight is immensely beneficial to treating almost all skin conditions. Make sure, of course, that they have shade to be able to get out of the sun - and remember, sunlight through glass loses it's benefit.>
<Do some of these tests and write back with results>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>

Yellow Belly Turtles - how do they taste? Hlth. 8/31/10
<Dear Crew>
I have 2 yellow bellied turtles.
<Nice turtles>
At this time we have them in a 10 gal. tank. In process of getting a larger tank. My question is. The larger of the two has developed a lump on its neck. It has been a week since we noticed this. Eating, swimming, basking, etc. good. Can not find any info on this.
<It could be a swelling from a cyst or a pocket of pus from an infection. Anything of this nature should be given veterinary care, or at least seeking a Turtle & Tortoise club in your area that may have an "old hand" at dealing with such things>
Would you be able to guide us what to do.
<It's not easy without seeing it, which is why this needs hands-on experience. Someone has to "go in there" with a scalpel and see what we're dealing with.>
And if this turtle is in danger, or putting 2nd turtle in danger.
<I wouldn't think so. Most of the contagious diseases don't present as a lump, so it's not likely contagious but if it WAS the other turtle would already be exposed.>
We can't help but worry about them.
<I appreciate that you do, Susan. Good keepers always worry about our pets>
Thank you,

wild turtle with lump on neck 8/3/10
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
After following the information on your site regarding ear abscesses, I would like you to view the attached pictures to verify if this might be the turtle's problem.
<Yep - what you have there is a very handsome Terrapene carolina carolina - the Eastern Box Turtle. Probably named Butch and yes, Butch has an abscess or possibly a tumor>
To give a little history--about 3 weeks ago a wild box turtle appeared and stayed under my car. We live in a remote area of eastern West Virginia. After about 4 days I contacted a local vet who advised to feed the turtle
and place water outside for it. He does not treat turtles but offered to have him given to a wild life habitat for turtles. I started feeding him tomatoes and gave him water. During the very high temperatures of 100 degrees he did not leave from under the car. However, after feeding him for several days and the temperatures cooling slightly he began to move around the property but never going very far. Every morning he reappears under the car and after eating will go over to a near by tree or bush and rest. He can pull his head inside his shell but will not stay closed and will open back up quickly. One night his neck was extended, eye closed appearing to be asleep. I thought he had died but in the morning he was back under the car waiting for his food.
Thank you in advance for can information or guidance you might be able to provide.
<Charlene - Box turtles make some of the niftiest and personable pets in the reptile world. They are easy to care for and usually are problem-free.
Treating an abscess of this nature isn't all that hard, either. I'm not suggesting that you try it yourself, but calling around to a few vet might find you one that can excise it and prescribe some antibiotic cream. Most areas now have an Emergency Vet Clinic -- one that is open or on call when all the other vets are closed (most vets in an area will help sponsor such a place or at least know of the Emergency Referral Hospital in their area).
The point is that these hospitals are often staffed by newer, younger doctors that still have at least that 6 week exposure to reptile medicine fresh in their mind>
<Failing that, even an experience hand from your local turtle and tortoise club could possibly drain the wound for you and you could treat it with daily coatings of simple triple antibiotic cream from the local drug store>
<Once past the abscess, the only problem I've ever had with Box Turtles is that they tend to fixate on certain foods, such as strawberries and melon, and then refuse any other food -- for decades at a time.>
<A sturdy fenced enclosure (part of a garden would be perfect) that he can roam and forage and have you supplement that with an occasional earthworm and pieces of fruit and Butch (or whatever his name is) will be happy for years!>

Re: wild turtle with lump on neck 8/5/10
Thank you Darrel for you information regarding the turtle "Butch". Name fits perfectly although to this point had not named him.
<Yer welcome>
I have several additional questions:
This morning Butch showed up minus his lump. It appears the abscess opened itself during the night. The question now is should I begin putting triple antibiotic cream on the area where the abscess had been. The skin there looks saggy.
<Yes, I would.>
Also, how do you keep the head extended in order to apply the cream.
<LOL - that's the million dollar question. Box Turtles can close up tight as a drum and it really, REALLY hurts to get a finger caught in there when they do. Here's what I'd do: Get a LARGE dab of the cream on a Q-Tip (excuse me Q-Tip Brand Cotton Safety Swab) then pick up Butch by the sides of his shell, while holding the swab next to where his neck would be still and steady. He may clam up for a while, but if you can hold him still long enough, he'll release and poke his head out. Now operating as swift and silent as a Ninja assassin you press the swab into the wound and hopefully get a bunch on the right area before he closes up again. Then set him down. Repeat tomorrow>
You suggested fencing in an area to keep him safe. My next concern is I believe turtles hibernate for the winter. Our ground here is mostly rock and shale. Shall I prepare a special place for him. I don't know even in my garden if Butch can dig deep enough to be safe through the winter.
I have been reading about hibernation, etc and still am uncertain as to the best action for Butch. The nearest reptile vet if either Baltimore, Md. or Parkersburg WVa. Unfortunately presently my husband is ill and I can't not make either trip with him at this time.
<No problem. Come the first cold snap of the year, pick Butch up and place him in a cardboard box that contains shredded newspaper and a few old towels and place this box in the garage. Put a small shallow bowl for water and offer food every day. After about a week or two, Butch will stop showing up for food and just bury himself in a corner. After a week, you'll know he's shut down for the winter. Close up the box, place it in a dark corner of the garage and wait for the first blooms of Spring.>
< OR-- Just bring Butch indoors and give him the free range of the house. As long as there is no balcony he can leap from or basement stairs he could fall down or Dog who might chew him, he can just hang out. They don't eat much, poop very little (and it's easy to clean) and don't stay up late at night ordering pay-per-view movies like other reptiles do>
Once again thank you for your advice and guidance.
C Pietra

Leech? Turtle... 7/24/10
One day at the park some fisherman caught a turtle and my wife had to have it.
<Hmm usually a bad idea.>
We went to the pet store and stocked up and put him in a 35-450 gallon tank.
<? 35 gallons or 450 gallons? There's a big difference there! An adult Turtle really needs upwards of 55 gallons.>
It's been over a month and the turtle is doing fine.
<So far. The best that can be said about Turtles is that they take a long time to die. Please make sure you read here:
By far the majority of pet turtles die prematurely, being killed through inappropriate care or diet.>
He doesn't fear us - in fact he sticks his head out of the water and follows us around as best as he can from within his tank. My wife overfeeds him and turtles don't seem to be the cleanest animals in the world (it's an aquatic turtle; I can't remember it's name but it's dark brownish-green with yellow caught in eastern Georgia).
<Again, do read above. Turtles create a lot of mess, and it's up to you to provide adequate filtration and water changes. They're certainly cleaner that humans, but they still do produce substantial amounts of urine and faeces.>
Today our toddler noticed something wormlike stuck to the side of the tank. I *think* it's a leech.
<Could be. Or a planarian.>
It's about an inch long. It has a sucker on both ends - a little one on its narrow end and a larger one on its broader end. It's clear-ish, but has horizontal stripes of sorts. It is very flat. It is capable of moving by attaching one sucker and then pulling its body along, but mostly it just seems to reach it's tiny end out in the water as if searching for something.
<Sounds like a leech. Leeches "inchworm" about, though they can also swim quite well. Flatworms/planarians glide across surfaces.>
It looks a lot like the image at the top of your FAQs on Freshwater Flatworms page ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/planariafaqs.htm?h=leech ), but I've read most of the comments on the page and it's several orders of magnitude larger than the things people are complaining about.
<Oh, leeches can get very big, 10 cm or more. They do have a "sucker" at each end, one of them with teeth, the mouth.>
One last bit of information - my wife did 100% water change yesterday (there's only one fish in there with the turtle, and it's a minnow we caught by accident then kept because we figured the turtle would eat it... but that was a month ago...). That involved cleaning the entire tank and everything in it. The worm was not in the tank, meaning it was presumably attached to the turtle.
<Possibly, or attached to plants or rocks.>
I suppose it's remotely feasible that it was attached to the filter and my wife didn't notice.
What could this be, are there more somewhere, and is it a problem?
<If everything in this tank came from the pond in the park, I'd return the leech to the pond. Not all leeches are parasites, and in fact many of them are useful predators that eat all kinds of small invertebrates. On the other hand, some are parasitic, so you don't want to risk keeping the thing in your vivarium. If you don't know where the leech came from, then humanely destroy it -- dropping it in some beer should do the trick.>
The reason I'm not convinced it's a leech is b/c if it is, it was attached to the turtle 24 hours ago, yet it's flat and clear now... wouldn't it be full of blood? Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Leech?

Ask WWM... Ill turtle... 3/31/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Please help?!
<We'll try>
Where I work there is a turtle that has been ill for several weeks; listless, not eating. It finally got a Vet check and the Vet prescribed soaks 2xday & injections e/o day.
<What kind of soak and what kind of injection?>
The turtle, 'Frank' seems very ill and now is bloated. One of his feet is more than doubled in size and parts of his body appear to be busting out of his shell.
<Certainly not good signs>
What can I say to them at this point. I am afraid 'Frank' is dying (needlessly) a slow and painful death!
<It would seem so. I have three suggestions.>
<1) Keep Frank out of the water. Someplace warm & dry except for his soaks>
<2) Get Frank back to the vet to make sure the vet understands the condition>
<3) Look on the net for a turtle & tortoise society in your area. Perhaps you can find an experienced keeper locally that can get a first hand look and offer help>
Please respond A.S.A.P.
<Karen, the problem you face is that reptiles don't appear to be sick on the outside until after they've already been sick on the inside for quite a long time. I'm guessing that the vet diagnosed a respiratory infection that has now spread and is affecting his whole body. Keeping Frank warm and dry while the proper antibiotic does it's work is usually the best course of action, unless of course ... it's just too late.>
<see if any reading in here can help you

Is my red bellied sick? 3/2/10
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I was hoping you could help me diagnose my red-bellied turtle. I have had Scooby for about 3 weeks now. He lives in a 5 gallon tank that is about half full (I'm aware he should have at least a 10gal but don't want to stress him by constantly changing his environment). His tank is fitted with a filter, water heater and basking area with a UVA/UVB lamp that I leave on between 6-8 hours a day. The water temperature fluctuates between 73-78F but I'm not sure about his basking temp. He has been feeding on dried blood worms and generic turtle pellets.
<OK - first. No heaters. Unless you live North of the Arctic Circle, any room temperature that you are comfortable with is fine for Scooby's water, too. The point of water and a basking area is to give Scoob a choice between warm and cool. Secondly, when you mention a UVA/UVB bulb, it sounds like you have one bulb, such as a Repti-Sun Compact Florescent bulb? If so, you should also provide a basking light -- I use a regular 60 or 75 watt incandescent bulb -- to provide basking heat.>
Up until two days ago he was very active and ate everything in site to the point where I felt I was overfeeding him.
<One of the biggest problems in pet keeping simple overfeeding. In captivity they don't need as much as we always think they do>
I cleaned his tank on Friday and since then (It is now Sunday) he has just been sleeping while basking on his rock. He does go into the water to sleep still but doesn't swim around very much. He did eat some worms yesterday but didn't really take to the pellets and today refuses any food offered. I've considered the possibility of Vitamin A deficiency but he still opens his eyes and they don't appear to be cloudy or puffy.
<Probably not a vitamin deficiency at this point>
Also I've read a lot about RI but he is not wheezing, coughing, sneezing or producing mucous. I did notice once that bubbles came from his nose but it has not happened since and he is swimming normally, able to dive to the bottom of the tank. He does, however, open his mouth at times when he is swimming but I've read he could be tasting the water for food.
<Or drinking or any number of ordinary things>
Please help. I don't know if Scooby is sick or not. Aside from his inactivity and loss of appetite he doesn't show any other signs.
<No, Scooby doesn't sound sick. At least not yet. Take the heater out of Scooby's tank and let the water reach room temperature. Make sure some sort of basking lamp is heating his basking area to between 85 & 90 degrees and let him rest with that for a few days. Don't even offer food .. and then when you do, offer the turtle pellets only - no blood worms for Scooby. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
<If there is no change in a week after making these few changes, write back>
Thanks for any help you can give.
Re: Is my red bellied sick? 3/4/10

Hi Crew,
<Hiya - again>
Thanks for the reply. I know you asked to wait a week before I write back but this is just in response to the bulb I have. I double-checked the description and it doesn't provide UVB but it does say it provides heating and UVA. Here is a link to the product that I have
is this adequate for Scooby?
<No. You need something more like one of these:
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752656 -- which would require a florescent fixture in which to install it --or--
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3571148 - which will fit in an ordinary socket>
Thanks again,
<This isn't "desperately urgent", Jen ... don't spend extra dollars on air-freight .... but the sooner Scooby has UV-B lighting the better. Also, keep in mind that the bulb itself needs to be no more than 8 to 10 inches about his basking spot and not through any form of glass>

My tortoise is gaping and there is a clear bubble in her mouth 2/28/10
Hi. My name is Jordan. I have had two Russian Tortoises (also know as Horsfield's Tortoise, Testudo Horsfield, or Central Asian Tortoise) since I was 4. (I am 12 now). One is a male and the other is a female. Both of them have been healthy for the first 11 years of their life but now we think Shelly (the female tortoise) is sick. I briefly noticed 2 days ago, that she was constantly opening her mouth, while lunging her front and hind legs forward. Tonight I decided to further investigate and found out that there was a thick clear-looking bubble in her mouth. I thought maybe she couldn't breathe so I got a tooth-pick and every time she opened it tried to pop it but the bubble was really strong. After a couple tries it would pop and with a dropper, I would force feed her water since she was not drinking or eating on her own. When she closed her mouth again the bubble was back!!! I kept do it and it coming back. She looks very uncomfortable, but has pooped and peed tonight. I have no clue what to do and I am very worried about her. Please help as soon as you can!
Ms. Jordan
<Greetings. It's probable that your tortoise has a Respiratory Tract Infection. These cause a build-up of mucous and bacteria in the nose, throat and lungs, and ultimately bubbles appear in the mouth and nose.
Breathing becomes laboured, the animal becomes stressed, and eventually the animal dies. This isn't a disease that can be treated at home. You absolutely must take this tortoise to a vet. Invariably antibiotics need to be prescribed, often alongside optimization of the maintenance of the animal with respect to temperature, vitamins and UV-B light, all of which are crucial to long term health.
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

What to do about pet store (turtle) neglect? 02/22/10
Hi Darrel,
I'm sending this via crew mail so that other people will see this and be aware of it/sensitive to it the next time they go into a pet store. I'd like to get your advice on what I should do about a pet store that I feel is severely neglecting their Red Eared Sliders turtles for sale.
I was in a local {National Pet Store Chain} several days ago and went over to talk to a sales associate. I happened to notice a large aquarium behind her. I went over to see what was in it and was surprised (disheartened the better word) to see 10 medium to large size Slider turtles crowded together in what at the very least was a 'less than an ideal' environment; squalor would be a more accurate description. Food and turtle excrement literally covered the bottom of the tank as well as floating around in the water to the point that it was cloudy. Whatever filter they are using is clearly doing nothing.
The turtles had almost no room to free swim and were literally banging into each other to get around. All of them seemed very lethargic; the smallest of them (about 5" carapace length) was lying on the bottom of the tank barely moving. In fact, for the 1st 10 minutes I stood there watching him he didn't even move at all even though the other turtles were knocking into him. Just as I was about to report him dead, I finally saw him move his arms a little but hardly at all. The eyes on about half of them were closed. Though there was a large stone for basking; none of them were on it. There was only a small heat bulb lit above the stone; I did see a fluorescent tube light in the fixture but it was either off or burned out.
<Yeah - seems like they have a problem>
I decided to wait a few days and went back to the store yesterday to see if anything had changed. Unfortunately, the situation was still the same as above.
<Unfortunately, all too common a situation>
Additionally, the turtle aquarium is stuck off to the side in a back corner; hardly visible to customers (I'd been in there several times before and never noticed it!) So it's likely these turtles will not even be seen, let alone sold, anytime soon. It's hard enough to understand poor care when it's an individual who's ignorant, but to me inexcusable when it's a pet store that's licensed to sell them and should obviously know better.
<we all agree on that>
I feel like I should do something; but not sure what. Should I give it a few more days, go back again a 3rd time to see if anything is changed and if not, maybe ask the manager some probing questions? Or do I contact the health department, an animal welfare group, the state agency who licenses them to sell turtles?? All of the above? If I contact any of the latter and they take the turtles, do you know what might likely happen to them, i.e. would they euthanize them? What would you do in this situation
(please don't say adopt them, because I can't!)?
Thanks D-
<I'd make a phone call to the store and ask the name of the manager. I always make sure to ask for the Store's General Manager as opposed to the manager "on duty." Once I have that person's name I ask for them by name and leave the simple message that I was upset to see the conditions and tell them that I'm aware they're below minimum standards. In any national chain like that, the GM knows very well that customer complaints not addressed lead to calls and letters to District Offices which cause bad things to happen at the local level. It's only rarely that it doesn't do the trick.>
<If you visit in 3 more days and the conditions haven't improved, then I'd call the health department -- but more importantly I'd investigate their Corporate Offices and call their consumer affairs department.>
<Now, as far as the turtles themselves go, it's unlikely they'd euthanize them. More likely the Pet Store will make arrangements to return them to the distributor. In any case, the bigger picture is to see that no MORE turtles are brought in and kept in that manner.>
<<RMF would like to add a suggestion to contact/call the corporate office. I worked for PetCo as a consultant and buyer for three years (91-94) and will assure you that at least at this time ALL such calls were acted on immediately through operations management AND the livestock buyer/s in Merchandising. Bob Fenner>>
Re: What to do about pet store (turtle) neglect? 2/23/10

Thanks for your input also Bob! I will definitely be following up on this.
I've always had a special love for turtles and was upset and frustrated to see them in this condition and not to be able to do anything directly to help them. I wish I could just adopt them; but even that wouldn't solve the underlying problem as the store would likely just replace them with more.
<Sue, do also fill out a "Customer Comment Card"... ALL buyers had to read EVERY one of these, as well as the head of merchandising/distribution...
Even the Pres./CEO did so... VERY influential... and definitely trickled down, was converted to action through the line of operations mgmt. BobF>
Re: What to do about pet store (turtle) neglect?
Thank you, Bob! I will do that, too. Whatever will help!! And by the way, I really do want to compliment you on how diligent you are keeping up this site and helping people out. Thanks so much. Sue
<Welcome Sue! BobF>

Is Ick Medication Harmful To Aquatic Turtles? /RMF 12/09/09
<Good morrow Scott>
I have a 75 gallon tank that has an assortment of fish and 3 aquatic turtles.
<Mmm, in almost all cases it's a poor idea to mix these. Most turtles are fish eaters (given circumstances) and too "dirty" to keep in a system and keep clean enough to have fishes do okay as well>
I recently added some new fish to the tank and a few days later noticed they had Ick. I removed them and put them in another tank to medicate them.
Only to have more fish in my big tank get Ick also so I removed the turtles ( red eared slider and 2 florida red bellies) and medicated the whole the whole tank. So my question is is the Ick medication harmful to the turtles and after I do a 40 % water change and add the carbon back in will it be safe to add the turtles back into the tank?
Thanks so much in advance
<As far as I'm aware, the few active ingredients that make up freshwater Ich medicines (Malachite Green, Methylene Blue, Salts, Copper and Silver compounds, Acriflavine...) are not toxic to turtles. Some may stain their
shells, but should not harm them health-wise. Bob Fenner>
Is Ick Medication Harmful To Aquatic Turtles? /Neale
<Hello Scott,>
I have a 75 gallon tank that has an assortment of fish and 3 aquatic turtles.
<Curious. Usually fish and turtles make poor companions for a variety of reasons, not least of all the fact turtles produce so much waste that only a massive filter (and equally massive water changes) stand any chance of
ensuring good water quality and stable water chemistry. If you're having problems keeping your fish healthy, do review this aspect.>
I recently added some new fish to the tank and a few days later noticed they had Ick. I removed them and put them in another tank to medicate them. Only to have more fish in my big tank get Ick also so I removed the turtles
( red eared slider and 2 florida red bellies) and medicated the whole the whole tank. So my question is is the Ick medication harmful to the turtles and after I do a 40 % water change and add the carbon back in will it be safe to add the turtles back into the tank?
<Potentially, yes, formalin and copper are both toxic to terrapins. A safer approach would be to use the salt/heat method, which will have minimal impact on your reptiles. You won't have to move the terrapins, and there's nothing to remove when you're done beyond regular water changes.>
Thanks so much in advance
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Is Ick Medication Harmful To Aquatic Turtles? 12/9/09

Hello Again
Thank you very much for your quick response. The only problem with the two answers I received is that they both say something different.
<Actually, they don't. Re-read mine... "<As far as I'm aware, the few active ingredients that make up freshwater Ich medicines..." As far as I know, the amount of free copper in fish medicines is not therapeutically toxic to Chelonians... Perhaps Neale knows more/differently here>
One says that the copper in the Ick medications is harmful to turtles and the other response says that it is not. So I am unsure where to go from here wondering if someone could help me out again thanks so much in advance
Also if it is of any help the Ick medication we are using is made by Kordon and is called Rid~Ick+
<The formaldehyde here could indeed be problematical. I would separate the turtles, actually permanently. BobF>
Re: Is Ick Medication Harmful To Aquatic Turtles? 12/9/09

Hi Scott, Bob,
<Hello Neale>
I just looked through my handy-dandy list of fish medication ingredients.
Copper is present in some but not all anti-Ick medications, usually as copper sulphate or copper chloride. Copper is, across the board, toxic to animals, though as Bob correctly observes, the amount in medications usually isn't. There are exceptions though, with some fish and most invertebrates being acutely sensitive to copper. The scientific and veterinarian literature on reptiles essentially boils down to "we don't know" with regard to reptiles; there just haven't been sufficient studies on the toxicity of copper to reptiles to argue one way or another. Since copper isn't present in many Ick medications, the safest approach is to avoid risking problems by not using a copper-containing therapy.
As for formalin (often listed as formaldehyde) this is present in very many Ick medications as well as various "tonic" and "cure-all" medications too.
Whether or not it is immediately toxic to turtles I don't know, but it is certainly toxic in the long term, as it is to other life forms including humans, and is best avoided. Those of us who've worked in labs for any length of time will be familiar with formalin, and one of its prime uses is as a preservative, precisely because it kills even the hardiest bacteria.
It's a known carcinogen. That said, it should be metabolised by filter bacteria very quickly, likely within a day or two, so simply removing the turtles while treating the fish should ensure their safety.
<Also in agreement>
(Bob may be able to confirm either way here, but my understanding is that copper is different. It can bind reversibly with carbonates and other minerals in things like limestone. This means that it doesn't get flushed out in a predictable way, and can leach back into the system over the long term. So far as I know, activated carbon does not absorb copper.)
<Most all, once it is precipitated, stays insoluble "under aquarium conditions">
You may well be safe using standard Ick medication alongside turtles, but I'd adopt a precautionary approach. Since we don't know how toxic these medications are to reptiles, and brands formulated for fish aren't tested
for safety with reptiles, there's no reason to assume they'd be safe. You have to be very careful with how animals react to medications (or even foods) they aren't meant to be exposed to. The famous example is how flea powders safe for dogs are used on cats, and the cats are quickly poisoned by the Permethrin. Since you were keeping non-standard turtle species, the amount of data in the vet literature would be even less helpful, so we're operating from a position of almost total ignorance.
Hence my argument that you should avoid using these medications, and use salt/heat instead, which would be completely safe. Reptiles tend to be tolerant of even quite brackish water because their ability to excrete salt
is quite well developed, even among freshwater species.
Cheers, Neale
<Sound advice. Again, in the long/er term, I would not keep the fishes and turtles in the same system. BobF>

YBS; physical injury 11/03/09
Hi there,
I have a 2.5 year old yellow bellied slider (sex unknown)
<Males have much longer claws than the females, so sexing is usually easy.>
who lives in a 75 gallon tank with a gold fish and a sucker fish.
<Glad this is working for you; often doesn't. Do watch his/her companions for signs of bite marks. Conversely, water quality in turtle enclosures can be pretty poor, and this won't do your fish any good.>
A few days ago the filter overflowed, so yesterday morning I put him in a 50 gallon tank while I emptied and moved the other tank so the carpet can dry properly.
Yesterday afternoon I noticed that he had developed a white spot on one side of his head (sorry for the fuzziness of the picture).
<Yes, I see it.>
He used to live in the 50 gallon tank and I got a new style filter when I moved him to the 75 gallon tank.
It only has crinkly blue plastic in one side to filter the water as it flows through. The 50 gallon tank housed a Pacu for a few days about a month ago, the water was not fully emptied but the tank has been empty with a carbon filter running constantly for the last month.
<Do understand carbon is pretty useless in this type of environment. While it may house some bacteria, without any fish or animals in the aquarium, the bacteria that live in the carbon will die back, close to zero. So I'd strongly suggest putting at least some of the "live" media from the filter used until it started leaking into whatever new filter you have here.>
I also had to bring the temperature of the water up from 55F to 72F before I put the turtle in the water.
He still has his basking platform and light while he is in the temporary tank. There don't appear to be any behavioral changes. Please let me know if you have any suggestions regarding the cause, diagnosis, and treatment for my little friends spot.
<Good, clean water and a hot, dry basking spot should help. Clean gently with a cotton ball or some tissue. Dabbing with an antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin) or an antiseptic (such as iodine ointment) can be used to clean any small injuries. Leave the turtle out of the water for half an hour afterwards. Do this once or twice a day, for a few days. Should clear up just fine. If it doesn't do so within four or five days, or the injury starts to look bloody and/or inflamed, have a vet take a look.>
I really appreciate your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Health ?s about an Eastern Painted Turtle 10/22/09
Hi Crew,
<Hiya Denise - Darrel here>
An eastern painted turtle found my 11 yr old son in July.
<Cunning creatures, those turtles>
We're not sure where he came from since we don't live anywhere near water.
<They manage to walk a LONG way from water and can be on the road (figuratively and sometimes literally for months>
To get started we researched turtles on the internet. My concerns are:
1. His shell, towards his head, is turning white.
<I'd like to see pictures -- even from just a cell phone cam>
<When you take him out of the tank and dry him off, is the whiteness slimy?
or powdery? Can you rub or gently scrape it off or does it appear to be under the scutes (plates that make up the shell)?>
2. He's been eating meal worms every day, and then we discovered that he was getting too much protein. He won't eat zucchini or red leaf lettuce now that he's been eating the worms.
<Like a kid that gets fixated on candy ... a habit hard to break. Find a Koi store in your area and ask them for a sample of their favorite pellet food. Tell them you want to test it out on Bolt and then you'll be back to buy some if he'll eat it. Most of the better stores understand and are happy to oblige. The reason we want to do this is that breaking a bad habit is tough work. It takes determination and discipline and patience... and the first thing we try might not work -- no point in having a bag of food that he won't eat.>
<First, make sure he's warm enough. If he's not getting fully heated under the basking lamp, or if the basking lamp doesn't heat his basking area to about 90 degrees, then he's not getting hot enough to digest food properly and probably not hungry.>
<Once you're sure that part is OK, offer him 3 pellets in the water, right in front of him. If he doesn't eat them within 5 minutes, net them out, toss them away and try again the next day. And the next. And the next.
This is where the patience comes in. Bolt wants what he likes and is perfectly willing to out-wait you ... and your eventual guilt about Bolt not eating is his biggest friend. We run a risk here. There are cases where eating bad food is sometimes better than not eating AT ALL ... those cases being where the animal is debilitated from some on-going disease. It doesn't sound like Bolt HAS a disease, but then we don't really know about the white stuff and loss of appetite.>
We also put 6 feeder fish in his tank in September. He ate 2, but nothing since the 2nd wk of Sept. Now, he won't eat anything.
<This brings out another problem. Live fish aren't part of Bolt's natural diet and I'm sure you noticed how comical it was to see him try to catch them. So what happens now ... to all of us ... is you end up with feeder fish that are now unintentional pets. I had two feeder goldfish that grew so big the bullied the smaller turtles, so they ended up in the Koi pond with Koi literally 10 times their size ... believe me, none of the Koi dare get in their way at feeding time.>
3. He has a 75 gallon tank w/maybe 6 inches of water in it. Is that enough?
<That's fine. They seem to LIKE water a bit deeper, but they normally inhabit the shallows anyway. Given the complexity of raising the water level in a way that would be safe for him, I'd leave it alone right now. In the LONG term, we keepers like deeper water because deeper water tends to hold it's temperature better that shallow water, so it stays warmer at night and doesn't get as hot in daytime. But then we have to engineer higher basking areas and sometimes baffles so he can't climb out, etc. Let's not deal with any of that right now.>
<This would be a good time to ask about filtration though. It's often hard to filter water that shallow. Do you have an in-tank submersible filter?
External filter? Or just frequent water changes? All are acceptable as long as the water is crystal clear and odorless>
4. We're new at the turtle thing, and don't want Bolt to die.
Unfortunately, I'm a student 3 other kids and we can't afford a herp vet right now.
<Well, at the moment, you don't need one. We here at Bob's House of Wet Fun can give you all the guidance you need!>
5. He has a very large, flat rock to bask on. Also, the tank came w/the long florescent lamp, and we won a basking lamp on eBay for cheap.
<The florescent lamp is most likely an ordinary bulb or an aquarium/fish/plant bulb which isn't providing the proper UV lighting that Bolt needs. Look into a Repti-Sun 10.0 bulb from my friends at Zoo-Med.
You can probably find one that will fit in that fixture for a reasonable price, but if that's out of the picture at the moment, we have a standby:
Good old fashioned sunlight. Put bolt in a cardboard box with high enough sides that he can't climb out (minimum twice his length - 3 times is better) and big enough that when we set it outside that sunlight can reach straight in. Then drape a towel over one corner so that there is some shade area. Now you can set Bolt outside where he can drink up natural sunlight and have a place to get into the shade when he gets too warm. A couple hours a day would be good, but if that doesn't fit into your schedule, whatever you CAN do is still beneficial. Just as long as neighborhood dogs & kids can't get to him and he can't get out ... all you have to check on is as the sun changes, does he still have shade?>
6. Other than these things, he seems ok. No sores, swelling, or oozy pus, and he is still swimming around.
<We're ALWAYS happy to hear "no sores, swelling or pus" those are never good things>
Any help you can give is most appreciated!
<And we like doing it!>
<So here's where we are. I'm sending you two links. The first is on treatment of illnesses and I'd like you to treat for a fungal infection, mainly because it's easy, very inexpensive and getting Bolt out of the water for a few weeks will assist you in breaking his bad eating habits.
Plus it's a fun article to read.>
<Next link is on general care. It describes in more detail the sort of environment he needs and you can use it as a measuring stick against what you have and are doing.>
<Lastly, keep us posted on how this goes. Send pictures, too!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Baby Painted Turtle with wound on leg 09/03/09
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I have caught a baby painted turtle (3 inches) with a pretty deep injury on one of its legs. I am guessing that it is an injury caused by a snapping turtle. The injury is on the part of the leg that rubs on the shell. What do I do to help the infection. Should I leave him out of the water so it can scab over and can I put any kind of medication on the wound to help it.
<Well, you came to the right place, Carmen -- we just happen to have a freshly published article on the basic treatment of common illnesses in Trachemys (Sliders) and Pseudemys (Painteds, Cooters, etc) that covers your questions.>
<First, you're right about keeping him dry. Wet/moist and warm is called an Incubator for germs. There's a section on how to house him to keep him warm and dry, cover the leg twice a day with Povodine/Betadine/Iodine for three weeks (four if you can force yourself) all the while keeping him warm
and dry except for 15 minutes or so in a shallow pan so he can drink, poop and eat. It's all in the article>
<No charge! In fact, we'll throw in an article on general care too!!!!>
<care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

A brand new Baby Box Turtle 8/25/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm Josie. I found this tiny little thing in my garage, covered in cobwebs and dead bugs stuck to her! She is SO skinny and lost one eye! So, of course I had to take her in and settle her in her new home, because she would've died being out there all alone, with only one eye, starving, and only being a baby. I put her in with our 2 year old box turtle that lives in a (supposed to be) sandbox built-in underneath my children's play set.
They have a mini pond and a tomato plant out there. I just found her today.
I know that it's a female because of the cloaca on her tail. I would just like to know what specie she is, because that would help me take care of her. I named her Cyclops since she has one eye.
<What you have there, Josie is a baby box turtle! Cute as a button and right about that size. I wouldn't go as far as to say she's female from anything you can see at that age, but it's as good a guess as male, so let's go with it.>
<Cyclops appears to be a common box turtle (Terrapene carolina). She's omnivorous but will prefer meat initially and live food, such as earth worms or snails when she can catch them. She needs fruits and leafy greens like Apples and Collards as she grows, so keep offering a little bit of that in the diet. If you offer her small snails, make sure that no one has used any form if snail bait around -- snails absorb it and it is extremely toxic to turtles.>
Write back soon. -Josie

Re: A brand new Baby Box Turtle 08/26/09
I have been trying to feed her lettuce, tomatoes, apples and grapes along with Lexi, our older turtle, but she won't eat them.
<Be careful with lettuce. Collards are good, as are mustard greens, etc. Romaine is BARELY O.K. and Iceberg is between useless to actually bad for them>
We always fed Lexi fruits and veggies. I did not know that they prefer live food.
<As they get older, they tend more toward a vegetable diet, but it's unusual to find a Terrapene that won't hunt an earthworm if offered.>
Cyclops is always avoiding Lexi, and our other terrapin, Fredrica, when I put them together.
<What kind is Fredrica?>
Any advice about that? Thanks for the other info
<Cyclops is frightened, for one thing. For another, turtles are not social animals. They live in colonies many times (colony is a geographical area to which they confine themselves and therefore often cross paths) but
except for mating they mainly ignore or tolerate each other. What I'm trying to say is that Cyclops is not going to get companionship or moral support by being with others of her own kind. In fact, if an adult male
encounters a sub-adult male they've been known to attack them>
<My suggestion is that you make a sub partition for Cyclops -- just for a while. Let her get used to being out in the world again. You might try giving her a slightly warm shallow bath for 10 minutes and then offering
her a tiny bit of cat food on the end of a toothpick. That's how I get my baby box turtles to start eating when they're "stuck">
Write back soon. -Josie
<Done-- Darrel>

Re: A brand new Baby Box Turtle 8/27/09
Thank you so much for all your help!
<Yer welcome!!>
You gave me so much good advice!
<YES WE DID! It's why we're here!>
I will do the sub partition.
<Thank you for TAKING the good advice -- you'd be amazed how many people asked it and then don't>

Ship it (DarrelB's latest article on Turtles) 7/25/09
Hiya Bob -- the enclosed article isn't what I wanted as a finished product, but as we say in the computer world "there comes a time in any project when you have to shoot the engineers and start shipping product" and in that vein I'd like to get this out there so I can reference it in letters.
<Darrel, tis fab! What sorts of remuneration can we offer you for its posting? BobF>
just your ever loving adoration, a beer one day -- and maybe kick in some Spell Czech for me
<Mmm, as much as I admire your self-effacing behavior (to the max youngsters might say); I am much more akin to thank you personally, glowingly acknowledge not just the personal aggrandizement you will achieve, as well as the MANY animals whose lives you will have further improved, their owners appreciation as well... But also forward you some cash (for incidentals like the aforementioned adult beverages)... for now. I will direct such to you via PayPal presently. Again, much grass... and a warning of further prompting for pieces covering the two areas you mention (for now) that directly determine Emydid health... Nutrition and Environment/Habitat. Yours, BobF>

Turtle poop? 7/25/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
So I have 2 turtles I bought at Myrtle Beach two years ago...one is definitely a red eared slider but the other may be some type of map turtle...looks like a dinosaur! Lol.
I have them in a 55 gallon tank that is 3/4 full with a basking area out of water with a light as well as a reptile "Day-Glo" light over the basking area. I keep the lights on during the day and they seem happy to bask awhile and then swim to their little hearts content! I recently got a larger filter (a whisper 20) to try to keep the water cleaner without having to use the gravel sucker thingy so often!
I've fed them mainly turtle pellets/sticks (ReptoMin) as well as some dried shrimp krill from time to time.
<A fine basic diet>
We bought some goldfish at one point cuz the guy at the pet store told us to...
<first change here .. we stop listening to the guy at the fish store>
But the turtles never touched em... But I see now its not good to feed them fish anyway.
<probably couldn't catch them if they tried -- which is good because fish isn't a mainstay of their diet and fish store feeders are notorious for having disease and parasites. This is why we no longer listen to the Fish Store Guy about turtles, OK?>
They have all lived in harmony for over a year now...lol.
<Which is the OTHER problem. After the fish survive long enough they become pets in their own right with their own needs to be met ... etc.>
Recently they ran out of pellets for about 2 wks so I was just giving them lettuce & carrots (which they've never been too interested in...) .
<Yeah -- honestly they'd have been better to just be hungry for a week or so>
My husband brought home some ReptoMin floating sticks the other day(same as I usually feed them) and also some Reptotreat Suprema made by Tetrafauna (krill enriched food pellets) . (he also bought TetraFin goldfish food for fish)
<See? Now the goldfish are pets, too. Eight years ago, before I learned to take my own advice, I ended up with two feeder goldfish that grew to the size of small Koi and now have their own pond .....>
So I fed them the first night and they ate quite a bit and seemed very excited over their food/treats!
I fed them again yesterday& last night when I came home, I smelled a stench. I looked in the turtle tank and it looked like the turtles pooped/maybe diarrhea on the basking site (and the lamp just heated the stink! Lol)
It was the same reddish/orangish that the "treats" were but I was concerned that it made them have diarrhea?
<you probably did, just from the diet change and sudden intake of food>
They are acting completely normal and are still hungry but I haven't given them anymore treats. I thought maybe it was just too much since they'd not had sticks for awhile and never had these particular treats before?
<I agree>
I have tried more lettuce/carrots but they just don't like it as much as the ReptoMin floating sticks (those are green). So ALL that to ask if they are ok and what to watch for?
<Just go back to the ReptoMin sticks (or Koi pellets - same thing & MUCH cheaper .. and the rest will .....
get ready for the pun ............. everything else will pass!
I appreciate this website soooo much!
<thank you!>
I've been very fortunate and my turtles so far, aside from this, have been incredibly healthy in spite of me sorta learning as I go!
They're names are Ray & Debra...lol.
But I don't know if they are male or female!
<Since they won't come when you call them and, as far as we know, have no sexual identity issues, it really doesn't matter. Just enjoy. Here's a link that will cover all the basic things to know. Check out your care against the guidelines and enjoy>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
Re: The straight poop? 7/26/2009

Hi Darrel!
Thank you for your reply!
<We enjoy replying!>
And the part I appreciate the most is your sense of humor! You're freakin awesome!! :)
<Really? I'm not sure what it says about YOU if you think I'm funny ......
You might want to talk to someone about that :) >
I especially enjoyed the part about turtles not having sexual identity issues! Bwah haaaaa haaaaaa! ROTFL!
<They DO have spending & money management problems though. Never EVER let a turtle or tortoise anywhere near a checkbook or an ATM card -- learned that lesson the hard way>
You made my day!
By the way...um, do I heartlessly murder my goldfish now? Lol.
<Nope -- you pay for that mistake the way the rest of us have: You name them, add their needs and requirements to all your future decisions and start worrying about them too.>

my turtle may have metabolic bone disease 07/23/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a red eared slider turtle that is 3 years old and have noticed something wrong. I've noticed that my turtle sometime jerks its head or makes a twitch like movement. Another thing I have noticed is my turtle is walking with its right front leg bent back and want to know if it is broken or fractured or anything like that having to do with the disease. I read an article saying these are some of the symptoms of the metabolic bone disease.
What can I do to care for my turtle if it has this disease?
<The first thing I should say is that any serious illness should be treated medically. A qualified veterinarian who diagnosed MBD would give your turtle a calcium and vitamin injection and you'd see a marked improvement within days. Treating at home will take longer and there is a risk:
Reptiles and fish are very stoic animals, which is to say that they tend to hide their sicknesses for as long as possible. We often don't see any outward signs until the animal is VERY sick .. and sometimes by that time, it's too late.>
<In any case, your first action should be to remove him from an aquatic environment and house him someplace warm and dry. The hard part is getting the calcium into him, since normally turtles eat in water and the water tends to wash away any coatings or powders. Some turtles will eat cheese or bite into yogurts or cabbage while on land and all of those contain calcium.>
<Get some calcium tablets from the local drug or vitamin store (pure calcium carbonate is best, ground oyster shells, etc. but even if they contain phosphorous or magnesium it's OK - just make sure calcium is the primary ingredient) and crush the tablets into a powder and coat whatever food he'll bite into. Maybe a piece of liver would entice him. I've even had turtles that will simply eat a vitamin tablet -- there's just no
accounting for taste.>
<The problem though, which I've already mentioned, is that this a painfully slow way of getting a relatively small amount of calcium into an animal that very likely has a large deficiency. It would take months of this kind of care plus a balanced diet and plenty of natural sunlight to begin to see a difference... and as I also stated earlier, this will only work out if it's not already too late, so again I suggest you consider seeing if you can find a Veterinarian.>
<If you read enough literature on the diseases and ailments of fish and reptiles you will see a constant thread running through everything:>
<Sorry to shout like that, but it never seems to sink in to people: One trip to a veterinarian for a relatively simple procedure will cost more than the sum total of proper care for several years. Preventing is FAR cheaper than curing.>
<Back on topic ... Liver is high in vitamins and will easily accept a coating of calcium and if you chop it into small enough chunks that he can swallow, you may be able to deliver enough calcium to start correcting the immediate problems. Better care and diet will address the longer term issues. Please read:

Turtle AND husband in some hot water? 07/13/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Kelly -- Darrel here>
I have a yellow belly slider that is not doing well. It is a female in a 65 gallon tank with another female yellow belly slider. Its shell is about the size of a small woman's palm. I was gone for two weeks while my husband watched them.
<uh oh - make him pay for that!>
The water got pretty dirty so I emptied all the water out, cleaned the entire cage, including the filters and added new water.
<That's a good idea. Also, you should sterilize the entire setup as well.
Here's a link I've written in the past:
The temp is currently set at 82 degrees.
<WAAAAAAAAAY too hot!>
<WAY too hot>
<The water temp should be between 65 and 73 -- usually it will take on the temp of the room it's in, but we NEVER heat a turtles water! The whole idea is they choose between the heat of their basking area and the cool of their water. Do whatever you need to do to get that temperature down>
They have a large basking spot with turtle lighting.
<that would be both a heat generating lamp making the basking area 85-93 degrees and also a UV lamp?>
I have two in tank filters and an under gravel filter. Since changing the entire water it seems as if the tank might be recycling so I added some stress zyme. The parameters are all zero (nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia), with the pH being 6.6 to 6.8. Normally the pH of my tap water is 7.6 so that is why I am thinking it is recycling.
<In normal circumstances it's not really possible for a turtle tank to reach a balanced biological filter cycle like a fish-type tank. There is simply too much waste and too RAW a waste for any reasonable biocycle to achieve stability. Rather than additives and Ph tests, etc. you're far better off to invest your energy in frequent water changes and your money in activated carbon for your filters. The Ph, chlorine and ammonia/chloramines from any normal tap water is well within their tolerance and it's really not worth your time and money to try to correct something that is already just fine for them>
Anyway, to the turtle. She is not swimming and when I put her in the water she is leaning towards one side. When she is basking she is putting her front legs turned in like she is resting on her knuckles (if that makes sense). She has some reddish brown spots under her shell by her back legs and a little bit by her head. She is very lethargic and won't go in the water to eat, but if I put her in a bucket with some ReptoMin she goes after it right away and eats it. She has trouble getting all the way out of the water to bask but if I lift her up and set her down to bask she will stay there. She does seem to move her front legs when in the water but obviously with the leaning she is having trouble controlling her movement.
My other turtle seems fine as she is very active and alert.
<I agree she's sick and likely has a skin fungus. It's good that she's eating well>
What do you suggest I do? If you think she needs to go to a vet, can you suggest the best way for me to find a qualified one? I live in Racine WI which is in the southeast of WI.
<We're not there yet, we can treat this at home>
Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
<Here it comes>
<I recently wrote someone with essentially the same problems and gave them the same advice. So I'm enclosing a link to what I wrote. NATURALLY you should hang on my EVERY word from EVERY letter I answer, but the first letter in this link contains all the advice I would be giving to you here if I weren't too lazy to copy & paste the entire letter rather than just the link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resdisf4.htm>
<Now that's the advice for treating the turtle. By the way, take them BOTH out and treat them BOTH for the possible fungus. Meanwhile, here's a link to a BRILLIANT article that covers all the basics of their regular housing and care should be. Check your care against these standards and correct whatever is not in line.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
Re: Turtle and husband in hot water? 07/13/09

Thanks for answering
<Happy to do it!>
My main concern was that she was listing to one side when swimming and very lethargic to the point of barely moving (and sitting with her front legs curled so her knuckles are towards the ground, if that makes sense). The only time I see her move is when the other turtle knocks her off the basking area or if she is going for food. She still has an appetite, so that is a positive. The person I talked to said that based on the listing and lethargy it is probably a respiratory infection. Do you agree that this could be the case?
<Not necessarily. Lethargy comes from almost any kind of illness that is debilitating and respiratory infections are usually accompanied by bubbles from the nose AND loss of appetite. So far I'm betting fungal based on the reddish brown spots>
If so is there anything else I should be doing?
<read below>
I haven't noticed any sneezing or coughing or discharge from her nose.
<A contra-indication of respiratory infection>
Interestingly enough I received some advice and already started a similar regimen. I have her in a spare tank with a basking lamp on her 24/7. I also treated the reddish brown areas with Povidone/iodine and it already looks better after two treatments.
<Again. Get her out of the water and keep her out except for feeding & drinking time -- just like in the link I sent you. What we're trying to do here is give her a break ... make her life EASY, no swimming, no hauling out, no WARM, MOIST ENVIRONMENT THAT FAVORS FUNGAL GROWTH, ETC... Whatever she has ... will heal better if you follow my advice and keep her warm and DRY for the next two months while her immune system kicks this>
Every person I talked to at a pet store and everything I have read on the internet said the tank should be heated.
<Unless you live in the Arctic circle ... everything you read on the Internet or heard in the pet stores is wrong. Period. The turtle will enjoy room temperature water -- any room temperature that YOU would feel comfortable in ... and then CHOOSE the warmth of the basking lamp when SHE decides to warm up.>
I normally have it at 75 degrees but turned it up when she got sick. I have since turned it back down to 70 degrees.
<You have to HEAT the tank water to 70 degrees? In Wisconsin in July??????>
Do you think I should take the heater out all together?
<YES!!! Unlike fish, turtles have a habit of accidentally breaking heaters (assuming it's a glass heater) and then cutting themselves on the shards of glass (or biting the electrical wires). They don't need it, it's not good for them, so yes, please remove it>
Also, ever since I totally cleaned out the tank (siphoned all the water out, cleaned the filters, cleaned the inside of the glass, and added more water the water kind of smells (sort of like my fish tank did when it was recycling). Is this normal?
<No it's not normal. But fungus is very often smelly ... so there ya go>
<Please sterilize the tank & equipment as I described in the first link, keep BOTH the turtles warm and dry (watered & fed once daily) for a minimum of two weeks before you put the asymptomatic one back in her normal tank ... and the one with the known problem ..... around 6-8 weeks: AT LEAST 3 weeks after you see NO skin discoloration, NO lethargy and NO other symptoms. At least.>
Re: Turtle and husband in hot water? 7/14/2009

A couple of questions regarding the treatment regimen:
On your link you posted the following, "After her daily bath, let her dry completely and then clean the affected area(s) with hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab, then soak or dribble some Povidone (any kind of iodine) on the affected area. Do this for a week and note the healing." After I dribble the Povidone on the area do I rinse it off or let it dry on there? When I have been doing it I have been leaving it on for a few minutes then rinsing the turtle. Please advise.
<Nah -- let it stay on and dry. The thin film covering the affected area helps it just a tiny bit>
Also, with the healthy turtle there aren't any affected areas so where should I put the Povidone?
<The healthier turtle doesn't need to have the peroxide/Povodine treatment ... just to be out of the warm/moist world for a few weeks to nip any fungus or infection before it has a chance to catch hold>
With the sick turtle she has some reddish brown spots under her shell by her head. How do I treat with hydrogen peroxide and Povidone without getting it on her face or in her eyes?
<A Q-tip swab might help. Hold her upright and let a drop fall off the end of a spoon. I always keep a box of insulin syringes around to be able to specifically place drops in tight places.>
Finally, the sick turtle's front legs are very limp. When I lifted one to try and straighten it out (very gently) I noticed some yellowish spots. I am assuming some kind of fungi like you suspected. I am going to treat
these spots along with the reddish brown spots directly. Is this correct?
Thanks again for your help. I hope she gets better and doesn't die!
<We hope so, too!>

Healing Turtle 7/18/09
Dear WWM
<Hiya, Kelly -- Darrel here>
I have been treating my turtle (female yellow belly slider) with the peroxide/Povidone treatment that you suggested due to a possible fungal infection. The reddish brown spots look like they are healing. The front and back legs still foam up a lot when I put on the peroxide.
I have had my turtle out of the water for five days. She gets her daily bath for approximately five minutes to eat, which she is still doing.
However she has not pooped in those five days. Is that concern? Is there something I can do for constipation in case it is that? Keep in mind she will not eat any type of lettuce or greens. She wouldn't even eat them when she wasn't sick. She will only eat ReptoMin.
<Which is fine Kelly, it's the only diet she needs. Identical to Koi pellets, just more expensive.>
<As far as the constipation, raise the temperature of her soaking water by a few degrees and leaver he in it longer than the 5 minutes. Say .. 15. This should help get things moving again>
Next, her front legs are very limp and she can not brace herself on them or use them to swim. When I put her in water to test it she just floated there and looked like she wanted to move them put couldn't use them very well. She is smaller than my other female but her front legs look larger like they might be swollen. Is this due to the possible fungal infection or is there something else going on? When she is out of the water she is unable to move at all as she can not propel herself. Her front legs are curled in like she is resting on her knuckles. Please advise.
<This one's hard to call without a physical exam. Unless they are atrophied from lack of use due to long term infection, the first thing that springs to mind is MBD (Metabolic bone disease) but the ReptoMin is a balanced diet. So at the moment .. all I have for you is a 'Hmmmm ....' and an arched eyebrow. Let's keep treating for another two weeks and then talk again.>
Finally, I have a Repti Glo 5.0 UVB light and a 75 W Exo-terra swamp Glo basking light. Do I need both of these? I am having difficulty getting both to shine on the basking spot at the same time. If I need both how much time per day do they need each light and does the UVB light need to shine directly on the basking spot?
<The basking lamp is primarily for heat, Kelly. The UVB is providing the "sunlight" necessary for Vitamin D and Calcium absorption (Hmmmm again?).
It is far more critical that the UVB reach her because that MUST be direct, unfiltered by any glass or even screen, to be effective. While I applaud you spending the extra money for "proper(tm)" equipment, the Exo-terra is essentially JUST a light bulb. You can take a 100 W GE soft white and suspend it further out of the way to let the UVB have priority and yet let the heat hit the basking spot.>
Re: Healing Turtle 7/22/09

I have still been treating my turtle for possible fungal infection.
However today I have been spending more time than usual observing her and I have noticed mucus/bubbles coming from her nose.
<Bad news>
Also, one of her eyes has discharge coming from it so I have been treating her eyes with turtle eye drops (Zoo Med Repti Turtle Eye Drops).
<More bad news>
I put her in the tank the today because she has been struggling to move her legs around like she wants to walk but can't, so I thought I would see what would happen. She was in there for less than 5 minutes and she just floated there, still listing to one side, and kept opening her mouth (like she was yelling under water). She would try to push of something with her back legs, but did not have control moving around with her front legs. They still appear weak and she still has not walked yet, but can push herself in circles by using her back legs. I have noticed that she does try to push herself up on her front legs, she just doesn't seem to have the strength to walk. Maybe this will improve. What do you think? Do you think she might have a respiratory infection after all?
<At this point I'd say that yes, She has a respiratory infection -- it was either the underlying cause of her problems or was opportunistic due to her weakness. The Last Thing we want to do is put her in water deep enough to let her nose go under.>
<Her biggest problem by now is simply her weakness. Keep her warm and dry and let's find a vet for her>
Please advise. If you think she needs to see a herp vet, can you tell me how to go about finding a good one?
<That's harder than it ought to be. The best of the best is in Marathon, Florida but you might find one closer to you through this link
http://www.herpvetconnection.com On the bright side, treating these basic symptoms aren't that challenging even to a Vet that hasn't had a lot of herpetological exposure. If the Vet is experienced, he or she will know what to do. If not, suggest Fortaz (ceftazidime) dosed at 20 mg per kg subQ/IM for 7 days (the vet will understand that) or possibly Baytril (Enrofloxacin) 7.5-10 mg per kg diluted with normal saline SubQ/IM. At the same time, ask about a one time vitamin & calcium injection.>
Thanks again for your help.
<Best of luck, Kelly>
P.S. Her shell does look better and there did appear to be some fungus, but that appears to be all gone. There are still some red spots on her shell underneath by her legs, but they appear to be healing somewhat.
Re: Sick Turtle 07/23/09

Dear Darrel
Thanks a lot. Through the website I found a 24 hour clinic within 30 minutes. They have a specialist but he's not in until next Thursday.
However I'm taking her tonight and the other vet is going to look at her, call the specialist with the symptoms and prescribe treatment. I will mention your suggestions too.
I'm feeling positive that she's still eating and hasn't given that up.
<A very good sign, yes>
However I'm not sure if she's had a bowel movement in the last week. There was some poop in the dry aquarium but I don't know if it was her or the other turtle.
<Not as concerned about poop at this point>
She did pee on me today when I was putting the fungal cream on.
<Happens all the time>
That was interesting.
<the word I used is 'EWW'>
Thanks again for all your help.
I'll let you know how she does.
<please do>
=========== Update ================
So I took Talia to the vet. They did their diagnostic exam (looked at her, but her in water, and asked me a million questions). They are not convinced it is a respiratory infection, although they agree it could be. They wanted to do a fecal exam (since she hasn't pooped in six days), radiographs, zoopanel, and protein electrophoresis. That would cost me over $500 dollars.
<Yes. This is another place for me to plug my concept that care and attention to a well pet is far cheaper than medical care>
I love my little turtle, but I think my husband would divorce me if I tried to spend $500 on a turtle.
<It's an expensive club to join, Kelly. Even though we do have a secret handshake and cool jackets. Over the years I've spent so much time with my Veterinarian that we're personal friends and go scuba diving together.>
They suspect GI problem, respiratory infection, or other systematic disease. I convinced them to try antibiotics first before we do all that other really expensive stuff.
<Good move>
So they gave me Ceftazidime injections which they instructed me to give 0.41 ml.s every three days for 30 days. They are worried she might have a GI obstruction from the aquarium rock. They told me to remove it, that I shouldn't have it because turtles will eat it and could get sick. What do you think? Do you suggest I also remove it?
<Intestinal impaction happens, but it's not a HUGE consideration for turtles. I've had many setups that have aquarium gravel as a base and to my knowledge I've never lost a turtle to eating a rock it couldn't pass.>
I have an under gravel filter, so if I remove the rock, what do you suggest I put down, or perhaps I shouldn't have anything down.
<An under gravel filter is pointless with turtles, Kelly. They usually have enough poop (talk about irony at the moment, huh?) to overwhelm any and all biological filters. A power filter to keep the water clear and then frequent water changes is the way to go.>
I appreciate your suggestions.
<Worth every penny you paid for them! LOL>
They also told me to buy other commercial turtle foods and vary her diet <Again, their digestive systems are fairly primitive and their dietary needs are so simple ... I raise hatchlings to breeders solely on Koi Pellets with an occasional (once a month or so) earth worm as a treat>
... and put her in the water (small amount in bucket) more frequently to encourage her to poop since she still hasn't done so. Do you agree?
<A fine idea. Mildly warm and barely enough to cover her cloaca/tail -- not up to her head or mouth - and leave her in for 15 minutes>
I think this vet is good as there was an article in our local paper about how he did surgery on a tortoise who had nuts, bolts, screws, etc. stuck in his stomach.
<After turtle surgery we use regular old Bondo and fiberglass resin to patch the shells.>
But, I would still trust your judgment.
<well, here's the thing -- he's there and I'm not. He's been through that pesky medical school and training, etc. so when he talks, let's listen>
Finally, they told me to keep my turtles separate as the healthy one could get sick. My only problem with that is I only have one aquarium light and don't really want to go out and buy another reptile bulb so I can keep them separate. What do you suggest?
<If it's a respiratory infection, that is a possibility. Not a GREAT one though, it's not like the we humans catch cold. In a reptile, a commonly occurring bacterium or virus needs an opportunity to take hold. Still, separating them isn't a bad idea. I assume putting the healthy one in a set up tank can still have a regular lamp for heat & basking, right? If that's the case and he's otherwise healthy then yes, take the UV lamp for Talia and let the other do without for a while>
Thanks again for all your help.
<best of luck!>
Re: Sick Turtle 08/06/09

Dear Crew,
<Hiya Darrel here>
Well, its not looking good for Talia. She seemed to be improving after the first three shots and was walking again. She was even moving about the cage and basking with her back legs kicked out and her head held high. But then the past few days she is keeping her head down and is always sleeping. Last night she had blood coming out of her mouth. I cleaned her off and thought for sure she would be dead this morning but she's still here....barely. I just can't afford the $400 they want to put into diagnostics. At this point I'm afraid it would do no good anyway. :(
<I agree with you, Kelly. For reptiles and fish, even heroic and seemingly insane amounts of money and effort can't always guarantee a good outcome.
As tragic as it is, sometimes we have to accept the inevitable.>
<On behalf of Bob Fenner, me and the rest of the crew, please accept our sympathies during these difficult times>
I do have a few questions about my setup to keep my other turtle healthy and hopefully avoid this with her. I have both the UVB (Reptiglo 5.0) and basking lamp (swamp Glo).
<The basking lamp can be an ordinary incandescent bulb. The Repti-Glo provides all the special stuff. The basking lamp is there for heat and for the familiar 'feeling' that a turtle will have in seeking the bright light>
I'm having trouble getting them both to shine directly on the basking area.
Does the UVB need to shine directly on it. The basking lamp is in one of those lamp holders with the clamp to secure it to the edge of the aquarium.
The UVB extends the length of the tank. If I have the basking lamp directly over the UVB it gets too hot and burns the UVB enclosure. Can I just push the UVB more in the center of the tank even though it is not shining directly on the basking area or what do you suggest?
<The UV is more critical in nature than the Basking lamp. In your situation, I have the UV running almost the length of the tank at the every back against the glass (and definitely over the basking area) and then the
basking lamp clamped on the side, further away, but shining on the basking spot. Sometimes simply the air gap between the bulb and the plastic on the UV fixture is enough to keep that fixture cool. Also, your UV lamp has a 12 inch (approximate) distance allowable. The UV falls off after about 6 inches and then sharply after about 12 ... but there is still "wiggle room" to make this all fit>
Also how many hours per day should I have each light on.
<I approximate daylight, Kelly. Longer in summer (14 hours) and less in Winter (8 hours)>
Lastly, I have a screen on the top and I read on the website the UVB should not be filtered even through a screen.
What can I do to achieve this but to also ensure the light won't fall in the water?
<In my setups I use an 18 inch fluorescent fixture with a Vita-Lite UV bulb (old habits die hard) and I attach that to hooks that hang off the back of the aquarium glass (on the inside) so my covers can be complete. However, if you have an ordinary aquarium fixture that fits in tracks on the aquarium top (like normal people do) then my suggestion is that you get some 1/2 mesh hardware cloth and make yourself a little dome top -- so that all lights are technically inside the cover.>
Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
<It's worth every penny, Kelly!>
Re Sick Turtle can't be saved 8/8/09

I took Talia in and had her euthanized because she kept coughing up blood, stopped eating, and seemed to be having trouble breathing. I did not want to see her suffer for an extended period of time and a local vet was willing to do it.
<As hard as that is to do, Kelly, it was the responsible and caring thing to do. We've all been there and all of us extend our best wishes>
I really do appreciate all your advice and support trying to help my little turtle.
<The best way we can all help Talia now is to make sure that we do everything we can to prevent things like this in the future, which you are doing!!>
One last question about the lighting for my other turtle.
Right now, the light I have extends the length of the tank and I have it sitting on the edges secured with Velcro-type stuff on the edges. My concern is that there is a warning on the light fixture saying the light
should not be over open water, which it is with the way I have it set up.
Do you think this is a concern?
<Yes it is. Any adhesive has the ability to dry, crack and give way -- so we need to take extra precautions. I have essentially the same setup for my hatchling tanks, but I add one thing: Before I press the adhesive on to the glass, I run some picture hanging wire from the back of the fixture (there are always holes of some sort), up the glass and bent over the top edge of the tank. This way, if the adhesive gives way my light is more likely to rattle that to fall into the water>
The light is 6 1/2 inches from the basking spot and 9 1/2 inches from the water. I guess there is a possibility if she ran off the edge of the basking rock, water could splash up there, but I think the water would most
likely splash forward rather than back and up. I guess I would just like your opinion. My only other option would be a screen but water can get through those too, so are they really that much more safe and if it filters
the necessary light I would rather not use one.
<No, splashes aren't really the concern -- as long as the fixture doesn't fall into the water you're in good shape>
I appreciate your opinion.
<This is America and EVERYONE is entitled to my opinion!!>

my water turtle; hlth., reading, Vet., quick 07/13/09
My water turtle has not ate for three days, and its skin is shedding gooey like texture, and also it looks very weak and it doesn't really open its eyes but there is no puss on them what should I do?
<Call a vet. Now. Your turtle is likely very sick and likely suffering great pain. You MUST take it to a vet; anything else would be animal cruelty!
Most turtles get sick because people don't look after them correctly; do read here:
Keep a turtle properly and they're actually very disease-resistant
Cheers, Neale.>

Cooter with unknown problem? 05/27/09
<Hiya Carl .. Darrel here>
I have a Cooter that is approx 4 years old and has developed a strange growth on her back. I have gone through so many websites, found many pictures of shell rot but my turtle problem looks nothing like any of the pictures that I have seen, it about 1 inch by 1 inch.
<Without more description, I'm not able to visualize much more. Perhaps a couple of snapshots from even a cellular phone camera? Anything more, even a more detailed description would help>
Generally the life of my turtle involves basking under UV light, swimming and eating. As far as I can see she is doing all the same things as she was before this thing started growing.
<That's an important indicator of health, Carl. But still we're going to need to treat her differently.>
Basically, her shell has risen and flaked off on the bit above the tail, there is no smell, no pus, and was a little soft. She wasn't bothered if you touched it as she just continues sitting there so I'm guessing there no pain.
<It sounds like a fungal infection managed to kill the scute itself and what you have is an underlying skin area that is hardened and calcified. Can you try to imagine if half your fingernail came off and you were looking at the underlying skin? Now assume that the skin hardened a bit and wasn't sensitive to the touch. Is this an apt description?>
We clean the water regularly and she has a varied diet including ReptoMin sticks, King British mix, mealworms and fish (not live).
<To simplify your life, delete the mealworms and fish ... change the ReptoMin to a high quality, yet far less expensive, Koi pellet ... and then add one or two earthworms per month as a treat. Mealworms are all fat and fish, while healthy, just isn't a substantial part of an Emydid turtle's diet.>
For the past 20 days we have kept her separate from her friends which are yellow bellied. Unfortunately when we bought them we were told they were the same breed.
<To be honest, the difference between Sliders, Cooters and the Red & Yellow bellies is something only important to themselves. They interbreed all the time and seem to get along in any combination.>
We took her to a bloke that runs a reptile shop/habitat and he was very impressed with how hard the rest of the shell was.
<That speaks well of your care!>
She has a bath each day for 15-20 min.s depending on how long it takes her to eat and go to toilet. She is dried and then applied Tamodine with a toothbrush as recommended by the gentlemen. It has got harder and the shell has reappeared right in the middle.
<Well, I WAS going to send you a copy of an article on turtle illnesses that describes how to isolate and treat a sick turtle, but now there is no
need. The treatment you describe here is EXACT and PERFECT for the condition you describe.>
<It also sounds like she's on the road back to health, Carl>
I was wondering if you have any suggestions of what it could be, as there is no vets in our area that deals with turtles, I live in Britain and turtles apparently aren't that common.
<Again, my guess is that a fungal infection lifted and damaged the scute. Sometimes the scute grows back, other times, if the tissue that feeds it is too damaged, it doesn't grow back and you get what is essentially a big, white scar where the scute was.>
I think it is healing but I'm concerned as she not just a turtle she our pet and we don't want it to spread any further.
<It SOUNDS like it's healing nicely under excellent care, Carl!! Give her another month of this treatment (or when you just sense that she's "well"
and then add three weeks). The only thing I'd do is take extra precautions with habitat and water quality for all of them.>
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Yours Sincerely,
<You've done all the hard work already ... and all the right things!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

African Side Neck with Odd Algae, possible parasites? 3/23/09
Hello WWM, I realize you are extremely busy and will try my best to be clear and concise. However, as I have a horrible digital camera I can't send you any pictures that will be of use. I received an African Side Neck turtle about a month ago from a friend. When I got Leroy his shell was severely peeling, he had no filter and nothing in his tank save him, 3 rocks, and about 3" of water (it didn't even cover his shell). Since receiving him I have done lots of research and increased his water to about 8", put in gravel, kept the rocks, a basking lamp, heater, filter and a turtle dock, all in a 20 gallon tank. His cage is constantly kept at 79 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit, occasionally a bit warmer when I change the water as I don't always get the temp perfect out of the faucet, but never above 84. I think he is still growing as he is only about 4" wide (maybe 5" long). I clean his cage with a weekly 50% water change and bi-weekly complete cage overhaul, taking everything out, wiping it down with a cage cleaning solution as well as cleaning the rocks and dock with solution and lightly brushing his shell with a toothbrush. His shell peeling has cleaned up, he is very active and eats both ReptoMin turtle pellets and occasionally feeder fish.
<Mmm, this last is a very poor idea... too fatty, too much chance of introducing parasites... And you need to include a vitamin supplement...
Very likely this animal is suffering from deficiency... as evidenced by the shell condition>
Anyway, what worries me is the algae that is growing on his shell. He came with some, but it seems to be increasing. It is little green patches all across his shell.
I have tried lightly brushing with a clean toothbrush to get it off (as the former owners recommended) but he does not like firm pressure and I'm afraid to hurt him.
<Best not to handle period>
Also there is some sort of white string-like patches in his shell, they are concave (not sticking out but in) and about a 1/4" long each, there's three in one area. There may be more small patches appearing at another part in his shell, but I'm not sure. Recently he has been "scratching" his back against the bottom of the turtle dock as if it's itchy. I have tried putting Dr. Turtle's into the tank, they say they help with common turtle diseases and it is a dissolvable tablet (I did two consecutively, once one dissolved, the other in), but it didn't seem to help at all. Most recently his skin has started to peel a bit and he keeps biting himself as if to get off excess or itchy skin. Is this serious enough to warrant a vet visit or is there things I can do to help him at home? Thank you so much for your help!
<Do read re Vitamin D involvement with these Chelonians... and provide better nutrition: See the Net re... or read at least here:
The problem with the shell can only be solved from "the inside out" by providing better living conditions and foods over time.
Bob Fenner>

Turtle medical help ~ 01/12/09 I have a small turtle (1/2 dollar size) and type unknown....you know a turtle !!! <Assuming Trachemys scripta elegans, the Red-eared Slider.> it is bleeding out of its shell, although it doesn't seem to be hurt in any way, it bothers my children. what could be the cause and what can be done to help this fella out? <This turtle needs a vet, now. It's in pain and suffering profoundly. The shell is essentially its ribcage, and if it is bleeding through the shell, that means a serious injury. Even if you're lucky and this is some sort of infection that looks like blood but isn't, for example Shell Rot, you still need a vet.> it is housed in a small plastic, hand held, aquarium with river rock and non-chlorinated water about half way up on the rocks. <Not an acceptable house for this animal. Please understand turtles are expensive to keep and incredibly bad pets for children. Since you own the thing now, it's your job to treat it humanely. Firstly, you need to find a vet to either treat or euthanise this animal as required (and no, you can't euthanise a reptile at home, at least not humanely or painlessly). Don't know of any vets in your area that handle reptiles? No problem: visit a relevant web site (such as Anapsid.org) in your area (in this case, the US): http://www.anapsid.org/vets/ Please realise that this turtle is in pain and suffering. You can't treat it at home, and it isn't going to get better by itself. You have two choices: take it to a vet, or let it painfully bleed to death or die from some drawn-out gangrene-type infection. Turtle shells are quite strong, and if they get broken, it's likely because of some extreme force used on them. Children shouldn't handle turtles unless they understand how to be gentle, and certainly turtles should be kept away from dogs, power tools and the like. Secondly, you need to review what these animals need in captivity. Among other things you will need a big aquarium (some tens of gallons), a heater, a UV-B light source, and a filter -- minimum. It's a shame people buy animals before they learn what they need. But I'm assuming you're willing to learn (and spend the money) so that this animal is kept properly. That being so, have a read of this excellent summary of their requirements. None of this stuff is difficult to obtain, and most any pet store should carry the basic things listed above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm > we feed this turtle small pellets from the pet store. <Not adequate. Do review the diet of these turtles carefully. They're herbivores, so the bulk of their diet needs to be soft green plants. This aspect is cheap and easy to handle. They also need lots of calcium and vitamins, and the UV-B light mentioned earlier is essential if they are to process the vitamins they need to survive. Turtle pellets are, at best, a treat to be used for, maybe, 20% of their diet, tops.> thanks!! Michael <Hope this help, and good luck to your turtle. Cheers, Neale.>

Frozen painted turtle 11/29/08 Hi. <Hiya Deb - Darrel here this morning> We recently found a painted turtle (4 inch diameter) frozen in the ice of our pond. We chipped out a section of ice with the turtle and brought it inside to thaw. Incredibly, the turtle does appear to be alive but still in hibernation. <Yes, he was hibernating to the point of stasis. The Emydid turtles, for the most part, do quite well in frozen creeks and ponds by shutting down to an almost imperceptible metabolism until the thaw comes. On the other hand, this is never something we intentionally do to our pets because not all do survive. In your case, I would have suggested to leave him alone and let nature take it's course, but I understand the desire to "jump in" (pun intended) and try to help. Now that he's out, we'll press onward> We aren't sure what is best for his survival now ... keep him indoors and let him come out of hibernation or place him in a shallow goldfish pond that hasn't frozen over yet. The daytime temps are still in the mid 30's with overnight lows dropping to high 20's. What is his best chance of survival? <Deb, at this point, I'd like you to bring him indoors, place him in a cardboard box or some other suitable container with high sides and then place him in the coolest part of your house. Not a porch or area exposed to the outside temps in the 20's, but not next to the heater either. I'd like him to experience temps in the 40's, 50's & 60's for a few days, if possible and then up to the comfortable indoors temps of your house. In other words, we want to warm him up FAIRLY quickly, but not so fast as to shock his system. If he warms up gradually over a few days or a week, you'll see occasional signs of activity (mostly looking around probably the way WE do when we first wake up in the morning) and then small movements until he has shaken the hibernation off and then begins to walk around. Wait a week after he's fully active to place him in a shallow bowl of room-temperature water to soak and hydrate for a few minutes, and then another week before offering him some Repto-Min sticks or Koi pellets (same thing only less expensive) in the water.> <At that point, might as well give him a name and create a more {semi}Permanent winter home for him and either keep him there as a pet, or plan to release him to the pond when the nighttime temp is consistently above 60 and the daytime has consistent sunlight and at least 75 degree days.> Thanks you, Deb <Yer welcome, Deb!>

Pelusios sp.; health 8/30/08
is it normal for a African side neck to be out of the water for a long time temps at 78
<Depends on what you mean by a "long time". If he's feeding normally, has access to UV-B light in his basking spot, and isn't showing any odd symptoms such as wheezing or runny eyes, I wouldn't be too concerned. Do make sure he has access to UV-B light for basking and that you aren't doing something dangerous like using feeder goldfish -- these two issues are among the very best ways to make any pet reptile sick in serious and often unexpected ways. No responsible reptile owner should be feeding their livestock live fish, let alone "parasite bombs" as I like to call feeder goldfish. These turtles feed primarily on invertebrates, so shellfish sold for human consumption are ideal. Unshelled prawns for example are an excellent source of calcium though they contain a lot of thiaminase so need to be balanced with other meaty foods (like mussels) as well as plant material, particularly fruits. These are only semi-aquatic turtles, and will spend a great deal of time on land compared with more fully aquatic turtles such as Trionyx. And please, next time, follow The Rules and use punctuation and a spell checker. We answer these FAQs for the benefit of the thousands of visitors we get per day, and you're helping us to help them by using something at least approximating to High School standard English. Salutations and courtesies are appreciated, though not strictly mandatory. Cheers, Neale.>

Worried Turtle Not Growing 4/6/08 Okay, I am fourteen with a yellow bellied slider. He is my first turtle so I am very cautious about anything wrong with him/her. I will have had him for a year this summer and he has not grown. Unlike the rest of the problems I have read, he doesn't live and never has been in the same tank with another turtle. I first got him last summer when I found him trapped in my in ground pool and kept him. I decided to keep him because there is a pond in the back yard but it has an alligator in it, and vary large fish, other large turtles, etc. Do you think this is because he hasn't been with other turtles in so long? < The reason he hasn't grown is probably environmental. Wrong food, not enough heat or light and things like that.> He is still small enough to fit on the thumb muscle in the palm of my hand. Please help, You are very smart people from what I have read in your articles. Thank you. < Start off with the tank. He/she needs a place to come out of the water to bask. This basking site needs to be 85+ F. It should contain a good basking light to provide the proper amounts of UVA and UVB. This helps the turtle with proper vitamin development. Small turtles need a diet higher in protein than older turtles. Keep the water clean and don't let the water go below 65 F.-Chuck>

Terrapin- R infection. Turtle hlth. 03/18/08 HI there, I came across your website as I have been worried sick about my little terrapin. I am from Singapore and recently bought 3 terrapins 3 weeks ago. About a week and half ago I noticed that one of them refused to eat, sneezed a lot, sleep a lot, the shell can't sink and yawns. <Lung infection...> Initially I didn't know that they need sun/light <Or other source of red-end spectrum lighting, Vitamin supplements> to bask so I figured little Meeno ( sick one) caught a cold. I started putting a heat lamp for them to bask and during day time I have them out in the sun ( not direct sun). Also brought it to the Vet last week and was prescribed Baytril solutions to be put in the tank. <Ahh!> Little Meeno started to be a little more active and tried to eat a little on the 3rd day after the medication but couldn't eat. Every time Meeno opens its mouth, bubble comes out and pushes the food further away, and it gave up after a while ( breaks my heart watching it). I tried hard boiled egg white but to no avail. I brought it to the vet again on the 6th day and the vet started Injections. Meeno had the first jab yesterday and I did the second one today ( but I was nervous so I think the jab caused a little bleeding). I also started soaking Meeno in V8 juice. <Interesting> The vet said that Meeno probably has pneumonia now and prognosis is looking poor. <Yikes> I was wondering what else I can do to save it. The other 2 terrapins are eating a lot and doing fine. As I put the little guys out near the sun from morning till evening, do I still need to turn on the basking light at night? <I would for now, yes> What else can I feed Meeno? Thank you so much for your help, Desperate, Su <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm toward the bottom of the page... re Turtle systems, feeding, respiratory disease. Bob Fenner>
Re: Terrapin- R infection. 4/6/08
Dear Neale, Hi again, this is Su here from Singapore. Unfortunately little Meeno passed away this morning ( Sun 6th April) exactly a month since it got sick and stopped eating. <Too bad. I'm sorry.> I guess I also got the UV-B light a bit too late. But my other two turts are doing quite well. If possible would you be able to shed some light about the turtle? <Not really; there's likely a mix of things going on. The best you can do is correct any possible problems (e.g., lack of UV-B, diet) and hope that the remaining turtles do fine.> A day before, Meeno started to bloat up in her neck/shoulder region, and the water in the tank she was in turned light yellowish ( I had her in antibiotic solution- Baytril) .On Sunday morning before she passed away around noon, her whole body started swelling, and the water also turned yellowish. I tried to put her under the sun to let her bask but she kept on dragging her little lifeless body into the shed. An hour before she died it was gasping for air. I kept her for a few more hours before burying her to see if she will come true ( as I heard stories that some turtles just go into hibernating mode?), but she didn't. <Most terrapins don't/shouldn't hibernate in captivity, so don't worry about it.> The vet said that probably when she had pneumonia there was local abscess in the lungs? <Quite possible. One of the most common reasons reptiles of all types get sick in captivity is respiratory infection (i.e., what we'd call pneumonia in humans). Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/turtrespart.htm > Thank you so much for your time, effort and advice. Heartbroken, Su <Well, I do hope the remaining terrapins stay healthy, and you get to enjoy your pets! You're doing all the right things and asking all the right questions, so I have faith things will turn out well. Cheers, Neale.>

Yellow Bellied Sliders with fungus 1/23/08 Hi there, <Hiya right back! Darrel here tonight> We are new turtle owners. We bought two baby yellow bellied sliders 5 days ago. We bought them with a full starter kit, 11 gallon tank (14 US gallons), 15w UVB lamp, basking dock and filter, the water is kept at room temperature. They are about 2.5' long. They appear to have a good appetite, we have fed them on some carrot, a few blood worms and some dried complete food. <Hint #1 -- save yourself time & money -- feed them small Koi pellets or ReptoMin (basically the same thing, just more costly. Read a bit more in the link enclosed> On the second day of having them we noticed some spots of white on their feet, one more pronounced than the other. These seem white and fluffy when in water, like cotton wool. When on the basking dock it seems smooth and shiny. One also had some markings on the shell. These are around the edges of the shell segments. Please see attached photos. The marks on the shell seem rusty metallic in appearance when in the water. The markings have become more apparent in the last few days. From reading around I think this could be shell shedding but am unsure and worried. Is this likely to be the case, possibly due to growth? <That's what it appears from here. Great pics by the way -- the shells look nice and healthy as long as they are firm to the touch> From reading I also think that the white marks are a fungus due to the stress of change of conditions. I understand that this is quite common in younger turtles, especially when re-homed. We have since re-cleaned the whole tank and based on the advice we can find on the internet/in books we have been giving them a 20 minute a day warm salt bath with 1 teaspoon of salt per litre of water. Is this the appropriate course of action? Is there anything else we can do? We are anxious to do the right thing and that from reading are aware that this could lead on to septicemia. With information so hard to come by we are hoping you can help. <Yep .. you got yourself a first class case of fungus there! First, let me congratulate you on having done all the right things and investing the time, money and research in an attempt to be responsible pet keepers.> <Now as far as the fungus is concerned, here's what I'd do: Take them out of the water and keep them in a warm DRY place for the next three weeks. Put them in a shallow dish of room temperature water for 10-15 minutes a day in order to hydrate, poop and eat. Feed them sparingly. After they come out of the water and have dried off, coat all affected areas with a commercial athlete's foot treatment (like Lotrimin or Triconazole -- generics are fine). As long as you keep clear of the mouth, nose and eyes, you can coat the rest of the shell and skin if you wish. This is a more aggressive treatment than the salt water dip but faster and more certain. Keep in mind that the warm, wet world they like to live in and that you want to provide for them is also the perfect environment for fungus. By keeping them dry, you put the fungus at a disadvantage and the turtles themselves don't really mind.> <Once they've appeared "clean" for a week, you can put them back in their home. Room temperature water is great and make sure that their basking area is 88 to 95 degrees -- not being able to dry thoroughly is a prime cause for fungus growth.> Many thanks, we look forward to your response. <well, there is my response. Below is a link for more general purpose reference, too.> <Please write back and keep us posted as to their progress!> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: Yellow Bellied Sliders with fungus 1/31/08 Darrel, thanks so much for your speedy and thoughtful response. <Glad I can help> There are just a couple of questions that I have from your response. You say to leave them out in dry warm conditions for 3 weeks. By this do you mean for 3 weeks solid without ever being by water (apart from the 10 min.s a day for feeding etc). Is this 10 min.s a day enough to keep them hydrated over this period? <Yes, it is. Not that you have to be a strict clock watcher -- 15 minutes is OK, too and yes, as long as they can drink (that will be the first thing they do) they could be away from a water-based tank for months!> As for the housing we were thinking of keeping them in a clear plastic storage box and placing the UVA/B lamp over the top. Do you think this will adequate for them or is there anything else we can give them for 3 weeks as this seems like a long time to be in such bleak conditions! <Perfect. Remember, it may be bleak to YOU ... but offer them a choice: stay in the box for three weeks or get out & go to school or work, earn a living, clean their room and do dishes -- heck I'll jump in that box myself for three weeks!!!!> In addition, if they are simply in a warm box how will they manage to regulate their body temperature? <Very good question. In this case you're regulating it for them. Remember, as long as they can't get too cold ... or too hot, then regulation isn't life threatening for them. Warm 76-82 degrees will suit them just fine while the fungus is being treated.> I assume the athletes foot treatment you refer to are the sort you can simply buy at a pharmacy? <Yep, any of the generics for Tinactin or Lotrimin will work just fine!> Once again, thank you for your reassurance and great advice. <You're welcome!! Every time you think of fungus, think of me!!>

Floating Turtle 01/13/2008 Dear Crew <Hiya - Darrel here> I have two African sideneck turtles. One of them seems to be unable to sink - he appears to be floating and trying to sink. He has an appetite and swims all over - but looks like a struggle to get to the bottom of his tank. <The simple answer is that the turtle has air or gas in his body cavity, Tim. There are a wide range of reasons some serious and some comical. Gas pockets can grow from an infection. but most likely you'd see other signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite and general distress - plus only a proper medical exam would tell us. Sometimes turtles can develop a tear in their lungs and air leaks out into the chest, producing the same results yet in al but the most drastic cases, the tear heals and the air dissipates in a few days. Lastly ..... and I've seen this more frequently in large water turtles than small ones (for no imaginable reason) the turtles will sometimes swallow air with their food and have air bubbles trapped in their digestive tract for what seems like weeks until one day they suddenly .... um ..... "expel" ... that air and then sink comfortable to the bottom.> <My suggestion is to do nothing for a week or two except pay extra close attention to water quality, temperature requirements and diet ... and let's see what happens> Tim

Swollen back legs on my painted turtle 1/8/08 Hello, I'm Tanisha <Hiya Tanisha - Darrel here> My turtle is only like 2 years old and the other day his feet looked huge...they are so swollen.. <Is it the feet themselves or the entire back legs?> He still eats, walks, swims everything, but I cant afford to take him to the Vet.. <I understand> what could it be... How can I help him... <The first thing to do is take him out of the water, Tanisha. Even though the live in and near the water, the wetness and moisture also encourage the growth of fungus, bacteria and fungi.> <Put him in a small cardboard box, plastic container, anything where he can stay and be safe. Let's get him dry and around 88 degrees. Sometimes I put a heating pad set on "medium" inside the box. Place a shallow dish of water in there every day and place him in it for 10 minutes -- just enough time to drink and maybe eat, then remove the water entirely> <My guess is that he's got a vitamin or dietary deficiency that we can correct once we know more. Does he get direct sunlight (not through glass)? Or does he have a UV light? What are you feeding him?> My whole family loves him. We all really grew attached to him...he's part of the family. <Please write back wit answers to the questions above and we'll see if we can help. Also, read the linked article below and compare it to how you are keeping him, write back and tell us more, OK?> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Turtle FAQs work on WWM, call for articles 12/12/07 Chelonian types... you know who you are... the ones with the Plastrons... Have recently split up, added Turtle Respiratory and Turtle Eye Disease SubFAQs files to WWM... and am hoping you might be interested in penning for-pay articles re these categories, conditions... BobF.
Re: Turtle FAQs work on WWM, call for articles - 12/13/07
Hi Bob, I'll certainly take a look and see if I( can help. But the respiratory disease one is pretty simple -- if your turtle is wheezing, has cloudy eyes, a runny nose, and no interest in food... take it to the vet! <Mmm, yes... but... this "idea" can/could be expanded on to include preventative issues like proper habitat... gentle urging of folks to be pro and otherwise active... Remember, our target audience...> Forgive me for not being too involved today/tomorrow. I'm packing today for my trip to the States, and will be in transit tomorrow. Cheers, Neale <No worries and bon voyageeeee! Cheers, BobF>

Pudgy Turtle problems 12/5/07 Clear Day Hello. <Hello to you , too!> I have a red bellied Cooter that I had purchased in Feb. of 2006 for my 3 year old daughter. It was approx. 3 inches when we had gotten him and he is now only 3.5 inches. He eats TetraMin turtle pellets and/or TetraMin shrimp every to every other day. We keep him in our 29 gal. fish tank with some mollies and guppies. All of the levels in the water test out correctly and he has a turtle dock to bask outside of the water under a UVA/UVB bulb. The water in the tank is filtered. <The first comment I want to make here is that while turtles and fish live in what appears to humans to be the same environment, in reality they occupy very different niches in the aquatic world. GENERALLY speaking, the conditions required for fish health are often only marginal for turtles. In addition, while fish (especially healthy fish) don't make up a high percentage of a turtle's diet, every once in a while they just get lucky and suddenly a prized fish is gone.> Last week I noticed that the skin around his neck and legs seems bubbled almost as if it is filled with air or something? I can't seem to find anything about that other than swollen eyes which he does not have. I didn't know if maybe he has some sort of shell growth problem since he hasn't grown at all really and maybe he's getting to chubby for his shell. If you could figure something out for us I would greatly appreciate that. <The questions to ask here are his behavior and activity. Is he active? Any problems diving? Internal infections can cause gas pockets that puff out and make a turtle extremely buoyant. This isn't common without a slew of secondary symptoms, but I thought I'd ask.> <It's also possible -- just as you suspect -- that he is simply obese and this is possibly due to a dietary imbalance or environmental issues or both. First, see if you can obtain Koi Pellets at your local fish store. I've used very high quality (and expensive) imported brands and locally produced cheaper brands (such as Kay-Tee) with great success. Failing this, Repto-Min food sticks are wonderful -- they're essentially identical to Koi pellets, just more expensive. Make sure that his basking area gets to at least 83 degrees (f) and preferably as high as 93 -- and that his water is no warmer than 73 (preferably 70). Either or both of these conditions can produce the abnormalities you are describing -- a turtle that eats more than it is metabolizing will have stunted growth while still appearing to be fat.> If you need pictures to better help in seeing his problem I would be happy to provide them for you! <Is his name Pete by any chance?> <Please check out the following article and measure your care against the recommendations and, by all means, write back with pictures!> <regards, Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm > Thank you very much! Kimberly

Turtle care question: yellow membrane and swollen eyes 11/28/07 Hello Crew, <Hiya Miranda! - Darrel here> A friend of mine recently got three baby turtles. I have turtles too, so I helped him set everything up. We've been watching the water temp & quality, the basking area, the food, and two of the turtles are doing fine, but another one is sick. Its eyes are closed most of the time, and when opened, they have a yellow membrane (sort of like a 'contact lens') covering the entire eye. It is also very lethargic. HELP! <OK!> What's wrong with it? <What's wrong is most likely an eye infection. I know that seems obvious, but the obvious is always the best place to start> What can I do about it? <Eye infections in water turtles is usually a sign of poor nutrition - specifically a vitamin imbalance. A lack of Vitamin A is the primary cause but we rarely see a lack of only ONE vitamin, so let's assume that this little guys needs a complete vitamin supplement in his diet. Make sure his basic diet is either a high quality Koi pellet or a commercial turtle food - Tetra's Repto-Min is the one I'd recommend. Meanwhile he's going to need a vitamin SUPPLEMENT from the pet store. The question is how to deliver the vitamins. If he's still eating you can coat his food in either a supplement powder or drop some liquid supplement on it. If he's too weak to eat then the next course of action is to either try to pry his little mouth open to more of less force a drop of liquid vitamin in once a day ... or a trip to the veterinarian for some injectibles.> Is it contagious? <No. Yes and Yes. NO in the sense that hypovitaminosis is not "contagious." YES in the sense that if one is subject to it, it's likely that all are getting insufficient nutrition as well -- it's just that the smallest or weakest show the signs first. The final YES is that any sickness or situation causing weakness in a fish or reptile opens the door WIDE OPEN for secondary problems, such as a fungal infection and that is VERY contagious. For this reason, we'll treat all animals in the collection> <One, ensure that the diet is corrected. Two, add a vitamins or treat for that condition. Three make sure they are getting adequate exposure to UV-A and UV-B light. Four, keep them warm and out of water except for a few minutes a day to bathe, drink and eat -- bacteria and fungus LOVE warmth and wetness!> You've been very helpful in the past with my other turtle questions, so I'm hoping you can help me make Felicity (the turtle's name) feel all better. <If best wishes were fruit, you'd be swimming in a banana smoothie right now, Miranda! Get started on the treatment, look for signs of improvement (or signs of further problems) and write back, OK?> Thanks in advance! <yer welcome!>

Limp turtle 11/06/07 I have a turtle emergency! My daughter has had her little turtle for about 8 months now. He is a water turtle, not sure what kind, orange stripes on the bottom of his shell and white stripes on his neck, very pretty. He is a baby, about 2 and 1/2 inches across his shell. He's been staying outside all summer and throughout the early fall in a baby pool. He eats like a pig and is very active. We didn't want him to hibernate so we got him a tank and filter so he could stay in my daughter's room. He's been in the house for about 2 weeks now and all of a sudden, today, he just went limp, is gargling water through his nose, and hardly moves at all!!! What is wrong!?! My daughter is frantic, I have to at least know what is going on. Thanks so much! Kristin O. <The description you give is classically a respiratory infection and the treatment involves keeping him dry, warm AND ... a very quick trip to a veterinarian. If the vet isn't all that experienced in reptiles, suggest that the treatment of choice my be Baytril subq. Meanwhile keep him warm, dry and out of the water except for a few minutes every day to hydrate and perhaps eat. The key is how sick he is -- if he's constantly bubbling, limp and barely moving, then we're pretty much out of the mode of being able to treat at home.> <I hope this helps -- Darrel>

Re: limp turtle gets a bit better 11/16/07 We were not able to get "Squirt" to the vet that night, but for lack of any knowledge of what to do we prayed for the little guy, stuck him in the kitchen sink on a plate with a little bit of water and by morning he was up and around again. He has not eaten much this week. He stays out of the water and in the heat of the 100 watt bulb. Hopefully he will be back to eating like a pig again by the end of next week. Thank God the little guy made it! I wasn't so sure that my daughter would have been able to handle it if he didn't. Thanks so much! <I'm sure glad it's working out, Kristin. I'd still like to see you get him to a vet, perhaps an antibiotic injection to help him along, but above all -- warm and dry until he feels better. You can even place a saucer of cool water in his box and place him in that -- if you see him bend down to drink, add a bit more water. Whatever container you use, water level should be no higher than his shoulders (so that his head is comfortably out of the water) and just long enough for him to decide it he wants a drink.> <Best wishes to you - Darrel>

Re: URGENT HELP FOR TURTLES NEEDED 10/29/07 I found out that my guys are actually yellow bellied cooters. I couldn't find anything on your site about the fungus (maybe I didn't search long enough), so I followed instructions from someone else on home treatment. Yesterday, I soaked them for 20 minutes in diluted iodine and it nearly killed them. <I'm not sure where that came from but it's not that good a treatment, Rachel. With fungus, we usually treat specifically, which is to say that we apply some antifungal to the affected area. And this is not to mention that Iodine (Betadine/Povodine or whatever) can be effective to treat a small patch, but not a larger area> They are lifeless, their little eyes are swollen shut (open sometimes for a minute, then closed again) and some bubbles from the mouth. They move for the most part only if you pick them up. One is doing better than the other and starting to swim today some but the other is just floating. <Get them out of the water right away and keep them out!! They don't need to be in the water at all really (they can exist out of water for months if need be) and the water encourages fungal and bacterial growths. Put them somewhere dry and warm (but not HOT -- say between 80 and 85 degrees) and allow them to become warm and dry and then allow them some time to recuperate. At the moment, I'm more concerned about respiratory infection than fungus, but after they've had some time to rest ... if you see some topical fungus or patches other than on the face -- you can swab on a little household vinegar or apply any of the topical anti-fungal creams you see at a drug store (Lamisil, Triconozole, Tonolafate, etc.) but ... and I want to stress this .... at the moment, getting them dry, warm and rested is more important than treating fungi> I am really upset that they may die or that their little systems have been compromised. <Those are all real possibilities, but for the moment we do what we can> Do you have any suggestions at all? <If they aren't too compromised, the rest and dryness will help. Please write back as soon as there are any changes, but at the moment, warm, dry and rest ... and hope. All of ours are with you, Rachel.> <Darrel>
While they are out of the water, do I still feed them the same way (food sticks, etc..) and do they need any water at all (like to drink)? <Usually they won't eat when they're out of water, so in what we call a healthy-healing environment we place them back in the water for a few minutes (maybe 10 minutes) each day in order to drink, poop and eat ... but in your case, as you described it, it would be hard to imagine that they're all that hungry. What I mainly want is for them to be able to rest without worrying about drowning. If they become active and are clearly moving about whatever container you have them in looking for food or water, then absolutely place them in clean, room temperature water as deep as their shoulders for 10 minutes a day until their symptoms clear up.>

Terrapin Lost A Claw 10/11/07 Dear Sir / Madam, <a sir here today -- Darrel> I have two terrapins, one 8 inches long and one 7 inches long. The 8-incher has just bitten off one claw of the 7-incher, and although the 7-incher moves fine, eats well and responds well without showing lack of its usual alertness (save for the fact that it keeps its injured foot retracted), I'm worried because the injury is still fresh and you can see red flesh. <This may be an opportune time for a trip to the veterinarian. Any physical injury that severe would be well served by an exam and professional treatment. That's not what I'd do, but I want to remind you that it's a wise option. Now back to your question> Will it heal on its own, or is there something I have to do to make sure it gets better? <It can heal on it's own, as nature often does, but we can do better. Remove the injured animal from the water and allow him to dry. Examine the injured claw area, pulling it out to extension if necessary, to make sure that the injury is clean (no impacted dirt, sand, etc.) and then coat it liberally with Betadine or similar topical antiseptic. Keep the animal out of the water for the next 8-10 days except for a few minutes each day where you put him back in the tank, allow him a few minutes to settle down & drink... and then feed him. Give him a few minutes to eat, then out, dry & Betadine again. Keep this up until the wound has scarred over completely.> I know it's not the rocks because I've seen the larger terrapin attack the smaller terrapin's claws and sides (sides protected by shell), just that I never expected it to get so serious. <It usually doesn't. They're colonial and communal AND at the same time scrappy and territorial and usually, almost always, fights between individuals stop and settle out LONG before this kind of damage. So yes, this is not typical, but it does happen. The time the smaller one spends away from the big one may help to calm whatever issues they have as well as let the little guy heal. But ... this time away might make the big guy feel that he's won a fight or driven off an intruder, so here's an old trick & tip from fish and reptile keepers from way back: When it's finally time to return him "home" you might consider a complete breakdown and rearrangement of the tank (rocks, lights, basking areas, etc.) so that they little guy is not being returned to the big guy's "home territory -- in a sense they're both starting fresh as equals. When that time comes, keep a close watch on them for a time -- in rare cases two individuals simply don't get along and you either need a habitat so large that they can live apart -- or else keep them separately. But we'll cross that bridge when we get that far.> Truly hope you can help.. my terrapins mean a lot to me.. <I hope we have, Alex and hope we will continue to help> Thank you. <You're welcome> Best Regards, Alex

Re: Terrapin Lost A Claw 10/12/07 Hello Darrel, <Hiya Alex> Awesome! I am truly grateful for your reply, just hope my local vets are good enough for reptiles because they've killed my friends' terrapins before with some kind of vitamin injection.. Once again, thank you so so so much!! Take care, Alex <Dear Alex, I received your message last night and decided to reflect on it before responding because there's an area of animal husbandry here that is critical to all of us, yet so often overlooked and I wanted to make sure it gets complete coverage. You mentioned that your friend lost a terrapin to a veterinarian's vitamin injection and that caused me to think back sadly to all the animals that I've lost over the years and what proximal causes were involved. The sad fact is that a great number of them were lost while in a veterinarian's care and I, like you, might have a good reason to be suspicious. And yes, there are a few veterinarians around that are working with 15 year old information on exotics, reptiles and fish and I have learned over the years that it's not only my right but my obligation to ask a vet to state his experience and training relative to what problem I've brought to him.> <But with that said, any naturalist or in fact anyone who's watched many animal shows on television will tell you that in the wild, it's simply not a good idea to be wounded or weak. Probably the same with people, too ... or as my mother used to tell my brother and I SO many times ... "The least you can do is ACT like you're normal!"> <ahem. Back to the animals> <Even an adult water buffalo with a limp is a sure announcement to the pride of lions. A snake just before its' shed is an easy mark for an eagle and a fish swimming on it's side is calling it's bigger brethren to dinner. For this reason, our wild friends try really REALLY hard not to show any weakness even after some severe injuries. They have all evolved to be very hardy and quite stoic -- which, unfortunately leads to the number one cause of death in our captive animals: By the time they get sick enough that they can't hide their weaknesses any long and begin to limp, sway, wallow or float .... they're often near death's door and beyond salvation.> <We've almost all had a fish that seemed fine and healthy for months until one morning we found him dead and yet that's rarely the whole truth. The truth is that he or she had been sick for a very long time and due to a combination of their ability to act normal, our haste to make a quick exam each day and then run off to the rest of our lives ... and the fact that often we don't even know what to look for ... the animal in question has actually been fading right in front of our eyes for quite some time -- we just didn't notice because the signs were so tiny. So please remember that IN ADDITION to the fact that your pet can't tell the doctor where it hurts, by the time you get your animal to the veterinarian, he's probably used up all his reserves and there's sometimes very little the doctor can do.> <The water changes, the filter cleanings, the heater checks, supplements -and .. and and AND .... the 10 or more minutes a day devoted to really REALLY looking -- are worth a hundred trips to the vet and a LOT cheaper, too.>
Re: Terrapin Lost A Claw 10/12/07
My apologies... one more question.. Will the claw grow again? It's so sad, like he's missing one small toe.. plus will it be ok for him to be on totally dry land for so many hours a day? And must I rinse him to get rid of the iodine before putting him back into the water? Thank you! Alex <No worries, Alex.> <It's unlikely that the claw will grow back -- it depends on how much of the root is damaged, but it really doesn't matter. The flesh will heal and the turtle will get along just fine.> <To answer your other question, yes, he can be out of water for days without problem .. and if he gets a little bit of water time each day to bathe and hydrate, he could be out of the water for MONTHS without any ill effects. If you apply the iodine after he comes out of the water and leave it on until the next day when you soak him again, no rising is necessary.> <Darrel>

Dead yellow bellied Cooter. 9/27/07 Hello, <Hello back. Darrel here> I have/had a baby yellow belly and a red eared slider, both about three inches long. This morning I got home from class and the yellow belly was dead. There was no indication it was sick as it was active and eating just fine. Is it possible it was ill and Just didn't know it? * <On behalf of Bob, Neale and everyone here at Wet Web, we are truly sorry for your loss, Jeremy> * <Yes, it's possible. Reptiles are very stoic animals, Jeremy. That is to say that they appear to be well almost until the end ... and it usually means that by the time they clearly appear to be ill, they are almost gone -- or at least well into the hundreds of dollars of Vet bills.> They were both in the same 55 gallon tank with plenty of filtration and I just did a water change. The temperature in the tank stays around 80 and I have appropriate lighting and a large basking area. It didn't look like it had any injuries but I guess it could have been killed by one of the tank mates. There are two crayfish two or three inches long and a Pacu that's no bigger than the turtles. <If that's the tank water temperature, I'd say it's on the high side and if that's the AIR temperature, a bit on the low side. If the coolest your little friend could ever get is 80 degrees (f) and his basking temperature was even higher, then it's just barely possible that his metabolism was too high for the amount of food you'd give him and he "could" have starved ... but that's a big stretch for me to say that. It's just something to consider.> What do you think happened and should I be worried about the remaining slider? <There's no way to be sure without a necropsy, Jeremy and even then the results are often inconclusive. In one of the many ways that I am fortunate, I get to count Dr. Douglas Mader as a personal friend and he's a world-class reptile veterinarian who has literally "written the book" on reptile medicine. He and I have necropsied a lot of animals (sadly, many of them my own animals) and in most cases we see an animal that was 100% healthy right up until it passed.> <All we can do, Jeremy, is what we know to be right. Assess the care and environment looking for the smallest thing ... and then do it again. And then carry on. Let's hope that the slider is healthy and stays that way. Check your standard of care against the link below and other documents here on Wet Web.> <I sincerely wish we could be of more help, Jeremy. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any other questions.> Thanks, Jeremy <You're most welcome> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm

African side-necked turtles... deaths - 9/3/07 Hi, We have had an African side-necked turtle for about 10 years. His mate died about six years ago. Recently, we found a female who was about half his size. Everything was great for a few weeks and then we came home to find that she had died. He is fine, but appears upset. We have no clue as to what has happened to harm only one of the turtles. Is the problem putting a younger female in with a much larger male? He was definitely sexually aggressive. I hesitate putting another female in with him until I learn what happened. It was a long time before we found a new mate. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank-you, Ellen <Greetings, Ellen. There are several African side-necked turtles, so without a Latin name it is difficult to be 100% sure how to answer this (remember: Latin names good, common names bad). But assuming its one or other species of Pelusios spp., then the chances are you'll not be able to introduce a "friend" into his enclosure safely. These turtles are fairly aggressive and snappy, and as is usual with reptiles, it is the male that tends to have the shortest temper. It's questionable whether he really is "upset". So unless you can locate a female of similar or larger size, I'd be tempted to keep him alone for now. Introducing a smaller turtle into "his" territory is probably asking for trouble. Cheers, Neale>

Questions about female turtle, hlth. 8/28/07 Hello, <Hello - Darrel here> I have a female floating turtle who is about 6 months old. She is in the same tank as a male floating turtle about the same age. <:::Laughing::: I've never heard of a "floating turtle" before. I'm going to guess that you mean a Red Eared Slider or similar water turtle -- but if I'm wrong, my advice might not make any sense.> We have 4 Pleco bottom feeders to help with the cleaning of the tank. Our tank is 20 gallons with a turtle log for them to bask, a heater, and a uv lamp. I've noticed that the last couple of days she hasn't been eating as much, tends to spend most of the day on the turtle log, and when she goes into the water she seems to be floating with her butt up in the air. As of yesterday, she will be on top of the log and open her mouth as if she was screaming. I've actually heard her screaming noise. I was just wondering if you could let me know what's going on with her... <That can be a sign of many things, Shannon. On the serious side, a fungal or bacterial infection in the belly or intestines can create gas pockets that will make turtles float at odd angles. On the other hand, it can simply be that she has gas (no, I'm not kidding - she could just have an upset tummy and if so, this will pass [PUN!]). The open mouth, sometimes called Gaping, can be a sign of distress, but also just an attempt to cool off. You mentioned a heater, probably needed for the Pleco's you have. What is the water temperature and the temperature of the basking log? Water should be around 72-74f and the basking area between 82-95f. If the water is warmer, then perhaps she just can't get cool.> <The most serious thing is your comment that you've heard her screaming noise ... because if she's a turtle, she has no vocal chords!!> <A few days based on the symptoms you describe isn't really enough to make any kind of determination -- my suggestion is that you check your environment (I'll give you a link, below), correct anything you see and wait a few more days, then write back. I'm also going to drop a copy of this in Neale's and Bob's boxes to see if they can float a few other ideas.> <HAHAHAHAHAA! Get it? "Floating Turtle"? "Float an idea"? LoLoL - Should be on the stage!> Thank you, Shannon <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> <Darrel... we should go to the pub. BobF; whose friends have encouraged him to "go on TV"... so they could turn him off.>

Turtle infection, maybe? 08/01/07 Hi Crew, <Hiya -- Darrel here> I have a female Eastern Painted turtle who is 5 years old. She seems to have an infection on the bottom of her shell. What should I do. <The first think is to let her get dry -- all fungal and bacterial infections are harder to control when they're wet all the time. Just remember that she can stay out of water for weeks without ill effects and what you should do is put her in the water for a few minutes each day so she can drink and eat, then take her back out again.> <Now for the infection, I'd like to have more information - is it black & slick feeling? Or white and feels just like the shell? Please write back with more. Meanwhile, keep her dry and wash and scrub the area with a little household vinegar -- it helps most infections and we're not going to send you off to the store (or the vet) until we know a little more about what you're up against. So write back with some more detail and in the mean time, search our site for "turtle" and "infection" and you'll get lots of reading material.> Thanks for any help.

Pink bellies on turtles 7/12/07 Hello, <Hi> I have a Mississippi map turtle, and a yellow bellied Cooter, both of which are about 2.5 to 3 inches in size. More recently they have both started to get pink bellies. I think they are not getting enough calcium in there diet. I have tried the turtle bone, and I am not sure what else to do. How can I get rid of the pink bellies? <Well, to be honest, this is an unusual one. My guess would be a microorganism in the water ... like a micro algae. How is your water quality and how often do you change it?> As well as get more minerals in the water? Not in the water -- too many minerals in the water will stain & coat their shells just like hard water deposits in your bathtub. (Minerals was my first reaction to the pink bellies, but I couldn't think of a mineral that would cause that on the turtles without making the water appear rose colored. Get them minerals via their diet (basic Koi Pellets or Repto-Min food sticks supplemented with the occasional night crawler)> I have noticed that their shells look like they have wrinkles? I not sure how else to explain it. <As their shells grow they shed a thin, semi transparent layer of the scute and sometimes that can look a bit wrinkled. Is that what you're talking about?> I don't think there is any shell rot, or fungal disease. <Doesn't sound like it -- at least not normal fungal problems> Is this considered soft shell? or can this be attributed to them growing? <Soft shell is just that -- you feel the shell and it's not like your fingernails, but softer.> I am sorry for all of the questions. <By all means. Questions lead to answers and we all like those!> Thanks, Concerned turtle owner <You're welcome. Darrel.> <please review this article against your keeping and conditions and write back if you can find anything else to report. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Box turtle threw up 7/10/07 Hello Crew <Hiya MM - Darrel here today> I have a box turtle who lives in my room in a 55 gallon tote bin. I feed my turtle every other day and I leave the food in the whole time. A while ago my turtle was in her water dish that had fresh water in it and she threw up stuff. She doesn't look sick or anything, but I'm a bit concerned about her because she has never done this before. So if you could help me I would really appreciate it because I don't know what to do. <At the moment, nothing big. Cut back on her food just a bit and take it out after she's had an opportunity to eat -or not- say a half hour. If she's otherwise healthy and active and her appetite is still there, then I wouldn't worry about it. It happens to all of us. BUT ... if her appetite or activity is off for more than a week or she throws up again, then we may have to take action.> I feed my turtle fresh fruit, vegetables, romaine lettuce, and happy tails dog food that she has been eating her whole life. <AFTER we see her through her tummy troubles and after she gets back on her feed .... let's slowly cut back on the dog food. It's not something that ever should have been part of her diet (she doesn't need anywhere near that much protein or fat) and in the long term it's not good for her liver. BUT ..... and this is a BIG BUT .... do it SLOWLY! Box Turtles can be very picky and very persistent about their foods and if they fixate on something they can go a YEAR without eating ... until we mortals give in and give them what they want. So cut back in tiny fractions over the next 6 months so that she doesn't notice.> MM

White skin on baby turtle. 06/28/07 Hi <Hi right back!> I have two baby turtles. I recently bought them a 10 gallon aquarium. One of my turtles seems to be enjoying the time in there, she swims and goes up and down the ramp, but in the other hand my other little one has being hiding behind some fake plants that comes along with the tank. I'm worried that she might not like the place and die or something. Is that a sign that she doesn't like it? <Not a sign that she doesn't like it, but a sign that something is wrong> I have also noticed that they have something strange going on. I can see that something white is like hanging from their legs as if it was some kind of fungus or something, I've being searching online for an answer but I haven't find anything similar. <If it looks like grayish-white dead skin, then yes, you probably have a fungal infection and that would also explain why the one turtle is not very active.> I'm really worried about my turtles, if you could answer this question and tell me what is that white stuff please tell me. <Take your turtles out of the tank and put them some place warm where they can dry off. Remember, even babies can be out of water for a few days without problems. After they're dry, We can start treating the fungus. Start with the athlete's foot creams at your local drug store. Tinactin, Lotrimin, etc. or the generic equivalent -- look for the ingredient Tolnaftate or Clotrimazole (or any antifungal ending in "azole"). Apply it once a day to the effected areas and as always, keep them clean and dry and you should see a change for the better after about 5 days and completely gone after about 20 days. Keep treating for a minimum of 7 days after everything looks fine. During this time, place them in water once a day for a few minutes in order for them to bathe, eat and drink.> I can send you a picture if you'd like. <The number one cause of fungus problems is environment. Basking area not warm enough, not enough unfiltered UV light (like sunlight) or the water being too dirty. How are these conditions in your tank?> Thank you <You're welcome> Mariana <Darrel here -- hope this helps!>
Re: White skin on baby turtle. 6/29/07
hey :) <Hiya, Darrel here> thank you soooo much for your help! .. I hope this works for my turtles. <So do we> I went to the vet today and asked them because I really thought you weren't going to answer me and they said that it was like a fungus and I had to put them in a dry place due to the cause that I always have them on the water. <I hope you have a nice, dry basking area for them under a warm lamp of some sort. Turtles usually spend a good portion of their day sunning themselves. Drying off AND --- and this is very important -- the Ultra Violet (UV) light from the sun is what keeps the fungus from growing. Make sure they are getting plenty of unfiltered sunlight.> They never told me the athletes foot part but Ill try that ! anything that would help. <Just to be clear here, I'm not saying that your turtles have athlete's foot - just that the medications for THAT fungus also work for many reptile fungi. I'm surprised that the vet didn't give you a medication or a dip solution to treat them. Did the Vet just forget?> I always try to have their tank pretty clean so I don't see a problem with that. Something that I also want to ask you is why is it that my older turtle is bigger than the little turtle? <Well, there are any number of reasons. If one is quite a bit older, she SHOULD be bigger. If they're from different eggs (maybe different parents) there will be some differences in their growth. Lastly, the bigger one may simply be eating more, basking more and generally healthier. MAKE SURE that the little one isn't getting pushed away from the food or basking, OK?> Do you think they will die if I put them in separate places, since they have always been together? <No worries there -- turtles don't get "lonely" but on the other hand, anything that affects one turtle is probably affecting the other and you simply haven't seen it yet. I suggest that you dry & treat both of them.> thank you so much for your help .! <Yer Welcome>

3 Legged Turtle 05/21/07 Hi I need help as soon as possible. I have a large pond (at least an acre large) in my yard. I found a large map turtle in it today that obviously can't swim down. I managed to catch him and he only has three legs. While he was still in the pond I watched him and he would try to swim away and down but would start going in circles and spiral back up like air was trapped in his shell somewhere, the part of the shell with the missing leg leading up. After I caught him in a net I couldn't find anything wrong with him and where he was missing a leg was totally healed so it was an old injury. I don't know what to do with him he might have a disease. Is there a way to help him or should I kill him (but he doesn't seem in pain) and how should I kill him if he going to die. I don't have an aquarium large enough for him and the one I have has my three small turtles in it. Please help me and thank you. -Amanda <I would leave this turtle be... It is not likely diseased, and will live well in your pond, as long as there is not total freezing weather in your locale... Bob Fenner>

White String Fecal Matter On Map Turtle 05/05/07 I have 2 turtles in the same tank, a red ear slider, and a map turtle. Today when I was adding some water to their tank, and saw my map turtle had (what looked like) white string (almost floss looking) coming out of its bottom. It was very long and the turtle became a little agitated by it, is there anything wrong with my turtle?? Thank you, Jen < Could be worms. Take a fecal sample to a good turtle vet to be examined. The vet will be able to provide a suitable treatment.-Chuck>

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

Turtle With White String Fecal Matter - 03/20/07 I HAVE 2 ELEPHANT TURT. THEY ARE MALE AND FEMALE. THE ONE HAS A WHITE STRING OF I DONT KNOW WHAT COMEING OUT OF HER TAIL. BUT WHAT DO I DO? I WATCHED THEM MATE NOW WHAT SEPERATE I KNOW NOTHING THEY ARE 3 YEARS OLD. <... RMF> < Take a sample of the white stringy fecal matter to a vet to be examined for parasites. The vet will make a recommendation for treatment.-Chuck.>

Baby Turtles Rescued? 3/4/07 Hi, I have just found your site!!! What a wealth of information. I have a turtle tank with a year old penny turtle (little yellow dots on the side of their face) and have just rescued 5, 1 week old turtles crossing the road. One of these turtles will now not go to the bottom and has little bumps over his body the other are all swimming around and Crush the big one is doing fine. I read in one of your articles that this could be a respiratory problem???? Can this be fixed? <Little bumps all over the body is usually a sign of parasites not a respiratory infection. Take a fecal sample to a vet for examination and treatment recommendations.> We lost another turtle to this problem last year and his shell went soft as well, so would like to know if it is treatable please? < The shell being soft is due to lack of calcium and the wrong basking lamp. These can be easily corrected.> Also I feed them turtle pellets and chicken and occasionally red meat. Is frozen peas OK defrosted with the shell off?? < Get a commercial hatchling turtle food and supplement their diet with these other items. Try kale or spinach instead.> Thanks you for any help you can give me it is much appreciated and will continue to use your site it's great. Kind regards Chery < usually baby turtles crossing the road are new hatchlings that are headed towards the water and their natural environment. These turtles really don't need rescued, just a helping hand to get them across the road.-Chuck>

Turtle With Bubbles 1/28/07 Hey WWM Crew-I have been reading a lot of things on your website about how turtles and bubbles are bad. I have a painted turtle that is probably only 3 1/2-4". He's been great, but I noticed yesterday that he was coming to a certain part of the tank, sticking his head up, snapping at the top of the water, bringing his head back down and then blowing the bubbles out of his mouth once his head got under. I didn't know if I should be concerned or if he was just bored and amusing himself. Thanks so much! Beth < The problem is when turtles get breathing problems and liquids, foams and bubbles are being exhaled when the turtle is on dry land. This is a sign of liquids being in the lungs. Your turtle sounds bored but it may be trying to obtain some fats and oils floating on the top of the water from the food.-Chuck>

Turtle With Eye/Head Problem 1/4/07 Hi, My boyfriend and I came home yesterday from a three week vacation to find one of our painted turtles completely disoriented. It's left eye socket is swollen about twice its normal size, his head is cocked completely to the left, as if it is stuck and he cant move it back straight, and he can only swim/walk in a tight circle. We called a pet store in Detroit last night and they told us the turtle may have gotten too hot and suffered brain damage, but I don't see how that is possible. Is there another reason? Some sort of disease that would cause this? Should I attempt to gently pull its head out to straighten it? I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have no access to vets or anyone with knowledge of exotic animals. Thank you, Brie <If your turtle is wild caught then there is a host of parasitic worms that may be at work here. Go to Kingsnake.com and contact a good herp vet that may be able to walk you through a proffered treatment for this problem. In the meantime raising the temperature of the environment to 85 F may work like a fever and help treat the disease.-Chuck>

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

Turtle Eating Gravel 1/2/07 Thanks for your prompt reply Chuck. I forgot to ask one other thing.... She also seems to have an affinity for eating the gravel on the floor of her tank... What would be the reason for that??? This can't be normal.... or is it? < Usually when turtles start to eat at gravel and wood they are really going after the algae that is growing on it. This is a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Offer green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Try offering some reptile vitamins too.-Chuck>

Turtle Twitching 12/1/06 Hi, turtle experts! A while back I wrote to you because my newly rescued (from horrible owners) was throwing up. I was told that she was probably overeating because of the fact that she had been malnourished and the temperature change when she jumped back in the pool after basking was making her food come back up. She is currently in a kiddie pool with a heater and a filter, and change her water every morning while she eats in another bucket. She has been throwing up again at very weird times. I broke her thermometer about a week ago and am waiting for one in the mail and I think that her heater has not been working well during that time. I notice it only in the morning when her water feels colder than usual. When I change her water I put warmer water in and then the pool is in the sun, so I couldn't tell if the heater was working. I live in southern California and in the past couple of days we have had a real drop in the temperature. That is why I noticed her water really wasn't warm enough, so I just set a long 20 gallon tank that I had and brought her inside. Tonight I notice that her head twitches to one side when her head is in the water! I thought that she was just trying to swallow something, but it has now been going on for a few hours. Please help! I already feel bad because I had to put her in that tank, I hope she is OK. Thank you so much <Your turtle is not in good enough shape to survive a winter outdoors. Create a proper set up in doors with a good heat lamp that will get the basking spot up to 85 F. Get some vitamins too. The heat should control the parasites. The vitamins should take care of vitamin deficiencies. The neck thing is difficult to evaluate. Based on the history of the turtle, a trip to the vet may be needed to properly evaluate its condition.-Chuck>

Turtle With White Shell - 10/18/06 Hi, we have a red eared slider (purchased as a small one about 4 yrs ago) that has almost a completely white shell (still a few black spots though). I have searched for answers about why and what to do but cannot come up with anything. His shell is not soft and there is no sign of disease - ALWAYS wants to eat, is active and likes to interact with people. We had three (one given to us from a friend that no longer wanted to care for hers). They were all the same age but the friends RES never grew. It lasted another year and we found it floating about 9 months ago. Then, about 5 months ago one of our other turtles started acting lethargic and stopped eating. She finally died, we believe, from pneumonia. She was blowing bubbles, etc. We only have one vet around her that will even see turtles and he didn't have any appointments for 3 weeks. By that time, she was gone. We were concerned for the other one but he seemed healthy and we kept him "occupied" (played with him a little more, etc) to make sure he wasn't saddened too much by the loss. He seemed to adjust fine. But now he worries us because his shell has turned almost completely white. We take him outside occasionally to bask but it is getting wetter and colder now. We have a 55 gallon tank with a nice filter system. We keep him in about 2 inch water on the bottom with a two basking spots - on a turtle dock and some rocks (the rock spot has the direct light, the dock has the fluorescent overhead light). He is fed feeder fish, krill and some veggies as he will eat (only a little of that though.) Sometimes we even give him a little raw shrimp and fish if we are eating it. Any help or info you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! Tammy in Dallas <A 4 year old turtle is pretty much an adult. Turtles like deep water to totally immerse themselves. I think the white is a mineral build up from water evaporating on his shell. Give him some deeper water so the minerals will dissolve back into the water. If the water is already well over his shell then try adding a 50% mixture of tap water and distilled or mineralized water. As the shell gets wet the minerals will soon dissolve back into the water.-Chuck>

Turtle Problems - 10/21/2006 I have two questions. Ever since I have had my turtle she has had these white stringy things hanging out of her mouth, and I can't get them off when I clean her because she pops her head into her shell. Is there another way and do I need to be worried? Also, today when she was sun bathing on her rock I saw bubbles coming out of her mouth. Is that normal? Thank you for your time. -Kira <Kira, these symptoms do not sound normal. I would recommend that you call a local veterinarian that works with reptiles and see if they have any suggestions for you. Wishing you and your turtle well, -Sabrina>

Hibernating Turtles - 10/11/06 Dear Turtle Expert, I have a Yellow-bellied Slider that last year I hibernated in my unheated garage. I was told that I was lucky she survived. Should this species not be hibernated? A heat lamp was applied during the very cold months so the water didn't freeze. If it can be, what would be the optimal temperature. Thanks! Brian < Last year was a very difficult year for hibernating turtles. Early warm spring temperatures brought turtles out of hibernation early. Then cold spells left them out in the open with nothing to eat any many got sick and died. Make sure that your turtle is in good health and has good body fat to carry him over the winter. Place him in an aquarium with a heater set at 45 to 50 F. Don't feed him for awhile so the gut is empty and will not foul the water. When the nighttime lows are in this range you can bring him out of hibernation.-Chuck>

Sick Yellow Belly 10/2/06 I have a yellow belly slider I believe is full grown. The other day I noticed that it has been staying on its basking spot or in the shallow area of the take all day and all night. She used to swim all day and it looks as if she is swollen. Not her eyes, her body seems to be bulging out of her shell. She can swim fine but prefers to stay on the basking rock and hasn't been eating for a couple days. Should I be worried? <Yes, I would be... time for a trip to the Vet. in my opinion. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtledisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Turtle With Bite On Neck 9/6/06 About 2 mths ago, we took on 5 abandoned wild red slider turtles for our 6,000 gallon pond. The largest turtle ( female ) has recently been injury on her top of her neck. This just happened within the last 48 hrs. As a result, I've really noticed even more aggression towards this turtle by the other turtles. Last night we had to lift her and another turtle ( a smaller female ) out of the water with our net, in order for them to release themselves from each other. It's horrible to watch. I'm not sure if the bigger female is in danger, since all the other turtles seem to be ganging up on her. What should I do?? Remember they are wild turtles. We have 3 females, and 2 males. (we think?) < You live in CA and red eared sliders are not found in CA. They are probably pets that have been released into the wild by irresponsible pet owners. Feral turtles compete with the native Western Pond Turtle for food. It is a good thing to remove them from a habitat that they are not normally found. Male RES's usually have longer front claws and a longer tail. The red on the side of the head is also less pronounced on males. In some subspecies the males do not have the longer front claws. They could have interbreed with the normal res and produced a male with out the long claws. Remove the female for now and set her up in her own plastic kiddie pool with a couple of bricks in the center for a basking site. Fill it up to the top of the bricks or enough to cover her shell. Cover one half of the pool with a piece of plywood so the water doesn't get too hot in the sun.> I was told by other sites to remove the female from the pond, put her in a stress free environment (a small box/container, inside my house (since I live in CA - and it's very hot outside) put a towel over it and keep her dry. I'm not sure what is the best way to treat this injury? < Set her up as I suggested but add a Zoo-Med Repti Turtle Sulpha Block and get some Repti Wound healing Aid for the bite on her neck.> Also, she is use to eating while in water. Should I stick her in another container, filled with water, once a day for her to eat?? Or should she stay totally dry until the injury is healed? It seems like a long time for her to be confined in such a small space? Please help me on this matter. Thanks. Attached is a photo of my turtles injury < Set her up as per my recommendations. Watch for infection or fungus. Keep the water clean.-Chuck>

Turtle With Prolapsed Colon 8/28/06 Hi, I have a red ear slider for about 10 years now, and recently I saw a mushroom looking thing came out of his butt. It was dark brown and it seems to be attached to him. It was very creepy and I'm not quite sure what it was. But after a while it went back inside again. Would you happen to know what it is? Please help my turtle and thank you! Vince <When turtles eat a big meal all at once then there is a tremendous pressure put on the rest of the turtle's digestive tract to make room for that big meal. The result is a quick and painful bowl movement that sometimes drags some of the colon out with it. You are lucky that it went back in. Sometimes a t vet is needed to stitch them back up. Feed smaller portions and more often. Your turtle is an adult and should be getting almost 80% vegetable matter in his diet.-Chuck>

Turtle With Lumpy Neck - 08/26/2006 Thank for you taking the time to read my question. I wrote to you previously about my red eared slider making squeaking noises and you informed me that it wasn't breathing properly. Congrats - you were right so I took it to a vet and Jelly is still here with us today after 7 months. However, Jelly has a new problem. Recently we started feeding them small guppy fish and continued with the pellet food. We noticed that Jelly has a rather large bump on the side of her neck on the right side. I don't know what it is - remnant of food or some sort of growth. I was wondering if you could give me some insight about it. She can still put her head in her shell but it seems to be getting tighter. Please help me! Thank you again! Jen Marasco < Lots of turtles showing up with this problem lately. Little turtles need a more meaty diet than adults. I think many of these problems are related to diet and house keeping. Change the diet to include more vegetable matter and less protein. Try and keep the tank cleaner and not let the waste build up. With elevated summer temps the bacteria levels are through the roof and turtle waste quickly converts to smelly ammonia and that leads to disease problems. Make the above changes and see if there are any differences in the next few weeks.-Chuck>

Yellow Bellied Slider With Mumps - 08/25/06 Hi there, I have inherited a yellow bellied slider about 7 months ago. He was in a small plastic tank and he was small. Since then, he is about 3-4 inches and has grown quite a bit. I have him in a bigger plastic tank and I make sure he gets natural sunlight daily. Since his growth spurt, he has some round lumps around his neck. It looks like if his glands are swollen. I don't know what they are and am really concerned. He is still eating, and he is still going to the bathroom. I originally thought is had to do with his growth spurt, but I don't think so. He has a two gal. tank with a log and some rocks. I clean it weakly. I don't think he can fit his head into his shell anymore. He can sink it back but the skin fold doesn't cover the cheeks any longer. Please help me. He doesn't have a filter or a fluorescent light. Please give me some advise. I want Harley to live a long life. Thank you, JR < Time to upgrade your turtle's environment. Get a bigger tank add a basking spot with a heat lamp that gets the basking site up to at least 85 F. Change the diet to include more green leafy vegetables. Add a vitamin supplement to the turtle food. Add a filter or get another tank and feed him in the smaller tank so the main tank won't get so messy and have to be cleaned more often. Your turtles condition is probably dietary. Cut back on the protein and increase the vegetable matter in his diet. if you don't see an improvement in about six weeks then you may need to take him to a vet for further diagnoses.-Chuck> Yellow Slider With Mumps II - 08/25/06 Hi there again, I just emailed you about Harley's puffy cheeks. Well, I was reading some of the other emailers problems and I have noticed that Harley has been out sunning on his log more often and with he limbs spread out fully. Also, when he was breathing this morning on his log, I noticed he was blowing bubbles out of his right nostril. I am just trying to give you as much info as possible. Thanks again, JR < Your turtle has a respiratory infection. The basking site will really help but antibiotics may be needed if things don't improve soon.-Chuck>

New Turtle Creates New Problems - 08/25/06 I have an Eastern Painted Turtle that is approximately a year old. He was an inch or so big when we found it and now it is about three or so. We have never had any problems with it. My husband brought home a larger one about a month ago. All seemed well at first. The newer turtle seems like he has some kind of slimy stuff hanging from his skin when he is under water. He lost a clear layer or membrane from the bottom of his shell and now there are 2 ulcers or holes that have developed there. I have removed him from the tank. The smaller turtle has a little of that slimy stuff too. He has not been eating for the past few days. He is also spending most of his time on the basking dock and not in the water. He used to swim all of the time. The sections of the top shell are lifted in areas, is that due to growth??? You can see where he has just gone through some growth on the shell. Really his lack of appetite an change in behavior have me concerned. Thanks for your help < When you introduce a new animal to an established captive, the new animal should always be quarantined for at least a month. Painted turtles are found wild in the Midwest. Older turtles often carry parasites that can be transmitted to other turtles. The combination of stress and poor water quality has generated a bacterial infection of the shell of the one turtles and a possible respiratory infection on the other. Keep each turtle in his/her own container. Keep the water very clean and make sure each turtle has a basking site that gets at least to 85 F. The larger turtle should have a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block added to the tank. This will inhibit the bacteria problems. The affected areas should be cleaned and some Repti Would Aid by Zoo Med applied to the affected areas. The smaller turtle needs heat and maybe antibiotics. If the appetite doesn't pick up within a week after applying the extra heat then start to look for a vet.-Chuck>

Painted Turtle In Need Of Some TLC 8/12/06 Hello, and thank you in advance for all of the useful information that is provided on your website. Just recently, yesterday in fact, I "adopted" a baby turtle from a family friend who found it somewhere. They did not think they were providing for the turtle adequately and so they gave it to my boyfriend and I. First, let me say I knew absolutely nothing about turtles and never had one. Immediately we began to learn about them online through your site and others like it. The turtle is a baby painted turtle and is about 3 and a half inches long. I suspect it is small for its age because of the environment they had it in and the food they gave it. The turtle lived in a 10-12 gallon tank filled about halfway with water and a minimal area to get out of the water. He only had a rock or two that stuck up out of the water. The lamp they had on him was a normal household bulb located quite above the top of the tank. They fed him on a diet of mealworms every three days, food sticks every day, and crickets every now and then. The lamp did not keep the tank warm at all. He is currently still located in the same tank with the lamp moved closer, which does not really help. We plan on getting a thirty gallon tank with a UVA/UVB lamp, filter, and water heater today. We also plan on introducing lettuce and other foods into his diet, any suggestions would be much appreciated. < Unless the area you plan on keeping him at gets very cold at night, I would skip the water heater unless the water gets down to the 50's.> My actual question though, is that when I brought him outside for about thirty minutes today I noticed that his left back leg drags behind him when he walks and he sometimes does not use his front legs. I'm almost positive that this is from his lack of vitamins, calcium, and exercise. His shell is also shedding scutes a lot. I find them in his tank and after I brought him in several more were beginning to peel off. His coloring is also very dull for a painted turtle and his shell looks dry. I think he has shell rot but I'm not sure. His previous owners did not keep his tank very clean and the water was not running at all. I don't know if this is a factor but he lives with two fish in the tank. We cleaned it out and put in fresh water as soon as we got him. Will his problems clear up and get better as he grows older and we take better care of him, or should we take him to see a vet who specializes in turtles? I've already become extremely attached to Tommy and don't want him to get any sicker than he already is. Any help you can give me will be much appreciated. Thank You, Jacquelyn < Check the temperature of the basking spot with a good thermometer. It should get up to at least 85 F. Move the light closer or get a larger wattage bulb to increase the temp. Adding vegetables like kale and spinach will help. If you see no improvement over a month then start to look for a turtle vet.-Chuck>
Re: Eastern Painted Sick??? Turtle Getting Better 8/28/06
Thanks for your help. I did increase the heat for the smaller turtle and cleaned out the tank really well. I also put one of those slow release sulfa locks in there just in case. He is now eating and is very active again. < Sounds like he is getting better. Thanks for writing back. It is good to know how these things turn out sometimes.-Chuck>

Turtle Expert, Turtles With Injuries 8/8/06
Hello Robert, I hope you are a turtle expert. I have two turtles with problems. 1st Case is a 3 inch Eastern Painted Turtle. He was bitten by a bigger female (which is no longer with the little guy). Parts of the back of his shell have fallen off and it appears white, not a fungus, but the scutes seem to be missing. I use a soft toothbrush to clean it every other day and spray it with HerpCare Skin & Shell Treatment by Mardel letting it dry then putting him back into the water. 2nd Case is a 3 1/2 inch Red-eared Slider. Recently one of his eyes have become infected. I don't know if he was injured or what happened. When she is underwater it looks like fungus. She can open it and you can see slight puffiness around the eye. The eye itself looks fine. I have been treating her daily with Fluker Laboratories' Reptile Eye Rinse. Both are still active and eating. What would you recommend I do for them? Thanks! Brian Kallenberg < Keep the turtles isolated so they don't get worse. Keep the water clean and add a Dr Turtle Sulpha Block by ZooMed. This should inhibit any bacterial growth. Try ZooMed Repti Wound Healing Aid and the Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip. This should really help with the wounds/trauma. If the eye problem is caused from a deficiency in vitamin A, then look into amending the diet with more vegetables with a vitamin supplement. The ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops really help with these eye problems.-Chuck> Re: Turtle Expert, Eye Problems In Turtle 8/12/06 Thanks for your help, I have one last question. Since the infection is only in one eye, can I rule out a vitamin deficiency? Brian < No, not really. The other eye may come down with the same problem and delaying treatment may only make things worse.-Chuck>

Turtle Questions 7/28/06 I have a couple of question? I have a turtle, I have had him for about 3 months. He is a aquatic turtle we found him in a lake. I have him in a aquarium with a really big rock in it, he always sit on it when he is ready to rest or just want to relax. He always jumps off of it. One time he jumped off it and he scraped his foot. At first his foot was just peeling now it has turned a white color. I am really worried about his foot. He seem to be fine, he is always swimming and still very hyper. Should I take him to the vet. and get it checked or what should I do? Please help me he is my little buddy. < If the wound has turned white and is fuzzy then it is starting to fungus. I would clean the foot off with a cotton ball. Then apply some Zoo Med Repti Wound Healing Aid. Keep the water clean and add a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block to prevent infection.> Another thing I have little rocks at the bottom of the aquarium, I take him out and put him in a little carrying case for turtles lately when he has a bowel movement it looks like he has been eating the little rocks at the bottom of the aquarium, what should I do can that hurt him, if he is eating them? The rocks are the sides of pebbles. < If he is able to ingest the substrate then I would recommend changing it to prevent any potential choking problems.> How often should I feed him? Now I currently feed him 2 times a day, I give him 15 turtle sticks both times, is that enough? <I would recommend feeding three times a week. After each feeding there will probably be a bowel movement. I would then siphon out the waste and replace the water in the tank.> Also how can I find out if he is a he or a she! < Males usually have longer front claws and a longer tail.-Chuck> Thank you for your time!!!

African Sideneck Turtle In the Corner 7/14/06 I got my African Sideneck Turtle 3 days ago and all it has done is sit in the corner of the tank near the water filter. My parents say that it likes the flowing water, but I am not sure. He also has not eaten in 2 days. My friends say that he is lonely, but I don't know. Should I be concerned? < Check the water temp. It should be up around 80 F. He will be more active at higher temps if everything else is OK. -Chuck>
Turtle Not Eating, was African Sideneck Turtle In the Corner 7/15/06 What do I do if the water gets too cold? Why is He not eating? < You have a tropical turtle that needs to be warm to increase his metabolism and properly digest his food. If he is too cold then the food sits in his stomach and rots. Get an aquarium thermometer and set it for 80 F and see if he gets more active. The other problem could be parasites. You will need to take a fecal sample to a vet to have it checked out.-Chuck>

Turtle With Cracked Shell 7/15/06 Hello, I have a pet turtle that somehow managed to fall last month from the veranda to the road below - I live on the 4th floor of an apartment building. It climbed out of its container (does often) managed to climb up a planter and over the wall (this was a first). A neighbor found it lying in the road, not moving, probably in shock and returned it to me the next day. This was about 4 weeks ago and it is active, eating, walking and doing all normal turtle things. But, the bottom shell which broke along a narrow strip about a half inch towards the center and about an inch and a half long just under the right front leg, does not join back together. I put a Band-Aid on it, as I could see the flesh and blood, and it has not got infected, but the shell on the very bottom does not grow back together. I have replaced the Band-Aids to keep it connected, but am thinking it will never heal back together. Should I worry about this? I am feeding some dried shrimp and sometimes some live minnows thinking extra protein or calcium should help. The turtle is active and doesn't seem to be in pain, but of course, there is no real way for me to find out. This is the 2nd time this turtle has jumped. About 3 years ago it fell from the 2nd storey, flipped over and managed to get a small hole in the top shell which healed on its own with no problem. We have had this turtle for 15 years and it is a part of the family even though it seems to want to try to fly. Thank you for any advice. Regards, Judy < This is beyond my area of expertise so I am referring you to a website that specializes in turtles/tortoises and has a chapter of shell damage. Hope you find it helpful-Chuck http://www.tortoise.org/general/shelinj.html>
Re: Gluing a Turtle shell 7/15/06
Thanks, but this is I think describing only the back shell, not the one underneath, which I don't think I can put glue on because it's more like skin than hard shell. I looked on the net, too but couldn't find anything. regards, Judy < Try Super Glue. It will work on skin so be careful. I think it is worth a try.-Chuck>

Turtle Shell Getting Little Holes - 06/22/2006 I have had a Peninsula or River Cooter for a year now. I have a 10 gallon tank, a heating light, a filter, rocks, and a big rock my turtle can climb on. I use shell cream for (his?) cracked shell, but have noticed that he has a bunch of little holes on his lower shell. At first I thought that maybe it was cracked shell, but they aren't going away. They aren't soft, but little hard holes. I don't know what it is, and I haven't seen any articles describing this type of problem. I need your help. Should I take him to a vet? Thanks-Jasmin <Any type of pitting on a turtle shell is not good. It could be a bacterial infection. Give him a Dr Turtle Sulpha Dip and then add a Dr Turtle Block to the water. If the spots continue to grow than a visit to a vet would be in order.-Chuck>

Turtle Questions ... dis. 6/20/06 Hi! I had a question about a my Mississippi map turtle. About a month ago I noticed that on his right front foot there was a pinkish spot right under his claw. I'm not sure how it happened, I thought maybe another of the turtles bit him. I started putting Neosporin on it and it got a little more pink and swollen but then it got a lot better, and was almost totally healed. Now I noticed that there are two other small spots on the same leg a little further up. These ones are a deeper red and seem hard. His hand is swollen but he swims fine, eats normally, and acts as he always has. < I would recommend that you isolate the turtle and add a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block to the water. The other turtles can't bother him in another tank and the Sulpha block will inhibit bacteria and give his arm a chance to heal.> Also, I have a yellow belly slider who blows bubbles every time she grabs at the food. Could that be a sign of a respiratory problem?? <No not really. The problems arise when they are sitting on their basking site and blowing bubbles.> Also, my red eared slider and yellow bellied slider dig in the rocks a lot. I think they are looking for food. Is this normal and ok?? < Older turtles need more vegetable matter in their diet. Give them some kale or spinach leaves to gnaw on. ZooMed now has a new turtle bone for turtles to gnaw on and get some calcium. It may be worth checking out since you have so many turtles.-Chuck> Thanks so much for your help!! - Megan

Little Turtle With Big History - 06/07/2006 Good Day to the Crew, I have a yellow bellied slider approximately 4 years old (by the vet's estimation). My question relates to an odd condition with his shell but I should give you a brief overview of his history so you have all the facts.... My children brought this turtle (I named Myrtle before I knew he was a boy) to me a year ago telling me that "a lady was putting him in the creek because she didn't want him anymore." I have never owned a turtle before so I immediately went to the local pet store and bought the necessary gear....ill advised by the PetSmart staff. We found out the hard way that every bit of advise they gave us was wrong. The tank was not being effectively filtered, the water not deep enough or changed often enough, no UVB was recommended, the pebble substrate held too much bacteria and fecal debris and the recommended diet was incomplete. Myrtle was never a great eater but stopped eating altogether later in December of 2005. He was also spending all of his time under his basking light, his shell was peeling and his plastron was reddish, and if it's possible, he looked skinny to me. I finally located a veterinarian who would treat reptiles at the end of January. Her diagnosis was that Myrtle was septic because of the poor filtration in his tank and his general care was not up to par. Myrtle was put on a Baytril regimen and his living conditions were altered significantly. He is still housed in a 20 gallon long aquarium but now it's 2/3 full, has a suspended basking bridge (instead of one supported with stones which hold debris) a heat lamp and separate UVA & B light (no additional heat). Basking area temp is 85 degrees and water temp is 76 degrees. Filtration is provided by a Fluval 104 canister filter plus an additional 20 gallon submersible filter. The substrate is large polished stones. I do a 75% water change at least once a week and treat his water with Stress Coat. To keep the amount of debris in the tank to a minimum, I feed Myrtle in a separate plastic tub and wait for him to defecate before I return him to his aquarium. I completely disassemble the tank and filters, scrub the basking bridge, climbing structure and substrate stones with hot, hot, hot water every other week. Myrtle's diet of floating Repto sticks has been supplemented with shrimp, rosy reds, guppies and calcium powder...he still does not like vegetation yet but I keep trying periodically. To make a long story even longer, after 4 rounds of Baytril, 9 trips to the vet, and about $500 in money that I don't have to spare... he was doing really well. His weight went from 103 grams in January to 118 grams in April. I was very relieved because I have grown to love this little guy! Now, you have the old history. Let me tell you the current events.... Several weeks ago, I noticed that his skin was shedding. Shedding to the point that he looked almost furry! There were skin patches floating all over the tank and everything. I researched it on the internet and figured it could be all the Baytril or the amount of fish he was eating. I cut down on the amount of Rosies and guppies that he got per week and waited to see what would happen. His appetite was still ravenous and activity level was still high so I was not really worried yet. I asked the vet about it and told her that we had a water softener for our well water and she recommended that we add Stress Coat to the water because it might still be too hard for Myrtle to tolerate. That seemed to stop the profuse shedding after a while. However, I had also noticed that in our goldfish aquarium, guppy aquarium and Myrtle's aquarium, the algae was no longer green but had changed to kind of a reddish brown color. Couple this with the fact that my own skin and hair felt really dry. I called our water softener company with the question and they recommended that we change our softener salt to one that did not include the "Iron Out" because it may be too harsh. We did that a month ago and most of the algae has gone back to green except for the goldfish tank and my own hair and skin are softer. But I am wondering if that Iron Out could have damaged Myrtle's shell. This is where my real question begins.. After the bout of sepsis, Myrtle's shell peeling was slowing down but not before one of the marginal scutes had come off completely to the bone. The vet said to not worry too much about it because it would grow back with time. Then, within the last month or 6 weeks, it looks like there are air bubbles within or between the keratin of the scutes. I can't feel them, they don't peel off and they don't feel squishy. When he is under water, these bubbles look almost luminous. Like he has tiny lights in his shell. When he is out of the water and completely dry, they look dull and sort of obscure the patterns on the scutes underneath. I scrub his shell gently with a soft toothbrush and an iodine solution, remove really loose scutes and apply shell conditioner about once a week or so. More often if his shell is looking bad, less often if he is looking good. Have you ever heard of anything like this? I have a call in to his vet but she is out of town for a while and I just don't want to take any chances. I wish I had a digital camera so you could see what I am talking about. If I can find one, I'll send pics. I thank you so much for your time. I know I have been long winded with this explanation and I apologize for that. I hope you can help because I really want to provide the best care for my little buddy so I can have his company for many years to come. I look forward to hearing from you, Sincerely, Julie Parker < As the turtle sheds its skin the lose material is attacked by aquatic fungus and mold. It really does the turtle no harm. It just looks bad. Get your water for the turtle from the garden hose before it goes into your house and before the water softener has a chance to treat it. Water softeners replace much needed calcium with sodium and potassium. If your turtle does not get enough calcium then they develop shell problems. Add a Dr Turtle to the tank and do a Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip. Watch the areas closely. The gases under the shell are caused by bacteria. It may be shell rot. This is a bacterial infection in which each area needs to be surgically cleaned out and antibiotics applied.-Chuck>

Sulfa Block for Turtle 6/6/06 I have a beautiful two year old male RES. About a year ago I put a sulfa block in his water to help keep him healthy. The block was in the shape of a turtle. After it had dissolved to a smaller size (maybe the size of a lima bean), my turtle ate it! For about five days afterwards he had the worst diarrhea imaginable. I haven't tried a sulfa block since then. Is there any way I can keep sulfa in the water without tempting my turtle? Also, are there any vitamins or other antibiotics I can put in his water to help keep him healthy? Elizabeth Walley < When a turtle eats a Sulpha block it is a sign that the turtle needs additional minerals in its diet. Add some green leafy vegetables like spinach and Kale. They are a good source of calcium. Offer some other item like insects and worms.-Chuck>

Turtle Survival Story - 06/07/2006 Thanks so much for this wonderful site! I had two hatchling turtles that were very sick (on arrival) and I was able to save one with eye drops, sulfur dips, correctly temperatured, clean water, and a proper basking light. They both had swollen, dry eyes, respiratory problems and from reading what I imagine as an ear infections (both) on the right side of their necks. The surviving turtle has stopped chirping and is eating regularly, has become more active and has even become shy again as runs for the water when I approach the tank-which tells me he did not lose his sight with the infection if he sees me coming. The lump on the right side of his neck is entirely gone. He has no problems submerging. However, he prefers Repto-min to the hatchling food. Is this OK? I've tried krill, Nature Zone Aquatic Turtle Bites, and Zoo Med's hatchling food, but the only thing he will eat is the Repto-Min. I haven't tried spinach or crickets yet and am trying to find worms. <Repto-Min is OK but a varied diet is best. Feed three times a week but only offer the Repto-Min once a week and offer something else the other two times. He will be hungry enough to eat whatever you throw in the tank after the first week. Younger turtles need more meat than adults. Occasionally offer Kale and Spinach> Also, I have two more hatchlings on the way. I am hesitant to put them in the same tank for fear of bacteria for their own health and for my recovering turtle. Can I give them a sulfur dip before placing them in with the other turtle? Thanks again for your great site and for saving my turtle's life. - Tom D. (Boston) < The dips will help with external problems but not with the internal lung problems. Quarantine the new turtles until they are healthy and active just like your turtle is now.-Chuck>

Sick Yellow Bellied Turtle - 06/07/2006 Hello, I have searched but cannot find any information on what I'm looking for. I bought 2 baby red eared sliders and 2 baby yellow bellied sliders 9 months ago and they have been doing fine. About a week ago, I noticed that the shell on 1 of the yellow bellied sliders has started to get a brown tint to it. It is more noticeable when it is wet - it looks almost normal when it is dry and basking. At first we thought maybe it was basking too much. Is this possible? In the last couple days he also has been keeping his eyes shut (only opening them a few times) and is hardly eating. I also tried putting shell conditioner on it. If you pick him up, he barely moves. What can I do for him? Please give me any suggestions you may have. Thank you!! <Check the temp of the basking site. It should be about 85F+. Get Repti Turtle Eye Drops and apply them as per the directions. He could be basking too long in an attempt to heat his body to a much higher temp but can't get it high enough because the heat source is too weak or too far away. Place him in the water. If he floats then he has fluid in his lungs and needs to see a vet for antibiotics.-Chuck>

Sulfa Block for Turtle 6/6/06 <Hi Elizabeth, Pufferpunk here> I have a beautiful two year old male RES. About a year ago I put a sulfa block in his water to help keep him healthy. The block was in the shape of a turtle. After it had dissolved to a smaller size (maybe the size of a lima bean), my turtle ate it! For about five days afterwards he had the worst diarrhea imaginable. I haven't tried a sulfa block since then. Is there any way I can keep sulfa in the water without tempting my turtle? Also, are there any vitamins or other antibiotics I can put in his water to help keep him healthy? <I don't think it is necessary to treat a healthy turtle with antibiotics consistently. I don't stay on them, why should a turtle? If you have good filtration, do water changes weekly, feed healthy foods & dust with vitamins. ~PP> Elizabeth Walley

Turtle With Lump On Neck 6/5/06 Hi Bob, I was hoping you could help us. We have 2 small turtles that were brought back from South Carolina about 2 years ago. The one turtle has a bump on the side of it's face and neck. The lump is kind of brown in color and just came out sometime between yesterday and today. Any suggestions on where to look for treatment and to find out what this may be. I am afraid it will pass it to the other turtle. Please help direct us if you can. Diana <With two turtles in the same tank, it makes me think that maybe one of them was bitten there when both of them were attempting to eat the same piece of food. Other things could be infections or parasites. Take him to a vet and be sure. Go to Kingsnake.com and check for a vet recommendation in your area.-Chuck>

Near Drowned Turtle Needs Help 5/27/06 Hello all, I was cleaning my southern painted turtle's tank tonight with a Python tube. After I finished cleaning, I left the tubing the tank, figuring I'd move the tubing later. At some point, the turtle worked himself into the gravel vacuum. I discovered this, removed him, and am now trying to dry-dock and warm him up. He's alive, but I don't know how long he was in that tube...could have been a few minutes, could have been over an hour. He's still fairly young and a little undersized, since apparently I've not been giving him enough food even though people said to stop feeding him every day. I am not sure exactly how to dry dock, so he's on a towel in a large Tupperware with a light shining on one end in the hopes that he'll warm up some. He's responsive to touch and movement, but very lethargic. Help? Veronica <I would place him in a shallow dish with the basking spot on one side. The spot should get up to 85 F. Place him in on the site for 15 minutes. He should be fairly warm to the touch. Take him off the site and place him away from the light in a little bit of water. After 15 minutes then place him back under the light. The logic here is to warm him up but not get him too hot and dehydrated. In the shallow pan he can drink if needed. Hopefully the heat will drive the fluids away from the lungs and the shallow water will allow him to drink and not dehydrate the rest of the body. Repeat often until you get some normal response. This may take a few days. A lung infection may come and require a trip to a vet for antibiotics.-Chuck> Re: Near Drowned Turtle Coming Back 5/27/06 Hello Chuck, Thank for the quick reply. In the time that I've been waiting, I had put him in a towel-lined bucket with a shaded area so he wasn't too hot. He has been trying, for the past hour or so, to escape. He did a ninja chin-lift up the towel and out of the bucket (and into the box I had the bucket in, just in case) I think this is a good thing. Most of the time he is tucked into his shell, but I'm not sure if that's lethargy, tiredness, or stress. It is nighttime here and I don't want to stress him by leaving the light on all night. I've put him in another bucket with some water in it, as well as a small ramp of gravel that is under the lamp. He can get himself out of the shallow water (doesn't totally cover his shell) easily. Should I leave the light on all night? Should I do what you are suggesting? He's moving pretty well on his own now and it's a question of keeping him warm/hydrated vs. the stress of moving. Much thanks again, Veronica < Turtles are pretty resilient. I am assuming that your turtle "Shut Down", as if he was going to hibernate to stay alive and conserve oxygen. I have no proof, it is just a hunch. Sounds like your turtle is well on his way to recovery. I would just set him back up in his normal set up and let him decide when it is time to bask. Still be on the look out for respiratory problems. The symptoms are wheezing, coughing and an inability to sink.-Chuck>

Wood Turtle With Bumpy Shell - 05/22/2006 This is my turtle Woody, a north American wood turtle, if you look at her shell, it looks really bumpy, is this normal? - Celia < The bumpy shell is caused by a diet too high in protein. This is usually seen in tortoises that are fed monkey chow. As turtles grow they require less protein and more vegetable matter. You probably kept your turtle on a hatchling type diet too long.-Chuck>

Baby Turtle With Puffy Eyes 5/11/06 Hi, I've been having some problems with my baby yellow-bellied slider. He's about the size of a quarter, and has been doing great until about the past two or three weeks. He's having trouble opening his eyes (there seems to be some kind of film over them), wasn't eating, and spends most of his day sleeping on the dock. He also does this unusual movement with his neck (it's seems like he's moving it in and out of his shell). I've taken him out of his normal tank last night (there is also a red-eared slider in there) and placed him separately with a stronger heat lamp. As soon as he was placed in there, he ate, jumped in the water and started swimming for about an hour, and soon went back to sleep. Since then, he's only been in the water once today, and I'm pretty sure he hasn't eaten. The vet said that there is nothing wrong with him, but I still have a feeling something is going on. Would it be possible for someone to help me solve this problem? Thank you, < Clean the tank and treat the eyes with Repti Turtle Eye Drops by Zoo Med. The extra heat was a very good idea. Between the drops and the heat your little turtle should be fine in no time.-Chuck>
Re: Sick Turtle - 05/13/2006 Turtle Gasping
Great. Thank you very much. They seem to be working very well. He does seem to gasp for air sometimes though. Is this something to worry about? < A gasping sound may be the first sign of a respiratory problem. May sure the basking site gets up to 85 to 90 F. If it continues then see a vet.-Chuck>

Very Sick Little Turtle 5/21/06 Ok thanks chuck- I really do appreciate this information- I have tried to educate myself on these little guys the best I can- I am going to pet store to get what you told me- although I fear it wont make a difference- I just came down stairs and he was floating on his back- he is alive his arms and legs work- I just don't understand it- I have followed everything- its just so frustrating..... I guess I will maybe get some vitamins too- maybe he lacking something- maybe I should check the ph and hardiness of water too??? He is rather smaller than other res babies- so maybe he was born with something wrong.. ok thanks so much- greatly appreciated..... < Forget the water tests, they will be a waste of money. What you turtle needs right now is heat. A very warm basking site that will get up to at least 85 F.-Chuck>

Soft Shell Turtle Throwing Up - 5/11/06 Hi, I'm located in Singapore, and the general attitude here towards reptiles are that if they are sick, throw them away and get a new one. Which means that.. there are no vets who can treat my Softshell turtle! I'm not sure what type it is, but I am pretty sure its a breed that's from southeast Asia. I keep it outdoors, in a tank where it can get sunlight from 7am till 12noon.It is roughly 3 years old, and 6 inches long. Problem is, for the past 3 weeks, it have been throwing up. Not immediately after feeding, maybe 5-6 hours later. It's eating Tetra ReptoMin, 8 sticks per feeding. I tried feeding it iceberg lettuce, the only vegetable it will eat. But that comes out too, after 12 hours. It used to be very active, but its just lying around these days, don't even try to bite me anymore. What can the problem be? I really don't want to lose it.. I can't tell if its male or female either.. Thank you for your time, Tasha < Too bad you have no access to a vet. Clean the tank and move it to where it gets some warm afternoon sun. The peak UV period is between 10 and 2. You turtle may not be getting warm enough to digest its meal and it has begun to rot in its gut and cannot pass it.-Chuck>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: