FAQs About Soft/Shell Rot, Conditions In
Shell Rot in Turtles,
Treating Common Illnesses of
the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel
The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton,
Red Ear Sliders,
Red Eared Slider Care,
Shell Rot 2,
Shell Rot 3,
Shell Rot 4,
Shell Conditions 5,
Shell Conditions 6,
Shell Conditions 7,
Shell Conditions 8,
Shell Conditions 9,
Shell Conditions 11,
Shell Conditions 12,
Shell Conditions 13,
Shell Conditions 14,
Shell Conditions 15,
Shell Conditions 16,&
Turtle Disease 2,
Turtle Disease 3,
Shell rot? 6/30/17
Can you please give me a little advice. I've read your articles on
shell rot but still unable to determine If its shell rot. Is this shell rot on
the edge by his back foot?
It does indeed look like turtle rot, it can be treated and will take about 2
You will need Betadine, paper towels, gloves, mild soap and a new toothbrush.
Place your turtle in a safe container near a sink.
Rinse your turtle under running water then rub the soap on the infected area
with a wet toothbrush, rinse the toothbrush and brush again on infected area and
towel dry. Apply the Betadine with your finger or Q-tip (Be careful! the
Betadine will stain so that is where the gloves will come in handy) Place your
turtle back in the safe container and
allow the Betadine to dry, about 20 minutes, then you can put your precious pet
back into its enclosure.
You will need to repeat these instructions for 2 weeks and try not to miss a
Thank you for your inquiry, I hope that your turtle has a quick recovery.
Turtle Shell Problems 4/23/16
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Reading on your site I discovered that my turtles living condition is not ideal
so I'll be changing that.
<Oh behalf of your turtle, thank you. SO MANY people don't bother to read the
site until they have problems>
But my turtles shell is turning black in the "cracks" and the sides are starting
to kind of curl up.. There are no odd places on her shell and she's acting fine.
But I'm starting to wonder if something might be wrong.
<Not necessarily, Lakira. The cracks (properly called "margins") do turn darker
as the turtle ages. A slight turning up at the edges is also normal as the shell
grows. Significant warping of the edges have be a sign of metabolic bone disease
(just add more calcium to her diet) or simple obesity (just cut a back on
feedings a bit. Nothing sounds bad, but if you have more detailed descriptions
I'd be happy to take another margin at it, Oops, I mean CRACK at it! LOL Ok that
was a REALLY bad pun ...>
Re: Indian Flapshell turtle shell
<HIya, Darrel here>
his wound seems to have gotten worse his scab fell off today leaving the open
wound worse, is there anything I can do to make it heal at all?
Thank you in advance!
<Wounds of this type are very difficult to heal. They take time and patience.
First thing of course, is that he needs to be dry-docked ... which is to say
that he needs to be kept in a warm dry place while his skin heals. As long as
he/she doesn't move around too much to the point where he wears the scab off, he
can be left to roam inside whatever small container you use. If he's very
active, frantically trying to get out and won't settle down after a day or so,
then you will have to bandage the wound so he can't damage it as he moves.
Another alternative is to
confine him to a small container ... so small that he literally can't move ...
for 5 to 7 days until the wound starts to heal.>
<Warm & dry. Betadine (Iodine of some variety) every day. Perhaps a good wash
with Hydrogen Peroxide first and again once a week. Read here:
Turtle shell help 1/24/17
I have three turtles who are all one and a half years old: Ciben, Kiwi, and
Recently though I have noticed some things going on with my turtle Kiwi's shell.
For one, in the scutes down the middle of her shell have gotten a very dark
brown color (Which I assumed to just be aging at first though I'm not sure now)
<Quite so. Normal. As the turtle grows, the older scutes ("plates")
separate from the shell, peeling off a bit like dead skin.>
Another thing I've noticed is very light grey between her scutes which I
actually saw peeling off (which once again may be apart of her growing/scutes
shedding but I want to make sure)
<So long as this smells of nothing much, you're fine. Shell Rot smells of mould.
Horrible. But if the turtle merely smells of warm water, you're fine. Let me
direct you to some reading:
Seek, and ye will fine!>
There is also a cloudy spot on one of her scutes at the edge of her shell, it's
hard to see but it's there and even though it doesn't look like it because of
the picture she doesn't have it anywhere else. Is it shell rot?
<Don't think so.>
Lastly, her shell just looks very odd in general, it's hard to tell though
pictures but there are lighter cloudy grainy areas towards the top of her scutes
but I'm sure it isn't shell rot so what is it?
<Adult turtles don't look much like the tiny ones sold in pet stores. Their
shells are muddy-brown with faint grey-green markings. Basically, camouflage!>
Here are my pictures:
<Indeed! Please do us a favour next time and reduce the file size before
sending. 5+ MB of images swallows up a fair chunk of our email storage space,
and for those of us checking in on our travels using phones and tablets, it's a
real pain in the backside. We do ask our correspondents to observe this minor
courtesy, so please do take this request in the manner with which it's
From what I've looked up Overfeeding and not enough basking is the cause of the
lighter cloudy grainy areas towards the top of her scutes so I've been
dry-docking her for a few hours everyday so far and feeding less.
<So long as your turtles get a few hours of basking under a UV-B lamp, they
should be fine. They will regulate access to the light as they switch between
the water and dry land, provided of course there is enough space for them to
share the lamp without territorial squabbles. Turtles aren't social, so don't
assume they'll "take it in turns" if there's only enough
space for one at a time. A bigger rock under one UV-B lamp or multiple such
lamps over several rocks can help.>
So what are your thoughts, is there anything else I can do or is it some kind of
fungus, shell rot, etc?
<See above. Cheers, Neale.>
Turtle Shell Margin Question
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We just had to evacuate because of the hurricane. We live in Georgia. We
drove to stay with family in South Carolina about 7 hours. My Wife put
her RES in a plastic tub in blankets when we got to the house. We will
probably be here for a couple days. Will the turtle stay warm enough?
What special care does it need to not over stress?
<Not a thing! They are among the most resilient animals we know, If they
were reasonably healthy before the trip, then 10-14 days in a Tupperware
container at room temperature is not a problem at all>
Turtle question; hatchling cond.s 7/25/16
<Hiya, Darrel here>
My turtle is a hatchling he is very small and I recently got him about 1 month
ago. I have UVB light a heat lamp and a basking area I also have the water at 80
<That water is too hot. Water should be room temperature and no warmer and the
basking area around 88. The goal here is to offer him a choice of warm or cool
and let him decide what he needs. Right now you’re giving him a choice between
warm and warmer>
I recently noticed near his tail the edge of his shell seems soft well it bends
That is the only place effected.
<That’s normal for a turtle his size>
The turtle is active and eating he has no other problems and I recently got him
a cuttlebone for calcium.
<I’m not a big fan of supplements, Mercedes. If the diet is correct then you
don’t need supplements and if the diet is not correct, then we should correct
the diet. That said, a calcium bone that they might chew on doesn’t hurt. The
idea of putting calcium in the water (those calcium blocks that dissolve) is a
waste of your money. Calcium dissolved in the water doesn’t get into the
turtle’s body in any effective quantities>
<read here about everything you need to do – don’t skip anything
Turtle question, young; soft shell
>Okay my turtle is a hatchling he is very small and I recently got him
>1 month ago. I have UVB light a heat lamp and a basking area I also
>the water at 80 degrees. I recently noticed near his tail the edge of
>shell seems soft well it bends sorta. That is the only place effected.
>turtle is active and eating he has no other problems and I recently got
>a cuttlebone for calcium.
<I've had success with my hatchlings by feeding them black worms a
couple of times a week.
You can get them at tropical fish stores either live or frozen. You
didn't say what species your hatchling is but the common red eared
slider is omnivorous and will eat dark green leafy vegetables as well.
Small pieces of romaine lettuce or green leaves from any other leafy
vegetable except kale. I've never used a cuttlebone for calcium so I'm
not sure whether they can get their calcium from it or not. A varied
diet is much better. I also feed a good quality kibbled dog food that
has a salmon or chicken base that has been soaked until soft. Concerning
his soft shell, I don't think you need to get too concerned unless the
sides of his shell start getting soft as well. Good luck. Al
Red eared slider mom 7/10/16
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I love all the info, it's funny.
<Be sure to tip your waiter>
I have had turtles in my life from age 6, I just have one now I got her when
I was 13 and I'm 54 now so when I read expect 30 year commitment... try 41
and still going strong.... murtle the sweetest girl so smart amazing pets,
but not for everyone... it's a daily commitment and attention to every
detail, all and any different behavior, the ancient Chinese i ching
describes turtles as the connection between heaven and earth! Heavenly
divine creatures we are blessed to have in our lives....
<I agree … except when they steal your credit card and go on an on-line
shopping spree. Turtles have no financial discipline at all!>
Her shell is abnormal because of my lack of education when I was a teen....
I constantly read and it's so great to have website like yours.... thank you
for the blessing of continued knowledge.... I also had a firebellied toad
that lived 28 years I rescued from a garage and a few other I took from a
classroom.... teacher have no business having animals unless the teacher to
respect all living things....
<except politicians and door-to-door salesmen>
<Carolyn, on behalf of Bob, Neale, Sue and the crew, thanks for your kind
words. It’s letters like that that make us feel good about what we do. It
sure isn’t the money … we’re chained up here in the basement of the Flemner
Building in San Diego and all that sustains us is the kind words … and the
free food. So thanks!>
Help RES Turtle Sick? Ian? 7/10/16
Hello Im here to ask a question is my turtle needs help.
Her name is Nicky and I've almost had her for a year. Recently in the past
month her shell has been getting paler and faded also her shell lines are
getting bolder and darker. She looks fine but her shell is the problem she
us to be a light colored shell bright green. I've seen on the web that its
her shell growing up and becoming darker but i feel in my heart its not that
there's something wrong. I need help and answers if i should do something.
The 3 firsr <first pictures perhaps?>lictures are ger now a few days ago.
Rhe<the> last one is her 2 months ago.
Thank you for reading.<This with my experience is normal and the shells will
darken and become bolder in definition as the turtle matures in age.
As long as the shell isn't showing signs of deterioration, rotting or
becoming soft I see no need for worry here. ~Ian>
Sincerely Your Turtle Freind,
Help RES Turtle Sick? 7/10/16
I’m here to ask a question if my turtle needs help.
<With math homework? Cuz I’m not really good at that.>
Her name is Nicky and I've had her for almost a year. Recently in the past
month her shell has been getting paler and faded also her shell lines are
getting bolder and darker.
She looks fine but her shell is the problem she used to be a light colored
shell bright green.
<That’s her baby colors. She’s growing up>
I’ve seen on the web that it’s her shell growing up and becoming darker but
I feel in my heart its not that there’s something wrong. I need help and
answers if I should do something. The 3 first pictures are her now a few
The last one is her 2 months ago.
Thank you for reading.
Sincerely Your Turtle Friend,
<Nicky has a fine looking shell… just what I’d expect from a growing turtle.
Keep up the good work!>
My Turtle Needs Help
Hello I'm here to ask a question is my turtle needs help.
Her name is Nicky and I've almost had her for a year. Recently in the past month
her shell has been getting paler and faded also her shell lines are getting
bolder and darker. She looks fine but her shell is the problem she usto be a
light colored shell bright green. I've seen on the web that its her shell
growing up and becoming darker but I feel in my heart its not that there's
something wrong. I need help and answers if I should do something. The 3 first
picture are her now a few days ago. The last one is her 2 months ago.
<Laly.... The answer this time is the same as it has been when you have emailed
us previously. Your turtle is fine and is just maturing. Its a natural
occurrence. Please arm yourself with the knowledge about your pet before
purchasing it... Nothing is wrong with your turtle.
Our experts have told you this more than once. If you do not believe us, take it
to a specialist. ~Ian>
Thank you for reading.
Sincerely Your Turtle Friend,
Possible Shell Rot Identification
Hello, My name is Donatello,
<Hiya – I’m Darrel>
and my human thinks I’m a Yellow Slider.
<That’s WAY better than your human thinking you were a 4 slice toaster>
He found me in the driveway when I was smaller than a blueberry! Anywho,
he keeps picking me up and looking at my shell, he says he’s worried
about Shell Rot, after reading some concerning posts on your very
informative site! So, in efforts to calm my human so I can go back to
eating my ghost shrimps, can you please let us know if these spots on my
shell are anything to worry about?
<Tell him to stop feeding you ghost shrimp before you get a fatty liver
and get sick>
Silly humans.. I told mine I feel fine, and eat plenty! They have a nice
basking light and sunnin’spot, and they made a house for me, and the
water in my 55 gal tank is heated with a nice turtle heater. I like to
eat red leaf lettuce, turtle sticks, and of course, lots and lots of
ghost shrimps! Thank you for all your help !
<Red leaf lettuce is the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of the plant world.
Yes, it tastes like Nature’s Perfect Food … but it’s not nutrition.>
<The picture doesn’t look like shell rot to me. Shell rot makes for a
SOFT shell (as opposed to just flexible) and at the heart of it is a
fungus. Have the human scrape a section with a toothpick and smell the
scraping. Fungus has a strong odor.>
<Have your human read this, Don:
Soft shell and shedding 6/5/16
<Hiya Darrel here>
...sorry sir my English is not good but I try to make u understand
<So far it’s better than kids I run into here in Los Angeles>
...I have a red eared slider baby turtle I don't know baby is male or
female... Three days ago turtle start shedding white thread films more
on tail and little on chin legs or Shell... Shell also seems soft on
edges and near tail shell is slimmed and soft...yesterday I gave him
salt bath. my turtle not act normally not eating from yesterday.... And
seems sleepy.... Whole night i put him on dry place... In morning for
10min gave him direct sunlight... And from morning to evening in water
tank with optimum temp.. I am worried about him he is my first
pet...please help me...is there any problem or it is normal...
Please reply...please send me email..
<Kismat, the shedding of skin in tiny white threads can be normal. The
shell being soft probably means that he is not getting enough direct
sunlight. He needs direct sunlight (not sunlight coming through glass or
screen) every day. If not that, from a good UV-B light such as Repti-Sun
light bulb. Without that he can not manufacture the Vitamin D he needs
for healthy shell and bones.>
<The fact that he seems to have slimmed and is now not eating may be a
sign of bad diet and now he is sick. Keeping him warm and under UV-B
light until he feels better is important. Read here:
<Hopefully he will start to feel better and eat again if we caught this
in time. Please read here to see ALL the things you have to do to keep a
3-striped mud turtle shell discoloration
Hello, my name is Tessa
I just recently received a 3-striped mud turtle (a little over 3" in shell
length) about two weeks ago. I earned him from a local restaurant that
imports their crawfish from Louisiana, and he was amongst the lot. Sneaky
little guy got a few ride and meal. My neighbor was lucky enough to be there
at the time and quote: "confiscated" him to bring to me, knowing I am a
studying Herpetologist. At first it was believed to be a common snapper, and
I had every intention of releasing it back into the wild after it grew big
enough to not be devoured by any of the animals that occupy the lake I live
on. But after doing research when the shell and body markings never matched,
I found out cage's (Cajun) true identity. Found out that he is not
indigenous to Texas and that he would for ever be a small turtle (easily
edible to anything looking for a appetizer). My heart sank and I know it is
completely inappropriate, but I don't have the guts to release him now.
<Good. We never ever release captive animals into the wild>
For really two main reasons. One being that he would be considered an
invasive species, and two being that I just couldn't live with myself
knowing that his chances of survive out in our wilds would be almost
nothing. He is a legal animal to own, I made triple sure I was in no
violation of laws. So currently I'm debating on whether or not to make a
trip to Louisiana, release him into my backyard public lake, or keep him and
spoil the adorable lil' thing to no end.
<They make interesting, low maintenance pets>
But while he is in my custody, I want to keep his health in optimal
condition, and I fear currently that it's not. Just recently in the past few
days, his shell has began to discolor around the frontal portion, turning a
almost yellowy brown. And it has me scared out of my wits that he's sick
(don't trust vets anymore after they killed my chameleon), and wanted a more
expert opinion before I went down a rout that I don't feel comfortable with.
<He's fine. That's a natural discoloration that can be from the water, the
particular food OR from the scute preparing to shed. All my mud and musk
turtles develop that mottled coloration and thrive and even reproduce.>
He is currently in a 10gal tank (have eyes on a 75gal long for him) with a
pebble substrate, a submerged perch about a inch below the surface and a
above surface wood basking spot. He is currently in filtered lake water,
being of wild decent, thought that would be better than treated tap.
<Plain, ordinary tape water is all they need. No treatment necessary>
And have a red night bulb and blue uvb day bulb.
<Double check the specs on your bulbs... those colors don't sound right.
Note that he doesn't need a heat lamp at night ... he'll sleep in the water.
What he needs is a warm basking light and a UV-B light during the day. You
will rarely if ever SEE him basking, because they are shy and don't like to
be out of the water until they feel completely alone, but the DO bask and
they do still need the lighting and heat>
He is eating well and is fed once a day in the mid morning.
<I use the same diet as for the Red Eared Sliders -- Koi pellets with an
I don't understand what it is that is going wrong to cause this discoloring,
whether it be shedding, or a calcium deficiency, but would greatly
appreciate avoiding any illness to befall this little guy. Do you by any
chances have a idea what it is that is happening?
<Yep, It's normal discoloration>
Red Eared Slider (Male)... Shell, carved?
Dear Crew at WWM,
My red eared slider just developed something on his shell that looks
like somebody took a chisel and chiseled the letter "N" on him. The
color is not white it is more like his body color under his shell.
That's what I'm thinking. There are little tools around the house for
him to do something like this.
I have a strange roommate that may have hurt him while I was out. Last
year he popped my dog in the face near her eye. The dog went upstairs
and I heard her yelp and cry, when she came back down her I was swelled
little blood was present.
I have Neosporin on the turtle right now. I can take a picture later and
send it to you. I just want to know if this is an emergency. Should I
take him to the Vet ASAP?
<if the wound is clean then your treatment of Neosporin along with
keeping him dry for a few weeks will do the trick.>
It seems like when he sheds he will be fine.
I also wanted to ask you about the lines that turtles have on their
I see on your web page that, that may be shell rot?
<"lines" is an awfully broad description. As they age there are natural,
irregular lines and patterns that form - nothing to worry about>
This turtle was rescued and had colorful lines on him already. I did not
have him as a baby to now what his shell looked like when he was young.
He is eating just fine. I am scared, I love this turtle so much.
<It sounds like you have a roommate that is guilty of animal
Carving into a turtle's shell is dangerous and in this case illegal. If
I were you I'd put my turtle and my dog under lock and key and away from
Turtle shell 4/9/16
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have a large yellow bellied slider she had a soft pit bit on her belly
<I'm not sure what you call a pit is what I'd call a pit. It's important
even in unscientific communications, to give us an indication -- does it
feel like it's WORN into the plastron (like rubbing over a stone)? DUG
into it (like a partial puncture?) or does it feel like the material is
I removed her from tank I've treated her with betadine and Neosporin, it
looks clean and she seems to have grown although still pitted, I put her
in water for an hour and a half per day then the pitted area feels as
though its softening. She is 19 years old that we know of, she has good
water condition, good diet, she's still live let and eating great but i
am afraid to put her back in her tank and don't know what else to do
with her belly
<It doesn't sound like you have a life threatening situation, so the
first thing to do is relax a bit. Next, like I indicated above, I need
more of a detailed description; is it a shallow depressing (sloping
sides) or a sudden, deep hole? As large as the shaft of a pencil? or as
small as the tip if a pencil? If you take something firm, like the end
of a paper clip
... can you rub the area and get material to come off -- or would you
have to DIG and SCRAPE to get it to come off?>
<Write back with more information>
Turtle help 4/9/16
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have 3 turtles 2 have white spots on their shells but it seems
as if their shell is shedding please let me know if you think
<Well, that's not a lot to go on, White spots that scrape off and have
an odor are fungal infections and the site has methods to treat that.
However, when the scute is ready to shed it gets thin and clear-ish but
the mottled colors often look whitish when it's really just dry>
<Also, water spots, just like you get on your dishes from hard water,
look white when dry>
One has on their belly like this dry patch is that normal?
<That sounds like normal shedding Mollie.>
My other turtle has these like bumps by his armpits they remind me of
<Well, those could be a number of things. Fatty tissue from being
over-fed ... benign tumors in the muscle is also very common. USUALLY
it's nothing to worry about and the turtles will live just fine.>
Please help me!
<Hiya Darrel here>
I recently became the owner of a painted turtle that a friend got from the wild
about a year ago and didn't want any longer...I have had him for a few months
and I know his shell is growing but is it normal for him to have a tiny
transparent ring around the entire edge of his shell? Is this part of the normal
<Yep - that's normal and healthy>
I am also concerned because a friends kid pulled a tissue paper thin scale off
<Please hove your friend's kid stop doing that; the pieces are ready to come off
when the underlayment has completed its growth and then the piece comes off all
(pic included of shell and piece torn off) I know it was starting to flake off a
little but I don't know if doing this will cause him harm.
<The sloughing of the shell is normal - ripping it off for him is not>
Also his top shell is about 2 inches long..is there any way to guess how old he
<perhaps two years, maybe 2 1/2. Hard to tell from a photo>
Any information would be much appreciated.
<Painted Turtles fall 100% under the care instructions for the Red Eared Slider.
From light to heat, water quality and food - it's all right here:
RES Fractured Shell 3/3/16
Hello, my name is Rebecca.
<HIya, Rebecca – Darrel here>
I've looked at your site, and while it has a lot of helpful info, there
is nothing that exactly addresses my questions that I could find.
<I hate when that happens>
I have had my RES, Emmy, for almost 30 years. She has been well most of
her life - aside from refusing to eat vegetables. However, the other day
she somehow managed to climb out of her tank and fall to the concrete
floor (I think because her heater malfunctioned and she got a shock!).
<Not only wow – but what’s a turtle doing with a water heater in the
first place? Unless you live at the South Pole … her water should by
just a normal room temp. Please don’t replace the heater>
She has fractured her shell - an L shaped fracture from her bottom shell
up her right side near her front leg. She has some small surface cuts to
the skin of that leg and to the top of her shell that bled as well. We
took her to a vet who bandaged her, and gave her pain killers and
antibiotics (which I have to inject every 3 days!). They did x-rays and
there is no damage to bones, internal bleeding or other internal effects
visible. I have her in a large dry shower stall (tile floor, glass walls
to the ceiling), with her heat and UVB lamps at one end and a box to
hide in at the other. I'm using a space heater (outside the shower) to
keep the room warm.
<That technique is what we call dry-docking and it’s the right thing for
The vet said that she cannot go in the water and suggested feeding her
<Unlikely she’ll eat on land>
I did not think she could eat out of the water, and she certainly has
shown no interest in the various things I have offered her so far -
shrimp (a favourite treat normally) and feeder insects.
<Wow again. Neither of these food items are natural for her – and
neither are nutritious; in fact they are notoriously non-nutritive.>
<then again, she’s lived 30 years … and as they say nothing succeeds
I don't think she has even been drinking. I hold her over water, so that
her head is in a bowl of water (as the vet suggested) a couple times a
day. But, it doesn't look like she drinks, and she certainly doesn't
like it. The vet also gave me syringes to try to squirt water at her
mouth with, she really doesn't like this either. I also tried a shallow
dish of water with some shrimp floating in it while I supervised, but I
don't think she noticed or was interested. All she wants to do is hide
in the box/hiding area I made for her. I know leaving her alone to heal
in a warm dry place is important now, and I am trying to do so. But I am
worried about her being dehydrated and not eating. How can I help her to
eat/drink water without getting her shell and the bandaged area wet? Any
help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
<Assuming she was otherwise healthy she can go months without food, so
don’t let than be too much of a concern. As far as water in concerned,
Emmy herself can be immersed in shoulder-deep clean water once every
three days for about 5 minutes. That won’t effect her healing as long as
(A) it doesn’t damage the wound dressing (B) she dries out COMPLETELY
immediately after. >
<That will give Emmy time to drink and perhaps poop>
<other than that, let her heal. Try feeding her during her bath in about
RE: RES Fractured Shell 3/7/16
Thanks for getting back to me.
Things have changed a bit since I first emailed you. She has managed to
eat a bit and drink when I put her in a small plastic bin with rocks
beneath her. She figured out how to dip her head in the water to drink
and to eat.
<they are amazingly resilient animals>
As for the shrimp I know you advise against it, but I am going to worry
about that when she is better. We haven't found earthworms for sale
anywhere nearby but I will see if she will take them (the feeder insects
are the closest the reptile store had, so I thought I would try them,
she has never had them before).
<The trick is a fishing store. Night crawlers are fishing bait!>
The heater is not ordinarily in her tank, I added it recently because
the room in the basement she is in was getting quite cold - well below
normal room temperature. But I won't replace it! We are taking her back
to the vet to check on her on Friday but meanwhile I was hoping you
could answer a couple more questions:
1) Does she need to be immersed in water so that her tail is covered for
some reason or is it ok to just continue with the shallow water she can
dip her head into? She pooped in the dry enclosure the day after the
accident, but hasn't done so since that I have noticed.
<If she is able to lower her head to drink then she is hydrating. We
sometimes soak the cloaca so that water will enter and some of that will
be absorbed, which is not necessary now>
2)I've been keeping the room she is in warm, so she hasn't spent any
time under her lights - is that ok for a few weeks while she recovers,
or should I force her to bask somehow?
<As long as she’s dry and generally warm, you’re fine. Here’s the deal:
When a turtle is sick and under the weather, the moist environment they
normally live in becomes the enemy. Too much humidity favors the fungus,
so to speak. The other issue is metabolisms: At higher temperature their
metabolism speeds up (just a little bit) and that speeds the healing.>
3) I obviously want to change the setup of her tank so that this can
never happen again. Is it okay to make huge changes while she is out,
and introduce them to her all at once when she is allowed back in the
water, or should I just add a barrier to her current set up and
introduce any other changes to her enclosure (I want a bigger basking
area for example) when she has been back in the tank for awhile?
<By all means make the changes now >
Thanks again for your help!~Rebecca
RE: RES Fractured Shell 3/7/16
Thanks so much for your help. She is doing very well. Vet says it is
healing quite quickly and can probably go back in the water by next
Can you identify what is going on here with this turtle?
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Please accept my thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
We are thinking this is shell rot, but not positive. She is an older turtle and
approximately 12 inches long and I am not sure on age, but I know she is quite
old. She got her from family when her uncle died. Someone said she was around 15
but another said around 30. And she's had her for 6 or 7 years.
<She's a senior, that's for sure.>
Thank you so much for your consideration. The girl is just beside herself and I
am trying to help her out the best I can.
<Well let's see what we can do.>
<Shell rot is smelly. I bet if you scraped that area with a toothpick you'd
smell something musty but not offensive. What it LOOKS LIKE from way over here
is that in the fullness of time pieces of the shell have died or been chipped
off and the whit you see underneath is the bone. These little pockets make a
great environment for algae to grow, which appears to be the case here.>
<Dry dock her as per the instructions, treat the area with some hydrogen
peroxide and let it dry out for a few days>
<Then, as long as she's active and alert, place her back in her normal quarters
<Basic care - check your care against this funny and well written article:
RE: Can you identify what is going on here with this turtle?
THANK YOU!!! YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ONE TEEN GIRL A VERY, VERY HAPPYCAMPER!!!
Yellow belly slider; sore on shell 1/8/16
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I really need some advice, I have a yellow belly slider who is about 5 months
old I think. I noticed the other day that she has a sore on the underneath of
her shell I'm assuming she might of caught it due to the fact she is very
active. I'm very worried about this developing into an infection. Since I first
got her I noticed her shell started to shred and has improved a lot over the
last few months. I have never seen her basking and I'm worried that she isn't
getting enough vitamin d which has made her shell sore.
She is eating loads and is still very active. Is there any way I can help treat
the sore other than making sure her water is clean and to make her bask more?
Could really use some advice!
<Thanks for noticing, Sophie. Many people wait until it’s too late to notice odd
behavior and a small problem becomes a big problem>
<If Mongo isn’t basking (IF her name is Mongo) there could be a reason or there
could be no reason. The first question to ask -- is she afraid to come out of
the water? Is there something in the area that would be frightening to someone
the size of a silver dollar? A common mistake people make is arranging a filter
outlet to be a waterfall. Turtles in general prefer still water. Is there an air
conditioner nearby? Something that would make vibrations Mongo would feel? Look
at things from her perspective and knowing that you like calm … still … quiet …
alone – then look for things that aren’t likely to make you feel that way.
Sometimes rearranging the tank helps. Make home a different home and see what
she does after a few days>
<In the mean time, if she’s active, eating and her shell is firm-to-hard then
Mongo’s not in any immediate danger>
Discoloration on golden thread turtle baby
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have two of these turtles and one of them has whitish patches on the shell as
shown in the pic :(
Is it something normal or should I be worried? If so it would be really grateful
if you could guide me into curing this :)
<It’s hard to tell from a picture. That whitish discoloration is typical just
before a hard shelled turtle sheds a scute (normal growth) but if the whitish
material is on top – for example, can it be scraped off with a toothpick or your
fingernail – and does it have an odor? – then it could be a fungal infection,
which is easy to treat.>
<Read here for overall care – make SURE you haven’t missed anything:
<read here for treatment of the most common issues:
Re: Discoloration on golden thread turtle baby
Thanx a lot for the info :)
the patches can't be rubbed off and don't stink at all :) so it must be speeding
:) how long does it usually last?
<On and off for the rest of his life>
And the patches only appear when out of water. It disappears after sometime in
water.... Is it shedding?
<that sounds just like shedding, yes>
And is there anything that I should do
<Just be aware of the normal health signs ... as long as he's active and alert
and eats once in a while, relax>
Alligator snapping turtle shell problem (Urgent)
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I really hope u guys can help me out with my alligator snapping turtle problem.
This issue has been going on for years and my turtle's shell have gone from bad
to worst. I have taken pictures to keep my turtle updated on this forum (link
below), but no one seem to be able to help me out with this shell issue. Is it
possible for you guys to take a look?
Recently there's a big piece of scute from my turtle that came off and I found
it inside the tank, and it seems that the spot after the scute peeled off looks
black/grey. It really worries me to look at it everyday and I've been reading
your website and it seems to be under the ''Dead or dying scutes , When good
shell goes bad'' category. ''In some cases of fungal, bacterial or physical
damage, a scute (the plates that make up the top part of the shell) may be so
damaged that the underlying tissue that supports it may die and just slough off
the entire scute. This is clearly identified by the scute being partially or
completely missing and the underlying tissue turning hard and white.''Is it
possible for you guys to confirm the issue with me so that I can start on my
treatment asap? Thank you so much!
<Kevin – Snapping turtles are enigmatic in a sense. They seem to need slightly
acidic water. Even ‘pristine’ water from a tap or a filter … that is clear,
clean and top-notch healthy water for almost all other turtles, from Sliders to
Soft Shells to Musk turtles, seem to promote shell disorders in the Chelydridae
(That’s a $5 word for the snapping turtle family). What I see in your photos
appears to be just a shell infection. What’s interesting is that when a scute
completely dies the underlying bone is usually very, very light colored (almost
white) and not the darkness seem here.>
<That all said, the treatment is the same. Dry dock him, scrub his carapace and
plastron with Betadine (Iodine) on alternate days (let it dry in place) and on
the other days cover the affected areas in an anti-fungal cream (athlete’s foot
cream). Keep him dry and warm from about a month, except for a daily 15 minute
bath so he can drink, poop and maybe eat …. Except your little guy seems fat
even by the standards for his type … so if he doesn’t eat I wouldn’t work.>
Turtle Shell Margin Question
Wet Web Crew,
My wife has a RES that is not quite a year old. He is very active, eats plenty,
and basks regularly. He has filtered water, UVB and warming lights, and a
aquatic temp regulator in tank. Recently, slivers of his margin (what looks like
the material of his margins) and the edges of his scutes have been peeling. It
is only noticeable when he is swimming, so I cannot get a
photo. I have attached a photo of his shell outside the water when I could get
him to sit still. The material underneath the slivers seems healthy and exactly
like the old was. His scutes are not shedding in large pieces, at least not yet.
Maybe this is the prelude to shedding? I have seen turtles shed before, but the
scutes usually did not peel in such small pieces.
<It seems likely that yes, these are old scutes getting ready to peel away.
Might also be limescale, a common problem (if you can call it that) on turtles
kept in hard water areas. Provided the shell smells healthy (wet maybe, but not
musty or rotten) I'd not worry overmuch. Soft Shell or Shell Rot is usually
distinctive, with a nasty mouldy smell around infected areas, and it usually
goes hand-in-hand with other problems, such as puffy eyes or lethargy. That's
because Shell Rot is to do with underlying metabolic processes going wrong
thanks to poor diet, lack of UV-B, or some other critical factor. Do have a read
So while healthy turtles will exhibit changes to their shell as they grow and
age, including the loss of older scutes, it's usually not difficult to
differentiate between normal wear-and-tear on the one hand and Shell Rot on the
other. I'm cc'ing our turtle expert Darrel just in case I've missed something,
but otherwise hope this helps. Neale.>
Re: Turtle Shell Margin Question
We have the definition of hard water here in coastal Georgia. I have to clean
the sides of the tank almost daily or the residue will build up ridiculously. I
put hard water cleaner in the water before I change the tank water and have a
filter that says it will help with it, but its very bad here. Any solution?
Clean the shell daily? It doesn't seem to be effecting him in any way. Thank
<I wouldn't bother doing anything. Hard water provides good conditions for
turtles. If it's unsightly, wipe away periodically using paper towel or if
necessary with a soft toothbrush. A little lemon juice or vinegar can be used to
dissolve away stubborn spots. But otherwise don't worry about it.
"Liquid rock" is what I grew up with, and all my turtles prospered in it.
RES with white scutes after shedding
Dear WWM crew,
I am worried about the shells of my two RES who are nearly two years old. I know
they have a problem of retained scutes. Recently they have been slowly shedding
a few pieces of the top scutes but the problem is, the scutes underneath the
fallen scutes are whitish (see picture below), which look a lot worse when they
are completely dry when basking (whole scute appears dry and white and chalkish).
The shell is not slimy or smelly.
<Which is good news. Means the problem isn't serious.>
Their habitat is not the most optimal as I only have a small tank, which I will
<Can be done cheaply:
The basics aren't expensive at all if cosmetic appearance isn't a big deal.>
But they have a canister filter, water heater and access to uva and uvb lamps. I
also take them out a few times a week for direct sunlight.
<Which all sounds good as well. I think the turtle in the photo is merely
ageing, and the white flakiness, though not typical, isn't unusual either.
Soft Shell and other fungal infections are distinctive, with smelly gunk between
the scutes. That doesn't seem to be a problem here.>
Do you think the white shell is caused by fungus? What should I do? Should I
take them to the vet?
<Probably no need. Review care, including diet (calcium) and when the UV-B lamp
was changed last (most only work for 6-12 months). UV-A, while nice, isn't
essential, particularly if your chaps get daily sunlight to help regulate his
body clock, which is what UV-A does.>
Appreciate your prompt response.
Thanks and best regards,
<Welcome. Neale. Have cc'ed our turtle expert Darrel as well, in case there's
something I've missed.>
Re: RES with white scutes after shedding 10/27/15
Thanks for your reply. So there is nothing that I can do about it (other than
looking at diet/UVB)?
<So far as I can tell from your photos, yes, that's about it. Optimise diet
(plenty of fresh greens and crustaceans help with synthesising colours) and
basking conditions (to avoid fungal infections).>
But their shells look ugly now with new scutes being white and old scutes
yellowish. Will the dull white colour not go away leaving shiny shells like
<That's the reality. Red-Ear Sliders only have that bright green colour when
they are very young. By the time they're more than, say, 8 cm/3 inches in shell
length their shells will be more muddy green-brown. Of course they still have
attractive markings, particularly underneath, but the colouration is much more
subdued than before. You can improve things by
cleaning them periodically (simply wiping dirt away with paper towel, certainly
not detergent) and keeping the water itself as dirt-free as possible (plenty of
mechanical filtration will help). But do look at photos of adult RESs to get an
idea of what they should look like.>
Also, what do you mean by ageing when they are only 2 yrs old?
<Quite so. They're not adults yet, but at this age should be well on their way
to looking like adult turtles. Lifespan in captivity is 20-30 years, I believe.>
Thanks and best regards,
re: RES with white scutes after shedding 10/27/15
Thanks. Glad to know that it is normal.
<Indeed. Cheers, Neale.>
Red Eared Slider Turtle 10/24/15
Hello my Name is Jennifer and I own a RES. For about a month now she has
developed a rust like color in the creases of her shell, only on the top behind
by the head and some towards the sides but the bottom is just fine.
When we rub it, it does seem to come off slightly however, we haven't took a
tooth brush to the shell yet, should we do that and what could this be?
she also just shed. when we got her she was in very dirty water we got a UVB
light but not one for docking. I have noticed that her appetite has slowed s
little but I really don't know how many times a day I should be feeding her
either. She is about 9-10 inches now. Please Help!! My husband and I are both
disabled and cant really afford a trip to the vet.
<Hello Jennifer. Assuming the rusty stuff doesn't smell, this is probably just
dirt or algae; it's also quite normal for old 'scutes' to come away from the
shell. Nothing to worry about there. So if the red stuff brushes or wipes away
nicely, leaving the shell clean underneath, then just do that as often as
necessary and your turtle will be fine. It's quite normal for the shell to get
covered with algae in the wild, and this probably provides useful camouflage, so
your turtle won't be fussed. The problem in captivity is that dirty shells can
become infected with fungus because the water is usually dirtier in aquaria than
in the wild (the fish tanks we use are so much smaller, and filtration doesn't
usually clean up all the mess turtles make). So regular cleaning of the shell is
recommended. I'd have you read here:
Skip down to the "Soft Shell" section and review. Make sure diet and UV-B are
correct, because these are the two things that lead to serious shell problems
(such as Shell Rot), about which you can read here:
Shell Rot is smelly and a very serious issue, so it's important to keep the
shell clean if you want to avoid this problem. I've cc'ed our turtle expert
Darrel in case I've missed something, but in the meantime, I hope this helps.
Re: Red Eared Slider Turtle 11/26/15
Thank you so much Neale, we took a toothbrush to her shell and she
cleaned up nicely.
Her appetite is still slowed how often should we be feeding her?
<Tricky with reptiles because it depends on how warm they are. Rule of thumb
would be a few floating pellets a day, all they eat in a couple minutes, plus as
much fresh greens (cheap aquarium pond weed is fine) as they want. Better they
graze on Elodea all day long that overeat the turtle pellets. Once a week you
can offer a meaty treat like a little bit of fish fillet or an unshelled shrimp,
but these are optional.>
and she don't smell so that's a great thing.
when we seen the red rusty stuff we thought it was sepsis, that kind of scared
us. What should the UV-B be? I think we are using the Reptile UVB 100 26W Exo
Terra is that good?
<It's an excellent unit from a trustworthy company. Cheers, Neale.>
RES with lots of issues 7/26/15
Great site and mods-your dedication is much appreciated. I have been taking
a class at a facility that has a children's centre and my class got a tour
of it recently. I saw that they had an RES and fish tanks and volunteered
to help care for them.
<"No good deed goes unpunished!">
Last Friday was my first time really getting in there and the first thing I
did was deal with the turtle tank. The turtle was donated, and they were
told SHE was a 16 yr old male-she's been at the facility for 4 years which
would put her at 20, and her SCL is only about 5.5. . She was in a 1/4
filled 20 gallon in front of a window, no filter, no heat source and a tiny
basking area made up of stacked rocks and bricks. The ammonia in her tank
tested at 8.0 on API.
<What you'd expect without biological filtration.>
My partner went and with his own money, bought a reflector lamp, a medium
turtle dock and a Zoo Med 318 filter (not what I would have chosen but
beggars and all). I put in an infrared bulb that was in the room just to get
some heat on her and filled her up with fresh water, added lots of
anchors, her new dock, the filter and a rock with some Anubias tied to
<The Anubias will probably get eaten once the pondweed is gone, and I'm not
entirely sure it's non-toxic, so do keep an eye open.>
She was shedding excessively and to me it looked like there was a fungus
issue on her skin. She had another 100% water change the next day and was
offered dandelion and watermelon. She got a 100% water change on Tuesday,
today and scheduled for Saturday. Today I heard her wheezing and when I
checked her plastron there was a tiny red pit-beginning of SCUD?
<Possibly, but wouldn't get too alarmed just yet, given what you're doing
In any event, I've asked them for money to buy a UVB/heat bulb, EHEIM 2213
and to take her home to dry dock her for 2 weeks.
I will bleach out her tank and get it set up for when she goes home. Also
found a herp vet close by and asked them to let me take her. So, I'd like
your input-would a turtle with potential fungus, bacteria and respiratory
issues be too stressed with the dry docking procedure or should I just
leave her be with 3x's weekly water changes while the filter cycles and the
<Dry-docking isn't stressful, but provided the turtle's shell doesn't smell
moldy or funky, I wouldn't worry about dry-docking just yet. Nice clean
water, big dry area above the waterline, and a good dose of UV-B and warmth
from the basking light should fix things. Do bear in mind that the shell
scutes are more or less dead, like nails or hair, and get replaced from
underneath. So while the top ones do eventually peel off, healthy new ones
will replace them. You can certainly do a bit of a clean if you want,
dabbing with a bit of iodine tincture or failing that really strong salty
water will help clean things up. Rinse off, then pop back in the tank.
Assuming the turtle is feeding normally, breathing normally, has nice
bright eyes and doesn't show signs of being lethargic, she's probably fine
and won't need much/any help from the vet (though a quick check-up is never
a bad idea).>
I will do all that I can for this long neglected turtle but feel better
with your thoughts on the matter. PS-they're not bad people. They will be
moving rooms eventually and would like my input on a proper set up for
Thanks in advance.
<Have cc'ed our turtle expert, Darrel, in case I've missed something.
Re: RES with lots of issues-thanks Neale! 7/26/15
Thank you so much for your reply. Your input makes me feel much better.
I've done everything that the WWM crew has suggested in this case, and
bought the suggested meds as well.
<Glad to have helped.>
I brought her home on Friday night, applied Hydrogen Peroxide, iodine and
Polysporin to the two plastron pits, and athletes foot cream to her
limbs-she was very good about the whole ordeal!
<Mindful of that comment by Bill Watterson about 'Hobbes' having that quiet
dignity of most animals he'd met. On the whole, I think that's true, and
shows up a few people, I can tell you!>
Set her up in a 2cuft packing box with puppy pads, a towel and her tank
screen with UVB, infrared and Zoo Med digital thermometer. But without
knowing really what I was doing, it was way too stressful for ME and it
seemed to be for her. She was constantly scratching at the box and I was
constantly watching her temp. When she came out for water time in a bowl
with a little bit of water, she wouldn't drink or eat and seemed panicky.
<Would have you read here:
Scroll down to the bit about isolation and dry docking.>
Yesterday I went and got her tank, gave it a dilute bleach and bombed with
enough Prime for 100 gallons. Filled up with fresh, Primed water and put
her back in with that puny filter, UVB and new 75 watt infrared bulb. So she
had a 24hr dry-dock with 2 times in a bit of water. We don't run A/C at
home (Toronto))so after all lights out, her basking area stayed 80 degrees.
She was swimming when I woke up!
I will keep her here for 2 weeks with 3 times daily 30 percent water
changes and short dry-docks for topical medicine application.
I'll also just suck it up and buy the EHEIM (or whatever you think best for
her current set up-9 gallons water in a 20 gallon).
<While an external Eheim canister is probably the ideal, you may want to
balance that against the fact internal canisters are much easier to
maintain. Since turtles aren't as strongly affected by water quality issues
as fish, it isn't necessary to go into overkill when it comes to
filtration. Do have a peruse of Eheim's website page on their internal
The Aquaball is an excellent budget unit (I have two and love them); the
Biopower a step up in terms of flexibility and a good choice for messy fish
(and turtles); while the PowerLine is a top-end system that works really
well but costs a bit more. Cut according to your cloth, they're all good,
but get the biggest turnover rate you can afford. So for a 20 gallon tank,
I'd easily choose one suitable for 40 gallons or even 60 gallons -- you're
turtle will thank you, as will your nose and eyes. Since turtles produce a
lot of solid waste, the main job of the filter is not to remove ammonia (as
with fish) but to remove faeces and moulted skin (to keep the water clear
and not too smelly). Internals are quick and easy to clean, even weekly,
and not as nerve-wracking when it comes to reconnecting everything (if,
like me, you're paranoid you'll not connect some hoses up properly and get
water everywhere on the floor).>
Once that's done we'll have spent $500 on a turtle that isn't ours-but the
alternative is unacceptable, I think. Once she's back in the classroom, I
will continue to go weekly and service her tank AND educate them on proper
husbandry for the interim days.
<To be fair, the thing with reptiles as pets is this: day to day, they're
cheap. Unlike cats and dogs, their maintenance costs are very low and
provided they don't get ill, their vet bills are minimal (even with healthy
cats and dogs there are checkups, flea control, neutering, and so on). So
while $500 sounds like a lot (and you can actually save a bunch of money on
that) across the 20 year life of a turtle, it's not a lot. But, reptiles do
have these up-front costs that come across as more than for cats and dogs.
They can't sleep on our sofas and eat from old cereal bowls, so we need to
buy a bunch of stuff just for them. Do that and their healthcare costs are
small, but get something wrong, as you're learning, and stuff becomes more
complicated (and expensive). Do also read here:
As Darrel makes clear, there are some workable budget alternatives if
aesthetics aren't crucial.>
I'd like to know what you think the possibility is that this female RES
turtle at 5.5" could be 20 years old?
Could she just be small because she didn't have proper life support all
<For sure, or simply genetics.>
I wouldn't have thought she could have survived in a cold, toxic tank for
<Reptiles are (mostly) amazingly tough animals. They generally get sick
only after months and months of abuse. Turtles are especially robust
animals. As a book I had as a child put it, they were around millions of
years before the dinosaurs, and if we give them half a chance, they'll be
around millions of years after us. They are truly born survivors. Red-Ear
Sliders have managed to get established here in the UK, which is generally
too cold for them, in theory. While they probably don't breed much, if at
all, in urban centres like London, there seem to be enough microclimates
they can scrape a living. And yes, these are turtles that were "set free"
after being unwanted pets for a while.>
I got her water lettuce and water hyacinth-the Anubias got trashed so it's
gone. Thanks for the heads up on that.
<No problems. Do be aware that many plants rated as "fish proof" are
actually toxic, Java Fern being the classic example. Since turtles eat a
lot of plants, buy cheap and cheerful stuff or find a local aquarist who
has excess plants they want to get rid of. One of my tanks needs the
floating Indian Fern cropped literally weekly, armfuls of the stuff.>
Thank you again for being part of "Jack's" upgraded care!!
Have cc'ed our turtle expert Darrel in case I've missed something. Cheers,
Re: RES with lots of issues-thanks Neale! 7/27/15
Thanks so much for the filter options-will read up and get something tomorrow.
I did a lot of research online before considering dry docking. I read the WWM
dry docking page about 8000 times before attempting. Found differing opinions on
method and duration elsewhere online but felt more comfortable
relying on your advise. There was also a video on YouTube but his turtle was
only at 70 degrees which is not the temp WWM suggests. I didn't sleep at all
when she was dry docking and was very nervous about me causing harm
to any animal, let alone one that isn't mine. I don't approach things like this
without first recognizing that I know that I don't know. I spent a lot of time
researching your site and others but thank you for the links.
<Dry docking is not dangerous providing the turtle is given periodic access to
water for drinking and defecation (they tend to do both in water). If the damage
to the shell isn't infected (smelly) there's no real need to dry dock if you
clean using iodine tincture, wait for that to dry, maybe 20 minutes to so, then
return to the vivarium.>
I had female RES that I rescued from my nephew 20 years ago. She was 2" and in
my care, grew to 9" in three years and had to live in a bathtub ultimately-with
filter, heat lamp and basking area. I was fortunate to not have any 911 or vet
moments-especially as home computers were not de rigueur. I also run 2 tropical
tanks at home so am familiar with equipment for that application-which is why I
thought of the 2213 for a turtle-as opposed to what's in there now.
<An excellent filter. Good value. Have the similar 2217 for my big aquarium.
Nothing to say against this/these filter/s, except maintenance is not as easy as
with internal canisters.>
Anyway, WWM is an excellent resource for the rest of us and I appreciate your
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
plastron with small dents 6/22/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 26 year old RES and she has always been very happy and sociable and
fabulous. She last visited my vet a year ago because her eyes were slightly
puffy and so he gave her a shot of vitamin B and I changed out my UVA/UVB bulb
because I think it lost efficacy after only 6 months instead of a year.
<That can happen, but eye problems are more of a vitamin deficiency -
specifically "A" and so I'd be examining her diet>
Yesterday I added this super incredible basking condo and ramp from
glasscages.com to her tank to increase her swimming area. Today I noticed that a
weird callous-looking spot I’d seen previously on her plastron had come off,
leaving a small dent. I know that over 26 years she has probably done some
things to her shell that weren’t exactly gentle. Do you suppose this callous was
akin to scar tissue that finally made its way to the surface of her plastron and
was pulled out as she slid down her ramp from her basking condo?
<That's EXACTLY what I'd suspect!>
The shell is nice and hard and not discolored, just dented (about the size of an
eraser head). Should we visit the vet?
<Shell is nice and hard - she's active and alert (notices you when you want into
the room and naturally assumes you have food) - she sleeps, basks, swims, eats
and does all those normal turtle things?>
<If all those are true, then no trip to the vet!>
Thanks so much!
Re: About my res hatchling 4/26/15
Hi again this is the recent picture of velvet . The White spots have become more
. Is it fungal infection ?
<from everything I see that looks like the normal mottled coloring they get as
they grow.><<No pic found. B>>
Re: About my res hatchling 5/23/15
Hi. I have a red hatchling . The White patches are still there .you said it
might be shedding.
<Dead skin sloughs off in sheets; underwater this is obvious, almost like
picking sheets of PVA glue off your hands. But out of the water the dead skin
can look less obvious, but will look a bit faded compared to the new skin
beneath it. Dead skin has no odour; fungal infections are very obviously
But for safety am applying beta fine and letting the turtle dry for some time a
day . And today when I applied beta fine and put it dry.
<Do you mean Betadine, as in old fashioned "iodine"? Why?>
I saw some powdery white dust on the eyes.
Not in the eyes the eyes seem normal and wide open and no discharge.
<So you're medicating by throwing white powder over the face of a turtle that
has perfectly normal eyes?>
There were some white powdery things over nose to . I took picture but sorry
isn't that clear
<Indeed. But I stress: why? All medications are toxic to some degree, that's how
they work, by poisoning stuff. They're not magic pixie dust that makes
everything they touch more wonderful. If your turtle is not in trouble,
medicating is simply going to stress it to some degree, outweighing any good you
might be doing. Do instead operate by the precautionary principle. What do your
turtles need for good health?
Calcium-rich greens-based diet, UV-B light, and sufficient warmth under a
basking lamp. The tragedy about reptiles as pets is that people are too cheap to
buy the stuff they need to STAY healthy, then desperate to avoid trips to the
vet by buying bogus medications that achieve little/nothing if conditions aren't
right. Do read, understand the roles of diet, UV-B and
warmth in the lives of reptiles. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: About my res hatchling
Thanx . But you don't understand my question . I didn't sprinkle any white
powdery medication. I applied betadine one the shell coz it appeared like fungal
infection but it could be shedding too.
<As stated: shedding skin is very obvious, and scutes peeling away from the
shell should be obvious too. Not these? Then do read:
Diagnose, then medicate. Not the other way around!>
I noticed something over the skin on the face some thing white and powdery so I
sent you the pic and asked you if you know any thing about it . I have the uv
thing and basking light . But am not sure what to feed it . Am just giving
turtle pellets for now . Any suggestions?
<Many. But do read:
Feeding not difficult. Koi Pellets a good staple; augment with various green
foods (cheap aquarium plants such as "Elodea" work nicely).>
Am not desprate to avoid vets but am worried because I am from a city in India
and no one know anything about turtles . I know better about turtles than the
vets here . No rep vets :)
<Understood. But it's more about legality than expertise. In India, as in the
UK, antibiotics can't (or at least, shouldn't) be sold without a prescription
from a doctor or vet. This is a good thing because it helps to avoid antibiotic
resistance, but it's awkward for reptile-keepers.>
white parts of baby Turts shell
Hello, my name is Candice. i have a 5 month old RES with some white parts of
shell... read a lot on the site and still unsure... i have been using the
vinegar and antifungal and leaving him out of the water all night... for about a
week now and it does not look any different.... it is not soft. any insight you
can give is greatly appreciated.
i attached a picture of the little guy showing the white marks. thanks so much.
<Does the shell smell? If not, it's probably fine, and it's normal for the
"scutes" (the bony plates) of the shell to change colour as they age and
eventually fall away. It's also quite common for limescale to build up on the
shell if turtles live in hard water areas. Not at all harmful, but limescale can
trap bacteria and fungi, becoming slightly discoloured. So if the shell isn't
soft and isn't smelly, and you're 100% sure he's getting enough calcium (for
example, from a piece of cuttlebone or occasional
unshelled shrimp) then I wouldn't worry too much. The disease Shell Rot is quite
Read, examine your turtle, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: white parts of baby turts shell
thank you so much Neale... I really really appreciate it.... you've set my mind
at ease. I was sooo worried. it has improved since I sent the email so ... ..
and I am saving that page for future reference ... hopefully I will never have
to use the information :) thanks again and keep up the great work!!
<Thanks for the kind words, and glad to hear things are improving! Cheers,
About my res hatchling
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I don't understand what this is . Expect for this everything else is fine .
And I can see it only when the shell is completely dry
Here's a picture
<That's very normal. It looks like water spots or mineral buildup, but
sometimes that is what a scute looks like just before it's going to shed>
<If it doesn't smell and it doesn't flake off, don't worry about it>
Re: About my res hatchling
Thanks for the reply . I don't think it smells . But the turtle has a smell
<A very tiny whiff of an odor, yes, but a turtle does NOT have an objectionable
<If it smells like sewage, rotten food, sulfur, etc. then you'd have a problem>
Re: About my res hatchling
Me again .
<Me, too. We have to stop meeting like this - people will talk! LOL>
I feel the White spots are more now . Are you sure this isn't fungus .
Here's a picture
<From here, without being able to examine him personally, it looks like normal
growth and change. He's been slowly losing that 'bright green' color since he
was 4 months old and as it turns darker green it does get a sort of mottled
coloration. I look at the pictures and I'm just not seeing 'disease.'>
<Pay attention to the whole of him: If he's active, alert, eyes clear and
follows you as you interact -- if he swims, basks, eats and poops then relax>
Slider turtle shell 3/21/15
My turtle is about 2 and 1/2 years old. I noticed a spot on the side of his
shell and when I started looking into shell problems, I became scared it was
<Doesn't look like it from here>
But then the middle of his shell started forming spots and is almost metallic
looking. Is he about to shed?
<That looks like what first happens when the top layer of the scute begins to
Or is this shell rot?
<Don't think so -- yanno what ELSE it can be? Freaks people out but is OFTEN the
case? A plain old water spot/mineral deposit!! See if it washes off with a tint
bit of vinegar on a cotton swab>
Also, the bottom of his shell has a couple weird spot on it. I am really trying
to learn more about his shell but I am struggling!
<You're doing fine>
<With turtles, the easiest thing is PREVENTION and that is also the easiest.
Here is a link to help you -- make sure you compare your keeping to the
suggestions here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
<Now as far as treatment is concerned, I have another suggestion. When in doubt
… when you even THINK you're in doubt … even if you aren’t even sure if you are
in doubt or not … dry-dock him for two weeks! It won't hurt him, it's actually
not bad for him -- and virtually EVERY skin condition, shell condition or
superficial infection has a harder time growing during dry-dock. Read here:
What I'm saying is that you can't go wrong dry-docking a turtle even if it's
only for your peace of mind>
Thank you for your time!!!
Hey there! Child, RES shell ish.
<We're out of room due to folks sending too-large file sizes: JUST READ
SCROLL DOWN to shell conditions. Bob Fenner>
Hi I'm Bernadette and i just got my terrapin a couple of days ago when i
noticed a white patch on its shell so i took it out from the tank and i
was wondering if this is normal. It has a layer of translucent skin on
its shell and a white patch underneath. Could you take a look and tell
me what's wrong? Thanks!
Shell rot? 1/15/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
This is Kaipua, she's a rescue from Craigslist, her owners had her in a
20 gallon tank and she was 6 inches!
She's about 7.5 inches and has been with me in a 120 gallon tank since
last March. When I got her, she had a crack in her shell in between the
scutes behind her neck. Is this just residual scarring/healing, or is it
<That's a dead scute. What you're seeing is the bony plate
underneath. That scute had been at one time damaged or infected and a
part of it died. It won't grow back, but as long as you keep her
reasonably clean and healthy there's no problem.>
Just thought you may have some ideas
<I have lots of ideas … not all are practical or even legal in all 50
<Many thoughts, too. Why is it that turtles are so SLOW
in everything they do … until you let one of them out of your sight for
30 seconds, and then they're out the door, down the sidewalk, across the
street, over a neighbor's fence and in their pool?>
<Advice, too. Keep her away from credit or debit cards
and AWAY from the Internet. Sliders and Cooters have absolutely NO sense
of financial discipline and the next thing you know they'll order the
entire reptile section of Pet Mountain on YOUR credit card -- AND they
pay extra for overnight delivery… even on things they can't use.>
Spiny Softshell with shell fungus
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have a 9 year old male spiny Softshell who has never been seen to take
advantage of his basking dock. He has always lived in a 20 gal tank with
a fine sand substrate for burrowing, a basic filter and a regular light
in an elementary classroom 10 out of the year. Eats ReptoMin
voraciously, and feeder fish maybe 1-2 times a year. No heater. Has
always been very healthy & VERY active under these conditions. Students
NEVER touch him. The basking site was removed this summer because we
thought he never used it…. possible big problem. But I really thought
over 9 years we would have seen him slide off it SOMETIME if he were
using it. Janitors never have seen it used in evening(light off then
anyway) and I have never seen it used during summer months when he was
home in a quiet room!
<Softshells can be very skittish in strange ways. The same turtle that
appears to be willing to climb out of the tank and follow you down the
street IF FOOD IS INVOLVED - may be shy about just being out of water
and being observed. Perhaps it's because he's in his skin and humans are
judgmental … ?>
He now appears to have a fungus on his carapace and food consumption has
dropped…not stopped. I love this turtle….please advise. I am reading
mixed info about iodine, betadine, salt in the water, vinegar, dry
docking… etc. Cleaned tank as a start, but obviously need to take
further steps. Thank you for any help you may give.
<Yes, I understand the mixed advice. Some comes from people not knowing,
but some comes simply from mixed experiences. So let me try to make
sense of it for you>
<First, water is a fungi's friend, so dry docking is absolutely
indicated. Now Shelbourne (if that's her name) won’t like it, but it's
in her best interest. Warm and dry works against the fungus. The write
up here covering fungus in the hard shelled turtles describes the basic
<The difference with a Softshell is that it's easier for a bacterial
infection to start so we try to prevent that with the addition of
betadine after she dries off from her bath. Then wait an hour and apply
the antifungal and described.>
Re: Spiny Softshell with shell fungus
Thanks for the reply. Pannekuchen (Dutch for pancake, as he looks like one)
seems to be doing very well. Started the vinegar, betadine, dry-dock (about I
hour total) regime once a day, 7 days ago. His shell looks great. I did not use
any anti-fungal other than the vinegar , as I was not sure where to get it… one
article indicated a ‘scrip was needed.
<Any athlete's foot cream has the require anti-fungal.>
Still a slight pale “shadow” but that's it. Gave him a few feeder fish this
weekend to boost him up a bit. Today he seems quite interested in his ReptoMin
again. Looks like he will be heading back to school soon. I returned his dock to
his tank just in case he really has been using it all these years secretly! Hard
to imagine we would never have seen it, but stranger things have happened.
I have also read about adding a little aquarium salt to the tank. Is this a
general maintenance regime? Would it help stave off further problems? I hate to
mess with a system that has been so successful for 9 years except for this one
<Some people do. I don't. The idea is that a tiny bit of salinity might stem the
growth of certain bacteria, but then it may stimulate the growth of others.>
Another strange thing, I have NEVER seen any feces from this critter in his
tank. I mean never! His tank stays incredibly clean with only a small Whisper
filter. He is 9 years old, typically eats voraciously, and his tank never even
gets an odor. Seems odd. The slider & painted turtle tanks get filthy in no
time. Obviously he is as secretive about his excretions as he is about basking!
<Let's hope he doesn't suddenly explode when he's 17!! -- LOL>
<He probably lays it IN the substrate, where it breaks down quickly>
Thanks for your help.
RES Scutes built up not shedding
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Thank you for such an informative website! I have a 5 1/2 year old
female RES. She's quite large, about 7 inches long by 6 inches wide. We
fed her too often in her first 2 years due to misinformation. She has a
100 gallon tank with proper heating, her water is always Luke warm.
Proper filtration and regular cleanings, the water is always clear. We
live in San Diego, so during the warm months, which are nearly year
round she is kept outdoors and is allowed to bask outdoors as often as
she pleases. During the cold months she is brought indoors and is still
brought outside to bask but on a regimented schedule.
<That's fine. My turtles often don't come out to bask at all in the cold
She lives alone as we purchased her alone and was told she would likely
attack any other turtle introduced.
<If you found another female of equal size you'd probably be fines after
some initial settingling in … but that said, they don’t' need
She exhibits no other health concerns besides her shell. I assume it is
based on her diet which is solely Tetra ReptoMin floating food sticks
with calcium and vitamin C. She has refused any other vegetables,
greens, or fruits introduced to her. The only other thing she has eaten
are feeder fish which we feed very sparingly.
<Try earthworms (nightcrawlers from a local bait shop. MUCH better for
her than fish>
I believe she is accustomed to the sticks and will now refuse any other
food. Her shell is in bad shape. Her scutes have built up several layers
and just finally shown signs of shedding after several years. And by
that I mean 2 scutes in a month over the past five years. There may even
be signs of pyramiding. There is no softening of the shell, no foul
odor, and no reddening or puss or blood. Please, any advice would be
<Happy to help>
We love our dear Sophie! She seems healthy otherwise but of course we
want her tip top!
<Add some calcium to her diet. Try getting Sophie used to eating beef or
chicken liver. Take several small pieces and place them in a pan that
has some luke-warm water and Sophie. What I'm saying is that never, ever
place liver or any raw meat in her tank -- the oils come right off and
foul the tank and then you have a mess to clean. No one ever makes that
mistake twice -- LOL.>
<Once she likes liver in small pieces, you can dust the liver with
calcium powder available from any health food store. Something I rarely
ever suggest -- you could even try the calcium plaster turtle blocks you
find in some pet stores. They are a complete waste of time for most
turtles, but in Sophie's case they might help.>
Thank you so much in advance!
RES with rotting shell
Firstly I would like to thank you for the service that you are
<Thank you for noticing. When you get rich and famous, come back and
press the "Donate" button on the page J >
I live in Mumbai, India which is a pretty warm place. I received two
baby turtles as gift 6 weeks back and everything was fine when I got
them. Some time back I noticed that the bottom shell of both turtles
seem to have developed brown spots and white lines. I have been feeding
them Taiyo turtle food and both turtles eat it without any issues. I had
sunlight coming in my apartment the first few weeks but with the change
in season sunlight no longer comes in my flat. I change water on a daily
basis. keep them in the tank whole day with 4-5 hours of basking time
and let them loose at night. There are certain issues that I am facing
here as pet store owners have very basic accessories here. There is no
UVB lamp available. Taiyo is the only food available and the tank in the
picture is the only one available for turtles. I will be making one
myself ones done with my exams. There are no vets in my locality to
consult about this. please help me out with the issue.
<You may not have an issue. The white lines are often mineral deposits
from the water getting on the joints of the shell. This is very common
and not a problem. As far as brown lines are concerned I don't see
anything in your pictures that indicates a problem>
<Here's the thing: Turtles need to have cool water and warm basking
areas so they can choose what is best for them. A warm basking area
allows the shell and skin to dry completely and THAT is what keeps the
bacteria and fungus from taking hold. If you have even the slightest
doubt about their external health, take them out of their environment
and keep them somewhere warm and dry for 4 or 5 days.>
<As far as the UV-B lamp is concerned, our friends at Zoo-Med make some
very inexpensive Reptile bulbs that may be available in your area>
Re: RES with rotting shell
thank you very much for your response. I sure will ;) .I will look in my
neighboring places and try to find the lamp :)
... turtle... Chester... Shell cond. f'
Hi, So I bought Chester a 50 gallon aquarium, I've got a filter for a 110 gallon
aquarium, a water heater set at 78F, a uvb & heat lamp at about 86-88F, & a
I clean out the aquarium once a month and use a fish net every day to clean out
the fish & turtle waste.
<All sounds good.>
(I've read that feeding turtles goldfish is not recommended but Chester did not
seem interested in them for the longest time until recently. And now there is
only one left, I won't be buying anymore.)
<Good. Feeder Goldfish are parasite bombs. Imagine somebody fed you live food
that'd be grown in a sewer. That's pretty much what we're talking about here.
Why on earth feeders are still available in the US beggars
Anyway, Chester is a very active turtle in and out of water, he likes basking
and is constantly begging for more food.
<Indeed. As youngsters they're pretty hungry and eat a fair amount of protein.
But protein-rich foods aren't filling, so do keep some greens available for
bulk. Floating pondweed does the trick nicely, and is cheap/easy to buy.>
I feed him ReptoMin pellets, but will be switching to the Koi ones because I've
read that they're the same thing but cheaper? A+.
<Not the same; better. Less protein, more plant-based content. "Chester" may
reject the Koi pellets at first, but he'll eat them eventually. Do bear in mind
reptiles can go weeks without food, so starving him for a few days
to heighten his interest in alternative foods is not a problem.>
I have a couple questions.
A) I've noticed that Chester's shell seems to be pyramiding.
But only the spinal part. That part was very slightly raised when I first bought
him and now they've grown slightly upwards. And I'm wondering if this is bad?
How do I fix it? And how many pellets would you recommend feeding a baby turtle?
<Genetic abnormalities can sometimes account of misshapen shells, but more often
(indeed, almost always) it's a toss-up between lack of calcium and/or UV-B
light. Review, and act accordingly. There's nothing you can do to fix the
damage, but you can prevent it getting worse. You already know about the UV-B
lamp, so do also look into calcium sources. "Dusting" food with calcium is an
old school approach. Messy, and I'm not sure terribly
efficient unless they swallow a lot of the powder. Floating cuttlebones in the
tank is another option. Bizarrely perhaps, they'll actually chomp away at this
instinctively. In the wild you often see tortoises eating bones, so
I guess it's an instinct that chelonians have generally. Providing whole,
unshelled calcium-rich foods (such as krill) is third option, but you'd have to
use these very frequently to make a difference.>
B) From a couple pictures I've seen, this seems to be ok but I'd like to check
with you anyway. He has silver/grey lines around his scutes?
And also, is it normal for a turtles shell to look like that when it's dried
out? I haven't seen any pictures to confirm whether it's normal or not.
<Scutes do change with age, tending to get paler and less clearly marked.
They also flake away eventually. Provided the shell doesn't smell or have red or
white soft bits on it (see: Shell Rot) "Chester" is probably fine.>
C) the back of his shell is soft and bends downward if i apply pressure.
It's been like this since I bought him. I've been putting in calcium blocks and
I recently bought a cuttlebone thing that floats in the water. I'm not sure why
it's still so soft! I would like to think that I have all the right conditions.
(Except for the food, I'm not 100% certain about that.)
<Indeed. See above, and ensure he's eating enough of the calcium. Do also review
the UV-B aspect. You can feed a reptile all the calcium you want, but without
UV-B they can't do the chemical reaction that turn it into bone and shell. Not
all UV lamps are equal, and if for some reason the turtle hasn't been basking
(perhaps it's too cold under the lamp or scared off by another turtle) then
problems can arise. Review, and act accordingly.>
Thank you so much for you time and help! I very much appreciate it.
<Most welcome. Have cc'ed our turtle expert, who'll doubtless chip in if there's
something I've missed/mess up. Cheers, Neale.>
Ornate Wood Turtle won't take calcium! 3/10/13
<Hi thare!, Ho Thare!>
I asked a question here about a year ago for a little Yellow Belly
Slider with a pale spot on her shell. Turns out she was just
shedding after all; she's in perfect health, living safe with my mother;
Mom fell in love and wanted to keep her.
<Could I introduce your mom to my youngest son? Maybe I'd have the
I recently moved to Texas (Corpus Christi),
<Oh dear … sorry to hear that. Was it part of a Court Order
And I was in Petco with my partner. We saw this Ornate Wood Turtle
(5" across the shell, female) flopped over in the corner of her tank.
Her tank was very, very moist, with no place for her to dry herself, and
I've actually attached a picture of what she looked like when we brought
her home. We took her to the vet, and we have to take her in for
antibiotic shots twice a week, as well as keep her dry-docked, with
daily soakings for 30 minutes per soaking. Bar for some exposed
bone, she's been looking better, as you can see in the other picture,
but she's now refusing to take her calcium. Her favorite food is
blueberries, but if we put calcium powder on them, she'll look at them
and sulk away.
<I hate when they do that>
We've tried mealworms, night crawlers, squash, kale, and just plain old
wood turtle food, all to no effect. I tried dissolving some
calcium in water and giving it to her via dropper, and while she opened
her mouth and drank a few drops, as soon as she realized what it was,
she tucked her head in and refused to come near the dropper.
We got a cuttlebone, and she avoided it like it was going to bite her.
Do you think I should just dissolve it in her soaking water?
<Nope. In order to dissolve enough calcium into the water for her
to absorb it - the water would be more like what we call dry-wall.>
As well, do you think Vita Shell would be safe to use on her, to avoid
her shell cracking while she's dry-docked?
<First ... turn the worrying down a few notches. You're doing
fine, Petunia is doing fine and so there's no real need to having
anything but an arched eyebrow here. That whole family of
turtles is notorious for fixating on certain foods, refusing all other
foods until their owners go crazy with worry. I once had one that
fixated on strawberries for THREE YEARS, she wouldn't eat anything else.
It got so bad I changed her name to Queeg (look it up) and she only got
fed once ever 6 weeks … until finally, one day, I put her outside while
I did some yard work and when I looked up she was eating a dandelion.>
<In your case, you've given the emergency treatments or antibiotics and
supplements and Petunia has responded. So as long as she's eating
and active, she'll get a natural amount of calcium and other vitamins
from her diet, sunshine, etc. It takes a little longer, but as
long as the signs are positive, you're OK>
<Remember, vitamins and supplements are necessary for two reasons (1) To
make up for a bad diet, which won't be the case here since you seem to
be a great turtle mom and (2) to correct a past problem - which we're
almost passed now.>
<Make SURE that you vary her diet. If blueberries are her fave -
go VERY sparingly on them (like once every 6 weeks) because she can
fixate on them and drive you crazy like Queeg did to me. Also, it
becomes your ace in the hole … when she DOES want the berries badly
enough, then you can sneak in other supplements with them.>
<Now to the case in point. Ask your vet for a few CC's of calcium
Gluconate. It's calcium in a glucose solution. Put a few
drops on a piece of white bread crust and see if she'll jump on it.
Another delivery system for calcium is snails: Find a local garden that
has snails and does NOT use snail bait and take a few and place them in
Petunia's habitat. Usually, in a few days, the snails and their
calcium rich shells are gone.>
Thanks for your help.
Ornate Wood Turtle Update 9/27/14
Hello again! I wrote about a year ago about a turtle with shell rot that
was being fussy about her calcium. Just dropping in to say that she's
healing up great (no pictures right now). She's got scarring that the
says might not fade, but the exposed bone is peeling up, and there's
healthy scute growth under it. Now that she's healed, she's really
curious and lively, which is a real change from how lethargic she was a
Thanks for your help and advice, guys!
<Always nice to hear a happy ending! Thanks for letting us know. Cheers,
Painted Turtle; shell, CaCO3 9/8/14
I just got a baby painted turtle from a friend last week. He is currently in a
15 gallon tank. I've got a really good filter, basking area with heat and uvb
lighting. I started noticing there are tiny white, clearish flakes coming off
him. Its all around the edge of his shell and a little bit on his legs. I tried
to scrub it off with a q-tip and it came off, but it has come back. It is nearly
impossible to see you less you are looking for it. He doesn't seem bothered by
it and is his appetite hasn't diminished since I've had him. He doesn't seem
stressed out at all. The tank is clean and at a good water temp. I was trying to
figure out if it just normal shedding or if there is a fungal infection and how
<Do you by any chance have hard water in your area? Hard water will leave
limescale on the shell as the water evaporates. Try dabbing a little vinegar on
the shell - if it fizzes, it's probably limescale. Limescale is not harmful at
all, but because it's rough, bits of dirt and algae can
trapped in it. So it's a good idea to clean it away periodically. Have cc'ed
Darrel and Sue, our turtle experts, in case I've missed something.
CUMBERLAND SLIDER HELP; shell rot
Hello, I have two Cumberland Sliders. They are both about a year and a
half years old. One of my turtles has red spots on his belly. They are
not big. I felt them and they are not soft. My other turtle has not
gotten these spots. Is it possible that he has soft shell disease? Or is
<No, not healthy; yes, Shell Rot or similar incipient/starting. Do read:
CUMBERLAND SLIDER HELP 8/17/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two Cumberland Sliders. They are both about a year and a half years old.
One of my turtles has red spots on his belly. They are not big. I felt them and
they are not soft. My other turtle has not gotten these spots. Is it possible
that he has soft shell disease? Or is he healthy?
<Yanno - I run into that condition from time to time as well... and every time I
do my heart skips a beat. A general pinkness can be a sign of a serious
infection... but by serious I mean SERIOUS and extremely
progressed. I'm never seen a turtle that is septic that ate, swam, basked and
<Another unusual cause is a stain. Basking on a red brick, certain logs, etc>
<But the #1 reason ... is feeding them food that has a red or pink dye in it.>
<If the shell is hard, no smell and the turtle is acting normally, don't fret. A
change in their food might fix the problem after a few months>
I bought two red eared slider babies. asked for female and male.
the smaller one has greyish/white tiny spots on its back.
<Do smell the shell. Sounds odd, but a musty, fungus smell is one
indication of Shell Rot.
Turtles shells do change colour to some degree, and inexperienced
keepers are often surprised when old "scutes" peel off the shell. Algae
and dirt will sometimes stick to shells if the water isn't clean. A
scrub with a paper towel can help clean turtle shells.>
weve had them for ten days now and it looks like the little one may have
more spots. I researched on line and wondering if its ich disease or is
it called ick?
Red eye terrapin 2/18/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I bought my son a terrapin recently. We brought it from Singapore to
Malaysia. While in Malaysia, the terrapin started to develop white spot
on the shell, towards the tail.
<A white spot can be many things, often it's a sign of fungus which can
often happen when the turtle does not bask in enough sunlight to get
<If no UV-B light is available, direct sunlight is good as long as the
turtle can get out from under it after some time. 10 minutes a day
in a dry pan under direct sunlight is OK as long as he can then be put
back into cool water.>
Since then, the terrapin refuse to eat. We normally feed the
terrapin with Nutrafin basix which according to pet shop, contains all
the nutrient required by the terrapin.
<I use Koi food which is available in pellets at most pet stores.
It's a great and balanced diet of almost all water turtles and it's very
Appreciate your advise as I'm not aware of any reptile vet in Singapore.
<No reason to rush to a vet just yet. Please read here and
understand the need for UV-B light and see if you can arrange for some
sunlight for him each day. He should have a warm basking
place and cool water so that he can choose what he needs.
<In most cases a fungal infection will clear up after a few days of
access to good sunlight. If you feel it needs to be treated, read
Re: Red eye terrapin 2/26/14
My baby terrapin is still not eating and I notice that is back legs are
coated with a thin whitish coating. I managed to find AZOO bacterial and
fungal drops meant for turtles and tortoise.
<OK, now yes - this is beginning to get serious. The very first
thing to do is to "dry dock" him. Water (and a warm moist
environment) are no longer his friend. We need to keep him
warm and DRY except for a short bath daily. Apply the
anti-fungal drops according to directions, but the dryness and exposure
to proper UV lighting is you most potent weapon against the fungus.
Please read all about it here:
> Also got Nutrafin slow release calcium supplements. But I'm concern
that the terrapin is not eating. It had been about 10 days already and
it seems to be very weak. Hardly move now. What can do with the non
eating issue and can terrapin continue to survive not eating for so many
<10 days is not a terribly long time to not eat… but not moving and
seeming to sleep all the time is a sign but he has been sick for much
longer than 10 days and we just didn't notice. If it was
possible, I'd ask a veterinarian to give him a multi-vitamin & calcium
injection. Any veterinarian can do this, even one that
treats dogs and cats - since the injections are the same and the dosages
are available from the manufacturer's web site.>
<If that is not possible then it's not likely you can force-feed the
terrapin. Instead, keep him warm and dry and the instructions say…
help him fight off the fungal infection and his daily luke-warm water
bath may stimulate his appetite.>
re: Red eye terrapin 2/26/14
Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately the terrapin died last Sunday.
Hopefully we'll be better with the next terrapin. We actually took care
of two terrapin successfully and they are now as big as a small saucer.
Didn't encounter any problems with them. Still can't understand why this
baby terrapin became so sick. Anyway thanks for all the help.
Spiny Softshell Shell Lump, HELP! 1/27/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My step son "rescued" a spiny soft shell turtle about 7 years ago from a
sandy river in southern Louisiana. Ever since, I have been taking care
of her. I have done a lot of research and believe she is a female
Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle. I keep her in a tank with about 4
inches of fine, smooth gravel with about 8-10 inches of water. I use
spring water to fill the tank and use a water filter. Any deeper and she
doesn't seem happy.
<yes, they like to be able to bury themselves and stick their necks out
like a snorkel>
We try to keep her water temp between 70 and 75 degrees F at all times.
In the dead of summer (and it can get to 100 degrees around here) her
tank MAY get to 77 - 78. But that isn't the norm.
<That's OK for short times>
She eats aquatic turtle pellets and, every few months, when it's time
for a full tank cleaning, she gets her fill of feeder fish. These are
the only two things she will eat. She has grown steadily and hasn't had
any health problems, cuts, bumps or anything up until now.
<If by turtle pellets you mean Repto-Min or a high quality Koi pellet -
that's what I feed all my turtles, including the soft shells.
As for fish … I'd MUCH rather see her get an earthworm or two as a
treat. Feeder fish are notoriously poor food and prone to carrying
I have been searching all day and can not find anything on her new
<Well - let's see what we can do>
Her pump went out a few weeks ago. I've been adding fresh water but I
could not physically bring the tank outside to clean it until my husband
was home. When we went to clean the tank, I place her in the sink filled
with fresh water. When I placed her in the sink, I noticed that
she has a lump on her body. I was not around for her last tank cleaning
and my husband would not have noticed anything abnormal. The lump isn't
obvious unless you're looking at certain angles. It covers about 1/4 of
her shell. She's about 7 inches across. There doesn't seem to be any
cuts or infection. She's acting normal. The lump is about as raised in
the highest spot as her spine is.
<OK - a lump THAT size is unlikely to be a tumor. That
sounds more like what I'd call, for lack of a better word, a
malformation. In a perfect world I'd like to see an X-ray from the
top and from the side, but the next best thing would be a physical
examination and a really detailed description.>
I'm hoping you can shed some insight on what this may be and how to
treat this if it is something that isn't a normal occurrence.
<Sure -- let's start with this. Take Turdi out of her tank and let
her dry off. Next what I want you to do is pick her up and feel
the entire shell. This is not the easiest thing in the world
because Soft Shell turtles have short tempers, long flexible necks and
painful bites. An assistant would be a really good idea
here. The assistant has something like a rubber kitchen
spatula in his hand and his ENTIRE JOB is to use the spatula to continue
to block Turdi's head from moving in you direction - pressing the neck
down, pushing it to one side, etc. whatever it takes to keep the mouth
away and occupied.>
<Start with the rear flap. Flexible and leathery? Then move
around the edge toward the lump area how flexibly is it? Does it
feel hard under the leather? Or mushy? Use as many
words and as many ways to describe the entire shell. This
will narrow down the possibilities and we'll try to decide what it is
and then what to do about it.>