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FAQs About Turtle Disease/Health 1

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,  Turtles, Shell Rot in Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

FAQs on: Turtle Disease 2, Turtle Disease 3,
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,  

Keeping Yellow Bellied Turtle Alive  12/03/05 Hello, I own two yellow bellied sliders ( one of whom died in the past week ). They were purchased this May and were doing fine until 5/6 weeks ago when their eyes became swollen and covered with a grey mucous. They were both blind and stopped eating. I tried various eye creams ( I live in a very small town with no pet store or reptile vet. and thus have no contact with anyone who knows anything about turtles.) I have downloaded everything I can find but cannot solve the problem by myself. The local vet is helping where possible but my surviving slider is going into his fifth week of not eating. The eye problem seems to have improved and he is no longer blind. The vet has given him injections of antibiotics, has tried to get vitamin A drops into his mouth, is giving some sort of liquids in an injection form to stop him dehydrating but he still refuses to eat.  Will he starve to death ? He spends all day on the basking rock and rarely gets into the water - he has always been like this. He seems to be immobile for most of the day. I keep the temp. in the water at around 84 degrees. What am I doing wrong ? I can't get a heat lamp as they don't sell them here. Can someone please help me as I really don't know what to do anymore. < Turn the water temp down to 70 F. The air is very humid and contributing to the respiratory infection. Get a thermometer and check the basking spot. If it does not get at least up to 90 F then increase the wattage or move the source closer. Vitamins and antibiotics are very helpful but the change in temps should really help. Go to Drsfostersmith.com and order the thing you need. Go to ZooMed.com for direct info on their products.-Chuck> 

Worried about a constipated turtle  11/20/05 Hi- I'm taking care of a little turtle who is having a big problem with constipation. I have no idea of his species or if his owner kept him incorrectly and gave me bad instructions. This is him: [Unable to display image] Right now he has the run of my office, a 'hot spot' with UV lamp, there's a heater in the room keeping it at a nice warm room temperature, and I've been weaning him off the Boston Live Lettuce his owner's been exclusively feeding him and introducing grapes and veggies slowly.  I've soaked him in warm water and he extends his cloaca, sticks his legs out, dunks his head, drinks a lot of water, and seems to strain. It's been several weeks without more than a small inconsequential poop and I'm starting to get worried. Today he strained to go for a half hour and seemed to extend either fecal matter or some inside bit and then retract it back in. Any advice on habitat, species, or care for this constipation problem? I'd appreciate anything you can offer- I've grown very attached to the little booger. Richard <Unfortunately our number one Chelonian expert is out (Chuck Rambo) and number two (Gage)? Please take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/chelonians.htm the linked files on turtle disease, systems, feeding... Bob Fenner> 

Slim the (Red Ear) Slider  11/20/05 We recently bought our oldest son a Red Ear Slider around Labor Day. Since then it has seemed to do very well, even though it eats very little. <How large is it? Is it being kept inside or outside? How large of an enclosure?> We were told that they do not eat very much, but it seems like he hardly eats at all. We feed him Turtle pellets about every other day because his food always never seems to get eaten. <If it's cold in the room, the turtle won't be very active, and thus won't eat much> Also in the last week we've started to notice his shell becoming covered with a white almost powder like film. I clean his tank about 2 times a month. I tried to clean off the shell and when it gets wet the film seems to go away but when he basks in the light it returns when he is dry. <Get an anti-biotic cream for the turtle's shell from a pet store or online vendor, and follow the instructions. Also, be sure to change the water every day or every other day until the bacterial infection has subsided. You're also going to want to vary the diet beyond just pellets - feed the turtle meaty foodstuffs a couple of times weekly> We do have city water and I did not know if I need to be putting something in the water to neutralize it or not. He also has a few very small spots on the bottom of his shell where it seems to be flaking. Is that shell rot or is it normal?? <Unless your water is exceptionally high in chlorine, I wouldn't worry about it. The shell should not be flaking. Buy a lamp and purchase a UV incandescent lamp, and put that over an area where the turtle can come out of the water and bask. Also, take the turtle outside for half an hour of sunlight each day, just make sure you keep an eye on it. Turtles need at least half an hour of sunlight every other day, more if possible> Thanks  <Anytime> Melanie <M. Maddox> 

Sick Little Turtle May Just Be A Male - 10/24/05 I bought 4 Red Ear Sliders in May of 2005. 2 were around 1 1/2" in size and the other 2 were 2" in size. I bought a 40 gallon tank, finally figured out the Fluval 3 is the best filter. I have a 75watt basking light (use to have 100watt), a heater and the water is around 78 to 80 degrees always. I use turtle clean once a week to reduce the waste. Feed them daily or twice a day small amount. 3 have grown to about 4 inches the other remains the same size. The larger ones have gotten the cotton film on them several times but have cleared up by bathing in the sulfa dip in a separate bathing tub. I am assuming this was to my problem finding the right filter. My tank was constantly getting dirty, started to get algae. The little one never got this and all 4 have always eaten. I did notice the 3 big ones (even when they were all the same size) use to push him away but we always put food by the little guy for him to eat. Well I guess the other 3 received more food since they all grew to the same size. The l little guy has started to slow down on eating over the last month and now eats once a week from what we noticed. He does not swim much, just stays on the basking dock. He used to occasionally swim (not like the biggers but he did swim). The only thing I have done in the last month was take out the rocks. Constantly getting algae and trying to keep the waste from laying in the tank, finally last week just put in a small amount so they have something to dig in. The big turtles like to move things (my filter, my heater, my thermometer, the rocks) the little one never did.  I have put algae destroyer in the water . I had the heater out for about a week because it broke while cleaning (my big turtles like to move it).  Tried taking the little guy out of the tank and feed by himself. He moves more in the bathing dish with no water but does not eat or grow. What do you think? Should I separate him from the 3 big turtles or is he sick? I do not see anything unusual about his appearance. < I would set him up in his own tank for awhile as a precaution. Male turtles are smaller than females so this just may be related to sex and not his overall heath. In a separate tank I would set him up and keep him there until his appetite picks up and he starts acting more normal. If he is a he, the front nails will be very long and the tail will be longer than the others.-Chuck> 

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

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

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

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

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

Green Turtle Turning Yellow?  12/13/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> My Red Eared Slider's shell is starting to turn yellow and has very little green left.  He is fed properly and has the correct tank set up. He doesn't act sick and he still eats well. We have had to deal with soft shell before and it looks similar but I'm much more educated now on lighting and diet so I don't think that's what's causing his shell to turn yellow. Is there another disorder that could cause this? I have been to every web-site I can find but can't find anything describing this. Please let me know. <I would be interested to see a detailed description of habitat set-up, lighting types (right down to wattages, brands, bulb ages, height of fixtures above basking area), diet, temperatures....and photos of the 'ailing' terrapin in question. The herp expert I am collaborating with on this question usually works with all the data he can collect, then go with a process of elimination. There are a couple of possibilities that could be linked to diet and/or lighting on this one.   ~PP> Amy

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

Turtle Injury - 1\9\05 I have recently bought red eared hatchlings (4) two of them have died. I have a 20 gal long with heater, rocks, filter, basking ramp, they eat pellets and shrimp treats. what can I being doing wrong? <Young turtles need plenty of food, and plenty of UBV light.  Purchase an incandescent reptile UVB heat lamp and a clip on lamp.  Point the lamp at the basking ramp.  Every day or as often as you can, take them out for at least 15 minutes of sunlight, but make sure they don't overheat.  Realize they that will grow fairly quickly, and attain over a foot in length.  If you are going to let them go, make sure they are native to your area, and teach them to catch live food such as feeder fish> Today I was cleaning the tank and had the turtles aside and my dog got hold of one and bit a hole in the shell the turtle is alive but bleed what do I do? <Keep the turtle's injury and water clean, and purchase an antibiotic ointment to rub on the shell for the next 7-10 days.  Make sure to clean the wound and change the water every day to prevent infection until the wound heals.  Good luck with your turtles - M. Maddox>

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

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

SICK TURTLES I have two red- eared slider turtles that I have had since July of 2001. They were both the size of quarters when I bought them and now they each weigh 4.5 grams. This past Christmas I noticed that my male turtle (Mustard) was shedding his scutes. It did not seem to hurt him, but I had never noticed anything like that before. I sort of panicked, I was out of town and not near his normal vet so I went to a different one. He said that both of my turtles had a fungal infections and suggested that I let them soak in a diluted chlor-hexadine solution. When I did that, it seemed to irritate their eyes, so I went to suggestion number 2 and painted them w/the non-diluted chlor-hexadine.  Well, after a few weeks, I didn't notice a change in their shells, but I did notice that Mustard was keeping his eyes closed more often. When they were open they didn't appear swollen and they were still really clear, but I was concerned so I brought him and my female turtle (Honey) to their regular vet.  He took a few pieces of their shells and looked at them under the microscope. He said that he didn't see any fungus or bacteria. He suggested that they may be starting to develop one or more vitamin deficiencies. He suggested that I add some frozen vegetables to their diet, and continue w/the chlor-hexadine. I did that and then about 3 days later I noticed two small spots to the top of Honey's shell that seemed to be missing, it looked like bone (white) instead of a green color. This made me take a closer look at Mustard and I found a similar spot on the bottom of his shell only it was pink in color. I called the vet and when he called back he said that they should start antibiotic injections, he didn't look at the turtles, but I picked up the medicine and for about a week and a half I have been giving them the shots.  They are still shedding scutes and now at the very edge of their shell where they were rimmed w/a nice yellow color, it seems to be turning transparent. It's still a yellow color, but you can see through it. It's weird. Not only that, but Honey's shell is peeling so badly that on the bottom there is a piece that if I pulled off her pink shell would be totally exposed. I've just left it. As for their behavior, they both are very active and seem strong. I have noticed an increase in Honey's appetite and a decrease in Mustard's. He still eats, but not w/the gusto that he used to.  Their vet doesn't always seem like he is confident about what he is talking about but unfortunately there are not many exotic vets in the area where I live. There are a million different suggestions all over the web and in the books that I have at home. Some contradicting each other. I read through quite a bit of the turtle FAQ's page and whoever was answering the questions seemed very knowledgeable. Please, I am open to any advice. My turtles are great and I have invested quite a bit of love, time, and money into their care. I'm desperate to get them healthy again.  Thank you for any suggestions you might have.  < Here is what I would do in your situation. It appears your turtles have a deficiency. Either the wrong light or the wrong food. First I would start with the tank. Make sure the tank is clean. Use a good filter and service it often. Change water before it starts to turn sour. Give them a good dry spot to bask under a good light that provides heat, UVA and UVB. Feed a commercial aquatic turtle food and supplement their feedings with mealworms, earthworms, crickets and kingworms. It your water is soft and acid like in the NW U.S. then I would add a tropical fish buffer to increase the pH and increase the calcium in the water. New turtles should have a sulfa block added to the water to prohibit the bacterial infections you are currently encountering.-Chuck>
Chuck, thank you so much for your suggestions. I wanted to let you know that I do have them in separate 15 gallon tanks (maybe this is not big enough). I buy bottled distilled water to fill their tanks.  < I would suggest adding a fish tank buffer to keep the pH above seven and increase the calcium levels in the water.>  I empty and clean their tanks and change their filter media every 30-45 days.  < I would do it more often until they are well, like every week.>  They each have a UVA/UVB light that is on for 12hrs a day along w/a basking lamp that is on for about 5hrs a day. I keep their water temperature at 76 degrees w/an underwater thermostat. Their basking area is usually between 85-88 degrees. I feed them a commercial turtle food and until recently it was every other day. I have tried every day since I've noticed them getting sick. About once a month I will buy them each a dozen or so guppies and every 3 months I'll split about 50 mealworms between them. I actually even feed them in a separate container in an attempt to keep their water cleaner. I have been adding StressCoat as a suggestion from their vet when last year I noticed their skin peeling. As for the Sulfa blocks....they eat them. Is that safe?  < Eating the sulfa blocks may be their way of expressing a need for minerals.>  I feel like my turtles may have picked up a bacterial infection this past fall when we were re-building their habitat. It took us longer than expected and they weren't exposed to the UVA/UVB lights as often as they should have been. In addition, I was using our tap water (which is well water) filtered through a Brita pitcher to feed them in rather than the bottled water and recently we were given a boil notice saying that our water may or may not have fecal bacteria in it. The Brita pitcher obviously can not filter this type of bacteria, so that's why I've gone to using the distilled water to feed them. I wonder about using Povidone/iodine solution to paint on their shells. Their vet said that it would be OK if I diluted it, but did not give me instructions on how to do so. Also, should I leave them in their water all the time, or should I be keeping them more dry? Their vet wasn't sure what to suggest. I really appreciate your help with this matter. Thanks again. < I would feed them a more varied diet with mealworms once a month instead of every three. Keeping the water cleaner will be a big plus. The minerals in the sulfa block are very beneficial. I would try and isolate it with some plastic mesh so the turtles can't get to it directly.-Chuck>

Self-Abusing Turtle Bites Himself in Japan Dear WWM , I have a male red eared slider that is about 2 -3 years old in his own tank. Recently (last few weeks) he has started to bite his left front hand/claw keratin bits. One of the pieces of keratin is starting to look a bit inflamed and pale pinkish, not like a normal white keratin piece - like he has had a good gnaw at it. Is this self-biting normal and do you think he has potentially infected his claw/hand by biting it? If it is a potential problem, what can I do to fix it? Thank you for your time. Regards, Farah < At one point in time there was probably some food stuck on his claw and as he attempted to get to it he mistakenly bit himself. Now he probably thinks the reddish coloration is still food. I would clean the tank and keep it that way to help prevent the infection from getting worse. I would add a Dr Turtle sulfa block to treat the bacterial infection. I would then feed the turtle several times a day to prevent him from getting so hungry he will prefer the food instead of his claw. When the claw starts to grow back and turn back to a more normal color I would make sure he is well fed so he doesn't go back to his old bad habits.-Chuck> 
More Turtle Trouble in Japan
Dear Chuck. Thank you for your e-mail. The claw is actually still intact - it's just the keratin piece above it that has got inflamed. Just another quick question if that's OK - we live in Japan and can't get Dr Turtle Sulfa Block's here. Can you point me to a website that sells these and would be prepared to deliver to Japan. If not, what would be a good substitute for Dr Turtle's sulfa block? Thanks again for your time. Regards, Farah < Go to ZooMed.com. They now have a mail order business or may be able to direct you to a shop in Japan. DrsFosterSmith.com would probably be able top help you too. Before I would go to the US for something I think I would go to a pet shop in Japan and try and find Japanese equivalent. Maybe print out the ZooMed Dr. Turtle page from the website and take it with you. If you speak Japanese I am sure they will be able to help you.-Chuck>

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

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

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

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

Turtle With Bacterial Infection 7/9/05 Dear WWM, I have a male red eared slider that is about 2-3 years old and living in his own tank.  Recently I have noticed that some areas of his skin, particularly around the top of his legs where they fold under his shell, have developed a slightly pinkish tinge. He seems to swim and move quite freely. The skin is also quite puffy in that area. He tends to sleep/rest with eyes closed quite frequently (say 50-60% of the time) during the day compared to my other RES who is a continual bundle of energy.  He doesn't eat a lot but he does eat and he does poo regularly.  I have read in a turtle book about a pink splotchy condition over the entire body called Red Leg - they indicate that this is a bacterial infection.  I am unsure what my RES has got, if anything, if it is related to his sleeping patterns and what I should be doing to correct it.  Look forward to your reply. Regards, Farah Dwyer < Increase the heat to the basking spot. Change the water and clean the filter if you have one. Dip the turtle in ZooMed's Repti Sulfa Dip and get a Dr Turtle Sulfa Block for the water. You need to clean the tank more often. Get Repti Turtle Eye Drops to help clear the eyes.-Chuck>

Turtles With a Pain in the Neck 7/17/05 Gentlemen: < There are many ladies on the crew too.> Thank you for having a most informative website. I have two red eared sliders that are about 2 1/2 years old. They are growing rather well. However, about two weeks ago they both developed a rather horrendous puffy lesion on the nape of their necks where it meets the shell. The vet gave some antibiotic cream which has been no help. These lesions have now become somewhat bloody, larger and awful looking. They are swimming and eating, however. There are three other turtles in the group (not red eareds) that are doing fine and do not have this problem. The tank is always clean, good filters, etc. They bask every day in the sun. Any suggestions? Thanks for your assistance, we need some immediate help!! Sincerely, William <Aquatic turtles sometimes come down with a bacterial attack that is followed up with a white puffy skin fungus. I suspect that your turtles are probably a little too fat and the skin is rubbing on the shell and irritating the skin and causing the problem. Feel the shell where the problem is. If it is sharp then I would file it down with a fingernail file to just take the sharp edge off. If they are a little overweight then cut back on the calories not matter how hard they beg. If possible , use a cotton swap to wipe off the white cottony fungus down to the bare irritated skin. Paint the area with iodine or Merthiolate until it dries. Dip the turtles in Repti Turtle Sulfa Dip and then apply the Repti Wound Healing Aid. Place a Dr. turtle Sulfa Block in the water as a preventative. Make sure the water is clean by checking for ammonia. Is the main cause of infections among water turtles.-Chuck.>

Turtle with Shell Problem 7/16/05 Hi~ I have had my RES for over a year and he has a green spot on his back.  I have tried a Dr. Turtle, and I clean his tank about every other week.  I have put Vita shell on it a few times and I don't know what else to try. I didn't know if I needed to change his UV light or what to do. I use to have five gold fish in his tank but I just took them out to see if that would help. Thanks, Kristin < Shell rot is not completely understood as to the causes. If it is just a dark spot on the shell then it may be a scare or abnormal coloration. Shell rot is where the bone degenerates into a cheese like consistency. This can happen underneath the scutes. The area needs to be cleaned of the cheese like material down to the bone and then an antibiotic ointment needs to be applied to kill the remaining bacteria.  For a first defense I would put vitamins in this food. Then I would increase the heat on the basking spot to a higher wattage or put the light closer. Then I would give your turtle a Repti Turtle Sulfa Dip. If after all this the spot keeps getting bigger or deeper then a visit to a good reptile vet is in order.-Chuck>

Turtle with Fungus on his Shell and Neck 7/9/05 Hi, my name is Brooke, I have a red eared slider that I got on Easter last year and he seems to have some kind of fungus growing on his shell and neck. Is he sick, will he die, will my other red eared slider die too, is there anything I can do? Please e-mail me back and help me out! Thanks! Brooke < Fungus usually attacks dead or dying tissue. This could be the result of a bacterial infection. Clean the tank. Change all the water and clean the filter if you have one. Your basking light may not be hot enough. Get it closer to the basking spot or get a light of a higher wattage. Dip the turtle in ZooMed's Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip and get a ZooMed Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block for the water. You should see some improvement within a week.-Chuck>

Turtle Handling 7.20.05 Hi, I was wondering if you got a young red ear slider if you hold it a lot if he would get used to it and if it can hurt you if you hold it. Please respond. Thank you. <With most reptiles the more you handle them the more they will tolerate you, however they will never really warm up to you like a cat or a dog.  If you dangle your finger in front of their face they may try to take a bite to see if it is something yummy, this would hurt.  They also get a little squirmy when being held and have toenails that can scratch, but nothing too serious.  The most important thing is to wash your hands with hot soapy water after handling them so that you do not get salmonella.  Salmonella will hurt you the following is the definition from dictionary.com "Any of various rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Salmonella, many of which are pathogenic, causing food poisoning, typhoid, and paratyphoid fever in humans and other infectious diseases in domestic animals." - Yuck.  Hope this helps, Gage>

I have a yellow belly slider  which I think is a year old or so (he is about 2 1/2 inches by 2 inches). I feed him 4  pellets of food and dried shrimp fish treats. The bottom of his shell has pinkish areas that his previous owner said was from the owner before her not taking care of his water. They look to me like they are slowly going away. I wondered if this was possible? < Turtles may suffer from vitamin deficiencies or poor sanitation. These problems reflect on the turtle's shell. In many cases the shell can show signs of improvement when conditions are favorable for the turtle.> Also his shell is constantly peeling not badly but a little here and there. Is that normal? < The shell should shed in stages over a few weeks. If you turtle is growing fast then it could happen fairly quickly and seem like it is continuously molting.> Today I noticed his skin on his front legs and neck was peeling a lot but it didn't seem to bother him. So I cleaned his tank which was already clean but I did it anyway just in case. I put him in a dry area under a lamp because he was acting very strange. He is starting to act normal its been an hour or so and he is getting back to himself. Do you know what caused this ? < This shedding is probably caused by the turtle's rapid growth. This is to be somewhat expected in a young turtle.> I bought a shell conditioner that I put on him once a week is that good for him? < Probably can't hurt as long as you follow the directions on the package.> I just wanted to say that my turtle is the best friend. I never knew they could have such personality! I take him to work with me he  has a small one gallon tank on my desk. He has started to like going and swims happily all day. He lets me know if he wants less water and to bask in the light by scratching on the  tank wall. he is so sweet and loves to be petted. I want to make sure he's happy and healthy. please email me back as soon as you can . thanks again-Nikki < With proper care your turtle should live for many years.-Chuck>

Old Turtle Needs Help 7/16/05 Hello, we have a pond in our backyard about 12 feet by 7 feet and have several red ear sliders. The oldest turtle is sick! When she hisses it sounds like she's gurgling. Her shell is peeling on top. And she stays out of the water all day even when we go outside. We want to save her, what can we do? Teresa < I would recommend isolating this turtle so it doesn't make the others sick. I think your turtle has come down with pneumonia. It needs vitamins, heat and antibiotics. The turtle knows heat will help and that is why it stays out so long. Set up a basking spot so the temp gets up to 100 F. Give him vitamins orally though an eye dropper. Get him to a vet for some antibiotics. You should see some improvement in a week.-Chuck>

Turtle Getting a Wound From Bucket 7/16/05 Dear Chuck. I have soaked my turtle in the Sulfa Dip and cleaned the tank several times now.  He certainly is appearing more active than before. < That is a good sign.> However, when soaking him in the sulfa dip in a bucket not much bigger than he is (as per instructions on sulfa dip), he has now developed an abrasion from trying to get out of the bucket.  This abrasion bleeds when he gets onto his platform to bask.  Currently I have left it so that it can dry out and I am conscious of the fact that I may actually create problems while trying to fix them.  I have the Repti Wound Healing Aid, but am unsure that if I apply it whether I will have to keep him out of the water for any length of time.  As always, your advice is sought on this problem.  Regards, Farah Dwyer < Go to the dollar discount store and buy a plastic tub that is not so abrasive. Use this to soak the turtle. You can use a bigger tub. The only reason they recommend the smaller container is so you won't have to use so much dip. Apply the healing aid and allow it to dry before putting the turtle back in the water.-Chuck>

Turtle Bites 7/16/05 Hello, For the past couple of months my male 2 ½ year old has been nipping at his left arm (about midway up)  He eventually stopped and the sores started to heal but he has now started again to the point where it looked infected (an open wound) and I took him to the vet.  He gave him an antibiotic shot and now I have to give him 1 shot every 3 days.  I am really nervous about sticking my turtle with a needle and the vet had a hard enough time doing it himself.  Any tips?  He is in a 40 gallon tank with UVB, the Fluval 204, a ceramic heat lamp, and a spot lamp in the middle with some nice basking rocks.  His diet consists of ReptoMin sticks, Anacharis, and about a half dozen feeder fish once every 2 weeks.  (Sort of a treat for the 2 week period)  What would cause him to bite himself to the point of causing this wound?  Should I lower the water level because he only seems to bite himself while in the water?  Is there any chance this infection could have permanently damaged his potential for a long and healthy life?  It is not massive, but proportionally, if this injury was on a human, it would look like a 6" gash on our arm.  I do love the little guy...Please help. Jay   < The fact that he only bites his left arm makes me think that he has a bacterial infection on that arm and biting it is his only way of scratching the irritation. I would include vitamins, kingworms, crickets and earthworms to the diet. Increase the temperature of the basking spot to 100 F. Get a Dr Turtle Sulfa Block for the water and dip the turtle in Repti Turtle Sulfa Dip. Use the Repti Wound Healing Aid to quickly heal the wounds. I think this bacterial infection is brought on by waste products staying in the water too long. I would clean the tank more often especially if it smells. That is ammonia and it feeds disease causing bacteria.-Chuck>

Turtle Question 7/9/05 My turtle has white chalky feces.. what could this mean? < This is the result of diet. Sometimes the binder of some prepared turtle foods have clay as a binder. Add some live food to your turtles diet like kingworms, crickets and earthworms and you should see a change.-Chuck>

Russian Tortoise with Chalky Fecal Matter 7/9/05 Thank you for your response.  I should have told you that it's a Russian turtle.  Does the same rule apply? < Somewhat. They like more vegetable matter in their diet but they can still eat the worms.-Chuck>
Russian Tortoise Problems 7/11/05
Thank you.  Last question... I promise!  The Russian Turtle has white, chalky diarrhea.. same solution?  (Sorry.. I'm researching this for a friend who didn't give me all this information at the same time.  Again.. last question.) Thank you Chuck!!!! < A Russian tortoise with diarrhea is not good. Unlike turtles that are in the water the entire time you don't have to worry about them getting dehydrated. If is a different story with land turtles. Diarrhea can quickly kill a tortoise if it lose to much fluid. I would recommend that your friend take the Russian turtle to a vet for a complete check up. Your friend has no idea on how to care for this animal and this little info I have given you really isn't enough for long term success.-Chuck>

Pink Skinned Turtle 7/7/05 Hi, I'm really worried about my turtle.  She is a two year old red eared slider.  She has recently had a decrease in appetite and her skin on her front and back legs have turned a very slightly pink color.  She lives in a 50 gallon tank, complete with basking platform and sunbathing lamp, and two Fluval filters (one very large external, one small internal).  There is some algae growing on the side of the tank.  Could this be contributing to the problem?  We feed her once a day, turtle pellets and dried shrimp.  Please advise! Thank you. < This sounds like a bacterial infection. Change the water and clean the filters. Wipe down the algae. Clean the filters and change the water every week. Place a ZooMed Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block in the water. I would even use the Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip too.-Chuck>

Turtle with Spot Problem 7/17/05 Hi!  I hope someone can help with our problem.  Our turtle recently visited grandma's house.  He  had the same diet , lights etc. the only thing different was the water.  He is over one year old and has been very healthy with a beautiful shell.  When we got home from our vacation we noticed a couple of gold spots or patches that seem to glow or reflect light when he's in the water.  They are not really noticeable when he is basking on his rock. They also seem to be spreading.  The spots are not soft nor have any different texture or anything unusual other than the gold color and sheen.  We have spent hours looking on line for a diagnosis, but cannot find anything that describes this unusual problem.  We will take him to a vet, but I have a feeling that the vet may not know what it is either and will just tell us to treat it like shell rot or something.  Please help us with our beloved pet.   Thank you!  Mom and Daughter < Take your turtle out of the water and gently scrub his shell to see if the gold patches go away. It may be some goldfish scales stuck to the algae on the shell. After scrubbing the shell the spots may still remain. Look at them closely with a magnifying glass to see if there are any true holes in the shell. If there is then you turtle may have some shell rot. Get some Repti Turtle Sulfa Dip and a Dr Turtle Sulfa Block and follow the directions on the package.-Chuck>
Turtle with Spots II    7/18/05
> Chuck- Thanks for the quick reply.  We have scrubbed the spots.  Nothing  happens.  He is kept in an aquarium alone, not in a pond.  There are no  holes in his shell.  The spots appear brownish when he's out of the water. > Could this have something to do with the minerals in grandma's water?  Her  water is very "hard" with a lot of mineral content.  He did bang around a  lot and fall off his rock at grandma's house.  He was in a ten gallon tank > instead of his usual twenty gallon long tank.  Can a shell get bruised  from falling, tumbling and hitting the side of the tank?  Thanks!  M & D < Turtle shells are pretty tough.  I doubt these spots are from any physical trauma. Shell rot has been associated with hard water but it is not certain why. If the spots are symmetric al then I would think it is a color pattern and not a disease. If the spots get bigger then take a very close look at one of them and see if there is a bacterial infection growing under the scutes. This would require cutting a small hole into the shell to get to the brown material under the shell. I would not attempt this unless I was very sure that there was a problem.-Chuck>
Turtle With Spots being Treated 7/20/05
Hi again!  We talked to a vet on the phone yesterday.  She suggested that it probably is a mineral imbalance caused by water with a high mineral content. She said that turtles are pretty sensitive to environmental changes.  She also said left untreated he would probably be ok once we got him back in his water for a period of time.  Just incase he's got a fungus, she thought it would be a good idea to treat the spots with an iodine solution at least once or twice a day.  One cup of water with 2 teaspoons of iodine.  She said it could take a month or more to see any results.  The iodine won't hurt him in any way and is just a precaution incase it s fungus which could lead to shell rot.  The vet also said that any unusual spots on a shell could be treated this way.  If we treat him and it gets worse or we don't see any improvement in a month, we should take him in to the vet.  I hope this helps anyone who has a similar problem with a turtle.  Thank you for your help! We'll let you know if the treatment works!    M & D < Thanks for the follow up. Hope this will help others with the same problem-Chuck>

Sick Turtle 7.24.05 I just caught a baby Painted turtle and he was fine for a couple days but now half his eye is red and I don't know what is wrong I can't take him to the vet and I don't want to put him back. I have had many other Painted turtles and they were fine but this is my first baby turtle. He also just sits around all day with his eyes closed. I am concerned please get back to me soon. <If you cannot take him to the vet all you can do is make sure his environment is setup correctly.  I would not release him unless he was in the same condition as when you found him.  make sure he has clean warm water around 78F.  You can find more information on the care of aquatic turtles in the following article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm >

Sick Turtle Dear Bob, I have had two red eared sliders which are 2 inches in dia., for about 8 months. Every thing seemed to going OK. They were eating well, playing & responding. Then about 10 days back, I noticed that one of them had eye infection and was slightly dull. His eyes were swollen, red in colour and he seemed to be in pain while trying to open them. He had come down with an eye infection, probably because I had not been able to change the tank water as often as was desired.  <yes... agreed. The waste and bacteria proliferated no doubt> This turtle has not eaten for seven days and sits dull and listless. I had taken him to a vet who suggested that I use Gentamycin eye drops and put him in a solution of Gentamycin 5ml*200ml water. There was improvement by next morning. <excellent!> The eyes were less red, and he was able to open them slightly for a few seconds. But since last 2 days, his eyelids have got stuck and can not open his eyes at all. Since he can not see he keeps on bumping into things in the tank and on the ground also.  <if the tank is not heated to 74-80 f water temperature then this is also a problem with an unheated tank on the floor> I have stopped the medicine since then. Thee eyelids and the eyes are slightly swollen and red. PLEASE HELP ME SAVE MY TURTLE. I AM SACHEM OBEROI' AN ELEVEN YEARS OLD. <my friend, you must complete the medication treatment... it is critical for the health of the turtle to do so. It will simply take time to heal. Be patient and keep up with the water changes and good water quality. Also look for a good handbook on aquatic turtles to keep on hand. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

One eyed Red eared slider I just got 2 baby Red ear Sliders in in 10 gal tank 2 days ago. One has been resting on a rock with one eye open and has been quite stationary. The other just stays in the water and doesn't get out to bask. Could my RES already developed an eye infection? I can't tell...so far I've been feeding them with Gammarus pellets, and they have a tank with a heating lamp, florescent lighting, a water and dry land area, internal filter (Fluval 2 plus) , and a submersible heater. the temperature of the tank is usually around 79-82F. the water in the tank has also been treated w/  those chalky white blocks. Is there also something wrong with my set up? My RES don't look too good. Michelle. <Hello Michelle, it could be an eye infection, or it could be an injury, or it could be nothing.  Your setup sounds good, depending on their size, these fellas are going to need a much larger tank in the future.  I would continue offering food and keep a close watch on the one with the eye troubles, watch for swelling, fuzz, or anything out of the ordinary; if it does start to get nasty it may be a good time to seek out a good reptile vet.  Frequent water changes are also a must.  I have found with my turtles that when the water temp is warm they do not come out to bask as often.  Best Regards, Gage>
Red Ear Slider
Thanks a lot.  I'll try and get a heater for them by tomorrow, I think they should be fine for tonight.  I will do my best to help them out, right now I don't have a heater so what should I do to make sure they survive the night? <Hello, I would leave the heat lamp on them until you get a heater, they should have an area so they can leave the water and bask under the heat lamp. -Gage>

Red Eared Sliders Hi, I don't know if u can help but I hope you can. here is my problem I have two red ear sliders and they are in separate tanks they both have a strange sickness. they wont eat at all. one has swollen eyes and he either coughs or sneezes  under water then his  throat swells up and he lets out a big bubble or a bunch of water. the other turtle is the same but his eyes are not swollen. he has the same problem with his throat swelling up  etc... the other turtle also has a hard time with his breathing. I have turned up the heat to about 85or so because I read somewhere u should turn the heat up if they are sick but that's not helping any. can u tell me what I can do?.  also these turtles are about 3 to 5 yrs old. there water is clean all the time I change it twice a week. they have filters and a light and a basking area in the tank too. what would happen if I keep them out of the water for a while ?I know they wont eat outside of the water but they wont eat in the water either. do u think they have a liver problem? or a kidney prob.>?or should I buy some of that antibiotics from the pet store ?help me if u can please. thanks for your time. I will be looking forward to your response thank you and take care.     signed; sick sliders       <Hey boss, as much as I would love to help, in this situation I think I would try to find a good reptile vet.  Sneezes are usually a sign of respiratory problems.  If the water is clean and the diet is good and you still continue to have problems, a vet may be the best place to turn.  Best Regards, Gage>

Re: res turtle and Ick hi I have a RES turtle and I feed him goldfish feeders.  About 2 weeks ago I noticed that the fish had Ick. I called the vet and they told me to clean everything In the tank with a diluted bleach mix and not to give him anymore of those fish.  I do all of that and I bought new fish. I bought the fish from a different store in case that was the problem. The fish look fine when I put them in the tank. I noticed that the fish now have Ick. How do I get rid of Ick for good? <feeder fish live a stressful life, no way to really get rid of Ich without quarantining and treating for Ich before feeding them to the turtle.> Is Ick bad for my res turtle?  Could my turtle be infected with Ick and is giving it to the fish?  and if so how do I treat my turtle? <I have never heard of turtles getting Ich, but I'm sure it cannot be great for them.> and one more question.  can older bigger res turtles live with younger smaller res turtle in the same tank? will the bigger one try to eat to smaller? <should be ok, just make sure the smaller one is getting enough food.  If the larger one shows any aggression I would separate them.> thanks for the time cause it seems like none of the vets around here know that much. <Honestly, I would start feeding the turtles prepared turtle food, frozen food, veggies if they will take them, and worms (I get mine from a bait shop).  That way you will not have to worry about dirty fish.  Best Regards, Gage>

Red Eared Slider One of my RES's lumps on both sides of it's head.  It is not the eyes, more like the ears. What is it, and how do I cure it? <Ugh, not quite sure what that is, if possible send us a picture.  I might also start looking for a local reptile vet.> Thanks. Brent Westbrook

Aquatic Turtles I wanted to know if Accu-clear is safe to use with aquatic turtles such as red ear sliders. thanks <I'm not sure, I have never used the product, are there any warnings on the label such as "may cause aquatic turtles to explode"?  Is there a contact number or address on the label?  What are the listed ingredients.  Let us know, maybe we could get to the bottom of the water clarity problems as well.  -Gage>

Red Eared Sliders I have 3 small red ear sliders that are being grown out in an aquarium till their big enough for the pond.  I also have them housed with Koi about the same size.  I just noticed today that the Koi have Ick, they apparently have had it for some time, I didn't notice until I really looked, will this effect the turtles?   I quarantined the Koi but am wondering if the turtles will be ok?  thanks for any help. <I would drain and clean the tank that the turtles are in, they should be fine.  I would however keep the Koi separate from the turtles, turtles are super messy and keeping good water quality will be difficult.  Could be what caused the Koi to be susceptible to the Ick?  They link below has some good info on RES husbandry.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/res.html >

Red Ear Slider Shell Peeling I have a new RES, and I had noticed that it had a bit of fungus, I spoke to a reptile specialist at the pet store, and he said that it was due to her swimming all the time, and not being out of the water.  Also, after I started having her bask for about an hour a day, I noticed that a very thin layer of her shell is peeling off.  I have searched and searched to find an answer, but I was wondering if it was due to her growing, or if it was part of her shell rot, and if there is anything that I can do besides what I am already doing?  Thanks a lot Cassie Hintz <Hi Cassie, the shedding of shell scutes is normal, it usually comes off in individual pieces.  You want to make sure that your turtle is getting out of the water to bask to allow its shell to dry out.  I have found that tortoisetrus.com has some good information on RES care.  Best Regards, Gage>

Red Eared Sliders Head turned white Hello.. I recently acquired 2 Red Eared Sliders...and have had them for a couple of weeks...they have been eating very good and their tank is set up properly.....but I when I woke up today I noticed that one of the RES head has turned a white color....and the other's head looks like it is doing the same....is this what it looks like when they shed.......or is this a serious problem? Please let me know anything u can think about. thanks...Marty <This is a new one on me Marty, I have not heard of their heads turning white.  I would need more information on the housing and feeding and a picture to start guessing.  Check out the link below to see if your turts are showing any other symptoms.  A checkup with a good reptile vet could not hurt either.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/res.html  >

Water temp too warm on water change Hi, I need some answers quickly to this question? I have 2 red ear sliders that are about 1 year old. I was changing the water in their tank this evening.   I'm afraid that I may have killed them because the water may have been too warm or hot?   I can't tell because I forgot to test the water's temperature. when I had them in the water, they were both swimming around very frantically and I didn't think anything of it since that seemed normal whenever I moved them into the temp container while I washed the tank.   but, they both stopped moving suddenly and have not moved for at least an hour: Nothing seems to affect them right now. Their heads are shrunk in towards the shell but, still outside of the shell and visible.   The eyes are closed.   All four legs are pointing outwards but, no sign of movement at all Please advise?? Thank You!! <Hello, I am really sorry to hear this.  If the water was too hot it is possible that they were killed.  The best thing to do would be to restore the water to the temperature that they were used to and see if they come around.  If you pick them up you could try to see if you can hear them breathing, also a light poke behind the legs with your finger, or anywhere under the shell that they would normally defend should get some reaction out of them.  Best of luck, Gage>

Ich Meds and Turtles I have a red eared slider and a goldfish in the same tank.  I believe that the fish has Ick and I bought Ick away medicine for the tank.  I was wondering if it is safe to use with the turtle still in the tank?  Thanks <I am not sure what the ingredients are in the this product, but it would be best to treat the fish in a separate tank.  The manufacturer of the product might have a number listed on the bottle or possibly a web site with a way to contact them to inquire if their product is safe to use with turtles.  Best Regards, Gage> Jessica Maxcy

Crusty Turtle Hi,     My turtle is about a couple years old, and he recently developed a crust on the side of his head.  Other sources have told me that it is an inner ear infection.  Is this extremely serious?  Even so what can I do so this infection will go away, and what can I do to make sure it doesn't come back? <It does sound like it could be an infection, and the mucus is hardening into a crust.  I would definitely call a good reptile vet to be safe.  The best way to prevent problems in the future is through good husbandry, clean water is very important.  Best Regards, Gage>

Painted Turtle Shedding I have 2 young painted turtles in about a some where between 20-30 gallon tank. well our oldest about 1 year's feet are shedding as so my dad says. we do not know how to cure it we have looked every were so you are our last person to  turn to. And I have another question how do you tell the difference between a male and female painted turtle? <It is pretty normal for turtles to shed, I would not worry too much.  Focus on proper husbandry, clean water, correct temperature, and a good diet, I am sure your turtles will be fine.  The males will have much longer toe nails than the females, the underside of the males shell (plastron) will be more concave than the females as well.  Best Regards, Gage>

Swollen Eyed Turtle Dear Sir; I am trying to locate Turtle Eye Clear (Vitamin Prep.) for my daughter's turtle. Can you help me? I have tried to clear up the turtle's puffy eye with Nature Zone Turtle Eye Drops, but it is not working. We have used Turtle Eye Clear in the past and it works great! <Hi Michele, I was able to locate the product on PetSmart's a quick search on the Internet should give you more results.  If the problem keeps reoccurring you might want to investigate the cause of the problem.   Best Regards, Gage http://www.petsmart.com/products/product_11701.shtml  > Sincerely,  Michelle Hanson

Aquatic Turtles Hey!  Okay, I know that there have already been a lot of questions about feeding the turtles, but I'd like to ask again.  See my little brother got a painted turtle a little less than a year ago, and it would never eat so we always had to force feed it with pellets, which requires a lot of patience and work!  Then that turtle just died (didn't last too long like most the others do...are we doing something wrong... we have dry land, water which we change every day at least every other day, rocks, and heat??) and it was devastating for my little brother, so we bought a new turtle.  This one is the red-ear which we currently have.  We got it about 10 days ago and it's still pretty young. I'm not sure how old, but it's not a baby and not an adult!!  But anyway, it hardly moves around like our other turtle did.  It just sits on a rock all day and barely moves around even when we put it in the water.  Also, it won't eat like the other turtle.  It also won't open it's eyes which were swollen so we gave it vitamin A drops. can you give it too much vitamin A?  Anyway, I'm afraid that it's starting to die, and we just got it.  It would really be a very traumatic event to go through that again with my little brother, so if there is any way that you can help me, it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much, Becca! <Hey Becca, sounds like your turtle needs to go see a veterinarian, I would not risk home treatments at this point, it sounds like your turtle is going downhill.  The Painted Turtle and the Red Eared Sliders are both aquatic turtles, you want their environment to be primarily water with a small area for basking, these turtles eat while they are in the water, they will come up to the land to grab food, but will pull it back into the water.  Care for these guys is not too difficult, filtered and heated water, around 78 degrees F, a small area of land to allow them to get out of the water if the want to.  Above the land area you will want to mount a light for basking.  We have an article on the care of Red Eared Sliders at the link below.  Best of Luck, and take your turtle to a vet, this sounds serious, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm  >

Sick Turtle Hey Gage!  It's me, Becca, again! <Hey Becca!> Thank-you very much for responding back to me.  I really appreciate it, but I live in a small town and there is not a vet clinic for turtles. <Time for you to open one?  Just kiddin.> They only do cats and dogs, but we did bring it down to the pet place we bought it from, and they are going to keep her for a week or so and try to help us. <That is good of them.> My question though is that I was reading in a book that if turtles have swollen eyes, are blowing bubbles out of their nose, and are breathing through their mouth, they may have a respiratory ailment.  Is this true, and if so, do you have any idea how we can fix this problem, or is it something that only  a vet can do? <Those are the symptoms of a respiratory ailment alright.  There is a good chance that he is going to need some antibiotics, and for that I think you would need a vet, but I am not positive, I have not had to treat many respiratory infections in my turtles.  Ensuring that your husbandry is top notch and his environment is ideal, there is a chance that he could come around on his own.  Read through the articles below for more information on how to best care for your turtle, the last two links are to reptile discussion forums, I strongly recommend posting your problem on one of these sites for information on how to treat this ailment.  You might also use Google.com to search for more reptile discussion boards.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/aquatic.html http://www.petreptiles.com/board/ http://forums.kingsnake.com/forum.php  > If you could help me out once again, it'd be great!  Thanks so much.  I really appreciate your help,   Becca <Please let me know how it goes and if I be of any further assistance.  Best of luck, Gage.>

Turtle Problem My friends neighbor had 2 turtles. About the size slightly smaller than a quarter. He kept them in a cage much too small with filthy water no food for a week, no light, and kept them outside. Due to there poor nutrition and surroundings one died, I have the other now and I think he is OK, but his shell is growing in an odd shape and it is hard to get him to feed, I was worried and put him in his own tank just in case he had something that could spread to my healthy turtles. Is this OK, is he going to be OK, what about his shell??? Rachel <<Dear Rachel, the shell problem sounds like a vitamin deficiency, probably due to the previous bad diet your turtle has had. Try to feed him vitamin enriched foods, e.g. soak his pellets in Selcon, (available from your LFS) or try to find a store near you that specializes in reptiles, and pick up some vitamins for reptiles from them, maybe also you can find him some live food, most reptile places sell all kinds of worms, larvae, etc. But make sure he keeps getting the pellets soaked in vitamins, and keep his water as clean as possible. I am no expert on turtle diseases, so if you find a good reptile store, they can look at him for you and give you some advice. In the meantime, keep him in his own tank! He sounds healthy, though, but get a second opinion from someone who can actually see him...by the way, you are doing a wonderful thing for this poor little guy. Good luck! -Gwen>> 

Turtle With Parasitic Worms <Hi, Mike D here again> Now I am seeing white worms coming out of the turtle's feces!<Not uncommon in wild caught turtles, but surprising in captive bred animals>  They are about one inch or small in length and are as thin as a piece of paper.  I got rid of the other two turtles and gave them away to friends.  Now what do I do?  I put some Maracyn Plus medication in the tank, hoping this would help.<This won't help at all, as that medication is for gram positive bacterial infections only>  I started that yesterday (Thursday, July 22, 2004).  My turtle is now not eating <A very bad sign, as the ONLY way to rid it of parasitic worms is through feeding medicated foods containing a vermicide>, but is active.  This is the same one that cracked its shell <I hope his name isn't "Lucky">. I've siphoned the tank yesterday to get rid of the worms that were there and this morning I found more!  HELP!!!<You'll need to  check with your LFS to see what brand of vermicidal food they carry, or even better, a local Veterinarian, just as you would for a puppy or kitten with worms. What you are describing sounds like tapeworms or flukes, with the more common roundworms not flat>

Turtle Shedding Too Much <Hi, MikeD here> I have a Two and a half year old female red ear slider that is shedding a lot lately.  I have made sure the temps of the water and basking area are adequate, being 78 degrees and 88-90 degrees respectively. <88-90 degrees F for basking...I assume this is under a full spectrum daylight bulb? I ask as they need some UV to keep fungal infections down>   I feed her every other day with turtle pellets, some carrots or apples. Occasionally I'll give her mill worms and have some gold fish in her tank.  Am I feeding her too much?  Not enough variety? <It doesn't sound like too much, but I think I'd suggest leaning toward more meat/protein in the diet as these are primarily carnivorous>  
Her skin comes off in larger pieces than before, although they are still thin.  Could it be too much chlorine and if so how do I solve that problem?
<Any chlorine is too much chlorine, easily remedied by adding any one of several different dechlorination products to the water, available in the fish section of almost any pet shop. Is the water changed, filtered or otherwise cleaned? Use care as turtles were banned for sale as pets long ago due to the propensity to spread salmonella infections through their waste in the water.>  
Thanks for your help. David

Snapping Turtle Shell Growths (continued) Bob, Mike ????<It's Mike D here again>   I know that algae will grow on the shell but when I saw a white film on my snapper's head, I became concerned.<Aha! I would too, but not knowing it was white, I was at a disadvantage! **grin**>  He has always eaten very well but seemed to not be interested anymore.  Over the aquarium I have a Slimline Reptile Fixture with super 15 watt UV lamp (it produces 3%+ UVB and 7%+ UVA) and a Daylight Blue Reptile 60 watt bulb.<I thought you probably would have, as you didn't sound like a novice, but had to ask>  I have put some Neosporin on his shell and rubbed it on his neck and legs.<Now there's some creative thinking, although it shouldn't have much effect if it's indeed a fungal growth, with Neosporin being for bacterial infections>  Now that the weekend is here I will put him out in the sun for a few hours while I am at home.<Good idea, but use care as once his body temperature hits 92 degrees it could be all over. I'm assuming that you know NEVER to sit a terrarium/aquarium in the sun as the sun's rays are magnified by the glass creating a rudimentary Dutch Oven>  He seems to be perking up a bit but still has some algae (fungus) hanging from his neck.<You might want to consider making up a fairly strong salt bath and soaking him in it for a few minutes at a time for several days. Many true funguses are extremely sensitive to salt and might die very easily.  I'd suggest no longer than 20 minutes or so for the soaks as snappers have no regulatory mechanism for secreting excess salts>  Thanks for your help.<Best of luck and keep us posted>  --  SUE

Turtles as a Human Health Hazard (12/12/04) I was trying to get my Fluval pump working for my red eared slider tank, and I stupidly used my mouth to try to siphon the water to get the air out of the pump tubes and some dirty turtle water went in to my mouth. I did spit it out immediately, but am very paranoid and nervous.  Should I be overly concerned?  Should I take any antibiotics?  Please provide your opinions or any links to problems like this. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
<I would not lose any sleep right now. Salmonella is the greatest risk, and most cases of this are seldom treated with antibiotics in otherwise healthy adults. Prophylactic antibiotics are not a good idea in this situation. If you get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, etc), go see your doctor and tell him/her what happened. Learn from this and do not use your mouth to start siphon in the future. Steve Allen.>

Shedding turtle?  11/22/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have two sliders, about 18 months old, and recently noticed little pieces of shell in the bottom of their tank.  They don't have any holes in them or soft spots on the shells or anything that looks odd.  They are eating ok and are still happy enough for me to handle - the only thing that has changed recently is the type of food I have been giving them.  Could the shell coming off be a result of the food not being the right sort? Would be grateful if you could help. <Your turtles shed pieces of it's shell until it has a newer, larger one.  That's how they grow.  Make sure they have a calcium supplement for a nice, hard, new shell. ~PP> Cheers

Female Bit Off Male's Claws?  Turtle Stuff I apologize I am just now getting back to you. The email you wrote inexplicably went into my junk mail box so unfortunately I just saw your response. Thanks so much for answering ALL of my questions. It is so kind of you to take time out of your day to help others.  I definitely try to take care of the turtles as best I can. (You should see how I care for my dogs!) The main reason I suspected it was her who caused the wounds was due to the simple fact he was really hot on her tail at that time and sometimes she gets really pissed and snaps at him. I did think it might have been too suspect t hat it happened on both claws though. I picked up some RidRot drops and Sulfa baths to treat him with he seems to be healing well (but of course I still would love to know what happened to him). I have been watching them closer to be sure it doesn't get worse. I am positive it was not caught on anything since their recent tank set up is stripped down and there is actual wounds where several of the claws are missing so a trim is probably out of the question too. But again I learn everyday so I wouldn't surprised if it was something I never considered. I have raised their temps. I don't plan to hibernate them. I have never done so in the past. If it is something you recommend please let me know. I will check out the site you mentioned. Wiggle Puppy is just my company's name. Named after my first dog, Bootsy, who would do what we called the wiggle puppy when he was happy to see us (paws down and butt in the air while shaking his tail). We do film and video work (some features but lately mostly band/concert films). Our last bigger release was a rockumentary for the band Phish entitled IT.  Thanks again for the advice. Let me know if you ever need any multimedia work! < Make sure that you try and keep the water clean so the wounds don't get infected.  Once again a warm dry area to bask is essential for their health.-Chuck>

FLOATING TURTLE I've had my turtle since November of 2004. I just cleaned the turtle's aquarium today and noticed that when I put him in the water he would float. Even if I tried to push him down to the bottom (not long at all) he just shot back up to the top. What should I do? What's wrong with him? Emily < Hopefully nothing. Check his diet and make sure that he is not getting too much protein and his shell is not growing too fast and out of proportion to the rest of his body. Make sure he has a good basking spot to help digest his food and hopefully pass any gas or air in the system. If you don't see any change in a week or so then I would consult a vet that hopefully specializes in reptiles.-Chuck>

Turtle Trouble in Japan Dear Wet Web Media Crew, I'm living on a military base in Japan. Our vet doesn't service turtles and I'm at a loss. I've had my turtle since it was a hatchling (the size of a quarter). It's about 2 inches and is currently in a 10 gallon tank. I change its water once a week. Feed it pellets 2 times a day and offer it tuna, carrots, apples, etc. (though it currently ignores all veg./fruit - which I've read is normal for young turtles). I have a basking area in the tank, lighting, 3-stage filtration. I use a water conditioner and dechlorinator. I've read that turtles shed, but I'm not sure if my turtle is shedding or has fungus.... whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be going away on its own. One web site recommended adding 1/4 c. salt for each gallon of water, but I read in one of your sites Q&A's that sliders can't process salt. If I suspect fungus, what can I do? Are fungi treatments for fresh water fish ok for my turtle? Also, one site recommends live feeder fish, while I noticed a link on your site warned against it, just wondering what's best and why. Please help. Stacia <Aquatic turtles often suffer from whitish patches of fungus on the skin. Zoomed makes a medicated sulfa block called Dr. Turtle that will treat 15 gallons of water for both fungal and bacterial problems. The salt is an old remedy that affects the disease but not the turtle so they really don't have to absorb or process it. I would stick with prepared foods and stay away from the feeders for now and go with a more invertebrate diet for smaller turtles. Larger one may take more vegetables. Feeders are messy and have bone that may injure a young turtle.-Chuck> 

The Tale of the Turtle's Tail Troubles I have a red ear slider who is about 1 1/2 year old. I am not sure if it is a male or female because it has long front claws but the tail is a bit long and fat, confusing. A while back ago I noticed displaying odd behavior. It looked a bit distressed kicking around in the water and then it had this black thing coming out of its tail. I thought it had swallowed one of the black pebbles in the aquarium and was trying to pass it. Then after it pushed it out a bit more ((ahem)) I came to the conclusion that maybe it was a male turtle and it was its lil thing coming out. Now, today I saw it displaying the same behavior and as I approached it I saw that it had a huge black blob under it! I thought it was a piece of plastic from the filter but then, I saw he was kicking around like trying to get around it. As I looked even closer I saw that it was no long this time it was kind of squarish or roundish - the size of a large walnut and I guess I startled it because all of a sudden all the stuff got sucked in back thru the tail hole and he was just listless (not usual behavior when someone is around--he usually swims around like crazy). Was it his entrails?? It sure looked like it but how!? That's impossible. He seems fine now though.  HELP!!! Thanks, Marlene < This is not normal. Turtles are little pigs around feeding time and sometimes they eat the wrong things or too much. I would recommend smaller feedings a few times a day instead of one big feeding, and give him some reptile vitamins. It could be a vitamin A deficiency. Make sure the basking spot is nice and warm. If after a couple days you still see the blob then I would take him to a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.-Chuck> 

Bleeding Turtle My turtle was bleeding around the bottom/outside of his shell today when I took him out of the aquarium. I don't take him out very often, so I don't know how long this has been going on. It wasn't bleeding very much, just enough to make me wonder what could be wrong. He only lives with one other turtle, a red eared slider.  I've tried for a long time to figure out what type of turtle he is, but I haven't been able to. All I know is that he is a river turtle, but not a snapping turtle. I've had him for several years, since he was very small, and he is now about 2 inches long. I just got the aquarium about a month and a half ago, and he was in a much smaller environment before.  I was wondering if the bleeding had anything to do with him growing, or if the other turtle (who is very non-aggressive) had anything to do with it, or if it was some type of infection. Thank you very much! < Two inches for a turtle that is several years old sounds very small. Take him to pet shop and find out what kind of turtle you have. They should be able to direct you on how to care for him. Finding out what kind of turtle you have is critical to proper diet and maintenance. You may have been keeping him in a wrong environment. Can't help without knowing what kind of turtle it is.-Chuck> 

Snapping Turtle I'm really hoping you can answer a question for me. My aunt gave me a snapping turtle because they had no room for it. it is 1 yr old and I am worried about salmonella. Is there a way I can see if it has it or anything else. I have a 9 yr old brother and I would like to know where to get it treated to figure out if it has it and if it does what options are available. I really don't want to get rid of it I would like to know where to take it to figure out whether or not its clean. I researched salmonella and its not pretty and I'm a little worried because I don't want to get it. I wash my hands every time I hold it and I would REALLY appreciate it if you guys could help me out. Thanks a bunch >> Only a laboratory can test to see if your turtle has Salmonella. The best way would be to see if maybe someone at your local university can help. Good Luck, Oliver

Turtle with Leg Problems Good day, I got your email address from a web site about turtles. We have 3 young turtles (a red painted 2 inches, a yellow Cooter 3 inches and a Mississippi Map turtle an inch and a half).  The first 2 are perfectly healthy but the Map turtle is small for its age and it stopped using his front legs. Do you have any idea as to what is wrong?  Or can you direct me to someone that might be able to give us a clue as to what is wrong with him.  We cannot find a reptile vet in our area. I certainly thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully give us some insight as to what is wrong with him. Thanks, Bruce < A deficiency of vitamins B12 may manifest itself by paralysis of the legs. The cure is to present this vitamin orally, plus supplementary calcium and trace amounts of copper sulphate. Check out the pet shops that deal in herps and I am sure they sell a vitamin supplement for herps.-Chuck>

Turtles with Tumors? Hi Crew I have two Graptemys pseudogeographicas  ( one 3 years and the other two) that have developed a lump (tumor?) on their left temples almost simultaneously. On the youngest, the lump has already partially broken the skin.  The turtles don't seem to be in any pain or discomfort and eat well and behave normally.  Could this be virus related?  I feed them their turtle chow as well as fresh meat ( fish, poultry, beef, etc..)  I've had turtles as pets all my life and have never seen or heard of this condition. Even the guy a the pet store was stumped.  I have a newborn baby at home. Does the turtles condition pose any sort of danger to his health? Thanks a lot! Al in Madrid , Spain <Subcutaneous lumps or tumors are sometimes caused by the presence of pockets of maggots of the Bot fly. These lumps should be opened with a scalpel and the contents removed with forceps. Captive turtles may suffer from hard swollen lumps under the skin of the limbs and neck. If they are near the surface then they should be squeezed too if possible. Larger ones may need a incision If you are unable to do this then a vet would be your best bet.-Chuck>

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