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FAQs About Turtle Respiratory Disease/Health

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

Related FAQs: Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 2, Shell Rot, RES Disease, & Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Reproduction, Amphibians, Other Reptiles,

My RES     7/24/18
hey wwm I've got a RES that's about 6 1/2 -7 yrs old and the past couple of week he's started to look swollen like he's to big for his shell. he doest move and just floats around in his tank unless we pick him up and put him on his basking rock. i have 0 knowledge on turtles but i know something is wrong his appetite has decreased too. what may be the problem and what can i do to help him get back to his normal self. ty -milli
<Hello Milli. Does sound as if your turtle might have a respiratory tract infection and/or metabolic bone disease. Both of these are extremely grave, and without treatment will kill your turtle. First of all have a read here:
As ever, prevention is much better (and easier) than cure, so understanding why a turtle gets sick is very important. A lack of warmth and especially a lack of UV-B lighting over the tank are two critical factors here. In the short term, a trip to the vet is probable. But once you get the turtle home again, you'll want to ensure the environment is optimised for a speedy recovery (i.e., ensure the UV-B lamp is less than 6-12 months old, ensure the heat lamp is working). I've cc'ed our two turtle experts just in case I've missed something. Cheers, Neale.>

Symptoms after Vitamin A injections alarming!!     2/12/17
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We've taken our son's 2 RES to an emergency vet that diagnosed them with pneumonia saying we purchased them sick it just takes time for them o show symptoms.
<Very true and .. sadly ... very common>

They were given injections for 30 days every 72 hours and today they went back to the regular vet because it has been 8 days since they have eaten do to stress of dry docking them and being sick in general.
<Not a huge concern assuming that had been eating prior to getting sick>
The vet today gave them Vitamin A injections and now they keep biting and won't stop moving the leg they were given in as if they are irritated and they haven't done this after the medication injections we've been giving them. Will this go away or do they need to go back to emergency vet since our normal vet is now closed??!!
<Not at this point. I'm not sure what injections they were given for 30 days, and I would have given calcium and D along with the "A" -- but at this point my suggestion is to STOP treating them.>
<At this point the stress from the treatments is a negative affect on the over-all course of recovery. Keep them dry docked except for their daily bath of luke-warm water. Make sure that the water is not over their eye/nose level so that no water accidentally gets in their lungs. Other than that, keep them warm and dry - and allow them some peace and quiet.>
<Pay attention, of course, that they open their eyes and will move when necessary (such as during their bath) but you're treated the infection and now it's time to de-stress them>

Desert tortoise almost drowned 6 days ago     4/15/16
Dear Crew
<Hiya, Darrel here>
A desert Tortoise lives in our backyard and has for several years before we bought the house. For the first time he woke up from hibernation and wandered straight into the pool. We don’t think he was there long before he was found but it could have been hours or minutes. We got him out and he was still alive so we stretched and pushed his front legs and he water would come out of his nose.
He seemed to perk up after a day and be doing well and now on day 6 he seems worse. He is lethargic and barely moving at this point but is still alive. Of course I am worried about what it would cost to take him to a specialty vet and then I worry that they will take him from the only place he has lived for years.
<Specialty vets are expensive, but sometimes necessary. The Tortoise has had water in his lungs (probably still has some) and he's suffering from pneumonia. The first thing to do is get him warm. Get him somewhere where you can keep him around 95 degrees or more. A plastic storage tub from a home center with a heat lamp clamped on the side running 24/7. >
We live in Tucson AZ and I have no idea what to do for him. He is wild although he has lives in or back yard for years. I just want to help him, we have come to love him and enjoy his presence. What can I do to help him and what should I do to help him.
<In this case I would suggest that you reach out to someone like Tucson reptile rescue http://www.tucsonreptilerescue.com/ and get a referral on a vet.>

res respiratory problem       11/23/15
Hi I m Sid
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I bought a res turtle a month ago. He is 2 inches long. He is showing strange things since last 3 days listed below
1) not eating a single thing.
2) not going into water, always sitting on basking stone.
3) not going in shell when panicked.
4) opening mouth periodically to breathe, not always.
5) sometimes I saw white foam around his mouth.
Please help. he was basking properly fed him Taiyo discovery plus turtle food sticks.
He was jolly and active. Now he has active limbs but he is not that jolly.
Please help me ,I cant see him d..!
<OK – first things first. If I understand, he HAS been active and alert and eating and just in the last 3 days you’ve seen these symptoms? If that’s the case, you’ve caught his upper respiratory condition early and you can treat him. He’s probably had it since you got him, but it’s been getting quietly worse.>
<In any case, read here for everything you need to know about URI http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm -- Don’t worry if he doesn’t eat for the next few days. If he’s been eating regularly until recently he can go a week or so without food and if he’s warm and dry that can help him get better.>
<In the mean time, here is everything you need to know about KEEPING him healthy: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
make sure you read and understand everything and check to see you haven’t missed anything>

Map turtles        11/23/15
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I have baby map turtles and one of them is less active than the other. It also likes to float around like he's dead but he's not. He favors floating under the spout of the filter where the water pours out. Is this him being unique or is he trying to tell me something?
<we can never be sure about that … but congratulations for noticing and asking!!! It’s always better to see odd behavior and assume there IS a problem – better safe than sorry>
<What we look for in the Map turtles, sliders, Cooters and their cousins is that they are active, alert and hungry. Any time a little guy deviates from this we should always check further. So let’s go over the list:
1) Does he bask under the heat source sometimes?
2) Does he go into the water by himself?
3) Does he eat when offered food?
4) Is he alert to your presence (usually people=food=active)?
5) Is his shell firm to the touch (like the others)?
6) Are his eyes open and clear?
If the checklist is ALL ‘yes’ then you can assume he’s a bit weird, but if you have any question AT ALL – then treat him for a respiratory infection according to these instructions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  >
<The thing about treating for a respiratory infection is that it’s like ‘chicken soup’ for treating a cold: It may not help, but it can’t hurt!>
<What I mean is that dry-docking and treating for a URI is a non-stress vacation even for a healthy turtle, so whatever his condition (respiratory infection or just being weird) the treatment won’t hurt him>
<And again – make sure your care follows these guidelines: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Issues with my RES     10/1/15
My name is Kaitlyn Thomas. My Red Eared Slider, Tiny, ​is 6 years old and has been pretty healthy until now.​ ​ Current history that led to his issues. Moved twice and got married. Was on honeymoon for 2 weeks and had family member watching him. Tiny has been experiencing some shell rot for the first time​, but I was able to find the one vet in the upstate of South Carolina​ that treat​s​ reptiles.
<Unfortunately. But luckily if Shell Rot is the only thing wrong, you can treat this at home. Dry-docking plus "Iodine" as used as an antiseptic (i.e., Povidone-iodine or Betadine) works well. Let me direct you to some reading:
The real trouble starts when infections are inside the turtle, such as respiratory tract infections (RTIs) as these really do need antibiotics from a vet.>
His shell rot seems to be healing well with the current treatment regimen of diluted betadine, Silvadene cream and dry docking for about an hour and a half to two hours a day. He was also prescribed Ceftazidime injections to prevent or fight any type of possible infection.
Up until this past Friday he was doing fine. When I got home Friday night I realized that he was acting pretty mellow, very unlike himself, and I caught him opening his mouth very wide under water. After treating him on Friday night ​with his sell rot treatment ​and upon putting him back in his tank, he began to panic once he put his head under water. He began sticking his neck out, widely opening his mouth and bubbles were coming out every now and then. It almost looked like he was struggling for air or gagging. Maybe even gas.... I'm not sure.
<Inability to swim normally can mean fluids in the lungs, and this can be a sure sign of an RTI, especially alongside a bubbly nose, weird sounds when breathing, lack of movement, and so on. Again, let me direct you to some reading:
Such problems are treatable, though a vet will need to help.>
I took him to the vet the following morning and they really did not know exactly what was going on. Other than his episodes under water, he was acting perfectly normal. No swollen eyes, no bubbles coming out the nose, no wheezing, and still very active. The vet did a radio graph to see if she saw anything internal that could be causing the issue, but it came back clear. She thought ​ t ​ maybe it could be gas related and wanted to prescribe an injection for issues with this, but they did not have it in stock. In case it is a respiratory infection we are starting another round of Ceftazidime. ​(Which he had been on before this occurred)​
This morning, we attempted to feed in shallow water ​ instead of in his tank​ , but as soon as his head went under and he began to open his mouth it happened all over again. Tiny has not been able to eat since Friday morning. How long can he go without eating?​ ​
<Months, assuming he's a decent weight to begin with.>
Currently, he is dry docked with both heat lamp and UV lamp.​
<Good. Do check the age of both, but especially the UV lamp. A UV-B lamp (the one you need) has a useful life of between 6-12 months depending on the brand. Certainly, if more than a couple of years old it probably isn't doing much that's useful.>
At first I was putting him in his water tank to eat and potty but after Friday have only tried putting in shallow water since he freaked out so badly in tank when his head goes under. Either way he will not eat.
I am hoping ​you can help me figure out what to do. I have also contacted his old vet from where we used to live to see if they have any ideas. I read through you site but only see RI symptoms similar, but I just can't believe this is it since he was on antibiotics when this started and he doesn't have the usual symptoms that go with it. He really looks like he has forgotten how to swim and starts to freak out when his head goes underwater. I am struggling on what I need to do. My husband did bring up the possibility of Tiny being allergic to the Ceftazidime as he has been getting injections for a few weeks now every 3 days.
If I need to send pictures or video of this behavior I can most definitely do that. I am just very worried as I have been unable to get a clear answer on what is wrong with him ​.
Thank you so much for your time. I truly appreciate anything ​you​ can be done for my little man.
Kindest Regards,
<I hope the above links provide some help. I've cc'ed Darrel, our turtle guru, in case I've missed something obvious. Cheers, Neale.>

red eared slider     10/1/15
I have had this red eared slider for about 5 years. About a week ago, it started going limp when I would pick it up. Then started to gasp for air.
What has caused this?
<From your message, I can't really tell. So let's do a checklist of the "big three" reasons turtles get sick...
(1) Heat lamp over the dry basking spot working?
(2) UV-B lamp is in use, and less than a year old?
(3) Calcium-rich diet provided?
If the answer to any of these is "no" then that's why! There can be other reasons, but honestly, 99 times out of 100 these three are the reasons turtles sicken and die.
A five-year old turtle is just a kid really, these things should live 20, 30 years in captivity, but often a vivarium that was adequate when they were really tiny becomes less useful as it matures. UV-B lamps for example have a finite life, and even if they "light up" to your eyes, they won't be producing enough (invisible, to us) UV-B light after 6-12 months depending
on the brand. So if you haven't replaced the UV-B lamp since you bought the turtle, then that DEFINITELY needs to be done -- and if you don't have any UV-B, then that's ALMOST CERTAINLY going to be harmful, even lethal to your turtle. Have cc'ed Darrel, our turtle guru in case I've missed something.
Neale Monks>

RES care       5/3/15
i have just bought a baby RES and her reaction is weird. she has not eaten anything from past 2 weeks. and now she is really very ill. taking long breaths, keeping eyes close ll the time, laziness in the motions she is doing. i have already given her the sun light for a day but her reaction is the same. she is not responding me well. i am worried about her. please
lemme know if you can help me out in this.
<Hello Kanchan. Your turtle has a respiratory tract infection. Very common (indeed, inevitable) when they aren't kept properly. Start be reading, here:
Then read here for treatment (about halfway down, under "Wheezing or bubbly nose"):
Warmth, UV-B light, and a trip to the vet are required. Without these, death follows... days, weeks, months later. On the positive side, keep turtles properly and they rarely get sick. So get this chap to a vet,
re: RES care

But sir she seems like she is dead she is not breathing. Her body is intact as she is freezed.
<Oh dear. Well, another pet turtle killed by its owner not keeping it properly. Do reflect on what you have done wrong. Don't get another turtle until you have read about their needs. Reptiles are not cheap or easy pets.>
M not able to get the situations
<I have no idea what this means. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Please help-Sick RES; resp.       3/17/15
i once again come to u with a problem...for the last few days i have been away and our turtle has been under my husbands care.. aftr i returned i noticed (1) a sort of peeling which is reddish yellow in color in his left front leg joint skin... attached is a pic. if i touch it, he lets me n doesn't react so am hoping its not hurting him. (2)He's also acting strange by going in circles all d time as though he's chasing his own tail or smone chasing him. noticed (3) today i noticed he was breathing heavily n den i cud hear a sound as though he's finding it difficult to breathe ..a wheezing sort of like humans have..but aftr a while it stopped.
pls let me know if anything's wrong with him. look fwd to yr early reply .
thanx n regards,
<Sharda, a wheezy turtle is not a healthy turtle. May I direct you to these pages?
Short term, you need to contact a vet. More than likely antibiotics will be prescribed. The red patch on his front leg looks nasty, possibly bacterial or fungal infection, and again, a vet will sort this out. Nothing much you can do without a vet. Respiratory tracts infections are quickly treated with antibiotics (such as Baytril) and without them the outlook is poor
(read: death). But do read here:
Re: Please help-Sick RES
Dear Neale,
Thank you very much for providing me with all the valuable information and the appropriate links.
I shall certainly heed your advice in treating my turtle. If need be, I may trouble you with queries if any during the treatment.
Thank you once again and with regards,
<Glad to help, and thanks for the plain English this time! Regards, Neale.>
Re: Please help-Sick RES      3/17/15

thank you so much Neale for yr reply.
<Welcome. But please, I'm English, not American, and definitely prefer the Queen's English to Teenager Text Speak!>
here in India we do not have vets treating turtles.
<Unfortunate. Perhaps a local university? Zoologist? Even a doctor could help.>
i have contacted a few n they know nothing abt treating turtles. if you could guide me what medication and how to administer it in what dosage (for his respiratory tract infection as well as bacterial/fungal infection) to him i have some hope of saving him.
<I'm not a vet. But Baytril is what you want, and you could research this online; perhaps start here:
Regardless, a medically-trained professional is what you want.>
pls pls send me the info so i can start treating him..this is my only hope else il lose him ..unless ders a miracle n he heals by himself..
<A miracle indeed. Turtles with respiratory tract infections rarely heal by themselves. You can "treat at home" but it takes A LOT longer than visiting a vet, and the chances of success are much smaller. Do read:
The section "Wheezing or bubbly nose" is what you want to read.>
thanx n regards,

Hey.... child; RES, resp. issue        2/13/15
My name is Oscar I have a red eared slider. I have had her for almost two months now. She keeps sneezing ounces in while and I want to now what's wrong with her and also she has stop eating. I feed her some little brown pellets and lettuce but now she just stopped.
<Time for you to read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm
and the linked files above. And likely time to get your turtle into a vet. for a respiratory infection.
Bob Fenner>

Flipping    10/5/14
Hi, my daughter found our pond turtle 16 years ago when she was about the size of a quarter. she's always been healthy, but recent behavior even has her herp vet baffled. she lives in a 75 gallon tank..28"H x 48"W x 18"D, with 15" water, temp about 77°. The past 3 or 4 times that I have cleaned her tank, after she's back in the water, she flips herself over and cant turn herself right side up again. this happens 3 or 4 times after each cleaning. no chemicals are used. The vet suggested that this time I wait a couple of hours before putting her back in the water. all went well, but after two hours she flipped over and couldn't turn again. I have learned to clean the tank and plan to be home for the whole entire day in case she gets herself in trouble, but obviously that's not the best solution. our vet is one of the leading herp vets in New England, so when he says he is puzzled, that's really something. after I righted her, she hung out of the bottom of the tank for a while and then climbed up on her float. interested in your feedback
<Would suggest three things to consider. Firstly, most often when turtles flip over in the water, it's because of fluid in the lungs. That implies a respiratory tract infection. So run that idea past your vet, and at the very least he or she will give your turtle a quick once-over, listen to its breathing (tends to be wheezy or snuffly if the turtle is sick), and prescribe the necessary antibiotics (and often give a vitamin shot as well). RTIs are very common, though usually when turtles are kept by inexperienced keepers rather than "old hands" at the hobby. Nonetheless, it's the most likely problem on the evidence supplied alone. Secondly, constipation. Not heard of this with turtles, but it's common enough with fish. Review diet. Most pond turtles are omnivores rather than carnivores, with plant-based foods a significant part of their diet in the wild. A plain vanilla diet of reptile pellets lacks the necessary fibre, which is most easily supplied by offering some fresh greens such as cheap aquarium plants (Elodea, or "pondweed", as sold as an oxygenator plant, is ideal). Finally, and least likely, could be a deformity of some sort that's become apparent with age. Assuming the shell and limbs look normal, you can probably discount this, but you do so occasional deformed baby terrapins and turtles sold, and these could have trouble swimming as they mature. Would remind you turtles don't need much swimming depth, so if you have sufficient depth for the turtle to bathe and cool down, with rocks and cobbles to prevent her physically turning over, you should be able to create a safer habitat for her. Have cc'ed our resident turtle experts Darrel and Sue for their input, advice and corrections. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flipping
thank you for the reply, respiratory infection was something that her vet and I had discussed, so we are making plans to have her checked out. the odd thing about it is it only happens after I clean her tank, it never, ever happens any other time and within 24 hours after cleaning it she never flips again until the next cleaning. my first thought was that if it was an RI, it would happen more often, not only after I clean the tank. that's the puzzling part about this. but it certainly bears having her checked out, thank you again
<Is indeed puzzling. Do you dechlorinate the water before use? Do you check water chemistry and temperature at all when you do water changes? I suppose dramatic changes in pH and temperature might elicit some sort of negative reaction. Turtles are usually pretty robust about that sort of thing, but
it's worth considering. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flipping       10/6/14

that's one of the weird things about it, I don't use any chemicals when I change her water
<You should use dechlorinator, at the least. Nothing fancy. I find pond dechlorinator is effective and cheaper to use than aquarium-sized bottles where large scale water changes are necessary, but be sure to measure it out carefully.>
I just scrub the walls down with a brush and dry everything off. vets suggest I check with the town to see if anything has been changed as far as the water supply.
<Quite so; chloramine as well as chlorine can/will irritate the eyes of reptiles, and while chlorine dissipates quite quickly after the water is drawn, chloramine is more stable and is consequently significant more dangerous. As your vet suggests, it's something water suppliers can/do switch to, as they strive towards improving the quality of drinking water.>
she's been fine since that other night. they certainly do keep us guessing, lol
<Indeed. Good luck, Neale.>
re: Flipping      10/6/14

thanks so much for all your input, it's really appreciated
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Flipping; turt. beh.; sys. maint.     10/12/15

<Hiya - Darrel here. I've been asked to weigh in>
My daughter found our pond turtle 16 years ago when she was about the size of a quarter. she's always been healthy, but recent behavior even has her herp vet baffled. she lives in a 75 gallon tank..28"H x 48"W x 18"D, with 15" water, temp about 77°. The past 3 or 4 times that I have cleaned her tank, after she's back in the water, she flips herself over and cant turn herself right side up again. this happens 3 or 4 times after each cleaning.

No chemicals are used. The vet suggested that this time I wait a couple of hours before putting her back in the water. all went well, but after two hours she flipped over and couldn't turn again. I have learned to clean the tank and plan to be home for the whole entire day in case she gets herself in trouble, but obviously that's not the best solution.
<I have a better one>
Our vet is one of the leading herp vets in New England, so when he says he is puzzled, that's really something.
<I agree - but then compulsive behaviors isn't taught in Vet School>
After I righted her, she hung out of the bottom of the tank for a while and then climbed up on her float. Interested in your feedback
<Neale hit the basics as far as health in concerned but we're assuming our Vet has done an examination and not seem evidence of an infection. So the following assumes your vet has ruled out an RTI. Why she flips only-after-a-cleaning and why she can't right herself are totally separate issues and all I can think of is that a sudden temperature change aggravates an inner ear infection and she thinks she's upside down…>
<The water temperature or the water composition is affecting her in some unusual way. Since she's otherwise healthy I'd begin a process here.>
<First I'd do a cleaning, like normal, and wait for the expected flip.>
<Just as soon as she's settled in again, I'd change the water (no scrubbing) just drain the water and replace it with water of and see if the behavior repeats.>
<Yes, what I'm saying is - make the effort to force the situation so we can see what we're doing wrong>
<Then a water change of the exact same temperature (maybe mixed up in the bathtub)>
<Next, I'd try small water changes - no more than 3 gallons at a time>
<The purpose of this is to try to find what COMPONENT of the cleaning is really upsetting her.>
Meanwhile each time she does flip I'd look to see if she's really trying to right herself -- and this is key -- try to see what she's failing. I mean, turtles turn themselves over all the time and they do a little flailing with their neck and arms and turn right side up. Especially if the water is deep enough this should be easy. What Neale alluded to earlier was water level: If it's shallow enough they can flip over but not drown and just lay there stupidly until found. If it's deep enough (at least as deep as the shell is wide) then they should be able to flip with ease -- it's that middle ground, say 3-4 inches, where they may not be able to right themselves but would get 'worn out' trying to hold their nose above water>
<If the water is 7-10 inches deep and she still flips and can't flip back then I'd say certainly she has a health issue. Although this may seem cruel, if she's in 7 inches of water, pick her up and roll her over and release her - and see that she can (or cannot) right herself>
Re: Flipping     11/20/14

just an update on my crazy turtle, & I also want to thank you for all your input. she was seen yesterday... little monkey has pneumonia. she's on injectable antibiotics. other than that she's in fantastic shape and the vet sees no reason why she can't make a complete recovery. you guys are a terrific resource, thank you again.
<Glad we were able to help/diagnose the problem. Good luck with her recovery! Cheers, Neale.>

Any chance of survival?      8/18/14
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Many months ago rescued a turtle from the wild after being upside down and buried in dirt. It looked awful. I invested a lot of obey into this turtle. It never basked so i would take it outside daily. When i went to summer camp my dad would be the one to take it outside. He left it out too long and it died.
<We're sorry for your loss, Greg>
Since i was so upset my parents were going to get me a new turtle. We only had a 20 gallon tank so it had to be a baby turtle because no other sized turtle would fit. We went to Chinatown and bought 2 baby turtles. One is healthy and after research i figured out that the other has a RI. My tank is very clean and i have 2 filters. I also put water conditioner in to make it healthy for turtles. Since the turtle was in awful conditions but is now in better conditions, is there chance of survival. (It has been wheezing, seems to be gasping on air, and puffs up it’s neck while breathing). P.s. will the healthy turtle catch the RI if it is in the same tank (80 degree water, 90 degree bask).
<A turtle will generally not catch a Respiratory Infection from another turtle if he's otherwise healthy, but when I have a sick turtle I usually treat the entire population. My thinking is "what it they all have the condition already and it's just that only one is showing the symptom?">
<Also the treatment for an RI is a treatment that all turtles can endure easily. Read here about how to treat a wheezy, bubbly nose: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<As far as general care goes, your 80 degree water is a bit too warm for normal conditions. Room temperature water is that they should swim in. Also remember that the UV-B light that they need can't penetrate glass -- and even regular window screen blocks a lot of it. Read here, measure your care against the standards given and correct anything that's not right: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Please help, sincerely Greg

My Red Eared Slider Can't Float     8/14/14
Hello, I just bought my RES a couple days ago from a store in the city as a baby. I know that it is illegal to buy them when they are so small so I'm doing my best to take care of him.
<Is it illegal? News to me. But maybe the laws in your home are different to those of the UK.>
His name is Murtle and he is an absolute character except over the past 24 hours or so I have realized that he seems to be unable to stay afloat.
<Classic symptom of respiratory tract infection.>

It looks as if he struggles to swim to the surface for air and when he does he's constantly kicking and swimming to stay there.
<Yes. Obviously, keep the water level as low as possible. Enough to cover his knees is fine. If the filter won't work this way, disconnect, and just do daily water changes. He can bask under the heat/UV-B lamp to warm up.
Despite what was commonly said in the past, you don't need to warm the water. Warm air, heated by a heat lamp, and a source of UV-B is all they need. You can buy combination heat/UV-B lamps and these are absolutely ideal.>
The only time he is able to stay afloat is if he uses something to prop him up such as his rock he uses for basking and the corner of the tank and another rock to put his back legs on to keep him close to the surface. I and not sure is this is a problem or if I'm thinking too much.
<Is a problem. Needs treatment. Without treatment, respiratory tract infections are invariably fatal.>
When he's on the side of the tank it looks almost as if he's dancing up and down trying to get to the surface. I'm afraid he's subject to drowning or
if he's sick.
<Yes, drowning is a VERY real risk.>
Please bl me save him!! Thank you!!
<Do read here first:
A trip to the vet will be necessary. This isn't necessarily expensive, do understand that, but I know it's a hassle for many people. But there is nothing, NOTHING, your pet store can sell you that will help. Usually, antibiotics and possibly a vitamin injection will be prescribed and used.
If finances are limited, consult with your local animal welfare charity to see if they can help. I've cc'ed our "turtle guru" Darrel in case my diagnosis is wrong or could be modified. Good luck to you both, Neale.> 

RES can't swim/breathe       8/1/14
Hi guys! Im having a really tough time with my RES. He hardly ever swims around his tank an& he's always on his basking rock but when he gets up there he puffs out his neck and opens up his mouth. It almost seems like he's choking to me. But sometimes he eats his pellets and sometimes he won't eat for days. And yesterday he was laying upside down in his water..i thought he was dead but he wasn't. I just really need some help about what i can do to help him i have no vets where i live that see turtles...thank
you guys so much.
<First of all, do have a read here:
By the sounds of it your turtle has a respiratory tract infection. Such turtles often seem to have "the flu" in terms of symptoms -- inactive, runny noses, difficulty breathing. Other common symptoms include improper swimming (from the fluid in the lungs) and even audible wheezing. The only cure is a course of antibiotics, preferably alongside a vitamin shot. You should be able to find a vet of some sort in your area. Honestly, that really is the only solution. If you think you can't afford a vet, contact your local animal rescue; they may be able to help. Otherwise this turtle will almost certainly die a miserable death. Thousands and thousands of turtles die this way, needlessly, and it's usually caused by a poor environment. Review his home. Does he get fresh greens to eat? Does he have a UV-B lamp? More than anything else, it's these two things that people neglect, and the turtles, unfortunately, get sick and die. Your vet will be able to provide help in providing these, as will any decent pet reptile

please help me immediately; RES... resp.
Hello W.W.M. Crew, I have a Red Eared Slider that is weak and it have a difficulty in breathing, she is breathing from her mouth, it don't able move and swim she usually sit and all time she is keep her head out of her body.. and she didn't eat from 15 days ago it's so sick and weak.. am afraid of loss my Turtle.. In Saudi Arabia i don't found a doctor to help me.. pleas help me
<Please have a read of this article, here:
Your turtle has a Respiratory Tract Infection. These are treated using antibiotics. These come from a vet. There are NO off-the-shelf cures. None. You simply can't treat this yourself. Without treatment this turtle will
almost certainly die. Do make sure you understand the reasons for Respiratory Tract Infections. They are almost always caused by problems in the way the turtle is looked after. Lack of UV-B is one common reason, lack of warmth is another. There are vets and animal welfare charities in Saudi Arabia that may be able to help you; you might want to start searching for help here:
Hope this helps, Neale.> 
Re: please help me immediately

I am grateful for your help Mr. Neale i will search for a doctor.. thank you
Very much
<You are most welcome.>

Sliders with RI      3/7/14
Hi, I would like to seek some advice with my sliders. I bought three sliders three months ago. In early February, one was recently diagnosed with upper RI (his name is Smarty; symptoms are gasping for breath, open mouth breathing, sneezing with bubbles around mouth) and another pneumonia (his name is Dash; symptoms are rapid breathing and strange squeaking noises).
<Right - bubbles is the really significant sign>
I have separated them and dry docked the two that are sick. I have a UVA lamp to keep them warm. I took them to the vet and Smarty already got 6 antibiotic injections and Dash got 5.
<UVB is very important, too>
Last week the vet said they are ok now and I don't need to go there again.
But the thing is they are still sometimes breathing through their mouths, mainly in the early morning and at night. They do not always do it but I still catch them doing it. They are sometimes sneezing too but with no discharge. The vet said all this is normal though I am not sure it is. I never see them breathe with their mouths before their illness and I never see other healthy turtles do it. Can you please give your opinion on this?
<Sure.  My opinion is that they are on the road to recovery but not yet fully recovered.  In a human at 98.6 degrees, bacteria that reproduce every 24 hours can be beaten by 48 hours of antibiotics (which is why you feel better two days after the first pill).  In a turtle at, say, 88 degrees, that same bacterium can take 2 weeks to reproduce -- meaning a minimum of 4 weeks to effectively control the infection.   Some of the tortoises that we have that are kept at room temperature (say 73 degrees) can battle an infection for 9 months!  That's why we keep them warm - to increase the speed at which the bacteria reproduce (so that the antibiotic we use can kill them faster)>
<My opinion is that you have started the road to recovery.  You've killed a good portion of the bacteria but you need to keep them dry-docked under UVA and UVB light with only daily baths for a minimum of 6-8 weeks.   Now that they have been given a fighting chance, we just need to let their immune system fight the remaining bugs.>
Also, they are basking quite a lot and are eating a lot. I give them zoo-med pellets, around 15 pellets a day each. I am trying not to overfeed as the rear shell is starting to curve up (suspect this is too much protein? Is this right?)
<Our friends at Zoo-Med make a fine product and that's probably not too much protein -- it's just too much food period.  Give them all they can eat in 3 minutes during their daily bath>
Do you think they are well enough to be kept together again yet? I do not want to spread the illness to my 3rd one. It has been separation for about a month now.
<No -- I think another 4 weeks would be a good idea.   Until they have had no symptoms for at least a week… a warm wet environment favors the bacteria and not the turtle>
Pls help!! I am so worried.
<I hope we did>
Re: Sliders with RI   3/10/14

Dear WWM crew,
Thanks so much for your response. I hope my sliders will recover soon.
They must hate me for dry docking them and keeping them separately!!
<They'll get over it - no worries>
One thing I would like to clarify though. I am actually feeding them twice a day now with around 7-8 pellets at each feeding per slider. They consume them in less than 1 minute! (so I am sure they will eat around 40+ in three minutes!!). The vet told me to cut back on their food due to excess protein causing the rear shell to curve up. They are about three months old now so is it good to feed twice a day or just once a day? And how much should I feed?
<Here ya go: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm 
diet AND quantity!"
I sometimes giving them small amounts of carrots and butter/romaine lettuce too.
<I never eat that stuff - I eat Twinkies and Peanut Butter Cups>
In addition, would you recommend the use of Reptisafe in the water and Reptoclear as a filter?
<Not really.   Sliders are incredibly tolerant of water quality.  If it's clear and doesn't smell, then you're changing it often enough.   It's not BAD, mind you -- it's just that the money can be better spent on lighting and food>
Look forward to your reply.
<Here ya go!>
Thank you and best regards,

New RES owner in need of help!!!    1/4/14
Hi my name is Natalie
<Hiya - I'm Darrel!>
and I am concerned about my hatchling red eared slider's health. I currently have two RES that I have had for about two months they are about an inch and a half in diameter. When I first got the two of them one was very active and was dominating with eating and the other one was shy and liked to hide and took a while longer before he began to eat.
<That's typical.  One is dominant and the other isn't>
These past few days the roles have reversed. The RES that was always so aggressive is now not eating and just sits around docking off its floating rock. I noticed him yawning and occasionally sneezing. So I believe he has a respiratory infection.
I adjusted the water to 82 degrees to hopefully help him recover 2 days ago.
<No - we need to get him OUT of the water>
I noticed that his skin has this white fluffy stuff around it which I believe it take either be shedding or a fungal infection yesterday.
<Shedding comes off in very thin layers, like waxed paper (only thinner).  
Fungus is more like a clump of stuff - when fungus dries it's almost powdery>
After reading forums for hours on the internet I decided to better examine his shell and found a white spot and noticed the far edges of certain areas of his shell are a little soft. What should I do?! A saltwater solution? I ran a q-tip over his shell and skin but I don't know if it did any good.
How can I send you pictures?
<Let's start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/turtles.aspx   Read the article on treating a fungal infection and treat him accordingly.  If you don't have enough lights to provide for both of them separately you can dry-dock them both.  The treatment should be easy and they should both be feeling better after a few weeks.  Meanwhile, read the CARE article and see if we can find what might have gone wrong>

Hi Darrel - Turtle in trouble. RES hlth.    7/11/13
Hi Darrel,
How are you doing? I have “run” to you for help before for my turtles and your advice has always been spot on. I thank you ever so much for that.
<Proving that even a broken clock is right twice a day!>
I have a friend who is not net savvy at all but she has a baby red eared slider who is about 3 inches and a smidgen over a year old. Her turtle has not eaten since over 10 days, and both eyes are swollen and shut. The eyelids are a normal color, no reddish tinge to them, no sliminess. When she brought him to me I checked him out and put him in the tank to check for listing.
a) He is listing to the right though not alarmingly, but definitely listing.
<Not something I'd care about right now>
b) Quite energetic. Didn’t touch the food (I am assuming because he is unable to see and my tank is quite large 4ftx2ftx2ft so basically he was just enjoying swimming and bumping into the tank, no noticeable bubbles from the nose.
<Right - because he has a vitamin deficiency and not a respiratory condition>

c) He cannot see at all because his eyes are totally shut. I am attaching a pic closest to what his eyes look like, that I got off the internet because I forgot to take a pic to mail you.
After going through your site I suggested to her:
1) Keep him warm and dry. His tank clean and filtered.
<The first being a treatment for the time being - and the latter being good hygiene>
2) Beef liver is not an option, however since the site suggested cod liver oil, I suggested the same. Freeze dried shrimp ok to try and feed? My guys love freeze dried shrimp, though its given as a treat every 10-12 days.
<Chicken liver or fish liver would be good.  Dipping the food in Cod Liver Oil would be OK as well, just not as effective - so would take longer to help him>
<Neither of which matters it he's not eating>
3) 15-20 min.s in distilled water, twice a day for feeding. The water level not to be higher than the plastron. Basically enough to get his feet wet.
<Doesn't have to be distilled water - any "clean" water will do.  And what we don't want is water deep enough that a sick turtle could drown.  As long as he's active and has a sense for where he is, the water could be a bit deeper.  The shallow water is for a turtle so weak that we fear it could drown if we just set it in water over its nose.>
4) Mutlivitamin drops once every 3 days. 2-3 drops.
<The turtle has a vitamin A deficiency.  If we could get his mouth open I'd give him 3 drops twice EVERY day to try to get the vitamins in his system as fast as possible>
5) We are in the middle of the monsoons and getting the little guy any sun is quite difficult, though I have mentioned that if possible whenever the sun is out to keep him in the sun for at least 30 min.s if not more. As an alternative I have suggested bulb heat and he seems to enjoy it.
<Heat is good.  UV-B is also necessary -- but as you have already correctly guessed, this is not his immediate problem>
Basically have recommended this much, and after 3 days if there is no change then a trip to the vet. Is there anything else I can do or have missed out? Please advice.
<You're doing very well, Pa - your friend is lucky to have you.   If she can afford a trip to the vet, a multi-vitamin shot containing A, D and Calcium would give him and instant boost.>
<Failing that, you can TRY some liquid drops on his eyes.  It's a very poor way to deliver the vitamins, but unless you can get him mouth open it's worth a try>
I thank you for taking the time.
<Thank you for helping out Pa - we appreciate it!>

Re: Hi Darrel - Turtle in trouble   7/11/13
Thank you :) My babies say Hi to you

RES with pulmonary scarring     3/17/13
To the wonderful people at WetWebMedia,
<Of which there are many!  Unfortunately you got ME instead - Darrel>
I wrote to you last year concerning my Red Eared Slider, who had a respiratory infection. You gave me some great advice, and I’m hoping you can do your best with my current (or rather ongoing) issue.
<Well, given the law of large numbers, I was liable to give some great advice eventually>
To summarize as best as possible, my turtle had an RI. I believe you had consulted me to dry dock her and see the vet (I can find the original email and your reply if it helps, but her situation is quite different now). My turtle was on Ceftazidime (injections) for a few weeks, and after that didn’t help, she was put on Baytril (oral). During this time, she had an ‘incident’... I basically put her back in the water too early and didn’t give her an adequate platform for her to rest (it was entirely my stupid fault, and I feel horrible for this). Overnight, she essentially ‘drowned’ as a result... the next day she was bleeding from her mouth. Emergency trip to the vet, tests, and 1one C-scan later, we were unable to find what exactly had caused the bleeding (the vet assumes that some sort of pulmonary scarring had occurred), but the good news was that she was ok (as well as could be). Her treatment was to remain on the Baytril (for what ended up being a good couple of months), go back to being dry docked, and make sure her ambient and basking temperatures were adequate, etc.
<Yes, something people often overlook is that infections that run a 24 hour course for beings at 98.6(f) can take months to cycle at even 80 degrees.   When it comes to treatment in reptiles, longer is always better>
After a few months (as this had happened late last summer), I took her back to the vet. Seeing as how her condition hadn’t changed much (will explain her ‘symptoms’ below), the vet decided it would be best to ‘induce’ a brumation period by reducing her ambient temperature to 20 (Celsius) and giving her lots of rest (baths once every 2-3 days instead of daily). Our hope was that she’d maybe ‘come out of her shell’ (haha) once she came out of brumation in the spring. It is now April, however, and she’s neither showing signs of improvement, nor showing signs of activity for the spring. She hasn’t eaten since early December, and she shows no interest whenever I try offering her anything (and I really try to offer her a variety of foods). When I do bathe her,
she doesn’t eat (her weight is surprisingly stable, however)
she doesn’t move around much (mostly just ‘falls back asleep’)
she occasionally shakes her head
she occasionally sneezes (1 sneeze every 2-3 baths)
she very occasionally still gets ‘gurgly’ (mucous-filled breathing with some mucous from nostrils)... this has happened 2-3 times since December, the last time being about a month ago. It always goes away after a few days.
She is obviously still uncomfortable being in the water, and I assume her pulmonary scarring is still a big factor. I’m wondering if you could offer any advice... on anything.
<I'm forming some ideas>
I’d love to encourage her to start feeling good being in the water again. The water level of her baths is just above plastron height, and I don’t know if I should (very) gradually start increasing the height, or if that would just further stress her.
<yeah - don't do that>
Also, any way I could encourage her to come out of brumation? I’ve thus far started turning on her basking lamp (though it’s not yet at basking temperature) and UV light during the day, but she never comes out of her covered area. Should I remove the sheltered area, maybe?
Finally, I assume she’ll start eating (hopefully) when her temperature increases, but are there any other tricks I could use to get her interested in food?
<Hmmm - I don’t think this is the time from tricking her>
<What I'd like to do is place her in a modified habitat.  Imagine a regular tank (dry) with the basking light at one end, the UV-B light pretty much evenly spread and a small pool of water at the other.  By pool I mean something like the lid of a plastic shoe box upside down at one end.   Floor covering can be as simple as newspaper.   Now put a heating pad set on "low" underneath this whole thing.   Starting with the basking light on around 1 hour a day and the UV on for 12 or more and the heating pad 24 hours … her metabolism will react within 2 or 3 days.   At first you won't necessarily see signs of movement, but you should see signs of alertness.  At this point 'bathing' will be nothing more that picking her up just a tiny bit and moving her to the water tray, but no real soaking or scrubbing or feeding.  Our first hope is that she can be active enough to climb out of the water tray on her own.>
<What I'm getting at here is for her to have a warm, no-stress, no-challenges environment in which she'll come up to a constant temperature and adjust.   Only AFTER we see the alertness and the intention (or attempt) to move around do we add more basking light and reduce the heating pad until finally she has a "normal" environment where she can actively seek warm and cool.>
<If there is no improvement then I'd like to take her to the vet one more time for an injection of calcium Gluconate and one of vitamins A & D -- BUT … I only want to do this if there's no improvement over a week or two.  The stress of more handling and more movement is exactly what she doesn't need.  My concern, and I'm sure you've thought this yourself, is that she's been through a lot, many different treatments, handlings and situations and the normal resilience we see in these animals doesn't seem to be showing>
<Finally, put the dreams of fresh, deep water away for a while (6-8 months at minimum) until and IF you see enough improvement in her activity that screams out for deep water activities.  Even then we're going to need a shallow "beach-type" entry and not a "climb out on rocks" setup>
I guess that’s about it. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated (and yes, I know I can show my appreciation using the ‘donate’ button...hehe... and I promise I will. I think the advice you guys give is thorough and pertinent, and you help a lot of peeps out and that’s awesome.) I thought I’d write to you guys before contacting my vet... just in case you might bring something new to the table.
<Well, I think we've covered it for now.  Thanks for all your kind words!>
Thanks. So much.

Reeve turtle wheezing - 01/27/2013
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have a Reeves turtle, who shares his tank with a musk turtle. My Reeves is very active and has a huge personality in that he plays with ping pong balls, refuses to eat on his own food until he has been HAND FED a couple of sticks first, always watching us, my cats or the TV and gets excited when we come home etc.. He's hilarious.
<Yep - they are friendly, personable turtles>
For the past couple of months my reeve has been making a wheezing/whistling sound.. He had a funny turn about a month and a have ago where it was as if he was drunk, he seemed very dizzy and couldn't actually swim upwards.. He was also very slow and a bit unsteady (as unsteady a turtle can be with those shells).  so we rushed him to our reptile vet the same day who was lovely but got so happy playing with him and weighing him that to be honest he didn't seem to check entirely. (He weighed 8.8 something? He's around 15cm long possibly a bit bigger) but he gave us marbocyl, 2ml dose once a day. We gave him this orally as he's fine opening his mouth for us (he thinks he's getting a stick so opens nice and wide) to squirt it in. This got rid of the lethargic/dizziness within a day and did seem to help the whistling... However he is still making a whistling sound when his head is above water.
<I'm thinking he has a simple URI (upper Respiratory Infection)>
His tank has a UV-B lamp and a heat spot light, an excellent filter that I have to clean out (in dirty water) every 3-4 days... I personally think I need a bigger tank... These guys poop like you wouldn't believe. But it's still roomy and has water but also an area of rocks they like to sit on and poke their heads out. Also have a dock. I use reptisafe in the water when doing a water change which I usually have to do after about a week and a half.
 My Reeves is older than my musk, therefore quite a bit bigger and while the musk doesn't tend to spend much time out of the water he is and has always been fine? He doesn't make any noises and is very fast and active.
<Mud and Musk turtles do spend an occasional afternoon basking, but they are EXTREMELY secretive about it - they will dive into the water at the first vibration or movement, so it seems like they never back>
  I have never seen any mucus, nor have I ever seen or known him to sneeze?
 Is this a Respiratory infection?

In himself he seems fine, he's still being the little character that he is, is a greedy boy and always wanting more food (he doesn't get more.) I feed those floating pellets with added vitamins and the odd food stick, pellet-wise they have a little in morning then a little more in the evening as that's when they are most active. I also buy live blood worm as a treat every couple of weeks.
<Reeves Turtles have been called the puppy dogs of the turtle world.>
I hope I have left enough detail and I did read articles A and B but my turtle is literally JUST making the noise now? No mucus or dizziness or sneezing so seems to be different?
<It's hard to imagine dizziness in a turtle - at least as we sense it - but I've seen disorientation in them and that would produce the same effects>
I enclosed a couple of pics, he even smiled for you ;-)
<He's a handsome guy>
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Read here.
 Dry-Dock Christopher for about 4 days and allow his respiratory tract to dry out.   He'll be a little cranky during that time and he'll sulk for a while, but he'll get over it quickly.  Reeves turtles don't hold grudges.>
<His name IS Christopher isn't it?   Christopher Reeves?>
Your site is fab!!
<Thank you!>
Thank you.
<Yer welcome!>
Kind regards


Sick Turtle   9/27/12
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am in need of immediate help, as my turtle (googly) is not doing well. He has lost his appetite n keeps sneezing a lot. He also yawns a lot and I have noticed bubbles coming out from his nose n mouth. He has also become too inactive. I didn't have a proper aquarium for him as I was unaware about it, but now I am planning to buy 1 with proper basking light. Kindly help me out to cure him as we lack medical facilities for him here in my city. Also inform me about the medication which I need to provide him. It would of great help if u provide me with sum solution as soon as possible as I don't to lose him.
<We hope you don’t lose him, too>
<This is an opportunity to remind EVERYONE to research your pets' needs BEFORE you get it, no after>
Waiting for your reply!
<The immediate treatment is to get him warm and DRY.  Read here and you have everything you need to know to treat a turtle with a respiratory infection: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  >
Yours sincerely
Vidhya Kakkar
Kota (India)

my new turtle 9/22/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Yesterday I bought a new turtle.  You can see it there in the attached files. I really couldn't know what type it is.
<It looks like a Yellow Bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta)>
From yesterday it didn't went in the water I thought it is a normal thing because it is new or because it is afraid of my other turtle (she is a red eared slider)
<That's usually the case.>
but yesterday night when I went to take them to the other tank so they can have their dinner I noticed something weird in it's nose so I took a closer look on it's nose it only have one ..... Circle open  (I really don't know what it's called)
<It's called a nostril>
The other one I really couldn't see it so I took it back to the big tank and I put it in the water and some bubbles start going out from its noise and it tried to itch its noise by its hand
<Not unusual>
So I don't know what can I do?
<nothing yet>
Is it a serious problem?
<I can't tell from the photos.  Is the nostril blocked with skin?  I mean - is that a birth defect?  Or is it covered with mucous? - That would indicate an infection>
Please I need a fast reply.
<If you think it is an infection or illness of any kind, then you need to treat him.  Read here: 
<You're welcome>

Red Eared Slider - respiratory infection - one month after Diagnosis    8/15/12
Hello WWM Crew (and Darrel, who I assume this will be forwarded to),
<Never assume.  It could be handed, tossed, slid, shoved, jammed or thrust>
First of all, thanks so much for your website. Your info about respiratory diseases and general turtle care has been extremely helpful.
<No charge!  Just remember that old "Donate" button in the upper right corner for when you win the lottery>
My turtle, a female of approx. 20 years, was diagnosed with a respiratory infection a month ago. I say "diagnosed" lightly, as she never actually had any swab tests done. Given her symptoms (the textbook "blowing bubbles," mucous, and sneezing/coughing), the vet assumed that that was what she had and put her on antibiotics to be on the safe side. She is on Ceftazidime (subcutaneous injections every 3 days for the past 4 weeks). The vet suggested that we stay on it another week for now. We have an appointment next week to see what we should do. But he did suggest putting her on Baytril, as the Ceftazidime perhaps treated only one aspect of a larger problem.
<Hmmm.  Baytril is toxic to the injection site, hard on their kidneys, etc.  I use it as a last-resort … sort of a nuclear option>
My vet is a good guy... and he seems to make a great effort to help me out. But frankly, I don't think turtles are really his specialty (actually, he told me they weren't). So here I am writing to you. As I said, my turtle has been on Ceftazidime for a month. On the plus side, she eats normally (always has), and she is relatively active (as far as turtles are concerned). Basically her behavior doesn't seem to be any different, slower, etc. than usual. Her sneezing and bubble-blowing seem to have subsided, though she still lets the odd one out (usually when I put her in the water in the morning, I hear a sneeze or two... followed by some bubbles... but it's no longer on a regular basis -- I have been dry-docking her as you suggested). On the not-so-plus side, well... she still sneezes a bit, blows the odd bubble, and "gurgles" (I don't know how else to describe this... basically when I pick her up, I can feel the gurgling in her shell... I suppose that's mucous moving around in her respiratory system?).
<It could be. Or it could just be that she has fluid in her lungs.   This sounds strange, I know … but pick her up and hold her head-down at a 50-70 degree angle for 30 seconds or so and see what may just drip out>
My questions mainly concern dry-docking and diet. She currently has a 30-gallon tank with a UVB over it, and I take her out in the day, where she has access to a heat lamp. She has access to the entire room, which is small, but warm since it gets a lot of sunlight. I realize, by the way, that she should be able to get in and out of her water as she pleases.
<Not when dry-docked, no.  The entire point of dry-docking is that she only gets wet for 10-20 minutes or so every day - the rest of the time she is dry, dry, dry!>
I am currently working on getting a bigger tank that enables her to have access to a dry spot as well as a wet area. Since her illness, I've been keeping her out of the tank all day...
She has her heat lamp in the day and a heating pad at night. I put her in a lukewarm bath every day for about 20 minutes (actually, the water in her tank, which she hasn't used since her illness, is 25 Celsius / 77 Fahrenheit... is it ok to start using that again?).
<For a dry-docking and isolation, I'd say no.   If her tank is a normal setup, it will contain pathogens that are harmless to a healthy turtle but no so harmless to a sick one.  For her daily bath I'd rather you use plain old ordinary chlorinated luke-warm tap water that is new each time>
The thing is... often when I come in to check on her, rather than sitting pretty under her heat lamp or on her pad, she is hiding behind/under her tank. Should I be restricting her space even more so that she can't hide? I know you said they should have access to a shady spot, but if all they do is sit in the shady spot, how do I get her to benefit from the healthy warmth/UV-ray combo?
<You are right: here's what I do in the isolation situation:  I have a fixed sized area and a low hanging florescent UV-B that shines light on the entire area (keeping the UV rays within 14 inches of the turtle is what dictates the size of the area).  Then I have a spot-light (clamp-on cone) with the 65W basking light that runs 12-14 hours a day.   In my setup the basking light is not SO high intensity that the turtle must seek refuge from it (like if it was the sun), just able to get out of the center of it.   In other words as long as the turtle doesn't get over 100 degrees, she can stay that way all day.  Alternatively, I've used a regular heating pad from the drug store (if you can find one WITHOUT the auto-off feature) set on low, underneath a regular towel - as the flooring for her box.  In that case I leave the heating pad AND the UV on 24/7>
Furthermore, her diet. In my humble opinion, I haven't been giving her a nutritionally balanced diet and that is why she's sick. She eats fish (usually frozen filets, sometimes goldfish, but rarely), meat (chicken, beef, usually), the odd crustacean, cheese, and fruit.
<I've been doing this most of my life and I've been in swamps from Florida to Georgia to Mexico and Minnesota and in all the places I've been and all the turtles I've seem, I've never seen one with a fishing pole, a McDonald's wrapper or an empty Velveeta box>
She will not eat vegetables for the life of her. I used to give her calcium supplements, but haven't for the past year or so (figured the cheese would do the trick... she loves her cheese!).
<She likes the oils and the fat in the cheese>
Since her illness, I've been trying to stuff turtle pellets (ReptoMin) in her fish to trick her into eating them. It works about 75% of the time.
<Your local pet store probably sells a very ordinary and relatively inexpensive brand of KOI Pellets by Kay-Tee and they are a perfectly balanced staple diet for your turtle>
<Visit that pet store and see if they can sell you some night crawlers (earth worms).  Those are also health for your girl and she'll likely take to them right away>
I have also since bought calcium supplements, but cannot find vitamin A. My vet suggested I give her earthworms as they are very balanced.
<Your vet is a brilliant man!>
However, I live in the city in a 2nd-story apartment with no garden, and the summer has been very dry, so I've next to no chances to go out and find earthworms.
<Again - pet stores carry them.  Also fishing stores often carry them as bait - in case you know someone who is going out of the city.  Also, surprisingly, they can often be found in organic gardening shops … as alternatives to chemical soil preparations!>
I've bought bloodworms, but how the hell do I feed those to her?
<Not really good for her anyway>
I've tried squeezing them into little balls, but they just scatter in the water. Could you please give me some suggestions as to how I could balance out her diet?
<I did! - hope it helps!>
Thanks in advance. You are awesome.
<Actually, we're better than that!>

turtle noises     8/13/12
how are you? i own a male red-eared slider about 6-7 years old, he's been with us for 5 years. He spends a good portion of the day outside of the water (we have built him a slide so he comes and goes out of his water as he pleases) but lately when we put him in the water he makes these strange noises, like he's giving out bubble or sucking in his breath or something like that, its quite difficult to explain.
<Reads like some sort of respiratory infection>
he seems healthy, he's eating normally, and plays with us too, but if we leave him be, he spends mostly all day sleeping and is a bit slow, but that is typical for him because around this time every year he gets lethargic. physically he is all ok, no swollen eyes, no soft shell, he just doesn't like to waste his energy a lot, and is eating a little less than usual but eating. The noises are sort of scary and I'm worried, can you help me as to what it is, is it something i should be worried about and if so, how should i fix it?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm
and the Related FAQs file linked above. Bob Fenner>
I would appreciate your help a lot
Thank you.
Shamain Nisar

clarification regarding RI treatment     8/7/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just want to clarify some points regarding your treatment regimen for turtles with Respiratory Infections
My turtle has been with me for five years now (practically since it was a baby) and this is the first time that I’ve ever seen him sick. It’s funny, considering where I come from taking care of turtles is really basic, traditional and pretty much a “low-maintenance” thing if you might call it that. Here in the Philippines it’s as simple as getting a tank, getting a rock for basking, and feeding the turtle pellets and vegetables. No water filters, no UV lamps, no diet schemes or anything like that, and it works all the time. Nothing ever goes wrong.
<And yet - something has gone wrong.  Hmmm>
But, the weather has been weird lately, too cold, even for a tropical country in the rainy season (talk about climate change!) and I can’t blame the diet, it has worked on my turtle his whole life without making it ill once; same goes for the environment, because his tank is kept hygienic by changing his water daily. I noticed the symptoms of his sickness just this morning, August 5th, 2012. As soon as I read your article I immediately “dry-docked” him and used an office lamp for the heat source, in the absence of a UV lamp. But of course, the office lamp can’t stay lit for too long, it will overheat- so I was just wondering how I could modify the regimen using only sunlight. Assuming that I do follow the safety procedures for leaving a turtle under the sun (making sure it has adequate shade, making sure it does not cook under the heat), how long do I need to leave the turtle under the sun?
<The sun is the best source of UV anyway, so as long as he doesn't get overheated, the sun will do just fine.   If you have a situation where he can get fully into the shade when he is actually overheated and he is protected from predators - then he can be outside all day.   The sun is so perfectly suited for this job that turtles could live outside!  Oh wait … they do!>
Should it be “dry-docked” or kept in the water while sunbathing?
<Dry.  The sun will heat the water and there's not way for him to get out of the hot water>
About the short time in the day where he is allowed to soak in water to eat, drink, poop, etc. since I don’t have artificial lighting does he have to be exposed to sunlight during that time?
<NO - you can bring him in.  If you plan to bring him in at night, or in the afternoon, that's a fine time for his bath.   Give him 15 minutes in the water and then dry him off before putting him away for the evening>
And, since you mentioned that a UV lamp should be kept on during the period of dry isolation, how long would it need to be kept on (So I would know whether or not I could use, as an alternative, an office lamp, for instance if it only needs to be kept on for short periods like 20 minutes at a time)? Or, would the sunlight eliminate the need for artificial lighting altogether?
<Yes - the sun emits MUCH more (and better) UV rays than we can get with anything artificial, so as little as 4 hours a day under the sun is fine>
Better yet, can you provide me a modified regimen for my situation (e.g. no artificial lighting, no antibiotics, no herp vet)? It would really be a big help.
Thanks in advance,  
<Simon - in your case I'd devise an outdoor enclosure for your turtle.  Something with a wire mesh lid (not window screen which defeats most UV rays) to keep him safe from predators, about 60% open to the sun and 40% blocked for shade.   I'd keep him in there day and night as long as temperatures stay over 68(f) except when he comes inside for his bath and feeding.>

I'm worried about my baby RES and confused, please help!     5/26/12
Hello there.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 1" baby Red Eared Slider turtle which used to live in a big, wide, round plastic container/'bowl' (its diameter is around 40 cm, btw, and the height is around 17 cm) with enough water to fill half of the bowl.
<With a basking area and a heat lamp?>
Around two weeks ago on Saturday, 12 May 2012, this tiny baby started swimming lopsided, and lost his appetite the next morning. Because he's my first baby RES, I became very worried almost instantly, and then I search around the internet to find out what it's mean. All the sites I came around said that lopsided swimming is a sign of RI, and will cause death if the turtle is left untreated. Since I didn't have the time to pay a visit to a vet at that time, I tried to bump the enclosure temperature a bit. Since I don't have a heater, I put him under 11W energy saving lamp (which said that it's equal to 60W ordinary bulb on its package), placed around 10 cm above his head, and used lukewarm spring water to fill his bowl.
<The problem is that the energy saver lamps put out very little heat.>
A few days later on Wednesday, he started to sneeze. Fortunately, I finally had the opportunity to bring him to a vet. The vet (not a herp vet anyway, since herp vet is extremely rare in my country) said that the RES just caught a cold. I asked for a shot, but the vet refused, she said the baby is too small for a shot, and advised me to mix some antibiotics to its water and food instead. As the vet suggested, I used cotrimoxazole (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole). I mixed around 30 mg cotrimoxazole to his water, which I keep shallow as my dad suggested, and mixed around the same amount of medicine to his food. Before he's sick, I used veggies for his food, but now I used fish pellets instead, rolled in the medicine before I feed it to my little turtle. I also let him bask under direct sunlight every morning for around 30 minutes.
<The sunlight will help.  NOTHING is as good as natural sunlight!! But keep him warm and DRY while recovering from a cold>
At first, he kept missing his food, and only able to eat 1-2 pellets at the most, but a few days later he started to eat more. On Monday, 21 May 2012, the little turtle seemed to improve. He ate fairly well and when I let him walk around, he seemed to be having no problem at all -- in fact he managed to hide between closely placed cardboard boxes nearby in rather short time. The next day, he still seemed to be somewhat fine. Ate nicely, though is somewhat less than the day before, and looked alright when walking around.
<Those are early signs of a recovery>
However, I'm still a bit worried, because apparently he's still swimming a bit lopsided, though not at all times. He doesn't swim too much, anyway, just now and then since he spends a lot of his time basking under his lamp, but every time he started swimming, he's a bit lopsided for a moment before he corrected himself (though not 100% correct). And, since Tuesday, he open his mouth a couple times in a row in the morning as if he's yawning (open mouth for a few seconds, then close, then open it again, close again, a few times before he finally stopped). He doesn't 'yawn' at the other times of the day, though. On Wednesday night (last night before I write this), he made a croaking noise as if he's coughing. It happened only once, though, but after that, he 'yawns' a couple of times before he went back to sleep. He also 'yawns' again this morning after eating. By noon, the little fellow seemed to be fine under his lamp. I wanted to take him back to the vet for a check-up, but my mom said that I don't need to. She said that the turtle will be fine, but.. I'll admit I'm greatly worried. Is my turtle fine? If not, what should I do? Should I bring him to the vet again? I don't want him to die anytime soon -- to the extent that I want to cancel my holiday trip next month because I'm afraid my aunt would not be able to take care of the little baby (I think about taking him with me during vacation, but apparently the hotel won't allow pets :( poor me and little turtle).
<He should be easy to take care of for the duration of a holiday >
Oh, anyway, the weather is a bit strange here these few days. It's sunny, but also windy... I keep the turtle fairly far from the window, though, and used some cardboard pieces to cover his enclosure, except for the area around its lamp.   I'm really confused, so... I really need advice. Thank you for your help.
P.S. Sorry for my bad English grammar, if there's any. :)
<Your grammar is fine, Dian.>
<Little turtle has probably gotten a respiratory infection from improper care.  Fortunately it's easy to cure when caught early and even easier to prevent in the future.>
<To start with, Little Turtle needs to be warm and DRY while recovering - and recovering will take at least 4 weeks more.   In the following article you will read how to "dry dock" a turtle while treating for a possible infection.   He gets a bath 5 to 10 minutes a day in order to drink, poop and eat … then back in the warm dry isolation.  A key part of the isolation is a UV-B lamp.  There are lamps available that are both heat AND UV-B and that makes it convenient.  Otherwise you need a UV-B florescent and a separate basking lamp.  The basking lamp can be a plain, ordinary incandescent bulb - because it's job is just to offer heat.   Please read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  >
<This article covers the basic care needed and discusses a bit about WHY everything is needed.  Read it and compare Turtle's care and housing against the recommendations.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Re: I'm worried about my baby RES and confused, please help! (Attn: Darrel)     5/30/12

Uh, hi again, Darrel!
I hope you don't mind me asking questions again so fast.
<No problem>
This morning I saw bubbles comes out from my baby turtle's nose and mouth when he's basking under the sun. I've never seen him blowing bubbles outside of the water before, so... Is this a sign that his illness get worse, or is this pretty normal because of the weather?
<It's not a good sign, but it IS a sign of the respiratory infection that we know that he has>
Because, it was sunny when I let him bask under the sun, but approximately half an hour later the wind suddenly blows really hard (the weather here is pretty unpredictable) and I have to take him back to his quarantine tank, and this is where I saw the bubbles. It goes away totally when I wipe the baby's mouth with a cotton swab, though, and I don't see the bubbles comes out again so far.
<Keep treating him>
If you were wondering, he still eats nicely.
<That is a VERY good sign>
I'm currently trying to dry-dock Little Seb (it's the name of the little turtle, btw) as you suggested. So far he seems pretty happy, even though I still haven't got UV-B lamp for him, and have to put him under 5W incandescent bulb that I bought this morning. I'll try to find a UV-B lamp (again) and a better incandescent lamp (if needed) tomorrow...
<Keep exposing him to natural sunlight, a healthy diet and warmth>
Hopefully I'll be lucky.
<We're all hoping that>
Re: I'm worried about my baby RES and confused, please help! (Attn: Darrel)      6/3/12

<Hi again>
Little Seb doesn't make bubbles out of water anymore, but since Monday morning, he began making small noises (like, uh, squeaks?) every time he opens his mouth, like he's having trouble breathing. He won't eat anything I offered him, too.
<That is common in respiratory infections>
On Tuesday afternoon, as he seems to get worse (more 'yawning' or should I say 'open mouth breathing'?), I brought him to another vet, who seems to understand about turtles a little bit more. She gave Little Seb antibiotics, and advised me to give the baby the medicine in syrup or suspension instead of mixing it into the food, plus vitamin. She asked me to see if the pet shop here sells any vitamin for turtles, but apparently no one sells it, so I used human baby vitamin instead (current vet says it's ok). <I agree>
Today my baby still refused to eat, sleeps a lot, and still does 'open mouth breathing' every time he wakes up. However, it seems the open mouth breathing is getting slightly less frequent than the days before. Is this good?
Anyway, will it be okay if I take my baby RES outside when it's sunny but also slightly windy?
<Yes.  Just don't leave him unattended>
Since Saturday morning (after I emailed you), it's almost always windy here, even though the sun is shining brightly, so it's hard to find the right time to get some sun for the baby. The wind can comes anytime (and sometimes it's really big), so I'm pretty much afraid.
<The main concern, besides getting lost or attacked by an animal, is that they can easily OVER heat.   When I have a baby in direct sunlight I make sure there is a shaded place he can crawl to>
And... When dry docking turtles, should I keep the lamp on during nighttime, or turn it off? He's in a large enough cardboard box with a towel to make the bottom soft, by the way.
<You should turn it off at night>
Hello again.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've been dry docking my little RES turtle for several days right now, but these two days I noticed that he just sleeps almost all the time. Already keep him warm (temp. is around 33-35 Celsius inside the box), but he just keep sleeping (sometimes under the towel I put inside his isolation box).
<The heat is necessary to help speed up his metabolism, but it's an unfamiliar and unnatural surrounding to him.  Usually, after they explore enough to find no escape, they do settle down and rest or sleep a lot.  
Unfortunately, this is necessary for treating him.  Hopefully the antibiotics are working>
Also, yesterday he's eating, though not much. Today he refuses to eat again.  What should I do?
<You can give him a little more time in the water.   Place him in the shallow bowl (or even a bowl with a bit deeper "swimming" water and give him 15 minutes or so to come fully awake, a bit more active and then offer some food.   You might also offer a tiny (very tiny) piece of chicken liver:  It's filling with iron and vitamins and often times will stimulate an appetite.>

Sneezing RES in Russia   3/1/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Well, my healthiest baby RES is sneezing. He had sneezed a few weeks ago and I didn't pay attention but now every day I catch him sneezing at least twice :( He is 2cm in diameter. Has a basking spot (Exo terra medium sized magnetic floating dock) with 50w Exo terra basking spot lamp at 12cm distance (kept on for 11-12 hours a day) and Exo terra Reptiglo 5.0 at around 15cm (4-5 hours a day). I've bumped up the water temp to 27.5 degree Celsius.
<Too warm.  He's unlikely to bask when he's that warm in the water>
He is eating well-a diet of ReptoMin baby pellets; Sera reptile pellets; Sera reptile mineral pellets; blood worms; occasional shrimp; occasional boiled fish. Right now there is no discharge from the nose or mouth. He has been basking (lately more of it) and eating well too.
<Those are all VERY good signs>
He even started sleeping with half his body on the dock. I would hate to lose him as I've lost two little torts due to lack of knowledge and inadequate habitat. This one was always the healthiest one. I live in Russia so all antibiotics can be purchased over the counter (as far as I know). I can't find a herp since I don't speak the language. I tried keeping him in an elongated luke warm box with warm+cool areas but he seems extremely uneasy and scratches at the edge of the box constantly. It hurts me to seem him like that. Please advise.
<It may be uneasy for him, but we still do what's best>
<The first thing here is not to panic.  A turtle doesn't sneeze the way humans do and when they do expel through their noses, it's not usually due to the kind of cold that we catch.>
<The standard treatment for a suspected respiratory infection is to "dry-dock" the turtle under conditions similar to what you describe.
The fact that he is ACTIVE while you are doing that to him is another REALLY good sign - it means he's healthy and energetic enough to make the effort!>
<What I would do is dry-dock him for two weeks (just as described under isolation treatment. And Meanwhile I'd review this care sheet and check everything in his normal housing against what's here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thanks a lot and once again, your site is the best!
<Yer welcome!> 

Our Red Eared Slider is sick!      2/22/12
<Hi Abi, Sue here.>
We have a RES named Bud (about 3 years old), and he has a respiratory infection. We didn't know it until today, when he stopped moving and was just floating in the water.  I got him out, and we cleaned his tank and put him in a dry one with the heat lamp shining on him.
<That was good you thought to do this.  If the heat lamp is all you have that’s fine, just make sure it’s not too hot (though the temperature should be in the higher (but still) tolerable range for them (around 92-95 degrees).  A heating pad (the cheap drugstore kind without the automatic shut-off) set to *Low* and wrapped in a towel is safer.  See here under *Isolation* for more specific instructions about dry-docking and also further down the page under *Wheezing or bubbly nose*:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
At first, we thought his sluggishness and loss of appetite was due to hibernation, because it's February.
<Indoor turtles don’t hibernate unless your house isn’t heated.>
He had been opening his mouth and sneezing for a while, probably since early January.
<These are in fact signs of a respiratory infection.  Sounds like you didn’t recognize it at the time.  Respiratory infections are particularly hard for turtles to fight off on their own and can worsen fairly rapidly.  An immediate trip to the vet when you see first these signs is the best (and really only) course of action you can take to treat this type of illness.>
This may sound kind of weird, but what I'm wondering is this: how do we know if he's dead? (He was moving just a little when I got him out of the water.) Does he get stiff or something?
<Abi, if you have any doubts at all about whether he’s still alive or not, take him to the vet immediately for injectable antibiotics (assuming he does have a respiratory infection, which from your description sounds likely.  This is the ONLY thing that will save him at this point if he is still alive.  Once at the vet, your vet will be able to confirm whether or not he’s deceased. >
<If he has passed, the crew and I are truly sorry for your loss.  ~Sue>

Slider has started 'whistling' 14/10/11
Hello WWM Crew, please could you give me some advice?
<Hiya - Darrel here - it's what we live for!>
One of our 2 year old Cumberland Sliders has recently been making a whistling sound through their nose upon surfacing. This does not happen all of the time, but has happened often enough for me to be a little concerned.
It seems to happen after periods of exertion, such as a reasonably energetic swim, but not every time they exert themselves.
<I first want to compliment you for noticing such a small thing! One of the KEYS to successful pet keeping is to observe and notice change while they are small - before they become BIG problems>
They are no less energetic than usual, are feeding as normal and eyes / mouth / skin / shell all appear healthy - they are just as active, friendly, inquisitive and attention-seeking as always!! We handle them regularly and they happily clamber on us and explore the room (under supervision) whilst we clean their tank. Both turtles were out earlier this week and their general condition appears better than ever.
<Then I think you're doing just fine>
There does not seem to be any of the usual signs of respiratory infection - no nose bubbles, no lopsided swimming, and no gaping mouth.
<That's the key right there>
Our other turtle had displayed lopsided swimming and gasping when they had RI shortly after we first got them as babies (about 4 - 5 months old), but recovered fully following ten days of daily Baytril injections from the vet and lots of loving care.
<then - you ALSO know how INEXPENSIVE it is to keep them healthy compared to the expensive of treating them! It sounds like you're doing all the right things. Next time you see your vet, suggest to him that Danofloxicin 6 mg/kg, SQ is what all the cool kids are using now instead of Baytril.>
Everything seems fine, apart from this random 'whistle', but I know that turtle's are great at hiding their illnesses!
<I call them stoic. In the wild, appearing weak is a sure way to get yourself eaten, so they keep up appearances. By the time they're so sick that they can't hide it anymore, they're often too far gone to be saved.>
I wonder whether heading to the vet's for a check-up will reveal anything, as the whistle only happens briefly when they surface and not when they are out of water. Also, when we took our other Slider to the vet when they were ill, the cheeky thing held it's breath, so no conclusive diagnosis (in fact, the vet I initially saw diagnosed an ear infection, but I was certain it was RI from the symptoms and the herp specialist at the practice agreed!) - knowing this one's behavior, they would breath-hold too, just to
be difficult!
<I wouldn't take him if it was me>
As for diet and environment, tank size, lamps and all tank temps. are as recommended for the breed and diet is complete turtle food (pellets and dried shrimp / Gammarus), frozen food cubes (turtle specific preparation, softens quickly in water), dried mealworms and romaine - occasionally some other fruit / veg, as per Cumberland Slider dietary recommendations.
<Make sure you change your UV lights regularly. They have a surprisingly short effective life - they continue to emit visible light long after the UV-B has lost its useful intensity>
Don't want to assume it's nothing, but don't think it's time to panic either - there is just the tiniest little niggle, what if?? Just need a bit of reassurance that this COULD be nothing, but will continue to be vigilant in the meantime.
<I'm certain that it IS nothing. A simple whistle upon hard exhale is an indication of a benign polyp in the nasal cavity or the remnants of a huge meal pushing the stomach against up against the bronchial channel.>
Thanks in advance
<yer welcome!>
<Keep Up The Great Care!!!>

About a Red eared slider's respiratory infection 7/30/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I gave my Red eared slider 10 Baytril shots (first 7 shots in a row, the rest every other day) because she started to whistle while surfacing to breathe.
<Not 'HAPPY' whistling like a TV Show theme, right?>
There is no other symptoms, eyes are clear, she eats well and is behaving normally. The whistling sound remained and I took her to a vet quite much in vain, because the vet thought the respiratory infection has gotten chronic, so they didn't do anything there. They didn't want to prescribe more antibiotics either because it's not good for the turtle's
kidneys and I understand that, too.
<Yeah. Baytril is still the treatment of choice because of its availability and cost, but it's hard on the kidneys and - if not diluted at least 50-50 with saline, it can cause skin damage at the injection site>
I still would like to know if this arrangement is really ok. The whistling got less severe and less frequent after the shots, but would it be better to get rid of it completely (if possible, of course)? I don't want to put too much stress on the kidneys, but I'm not sure if it's best to just do nothing (but to observe) either.
<There is also the chance that it's not a bacterial cause, in which case the injections are a waste of time. I have a Galapagos tortoise that has a nasal obstruction and every once in a while, she just '¦ sighs. It sounds bad and very medical, but after a long series of investigations we found that it's a physical condition, not a medical one>
I don't know much about the turtle's past, she has been with me a little over a year now.
<But it's not likely it was a shady past, right? Not like she was a showgirl in Vegas or worse '¦. a Republican?>
She's a rescue turtle, someone had abandoned her on a pet shops floor. I think she's about 15-20 years old. I have a UVB-light and a normal light in her basking place, the temperature rises up to about 40 Celsius degrees (104 F). The tank is about 300 liters (80 gallons) in size. I'd like to get a bigger one in future. The water level is as high as it is safe to keep (so that she can't escape from the tank or fall over the edge). I try to keep the water as clean as possible, I change the water every week or more often if needed. She has a heater in the water.
<She shouldn't need heater water, Christine. Room temperature water is perfect for her. The idea is to give her cool water and a warm basking area and let her choose which is right for her at the moment>
She eats European Cisco (and few other fishes), occasionally a bit of pigs heart, different vegetables and salads and sometimes pet store's turtle food. I add calcium and Nutrobal (vitamin supplement) when I feed her the fish.
<I wouldn't feed the fish. Surprisingly it's not part of her natural diet. I raise mine from hatchlings to breeders almost exclusively on Koi pellets. It's a complete vegetable-based diet that is already fortified with iron, calcium and vitamins '¦ and it's cheap. The Pig's heart (or beef liver) makes an excellent once a month treat. So does a plain old earth worm>
I got my first two turtles 18 years ago. Sadly, the other one died last year (perhaps partly due to old age) and she is still greatly missed.
<We're sorry for your loss, Christine - but the two things we know for sure is that she wasn't lost to poor care or lack of concern. You're being an excellent turtle mom>
The other one is fine, but I house the rescued one and my "old" turtle separately. I hope my explanations aren't too confusing, my English is not that great.
<It's actually better than mine!! And I apologize for the distinctly American references, they probably make no more sense than my poor sentence structure!!>
Thank you in advance.
<What I suggest is this. If you will read this article on treat common illnesses, and then treat the rescue turtle with warm, dry isolation for four weeks, you'll either see an improvement if it is a chronic respiratory condition or no change if it's a physical condition. It turns out that the warm and WET environment that is their natural habitat becomes an enemy to them when they are sick. Warm and DRY (with daily baths) for four weeks will give her a chance to rest (she probably won't LIKE it, but it will be good for her) and recuperate>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >

My 3.5 year old RES is squeaking 7/6/11
Hey guys,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
So I recently just bought a larger tank for my 3 and a half year old RES just under a week ago.
<She turned 3 1/2 just under a week ago?>
She's adjusted well as usual and is just as friendly and curious as she always is. She's currently shedding and basking more frequently than usual and only for short periods of time. From what I can tell she's not swimming lop-sided but when she stands up for air she makes a tiny little squeaking noise every now and then. Could this be the start of a respiratory infection or something else or something I shouldn't worry about?
<At this point I'd worry with a small "w." "worry" but not "Worry."
Could the excessive basking be a sign of her water being too cold?
Because that is entirely possible since I live in the basement
<Are you a Trekkie?><<Haaaa! Oh, Darrel. B>>
and I need to get a proper heat lamp.
<Actually, you need two lamps - heat and UV-B. The HEAT lamp can be a plain old ordinary 60 or 75w incandescent bulb in a cheap hooded clamp socket you get from a building supply store'¦ but she NEEDS that heat and she needs it as soon as humanly possible!!!!>
<The UV-B can come from direct sunlight (if you take her for a walk 4 times a week, or a florescent bulb like a Vita-Lite or a newer "combo" heat and UV like our friends at ZooMed now make. Whatever you choose, he HAS to have it>
<Meagan - you can't waste time on this. She has very few needs, but what she needs, she HAS to have '¦ or "worry" will give way to Worry, then WORRY and then P*A*N*I*C and no one wants that!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Re: RES care India 6/23/11
<Hiya - Darrel again>
One of my turtle died soon after the last mail.
<On behalf of Bob and the crew, please accept our condolences>
The other one is doing fine. He just prefers to sit in an enclosed corner(for e.g. burrow himself under the rock, to find small gaps and to basically hole himself there). Just wanted to check if this behaviour is ok.
<It's not a huge problem - at least not yet>
His diet is ok he his forever hungry and can eat as much as I can give him.
<That's a good sign. very good>
I also give him multivitamin drops sometimes (once or twice a week) after he has basked in the sun (just mix it with water and let him soak it up).
<Turtles don't absorb vitamins through their skin, Ruchika. To be of any value, you need to coat their food pellets or food sticks in it. My suggestion - as always - is feed a high quality Koi pellet, or ReptoMin food sticks and an occasional earthworm. That's a stable basic diet that will raise them from hatchlings to adult breeders>
Re: RES care India 6/27/11

Thanks for the last reply.
<No problem>
I had taken both my turtles to vet earlier. He was the one who prescribed vitamins. Now am doubtful about his other suggestions.
<Don't be too hard on him Ruchika, by the time the turtles showed any symptoms at all, their case was already fairly advanced. Plus veterinarians are the only doctors whose patients can't tell them where it hurts.>
He had said that both have them congestion in their chest. Hence the lopsided swimming and open mouth breathing.
<Very possible>
They were too small for a injection so he didn't want to take a chance. He did however put them on a nebulizer for few minutes. That is to make them breathe steam. He also said that reason for congestion was that water level was too high (4 inches) they are not expert swimmers as captive babies so therefore sometimes tend to inhale the water.
<Now that much I don't agree with. Reptiles are primitive creatures that come out of the egg with all the skills necessary to survive. They don't need lessons of any sort.>
<What they DO need is 68-73 degree water (that 20-23 c for those of you in the rest of the world) and a warm basking area, around 88-94 (31035 c) along with UV-B lighting. These are almost certainly NOT the conditions they were kept in from hatching to transport, storage to sales floor. What this means is that by the time you get your baby turtles, they've already been stressed and kept in sub standard conditions.>
Hence the congestion. He told me water level should be somewhere in between the two shells (upper and lower)
<That's OK. They seem to like and enjoy deeper water, but they certainly don't NEED it. What should have been done is that they should have been taken out of the water completely and kept warm and dry during their recovery. Those basics are covered in this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm consider reading it in advance >
and he gave me multivitamins. He wasn't too sure about the survival about the bigger turtle since his left lung according to him was totally gone. The smaller turtle he said might survive since his congestion was slight. Bigger turtle passed away few days after that.
<Sorry for your loss>
Its been 2 months after that. Smaller turtle has grown in size. He doesn't breathe from his mouth. Can't say anything about lopsided swimming since I have kept the water level as suggested by the vet. I also feed him blood worms at times (earthworms are not easily available).
<Try chicken liver instead of blood worms. HOWEVER '¦ feed him the liver in a separate container, like a shallow bowl of water. This way you don't foul his tank water>
Only issue is he hides behind rocks constantly. He used to be a great swimmer and very interactive say about 2 months ago. Last I measured he was 1 and half inches in size. (Upper shell flat length)
<My guess is that he's still recovering. Just like they were both sick for a while before they showed symptoms, during recovery they appear better before they are completely well.>
<With any sort of pulmonary condition, HEAT is critical. Make absolutely SURE that he has access to a warm basking area and that he uses that area regularly. If the water is too warm, they don't get the urge to bask and therefore don't dry out or get the UV light.>
Re: RES care India 7/10/11

Hey Darrel,
<Howdy, Ruchika>
I don't have a heater in the water. Even with Air conditioner on room temperature is minimum 24 degree Celsius it never falls below that. So I don't think issue is water being warm for him and don't worry he has a basking area with 40 watt bulb.
<We all have to deal with natural conditions. Just make sure there is a temperature difference>
I have tried to understand what exactly he does in enclosed areas. He sleeps!!!. I took him out of his aquarium and put him on my palm. He is very restless whenever he's outside. I just cupped my palm with my other hand so that it was dark for him. So now he was between my two hands (how you hold a small bug when you're a kid) at first he was restless. He kept digging at corners. Then he snuggled and was completely calm after that. After few minutes I suddenly opened my hands to find him sleeping !!. Have repeated this procedure several times with same result.
In fact I got a little cave for him. He sits under it 24X7. It doesn't make a difference whether it's in water or dry land. He just likes to sit under it and I guess to sleep.
So he basically hates light. Prefers to sit in dark enclosed corner smaller the better.
I don't understand this behaviour. Is something wrong with him ???
<My guess is that he's frightened. I know it doesn't seem logical because you've had him long enough, but the likely reason he wants to find a tight, enclosed space is that he feels protected. It's not all THAT uncommon.
His diet is healthy. He's forever hungry . In fact I recently introduced him to mangoes and tomatoes and he loved it.
<Make sure he get a variety>
So please help me to understand why is he so lethargic. Is it normal. What can I do to prevent it.
<Well, if some giant picked YOU up and cupped you in his hands, you'd probably curl up in a corner too, so let's not use that as an example. Maybe there is something about his enclosure that doesn't make him feel secure. Could it be movement outside the tank? Vibration could be causing problems. What you'll have to do is look for small reasons, make a change - and then wait long enough for him to start to adjust to it before making more changes>
Ruchika Rawat

Red-eared Slider breathing problem 5/29/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a red-eared slider that's 8cm long (from head to tail) and 5cm wide, I'm not sure how old he is but I got him in January. He lives in a tank that is 7 inches wide by 12 inches long by 8 inches tall, with a floating dock, with another red-eared slider that's 9cm long and 6cm wide.
<Well, I see your problem right here: You have METRIC turtles (8cm & 9cm) and you're keeping them in an IMPERIAL tank (7 inches by 12 inches), no wonder there are problems. Metric turtles should be kept strictly in metric tanks.>
They both eat the same pellets that contain fish meal and shrimp meal and yeast.
<OK '¦ Before we get 300 emails '¦>
<I just made that Metric/Imperial thing up. I didn't mean a word of it.
That said, these two need a LARGER tank (metric OR imperial) for their optimum health>
The other larger red-eared slider is still behaving and eating normally, but the smaller turtle started behaving strangely recently. I'm not sure about his appetite,
<Well, Christie, diet is a serious indicator here. When you say you aren't sure, are you saying that he isn't eating? Or you don't know how much he's eating? More importantly, when it's feeding time - does he show an interest in the food, try to eat it, etc.? Or is he ambivalent or indifferent to the food?>
-- but the webbed part between his claws on his back legs are a bit reddish as if they'd been scorched with hot water (though it's healed now, I still want to know what it was so I can watch out for it),
<Again, I'm unclear what you mean here. The skin is reddish but it's healed? The worst care for reddish skin is a condition known as Septicemia, which is an infection of the blood and therefore of the entire body '¦ but it's unusual -AND- there are usually many other serious signs that present themselves first. So skipping that, the most common reason for reddish skin? Simple stains. From the dyes in the food or sometimes from the organic materials in the pebbles in the substrate or even from the water itself>
-- and he keeps stretching his neck out and opening his mouth and closing it for no reason, as if he's fighting for air. He sometimes makes weird squeaky noises when he opens his mouth, and I've tried to look inside his mouth, but there doesn't seem to be anything stuck in his throat, so I don't think he's choking. I've tried researching the problems, and most of them say it could be a respiratory infection, though the symptoms are a bit different.
<That's where I'm headed too.>
Please help, I really want to save the turtle I've had for five months.
<Christie, I'm going to guess that the turtle is developing a respiratory problem. You don't mention water temps or basking temps or UV lighting, all of which are critical to the care of turtles in captivity, so I'm going to send you two links. The first link is how to care for a respiratory infection at home. This will mostly involve removing him from the aquatic environment and keeping him warm & dry and seeing that he gets adequate UV lighting. Please read the entire article:>
<This next article covers the basic care they need. Water temp and UV lighting are explained in enough detail to help you decide if changes are needed in your setup & care>
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<I hope it helps!>

RES making whistling sounds, beh., resp. dis. 4/1/11
My name is Parul
<Darrel here>
and I have 2 red eared sliders.
<Cool - I have about 20 of them>
I have attached 2 pics.
<Nice pics too. Good quality and the right size. They look healthy!>
Image 385 is of the lil one that is worrying me. He eats fine. Basks well.
I give them their vitamin drops regularly. They walk regularly for an hour.
But of late the lil fellow has started making some whistling sounds, like whining sounds is that normal? No sign of respiratory discomfort that I can see, unless I am missing something.
<Nope. By itself that sound means nothing. Some do it and some don't.
There doesn't seem to be any specific reason for it, but it does not mean there is a problem>
<Respiratory distress will show as bubbles in the nose & mouth, listlessness and loss of appetite>
There tank is clean and layered with filters. No bubbles from the nose unless he slides off the rock into the water or when I place them back in their tank after their walk. Eyes fine.
Shell fine. Appetite fine. Balance fine as in no lopsided swimming. Am I being paranoid about the sounds or is this whistling sound normal?
<You're being observant, Parul - which is the very best thing you can be.
Every time we notice something different with our pets, it gives us time to ask questions and check web sites and write for help. Saldy, the first thing too many people observe is that their pet is dead. Congratulations on your EXCELLENT care!!>
I did go through your site before asking this question and I did not find anything for this kind of an issue. I just want him to be healthy and happy.
Thank you for taking the time.
<No problem, Parul - it is a pleasure to hear from someone who is doing such a good job>

Re: RES making whistling sounds 4/3/11
Hi Darrel,
<Hiya Parul>
Thank you for your revert. I took my RES to 2 Vets. One says he is ok (vet for reptiles) and one says he is not (general vet).
<I hate when 2 vets disagree, but an experienced Herp (reptile) vet is the one to trust>
I did notice tiny air bubbles from her nose since 2 days, sorry didn't mention it in my earlier mail. But appetite is fine. Though the doc says its normal unless the bubbles come out stringy. Its just this feeling I cant shake.
<I also trust feelings>
She is on her way to RI I feel, I want to curb it before it flares up.
<I can help you!!>
Thanks once again Darrel for taking the time. You have answered me earlier as well for miley and Jackson(RES I was babysitting for a friends daughter) and you were spot on.
<I AM that good!!>
God bless you for taking the time to answer so many people.
I hope all your 20 are rocking as well. They are such a joy.
<I agree & thank you!>
<Here's the thing. When In Doubt, Dry Them Out!>
<Their natural "warm & wet" environment becomes their enemy when they are fighting any type of wound, fungus or bacteria. So what we do is make them a warm DRY place, around 88 to 90 degrees. The higher heat increases their metabolism and helps them naturally fight off the infection. Read all about it here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >

Dire! Very sick RES despite vet visits! 11/19/10
Hi guys,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I wrote to you before (apologies for the disjointed sentence construction of the last one - was trying to be cute and ended up sounding quite daft!)
<I'm daft in general, so I understand>
About two weeks ago, my littlest RES turtle, a 1.5 inch called Kecik (who has lived through shell rot from store, going missing, being bitten) was showing symptoms of RI (about a month plus after I got him). He was swimming slightly lopsided and seemed to be yawning a lot more than usual. He also had poor appetite and I started freaking out when he started making choking noises. However, I followed your FAQ and kept him dry and warm, and it seemed to do the trick. His appetite has improved (would say back to normal) and no more excessive yawning. He still lists slightly when he's coasting in the water but I suspect that its more to do with him favouring one leg (he keeps the other tucked in most times).
<I don't know how long you'd dry-docked him, but if you wrote back on 7 October and did it then -- he's just now ready to be a bit normalized>
Now that Kecik is much better, my largest RES turtle, Debab is showing the same symptoms. Debab was isolated about three weeks ago after a biting incident and did sneeze from time to time (once or twice a day) but I didn't think much of it.
About a 1.5 weeks ago, Debab's appetite started deteriorating, with her refusing all food about a week ago. She started foaming at the mouth and making croaking noises about 4 days ago and I took her to the vet immediately (3rd 'herp' vet I'm trying for my RESes- the first two didn't seem to do any good). The vet examined Debab and said she had two infections - one in her mouth (causing the thick white bubbly mucus in her mouth which I thought was foaming), and a slight respiratory infection. Vet prescribed 2 different oral antibiotics (didn't give me the names though) - the one for her mouth was to be taken twice (Day 1 and Day 15), and the one for her RI was a course of 7mls/day for 5 consecutive days. Vet said I was to keep Debab in normal water, as long as its clean (I asked if I
should keep Debab dry, and vet said no). Btw, Debab is about 0.5kg, about 5 inches and (according to the vet, counting the rings on her shell) is approximately 3-4 years old (I adopted her a few months ago).
<I understand>
It's now Day 4 and Debab is getting worse. Her breathing is permanently laboured, sounding like a combination of a chest cold and a really bad sniffly nose (I've got asthma and I don't wheeze that much!) and her lopsided swimming is also more pronounced. Her appetite has improved somewhat after I introduced this supplement Vet No. 2 had given me (yellow fluid, I think he mentioned Vitamin A?) but she's still not eating much.
She's still a trooper, bless her, and is still relatively active. Despite what the vet said, I've decided to dry out her tank tonight because she seems to be slightly more comfortable outside water.
<You are correct in doing this !!!!! this will help her a lot!>
Her UV-A and UV-B lamps are now on 24/7 and the whole room is now warmer (no more air conditioning to my usual 24C). Anything else that I can do? My heart breaks every time I hear her breathe and the rattling sound is horrific.
<Sadly, no. You're doing everything that can be done. The dryness and warmth will help her fight the infection a bit better than in the water. Make SURE she is hydrated every day with the bathing-feeding ritual, and hope for the best>
Hope to hear from you as soon as possible!
Thanks heaps!
Yazmin (and Debab!)
Re: Dire! Very sick RES despite vet visits! 11/22/10

Hi Darrel,
Just an update - took Debab to the vet again and they administered two shots of meds, one of which was an antibiotic. Going for another round tomorrow morning.
Have kept her dry in her tank except for an hour of shell high soak for eating and pooping. Her wheezing has reduced slightly.
<as expected - keep it up>
Thanks ever so much for your advice! Fingers crossed that she makes it!
<We all will, Yazmin - just don't be in a rush to get Debab back into normal life. Infections in reptiles take a long time to clear. Just in the way Debab was probably sick for a long time BEFORE you noticed the
first symptom, so she'll SEEM better long before she really clears the infection. My advice is 4 weeks after you can't see any more symptoms at all.>
Warmest regards,
<Our wishes are with you>

Suspect baby reeves turtles has respiratory symptoms 11/15/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I live in Hong Kong and live by myself, I was given a two baby turtles reeves turtle as a gift from my little cousin who thought they would be great company for me little did she know the amount care they really need nor I for that matter.
<What you will find, Tiffany, is that it's not THAT hard. They really don't need a LOT of care, it's just that the care they Do need '¦ they MUST have. Once you and the turtle get "settled" in a routine, it's easy.>
The first one died on the 3-4 day, its eyes were closed the whole time and barely moved and by the time I had purchased drops for him from the fish shop it was too late.
<Turtles take a very long time to get sick, Tiffany. There is no question that this little guy was sick before you got him. The most common occurrence in reptiles and fish is that the animal shows very little and often NO signs of sickness until, suddenly, they appear near death. They are excellent at hiding the symptoms of disease, so by the time they are too weak to hide it, they are nearly too weak to save>
<This is one reason why we continually talk about care and maintenance -- MUSH easy and cheaper than medical care>
The second one was more active but after one week he started showing vitamin deficiency symptoms as well (rubbing eyes, stopped eating, sleeping all the time, not very active) ...
<He was likely a little strong and was able to keep up appearances for a bit longer>
I looked for a reptile vet in Hong Kong and took him to the vet who lectured me about the work and money to save this little turtle, with only a 50% rate of survival... I went ahead and the vet gave him three vitamin shots once every three days. He showed improvement after these shots and I took him home again after purchasing a tank, water heater, filter, and Zoo mercury vapor lamp. I feed him Zoo hatchling formula and he seems to love red
worms(only feed him one time with worms).
<Nit sure what a Zoo/ mercury vapor lamp is '¦ but I guess that it's a source of UV/B light?>
I have been observing him very closely the next few days and followed the warm and dry formula, the vet says he is fine even though I said I noticed him making little noises and I think he breaths heavily now and than(throat expands and nose in the air to breath sometimes his legs and arms move because he is breathing so heavy but I'm not sure if this is normal?)
<Yes and no. They all do it sometimes. What is hard to tell is if it's unusual for him or if you're being hyper-vigilant and seeing "normal" actions in an exaggerated fashion>
I suspect he may be developing Respiratory symptoms but the vet said that I would know if he did, and he said to keep the water temperature at 28 degrees which contradicts to what I read on your website? (i.e. letting them choose to be warm or cool and room temperature water)
<28 degrees (88-f) is a bit warm for the water, Tiffany. Turtles regulate their metabolism by moving between warm and cool. If the "cool" is so warm that he chooses never to get out, the consequences are skin, shell and bone problems as a result of never being dry and never getting enough UV lighting. On the other hand, 28 degrees AIR temperature is a great base for keeping him warm and dry while recuperating.>
Right now I am a little confused as to what conditions to give him? Please advise what is a suitable temperature for baby reeves turtle?
<Generally, the same basic conditions for the Sliders, Cooter and Painteds can apply to the Reeve's Turtles. The single difference is that Reeve's Turtles are allowed a more carnivorous diet than a slider '¦ but Koi pellets should still be the base of that diet>
He is only 1" in size so due to his size I'm afraid to put too much water as I read that baby reeves turtles are not very good swimmers and the one time I put him in the tank I kept thinking he would drown as he chooses to sleep in the water, he sleeps with his nose in the air and his little mouth gaps open now and than and he floats around sleeping.
<We'll get to his SPECIFIC care in a minute.>
<In general, turtles don't need deep water. All things considered, they like more AREA than depth and are happy as clams in water that is an inch or so over them while standing on the bottom. For hatchling turtles, I always set up an environment that allows them to walk out of the water rather than only to climb. What I mean is, for an adult turtle, I'll often have a tank with a small log (branch) that stands on the bottom and allows him to climb it in order to get out and bask. But for hatchlings, I may even just tilt the based on the tank so that water gives way to shallow water which gives way to dry bottom. I do this as much out of habit as anything else, but in nature, hatchling turtles often seek the protection of floating weeds not too far from the river bank>
After one day I decided to isolate him and took him out of water and in a constant warm and dry temperature again because I suspect he was showing early signs of respiratory symptoms.
<I agree with your choice>
At current I keep warm and dry with his basking light at 29-31 degrees Celsius and a ceramic night heater at night(29 degrees Celsius),
<What I do is take a regular home medical heating pad (such as they sell in pharmacies) and wrap it in a towel. Set it on 'medium' heat and please that in the bottom of his isolation box. The hard part is finding a pad tat does not "feature" an Auto-Off Pad and can be made to stay on all the time. Fortunately it turns out that the cheaper heating pads are the ones without this feature.>
<My point is that a constant contact heat is a more efficient and safer way of keeping him warm>
every morning I put him in water to eat however I noticed he seems to need more time in the water to poo since I have not noticed any the last few days so I left him in a little water this morning before I went to work since he seemed like he was only halfway pooing I didn't want to interrupt him.
<Thoughtful of you>
Can aquatic turtles only poo in water?
<No, they can poo anywhere, they are just naturally encouraged by the water>
he is eating well but is shedding some skin and rubbing his eyes now and than still, he makes more little noises than before, I've only had him for a month now and I'm not sure he is fine like the vet says, should I take him to the vet again?
<No. Not yet. He can rub his eyes if he wants. Every day he's warm and dry, getting in a shallow pool to drink, eat and poo '¦ he's getting stronger>
I work and live alone so at the moment I cant take him to the doctor until Saturday...
<No need yet>
Should I continue to keep him warm and dry and for how long?
<A minimum of 6 weeks, maybe 8 weeks.>
I'm also afraid he will dehydrate as he is only little do I need to give him a bit of water?
<Every morning you put him in water -- I assume you mean a shallow bowl, no deeper that his shoulders?>
<When you put him in and place him on the bottom, assuming his head is retracted, his nose and eyes should not be under water. In this position, he can bend down a bit and eat - chomp on anything that you give him, he can drink and he can poo. After 15 minutes, he's fine for the day. -- Just make sure that his isolation keeps him warm but does not bake him>
Please help as worrying about him keeps me up at night!
<I think you're doing fine ... Continue to be vigilant and caring '¦ but stop worrying!>\
I have already read all your articles on WWM.
<Thank you!>
Thanks you for your time and looking forward to hearing your reply.
<No problem!>
Kind Regards,
<Tiffany '¦ one final thing '¦..>
<You don't live alone anymore. :) >
Re: Suspect baby reeves turtles has respiratory symptoms 11/24/10

Hi Darrel,
Thank you so much for your quick reply, sounds absurd but I no longer come home to watch TV anymore as I don't want to wake him up... lol
<Hey '¦ my female iguana LOVES to watch Tyra Banks (no accounting for taste, I guess)
Really really appreciate your help, and also a few more questions:
What brand of Koi pellets do you recommend as I don't know what brands are trusty in Hong Kong?
<My guess is that any brand that Koi keepers buy is more than good enough.>
I've noticed Koi pellets are all really big sized pellets and in huge packets so I may need to crush it up for him to eat.
<Many KOI stores sell them in bulk and you could easily buy just a 1/4 pound or so>
If I use the heating pad do I not need the heating lamp at night?
<No. The heating pad gives the constant temp - the heat lamp no longer needed>
and are they safe to use 24/7?
<I've used them for years as 24/7 heating pads>
and do I place him directly on the heating pad or perhaps underneath his box?
<that depends. First, under his box. Failing that, wrapped in a towel on the floor of his box. Set the Pad Temp on "medium" and leave for an hour, then come back and measure (or guess) the surface temp. It should be WARM to the touch '¦ comfy-warm, not HOT>
I am scared to overheat the little guy...
<I understand. That's why the heat lamp is removed>
Yes the Zoo mercury vapor lamp is a UVA, UVB and heat lamp in one recommended by the vet
however it turns off when it gets too hot and turns back on by itself... do I also need to create a shady area for him in case he gets too warm?
<If it's also his UV-B then that changes things. Use the Heating pad at night and turn it off during the day. Place the lamp so that he can get away from the heat of it. Again, you can do this by touch. Nothing should ever feel more than nicely warm.>
I have a thermometer and have been keeping an eye on the temperature. So 28" degrees Celsius is a good, constant and safe temperature?
<YES! It's perfect for recuperation>
Thank you so much again for your help.

Painted Turtle Problems 10/6/10
hello, my name is jesy.
<Hiya - my name is Darrel>
I purchased a 3 month old painted turtle from a pet store about a month ago. When I first brought him home he was doing great, he started to make a small squeaky noise and while he did this his throat would expand, I searched this on YouTube and it seems like people are identifying it as sneezing.
<not really sneezing, but often a sign of respiratory distress>
Anyway I bought him a fish for company
<Turtles don't need company like people do. They do just fine on their own. If anything a fish is something to eat, but the PROBLEM is that fish, especially what they call "feeder fish" carry germs and pathogens that are not healthy for turtles>
.. but he got worse and eventually stopped eating. When I asked the pet store about the problem they told me to keep him out of the water in a humid environment so I created a tank with a basking lamp and coconut husk with water.
<I would recommend warm and DRY - I'll send you a link explaining why>
After about five days he got better, he ate like a crazy person, he ran around buried himself in the husk, basked and responded to me. The pet store told me to put him back in the tank cleaned with a doctor turtle tablet, he has been in the tank for a couple days now and he is starting to do that same thing..?
<Maybe he wasn't quarantined / isolated long enough?>
He seems to do it after he eats. He has a basking lamp over a floating rock and the water is about 27 degrees its at the perfect temperature according to a small strip on the thermometer. The pet store said he could have gotten sick the first time because I would put warm water in the tank and it would go colder after I cleaned it and the temperature changed caused it. I have stopped doing this so I really have no idea what it is. he also sheds and scratches his eyes... please help!
<When you say shedding, I suspect little gray pieces of skin coming off of his arms and legs? Or do you mean tiny, clear pieces of the scute that look like fingernail material?>
<Shedding of skin is often a sign of a fungal infection, Jesy. Healthy skin sheds in such small pieces that a person would never see it. Shedding of the scutes is, however, healthy>
<I don't think you have a big problem, just a couple of small problems. The water temp is a bit high for a turtle. Unless you live north of the Arctic Circle or at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, room temperature water is just fine. If the temperature under his basking lamp is 33-C (90-F) then he gets to CHOOSE to be warm or to be cool - and that is what we want>
<Anyway, here are two links. The first link is the treatment of common illnesses in Sliders and their cousins (like your painted turtle). Treat him as if he had a respiratory infection. Isolate him (warm and dry) and treat him that way for at least a month. Five minutes of soaking in a shallow bowl of room temp water each day for eating, drinking and pooping. All of this will help him shake what's going on>
<Meanwhile, the second link is basic care. Pay special attention to UV-B and diet. Making sure both are as described is the best way to prevent future problems>

my turtle spits mucus. please help 9/3/10
<Hi Anushri, Sue here with you.>
I am from India and its rainy season here. I have a red ear slider since the past 7 years. I noticed him spitting out mucus type looking thing from his mouth. He does it once in a day whenever I put him in his tank. It's transparent and looks like thick saliva. He doesn't cough or sneeze when he spits it out. Otherwise he's active and plays around normally; no behavior changes. I put him in warm water twice a day and try to keep him dry and warm most of the time.
<Are you doing this because you think he's sick right now? Or is this how you normally care for him?>
<What type of enclosure is he in? Or are you letting him roam around the house?>
<When you say you're keeping him *warm*, what is the air temperature? And have you been providing him with a UVB light as well?>
He stopped spitting it for almost 2 weeks and now it's started again. Everyone in the house has cold and cough.. could it be the weather? And my friend took her turtle to a vet and they gave him injections and he died that same day. Vets here are good for dogs and cats and do not really have much knowledge about turtles so am very scared and reluctant to take him to a vet; I just don't trust them.
<Whereabouts in India are you located? If you let me know, I'll be happy to do a little research to see if I can try to locate someone for you who specializes in reptiles. Whether or not he's ill, it's always good to have a name and number handy of someone you can call should he need to be seen.>
Could you please, please help me out? Am too worried.
<Anushri, it would help if you could write back with some additional information so I can better advise you -- >
<First, is your turtle having any of the following other symptoms?
- Any difficulty or labored breathing?
- Any wheezing noises when he breathes?
- Are there any bubbles coming out of his nose when he's on dry land?
- Is he frequently yawning or breathing with his mouth open?
- Is he having difficulty swimming, or swimming in an unusual way (in circles, lopsided)?
- Have there been any changes to his appetite, especially a lack of appetite?>
<Next, can you also provide some details about how you've normally been caring for him up until this recent situation? (You may also want to read over the link below and match what you've been doing to the guidelines listed here):
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<If your turtle is ill, almost all turtle illnesses result from something lacking in either their diet and/or their living environment:
- What type of enclosure have you been keeping your turtle in for the last 7 years? Has it been in an aquarium filled with water; in a warm, dry enclosure; or in no enclosure?
- If in an aquarium filled with water --
- What temperature do you keep the water at?
- Do you provide an area for him to bask, and does he normally haul out to bask for a few hours each day?
- How do you keep the water clean? Are you using a filter? How often do you do water changes? Do you clean up debris right after your turtle eats, poops?
- What type of lighting have you been providing him? Is it a UVB as well as UVA light? How many hours a day is he under the light basking?
- What is the temperature of the air directly under the UVB light and heat/light bulb where he basks?
- What is the general air temperature inside the rest of his enclosure?
- What is the typical temperature of the air around, or on the outside of his enclosure?
- Are you keeping him near a window or near any other source of potential cool air draft like an air conditioning vent?
- What type of diet are you feeding him? How much and how often do you feed him? >
<In the meantime, continue to do as you've been doing and keep him warm and dry except for a few minutes each day in shallow water to allow him to eat and poop. BUT -- Please read over the guidelines for warm, dry isolation described in the link below to make sure you're doing it properly:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Also, continue to watch him for any other signs of potential respiratory illness (see above) and that are also listed in the following link:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm >
Thank you so much. Please reply.
<You're welcome, Anushri -- please write us back in response to the questions above, and we'll see if we can help you shed some light on what might be going on with him. Sue>
PLEASE HELP!! 9/3/10
Hi crew members
I have a red ear slider. he's with me since more than 7 years. Since a week or two he has been spitting out mucus from his mouth whenever he goes in water. This happens 1-2 times in a day. It's saliva like looking thing. The vets here are not so well trained for turtles...they specialize in dogs n cats. and one of my friend's turtle died after the vet gave him 2 antibiotic injections. I am reluctant to take my turtle to a vet because I am very scared. And if I do have to take him could you tell me which antibiotics should the doctor give and what dosage? I don't want to take any chances with over doses and all. Please reply. It'll be of great help. thank you
<Hi Anushri . . . See my other email. Write us back with your responses to the questions so we can better advise you. In the meantime, also read over the care links I sent, continue to keep him warm and dry according to the guidelines I sent you, and watch over him for any other signs of illness. Sue>
Re: my turtle spits mucus. please help (ran it through a spell & grammar check hope its fine) 9/8/10

Hi Sue,
Thank you so much for replying. And I am really sorry for the spelling and grammar problem.
<You're welcome, Anishri. Thank you for resending, and I'm sorry for the late reply! I wanted to run your question about antibiotics past one of the other crew members before responding back to you.>
Well except for the mucus, there is no other symptom like the ones you mentioned. Only after he runs very fast or plays a lot he just moves his mouth like he's chewing. He moves the jaw up and down, doesn't even open it. That is just for a few seconds. And he may sneeze once in 2-3 days, but that normal for him when he's wet. He loves to play around the house and runs behind everyone. He has fixed corners in the house where he likes to sit. He hates being put in the water. Whenever he's done with eating and pooping he starts splashing water asking me to take him out of the tub. So normally in a day he's in the water for about 2 hours in the afternoon and 5-6 hours at night.
<Typically, sliders should be spending about half their day swimming, and the other half basking under the sun if they're kept outdoors, or under a heat and UVB lamp if they're kept indoors. Because turtles don't have the ability to self-regulate their body temperature, they have to rely on the heat and light in their environment for important bodily functions like properly digesting their food, converting Vitamin D into calcium for shell growth and health, etc.>
But since his mucus problem started I put him the water for about 3-4 hours a day.
<Actually, if you ever suspect your turtle is ill, you want to do the opposite -- remove him from the water (wet environment) and place him in a warm, dry environment around the clock except for just a few minutes per day in shallow water to eat, drink and poop. Bacteria thrive in warm, wet environments and will seize the opportunity to take advantage of a debilitated turtle. Warm, dry air gives a boost to his immune system to help him fight off whatever may be ailing him.>
Even then he begs to be left free on land. He has always basked in the natural sunlight. When I got him I never knew about the UVA & UVB lights. And when I learnt about them i.e. after 2-3years, I consulted a vet about it and he said it's not required if he gets sunlight.
<Natural sunlight outdoors is always the best, assuming you can provide it to him daily.>
And here its rainy season presently so there's hardly any sun. But since 2 days I have been keeping him under a yellow light which is pretty warm. Around 80-86 degrees (F). Is this ok or should I get UVA & UVB lamps?
<The heat light is a bit on the cool side. As part of his normal care, he should be spending several hours each day basking under a heat light (regular light bulb is fine) that is in the range of 88-90 degrees F.>
<While sunlight is always the best, from a practical standpoint, I'd recommend you provide him with a UVB light (UVB automatically has UVA in it). This offers you greater control (since you can't control the weather!) and consistency (to make sure he gets it daily). You can still always take him outside to give him that good quality UVB on the nice days, but at least with an artificial UVB bulb, you're assured that he's receiving UVB every day one way or the other. Lack of proper heat and UVB are two of the most common reasons turtles become ill.>
He's never had a problem like this before so I don't know what to do about the lights. And water would be around 70-75 degrees (f). I don't have anything to measure so m just guessing. The water feels warm. Not hot. And it also gets very hot here in summers so I don't warm the water when the weather is hot. I do it only during the cooler seasons or when he does not seem fine.
<Typically the way this works is that turtles are kept in cooler water (around 70-72 degrees F) in order to entice them to get out of the water to bask under the heat and light. Aquarium thermometers are fairly cheap to buy in a pet store, and along with a thermometer placed under the heat as well, will help you to better monitor and regulate if necessary, the temperatures of the air and the water.>
I feed him boiled eggs (one of his favorites) and veggies like carrots, sweet corn and he also likes mint stems and pear.
<This is really not a healthy diet for him. His staple should be either a good quality Koi or turtle pellet like ReptoMin that's supplemented with an earthworm or two as a treat every week or two. You can offer him dark fresh greens (not iceberg lettuce though, has no nutritional value) daily to give some added fiber and nutrition.>
He's way too fussy about food. So almost everyday I have to keep trying different things. I feed him everyday.
<This may be one of the reasons he's fussy. He may not be hungry enough. At his age now, he should only be fed once every 2-3 days for no more than he can eat in 5-10 minutes. You can provide him with fresh greens liberally, however. Some pet stores sell clips with a suction cup -- if you can find one of these you can put the greens in the clip and attach it to the side of the aquarium where he can nibble at it whenever he feels hungry in between meals.>
<You really should start changing his diet over to the above, and remain consistent. It's OK if he's fussy at first. Turtles can go days without eating and still be fine. Just keep to the every 2-3 day schedule of offering him the Koi pellets and he should eventually come around.>
<Another option you can try is to gradually transition him over to the Koi or ReptoMin pellets by softening them in water first, adding some pieces of egg to it which you already know he likes, mashing it up together, and feeding him small pieces of the mixture off the tip of the spoon. Just keep cutting back on the egg until it's only the Koi or ReptoMin pellets.>
The good thing is that this guy never overeats. He's not a big foodie. Whenever he's not pooping or something he won't eat much for a day or two and he gets back to normal. Last week he was not eating when I was around him, because he was busy splashing water to get out and was being fussy, he use to smell food and kicks it aside. But he was pooping normally so I guess he was eating food.
<It's actually good that he doesn't overeat. One of the most common mistakes people make is to overfeed their turtles which can also lead to various diseases.>
More than a year back he was inactive for a few days and he used to sleep a lot. So the doctor said he needs vitamin A and prescribed a multivitamin drops called "A TO Z" he told me to use it regularly and I did. But stopped for a while because I thought it's not good to make him used to a medicine like that and started after a break of a month or so. I put 4-5 drops in his water.
<My guess is he was vitamin deficient because of the diet you've been feeding him. Vitamin supplements are recommended when the diet is not sufficient. However, if you switch him over to Koi or ReptoMin pellets, fresh greens and an occasion earthworm or two every couple of weeks, this will help correct the deficiency. When I feed my turtles, I also add a small pinch of Rep-Cal phosphorous free Calcium with Vitamin D powder to their pellets. I put both in water for about 20 minutes so the powder gets absorbed into the pellets. This is especially good for indoor turtles that don't have the daily benefit of lots of sunlight.>
He does not like turtle food too much. I was thinking of changing his turtle food brand. Is that ok?
<Try my suggestions above and let me know how you make out!>
I don't have an aquarium or a set up like fishes do. When I got him the only person who could guide me was the pet shop guy. Nobody I knew had a turtle. He told me I could keep him in a simple tank or tub filled with water. The funny part is that he doesn't behave like normal turtles in some cases. Like, he doesn't want water except for eating purposes. He doesn't eat the food normally turtles do. He has a routine of getting out of the water in the morning and going in it in the afternoon and then at night.
<Anushri, in order to assure he remains healthy, you should slowly be transitioning him to a more normal environment. He really should be kept in an enclosure that offers him cool water, a dry land area that's easily accessible for him to get out of the water, a heat bulb and a UVB bulb with the air and water temperatures as mentioned above. As above, for the sake of his health, he really should be basking for several hours each day under a light bulb with the proper heat and also under a UVB bulb. This, along with good water quality, is the type of environment that will allow you the greatest control over his environment, and help to insure that he doesn't become seriously ill. A simple tank or tub is fine as long as it's large enough. The rule of thumb is 10 gallons of water for every inch of their top shell (carapace) length using a straight ruler held above his shell to measure. The larger the surface area for free movement about, the better.>
<Here is a link to an article that covers all the basics of good turtle care. Many of the things suggested in this article are things you can provide without spending a lot of money, either!:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
And his water is changed every time before he's going in. It is filtered aqua-guard water what we all drink. I wash n clean his tub with a scrub everyday.
<It sounds like you're doing a great job assuring he has good water quality!>
And he has 3 cushions n loves sitting on them when he's outside water.
<Again, it's perfectly fine to take him out of the water and play with him a little each day if you'd like and if he enjoys it. However, just keep in mind that he should be spending several hours each day basking under proper heat and UVB to help assure that he stays healthy.>
When he sees us he'll come and play and walk around but when no one's around to play or he's getting bored he'll go off to sleep or rest. I also warm a towel and wrap him in it sometimes when he's sleeping to keep him warm, I do this when I feel he's cold, and have been doing it since he's spitting out mucus) also every one in my house are having cold and cough because of the bad weather.
<The way you should be regulating his environmental temperatures is not by wrapping him in towels, but instead by transitioning him over to a less *human*, more normal *turtle* type of environment as described above.>
<This especially becomes the case when cooler weather approaches. He should be kept away from all sources of draft which is a particular concern if he's roaming around your house. Turtles in particular are susceptible to cool drafts and it's actually very common for them to acquire serious respiratory illnesses this way.>
Is it possible that he has caught out infection? His behavior seems normal. I am just worried about the mucus. Do you think it's very serious? And needs antibiotics? He's never needed them till now. I don't know how he'll react to it.
<I did run this question by another crew member. He said this one symptom right now doesn't suggest it just yet. However, if you're concerned, you may want to try isolating him in a warm, dry enclosure for a couple of weeks using the guidelines in the following link that I also sent you in my first reply:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Doing this certainly won't cause him any harm, and may even give his immune system a little boost. It's even fine for healthy turtles to be kept this way from time to time.>
<As I suggested in my first reply, I'd also continue to watch him for any other signs of potential respiratory illness, such as the ones listed in the following link:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm >
I live in Mumbai, India. It'll be great if you could refer me a vet here.
<Actually, I did a little searching here for you for some vets in your area who may have additional training with exotics. An exotics veterinarian should have the appropriate training to be able to treat turtles. It's always good to have the name and number of a vet handy if/when the time comes that they need to be seen.>
<Below are a few links I found. You should, of course, find out more information about each of them before deciding on which one, if any of them, that you'd like to use.
1) http://petturtle.htmlplanet.com/turtleaid_exoticvetlist.html
Dr. Percis A Ghiara
4. Perojbai Building , 19,Sleater Road, Mumbai 400007
Tel : 022-3819865
2) http://mumbai.justdial.com/rrsc-(reptile-rescue-and-study-center)_Mumbai_kyqsvcePrsq.htm
3) http://in.88db.com/mumbai/Pet/Veterinary-Clinics/ad-769179/
4) http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?
5) http://www.herpvetconnection.com/india.shtml
6) http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/herpvets.htm
7) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraporewala_Aquarium
(This aquarium has turtles so should be able to refer you to a specialty vet.)>
<If any of the vets are not located near you, they may be able to give you the name of someone who is. You can also try asking your local *regular* veterinarians for recommendations of veterinarians that specialize in exotics, reptiles. A local zoo, aquarium or university may also be able to help direct you to a specialized vet.>
Thanks a million Sue for looking into the matter. Hope I am not bothering you too much.
<You're very welcome, Anushri, and it's no bother at all, that's why we're here! It's actually nice to come across people who care as much about their pets as you do! We're happy to try and help you however we can. Write us back and let us know how things are going with changing things around for him.>
Please reply soon, I hope it's nothing serious.
<I hope it's not either. Let us know if he gets any more symptoms or you continue to have concerns about his health.>
Regards, Anushri
<Best of luck, let me know how it goes! Sue>
Re: my turtle spits mucus. please help 9/10/10

Hi Sue,
<Hi Anushri!>
That was an overwhelming reply from you, and thanks a lot for making so much efforts.
<You're welcome, happy to help.>
Over these days I researched a lot about vets here and asked a lot of people and I happened to visit two of them. Both the vets checked him and said he seems to be fine as he looks very active, appetite is fine and there are no other symptoms.
<That's very good news! I'm sure it also helps you to feel at ease that they both concurred with each other.>
Also I realized 2 days back that we had got pest control done in the house on the 7th august. And his mucus problem started after the pest control. Could it be a reaction to the chemicals? The vets here say that the reaction/allergy would not last so long.
<I checked with my colleague on this question as he's had many more years' experience in handling turtles than I have. He said he's never heard of insecticides causing that kind of reaction, but he did feel that what your turtle had was more likely due to some type of irritation rather than an infection.>
And this is what the vets suggested --
The 1st vet told me: that a diet change would help and since he looks alright he didn't want to medicate him. And he would be fine soon as it may be some irritation because of something that he is eating.
<This seems to be in line with what Darrel, my colleague, was thinking.>
The 2nd vet said: that he seems alright and gave me drops called SEPTRAN (trimethprim sulphamethoxazole). He told me to give him twice a day, 5 drops each time. (which I thought was a lot).
I checked with the pharmacist and he said that this is used for veterinary as well as pediatric purposes and is very mild. So I have been giving him but I am giving him a reduced dosage of 2 drops only once a day. I also changed his diet to more greens. And these two things have shown a difference. I haven't seen any mucus since the medication started. I do make him bask under the heat lamp. Like you suggested and all this has really helped. I am so relieved to see him better. I hope he stays better. For how long should I give him the medicine (antibiotic drops)? It's been 3 dosages till now.
<Once you start a course of antibiotics, you should always finish it or give it for the prescribed length of time that your vet has advised. What did he advise you on this? You should mention to him that you've been giving your turtle a lesser dose than what he prescribed. Usually prescriptions are based on weight. My only concern is that IF it's an infection and you're under-dosing, the symptoms may be going away but that doesn't mean the bacteria/infection is all gone (again, assuming there IS an infection). What happens is that the weak bacteria die first leaving the more resistant bacteria behind -- and alive and well, albeit in smaller numbers. So if the dose you're giving is too little or you discontinue the medication too quickly, the remaining (more virulent) bacteria will build back up in numbers and potentially become more resistant to medication. This is where I'd suggest you let your vet guide you on this. What's important is that you try to find a vet who you really trust and feel comfortable with. If you're not comfortable with the type of medication and dosage amount this vet prescribed, you might want to consider getting a 2nd opinion from another vet.>
I checked for the UVB lights. But there are these lights which are called UV and when you light them they are bluish in color and the one which makes white shine. That's the only UVB available here, so I guess I don't have an option but to use a yellow halogen or a high power bulb.
<When you say 'UV', did the box that the 'UV' bulb come in specifically state 'UVB' on it? If not, then likely the bulb had no UVB. You really do want to try to obtain a UVB light in addition to a heat bulb unless you plan to have your turtle outside every day getting an hour or so of direct sunlight. And here is one situation where quality of the UVB can vary significantly between brands. The one that I use and comes highly recommended by many is ReptiSun 5.0. Assuming you can get one shipped to where you are, below is one link where you can order it:
http://www.amazon.com/ReptiSun-Watt-18-Inch-Fluorescent-Lamp/dp/B000255OS6 >
<You should be able to find a relatively inexpensive fixture for this bulb in a home improvement store. You'll also want to get a screen at the pet store to place between the fixture and the basking area in the turtle's enclosure to prevent the fixture from falling in. You need to get one that has at least ¼' holes, not a fine mesh window screen as it will block out too much of the UVB rays from reaching your turtle.>
I will make sure he basks for hours. But what should I do to make him stay in the water for long? When he was small he used to be in the water for almost 12-14 hours, but now he doesn't.
<Ha! Well, the 1st thing with turtles is that you really can't MAKE them do anything (as you've already seen yourself now in the years you've had him!) Not much different than children actually. LOL! In other words, unless you're treating him for an illness, don't force him to bask under a heat light in one enclosure, then remove him and put him in another enclosure with water. What you need to do is provide him with BOTH water and a basking area in the SAME enclosure and let HIM choose which one he wants at any given time of the day. BUT -- what you DO want to do here is set things up properly so that he makes the RIGHT choices!>
<This means not only providing him with both *land* and water to choose from, but also making sure that you have enough of a temperature gradient (i.e. 18-20 degrees difference or so) between these two areas so that it becomes a VERY CLEAR choice for him. If you keep his basking area warm enough (around 88-90 degrees F), then once he's had enough heat, this will be what causes him to jump into the water to cool off (cool meaning around 70-72 degrees). And once he's feeling cooled off enough from the water, this will be what entices him to get out to warm up under the light.>
<Having said that, right now he's going to be going through a period of *adjustment* as you switch him over from an *environment* he's come to know for the last several years to now a much different one. His adaptation to his (new and improved!) surroundings is going to be a *process*. Most turtles (like most people including myself!) are creatures of habit (a bit of a pun here!) and resist change, even if it's for the better. For example, this past summer, I set up an outdoor pond for my turtles so they could enjoy soaking in some of the natural sunlight. It was a much larger and more natural environment than the aquariums to which they'd become accustomed for so long. So you'd expect, given this, that they would naturally rejoice and be in *turtle nirvana*, right? Not!! It took several days for them to feel comfortable even coming out of the water to bask; several weeks before they felt comfortable enough with the strange noises around them to not completely freak out and jump in the water at even the slightest bit of movement.>
<The same will likely be true for your turtle as well. So don't get discouraged if he initially seems *less than thrilled* with his new environment. It may take days, even a few weeks for him to adjust. But it's well worth the time, investment on your part as it will give you much greater control over making sure he's getting the correct temperatures, lighting, etc. which, as a result, will increase the likelihood that he'll remain healthy and with you for many more years to come.>
And also over here I don't get products of Tetra Company. There are two turtle foods available, one is called "TOTO" and the other is "TURTLE FOOD" from 'TAIYO" company.
<See if you can find Koi pellets in the pond section of the pet shop or even at a home improvement store. This can serve as the staple. Kay Tee is a widely distributed brand here. Then just try and find a place where you can get an earthworm every week or two to offer him as a treat (preferably earthworms not exposed to pesticides).>
<Also remember to feed him the pellets only once every 2-3 days and for only as much as he can eat in 5-10 minutes. And preferably feed him in the morning so he can have the day to digest his food under the warmth of the light.>
I have someone coming down from the U.S.A in November. So I can ask her to get food and other requisites. So could you tell me what other things I should keep handy with me like calcium and other things that I may need later because we don't get such specialized turtle products here.
<Fortunately, food is one of the easiest parts of turtle care!! As with his environment, though, this will temporarily also be a *process* for him, as it will take him some time to adjust to his new diet. If you can find/provide Koi pellets, earthworms and either pond plants or greens like red and green leaf lettuce, this will be fine for the food. Dandelion greens are also good (again pesticide free). Koi pellets are nearly identical to ReptoMin in terms of nutritional content and much less expensive. The only thing I might ask her to bring over with her is a container of Rep-Cal Phosphorous-Free Calcium with Vitamin D powder if you're not able to get it where you are. And -- if you haven't been able to get the ReptiSun 5.0 UVB light by then, ask her to bring that along also!>
And are Koi pellets different from normal fish pellets?
<Yes, they are different.>
Can I feed him with normal fish food? As that is more easily available.
<No. Do not feed him any other type of fish food, flakes, etc. Only the Koi pellets can be substituted for ReptoMin or other quality turtle pellet.>
I will gradually make the changes for him one at a time, as you mentioned above. And do let me know if you think the vets are good enough. I need your ratings and opinion on them!
<That I can't help you with since I have nothing to 'rate' them on. The vet links I provided you were just to give you a place to start. I would suggest you talk to someone at the aquarium link I gave you. Since they have turtles there, it's likely whoever's in charge of caring for them is familiar with the local vets and might be able to point you in the right direction. A *general practice* vet may also be able to make a recommendation. Below is a link from another site that also offers some good tips on what questions to ask, things to look for, when you are searching for a qualified herp vet --
http://www.redearslider.com/choose_vet.html >
<There is also other good information on this site. However, if you see any advice on this site that conflicts with advice on our site, write us first before following it!>
Thank you once again Sue! You have really been of great help.
<You're welcome, Anushri. Your turtle is very lucky he has you caring for him!>

Re: my turtle spits mucus. please help 9/12/10

Hi Sue,
<Hey Anushri>
That's so sweet of you, he is my baby and my weakness and the bad part is that he's well aware of that so he knows how to make me do what he wants. He makes me stay up all night these days to play and be in and out of water. And you are right they are just like children and mine shows some characteristics of a dog too. LOL!
<That is funny. Yes, I think even though we try to delude ourselves into thinking we're the ones in control, in reality I think it's really our pets and children who have us trained!>
I'll try to provide him with the perfect set up and adjust temperatures accordingly.
<I have no doubt you will. It's obvious you care for him a lot. I wish there were more pet owners out there like you!>
thank you!! You have been a sweetheart.
<That's nice of you to say, and you're very welcome.>
Take care and keep up the good work!! Wish you guys all the best.
<Thank you, and you as well. Let us know how it all turns out! Sue>

RES blowing Bubbles -- 8/21/10
Hello my name is Robert
<Hiya - I'm Darrel>
I have three Red Eared Sliders, 2 at 3 months old, and one at 2 months old and are all under 1.5 inches. they are in a 20 gallon aquarium with 13 gallons of water, two filtration systems (one for circulation and the other for more heavy cleaning) a floating dock for basking, Heating lamp/UVA light as well as a UVB lamp, there are some fake plants, larger rocks and
gravel (which I did my best to strain out anything small enough for them to swallow, but I noticed a lot of the smaller stuff gets sucked up when I vacuum the tank as well.
<That was nice of you, Robert - they do sometimes eat small gravel bits and they can become impacted in the intestines, so you did a good thing straining them out>
there are also small roseys in there for them to eat, however I have noticed that they each have only eating two out of the 12 I bought. I have had many turtles in my life from rescues or ones that were going to end up in a bad spot if I didn't take them in. but these are the first domestic turtles I have raised and they act very different from the painted and Sliders I am used to.
<Please explain>
-- in particular my one turtle, which would be the healthiest of them all (However they are all showing extreme health and happiness) has been sitting at the edge of the dock and blows bubbles and then eats them again. they have a very healthy diet of veggies, pellets and the fish when they do eat them, there is a minor algae issue on some of the larger rocks but the
fish have been picking at that. and these turtles show no sign of any sickness, they eat constantly, and are the most active I have ever seen any turtles. so why does this one blow bubbles, and I mean he literally blows them through his mouth. I some times see them blow them out their nose (all of them) which I thought was a respiratory issue, but my local experts say they are all right and just simply releasing air to sink to the bottom of the tank. do you have any insight as too why he might be doing this?
<It is a peculiar behavior, Robert, but not a dangerous one. The first indication you'd have that it was a health issue would be if this turtle were UNABLE to breathe without doing this. In other words, if every time he was in the water at the surface he was bubbling and even when he continued to bubble>
<My guess is that his glottis doesn't always seal properly and a small bit of water gets in his throat, then when he tried to expel it, it makes a bubble. If it were respiratory, it wouldn't go away when he hauled out & dried off?
thank you very much, I tried to give you as much information as possible, please let me know if you need to know anything else
<You did fine. Keep paying attention to the details and everything should be just fine>

Re: RES blowing Bubbles, With pics*** 9/12/10
hello again,
thank you for your help.
<No charge>
I have another question about one of my other turtles now.
He finished shedding his skin a couple of weeks ago and after that I noticed his shell looked like it was getting ready to molt now as well, and there were white "flakes" forming on the edges of each of the plates on his shell. flakes may not be the best way to describe it but its hard, not soft and cotton-like, like I would assume shell rot would be from the amount of research I've done on it.
<Well first, turtles don't shed in cycles like snakes do. The scutes shed as the shell grows, which will be seasonally (more in summer, etc.) but it does happen pretty much all year long.>
<Now, as far as the flakes go - yeah that's a tough one to describe. When a scute starts to shed, the first thing that happens is that the edges lift just a tiny bit and when the shell is dry it can LOOK like white patches. On the other hand it can just be water stains>
He basks normally, dries normally, eats normally, I clean the tank regularly and the water is treated with Cycle and Tap water condition that I also use for my fish, and turtle waste conditioner as well.
<Those are fine - they don't hurt anything, but turtles are happy to live in regular tap water, too.>
I have recently been informed that our water has a hard water issue, and I can really see this when the splash the side of the tank and a white calcium residue is left behind. it almost looks like what is on my turtles shell. but the other two I have don't have any issues like this, but they also haven't been shedding as much as this guy as they are a bit younger. I guess basically I'm wondering if there are any other sorts of infections that look like this, or is it just talking a while for the full molting process to occur on the shell. if pictures would help let me know because I will need to borrow a camera
<Robert - it's hard to tell from here. The pics look fine, like normal discoloration around the scute edges and nothing you've said gives me any cause for concern. He's eating basking and active '¦ I say don't worry. Maybe take a bit of household vinegar on a towel and try wiping off one of the flakes and see if it's just a stain '¦ but at the moment, beyond that, let's just wait & see what happens>
thanks again

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

RI and spot on carapace? RES shell and resp. hlth. 1/22/10
Hello wet web media crew.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Noi here. thanks for your respond before about my lovely terrapin:) it does really help me to more understanding about this wonderful pets:)
but, I want to ask more questions in this mail about problems that appear to my another terrapins. I've attached the picture so you can see my real situation.
The first picture(Gammy 1) shown that my gammy open his mouth and wheezing and breathing loudly and I suspected his get Respiratory Infection. its been raining this few days and the temp get cold and his starting to behave like this 2 days ago.
I then put him in another container to separate him from my another terrapin. what I want ask is, does he really get RI and what can I do to treat him because there is no vet at my place:( is it other alternative treatment that I can do?
and I also wonder it is he get RI because of his mouth have a hole(Gammy 2) (I don't realize about the hole when I buy him from pet shop) and make it easy for the water get into his mouth.
<Treating a respiratory infection is not hard, Noi. If the infection is not too advanced it can clear up without any expensive treatment. Here is a link on how to treat common illnesses. Isolate Gammy someplace warm and dry and keep his temperature high. Read about isolation and Wheezing and Bubbly Nose>
<The hole in his mouth is a much more serious condition! Unfortunately I can't see anything clearly from the photos you sent. Please describe it in more detail and / or try to take a closer photo (while still in focus) of the area. IF it is a wound, the link on treatment has a section on wounds and abrasions and also, keeping him warm and dry will help that heal as well>
another question I want to ask is, what could it be spot on gammy (gammy2) n gaga (gaga pic) carapace? when I buy gaga from pet shop n I already ask the pet seller about it and she said that it just shell skin shedding. is it true? because it about 2 weeks and still nothing change (the spot just remain like that). and how about Gammy spot? looks like algae but I'm not sure. patiently to hear your feedback about it.
<Again, the pictures are not clear. It may simply be abrasions from rubbing on the rocks. While treating Gammy, treat Gaga as well - for a fungal infection. Those spots may not be fungus, but it doesn't hurt to treat him as if it was. Warm & dry will help them heal!>
anyway thanks!:)

Hello Again Team... Cooter, resp. inf. -- 01/03/10
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I have 2 yellow bellied Cooter turtles we believe that the one may have RI but every thing we have read says its not hard to identify.
<You're correct, Scott. Whether RI means Rhode Island or Respiratory Infection, it's usually easy to find. If you have a map. Or a vet license.>
The turtle seems out of sorts and as been sleeping at the bottom of the tank constantly only to come up for air or to eat occasionally. This turtle very much enjoyed basking until last week and has not gone up on the dock at all this week.
<Not a good sign, to be sure>
His eyes mouth and nose seem to be fine there maybe a little bit of puffiness in the eyes but not enough to be able to tell for sure there is no mucus or sneezing or any of the other signs of R I Other than lack of mobility and that it is always sleeping.
<The first symptom of just about any reptile disease is general debilitation and lack of normal behavior>
Also we have a heater in the tank ( 75 gallon tank) and large basking light so temperatures should be ideal. So I was wondering what your input is - do you believe that the turtle has RI Or is something else going on with our turtle.
<Yes, I believe he either has a respiratory infection or something else going on. My guess at the moment, based solely on swollen eyes is that he may have a vitamin deficiency .. with a respiratory or other opportunistic infection on it's way. My suggestion is that you remove the water heater. Room temperature water is just fine for turtles (unless you live north of the Arctic Circle) and once in a while, water that's a bit TOO warm can cause a disruption in the basking/swimming cycle.>
<Now down to treatment. I'm enclosing a link that covers isolating a turtle in a warm & dry state. The reason is that once a turtle begins to become ill, the wet & cool environment actually works against him. If he's not basking, the water is just taxing his ability to thrive, upsetting his digestion, which further debilitates him. Follow the instructions for swollen eyes (because the general care will also help fight a respiratory infection) and during this time, make SURE your housing and husbandry are up to spec (second link enclosed called 'care'>
<treatment: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
<care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
Thanks so much for your input we look forward to some answers
<More answers? Sure!>
<Not until pay day>
<About 350 degrees for 15 minutes>
<I would>
<Answer unclear -- ask again later>
<If I COULD walk that way, I wouldn't need the Talcum Powder!>

Wheezing sound from RES 12/17/09
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
Recently, I could hear some wheezing sound from my Red Eared Slider. However, it doesn't seem to be sick. It still has a great appetite and is still active.. I've taken good care of it. I do not have a UV light but I do let them bask in the sun for about 15 to 20 minutes.
<You're doing well, but 15 to 20 minutes a day is not really enough. See what you can do about a light -- or at least an hour a day in the sunlight (remember to give his a place to shade himself).
What is the reason behind it? I do not always hear the wheezing sound coming from my Red Eared Slider. It just only can be heard for a few seconds after lifting it up from the water.
<Not a problem -- that hissing/wheezing noise you hear is just that. As he retracts his head, neck & limbs in order to protect himself, he expels the air in his body cavity! NOT a problem!>
Thanks :)
<yer welcome>
<Some reading for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Lungs infection for my RES?? 12/12/09
Hi, recently I have been hearing sounds coming from my RES when I am helping them to change their water, it seems to be making sounds like humans being having phlegm.
<This animal needs to go to a vet, immediately. Do read here:
Otherwise, it will die.>
What is the real cause behind it??
<Almost always, Respiratory Tract Infections are "caused" by the pet owner not providing the right conditions. In particular, these animals need warmth, humidity, and a vitamin-rich diet. Chilling and Vitamin A deficiency are the common causes.>
Please help me :(
<Cheers, Neale.>

Turtles spitting and blowing bubbles -- 09/26/09
Hello, I have three red eared sliders, approximately 1 years old. They're in good health, they eat well, and get plenty of light and heat. They sound like they're perfect but they have this very annoying habit of blowing bubbles and spitting on the surface of the water.
<Actually, this might be a serious issue.>
It's loud, and since their tank is in my bedroom it wakes me up at night. It also makes their tank dirty very quickly. I've noticed that a film will build up on the surface of the water after about a week of them constantly blowing bubbles/spitting. I've been looking all over the Internet trying to find a solution to this problem.
Is there anything that might explain why they do this, or is there anything
I can do to prevent them from noisily blowing bubbles and spitting? <While turtles may sometimes splutter or bubble for no particular reason while swimming, if they're doing this constantly, and especially if they do this out of the water, it's a possible sign of a respiratory tract infection. If the bubbling goes along with wheezing, sneezing, or odd discharges from the nose or mouth, then this is almost certainly the diagnosis. Because reptiles need very particular conditions to stay healthy, and because turtles are very often given an inadequate diet (no vitamin supplements, pellets rather than fresh greens), and because the importance of UV-B as opposed to visible light is often overlooked, the numbers of turtles that suffer from respiratory tract infections is very high. So, the wisest thing to be would be to call your local exotic animal vet, at least discuss what you're observing with the nurse or vet there, and if necessary, bring them in for a check up. Do read here:

re: Turtles spitting and blowing bubbles -- 09/27/09
Thank you for the quick reply!
<You are welcome.>
I checked the turtles for any discharge and didn't see any, I also checked for any breathing issues and they seem perfectly healthy.
My friend made a comment about them spitting and blowing bubbles for fun.
<Do be careful about placing human interpretations on animal behaviours: that road leads to confusion, not clarity. Animals don't think or work in the same way we do, and you'll always do better when keeping them if you bear that mind.>
Sounds ridiculous, but since there seem to be no health issues could that be the case?
<Unlikely they do it for "fun" -- there's no evidence reptiles engage in any kind of play behaviour whatsoever. It may merely be incidental to some other behaviour, but do keep an open mind, review the maintenance requirements of these turtles, and in particular diet, UV-B and temperature (the three things reptile keepers most often get wrong). Good luck, Neale.>

More: re: turtles 9/21/09
Hello again-
<Hiya for the first time - Darrel here>
One of my turtles has been showing signs of what I've read to believe is respiratory infection- the poor thing shows no interest in food while the others do, she just sits on the dock in the water with her head out and
occasionally opens her mouth to let out a strange wheezing bark- other than keeping up on a healthy diet and such what can I do, or what shouldn't I do to keep my turtles entirely healthy.
<Great question Nick. You came to the right place too! We recently published an INCREDIBLE article entitled Treating common illnesses of The Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and other Emydid turtles.>
<It's well written, very informative, easy to follow and it covers, among other things wheezing and bubbly nose associated with respiratory infections. The author is brilliant, very experienced and handsome, too>
<Generally, the trick with reptiles and fish is to KEEP them healthy by close attention to their conditions. They don't need very much, Nick ... but what they DO need .. they need exactly and completely. So ... two
links. The first is an article on treatment that will help you get your little guy back on the road to health and the second on basic care -- check everything in your setup, routine and environment against the suggestions
in the second article and correct anything that's not up to speed.>
<Basic Care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

My Turtle - gaping or coughing? 9/10/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya! Darrel here today>
I have had a painted turtle for a year now. My kids found her last summer at our family campsite. She was very small when we got her, so I feel safe in saying she is only a year old.
<OK, at the moment exact age isn't important anyway>
I have her in a 20 gallon tank, and I clean it once a week, but lately she has been sitting on her dock when she is basking and is biting at the air.
It is like she is trying to catch something like a fly but there is nothing there, is this normal?
<Mmm Can be. Sometimes they gape - hold the mouth open for a while, almost like a yawn ... and this is normal. HOWEVER ... it could also be an early sign of a respiratory infection and this behavior is as close as a turtle can get to a cough. The good news is that at this early stage, it's also easy to treat.>
<UV light, basking light, clean water and a good diet -- and these symptoms will subside. I've enclosed a link below that describes the basic care for all Emydid (hard shelled) water turtles and it covers all these
Also I can't get her to eat plants or kale should she be eating more of those at her age?
<Be careful with Kale and Spinach ... both will tend to leach calcium from them. As the guide suggests, a high quality Koi food pellet fed in the water is a perfectly balanced diet for a Painted Turtle. You can
supplement once a week with a single earth worm or night crawler -- but that's more for a treat than any dietary requirement,>
How often should she be fed?
<All the pellets in the water that she'll eat in 5 minutes -- then scoop out the rest. 6 days a week. When in doubt, under feed -- nothing wrong with her being a little hungry>
I put food in her dish every morning and it seems to last her all day.
<Turtles are best fed in the water -- however I do know people that don't want to make the tank water messy, so they remove the turtle to a shallow tub with about an inch of room temperature water and feed the turtle in that ... removing him back to his regular tank after 5 or 10 minutes>
Sorry I have so many questions
<No problem ... we have MANY answers!>
but my last question is, how big of a tank should I have her in? I was told a minimum of 75 gallons is this true?
<When she's 8 years old and 5-8 inches long, yes. Right now a nice clean 20 gallon tank is just fine!>
Thank you for answering my questions.
<No problem, I enjoyed it!>
<care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Red Eared Slider behavior -- 07/14/08 Hi, <Hiya, Darrel here> I have a few questions for you, I hope you can help me care better for my son Pauli: <I'm going to read on before I make any leaps of logic here> 1. I bought a RES, her eyes were swollen shut and were draining pus. I went to the Pet Shop and got drops and other medicines, the tank has UV lights, the water temp was fine, and I left her in the sun for 30mins a day, but after a week she died, I just want to know what more I could have done as I am scared to buy another one, I got too attached and then got sick when she died. <On behalf of Bob Fenner and the entire crew, we're sorry for your loss, Chantell. Buying an animal that is already showing signs of illness will almost never have a happy ending. The predators of fish and reptiles usually go for the weak and injured animals first, so if you're a fish or a turtle it pays NOT to be sick or injured, but even if you are sick or injured -- it pays to not APPEAR to be sick or injured. For this reason fish and reptiles are very stoic animals - they often will appear to be just FINE until suddenly they appear REALLY sick and this is often just hours before they die. Most fish or reptiles have had a debilitating disease for weeks -- sometimes even months -- without any signs that you would see unless you were looking closely and knew just what to look for> <You did the right things -- Vitamin A (injections are best but drops usually work), massive antibiotic injections and sunlight are three of the four things needed, but by the time the eyes are weeping pus, the fourth item you needed was a small miracle. Again, our sympathies.> 2. Also I have a male Red Eared Slider named Pauli that I have had for about 8 months now. He is healthy and beautiful. Last night I was talking to him and he started to make funny sounds, like he was "talking" back to me. I called my husband as I thought I was imagining it but he did the same. He swims to the top of the water with just his head out and then makes the sounds. Is it normal? <Is he telling you to kill your landlord or buy stocks in an Internet Startup? I know that sounds crazy, Chantell, but take it from me -- I breed turtles ... and turtles don't know ANYTHING about the stock market!> <Seriously, the can make a sort of clicking sound with their jaws and something resembling a hiss/growl as they breathe. The thing to do is make SURE that it's not the bubbly/raspy sound of breathing through an upper respiratory infection. Look closely for bubbles coming from the nose as he breathes.> 3. Pauli eats anything meaty and leafy, but he refuses to eat the pellets we give him. I have tried to mix it with meaty things but he is too clever, he eats the meat and leaves the pellets, when he does occasionally bit into one he spits it right back out. Do you have any suggestions how to get him to eat it? <Yes I do, but you're not going to like it. After you verify that Pauli is otherwise healthy you stop giving him food of any kind except Tetra brand Repto-Min and you offer THAT only once a week for no longer than 10 minutes & then you remove it and try again next week. Week after week. Into next month and maybe the month after. Until Pauli gets hungry enough to eat. It's a contest of wills, Chantell. I once went .... brace yourself .... in fact sit down .... I once went THREE AND A HALF YEARS with a Box turtle named Clara that had fixated on strawberries and wouldn't eat anything else. Every week, every month, every year .... nothing. I was convinced she was trying to out-live me until one day she turned a corner and ate the earthworm I'd offered. After that, everything was fine except for her incessant chatter about investing in some company named goodell or goober or Google or something like that!> <Make sure that water temp is not too warm -- and that basking temp IS nice and warm. Available temperature choices are a major factor in eating habits.> 4. Last question, Pauli sometimes has the habit of swimming around and then doing a 180degree turn in the water when visitors come over, is he playing? <We're not sure if turtles have that level of sentient awareness, Chantell, but they sure do entertaining things!> Thank you, <You're welcome!> Chantell P.S We don't have vets in the UAE specializing in reptiles, so a friend suggested this sight. Keep up the great work, I learned a few things from the site. <Keep the kudos coming! We're vain & shallow & respond well to praise!!!!!!>

Terrapin- R infection. Turtle hlth. -- 03/18/08 HI there, I came across your website as I have been worried sick about my little terrapin. I am from Singapore and recently bought 3 terrapins 3 weeks ago. About a week and half ago I noticed that one of them refused to eat, sneezed a lot, sleep a lot, the shell can't sink and yawns. <Lung infection...> Initially I didn't know that they need sun/light <Or other source of red-end spectrum lighting, Vitamin supplements> to bask so I figured little Meeno ( sick one) caught a cold. I started putting a heat lamp for them to bask and during day time I have them out in the sun ( not direct sun). Also brought it to the Vet last week and was prescribed Baytril solutions to be put in the tank. <Ahh!> Little Meeno started to be a little more active and tried to eat a little on the 3rd day after the medication but couldn't eat. Every time Meeno opens its mouth, bubble comes out and pushes the food further away, and it gave up after a while ( breaks my heart watching it). I tried hard boiled egg white but to no avail. I brought it to the vet again on the 6th day and the vet started Injections. Meeno had the first jab yesterday and I did the second one today ( but I was nervous so I think the jab caused a little bleeding). I also started soaking Meeno in V8 juice. <Interesting> The vet said that Meeno probably has pneumonia now and prognosis is looking poor. <Yikes> I was wondering what else I can do to save it. The other 2 terrapins are eating a lot and doing fine. As I put the little guys out near the sun from morning till evening, do I still need to turn on the basking light at night? <I would for now, yes> What else can I feed Meeno? Thank you so much for your help, Desperate, Su <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm toward the bottom of the page... re Turtle systems, feeding, respiratory disease. Bob Fenner>

Re: Turtle FAQs work on WWM, call for articles 1/16/08 Hi Bob, <Neale> Here's a thousand words on respiratory tract infections of turtles. A slightly complex topic, but I hope it's all clear and simple enough to understand now. <Ah yes> I will look at the eye infections topic too, if you want. <Please do> Cheers, Neale <What sort of recompense are you looking for here? BobF>

Re: Turtle FAQs work on WWM, call for articles, U.S. pres. choices, choosing 1/16/08 Hi Bob, <Neale> Since that article isn't all that long, and the one on turtle eyes likely won't be either, happy to do a 2-for-1 sort of thing here. Seem fair? But honestly, you know the market better than me, so happy to be paid whatever seems right to you. <Real good... will send along via PP presently> Trying to follow your presidential election system from here. Boy, it seems crazy to me... <Is... more folks who don't "believe" in things like "evolution"... Nor other "theories" no doubt, e.g. gravity... and Barack now has a simple servant bail out plan... Won't vote for him either... Am casting/tossing my vote for Ron Paul... about the only honest choice that has a platform I agree with... so it goes> the Dems didn't bother running in Michigan at all, so registered Dems ending up helping to choose for the Repubs? <Mmm, no, not really... just the first bout... real election/Electoral comes later... We'll see> Cheers, Neale <And you, BobF>

Turtle FAQs work on WWM, call for articles 12/12/07 Chelonian types... you know who you are... the ones with the Plastrons... Have recently split up, added Turtle Respiratory and Turtle Eye Disease SubFAQs files to WWM... and am hoping you might be interested in penning for-pay articles re these categories, conditions... BobF.

Re: Turtle FAQs work on WWM, call for articles - 12/13/07 Hi Bob, I'll certainly take a look and see if I can help. But the respiratory disease one is pretty simple -- if your turtle is wheezing, has cloudy eyes, a runny nose, and no interest in food... take it to the vet! <Mmm, yes... but... this "idea" can/could be expanded on to include preventative issues like proper habitat... gentle urging of folks to be pro and otherwise active... Remember, our target audience...> Forgive me for not being too involved today/tomorrow. I'm packing today for my trip to the States, and will be in transit tomorrow. Cheers, Neale <No worries and bon voyageeeee! Cheers, BobF>

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

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

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

Re: Sick Turtle - 05/13/2006 Turtle Gasping Great. Thank you very much. They seem to be working very well. He does seem to gasp for air sometimes though. Is this something to worry about? < A gasping sound may be the first sign of a respiratory problem. May sure the basking site gets up to 85 to 90 F. If it continues then see a vet.-Chuck>

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

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

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

Turtle Foaming 9/8/05 Hello, I have a question. Someone bought me turtles the size of quarters about 5-6 years ago, now one passed away. The other has grown quite a bit and is doing fine until....I looked at the tank this morning and noticed a little bit of foaming around it. I thought he was just blowing bubbles. Now I'm looking at it again and there is a lot of foaming going on in the tank. Can someone please let me know what's going on? I don't want it to die. Thank you, Frances < This is usually a sign of a respiratory infection. Clean the tank, change the water and clean the filter if you have one. These things usually happen when the tank is kept too cold or the basking spot is not warm enough. When a turtle gets sick they need to get somewhere to heat up. It would be like you getting a fever to fight of a illness. Turtles cannot heat themselves up so need to go somewhere hot to raise their body temp. In an enclosure that is not properly set up they cannot do this and so continue to get sick. Make sure the basking spot gets up to 95 F. The water could be heated up to 70F. Right now you need to get your turtle to a vet for antibiotics.-Chuck>

Turtle Sick? 8/30/05 First of all thanks for the quick reply. My baby turtle does eat but it doesn't eat very much. Maybe one little bite of the bread < Bread? Really? Try earthworms an insects.> and that's it. And it doesn't seem to like the commercial turtle food that I'm giving him. I've noticed that when I put my turtle in the water it blows a lot of bubbles and it's trying to wipe its face with its claws. And if it is some kind of respiratory problem do you think only raise the temperature of the basking area to 90 F will work? < Heating him up will definitely help.> What other measure do I have to take? < Get a book on turtles and read it.> Also you said to clean the shell first before applying antibiotic, what do I use to clean it? < Use a Q-tip to get all the infection out and try and get down to the flesh or shell, then apply the antibiotic.> I don't see the shell is rotting, it's just that on the surface of its shell I see black marks. Thank you and please reply. < Could be variable coloration but you never know.-Chuck>

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