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FAQs About Turtle Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

Related FAQs:  Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Disease, Turtle Reproduction, & by Species: Cooters/Mud Turtles, Softshells, Snapping Turtles, Mata Matas, Tortoises, & AmphibiansOther Reptiles


How long can res turtle live without food      11/25/15

<Days to a few weeks depending on how fit and nourished it starts; how warm the environment is....
Bob Fenner>

My Turtle; Emydid presumably... fdg., sys.      8/13/15
My turtle is not eating BUT I know the reason why is because we got him a new tank and it has lots of bubbles in it
<Why? From the filter? Do remember there's precisely zero reason to add an airstone ("bubbler") to a turtle tank because these animals breathe air, not water. Adding bubbles won't do anything useful at all. A strong electric filter though, rated for a tank at least twice the size of the one you have, is a good investment though. Small turtles are cute, but when they get bigger they become very dirty animals, and without a filter the vivarium will become mucky and smelly. Very smelly! So swap out the bubbler for a proper filter.>
so when he sees the food floating he thinks that it is just bubbles or something else. I was able to get him to recognize some pieces of food but that was about it. They are the Tetra ReptoMin floating food sticks.
<I know them well. Were the only thing around when I kept turtles!>
Is there any way for me to get him to understand that the shadows are food?
<Yes; add variety to his meals. Specifically, greens. Grab some cheap aquarium plants, such as Pondweed, and leave them in the tank. As Red Ear Sliders get older, their diet becomes more herbivorous, and sticking with turtle pellets alone can cause problems (such as constipation). Koi Pellets are actually even better than ReptoMin, and A LOT cheaper, so when your current pot of ReptoMin is finished, don't bother replacing it. Also, bear in mind you don't need light for the tank. You need UV-B for the turtle to grow his bones properly, and you need a heat lamp for him to warm himself up on his rock. But you don't actually need light for seeing. In the UK at least combination heat/UV-B lamps are widely sold, and if you have just ONE light fitting in the vivarium, this is the lamp to buy.>
I have tried showing him that I was putting it in the tank but it only got him to eat a few pieces. Should I consider getting him food that sinks or start feeding him by hand? -Thank you SO much! :) Anna
<Do read this article:
Lots of preventative healthcare tips there. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My Turtle        8/15/15

Thank you! I have been feeding him different types of veggies (and sometimes fruits) and he eats them a lot better then he eats the floating sticks.
He also loves munching on a cuttlefish bone that floats around in his tank.
We are going to see about getting him to eat more protein, any suggestions as to what we should try to feed him for more protein in his diet?
<No real pressing need. The vegetables and the occasional fruits are enough, alongside the reptile pellets (and eventually Koi pellets). If you want to offer occasional (mouth-sized) offerings of any fish or seafood you guys are eating, then sure, once or twice a week that'll do no harm. But they don't need a lot of meat, any more than you'd worry about protein when feeding a sheep.>
We are not quite sure what kind of turtle he is. We think that he is a yellow bellied slider or red eared slider subspecies.
<Various slider-like turtles out there, and some can be difficult to identify. I had one that look like a Red-Ear, except everything that should have been red was yellow.>
-Thanks again! Anna
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: My Turtle       8/16/15

One last thing (I am sorry for all of the questions) where can I find a good basking rock for him?
<I get rocks from the garden centre. Be sure to choose something without lime (which affects water chemistry) or any metallic seams (which can be toxic). Granite is a good default. Slate is usually good too.>
He is 8 years old and we have a 49 gallon bow front tank. I have found some on Amazon but none of them seem to work. If there aren't any online, how should I or what materials should I use to make one?
<You can buy 3 or 4 smaller rocks and one big flat rock. Arrange the small rocks like the feet of a table, and put the flat rock on top. You need something stable otherwise the rocks will fall and crack the glass (very bad!). You can also buy plastic shelves with suckers that attach to the glass, but these might not be cost effective for big turtles.>
This will hopefully be my last question! XD
<Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle won't eat I think she is sick please help           4/17/15
Sorry to bug but I have a very important question.... My turtle won't eat anything and I worry she is sick! I just noticed that she got a pink with white looking spot on her neck, she won't eat pellets, nor shrimp. Idk if it is because we have a month that we changed the turtle pellets brand.
Also because we got another turtle about three months ago but she was fine.
Till we moved houses. Sorry I'm giving a life story I just don't know what is wrong with her. Also we put guppies in the tank and she ate them but that has been months ago as well and she was fine till we moved.
<Short answer Helen is you're doing everything wrong. At least, everything you've told me about. Feeder Guppies are a way to introduce diseases.
Shrimps contain Thiaminase. Pellets aren't particular good either. You tell me nothing useful. For example, three simple questions:
(1) What sort of basking lamp do you use to warm your turtle up?
(2) What sort of UV-B lamp to do you use to keep him healthy?
(3) How big is the tank you're keeping him in?
If you don't do these three things right, and don't provide a more varied diet including green foods, yes, a turtle will get sick. "Not eating" is the classic first symptom. I don't know how much research you've done about keeping turtles, but here's some to get you started:
Review, and act accordingly. You might be incredibly lucky and he'll recover with UV-B, heat, and proper food. But my educated (and probably correct) guess is that you'll need to have a vet look him over and give, at minimum, a vitamin injection. Lack of proper care is the reason reptiles get stick 99 times of 100. It's very rare they get sick for any other
reason. Honestly. So figure out what you're doing wrong and fix it. Cheers, Neale.>

Koi Pellets & RES         6/30/14    /Neale
We (my son got - I do everything else - funny how that is) have two RES, Rip Curl and Quicksilver, that we got as hatchlings last year at this time making them 1 now. They are doing very well.
Found your website while looking for ideas on aquariums. Great site and lots of great information. We have been using the 'typical' floating turtle sticks by Tetra. We also give them a few Flukers Freeze Dried Mealworms and, on occasion, Flukers Freeze Dried Crickets. I want to switch to the Koi Pellets to help keep the water cleaner - little bits of uneaten mealworms and/or crickets are not fun to clean out of the tank or filter when they are waterlogged - or at all really. We live out in the country and there isn't anything but a Wal-Mart nearby - I know I can order on Amazon, but not always the best
price for things.
Our Wal-Mart didn't have anything that said 'Koi' on it. They have Wardley Pond Pellets. The package reads 'Food for All Pond Fish'. Can this be fed to RES? If not what is the difference between Koi Pellets and Pond Pellets? What does is have that RES shouldn't or what does it not have that RES need?
<Check the ingredients. These pond pellets are made primarily of plant material (which is the key thing) and contain a good spectrum of vitamins and minerals. So yes, these are fine. Reserve your crickets and Tetra Sticks as occasional treats. Cheers, Neale.>
Koi Pellets & RES    /Darrel

We (my son got - I do everything else - funny how that is) have two RES, Rip Curl and Quicksilver, that we got as hatchlings last year at this time making them 1 now. They are doing very well.
Found your website while looking for ideas on aquariums. Great site and lots of great information.
<Thanks - we try. Nice to be noticed>
We have been using the 'typical' floating turtle sticks by Tetra. We also give them a few Flukers Freeze Dried Mealworms and, on occasion, Flukers Freeze Dried Crickets. I want to switch to the Koi Pellets to help keep the water cleaner - little bits of uneaten mealworms and/or crickets are not fun to clean out of the tank or filter when they are waterlogged - or at all really.
<Not to mention the fact that mealworms and crickets are not part of their natural diet anyway. More specifically, crickets are the junk food of the insect family. Same as Iceberg Lettuce is to the veggies - virtually no nutrition>
We live out in the country and there isn't anything but a Wal-Mart nearby - I know I can order on Amazon, but not always the best price for things.
<Do you have access to earthworms?>
Our Wal-Mart didn't have anything that said 'Koi' on it. They have Wardley Pond Pellets. The package reads 'Food for All Pond Fish'. Can this be fed to RES? If not what is the difference between Koi Pellets and Pond Pellets?
<The Wardley line has not been my favorite but this particular product is great. You'll do well with it>
What does is have that RES shouldn't or what does it not have that RES need?
<Feed them all the food they can eat in 5 minutes, 4 times a week in summer, 2 times a week in winter (assuming they're indoors and their water is at room temperature>
<For treats, feed them an earthworm or two once a month -or even better- a few pieces of beef or chicken liver. HOWEVER…. While the worms CAN be fed in their tank - the liver is ALWAYS fed separately. A shallow bowl or tub with enough water to barely cover their shells. Set them in it and give them a few minutes to get over the sudden change and then drop in the worms or liver. That way there's NO fouling of their living water. Also … it will take them about two feedings to know that the plastic tub means treat time!>
Re: Koi Pellets & RES       7/2/14

Thank you for all of the wonderful information. Yes, they are indoors and the water is room temperature. We have a garden and plenty of worms. We will start giving them once a month as suggested. Love the bonus directions on how to feed the worms and liver.
<act now and get a free Spiral Slicer!>

I buy whole chickens all the time for slow cooking. Can I just give them the liver packed inside it? Sometimes I get organic chickens, but not always, does this matter?
<well, take it out of the package first .. but yeah. Small pieces of raw liver is fine. Any kind>
I'll offer the remaining mealworms and crickets to our Guinea Fowl.
One last question (for now), do RES need anything added to the water? I've been told to use Reptisafe Water Conditioner and Nutrafin Turtle Clean Biological Turtle Habitat Cleaner. I'm also told I should get Turtle Shell Conditioner.
<For my money … no. Red Eared Sliders are remarkably tolerant of water quality and unlike fish, don't need the chlorine or minerals taken out unless it is a desire of yours. Use the money to make really sure their UV-B is the correct wattage and the basking lamp generating the right temperature.>
Thanks again.

Ornate Wood Turtle won't take calcium!   3/10/13
Hey there!
<Hi thare!, Ho Thare!>
I asked a question here about a year ago for a little Yellow Belly Slider with a pale spot on her shell.  Turns out she was just shedding after all; she's in perfect health, living safe with my mother; Mom fell in love and wanted to keep her.
<Could I introduce your mom to my youngest son?  Maybe I'd have the same luck!>
I recently moved to Texas (Corpus Christi),
<Oh dear … sorry to hear that.   Was it part of a Court Order or something?>
And I was in Petco with my partner.  We saw this Ornate Wood Turtle (5" across the shell, female) flopped over in the corner of her tank.  Her tank was very, very moist, with no place for her to dry herself, and I've actually attached a picture of what she looked like when we brought her home.  We took her to the vet, and we have to take her in for antibiotic shots twice a week, as well as keep her dry-docked, with daily soakings for 30 minutes per soaking.  Bar for some exposed bone, she's been looking better, as you can see in the other picture, but she's now refusing to take her calcium.  Her favorite food is blueberries, but if we put calcium powder on them, she'll look at them and sulk away.
<I hate when they do that>
We've tried mealworms, night crawlers, squash, kale, and just plain old wood turtle food, all to no effect.  I tried dissolving some calcium in water and giving it to her via dropper, and while she opened her mouth and drank a few drops, as soon as she realized what it was, she tucked her head in and refused to come near the dropper.
We got a cuttlebone, and she avoided it like it was going to bite her.
<Also, yep>
Do you think I should just dissolve it in her soaking water?
<Nope.  In order to dissolve enough calcium into the water for her to absorb it - the water would be more like what we call dry-wall.>
As well, do you think Vita Shell would be safe to use on her, to avoid her shell cracking while she's dry-docked?
<First ... turn the worrying down a few notches.  You're doing fine,  Petunia is doing fine and so there's no real need to having anything but an arched eyebrow here.   That whole family of turtles is notorious for fixating on certain foods, refusing all other foods until their owners go crazy with worry.  I once had one that fixated on strawberries for THREE YEARS, she wouldn't eat anything else.  It got so bad I changed her name to Queeg (look it up) and she only got fed once ever 6 weeks … until finally, one day, I put her outside while I did some yard work and when I looked up she was eating a dandelion.>
<In your case, you've given the emergency treatments or antibiotics and supplements and Petunia has responded.  So as long as she's eating and active, she'll get a natural amount of calcium and other vitamins from her diet, sunshine, etc.  It takes a little longer, but as long as the signs are positive, you're OK>
<Remember, vitamins and supplements are necessary for two reasons (1) To make up for a bad diet, which won't be the case here since you seem to be a great turtle mom and (2) to correct a past problem - which we're almost passed now.>
<Make SURE that you vary her diet.  If blueberries are her fave - go VERY sparingly on them (like once every 6 weeks) because she can fixate on them and drive you crazy like Queeg did to me.  Also, it becomes your ace in the hole … when she DOES want the berries badly enough, then you can sneak in other supplements with them.>
<Now to the case in point.  Ask your vet for a few CC's of calcium Gluconate.  It's calcium in a glucose solution.  Put a few drops on a piece of white bread crust and see if she'll jump on it.  Another delivery system for calcium is snails: Find a local garden that has snails and does NOT use snail bait and take a few and place them in Petunia's habitat.  Usually, in a few days, the snails and their calcium rich shells are gone.>
Thanks for your help.
<No charge!!>

Question about a food source   9/27/12
Dear Crew
<Hiya Darrel here>
Why does the Zoo Med natural aquatic turtle food contain ash in it?
<Ash is what's left after you burn organic matter and what is left is high in minerals, like calcium, zinc, etc. It's a convenient way to get measured amounts into a food. In other words, foods that are high in calcium will have unknown amounts of calcium. How much calcium is in a stalk of collard greens? But if you BURN that collard and test the ash, the calcium can now be measured and the exact amount (and the correct amount) can be put in the food>
As so is it safe to keep feeding it to my RES?
<Yep - along with Koi Pellets and the occasional earthworm!>

2 Year old painted turtles stopped eating    8/12/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
First off, I wanted to thank you for all the hard work and taking the timeout of your day to answer everyone's questions. I enjoyed and learnt a lot reading different articles on your site over the last few hours and only with I had found this site when I originally got my turtles.
<Well first off from us THANK YOU!! We enjoy helping people>
I have a male and a female painted turtle (they came from a side of the road stand with dozens of them in one tank!
<Yes, the seamy side of the pet trade>
Originally at only 1.5 inches in diameter, they lived in a 10 gallon tank with heat lamps and a filter (no UV light since I take them outside every once in a while.) As they got slightly bigger (about 3-4 inches), the male became aggressive and one day when I got home from work, I noticed some blood in the tank, after examining the turtles, I realized the male one had bitten off two toes (for lack of a better word!) from each of the female one's feet. At this point, I made a divider so they were separated but could still see each other. I then moved them to a 20 gallon long tank and kept the divider, until the female one started climbing over it (it was made up of a piece of a dog crate divider as skeleton and covered with chicken wire with a lip at the top on the male one's side) and kept going to the other side. I decided to remove the divider and watch them closely, and they seemed to get along just fine. The female began growing rapidly, quickly managing to become about twice his size over a matter of months.
<That sort of aggression happens. It's not typical, but not exactly uncommon either. The primary treatment is to have a big enough enclosure that they can get completely away and out of visual range of the aggressor. When that doesn't help, then you have to separate them as you have done. Later, when sizes change, so do the parameters of aggression.>
Currently, the female one is at 8" in length and 7" across, and the male is at 6" in length, 4.5" wide and stands at about half the height of the female (from what I've read online, the female seems to be rather large for her age.)
<Yes - those are very larger turtles>
I understand their tank is too small for them, and being a student, and working full time, I have been working on a stand for a new 40 gallon breeder I bought every chance I get to be able to set it up and give them more room.
<Kash - remember this: Turtles are VERY forgiving animals. Even though a water-filled tank is their typical and preferred enclosure, a large plastic tub with only a smaller plastic tray of shallow water can be a suitable home for MONTHS if that's all you have to work with. We are obligated to keep our pets in optimal conditions, but don't stress over it, either. That's the beauty of turtles>
After reading your article for caring for a red ear slider, which as I understand is similar to caring for the painted ones
<Virtually identical from an environment & care standpoint>
I now understand my wife has been over feeding the couple by feeding them once, sometimes twice a day for as much as they will eat over a 15 to 20 minute period.
<Oh YEAH!! They're PIGS! They'll eat all day and most of the night if we let them, and yet they do very little to burn off the calories>
The male has always had very good self control and always left some of the food behind and seems to be a healthy size. The female on the other hand seems to be bulging a bit and will be going on a diet immediately with you recommendation of 3 meals per week and only a treat of once a month (which they were getting daily as an addition to their Repto-min diet.)
<They'll grow more slowly, but they'll be healthier>
My issue with them is a couple of days ago, they suddenly stopped eating as much as they used to. As mentioned early, the male didn't eat quite as much as the female to begin with, but suddenly, they both just started eating one or two bites at the most and leaving the rest of the food.
<Here I want to commend you for noticing the change in behavior. That's our primary defense against all forms of illnesses - watch, observe and catch it EARLY>
<At the rate they've been fed and assuming they're otherwise healthy I'd let that particular symptom go for a good month before I'd concern myself.>
They're both still very active, climbing over each other and following me around when I put them on the ground in the dining room, I just want to get a professional opinion on their sudden change in behavior aside from them actually needing to be fed less.
<Make sure they are getting some extra sunlight AND exercise. Make sure the water & basking temps are within range and then give them a solid month before worrying.>
Also as a side note, the tank is filtered by a Zoomed 501 canister filter and is cleaned with a complete tank cleanup and water change whenever the flow starts to get restricted. I do pick up whatever bigger particles the canister filter doesn't catch with a net every other day or so.
<Excellent care>
Any advice you can give on this situation and how to better care for my turtles would be greatly appreciated.
<First, give them names. Second, keep them away from credit or debit cards (they can easily develop online gambling problems). Third, sunlight and fresh air will help stimulate them. Fourth, change up the food offering a bit: Try a couple of Koi Pellets (which are virtually identical to Repto-Min sticks only a lot cheaper), Fifth as long as they eat a bite or two and otherwise appear active and alert, don't worry>
<Finally, go out and buy your wife a "Thank You" card for caring so much for your turtles>
Thanks again for all that you do,
<No Charge!>
P.S. Just to describe their environment better, they have always had a floating dock with a heat lamp pointed at it (it is on approximately 6 hours a day) and also a platform a couple of inches under water under another heat lamp (also on about 6 hours a day) so they have the option of basking on dry land on half submerged in water. The water temperature is kept at 78 - 80 degrees F.
<The water is way too hot should be around 68-70 degrees, so that they have a solid CHOICE between warming up or cooling off. This warm water is another factor in their over-eating and faster growth>
Re: 2 Year old painted turtles stopped eating   8/21/11

Hi Darrel,
Thanks a lot for your quick response. Just wanted to let you know that we did name the turtles when we got them, we just started calling them Mr. and Mrs. Tuttle, or The Tuttles for short, and they never ended up having first names!
<IT's OK - they rarely come when you call them by name anyway>
I'll be sure to incorporate all your suggestions into their environment and eating habits since I do want them to live happy, healthy lives. After all, we do enjoy having them around.
One other question that came to mind since my last email was their size and the size of their habitat. Everything I've read online indicates that the females get to be around 10" long. With mine being already 8" at 2 years old, do you think she will get bigger than that?
<A little - but as they age they grow more slowly. A hatchling will double in size in 12 months, but then take 2 years to double THAT size, etc. So her growth is, for the most part, done>
Also, since I am planning on setting up a new tank for them in the very near future, should I just go ahead and get a 75 gallon tank (my local pet store is having a sale on 18 -
18.5" wide tanks right now), or will the 40 gallon breeder one be sufficient for a couple of years?
<Turtles really benefit from surface area more than depth. If you have to choose one, go for length and width over depth>
Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing back from you,
<Glad to help>

Re: Identify turtle type and am I doing this right? UV, nutr.  6-10-11
Thanks so much for your response!
<No charge!>
The bulb is a 75watt UVA UVB bulb.
<OK - make sure of that. Make sure you have a good quality bulb from a reputable company that sells reptile lighting and remember to change it as recommended. Most UV products stop giving off useable light LONG before they physically burn out>
<Also, UV through glass or even window screen is nearly useless, as is UV light from more than 10-12 inches away>
I turned off the heater since I do not in fact live north of the arctic circle, but instead the armpit of hell aka Houston.
<I spend a week in Amarillo one night. I'm TOLD that you have yourself a fine state there, but my experience has been a bit skewed>
As far as the outside enclosure, it's about 5" deep so he can't crawl out and I've rigged a top out of a window screen over the top.
<Window screen is actually DESIGNED to shield from UV rays. Better is to get some 1 inch Hardware Cloth from a local hardware or building supply store>
Also I've half covered it with some plywood so he has a space in the shade. Since it is so brutally hot here, should I only put him out in early morn or late afternoon or is direct light better?
<Just avoid the 11-2 time frame and you'll be fine>
I got some vitamin A drops since even though I don't think he has any eye issues; it worries me to read all the comments on your site about bulging eyes. Aren't the eyes inherently bulging?
<Not unless you squeeze him too hard>
Anyway, I probably ought to cut back on his food as he begs all the time and I'm feeding him 2-3 turtle sticks a day. Also got a cuttlebone but I'm not sure how long it should stay in the water.
<Unless he's a parrot, a cuttlebone, calcium block, etc. does no good at all. Turtles get their calcium in their diet. In order to get enough calcium in the water he drinks, you'd need to make a plaster soup.>
<I'm not AGAINST Vitamin supplements but I like to remind people that their purpose is to compensate for a deficiency in their diet. Cure the diet - no deficiency!!>
<ReptoMin food sticks are a completely balanced diet for water turtles. So is a decent quality, low fat Koi pellet (same ingredients as ReptoMin, just cheaper). Toss in (literally!) an earthworm once a month and your dietary problems are solved.>
<Well, ok, maybe not so much YOU but the turtle's diet problems are solved>
Thanks again for your help, this site is such a useful tool!
<Unlike my brother-in-law who is a useless tool>
Sent from my iPad.

YBS question, fdg. mostly    4/12/11
Hello Crew!
<Salve, Ronda!>
I have written to you before and always been so pleased with your great advice, counsel, and quips (!), so here I am again! I have a yellow bellied slider 8" long, 6" wide approx, who lives in my outdoor pond in Charleston SC. She overwinters in it also.
<Fair enough. Since they're likely native to this area, your local climate should suit your turtle well.>
About 3 weeks ago she "woke up" and has been out daily, basking, swimming and because our temps now (last 10 days or so) are in the 80's day and 50-60's overnight mostly, she is now active all the time.
What I am not sure about is how much to feed her. She literally begs for food all the time.
<As is their wont.>
I have been feeding her ReptoMin sticks, "Mins" as we call them for her, to the tune of 1/2-3/4 tablespoon 2x day--and I know that is too much, but have been afraid that she may need to build up or consume more calories....is that possible or true?
<These are high-protein, low-fibre food -- in other words much like us eating steak rather than salad. Net result, yes, your turtle may well be getting the calories it needs, but doesn't feel full, just as we don't feel full if we don't eat fibre-rich plants and wholegrains.>
I don't remember her being like this last spring, but the winter was particularly cold this past year. Also, she is not eating her carrots, kale, lettuce, etc--just the mins. Do I have a tricky turtle on my hands who is trying to retrain her owner to feed her only what she wants??
<Well, yes, animals can/do learn to train humans. We often congratulate ourselves for "training" our cats and dogs to do certain things, without realising those animals have also "trained" us to reciprocate. So yes, your turtle likely knows if it holds out, you'll hand over the protein-rich yummies it likes so much.>
Or does she need extra calories right now?
<Yes, immediately after winter turtles need to put right the fat they used up over winter; that's standard for most any animal that overwinters outdoors.>
I gave her some calcium supplement the other day, but I am not sure she did anything with it other than sink it.
<Try some unshelled shrimp and even better, whole fish (frozen lancefish are sold in aquarium shops, but whitebait sold for humans will do, too).
The shells and bones are a good calcium source. Use these as treats though.
If you have a few bunches of Elodea or whatever in the pool, your turtle will get all the calories he/she needs.>
She does not have "fat bulges" at her legs and arms and otherwise looks quite healthy. What do you recommend I do?
<Do switch to Koi Pellets -- they're more fibre-rich, but just as palatable, so should make an excellent staple.
Many thanks in advance for your advice!
<Do read Darrel's article, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/RESCareBarton.htm
Cheers, Neale>

Food gets stuck in baby turtles mouth  3/26/11
Hello wet web media,
I feed him Zoo med aquatic turtle food, which is the smallest turtles food I know out there,
<Here's what I'd do: try mashing some of the Zoo Med pieces with a fork. Some will break into almost dust - and you can just toss those away, but a few will break into smaller pieces. Place him in a shallow bowl of lukewarm water - just up to his shoulders and after a few minutes (for him to get over being freaked out) place the pellet pieces in the water and let him eat. This way you'll be able to closely see what he eats - AND the small pieces wont foul up the water in your main tank>
my baby is around 1 inch shell big, some days he can eat some days he can't, how often are baby turtles suppose to eat?
<I feed mine all the can eat in 5 minutes, every other day. When they are about a year old, I change that to 3 times a week.>
I've also noticed that his under shell is a bit soft in the middle, is this normal? Or some sort of vitamin deficiency or shell rot?
<Hard to say from way over here. Remember, Turtles need UV-B light. They can't get that from sunlight that goes through glass (even going through window screen blocks some of it) and the bulb has to be within 8-10 inches of the basking area for a UV-B bulb to be effective>
<read here to make sure youre covering all the basics: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Many many thanks you once again for your time and advice!

Turtles, sys., holiday feeding  12/24/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just got two baby yellow bellied sliders. I've had some before, and I have all the necessary equipment e.g. Filter, heater, dock, lights and gravel.
<No heater please. Water temp should be regular room temp and the basking area 88-93 degrees. We want them to have choices in warm or cool>
The man at the store told me that I shouldn't feed them for 2 or 3 days so they can get use to their new surroundings first, is this true?
<Not a HUGE deal - they eat when they're hungry and not when they aren't -- BUT a healthy baby turtle can go 5-8 days without food (adults as long as 3 months) ****IF they are healthy and normally well fed****>
Also I am going away and I have someone to look after them but should I tell them that they shouldn't feed them? I will be gone for about two days will they be ok unfed?
<For two days, I'd rather you not feed them than have someone feed them too much and foul your water>
<Yer welcome>

Slider chews rocks   10/6/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
its been a while since I mailed with the tragic loss of one of my turtles after it jumped from my balcony(thanks so much for the support then Darrel) and I have another issue id like some advice on.
<I remember and you're welcome. >
My remaining Slider (Midori) seems healthy and happy if a little overweight in his/her (still cant figure it out) 120cm tank have a full spectrum basking light with a heat lamp, feeding a combination of two kinds of commercial pellets (normal ReptoMin and ReptoMin super) and frozen bloodworms(leftovers from my dwarf puffers in another tank)
<Obesity is caused by too much food for the metabolism. Assuming Midori is active and otherwise healthy, cut back her food (skip the blood worms entirely) and as she grows she'll absorb that condition>
<As a general note that applies to turtles, fish, dogs, cats and all our pets overfeeding and the resulting obesity are one of the major causes of health problems in all of our pets. We simply feed them too much. We always worry if they are thriving and think that we're helping them along with a bit more food. In the wild they would spend almost ALL of their active time foraging for just barely enough food to get through the day. In captive conditions Over feeding and Poor feeding (wrong diet) are FAR more likely to cause health problems than under feeding.>
water parameters are great because I have three tanks connected so a total of around 400 liters of water( so much easier to manage)
<Yes it is - good idea>
.. BUT I noticed yesterday that his/her "gums" are a tint of red/orange I did catch him/her biting rocks on a few occasions but not so much recently so could be that. took him/her out of the tank and looked in the mouth, the upper inner mouth is yellow but the rest seems a healthy pink and when out of the water no blood appears so his her mouth isn't bleeding as such but the colour really suggests it is. Googled but didn't get much TBH.
<TBH is "To Be Honest" for those of us that are computer lingologically challenged> Wonder if its something to worry about or something I should wait and monitor.
<Dale - their behaviors are their own, so it's really hard to say. I have noticed that sort of behavior on rare occasions and I'd suspect an fungal infection. Then I thought it was a sign they were looking for calcium, so I'd add a calcium supplement (take an earthworm and power it with crushed oyster shell calcium) or maybe calcium injections the thing is, for all I know, I could have changed the water, moved a bulb or had something different for my OWN lunch and they would have still stopped. Next time you offer her a meaty sort of treat, powder it with something calcium and see how she behaves>
<Watch her closely as long as you don't see a deterioration of the tissue or anything looking like fungus, it's not a major issue>
P.s If you're interested I now have:
120cm tank
black mollies
neon tetras
tiger Pleco
ghost shrimp
"safe" area for the fish to retreat to using ventilation bricks everyone is getting along great although occasionally a guppy or tetra will disappear when Midori gets hungry!
<Make sure, sure and SURE that Midori can't get trapped in those bricks. Any part of her!>
<That said, as you've probably read here before, I'm not a fan of mixing fish and turtles. Fish is really not any significant part of their natural diet and it seems a shame to the fish>
60cm heavily planted tank
dwarf puffers
ghost shrimp
60 cm tank (used for half-hearted breeding)
dwarf Gourami
all the tanks are connected using water bridges and are attached to 2 canister filters and a sump the Gourami tank and main tank are open so the fish can freely move back and forth (and often do!)
PH 7-7.5
amm 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 30~ Think my tap water is high in nitrates

Are all earthworms created equal?!    8/7/10
OK, Darrel .
<Howdy, Sue!!>
I figured I'd get my round of ?'s for you over with in one fell swoop and then I won't bother you again (hopefully) for a while!
<Hey .. I've been married, divorced, raised 2 kids and run my own business with 30 employees world-wide. You can't come CLOSE to bothering me so don't give it another thought!>
Just a warning, go easy on me here.

<Me?? Go easy?? One of the things my bio does NOT mention is that I'm so abrasive that even Dale Carnegie tried to punch me in the mouth>
You'll see why in a minute.

Here's the earthworm question I've been meaning (transl. gathering up enough courage!) to ask you about for the last couple of months. When fishing season started back up here in New England a few months ago, I went out to get some earthworms for my two turtles for an occasional treat as you always recommend. I assumed I'd walk in, ask for a handful and walk out. But instead, I was presented with . choices! Between different kinds of earthworms! . Who'd have thunk?! As someone who got dragged along to go fishing with my dad when I was a kid, I always just assumed an earthworm was - well - just an earthworm. So, was I in for an unanticipated education that day. I was presented with a choice between *European* night crawlers, *Red Wigglers*, *organically grown* earthworms, and your plain old *garden variety* earthworms (Is this just a pun - or do I venture a wild guess here - are these the *American hybrid* version?!) that grow in soil where pesticides are used. Living in a town with 3 organic grocery stores, I suppose none of this should have come as much of a surprise. So I naturally asked him what his recommendation would be for turtles. I wish you could have seen the look I got back. Needless to say, I landed up leaving there with only - confusion and incredulousness . and haven't been back since!

<heh. I'm still stuck on organic earthworms. We live in a society where not only to do people pay actual real money for bottles of WATER (and don't even get me started on "Farmer's Markets" Are people under the impression that their local Kroger has the vegetables flown in from Jupiter or something???) but now they're growing organic earthworms???? Sheesh>
OK, so let's first start with the *variety* question - *Red Wigglers* vs. *European* night crawlers for turtles - does it matter which?! Is any species of earthworm OK for turtles?!

<Any worm that you'd eat yourself is fine for them! OK .. let's back that up. You probably don't eat many worms except for the ones that are embedded in all those 'naturally raised' vegetables and fruits at the Farmer's Market, so let's just say that any worm that was raised in dirt will be just fine. They SAY that some worms are higher in fat than others (How they know that and WHY they know that is something that I find amusing however we don't feed enough worms to really make that much difference to the turtle>
2nd . does size matter? (I mean when it comes to what size earthworms to feed to smaller size turtles?!) The European night crawlers were quite a bit larger (both longer and thicker) than the Red Wigglers. I wasn't sure if they might be too thick and/or long for my smaller turtles to swallow. Especially my Painted, Shelby, who is just a baby and has a very tiny mouth. And Shelly to some extent as well. Shelly's mouth is slightly bigger as he is a juvenile - but still not as large as a full grown adult turtle. (I had to ask this question about worm size, because remember a ways back when you told me NOT to cut the worms up, but rather feed them whole?)

<Well, I wouldn't put in a worm big enough to swallow the turtle, but beyond that it's really about the mess left over. I use worms called 'night crawlers' from my local pet store that look JUST LIKE the worms my dad used to collect back in Niagara Falls each night before we'd go fishing: Just wet the lawn at dusk and wait for them to come out>
And finally . does it matter whether the earthworms are *organically grown* or from pesticide treated soil? Is rinsing them off with water going to make them safe enough for the turtles to eat, or do I need to go organic on this one? I can't believe I'm writing this, AND, . I'm almost afraid to read what your response is going to be ; )

<Worms are typically grown in the same fashion as mushrooms - placed in soil and covered with poop, so in my opinion also known as the "right" or "correct" opinion: WORMS ARE WORMS!!!! TOSS IN A WORM AND LET 'EM EAT OR NOT!. BUT THEY'RE JUST WORMS FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD!!! ORGANIC WORMS???????? There is something seriously and systemically wrong with a society that even HAS organic worms. Where do you get Organic Worms? At a Farmer's Market, I'm sure. Who uses Organic Worms? The same people who watch The Real Housewives of ANYWHERE and actually DO keep up with the Kardashians!! A kid down the block was over looking at my tortoises last week and we got to talking. He has enough ink on his neck and arms to look like he went through a mimeograph machine and enough piercings on his face that he could have fallen face-first into a box of fishing tackle and he complained that he can't for the life of him figure out why he can't get a job... I'm going to suggest that he sell organic worms at the local farmer's market>


Turtle only eating Chicken!   7/24/10
Hi there,
I have female yellow bellied slider (? Missippi mud Cooter) that's ~ 5 yrs old. I keep her inside during the winter months and move her outside during the summer. She's in a 40 gallon tank with all the required accessories and seems to be doing very well overall. Enjoys basking and has a good appetite.
The problem - I was trying to vary her diet a bit about a year ago and cooked some chicken to give to her. Now, that's all she will eat. That's it!
<Made a rod for your own back there>
She refuses all pellets.
<Let her starve then.>
I've even tried not feeding her to see if eventually she would go back to pellets. I've tried sticking pellets inside the chicken. I've tried soaking the pellets in chicken broth and also tried feeding her pellets with a dropper. Nothing works. I know her diet is unbalanced and that they move more toward a vegetarian diet as they get older, so am very concerned
<As you should be.>
She doesn't seem sick, and her shell is growing as normal, but she is strictly on a protein diet which cannot be good!
<Indeed not.>
She will eat sulfa blocks too, so further evidence she needs something else.
The past week, she has been violently thrashing about the tank like she is trying to tell me something. She normally thrashes when she is hungry and she moves her mouth a bit. She is doing this, but is now refusing chicken. This has happened in the past she'll stop eating for a few days and then will start again, only wanting chicken.
<She has you very well trained.>
So, a few questions:
1) Right now, do you think its possible she could be constipated and that's why she is not eating, but appears hungry? I tried to give her a bit of mineral oil last night to help with this, as suggested by the vet. She is otherwise acting ok, and is right now basking in the sun. She doesn't seem to be basking longer than usual either.
<I doubt constipation is the thing, though it might be. I'd be more worried about vitamin deficiency. Plus, mammal meat contains fats that congeal in the bodies of cold-blooded animals. In warm-blooded animals they melt into oils. In reptiles not adapted to eating much mammal meat -- i.e., turtles as opposed to snakes -- there's some possibility of those fats causing health problems.>
2) How can I wean her off chicken without starving her? Is there hope?
<Yes. Let her sit in her tank with a clump of Canadian Pondweed. Feed her nothing else. She'll eat. If you must give her something meaty, go for earthworms as these have plenty of plant matter in their guts.>
Thank you - Fantastic website!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Turtle only eating Chicken!
Thanks! Enjoy your sense of humor.
Although I must admit, after reading more on your website, I am also wondering about the possibility that her thrashing behavior & trying to get out of the tank is independent of food and related to the fact that she is gravid!
<It can be. One thing about high-protein diets is they "condition" animals quickly, i.e., bring them into breeding condition sooner than otherwise.>
I saw something a few weeks ago in the tank that looked like an egg - but honestly I didn't realize they would lay eggs in the absence of a male until I just read it!
<Oh yes.>
I take back my comment about the basking - she does seem to be doing it a little bit more, and sometimes at night, which is odd.
<Depends on the air temperature.>
I am going to prep a nesting area today and we'll see.
<Good idea.>
Will take your advice about the Canadian pondweed. Is this available normally at pet stores in the aquarium section?
<Yes, or the pond section. It's the el-cheapo goldfish weed. Actually, it's more often Lagarosiphon major, what is commonly called Elodea densa, rather than Egeria canadensis. But they all taste the same.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Turtle only eating Chicken!   7/24/10
Good point about air temp. I'm in Virginia. Its almost 100 here, and her tank is getting up there, but not quite in the unsafe zone. Should I be bringing her inside during these hot months, or is she ok to bask as she is?
Thanks for your time!
<Carolyn, the water shouldn't be much above 25C/77F; the idea is that the turtle warms up under the sun lamp and cools down in the water. That's how these animals thermoregulate. If the water is much hotter than this, make
sure there's enough shade, and if there isn't, use something like a pergola to make a shady portion the turtle can use for cover. If you're in the same part of the world that these turtles come from, the real risk isn't very great, but you should always bear in mind the mortality rate tolerable for a population of wild turtles is much higher than we accept for pets. So just because the species survives in your area it doesn't mean all turtles have a 100% chance of surviving the vagaries of your local climate every year. Some of them surely die each year from heat or cold. In other words, try and buffer against the extremes of your local climate so that there's minimal stress on the turtle. Cheers, Neale.>

How to make turtle food. 10/17/09
<Hello - Darrel here>
I am Haider Ali Adnan from Lahore, Pakistan. I have a 7cm long Kachuga smithii.
<Often called a Brown Roof Turtle>
How should I make a mixture of vegetables with an appropriate composition of the ingredients?
<Ali, not much is well known yet about this turtle, much of the data is conflicting and the what we know comes from the unfortunate process of trial and error. At present it is assumed that it will thrive in captivity on the same basic diet that the other Emydid turtles such as Red Eared Sliders require. My first recommendation would be prepared Koi pellets, as they would be cheaper in the long run because they can be kept indefinitely. Fresh fruits and vegetables have a fairly short life even if refrigerated. If you must make it yourself, start with 75% dark leafy greens or green beans mixed with 25% Squash or carrots>
I also wanted to ask how do they brumate in the wild and in captivity?
Since I keep it in a tub, what type of changes should I make so that it gets the right environment for brumation?
<If your pet is indoors, then I recommend that you do nothing. Maintain heat and light through the winter as you would in the summer. Any room temperature suitable for you is fine for his water and he'll still have his basking area when he desires heat. Brumation (a general slowing of the metabolism in colder weather that is not quite a full hibernation) is basically hard and stressful on the animal, so there is no reason to go through it unless they are outside.>
<If he's outside and there is no place to bring him in during the cold months, then I recommend that you start reducing his feedings 2 months before the cold weather ... stopping entirely 2-3 weeks before your traditional winter. Make sure his water is deep enough that in helps insulate from nighttime low temperature swings. In Spring, wait until you're SURE that the cold weather is gone and you see him actively swimming and basking BEFORE you resume feeding him. When you start, one small meal the first 8 or 9 days, perhaps 2 meals the next 8 days and then 3 every 5 days during the summer.>

Earthworms and other foods for turtles. 10/17/09
Hello, I have an Indian brown roofed turtle. I feed it live earthworms.
<A good food, but not to be used all the time. Once or twice a week is fine.>
I wanted to ask that earthworms tunnel through the soil by eating it. If the turtle eats the earthworm, isn't it harmful?
<Assuming the soil is clean, it is not harmful. Do not collect the earthworms from anywhere sprayed with insecticides or other poisons.>
Do the organic contents of the soil get digested?
<Some minerals may well be absorbed, but otherwise the soil comes out with the faeces.>
My turtle is 7cm and it can open its mouth about 1cm. What vegetables should I feed it? Are spinach and green lettuce good for it?
<Green curly lettuce is good. In smaller amounts, other good foods include carrots, courgettes, squash (pumpkins etc.), and green beans. These can be used cooked or raw, depending on what your turtle prefers. As occasional treats, you can also offer soft fruits once a week. For example, tomato and mango are good. Spinach contains chemicals that are not good for turtles, so is best not used. The best green foods are aquatic plants (Elodea, Ceratopteris, Nymphaea, etc.). Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) leaves are also very good, and because this weed is widespread across Eurasia, it may be easy for you to collect yourself, though as with earthworms, they *must* come from a clean, unsprayed site.>
It does not eat them at all but eats any type of live prey and fish food as soon as I throw it in the water ?
<Darrel Barton maintains that there's no need to offer green foods at all, *provided* the pellet food used is designed for turtles or herbivorous fish. He considers Koi carp pellets to be particularly good. While I don't necessarily agree completely, that may be a safe way to keep turtles if you're not 100% sure which fresh and live foods are safe for them. Do see here:
Another question is that I keep it in a tub and change the water daily. Winter is coming in a few months so tell me that what is it going to require to Brumate. I live in Lahore, Pakistan and temperature may fall to 1 C. My turtle species is Kachuga smithii.
<This species needs a heated, filtered vivarium. You cannot keep it in a tub. Turtles do not usually hibernate safely under captive conditions. What happens usually is they become sluggish and then die. So you MUST keep the turtle warm all through the winter. Aim for an air temperature of around 15 degrees C in winter, and around 25 C in summer. That should be adequate. A combined heat/UV-B lamp should do this nicely. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Earthworms and other foods for turtles. (DB, please chime in if you wish)   01/18/09
<Not a thing to add, Bob -- proving once again that Neale is both smarter and faster than I am ... and all I have to console myself is that I am much, Much MUCH better looking!>
<<Amen. RMF>>
Hello, I have an Indian brown roofed turtle. I feed it live earthworms.
<A good food, but not to be used all the time. Once or twice a week is fine.>
I wanted to ask that earthworms tunnel through the soil by eating it. If the turtle eats the earthworm, isn't it harmful?
<Assuming the soil is clean, it is not harmful. Do not collect the earthworms from anywhere sprayed with insecticides or other poisons.>
Do the organic contents of the soil get digested?
<Some minerals may well be absorbed, but otherwise the soil comes out with the faeces.>
My turtle is 7cm and it can open its mouth about 1cm. What vegetables should I feed it? Are spinach and green lettuce good for it?
<Green curly lettuce is good. In smaller amounts, other good foods include carrots, courgettes, squash (pumpkins etc.), and green beans. These can be used cooked or raw, depending on what your turtle prefers. As occasional treats, you can also offer soft fruits once a week. For example, tomato and mango are good. Spinach contains chemicals that are not good for turtles, so is best not used. The best green foods are aquatic plants (Elodea, Ceratopteris, Nymphaea, etc.). Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) leaves are also very good, and because this weed is widespread across Eurasia, it may be easy for you to collect yourself, though as with earthworms, they *must* come from a clean, unsprayed site.>
It does not eat them at all but eats any type of live prey and fish food as soon as I throw it in the water ?
<Darrel Barton maintains that there's no need to offer green foods at all, *provided* the pellet food used is designed for turtles or herbivorous fish. He considers Koi carp pellets to be particularly good. While I don't necessarily agree completely, that may be a safe way to keep turtles if you're not 100% sure which fresh and live foods are safe for them. Do see here:
Another question is that I keep it in a tub and change the water daily. Winter is coming in a few months so tell me that what is it going to require to Brumate. I live in Lahore, Pakistan and temperature may fall to 1 C. My turtle species is Kachuga smithii.
<This species needs a heated, filtered vivarium. You cannot keep it in a tub. Turtles do not usually hibernate safely under captive conditions. What happens usually is they become sluggish and then die. So you MUST keep the turtle warm all through the winter. Aim for an air temperature of around 15 degrees C in winter, and around 25 C in summer. That should be adequate. A combined heat/UV-B lamp should do this nicely. Cheers, Neale.>

What to feed my turtle. 9/10/09
Hello, my name is Haider. I bought an Indian brown roofed turtle last month and it measures 7 cm.
<Kachuga tecta, a very unusual species not widely traded as a pet.>
What vegetables should I feed it?
<Good, low-cost staples are cheap aquarium plants (Elodea "Canadian pondweed" for example) together with romaine or curly lettuce.>
Are spinach, coriander or mint appropriate leaves as its diet?
<Probably not. Anything with a strong flavour likely contains what are called secondary compounds. These exist to deter herbivores from eating them. We happen to grow to like them, but children often don't, because they taste the secondary compounds and react just like a wild animal!
Spinach is somewhat okay, but anything you'd call a "herb" might be offered occasionally but not too often.>
I have also have been feeding it woodlice (sow bugs or pillbugs) , which are ample under bricks in my garden. Are they good for it.
I also feed it small wolf spiders and jumping spiders and tropical fish food. It is also crazy about earthworms and mealworms. Are these foods good for the turtle?
<For a portion of its diet, yes, perfectly good. A diet of about 40% meaty things and 60% plants would be about right. But do think about calcium, which it needs for its shell, so I'd be offering things like unshelled frozen prawns (from grocery stores/Asian food markets) and frozen lancefish (from pet shops) once a week. A vitamin supplement can be used too, and don't forget to offer UV-B light over its basking spot. There are some nice lights that combine heat and UV-B in the same bulb, and these are optimal, I'd even say essential. Cheers, Neale.>

Hard turtle poops 8/23/2009
Hi. I'm Felix from Malaysia,
<Good morning Felix, Darrel here>
I have 2 red ear slider and a golden thread turtle, around 2-3 inches...
<They should all get along well as long as they remain the same size>
Few days ago, one of my friend gave me some calcium supplement, which is in powder form, that he use to give his Indian Star Tortoise, I thought it's good for my turtles' shells, so I bring it home, and just poor 2 pinch of the powder in my aquarium,
<I wouldn't do that, Felix. Putting calcium or vitamins in their water doesn't do anything good for them. Turtles get their minerals through digestion, which means that you have to get them to eat it. What tiny bit
of calcium gets into their system through the water or from drinking the water is useless. If you feed them a balanced diet (I use koi pellets and Reptomin Food Sticks) they will get all the calcium they need.>
and recently, their poops are harder than normal, they're like black stone... what should I do with turtles? My turtles have good canister filter, UVA & UVB light for their basking area...
<My guess is that the calcium that is in the water is mixing with the poop to make it hard and discolored. Just change the water, stop adding calcium and everything should be fine>

Question About Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles. Fdg. +   7/14/2009
Hello.! I'm Nadine.
<Hiya right back! Darrel here>
I have 2 Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles which I bought at xmas 2007 when they were babies. I have several questions and I hope you can help because no one else seems to know.
<I hope I can answer them too!>
First things first - Feeding - At the moment I'm feeding them once in the morning and once in the evening, I know as they get older your only supposed to feed them once every 2 days but how do you know when you start doing that?
<You can start doing that right now. After a year they will do just fine feeding once a day during the summer and once every three days during the winter>
Also I am feeding them chicken and prawns at the moment because they are refusing to eat they're pellets or anything else. I heard your supposed to feed them fruit and veg as well?
<Not 'as well'. Try "Instead of." None of the Emydid turtles (Sliders, cooters, map turtles and even - irony here - the Chicken turtles) eat chicken OR prawns. Neither are part of their natural diet and neither are
good for them. So STOP! Right now.>
But they wont... how can I get them to eat different things?
I've tried cooking veg with the chicken but its not worked.
<here's what do: First. Stop feeding them for a week. Seven days. NO food. Then, each day, put them in a shallow bowl of luke warm water with just two or three Repto-min food sticks or 6 or 7 standard Koi Pellets. If they ignore the food or don't eat after 15 minutes, take them out and put them back in their regular tank. Each day, new fresh water in the shallow bowl with a very few pieces of food. Eventually .. somewhere between 3 days and two months .. they'll eat.>
<Are you listening?>
<Pay attention to this:>
<DO NOT GIVE IN. Don't feel sorry for them, don't feel like they're starving, don't feel like 'just a tiny bit' of chicken won't hurt ..... DO NOT GIVE IN OR GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!>
<The one who hold out the longest is the one in charge of this relationship -- and that's supposed to be YOU, OK?>
Also I always believed they were male and female due the fact 'she' is larger and longer claws, they also shake each others claws in each others faces (which I've heard is the mating ritual) and many times I've seen them mating with his penis out. Tonight though I looked over and he was chasing and biting what looked like 'her' penis?!! I know it was definitely her because they both do look different. I am so confused?!
<Well if one of the females has a penis .. you're not the ONLY one confused .. think how confused SHE is!!!>
<The males have long claws and the females do not. Males also have much thicker tails at the base where it connects to the shell, while the females' tails are much more slender. Sliders reach sexual maturity with
size, not age but males become mature, generally, around 4 years and females at 6 years (assuming normal growth)>
Last thing is how do you know they are happy?
<Turtles have much simpler lives than people do, Nadine. They show their happiness by being healthy and active. By thriving. If they're active and eating, basking and swimming, growing and maturing, if their environment is clean and big enough, if their shells are hard and their eyes are clear ... then it's a sure bet that they're happy!>
Sorry for the long winded email just wanted to make sure im doing everything right.
<Long winded??? Not even close!! It was a nice letter and I hope I helped!>
Thanks x

Yellow Bellied slider not eating   11/28/08 Dear Wet Web Media, We are writing to you to ask for some advice. We have previously written to you and you were fantastic in your response. We have now had our yellow bellied slider turtles for almost a year. One has grown significantly larger than the other but from what I can gather this could be due to gender difference which we can not yet judge. However this is not the concern. The smaller of the two turtles (approx 8cm long shell) has in the last 5 days or so completely stopped eating. We feed them daily on a dried pellet and shrimp turtle mix once a day. In order to feed them we remove them to a feeding tank (their living tank is 11 gallon tank (14 US gallons) with 15w UVB lamp, basking dock and filter, the water is kept at room temperature with no heater). When the feeding tank is presented to them both of the turtles become excited and swim frantically at the glass of the tank in anticipation of feeding. The smaller one has stopped this behaviour and instead is hiding himself away in the far corner of the tank and digging into the gravel and hardly ever coming out of the water to the dock to bask. To summarise, he's not eating, digging and has reduced his movement. We have considered that these may be traits of hibernation but are finding it hard to find information on this. It is winter here and our house; therefore their tank is colder. We are planning on buying a water heater in order to maintain a constant temperature for them. However, we are seriously concerned by his lack of eating. Please can you advise what may be inducing this behaviour and what we can do to help him -- if he needs it. Awaiting your response, many thanks Emma <Emma, when reptiles go "off" their good, there's usually one of four things going on. Firstly, and most commonly, they're too cold. Reptiles need warm conditions, and in the U.K for example, while summers are warm enough for freshwater turtles, the winters are not. While Sliders do come from a warm temperate to subtropical environment, they should not be exposed to prolonged cold spells. Minimum water temperature should be about 18 degrees C. Yes, feral Sliders have become established in the UK, implying a certain degree of tolerance of cold, but what reptile keepers should understand is that for every turtle that survives the winter, another one (at least) doesn't. That's a level of mortality we just can't accept with a pet. So it's time to warm up the tank, I suspect. Use an external heater, otherwise these clumsy reptiles will destroy it! I like the heaters that you install into a break cut into the outgoing pipe from the external canister filter. Sliders do not hibernate as such; in the wild they may become torpid for short periods but that is quite a different thing to hibernation. In any case, "resting" freshwater turtles through the winter is widely recommended against by vets and experienced reptile keepers. Most folks who try to hibernate their Sliders end up with dead Sliders. One common problem is the rotting of undigested food in the gut, leading to bacterial infections. (It's the same reason you don't feed pond fish during the weeks prior to the first frost.) The other reasons reptiles go off their food are boredom (being offered the same foods over and over); disease (loss of appetite is a key symptom); and stress (bullied or egg-bound females are likely to stop eating). Hope this helps, Neale.>  

Russian tortoise... vac. fdg. during cold season...   6/9/08 Hey, I am thinking about getting a Russian tortoise sometime soon and I am worried about when I go on vacation for a week this coming November, how do I provide for my tortoise while I am gone? <Make sure it has access to drinking water and can't overheat. Food isn't required.> I know I will not be able to take the tortoise with me for I am going on a plane and I don't have any one to care for it while I'm gone. I do have an idea but I would like to run it by you first. If I plant some edible vegetation a few months prior my vacation the plants should be big enough to last a week or more. And for the water supply I thought it would be best to buy one of those water bowls that have a canister on top that holds water for several days worth and distributes it through a little hole in the bottom of the bowl so it's always full. I think it would be best to tape the canister to the inside of the turtle box so he wont knock it over. And I live in WA so the tortoise will be inside it's not ever warm enough here to keep outside overnight. I would like to know if my plan will work or if you have any other ideas that are relatively cheap to do I would like to know. <For short term vacations, your best bet is to keep the tortoise in its indoor enclosure with water and shelter. Put the (essential) UV-B lamp on a timer so that it can bask during the day time. But that's really it. Provided you're offering all the standard care for your reptile the rest of the time, caring for holidays is easy.> I know I don't have the tortoise yet but if this plan will not work then I will have to wait to get the tortoise after my vacation is over which I rather not do because I don't want to wait that long. But if I have to I will. Thanks, Lace <Most pet tortoise deaths come from predation (foxes, dogs); overheating; and dehydration. Starvation isn't really a problem. So keep the animal safe, watered, and neither too warm nor too cold, and you'll be fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Ouachita Map turtle driving me crazy! 05/31/08 Hi WWM Crew, I have a question about my male Ouachita Map turtle (at least I think it's a male). I've had it for about 8 months now, and I recently upgraded to a larger tank. My problem is, my turtle is hungry every 5 minutes! I don't feed him that often, and sometimes, I put up a towel between the two of us to get him to quit begging. I don't want him gorging himself and then suffocating. I've been feeding him ReptoMin turtle sticks (I used to feed ReptoMin baby sticks, but since he's grown, I cut back on the protein, so as to prevent pyramiding), supplemented with baby shrimp and krill. I've recently read a herpetologist book that says that these turtles are mostly carnivorous and like variety. I read that feeding algae wafers is a good supplement, but he won't take them. I just tried giving spinach, which he didn't realize was food and swam away from it in a hurry. I'll try this again, but is there something else he might like? I'm going to try kale too. I'm just worried about him not getting enough calcium and Vitamin D. I've got a cork float with a basking light above so he can get out of the water. He's also in a large 30 gallon tank with about 8 inches of water all around. Please help! He is driving me crazy! He's begging for food right now and I just fed him 5 minutes ago! Thanks, Caroline <Hello Caroline. Many animals will eat far more food than they need. Humans not excepted! But with reptiles this is an especially easy trap to fall into. Reptiles needs about 10% of the food of mammals of similar mass (because reptiles are "cold blooded" rather than "warm blooded" animals). In the wild this balances itself out: they may have the instinct to eat as much as they can, but because reptiles move about less (or more slowly) than mammals, they end up finding less food as well. But in captivity they pretty much have food on demand. They have no instinct to stop eating when they have enough. Instead they tend to gorge and eat as much as they can -- their genes are "planning ahead" for hibernation, drought, reproduction and so on where having laid in an energy store would be a great idea. But those times never come in captivity, so we keep feeding them every time they beg for more. And do understand that animals that learn to beg have also trained their owners to supply them with food! Yes, your turtle has trained you! He knows if he sits at the front looking forlorn, someone will come to his enclosure and give him something tasty. So there's your thing: train yourself not to fall into this trap. Offer him precisely as much food as he needs. A meal every other day should be ample, especially if you add some aquatic plants (e.g., Elodea/pondweed) he can graze on should he feel peckish. Admittedly this species isn't a major herbivore, but all freshwater turtles eat some plant material, and its a good supplier of filling fibre and essential vitamins absent from meaty foods. Remember, in the wild predators eat not just the "meat" but also the gut contents of their prey, and that means they indirectly consume a surprising amount of plant matter. Do switch away from processed turtle foods and towards things that have their shells still on them, like shrimps, krill, snails, small clams, etc. That's precisely what this species will be feeding on, and the "roughage" that comes with the shells will help make him feel more satisfied that lean processed foods. The calcium in the shells is also essential to his own healthy growth. One last thing: make sure the basking light supplies UV-B, not just regular light. Reptiles need this form of light to maintain good health. Without it, reptiles can develop a whole host of initially minor problems but eventually serious ones, even death. Cheers, Neale.>

Hey... turtle... fdg...    12/31/07 Hi, I got a Yellow Belly turtle yesterday. I got him and I set up his tank and put him in the tank at about 1:25 - 1:30. At maybe 4:45 - 5:00 o clock in the afternoon I feed him some of the food I got him at the store. On the turtle food container it says it is called floating turtle Gammarus pellets. <Hmm... inadequate diet. These turtles are basically similar to Red-ears, so have a read of this article and expand its diet: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm Dried foods cause problems in the long term, and these turtles need to have substantial (50%+) amounts of greens.> But when I feed him at 4:45 - 5:00 o clock in the afternoon he took a nibble of the food. when I came back in my room the food was dissolved so at 7:30 at night I feed him he took a nibble of that food this morning I got up and that food was goon so I feed him agene. <Take care not to overfeed.> But I know that I did not feed him to much because when I first I feed him I only feed him one peace of food and then a night I gave him two peaces and this morning I feed him tow peaces agiene. But when I feed him this morning he did not eat at all well I don't know if he dose not like his food or what? <Indeed, likely bored with this food. Not good for him anyway, so don't use more than once or twice per week unless you want a sick, dead turtle. Do also remember turtles will only be hungry if they are healthy: this means they MUST HAVE good water quality, swimming space (30 gallon tank, at least), Ultraviolet-B light for basking, and warmth. Sadly, too many people buy turtles without giving any thought to their needs, and end up condemning their turtles to a slow, painful death. It's really very depressing, as these are fun animals when cared for properly.> hope you can help -Madison <Cheers, Neale.>

Map Turtle Queries   8/30/07Hi, <Hiya right back! -- Darrel here> I'm just curious if I am caring for my Mississippi Map Turtle, as best I can? I got him in March and researched thoroughly beforehand and afterwards but still some things I'm unsure about. <Wow! Just researching before you obtain makes you special, Melissa! Congrats> He currently has a large 3ft x 2ft x 2ft tank (I don't know how many gallons of water it holds, but takes ages to clean!), even though he's only approx 4.5 inches long from tail to head. We have just upgraded his tank as he's grown from 1 inch to 4.5 inches in just 6 months!! (..is that right for a Map Turtle?) <That's fast .... way too fast. Map Turtles are actually one of the more slow-growing turtles> The tank is set up with gravel lining the bottom, sloping up to where the basking rock is placed, with UV lighting which is lit for about 8 hours a day. The water is heated to approx 90F and to the touch is always lukewarm. The water is also filtered and pumped around the tank, which is filled with water to the depth of about 8 inches. <everything you have there is PERFECT ..... except the water. Turn the heater OFF. Any room temperature YOU can stand is good for him. The point is to offer cool water and a warm rock and let him choose between the two. With the water at 90 degrees you have his metabolism in over-drive and that's why he's growing so fast.> My main concern is with his diet, I feed him in the morning and some extra food sticks through the day if he's searching the gravel. I give him about 10 food sticks each morning and if they haven't all been munched by about 15 minutes, I clear any that are left. I do give him washed, small pieces of lettuce and cucumber (without the skin) but I'm not sure if these are okay? Therefore I only feed him this once a week (although he seems to like it!) Would you suggest he needs more/less green veg? <They are omnivorous, Melissa and eat almost whatever is offered. The food sticks are just fine -- as I wrote in an article (I'm sending you the link) I've raised sliders, maps and cooters from hatchlings to breeders on nothing but Koi food. Just like your food sticks, it's nutritious, plenty of vegetable matter and just a fine food.> I am quite squeamish, and couldn't chop up live earthworms, or watch him eat a goldfish, so will he be okay just with food sticks and some veggies occasionally? Or are there less 'messy' live foods I could give him that are suitable for a Map Turtle? <Goldfish aren't all that good a food for them anyway. And they don't taste very good, either. Er..... ah .... um .... so I hear. If you feed him an earthworm every so often, don't chop it -- just put it in there and walk away.> He is a lovely turtle and I want to make sure I'm doing the best I can to take care of him, He is healthy and does the usual "begging" every morning, splashing water loads at about 6am!! He's definitely got us well trained! Even though he can make a racket and takes time to clean, I love him to bits! Any help or advice would be great to help my turtle, "Squirt", live the best life possible! (Sorry for the massive email!) <Melissa -- you're doing GREAT except for the heat thing, which I'm sure you'll correct. Down below is a general outline on the water turtles (sliders, etc.) and the main addition with regard to Map turtles -- is water quality. They are far more susceptible to disease and debilitation from substandard water than most of the rest of them, so keep cleaning that tank and tending to that filter.> Many Thanks <You are most welcome!> Melissa Tostevin (UK) <Darrel Barton (Torrance, California, USA)> <By the way, Melissa, I used my Word Editor to add a LOT of apostrophes to your letter. Is there a shortage of them in the Old Empire?>

Good Plant - bad pun, turtles eat plants...   7/13/07 Dear Crew, <HYA Susan (The pun will become evident in a second here)> My red eared slider is eating my water Hyacinth. <Get it? HYAcinth?> I feed him pellets and fresh fruit daily. Am I using the wrong plants in my pond?? Thanks, Susan <Not at all, Susan -- they love to eat the Hyacinth the same as Koi do. It's a problem for keeping the plants though. I finally gave up and made a small pond adjoining my waterfall so I could have these beautiful plants ... but it's not unhealthy for the slider in any way.> <regards, Darrel>

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

Turtle won't eat 7/3/07 Dear Crew, <Good morning - Darrel here> I just got two yellow bellied slider hatchlings and they are about a month and about the size of a half dollar. The bigger of the two seems to eat every once in awhile although not as much as some of the sites say it should, it only eats a couple of blood worms and only eats maybe once a day. <Nothing wrong with that -- I don't even feed my hatchlings every day, usually every other day. I don't think blood worms is the best diet for them, however. Small Koi pellets or Repto-min (by Tetra) make very good basic diets> With the other smaller turtle, we have never seen it eat and we have had them for about 5 days. All the smaller one does is sit on the rock under the heat lamp for long periods of time and doesn't seem to have any energy. I am really concerned that it is sick and I don't know what else to do. <Maybe not SICK exactly ... smaller turtles from a group hatch often exhibit what I call "runt syndrome" where they simply don't thrive as well as the others. Mostly it just takes them time to get started, but once in a while they go downhill and simply don't make it. But let's not jump off that bridge just yet> Would it be a good idea to put it in a separate tank to eat, maybe a smaller tank? <Not really, not unless he's was REALLY sick. You say he's basking most of the time and that implies that he does swim on his own as well? Try a change in the diet first and see if he's just more interested in other foods. Also, I'm enclosing a link at the end of the response that has information and suggestions. Please read it and match the environment you've given them against the suggestions in the article. Heat/light/water quality are all issues you should look at carefully.> Another question I have is, there are snails at the bottom of the tank and there are some empty snail shells that the bigger turtle like to try and eat, do you think getting some dried snails would be a good idea for the bigger turtle or is that something they can't have? <They certainly CAN have them, although most dried foods you can get in pets stores are very low in any real nutrients. I raise my hatchlings to adulthood and parenthood almost exclusively on koi pellets and occasional night crawlers (earthworms). Making yourself crazy trying to find just the right exotic foods doesn't seem like the best use of your time -- if you HAVE extra time, use it to check, double check and triple check their environment. They'll be glad you did> Thanks so much for your time, hope to hear from you soon! Stephanie <Yer most welcome!> <Try this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: Are you a Fungi -- or just a happy guy? Turtle fdg.  06/28/07 Sorry about my other email being unclear. So here we go again :) <Great!> As far as what I feed my turtle HBH turtle bites and turtle treats brought from the pet store. <OK, I'm not familiar with this product, but at first glance it seems fine. I only say koi pellets and Repto-min sticks because I use them to raise and breed my water turtles and I'm 100% confident that they work and that constant use will eliminate dietary issues> The turtle is about 4-5in. <OK, a small adult, not a baby or adolescent> The whole shell is a dark color except for along the right edge of the shell. It's been this way for a few weeks. I wear latex free gloves when I pick him up and I have noticed that its almost like a blue/black color of the shell comes off on to the gloves, if that makes any sense. <Now I'm starting to think about a shell fungus -- normal shell colorations don't come off. What I'd like you to do is take him out, dry him off and gently rub his shell with a cloth soaked in vinegar. Don't be afraid to rub if the shell is hard, like fingernails -- if it feels soft and gives under the rubbing then we have a bigger issue. Right now, just clean him off a bit and see what comes off on the rag.> Like I stated before I feed him about twice a week and he eats all of his food however he doesn't swim around much. He usually stays in one spot most of the time. Also I have been noticed that for the past few weeks he hasn't been basking like he use to. I keep the water temp at 72 not sure if it should be much higher than that? <No, the water TEMPERATURE is fine, I'm hoping that the basking temperature is at least 85 degrees, but right now I'm thinking a fungus due to husbandry issues.> In addition I clean the water every few weeks <If the water is crystal clear, change it every week. If it gets dirty of murky in any way, change it more often.> and I also put some turtle reduction waste solution in the water when I clean the water and change the filter regularly. <I don't know what that is and I'm getting the willies just thinking about using any kind of chemical to reduce waste in the turtle's actual water. I suggest that you stop this, at least for now and take extra steps to get the water crystal clean and clear. (But please write back with the name of the chemical -- I'm interested to hear about what's out there.) I hope this information gives you what you need. <Yes! I think we have a tactic. Clean his shell like I asked and let's see what comes off on the rag. I'll wait to here from you. :) !> Amanda <Darrel>

Please Help! Box Turtle won't eat   06/11/07 Hi Everyone <Hi Shelby, Darrel here> I have had my box turtle for about 4 years now. We start a hole for her to dig into every winter, and every spring she has come back alive and well. It always takes her a while to start eating again, but this year it has been different. She came up a little earlier this spring because we had some pretty warm weather for a couple days before the winter settled back in again (this was around April). It's summer now, and we haven't gotten her to eat yet. We're really worried that there's something wrong with her. <Not necessarily, Shelby. An otherwise healthy box turtle can go over two years without food, so it's not time to panic just yet.> I've heard that turtles grow according to the size of their environment. <No. That's fish, not reptiles> Well, she's been in the same pen since we got her. We keep her outside. The pen isn't small. We put in lots of weeds and a dirt area to make it seem like rest of the outside. My dad built a little wooden box for her to stay in. We have a big water dish that she can climb into. She hasn't gotten but just a little bit bigger since we first got her. Could this be a problem? <I doubt it, Shelby. Box turtles are thought to live to be 100 years old and based on average temperature, type of diet, amount eaten and amount of time in hibernation they can grow quite slowly.> Also, sunlight doesn't always reach her pen. Should we get a lamp to shine into her pen? Is that going to make a difference? <As long as it gets SOME sunshine and a lot of ambient light (that's like indirect sunshine) I wouldn't worry about it -- at least not right now.> We couldn't get her to eat lettuce and carrots, so somebody told us to feed her crickets and worms (when we first got her). She's always ate them, but like I said earlier, we can't get her to eat. Should we try to change her diet after this many years? Do you have any suggestions? <Yes, I have lots of suggestions. First, don't be worried. I suspect that all that's wrong is that she hasn't come out of hibernation properly and her systems just aren't up to speed. What I'd like you to do is this: Put her in a cardboard or plastic box that's at least 3 times as long as she is, with sides high enough that she can't climb out and bring her indoors -- somewhere in your house (maybe in a corner of your bedroom or den). Make sure she can't get out and any curious dogs or cats can't get in. Don't worry about heat or light right now .. what we want is a place where she doesn't get TOO hot or TOO cold, OK? Normal light that you have in a room during daylight is fine. Now every day, place a shallow bowl with lukewarm water in the box and place the box turtle in it. No more than a half inch deep and no more than 85 degrees and just let it soak. After the soak, remove the water and place a tiny bit of food in the box with the turtle. One Strawberry, a very small slice of melon, Night Crawler earth worm is good (cricket or mealworm is not). After a half an hour, remove any uneaten food and just keep doing this, day after day ... for a couple of weeks. My bet is that your turtle will get with the program and start to eat again.> My mom said that if she doesn't eat soon, we're going to have to let her lose somewhere. I really don't want to do that, and don't think she would make it. <Please don't do that, Shelby. That's the one thing I'd say NEVER do -- is take a captive animal and let it loose. If it's sick, it won't get "well" just by being outside of your pen and it might spread it's sickness to other turtles. And even if it's not sick, there's a good chance that it's come to depend on you for food and care and wouldn't be able to fend for itself. So please, please, please tell your mom that a real expert said to never, ever ever do that, OK? If your Mom or Dad or you decide you can't or don't want to keep it, you can find reptile or turtle clubs in your area that will find it a new home. If not, write back and we here at WetWebMedia will help you find someone.> Please, can you help us!? <that was the first things to do, Shelby -- I hope it helps. If not, or if the turtle doesn't move or seems to get worse, please write back>

Feeding a Box Turtle 5/25/07 We rescued a male box turtle from a parking lot nine days ago and put him with our larger female box turtle in her well-equipped 24 gallon Rubbermaid box.   <That was nice of you, Jay> But unlike the female, the male does not eat anything.  I've tried live mealworms, crickets, shrimp, prepared turtle food, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, even put the food up to his mouth, but he will not take a bite.  He enjoys the water dish and the basking lamp, he has a daily walk outside, he gets along well with the female (no fights), he is active and seems otherwise healthy, but I do not know how long he can survive without eating.   <Jay .. Few turtles or tortoises can match a box turtle for being stubborn about eating or not eating.  If he's otherwise healthy he can go for many months without eating, so I simply wouldn't worry about nine days.> What do you recommend?   <I use a diet of fruits (like apples and pears), vegetables (like green beans and broccoli) along with night crawlers (big earthworms) for mine, Jay.   I also prowl the garden looking for snails (only because I never ever use any form of snail bait or poison!) and they LOVE snails!  The books say that as they get older they're supposed to become more vegetarian and less carnivore (more fruits & veggies and less meat) but that has never been my experience.   Mine appreciate the apples and pears and SOMETIMES the veggies but mostly they wait for what we call "worm day."   Mealworms and crickets can be like candy -- filling but not nutritious and not really that good for them.  Same with lettuce and tomatoes - forget them & If you're going to feed leafy greens, try collards and chards and other dark green ones.  At least ... that's the way it should be, Jay.  The truth is that Box turtles can be easy feeders, in which case you should think about my menu above -- or they can be fixated eaters.  A Box I had I once swam in the pond and ate Koi pellets along with my water turtles and wouldn't touch anything else, so sometimes we have to adapt.   Do this, Jay: 1) as long as he's active and otherwise fine, don't worry too much 2) Try to offer different things like above and whatever you think of 3) Eventually when you hit the right stuff on the day he's hungry, he'll eat> Thank you for your advice. Jay Smith <you're welcome>

Re: Feeding a Box Turtle 6/10/07 I'm happy to report that your advice worked on my male box turtle who wouldn't eat. <Great! We like giving advice that works.> I kept offering Harley different things as you recommended until he finally ate something -- chopped strawberries, which he carefully separated from chopped apples. <Box Turtles are among the geniuses of the turtle & tortoise world, so it doesn't surprise me at all that he took the time to separate the foods he likes from what he doesn't.> Now I hide meat and veggies in his strawberries and he eats it. <The next step is to slowly reduce the amount of strawberries in that mix until he becomes the OMNIVORE that he's supposed to -- and you don't have to try to horde a seasonable fruit like strawberries. (Did you know that strawberries are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside?)> Thanks very much for your help. Jay Smith <You're very welcome, Jay>

Our yellow-belly slider keeps eating his poo :-(  Feeding a Turtle   5/11/07 Hello, We have a yellow belly slider that's one year old who is eating his poo, right after he poos and after finding it in the gravel. We fee him once a day in the evening around 7pm of 35 pellets of  Raffy food, 30 of mixed content and 5 of mineral content. When we got him as a baby the guy in the shop said 5 pellets and as he grow we increased it. But now we're not sure if 35 is enough, then how much is, so that he wont have to eat his poo any more :-(  I read online fed for 5-10 min.s as much as he can consume is this right?  How would we know when he is satisfied? Thank you in advance Oliver < I would recommend feeding him until his appetite slows down. At first they always act starved and then as they fill up they slow down. Try adding vegetables like kale and spinach to the diet and switch pellet foods. The manufacturers have added flavor enhancers that pass through the turtle's guts undigested. So his fecal matter still is attractive to him as a food item.-Chuck.

Feeding Turtles Bait Shop Worms   5/11/07 Hi, is it safe to use nightcrawlers from a Bait shop to feed my turtles.  I have both Sliders and Painted. Thanks! Brian < Those would be fine as a treat as long as they are washed off.-Chuck>

Tough Love Is Needed When Feeding Turtles  - 04/20/07 When feeding my hatchlings in their feeding tank I put assorted food in their feeding tank (pellets, shrimp, krill, and micro size pellets for hatchlings), in the tank they live in I put red and romaine lettuce for them to munch on as well as a cucumber slice every few days which they love. The problem is that since I introduced the shrimp and krill about 4 weeks ago both hatchlings have stopped eating all the pellets and only eat the shrimp and krill. I just read on another website that this is not a healthy diet and the shrimp and krill should only be a treat - how can I get them back onto pellets? I tried today to get them to eat the pellets and they wouldn't - I weakened when they seemed to be begging for the shrimp and I gave in and gave them some! Help... how do I break the cycle and get them back on a healthy cycle? I'm also afraid I am overfeeding my larger turtle's shell is definitely pyramiding and the smaller one's shell is starting to pyramid - I want to stop it now before I cause too much damage. Thanks Jen <Your turtles have you well trained. Larger turtles need more vegetable matter in their diet. Too much protein makes their shells very hard and thick. As the turtle grows the shells stops growing and the turtles are trapped in their own straight jacket. I have seen turtles suffer this slow death before. Once you see it you never forget it. Hatchlings really need a varied diet to get all the vitamins and minerals they need. They can get imprinted on shrimp and never eat anything else again. Do not feed your turtles anything for three days. Offer the hatchling turtle food for 5 minutes. Remove any food after 5 minutes. Next day do the same thing. Eventually they will start to eat the pellets. Feed the pellets for a week before offering anything else.-Chuck>

Keeping, Feeding, Sexing Map Turtles  3/28/07 Hi there. We have two Mississippi Map Turtles that we bought as hatchlings in November of last year (2006).  My first question relates to how much we should be feeding them.  We have two different types of pellets but haven't managed to get a definitive answer of roughly how many we should be feeding them so we have no idea if we are massively over/under feeding them.  At the moment we feed them every day and give them approx. 8 pellets each - they gobble these down in a few seconds which makes us think they need more but I'm sure I remember being told that they should only have a few each?  I'm very worried as I read somewhere that if you over-feed them, their shells can crack which we obviously don't want to risk happening. The pot says to feed them as many as they will eat in five min.s but with our two that would be LOADS - is that right?!  We have tried them with other food as well as the pellets but they don't seem to be very interested - they will occasionally eat freeze dried shrimp but won't touch live river shrimp or most other things. < Feed your turtles three to four times a week. Keep feeding them until their appetite starts to slow down indicating that they are getting full. Then remove all the uneaten food. When they are hungry again they will be very active and searching for food. this is a sign that they are hungry and can now be fed again. try the new foods after not feeding them for a few days. Hungry turtles will try anything. Hatchling turtle food is best with treats of washed earthworms and insects.> My second question relates to the sex of the two turtles.  At what age should we be able to tell what sex they are? < At about 4 inches you should be able to se some of the different sexual characteristics.> I know the females will eventually be bigger but when would we notice a big difference between them if they were different sexes?  One has always been larger than the other but we don't know if that is just "one of those things".  Also, please could you tell me any other signs that will enable us to tell them apart and at what age we should be able to notice them? Many thanks. Adele Davis <When two turtles are kept together one always seems to be dominant and get most of the food. This dominant turtle always seems to grow faster regardless of the sex. This can make determining of the sexes difficult for a while, but eventually the female will grow larger that the male.-Chuck>

Baby Turtle not Eating  3/17/07 Hi, <Hi Emily, Pufferpunk here> I just got a baby yellow bellied slider turtle. I've had him for about 4 days now and he still won't eat anything. I've been feeding him ZOO MED'S AQUATIC HATCHLING TURTLE FOOD and a little ZOO MED'S TURTLE TREATS. What should I feed him to get him to eat? And how long does it usually take for a baby turtle to start eating? I was wondering if I could feed him raw meat, since he won't eat anything else. What do you think?   <Baby animals need to eat a lot of food.  Try small pieces of fish, worms, freeze-dried plankton.  Make sure his water is very clean & keep the temp around 78-80 degrees.  ~PP> Thanks,  Emily,  CT

Baby Turtle Won't Eat  - 03/20/07   Hi, My turtle still won't eat, I've tried feeding hatchling aquatic turtle food, and some Jurassic-pet meal worms. It might be because his water is too cold. We've gone to every pet store and none of them had heaters that worked. Since the water is too cold, we put him in a big bowl filled with enough warm water that it covers his shell, but all he does is swim around. All the websites that I've been on said to try meal worms. I put them in the bowl and the turtle just lays there. How long can he go without eating? He's only a hatchling. Please HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!Emily,         CT <Your little turtle will eat when he is hungry. Offer the food when he is active and starts to move around. Don't offer any food for a couple of days. offer one mealworm or washed earthworm. If he starts to eat, then only offer enough food until his feeding slows down. He is getting full. Little turtles that eat too much food at one time can die. The food displaces internal organs and cuts down on the turtle's internal circulation. They have little room to expand in their shell. Check the temp. of the basking site. It should be at least 85 F.-Chuck>

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

Treats For Turtles    11/27/06 I have a juvenile yellow-bellied slider turtle and I would like to know what kinds of snacks I could feed him......would apples be okay?......carrots? I have been feeding him 1-2 flakes of goldfish food once a week for added protein because I mainly just feed him turtle pellets. I just want to create more of a selection for him. Any added advice would be greatly appreciated. :) <Small turtles are largely carnivorous. As they grow older they become more vegetarian. Offer leafy greens like spinach and kale. Young turtles like chopped up earthworms and insects too.-Chuck>

Is My Turtle Getting It's Veggies?  10/27/06 Hi, <Hi Kathy, Pufferpunk here> I read that you advise keeping water turtle tanks bare, no plants, because the turtles will eat the plants.  But isn't that good?   <Veggies are an important addition to a turtle's diet.> I thought everyone needed their veggies <grin> and besides, without plant matter what else are they going to eat besides too much protein=growth/health  problems.  Is cost the problem or just that raggedy half-eaten plants are not pretty to look at? <Correct, especially if you use a filter on the tank, that will get clogged with plant pieces.  I always had a river-tank system that used a biological filtration system & there was no filter to clog (in addition to lots of water changes).  I would feed my turtles the excess algae from other tanks & extra plants I had pruned from my plant tank, in addition to algae wafers.> Anyway, please let me know if I should not be providing my painted turtle with anacharis and other water/pond plants.  She seems to love them, but then, she eats the hard mineral crusts that flake off the water heaters as well LOL. <You could place a mineral block in it's tank, in addition to adding calcium/vitamins to it's food.  ~PP> Kathy

Turtles Appetite Slowing Down   9/30/06 Hello, I have a painted turtle, which I rescued from an abandoned apartment four months ago.  I took her to the vet for a full inspection and received a clean bill of health.  She is 7-inches long and is kept in a 30-gallon tank with proper heating, lighting, basking area with lamp, and a significant filter.  Water is changed once/week and she is fed twice per day (pellets and leafy greens.) The question: it is now late September and she is eating less and slowing down.  She is spending a lot of time basking and sometimes I see her sleeping underwater during the day.  While eating she will chomp down on a pellet and spit most of it out.  She used to love these pellets and eat as many as I'd put in the tank.  Now she'll just eat a few per day.  I tried buying a variety of pellets, but she won't touch the others.  She no longer has much interest in the leafy greens, either.  Further, she seems to be burping large air bubbles underwater more than before. Other than that she seems to be normal.  I put her in boarding for a month while traveling, where she got a little fat (the pet shop that took her said she had quite an appetite.)  I know the Fall season beings a change in turtle behavior, but this is my first season with her and I'm not sure if this is normal.  Please advise. Thanks, Matt < During the fall turtles appetite normally slows down. This is in anticipation of hibernation. Food should be stored as fat. Food left in the stomach will rot if the temperatures are not right for digestion. If your turtle already has a good weight then she is probably OK. If she was thin then there would be a need for concern.-Chuck>

Yellow Bellied Turtle Questions   9/11/06 Hello! Just discovered your site and have to say it's brill! We have a yellow bellied slider called Tiny (not appropriate any more!) He is about 14 months old and his shell is about 5.5 inches long. His diet is varied frozen fish, bloodworm etc from the pet shop but I wondered if there is anything else we could give him. He is always begging for food and seems healthy enough. < As these turtles get older their diet changes from a meaty to a more veggie diet. Offer some green spinach and kale. The fiber in the veggies will keep them full longer.> Also, should we clip his claws as they seem to have grown a lot even though there are rocks for him to use in his tank? < You probably have a male turtle. Their front claws are very long compared to the female's claws. I would recommend that you leave them alone.> And also, one last question, could we add a baby slider to the same tank or would he see it as an "invasion" of his space? < The new turtle would be looked at as competition and would be constantly harassed by the bigger turtle.> The kids are begging us for another but the tank set up was expensive so I really don't want to get a second tank! Keep up the excellent work! Joanna, UK < Thanks for your kind words.-Chuck>

Feeding a Turtle   8/19/06 Thanks for answering my last question. After spending several hours online I have learned that there seems to be more than one way to feed a turtle.  I have been feeding reptile sticks once a day ( 3 or 4 as per directed) plus dried shrimp three times a  week.  Also a snack of  3 sticks in the afternoon. Today I purchased Reptivite. Do I put it on every stick? She is not interested in any veggies that I have offered. Should I add calcium powder? The container says that the sticks are fortified with calcium ( Wardley brand). I should add that she is about 4 inches long and is very active and alert. I really want to do the right thing for this lovely creature.  Sara < Go by the directions on the Reptovite container. You can actually OD them on this stuff. Calcium is not needed with a complete diet. Keep offering the vegetables such as kale and spinach. Don't forget some live food too like insects, worms and small fish.-Chuck>

Painted turtle won't eat veggies   8/8/06 Hi, My name is Laura and I've had my painted turtle zip for five years. I got him when he was a baby and he's still eating roughly the same things now that he ate then. <Turtles/chelonians are extreme creatures of familiarity> I've tried to give him different kinds of fruits and vegetables, but every time I try, he just bites them into little chunks and leaves them floating in his water. He NEVER eats them.. I saw a question posted about a turtle that swam at the glass every time the person moved or walked by.. and mine does that too. Your answer for them was to feed them spinach and kale, but my turtle won't eat it.. What is a girl to do?! ~*~Laura~*~ <Try mixing the new foods on/with a bit of the old... as with small children... Bob Fenner>

Re: Painted turtle won't eat veggies  - 08/11/06 Thanks so much.. I mixed the new food with the old and he eats the old food first.. but then eventually eats the new food. <Heeeee! Like me and my first time with Brussels sprouts! BobF> African Sideneck Turtle In the Corner  7/14/06 I got my African Sideneck Turtle 3 days ago and all it has done is sit in the corner of the tank near the water filter. My parents say that it likes the flowing water, but I am not sure. He also has not eaten in 2 days. My friends say that he is lonely, but I don't know. Should I be concerned? < Check the water temp. It should be up around 80 F. He will be more active at higher temps if everything else ids OK.>-Chuck> Turtle Not Eating, was African Sideneck Turtle In the Corner   7/15/06 What do I do if the water gets to cold? Why is He not eating? < You have a tropical turtle that needs to be warm to increase his metabolism and properly digest his food. If he is too cold then the food sits in his stomach and rots. Get an aquarium thermometer and set it for 80 F and see if he gets more active. The other problem could be parasites. You will need to take a fecal sample to a vet to have it checked out.-Chuck>

Begging Turtle Driving Owner Crazy    6/14/06 I've had my turtle for almost a year now and in the past couple months he has been crazily flapping around in the front of the tank when he sees me.  I thought he might be hungry but sometimes the food ends up just sitting there. Eventually he stops once put my face really close to the tank or put my hand there. I was wondering if this was normal behavior or if it could mean something else. I love my turtle but it gets real annoying sometimes when I hear him kicking in the rocks all day long. I've tried putting something in front of the tank so he could stare at it which makes him stop but I feel bad sometimes. But its either that or trying to stay real still in my room because once I move, he swims to the front and goes crazy again. Thank you for your time! < As your turtle grows he has different dietary requirements. When young, they like a more meaty diet. As they grow they need some vegetable matter in their diet. Try to vary the diet with some live insects, washed earthworms and add some vegetable matter like kale and spinach. These new items may take care of his requirements for additional vitamins and minerals.-Chuck>

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

Old Box Turtle  5/26/06 My name is Stacy I am 14. Hi Stacey, Pufferpunk here.> My sisters boyfriend found this box turtle on the side of the road on a rainy day.  When he got home he gave me the turtle.  I noticed that my turtle has 2 holes in her shell.   <This is common with older turtles.  Had some shell damage in the past but should be fine & be able to live a long life with this.> On his right back leg that he only has 1 nail on it and the other has all 3. <Yes, you have a 3-toed box turtle with 1 deformed foot.  No issues there.> I was wondering what I could do to fix everything that's wrong with her. <Nothing to fix.  Just things that happen to a turtle in the wild.  Be sure to give it at least a 20 gallon tank, with a shelter on one side (an overturned box with the side cut out will do & a water bowl large enough for it to bathe in on the other side.  Be sure to change the water daily, or it will be drinking poop water.  Mulch is a great substrate for them.  It's cheap & you can buy large bags even at most gas stations during gardening season. Just make sure not to use cedar, it poisonous!  Change every 2 weeks & hand clean any poop daily (most will be in the water).  You will also need a reflector lamp for warmth.   Food: dark green veggies (no iceberg lettuce--mostly water), any fruits.  Frozen mixed veggies (defrosted 1st, of course) work well.  So do fruit cocktail, well rinsed, for quick feedings.  They love red foods.  Canned dog food or dry soaked in water.  Crickets & earthworms (found in wild-box turtles tummies when dissected), are a favorite treat.  Dust the food with reptile vitamins (be sure they have calcium in there, for the shell). If kept properly, a box turtle can live over 30 years!  ~PP> Thanks a lot, Stacy Cline

Turtle Not Eating This is the first time for me to have red ear slider. One slider has yellow orangish markings instead of red the other does have the red markings is this something to be concerned about and will it become a health issue? < Some variation in color is to be expected between turtles. This is normal. > I don't believe they are eating as much as they should. I have had them for 3 days and the turtle (dot that's her name but now I learn that she may not even be a girl the store sadly misinformed me on how to tell the sex) with the yellow markings is the only one eating. Other than this I am happy to say that they appear happy which makes me happy. If you could just ease my concerns that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you <Check the basking spot with a thermometer. It should be about 85+ F. Turtles need heat to properly digest their food and a spot that is too cool with cause digestive problems later on. Once they are properly warmed up the appetite should come around.-Chuck> Keeping Yellow Bellied Sliders  4/6/06 Hi Bob, < Chuck, this time.> Recently I bought 2 yellow belly sliders and at the moment they are approx. 1 1/4 in long, I have them in a 27 litre tank with a floating island and they seem to be happy enough. My only fear is that I am feeding them dry shrimp and I'm afraid to give them any fruits or small vegetables because am not too sure whether or not they are too young for this type of food. Also do I need to give them any additional nutritional pellets or vitamins? If you could tell me what age is ok to be feeding them different types of food I would greatly appreciate it. I'm not too sure of the sex yet because they are still quite young but just in case will I need to prepare for breeding or incubation? Thanking you Tommy < Young turtles are more meat eaters. When they get three or four inches then they start to eat more vegetable matter. Veggies can be offered at any time and won't hurt them. Try spinach and kale. Zoo Med makes a commercial aquatic turtle food that can be supplemented with insects and worms. Proper lighting with UVA and UVB, will provide the turtles with the means to produce their own vitamins. females get bigger than males and males have longer tails.-Chuck> Feeding Turtles Feeder Fish  - 3/16/2006 Thanks for the advice. Can I give the baby turtles live feeder fish? < While fish are definitely part of a turtles diet they need to be feed other things as well. Feeder fish are poorly treated and usually are not that nutritional. Small turtles would have a problem catching a fish. I think the feeders would just end up living in the tank with the turtles.-Chuck>

Turtle Eating Sulfa Block   2/13/06 Hi,  I tried to find an answer to my question everywhere else you suggested and am not having any luck.  I have a black knobbed Sawback map turtle, female about 2 years old, approx. 5 inches long (shell).  She is normally a very voracious eater, all of her living conditions are correct ( heat lamp, basking area, large filter, UV light, good varied diet, Reptisafe in water, etc...)  anyways --- 2 days ago she decided to eat her Dr. Turtle sulfa block.  Now she is not hungry and hiding under her dock, VERY unusual behavior for her!  I have had her since she was little and she has never been with a male so I know she is not egg bound.  Is that sulfa block that she ATE like a goof going to hurt her?  Jessica < A turtles get older their dietary needs change. They need less meat and more vegetable matter in their diet. Your turtle needs minerals. Add some kale and spinach to the diet while feeding Zoo Med Adult Aquatic Turtle Food. It may take awhile for the turtle block in the stomach to dissolve.-Chuck>

Young Turtle Feeding   1/26/06 Thank you for your speedy reply to my first inquiry.  I have one more question about the little turtles. I have been feeding them "Zoo Meds Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food."  I was advised to feed each turtle about 3 pellets each.  On the back of the container though, it says to feed them a teaspoon EACH!!  This is a huge difference!!  Am I starving my turtles? Also, one seems to be shedding his neck skin...a normal sign of growth, right? -Ljc <Try following the directions on the package and see how much they eat. This would account for them eating fecal matter if they are not getting enough to eat. Some shedding of skin is considered normal for young growing turtles.-Chuck>

Turtle Eating Fecal Matter    1/25/06 I have had my turtle for about 3 weeks to a month and have never seen it poop. This morning my son noticed that it was little green balls in the tank (poop) and the turtle was eating it. Is this normal behavior? How often should they poop. This was his first time since I've had him. Also the little antibacterial thingy (shaped like a turtle) that you drop in the tank, he eats that too. Is this normal? Please help!! April Wilson < Your turtle is craving minerals and vitamins. Vary the diet with Zoo Med Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food, Zoo Med Turtle Treat, washed earthworms, mealworms, kale and spinach.-Chuck.>

Turtle Won't Eat  12/22/05 I have another question for you. Our turtle has not been eating since we got her. We got her on 12/17 and she has only eaten 1/2 of a pellet of turtle food. We have tried the shrimp, shredded carrots, two types of baby turtle pellets. I have also tried putting her in another container just for feeding but she won't eat there either. What do we try next? Concerned, Tammy < Try washed earthworms, mealworms or kingworms.-Chuck>

Turtle Success Story 12/18/05 Thank you so much for all your help.  I wanted to let you know that we ran out and got Tim a heater and changed the heating bulb to a warmer one.  The next day he was eating and behaving a lot more like his old self.  He still doesn't bask a lot but he is basking - which is a new thing for him.  He makes us laugh stretching out his neck and legs trying to get all that "sunshine".  Thanks for all your help.  Just wanted to let you know that the turn around was really quick. <Excellent, glad to hear he is coming around. -Gage>

Turtle Quit Eating Hi I have had my turtle for 4 years, he's always active and healthy, was always a big eater, he's really quite large, he has a good water temp and basking temp, his water is clean, and he's very active, my problem is, he doesn't seem to want to eat which is odd, cause he was always a big eater, everything is fine really, can u give me some advice.....Thank you Trisha < When turtles are little they are mostly carnivorous. They eat worms and bugs and meaty things. When they get older they switch to a more vegetarian diet. Zoomed makes an aquatic turtle adult food with less protein then their hatchling food. Try that with some kale or spinach leaves. Look at some of the pelleted fish food high in Spirulina as an alternative too.-Chuck> Turtles Don't Eat  12/7/05 Hi, I have two red eared sliders. One is approximately two and the other one. Both have been acting out of sorts lately. The water temp is at 80 F and they have a basking area with a heat light. The tank is cleaned regularly and has a filter. Yet all of a sudden the turtles no longer swim at all. They won't eat anything and the little one makes weird sounds almost like those a kitten would make. The larger one has swollen eyes which I understand to be a vitamin deficiency and have now been treating with drops from the vet. I am very concerned about them and wonder what the problem could be. All they do is lay on the rock all day and night under the heat light and only move when I pick them up to make sure they are still living. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Tracey < Cool the water down to room temperature. Check the temperature of the basking spot. I would keep the water no warmer than 70 and make sure that the basking spot is up to 85 F. They probably have a respiratory infection that may require the attention of a vet. Give Eye drops by Zoomed on the eyes if they close and keep up on the vitamins.-Chuck> 

Turtles Won't Eat II  12/7/05 Thank you for the quick response. I will change the water temp immediately and keep up with the eye drops. What vitamins would you consider to be the best? < Go with ZooMed. They make quality products.> And are the sounds the little one is making something I should be concerned with? < This is a respiratory infection and the sounds you hear are liquid in the lungs. High heat and low humidity are needed to dry out the lungs. Antibiotics are very effective too.-Chuck> 

Turtle Needs Heat And Lighting in Ireland  12/7/05 Chuck, Thanks for your help with my earlier e-mail. I should probably have explained that I live in Ireland and have not been able to locate a pet store which sells heat lamps. I have lowered the water temp. but am unable to heat the basking area. My slider hasn't eaten in six weeks and is starving to death. He won't open his mouth for me or the vet so we are unable to feed him. We have tried to physically open his mouth but its impossible. The most we have been able to get into his mouth are a few drops of Vitamin A. When we did manage to get a quick look inside his mouth it appeared that his tongue was all swollen and covered with a white/cream colour lumpy substance (from the internet info. I have been able to locate this appears to be mouth rot ). I am so desperate to help him but no-one here knows anything about turtles.  Do you or any of your friends know how I can open his mouth to feed him or have any suggestion as to what I can do to help him. He is so thin and wasted looking that I don't think he has much longer. Sorry for all the questions but you are my only hope.  Sincerely, Laura < Go to a nursery that sells indoor plants and get an indoor full spectrum light bulb. Place it close enough to the basking spot so it heats the area up to 85F. Go online to Drsfostersmith.com and see if they are able to ship to Ireland. Then order what you need.-Chuck> 

Turtle Finally Eating Chuck, Just a short note to say THANK YOU as I managed to get a heat bulb and within 2 days my slider started eating again and is since looking great. Thanks for the advice and the great service you guys offer. Sincerely, Laura O'Mahony < I am glad for you and your turtle that everything worked out. Thanks for writing back and letting us know that everything is OK.-Chuck>

Turtle Eating Turtle Dock  12/8/05 I have a red eared slider that is about 5 inches. He has grown well ( from about the size of a half dollar to 5 inches since July). He eats well and seems very happy but he has started to bite on his turtle dock and actually eat it. Will this hurt him and if so what else can I use? < As your turtle grows it requires less protein and more vegetable matter in its diet. The Turtle Dock by Zoomed is made from urethane and is inert and will safely pass through your turtle. What your turtle is actually trying to do is eat the algae that is growing on the dock to meet its vitamin and mineral requirements. Give it some green spinach leaves or kale. Get some vitamins and follow the directions on the bottle. Cut back on the protein in the diet.-Chuck> 

Mixing Turtles at the Turtle Mixer 11/6/05 Hello, I have 4 red eared sliders and 3 of them are being adopted. I wanted to know if I could put the red eared slider that is left with my painted turtle. They are around the same size, but I don't want either to get hurt. Please let me know. They will have a 75 gallon tank. < As long as they are all the same size and you spread the food out all over the tank at feeding time they should be OK. Larger turtles get quite temperamental. The larger the turtles the more feisty they become.-Chuck> 

Turtle Won't Eat Fruits and Vegetables 11/3/05 Hello! I have a female RES who is three and a half years old (I raised her from a baby). She is very healthy, quite active, great appetite, and has a set up any aquarium would be proud of. My question is about her not eating vegetables. Her diet is mostly Reptomin, and I try to vary it as much as possible. Her favorite food is actually chicken, which I feed her on special occasions, only plain and cooked. She would eat chicken and crickets exclusively if I let her! She will eat nuts too, but those also are special treats. Krill is somewhat popular. I have been totally unsuccessful in getting her to eat any type of fruit or vegetable, though.  <<Sounds just like a cockatiel I rescued.  This turtle's name isn't Mina, is it?  Marina>> I have tried going several days in a row where that was all I would offer, thinking she was just spoiled, and that if she got hungry enough she would eat it. But it didn't work. It's as if she doesn't recognize them as edible! At this age, shouldn't she be a little less carnivorous? <No they are mostly carnivores all of their lives.> I have tried every fruit and vegetable I can imagine. I have even bought ones that I have never tried to see if she would like them! Also, I am unsure when I should stop feeding her every day. I thought she was old enough. I've tried skipping a day every so often, but when I do, she is so hungry the next day, she eats too quickly and ends up almost  choking/spitting it back up. Any suggestions? Kathleen < Try romaine, mustard, kale zucchini and carrots. If this does not work then place the vegetables in a bucket and place some mealworms, kingworms or crickets in the bucket with the vegetables overnight. The bugs will eat the veggies and then you can feed the bugs to the turtle will all the veggies in the bugs. This is called gut loading by herpetologists and works very well. Feedings three to four times a week are plenty.-Chuck>  <<Mmmm... gutloading... >>

Getting Turtles To Eat Other Foods 10/22/05 Hello, I have two baby RES (Red Eared Slider) and they only eat the dried baby shrimp. I tried to put turtle Gammarus pellets, fruits etc. They will ignore them. I know it is not healthy for them to eat only one kind of food. What can I do? Thanks < Feed your turtle once each day at the same time. Leave the food in there for five minutes and then siphon it out. When they are hungry enough they will eat. Leave out the fruit and try mealworms and earthworms and crickets.-Chuck>

Turtle is a Hog  10/5/05 Hello there, I have 2 young Red Eared Sliders, one of my turtles just threw up all of his food! Since they are still young I feed them once a day and only as much as they can eat in about 3 minutes, then scoop out the leftovers. Is this just a case of eating too fast? He or she is a bit of a food hog, I usually separate the 2 but thought this issue was resolved, or is it something I should be concerned about? The tank is a 20 gallon long, with heat lamp, Fluval filter and basking rock, I have had bamboo  in there  for about 3 weeks and the turtles have had no interest in it, but took it out today out of fear, and cleaned the tank thoroughly.  Do you think this might be the cause? Or is it safe to put it back ( its helped with algae problems tremendously) any way thanks for your help I can't find any useful info on this. Morgan < This is usually the case in which the turtles are afraid that the other one will compete for the food so they try and eat as much as they can as fast as they can.  The result is that they eat too fast and then throw up. Separate the turtles at feeding time and they will eat slower and keep it down. Any sort of live plants will absorb the nitrates and help keep the algae under control.-Chuck>

Little Turtle Eating Too Much  8/27/05 Hey, I'm a first time turtle owner and I've had my RES for about 2 months now. He threw up twice in the past week.  I was wondering if could be because he's sick or over fed?  He's been acting normal.  He begs for food A LOT so I'm always dropping a stick or two for him.  Also, I know that when they bask it helps with digestion and I've noticed too that this week he hasn't been basking he's too busy begging for food.  Could that be the cause of him throwing up?   Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon. < Your little guy has you well trained. They would eat 24/7 if you fed them, and to make room they throw up so you can keep feeding them. Cut back on the food and try to vary their diet with other things.-Chuck> Turtle Won't Eat 8/20/05 Bob, <Chuck Here> How long can a small turtle go with out eating? < Not too long depending on the temperature> I have a small slider and  he has not eaten in over a month. I take him out in the sun/shade every day his water is clean and filtered he has a basking light when he's inside he's active but he will not eat I have tried everything from turtle food to apples, lettuce, treats it breaks my heart. I have called every vet in this area but only one takes care of turtles and they are gone for another month. What else can I do? Thank You, Janet Makinen <Little turtles need more protein for their little bodies to grow. If you turtle is truly active and healthy then try small earthworms, mealworms, or crickets. Once he is eating you can introduce the other stuff.-Chuck>

Little Turtle Still Going 8/21/05 Chuck, Thanks for emailing me. My little turtle is really little he's no more then about 2 inches across. His shell is not big enough, I would think to eat crickets, do you think? < Crickets come in all sizes to pin head to adults. Ask a pet shop that sells reptiles and they will have any size you need.> I'm desperate I do not want him to die. Where can I get mealworms, do they sell them at the pet stores? < Mealworms are a standard any almost any pet shop. Just ask. They keep them in the refrigerator.> He ate one time when we first got him one pellet then that was it. He's strong willed so I know he's not ready to die :( I can understand what's keeping him going all this time without food. Thanks Janet < Go outside and look under some logs or stones for some small earthworms. Wash them well and I think your turtle will relish them.-Chuck>

Turtle Still Won't Eat 8/22/05 Chuck, Thanks. I live in a really small town with very few pet stores but did fine one that had crickets they were kind of big but I got a  few anyway and some mealworms keeping my fingers crossed he doesn't seem interested in either but I'm praying. I live in Florida and the soil where I live is very sandy I looked for worms but found nothing but scorpions under the stuff I turned over. YIKES!! I just don't understand what's wrong with him. We have one vet who deals with reptiles but she's out of town for about a month. I can't tell if he's sick, he's active when he's in the sun *sigh* thanks for all your help.  I'll let you know what happens to him. again thanks Janet < Increase the temperature of the water in the tank and the basking spot. Water temp to about 80F and the basking spot up to 100F should help.-Chuck>

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

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

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

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

My Red Eared Sliders Hi, I bought two RES for my son for Christmas one of them is doing fine and seems to be growing normally. The other my favorite is not growing he is still the same size as he was when I got him and today I noticed that he seems to be off balance he keeps flipping backwards and swimming in circles I have looked him over for injuries and have found none, his eyes look fine the only thing I have done different is I got them some krill said it was high protein. If you could give some advice I would appreciate it. I know of no reptile vets in my area. Thanks Sandra < You don't want to give them a diet too high in protein or else they grow faster than their shell. This leads to a distorted shell that never really looks the same. I would isolate the smaller turtle into his own tank. Makes sure. If he still has a good appetite then I would give him some live food such as mealworms, earthworms and crickets. Make sure to give him a warm dry area to bask. A heat lamp with a full spectrum bulb is recommended. Usually high heat will take care of most of the parasites that affect turtles. Make sure to keep up on the maintenance and keep their tank clean.-Chuck> Baby RES not eating 07.04.05 Thanks for the advice! I did get a filter although I did not get a heater for the water yet...but I have one other question. My baby R.E.S. won't eat now!   It has been 3 days and I haven't seen him eat a bite yet. Is this normal? Get back  A.S.A.P. THANKS <I missed the previous email but cold water will definitely slow metabolism and discourage your turtle from eating.  What's your water temperature?  What foods are you offering?-Gage>

Turtle on a Fast 7/9/05 Baby RES not eating 07.04.05 Thanks for the advice! I did get a  filter although I did not get a heater for the water yet...but I have  one other question. My baby R.E.S. won't eat now! It has been 3 days  and I haven't seen him eat a bite yet. Is this normal? Get back   A.S.A.P. THANKS < Heat is the key to a turtle's metabolism since they are cold blooded. The warmer they are kept, the more energy they burn and the more food they require. If the water is too cool or they don't have a hot spot to bask then they simply won't eat.  If it is too cool then the food would be rotting in your turtles gut and that may kill him.-Chuck> Red Eared Sliders Not Eating 7/19/05 I have two baby RES. One female and one male. < You cannot tell the sex on baby red eared sliders until they are around 4 inches in length. At this size I wouldn't really call them babies.> The female seems to be more aggressive then the male. But that's not the problem. The problem is that the turtles have not yet eaten yet. I've had them for 3 days now and they haven't eaten. I've tried baby floating pellets and bits of raw ham. Is this normal for them? And the male seems to spend most of his time under water. He goes up when he's under the light though. Is that also normal? < If you are truly referring to baby red eared sliders then the are pretty small at around one inch. Look at the belly and see if they still have an egg spot on the bottom of the shell. If they are really this small then they just got done absorbing their egg sac and really shouldn't have been sold yet. We have gotten letters from people impulse buying baby turtles at swap meets and then trying to figure out how to take care of them after they get them home. Keep the water clean and give them a basking spot out of the water where they can heat up under a plant light or some natural direct light. Try feeding them small washed earthworms. That will usually get them going.-Chuck> Red ear sliders Yes I bought two red eared sliders Saturday dec.14, they're both about the size of a Half dollar, I'm curious about how much I feed them, how many times I feed them a day and the longest I should leave my black light on for them? I appreciate you reading my questions. thank you, Mark <Hey Mark, with sliders this small I would feed them small amounts 2 to 3 times per day.  You do not want left over food in the tank.  If you have your water heated I would leave the backlight on all day so they can bask, and turn it off at night.  If you water is not heated, I would get a heater.  There is a ton of info on the web about these turtles, I would use Google.com and search for red eared slider care sheets, you should find tons of info. Here is something to get you started http://www.tortoise.org/general/watcare.html  Best Regards,  Gage>

Re: Red ear slider Thanks again so far they haven't eaten at all today what do you recommend, to get them to feed, I read that during this time they really don't want to eat. <during what time?  the winter?  adult turtles would refuse food if you dropped their temperature enough and they felt the need to hibernate.  I would not do this with youngans, they will most likely die.  Make sure there water is heated to around 76f or above.  Try offering live worms, feeder guppies, frozen beef heart, and turtle sticks/pellets.  Best Regards, Gage> Thanks again.

Aquatic Turtle Care I have 2 yellow bellied sliders.  I am contemplating putting them in an outdoor pond.  We live near the Virginia coast and I wonder How to set up this pond (supplies, plants, etc.).   Also, can they stay out there year around? <I do not keep my turtle outside because of the predators, but outdoors is definitely best for them if you can meet all of their requirements.  The link below is to an article on ponds for turtles, it should be a good place to start. http://www.tortoise.org/general/pondmak.html> What kind of plants do I have to have in order to make a outside pen for them? <most pond plants should be fine> And what kind of foods do they eat beside night crawlers and lettuces? And where do I find powder vitamins and calcium's to sprinkle on their foods? <Here is a good article on feeding aquatic turtles http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/aquaticdiet.htm If you have a local reptile shop you can get the vitamins from them, or from an etailer like our wonderful sponsor http://www.drsfostersmith.com/ Best Regards, Gage>   Thanks  Julia Rk

Winter and Red Eared Slider I really need to know if I can leave my red eared sliders out side in the winter or not. I have a little pond outside that they can live in. I have a heater for the pond so it won't freeze.   I keep gold fish in it and they stay alive.  I have it all fenced in so they can't get hurt by any animals. They also have land to go onto so they can be on land if they need to.  please help <It really depends on where you live.  If it gets cold enough they should bury themselves at the bottom of your pond and go into hibernation.  I personally would move them inside, I have never hibernated a turtle or tortoise and if I were going to try it I would like to be in control of the conditions.  Check out the links below to help with your decision.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.anapsid.org/hibernation.html http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/Refrigerator.htm  >

Turtle Feeding Hi, I just got a pair of hatchling yellow bellied sliders about a week and a half ago.  They are about 1 and 1/2 inch in length.  I am feeding them Zoo Med's Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food about once a day and they don't seem to be eating.  This is what the man I bought them from suggested I feed them.  On the first day I got them I fed them and they seemed to eat a little bit but now I don't ever see them eat the food.  I have tried removing them from their habitat and putting them in their own separate containers with the food for about an hour an still nothing.  Do you think it is just me or do I have a problem?  Please let me know.   Thanks! ~ Jenn <Hi Jenn, I would give them a chance to adjust to their new surroundings and offer a variety of foods, make sure their temperature is warm. Check out the link below, for similar issues, I am sure they will come around.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/sliderfaqs.htm >

Turtle Food 1/11/04 WWM Crew. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Please can you tell me the best food for my turtles I have 1 painted (2 months) old and 2 yellow bellies (3 months). I live in the UK and food seems to be frozen bloodworms, frozen daphnia and frozen turtle food. I would like to give them a good diet. <I have an African Sideneck, Asian map & soft-shell turtle (in addition to 6 box turtles).  They eat cut-up pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, turtle & cichlid pellets, earthworms & crickets.  Make sure to use reptile vitamins w/calcium on their food, at least 1x/week.>   Thank you for your time.  Damon <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Turtle Hunger Strike My public library children's area recently received a pair of yellow-bellied slider turtles.  They're about three years old.  The family that donated them kept them in a ten gallon tank with only about two inches of water and some gravel -- no light, no space to swim, nothing.  Their diet -- apparently the only thing that worked for them -- consisted of Tetrafauna Reptomin pellet food.  According to the family, they ate well and always got excited about their food. We immediately filled the tank more than half full, set up a heat lamp, provided them with a dry perch, etc.    The turtles seem to love their new space and take periodic laps around the tank.  They did lots of exploring the first day, and now have picked their favorite spot on a partially submerged rock.  But after a week here, they still have not touched their food.  We're planning to introduce meat, earthworms, etc., into the their diet, and hope that will help.  But if it doesn't, what's up?  are they just traumatized by their recent move?  Again, they reportedly ate very well before.  Please advise.  Thanks! Catherine E. Threadgill Children's Services Charleston County Public Library 68 Calhoun Street Charleston, SC  29401 >>>Hello Catherine, It's likely that you're just witnessing the effects of acclimation. Give them a few more days, and I'm sure they'll begin eating. Try to avoid disturbing them during this time if possible, as the added anxiety will prolong the fast. Good luck Jim<<<

Sad Turtle  12/1/04 Hello, again.   <Hi, it's Pufferpunk here again> We upgraded to a 20 gallon aquarium with mulch and a big bowl for swimming, etc., and she absolutely loves it, but she still won't eat.  I did the mixture you said and she turned her nose up at it. <Have you tried warming her up in her bowl (with warm water) before offering her food?  also, they seem to be attracts to red foods, especially earthworms).   After two days of not eating I started to worry and gave her some apple which she gladly accepted, <Red foods, see?> but even the fruit she eats only bite sized amounts (to you or me) a day.  I've tried feeding her 2 or 3 times a day-giving her a fresh piece of something different-but she barely eats.  Are there any vitamin drops that I can drop on the food I give her to keep her healthy?  Or should I consider carrying her to a vet?   <I don't think a vet is necessary.  Turtles will try to hibernate in the winter. Try to keep her warm & keep offering her lots of variety, to find out what her favorite foods are.  You can buy good reptile vitamins form a pet shop.  Also, adding cod-liver oil to her food & rubbing it on her shell & legs is very good for her.  ~PP> Thanks for all your help. Jenni

Box Turtle Care & Feeding  11/21/04 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> This may be normal behavior, or I may have been misinformed on care.  I have a box turtle-about 1.5 years old.  She is in a 10 gallon aquarium w/sand or aquarium gravel on the bottom, about 2 inches of water and about 10 1 inch-ish rocks scattered about for basking.  There is also a fake plant and a decorative rock in there with her.  My problem is that she seems almost sad.  She always hides under the plant, doesn't eat very well-refuses to eat the pellets they gave me at the stores and is partial to iceberg lettuce and any fruit.  She has done really well today, but I'm worried she may be lonely.  (A friend found the baby nest in a river behind his house, gave some away when old enough and returned the rest where they were found).  My brother got her, or I would have asked for 2 lol.  I was wondering a few things 1) Am I caring for her properly 2) Would it be a good idea to get her a "buddy" 3) If so, what kind of turtles get along well with box turtles? Any advice would be wonderful, and I apologize if I re-asked a question, I'm not a good skimmer. <1st thing, I must ask you to please use proper capitalization in your letters.  These go to our FAQs & I have to fix them myself, before sending it.  That takes away from time I could be answering other questions.  If you do really have a box turtle (high arched shell, brown in color, locally caught ones usually have 3 back toes), then it is a land animal, not water.  It will need a container large enough to soak in for water, but mostly a dry area to hang out in.  I use cypress mulch about 3" thick, so it can bury itself, if they wish.  It will need a 20g long tank, so you can have one cool end (with the water bowl) & a warm end (with a reflector lamp above).  You need to change the water as soon as it gets dirty, as this will also be it's drinking water.  It will also like a cave to hide in (a large shoebox with one side cut out will do).  There is prepared box turtle foods made, but it can get expensive.  When wild box turtles have been dissected, they found mostly earthworms in their stomach, so that should be #1 on their list.  Usually I mix up some frozen mixed veggies, & diced fruit, mushrooms & canned dog food.  If you haunt your local grocery, you can sometimes see them taking old, soft fruit off the shelves.  Ask them if you can have it.  Iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value, as  it is mostly water.  The greener the better.  You can make up larger amounts & put into small 1/2 cup portions & freeze, to feed later.  Also, find a good reptile vitamin to "salt" it's food with.  If you want more turtles, you will need 20g/turtle.  I'd stick with only box turtles as companions, but they really don't care if they live alone.   Here are some good sites on turtles: http://www.turtletimes.com/   http://www.turtletimes.com/market/index_store.htm   Good luck & enjoy your turtle--it will live for around 30 years if you take good care of it!  ~PP (My name is Jeni too!)> Thanks again, Jenni

Is It a Chicken, or a Turtle? No! It's the Eastern Chicken Turtle Hi I've just recently brought an eastern long neck turtle.  It's about 2 years old.  I was just wondering how much food and what food is the best to feed him. < You probably are referring to an Eastern Chicken turtle. This is an aquatic turtle that does well on meal worms, earthworms, crickets, king worms, trout chow, fish and commercially available turtle food. A varied diet is best. Feed him once a day so that most of it is gone after a couple minutes. As the weather warms up then his metabolism will increase and he will need to be fed a little more and maybe a couple times a day.-Chuck> 

Turtle Feeding Hi, It's Ben again. I hope you got my last e-mail. I forgot to ask you one of the most important questions of all. As I have said I have two 5 month old yellow bellied turtles and I feed them about 100 1/4inch sticks between the two of them once every second night. Is this enough because I have my doubts. Yours sincerely Ben Thanks for your time < I would rather see you feed them 50 pellets every day instead. Little turtles always act hungry so their behavior is not that unusual. Mix in some fresh food every one in a while like crickets, mealworms and earthworms too.-Chuck>

New Turtle Pet Hey, My brother found a turtle going down the road the other day. It is about 4 inches across and 4 1/2 long. It never goes in its shell and I don't know what is wrong with it, it never eats . I don't know what to feed it either. I tried lettuce. It has little pockets of air it seems like above its back legs. If you have any clue what could be wrong please email me back. Amanda < Go back to the WWM Homepage and type in turtle under the Google search. There you will find lots of info on turtles. Your turtle sounds like the fat deposits on its back legs indicate that it has been eating well and is actually in pretty good shape.-Chuck> 

Turtle Won't Eat Anymore Hi, We have an Eastern Painted turtle (Turtiss is her name). We think she is between 3-4 years old. She used to eat meal worms (as many as possible) and now she won't eat much at all. We bought a 30 gallon aquarium for her when we got her along with a deck for her to bask in. She used to eat some fish flakes and lettuce, but she really won't eat much of anything. Do you have any ideas as to why her appetite has changed so much? Karen Sennott < Turtles need a good amount of heat on their basking spot to help digest their food. Without enough heat the food sits in the gut and rots. Not good. Check the temperature of the basking spot with a thermometer. It should at least be 90 to 100 degrees on the spot itself. If it is lower than that you need to get a bigger light source or move the existing heat source closer to the spot. A few days of warming up should help get things moving.-Chuck> 

Wood Turtle Not Eating - Please Don't Send Queries in HTML Hey Crew, A few months ago I bought a 7 year old Ornate Wood Turtle from my local pet store. She's a hyper turtle that loves swimming in her water and burying herself in wood before bed. The problem is, she eats very sporadically. Sometimes she eats her food daily, other times she avoids it for a week or more. Is this healthy? I'm worried about her starving. I change her water daily and food at least every other day *depending on if she eats it*. Please help me, I don't want to see her sick. Thank you! < Wood turtles from Central America like it hot and humid. They should be treated like North American box turtle regards to diet. I would try lots of different veggies , king worms and regular garden

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