FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Behavior
Related Articles: The Care and Keeping of the
Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta
elegans by Darrel
Ear Sliders, Turtles, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care, Shell Rot in Turtles,
Related FAQs: RES
Behavior 1, RES Behavior 2,
RES Behavior 4, & Sliders 1, Sliders
2, Red Eared Slider
Compatibility, RES Selection,
RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES
Disease, RES Reproduction,
Turtles in General: Turtles,
Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, Amphibians, Other Reptiles,
Red eared slider stopped growing 9/1/19
A relative found a little red eared slider a few years ago on a riverbank
and thought he didn't look too good, so he rescued him.
<Not recommended, but understandable.>
(We live in Trinidad .... an island in the Caribbean).
We've had him for over 2 years and he is 2 inches.
<Pretty small, yes.>
He eats pellets, lettuce, and occasionally, some mosquito larvae. His shell
is well formed, no abnormalities or deformities, he basks regularly and his
behavior and energy levels seem pretty normal.
My son thinks he's a mutation or some species of pygmy turtle
<Doesn't sound impossible to me. The thing with reptiles is that they grow
their entire lives, but the rate at which they grow declines with time. If
they don't prosper for the first two or three years, a Red Ear Slider may
grow a bit for the rest of its life, but at a steadily diminishing rated,
so it'll never catch up with those Red Ears of the same age but with a more
fortunate start to their lives. So yes, bad genes can be a cause, but bad
luck can be a major factor too.>
His tank is pretty small but that will improve when we move out of our
apartment within the next year.
<Stunting can happen with some animals, but not Red Ear Sliders, which tend
to outgrow small tanks rather than get stunted. That said, improving living
conditions is always a worthwhile step.>
Do you think something is wrong with him?
<See above. Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red eared slider stopped growing 9/2/19
Thank you, I guess we’re stuck with a permanently extra cute little guy ...
when we first got him the kids named him Token as he was the size of a coin.
His name evolved into Tokapee ... he is just soooo cute ... we will give him as
happy a life as we possibly can ... he is very loved.
<Sounds like he's landed on his feet. Hopefully he'll provide your family with
entertainment for many years to come.>
<You are most welcome. Neale.>
11 year old Female Red Eared Slider Turtle
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have an 11 year old female red eared slider turtle and I let her roam
around my house sometimes for an hour or so.
Well I just noticed that
1. She will literally climb out of her tank.
2. She will sit down on my floor and push her butt in the air and lay
her head down and act like
she's swimming with her front paws.
Can someone explain to me what's going on?
<Yep - She's being a dork>
<She really shouldn't be able to climb out of her tank. Too many dangers
there. Make sure she can't do that>
<I see that behavior once in a great while. On a textured floor like
carpet, I always assumed it was an attempt to dig -- since that's
exactly the position a female takes when starting to dig a nest. On a
surface, something they don't encounter in the wild, I think they may be
trying to swim through it.>
<Either way, it's not an illness>
Terrapin, red eared slider; beh. and repro. f's
hi Jon here:)
<Darrel back at you>
My Red Eared Slider has not been eating much for the past 2 weeks
has been thrashing around and always seem frantic. Now I changed it to a
bigger tank and tried to fit him a little bit of leafy vegetables. it
refuses to eat the stalk and only after 2/3 leaves it stops eating. I
read online that its behaviour maybe because it is gravid and my mom
claimed she saw and threw away a white oval object from its tank a few
days ago .
<That was going to be my first guess as well. The easiest way to sex a
Red Eared Slider is to remember that males are smaller (4-6 inches) and
have long “fingernails” on their claws. Females are larger and have
short, stubby claws.>
so how do I confirm if its gravid or not I presume it is a female as its
bottom is flat. is there any other way to confirm ? and how do I proceed
from here ?
<The presence of an egg in the water combined with the frantic activity
at egg laying time is really all the indicator you need. Your slider is
<As far as the egg laying they will form eggs with or without the
presence of a male and they will expel the eggs anywhere, even in the
water, if left no other choice – SO this entire thing will run its
course. What you can do is allow her out of the tank frequently, walks
around the room, half a day in a dry bathtub, etc. to help her exercise
which in turn helps the process. I wouldn’t let her outside because the
presence of grass, dirt, plants, etc. might trigger an actual nesting
response that can take days and days.>
<She may also reabsorb the eggs that have not yet formed a shell layer.
<One way or another, this will pass and her appetite will return>
I look forward to your advice and help thanks [��]
Asking question about res 9/14/15
How do I ask a question?
<You just did! Hiya - Darrel here.>
My red eared slider stopped basking about two weeks ago and I
can't get any information anywhere on this topic except in the cases of new
turtles. I have had her for a year. Can I get some direction please?
<Yes. First don't worry. Remember to look at it from her perspective:
She hauls out and basks in order to warm up when she feel's it's safe.
Water turtles feel vulnerable when basking and safe in water and if they are
nervous they'll stay in the water so let's start from the inside and work our
way outside. What is the water temperature? If the temp is over 80 degrees it's
very possible she just doesn't want to bask. Was the lamp moved or the basking
area changed? Any changes in the room? Dogs, kids,
Air Conditioners or fans that would make frightening distractions or weird
<Has she been injured lately? A fall, a scrape, anything like that? Is she
otherwise active? Moves around, swims to the glass when she sees you? Is she
<If all these seem to be in line (active, alert, eating, no threats) just let
her be herself for a month or so and then as the season starts to change we'll
see what she does>
Established Red-Eared Slider Refuses New Basking Area
<Hiya – Darrel here>
Your site has been very helpful to me over the years and I did email you for
help a few years ago about this same turtle, "Lucy," after she ingested lots of
plastic aquarium plants. Thank you, we fixed the problem with a lot of Metamucil
and the passage of time (and other stuff).
<It’s a miracle medicine. I had an Iguana just swallow a piece of a ZipLock bag
and used the same treatment>
Fast forward to now. Lucy (who is roughly 8-9" long and who I've owned for about
5 years) has a 90-gallon tank and has been a perfect (though feisty) turtle
<She’s a big girl>
She has a double-dome lighting fixture with a 75 watt Repti-Tuff heat bulb and a
13 watt UVB bulb which sits about 11" above the floor of her basking area. Three
weeks ago I replaced the old, crappy turtle ramp (the kind that affixes to the
tank with suction cups) with a gorgeous redwood and Plexiglas "house." The
basking area is 18" x 18" and has a large hole at the top for the lamp (her
previous set-up was using a 90 watt heat bulb that was about 13-14" from the
bottom of her basking area before). The reason I made the change was to give her
more swimming room. I was able to add roughly 12-15 gallons of water to her
tank, which is kept pretty darn clean if I do say so myself. Anyway, she will
not bask. She will not go up to her basking area. It is roughly 85-95 degrees
inside, depending upon where I point the laser temperature reader thingy (not
quite as warm as her previous basking area, which was at 100+ in places). She
will however, go up there if I lure her with salmon. So she CAN go up there--she
just chooses not to. I read here that turtles can be persnickety about change
but it's going on three weeks and I'm concerned that she is not getting the UVB
lighting she needs.
<They can be, often are - and it’s no big deal>
The tank is NOT heated and nothing else has been changed. She hangs out on the
ramp most of the time. But she won't go up into the basking area! I probably
didn't help matters by trying to lock her in there last weekend when I went out
of town (she escaped the basking house, going back into her tank).
<Yeah – a good intentioned bad idea>
How worried should I be?
<Not very at all>
At what point does the lack of UVB become really harmful?
<6 months, perhaps a year or two if she’s otherwise healthy>
I assume she is getting some small amount of UVB rays when she sits on the ramp,
even though she's a good 18+ inches away from being below the bulb (it protrudes
slightly from the fixture and I assume the rays distribute). What can I do?
Should I change the set-up to use the 90 watt heat bulb 13-14" above the area
like before, to make it warmer? (I should note that I wanted to switch to the 75
watters because the danged 90 watters tended to burn out after about six weeks.)
Please help me help Lucy.
<First thing – no more changes. It is what it is – let her deal with that.>
<Here’s my first guess – sometimes a LITTLE change is not ENOUGH of a change>
<Here’s a trick fish & reptile keepers use when adding a new animal to a
collection – especially a male, but can apply to any: Rearrange EVERYTHING at
the same time you introduce the new guy. That way the “old guys” no longer have
“their” territory to defend and they are so busy exploring their new setup they
have no time to mess with the new guy.>
<For Lucy … change might help. Put her outside during the day (in a climb-proof
container that has both water and shade). This time of year, here in Torrance,
is PERFECT outdoor weather for her. At night, bring her inside and into the
bathtub (at least here where I live we have raccoons and outside overnight isn’t
a good idea) and repeat this for a week. THEN put her back in her “home” and
it’s likely that she’ll be so happy to get back to “her” home she won’t even
notice the changes>
Re: Established Red-Eared Slider Refuses New Basking Area
Apparently Lucy is working through her issues and is now basking on the
semi-regular. I read somewhere that one turt was basking only when "alone" and
would slide into the tank when her owner came in. Well, that is apparently Lucy.
And based upon how well I "know" her, it makes sense.
<For whatever reason, Lucy feels exposed and nervous while basking. That will
change over time - certainly nothing for us to worry about>
Either way, I've been seeing her up there from time to time, without even having
to prod her with food. Thanks so much for all your help. I made a small donation
to WWW the other day.
<THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!!>
Your site is invaluable. My phone isn't smart and it shows when I take pics.
This one is crappy but you get the idea of Lucy's new "house."
<The pictures are fine!! Although I think it' interesting that not ALL that long
ago our phones all had cords ... and if you were travelling and wanted to make a
phone call you have to find a phone booth ... and now we can take pictures
without having to drop them off at Fotomat.>
<keep us posted on Lucy>
Turtles; RES, beh. & Repro.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red eared slider turtles, both about 2 years
old since I got them. I believe one is male and the other is female, but
I'm not completely sure. I notice one turtle (the smaller one) swims up
to and I front of the bigger one and starts to *tickle* her face.
<AND he has long 'fingernails' - because he's a mail>
Well the turtle that I believe is the female has started becoming a
little restless at night and is constantly swimming and looking around.
I'm not sure if she is pregnant or not.
<The term is 'gravid' which is a $5 word for saying that she has eggs
She is only 2 years old, but she is actually quite large.
<And turtles get sexually mature by size, not age>
Her shell is probably about 6 inches or so, and she is kept in a 60
gallon tank. I read in a few articles and a couple videos that you could
feel behind their legs for eggs, but my turtle is very shy to people and
doesn't like you to touch her or pick her up. She immediately suck's in
her legs and arms.
<No worries. Unless you are experienced it's hard to tell an egg from a
bone anyway. Her actions seem to indicate that your suspicions are
Also, she is aggressive. Not towards the other turtle, but mainly toward
me. When I pick her up she hisses at me and if my hand is close to her
head she will try to bite me. I'm not sure why she is acting this way.
<Some are like this naturally, they have their own personalities, but
females also get that way around egg laying time.>
<Thing is, it's very hard to make a nesting box for a water turtle. I
suggest that you get a dark sided plastic tub, approximately 24 inches
by 16 inches by 30 inches tall (all these are VERY approximate). If you
find a container the right length and width, you can fabricate higher
sides even by using cardboard taped in place around the edges. Add a
basking light just like the one you have on your tank. Make a mixture of
Vermiculite, play sand (sandbox sand) and potting soil in equal parts to
cover the bottom 6 to 8 inches deep, more if you can. Turn on the
basking lamp and point it toward one corner of the nesting box, so that
part of the substrate is HOT, areas around it are warm, and places
further away are cooler.>
<Place her in the box and for most of each day, returning her to the
regular tank in the evening. With any luck -- and a lot of patience on
your part (this can take weeks) she'll figure out what she's supposed to
<The hard part is that you have to notice when she has finally laid the
eggs. Usually you can see a change in her demeanor -- she's calm again.
Either she laid the eggs -or- if she hadn't found the right spot and the
eggs hadn't shelled yet (the hard outer shell forms last) she may
<If you get the eggs, here's what to do next:
Let me know!
Thank you! I'll try it!
Red Eared Slider; hibernating... beh.
I have a red eared slider. Male I believe. About 8 yrs old. This year he
seemed sluggish and the pet store said he was probably hibernating. But
he's never done that.
<Indeed. The pet store are talking rubbish. Sliders can become torpid if
exposed to prolonged cold, but in captivity this is invariably fatal. So
it should never, ever be allowed to happen. Even in the wild their
mortality rate is high during winter, particularly for yearlings.
Assuming you have a heat lamp over the basking rock, your Slider should
never become torpid.
Reptiles are normally very good at maintaining a proper body temperature
by alternately warming up under the heat lamp and cooling down in the
Fun fact: like other reptiles, turtles can't hibernate. Hibernation
implies a controlled lowering of metabolic rate, which reptiles can't
do; it's a mammalian trick necessary because mammals have insane energy
demands that many species simply can't satisfy in the colder parts of
the world during winter. Rather, reptiles allow they metabolic rate to
decrease as their
environment cools down, even finding steadily cool places to rest so
they're kept consistently cool (rather than frigid) through the winter
period (mud at the bottom of a pond, for example, essentially going
without air for months!). In any case, reptiles need to eat a bit more
than normal before this resting phase (technically called brumation)
because they must have a very specific amount of fat stored up before
wintertime, otherwise they starve. The size/weight of a tortoise before
brumation is quite well understood, it's called the Jackson Ratio, but
for Sliders this simply isn't known well enough to be safe. Hence, we
don't allow Sliders to rest during the winter. We keep them warm all 12
months of the year!>
Also noticed some excessive shedding on his back left foot. So I put him
in a dry tank. I take him out once a day to a small feeding tank. I put
Betadine on him for two weeks to kill any potential fungus/bacteria. I
now think he's hibernating in the dry tank.
He wants to craw under the papers and towels. He is sleepy and slow to
react when I get him up.
<This is worrying. When turtles become sluggish in captivity, it's
usually a sign of a metabolic problem. May be as simple as not enough
warmth. Check the air temperature under the basking spot and also make
sure the heat lamp is working. But more serious problems could be lack
of UV-B (a good "next thing to tick off" because it's a common cause of
reptile health problems); a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics;
or a diet that's chronically lacking in some essential nutrient such as
calcium. So if you're sure the turtle isn't chilled, call a vet, because
they're really the only people who can diagnose lethargy/sluggishness
problems with reptiles, and often the only people who can provide the
treatment (vitamin shots, antibiotics).>
I do have a UV and heat light on.
What to do????
<Most welcome. Neale. Have cc'ed to Darrel, our turtle expert, in case
I've missed anything.>
Re: Red Eared Slider 1/28/15
Thank you :)
RES; beh. basking 1/25/15
We have a 1 year old RES and just recently upgraded his tank. He
now refuses to bask or even come out of the water. He is still
eating and swimming well.
<Good. Turtles are prey animals, despite their shells, and tend to go
into the water when alarmed. If you changed his tank in the last couple
days, he may feel threatened. Staying in the water is one way for him to
avoid going out into what seems like a strange new world. Time may be
all that's required.>
Other than lighting and size of the tank, nothing has changed. I have an
in water heater as well as a heating light above the basking rock.
<There's no need to heat the water. Turtles warm up under the heat lamp
(and soak up UV-B under the UV-B lamp) and then dip into the water to
cool down. That's how they thermoregulate. Unless the room is unusually
cold, it'll be fine for them at room temperature. In fact if the water
was a bit cooler, he'd have to come out onto his rock to bask.>
<Does he have UV-B lighting? Lack of UV-B is a common cause of problems;
indeed, alongside lack of calcium, it is probably the most common cause
of problems. Since you haven't mentioned UV-B, that's would be my first
question for you, and the first thing we'd want to "tick off" our list
of possible problems. Lack of UV-B leads to all sorts of problems,
skeletal and neurological ones, either of which can explain strange
movements and behaviours.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Red Ear Sliders; overwintering
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red eared sliders that I got as babies 8 years ago.
They lived in an inside aquarium up until last year as they got too big.
They now live outside on my balcony in a prefab pond. I have a filter,
basking area and a heater. I live in Southern California where it's
<Yes. Generally they don't need a heater at all.>
However, we've had some really cold nights and I'm frightened that the
turtles are suffering...daytime highs are mid sixties. Nighttime lows
are low forties/high thirties. I know sliders are supposed to hibernate
at temps below 50, but I'm afraid it's not cold enough....or that
it's cold enough at night, but not during the day. I've heard that this
"middle ground" can be very stressful for the turtles.
<That is right, it can be>
Should I bring the turtles in for the season?
<You certainly can.>
Perhaps just in at night?
<Some people do that as well>
I would appreciate any guidance you can give me. I've spent hours
reading about hibernation, but haven't found any real information on
what to do in this "middle-ish" climate.
<OK - here's the deal. It depends on your pond. The deeper the pond the
more heat it will retain during the night, especially if you have a
heater. My adult Sliders, also here in Southern California, live all
year long in an un-heated outdoor pond that is two and a half feet deep.
During the month or so that it gets chilly here, they tend to settle to
the bottom when there's no sunshine to soak up and they get along just
<Other people take their sliders in for the winter by placing them in a
closed cardboard box in a corner in the garage.>
<In your case, if the water is heated to at least 60 degrees during the
day, all I'd add is a 125 watt heat lamp over the basking area. If they
are otherwise healthy they'll be fine. I wouldn't feed them again until
it warms up … but they act so needy and beg so well that I'll even break
that rule once in a while myself>
Thank you so much for your help.
Re: Red Ear Sliders 1/5/15
Thank you SO much for getting back to me! This is just the info I
needed!!! I appreciate your help! Happy New Year!! :-)
new; beh. 1/5/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had my RES for 3 days now and its in a 55 gallon habitat
with a heat lamp and a uv lamp with a large basking area. My RES has not
come out of the water for the 3 day at all to bask is that normal or
should I be
<No, not yet. It's only been 3 days and he is still shy and scared.
Give him time to be alone and get used to his new habitat. As long as he
comes to the surface to breathe once in a while, don't handle him, feed
him or try to get him to bask for another 4 or 5 days. At first you
might notice that he climbs out to bask when no on is looking, then
later will bask when
he sees you.>
<Meanwhile - read this and re-check all your care
Turtle behaving strange
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a red eared slider for 11years. He's been a sweetheart..
Very friendly and loving. He is very playful and been attached to me and my
family. He rarely bit anyone... And even if he does its outsiders.
<I usually don't let them get close enough to bite anyone>
Of late he has started biting me a lot and without any reason.
He begs to play and when I do he suddenly snaps at me and doesn't let go.
<That's actually his way of telling you to back off.>
He recently bit my lip... And he again bit my finger. I don't understand his
sudden change in behavior.
<Maturity and territorial behavior>
And how do I make him let go when he bites... He held on to my lip for almost
<There really is no way to make him let go. Some people have dipped a snapping
turtle's rear end in warm water - and the sudden change of temperature sometimes
makes them let go, but generally a slider bites and retracts and then lets go>
<I'm sorry to say this but the only safe solution is not to let your fingers or
other body parts get within striking distance of his mouth. You
have to remember that a turtle will live naturally with bacteria that are
dangerous and even toxic to you. Any bite that breaks the skin should be
immediately flushed with running water and then soaked in Hydrogen Peroxide.>
<please don't let him get in a position to bite you - it's unhealthy for both of
Urgent advise is required for my Red Eyed Slider Female
Turtle; repro. beh. /Neale
I seek counsel for my female red eyed slider turtle. She is with me
since September 25, 2011. Very small then and has eventually transformed
into a beauty with a shell size of 20 cm.s. She has a healthy routine of
basking, feeding and playfully enjoying in my lawn.
To my surprise she laid an egg today in her water tank. Though
without mating. I was confounded and dumbstruck at this site.
Sadly the egg was soon destroyed by her only within a few minutes after
I am still perplexed at such turn of events. Any help will be greatly
appreciated. Looking forward to hear back from your forum soon.
<Greetings. Provided your turtle is laying eggs, you really don't have
anything to worry about. It's normal for turtles to sometimes lay eggs,
even without males. Problems happen when the female can't lay her eggs.
That leads to "egg binding". It is quite common when female turtles are
kept in vivaria (aquaria) with only a little bit of land. So for now,
relax! Cheers, Neale.>
Urgent advise is required for my Red Eyed Slider Female Turtle
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I seek counsel for my female red eyed slider turtle. She is with me
since September 25, 2011. Very small then and
has eventually transformed into a beauty with
a shell size of 20 cm.s. She has a healthy routine of basking,
feeding and playfully enjoying in my lawn.
To my surprise she laid an egg today in her water tank. Though without
mating. I was confounded and dumbstruck at this site. Sadly the
egg was soon destroyed by her only within a
few minutes after laying.
<they do that>
I am still perplexed at such turn of events. Any help will be greatly
appreciated. Looking forward to hear back from your forum soon.
<Nothing to worry about Varsha. Turtles and tortoises gestate eggs all
the time, even when no male is or ever has been present. Usually, when
conditions aren’t right, their bodies just absorb the egg and we never
know. Once the egg has shelled (the outer surface has formed) they will
lay the eggs regardless. This is completely OK and nothing needs doing.
The only thing I suggest is that you get the egg(s) out of the water
before she breaks them -- if that happens there is a huge cleanup to
Female RES Boffy 6/19/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My little boffaloffagus (I know, my six year old named her) has been
acting at little different the past few days.
We have had her for almost two years, she is 5-6 inches long. I have her
in a 60g aquarium with a floating log, good filter, UV light and basking
lamps are good, proper temps..ect
Just two days ago I noticed that she has been constantly
swimming against the glass. She would do this occasionally when
she wanted out (I allow her to dry dock at least an hour or so a day)
but when I take her out recently she gets vicious! Hissing, snapping,
and in the past she wouldn't do this. I've also noticed that her rear
end, near hind legs is swollen?
<You'd be vicious too if your rear end was swollen>
She is eating fine, basking a bit more, not lethargic or anything. She
isn't like digging with her hind legs so much as swimming frantically at
the glass and being generally restless.
Could she possibly be gravid?
<That would be my first guess. She's the right size and the description
is pretty spot on.>
<A Slider will eventually just drop the eggs in the water if she can't
find a suitable nesting spot. If you have a garden or even an enclosed
patio you could put her in … take her from the water at dusk and leave
her until daylight … after she accepts that as 'normal' she may drop the
eggs in there.>
<Either way, this is a teeth-clencher because she's acting strange and
there's not a lot we can do.>
<If she hasn't dropped the eggs or started acting normal in another
three weeks, write back>
Re: Female RES Boffy
Thank you! I live in an apartment with no patio, can I just put some
sand or dirt (no potting soil with chemicals obviously) in the spare
aquarium and put her in a dark room with the shade drawn (moonlight?)
and night ?
<Yes - you can. She may not finding it as comforting as you'd think it
would, at least not at first. Just keep in mind that A-she'll get used
to it and B- one way or another, this will all pass>
Red slider turtle gone after pond cleaning.
<Hiya Tammy - Darrel here>
We recently acquired a large red slider turtle last year. It was
crossing a busy intersection near our home.
We have an outside pond that we put the turtle near until we could
figure out what to do with her.
<Turtles and ponds go together like peas and carrots>
Before we knew the turtle had gone into the pond. She wintered well and
in the early spring could be watched swimming and basking in the rocks.
The problem is that the pond was being overrun by algae, so we decided
to drain the pond and refill it with clean water. Didn't see the turtle
throughout this process.
<That's because she climbed out>
It has been over a week since the pond was drained and we can't locate
the turtle anywhere.
<Turtles, for unexplained reasons, go for 'walk abouts' -- which is
exactly why you saw her crossing a road.>
The algae is back, but that's another issue. My fear is that we scared
the turtle to death and its decomposing in the pond and that's why the
water is so murky. Or that the turtle left our pond... Help, I feel
horrible and very worried for the turtle.
<No worries. Assuming she can't get out of your yard, she's buried
herself at the base of a bush, under/next to a rock, behind that pile of
wood your husband PROMISED to clear out 5 years ago ... somewhere hard
<I've lost some that way only to find them back in the pond 2 years
later ... looking at me as if to say "yeah, so?">
<But that said, do look for her - she's there. And remember they can
climb surprisingly well, so don't NOT look everywhere>
Thanks for any advice.
PLZ HELP ME 2/14/14
To whom it may concern,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm from Mauritius a tropical island, I'm very worried since this
morning as i saw my tetra (red eared) turtles tilting their
heads as pic attached to the mail....
I got 1 male and female they both are 10yrs old, and were healthy but
don't know what happen suddenly plzzz help me....
<That is puzzling, Kara. They will all do that once in a while,
just a strange behavior. But if they are both doing it at the same
time that is a bit odd. Do they do it all the time?
Does it appear that they aren't able to breathe?>
<What about the rest of their bodies? Do they appear swollen or
<Please take a few more pictures of both of them, from several angles,
and write back. Are they swimming and eating and active?>
Worried about my turtle...Please help!
First I'd like to thank you for such an amazing site.
<Thank you! We do it all for you! (And for the free food)>
After Googling tons of sites, yours has had the most info I've found to
be very helpful.
<Thank you again.>
Now to my issue. I have a Red Eared Slider turtle that's about 3 years.
He's super healthy, I have a 10 gallon tank with a filter, a platform
and a heating lamp. I've noticed recently that he's not as active and
He ALWAYS eats when he's fed. I usually give him calcium enriched
pellets and every once in a while goldfish. For the first time I gave
him pellets and he just let it float past him. It's been 3 days now and
he won't eat.
I've changed the water and filter and still no change in his behavior,
except I noticed some huge black brownish glob in the tank. Which is
weird, because I literally just cleaned out his tank and changed the
filter so I didn't know where it came from. To my surprise he started
biting and eating at it. I rushed with a net to scoop it out and it
smelt like poop. Why was he eating at poop, but won't touch the pellets
that were floating right next to him? I love the little guy, but I am
starting to freak out that something may be wrong.
<Not "wrong" exactly, but something we should fix>
I would take him to the vet, but I don't have the money right now.
<no need at the moment - lets try a few things first>
What do you think is going on?
<It's hard to tell, but eating his own poop is a sign of a dietary
deficiency and the easiest way to fix that is to change his diet.
First, warm him up a bit. If his basking lamp is normally 82
degrees (f) where he basks, bring in a bit closer - make it 88 degrees.
When he's warmer, place him in a shallow pan or bowl of luke warm water
and give him a small piece of beef or chicken liver (small piece!) or
perhaps an earthworm.
What I'm trying to suggest is that you offer him something that is
different AND something meaty. See what he does and how he
reacts. Get some Koi food (Koi pellets is basically ALL I
feed my sliders) and let him try those. Again--something
different. If it's a dietary problem, he'll let you know
what he needs by eating the items that contain what he's missing.>
<Meanwhile - pay attention to all your care: Heat, UV lighting,
for anything that may not be up to standard>
Re: Worried about my turtle..Please help!
Thank you so much! Will do.
Re: Please help-Sick RES 7/1/13
<Hiya!- Darrel here>
How r u guys? Been a long time.
<We're well. Hope you are, too>
I had a question about my turtle. He's now grown and his nails have even
grown bigger. The problem is that now the nails really scratch us a
lot.. He's used to being held and each time i do so i get
scratched all over though he doesn't mean to.
<Yes, he probably just doesn't feel as safe as he did.
Interestingly, a turtle that feels threatened may freeze in place more
than one that feels secure. It may be that he just wants to be put
down and isn't afraid of letting you know.>
Can i clip his nails ? and if so how?
<No. If you clip them they will remain sharp. You
simply need to handle him in a way that his claws don't come near your
He also is more aggressive when i bathe him. Every day we change his
water and only after bathing him (to clean the little slime that forms
on his shell) we put him in the fresh water. Earlier he would be fine
but now protests a lot.
<What you are doing is GOOD for him, but he probably doesn't see it that
I gently try to wipe off the slime with my fingers over running water.
Does that hurt him ??
<Not at all. I suggest you tilt his head down slightly, so that
water will not run into his nose>
If so why wasn't he protesting when he was younger?
Hope you have some answers for me.
Thanks and regards,
<Well, sadly, I don't think I have answers you want to hear. As he
gets bigger and more assured, he's being more assertive in tell you that
he doesn't like being handled. All we can really do is try to
respect that as much as possible but still doing what we need to do to
care for him>
Found Red eared slider 4/20/13
Hi there folks, hope all is well. I don't have a question but rather a
quick story so other turtle owners never give up hope.
I live in New Jersey and Hurricane Sandy was not kind to my area. My
pond flooded and a 90 foot tree cashed on top of it; basically crushing
everything that wasn't below ground level. My beloved Mona, whom I
adopted and have owned for about 7 years decided it was time to
find another not so hostile environment. I was busy trying to save
my house and simply couldn't tend to the pond. In any event, by the time
I was able to clear all the debris, my sweetie was gone. I've
spent MONTHS looking for her, searching sewers, nearby pools,
anything with water. My neighbors abandoned their home and a
mallard couple decided to take refuge in the abandoned pool. I
watch them every morning just to see them raise their babies. (my
neighbors must think I'm odd, prowling in the yard with binoculars)
Anyway, yesterday morning I spotted a big ole female slider and I
was hoping and praying it was her. I hopped the fence (I'm nearing
50) and ran to the poolside. She plopped into the water when she
heard me coming and swam to the middle of the pool. I had a net
but I don't have 15 foot long arms so I knelt down and called her
name. I do not anthropomorphize my animals BUT she swam right to me and
crawled out of the pool to come to me. I realize it is because I'm the
keeper of the ReptoMin, but it brought tears to my eyes just the
same. Mona is back in the reconstructed pond and I just want other
turtle keepers to know, don't give up hope if you have an escapee.
Just keep looking and I hope if you loose a turtle, you get it
back safe and sound as I did Mona. Thank you Crew Members and keep up
the wonderful work. I read all the time and the information and
sometimes hilarious responses make my day.
Laurie and Mona
<Thank you for relating your experience/sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: my turtle water, Now RES repro. beh.
Dear crew hi
I've been caring for my turtle for a year now and I never thought that
when he get bigger and older it will be harder to care for him he is a
red eared slider and caring for him was pretty hard for me and as I
found out these few weeks that it was a boy I became a bit worried that
some aggressive behavior will come out from him because I got another
turtle that is not a red eared slider and because of its thick and so
long tail and its nail are sharp but not so long that is came into my
hands as I hold it but the red eared slider have been doing this thing
that he put his hands in front of the other turtles face that the other
turtle turn its head the other side I've been noticing that for a long
time but I thought it is just a away of contacting or something but
until today when I noticed that the red eared slider is trying to get on
the other turtles shell and he get his tail I think somewhere on the
other turtle body (is it trying to mate?)
<Ah yes. Read here:
so I wish u can tell me why is he doing that and what does it mean and
is there a way I can stop him from doing that because if my mum find out
about the way they look she will think that's not an appropriate thing
for a 14 years old girl to see so please I need a help with that because
I don't want my mum to get rid of them specially the guy Amy < I didn't
change his name even after I found out that he is a male
sorry for asking u all of these questions
<Do learn to/use the search tool and indices on WWM. I suspect we have
much more to share w/ you of interest, use. Bob Fenner>
RES Turtle Behaviour 11/28/12
Hi again crew! Vyushti again! You have helped me a lot, thanks for that!
<You’re welcome! If you’re able, consider giving a donation to our
website! Every little bit helps. We’re all volunteers and Bob
Fenner, who manages the site, appreciates and uses any and all donations
to cover the basic expenses of running it.>
But now let’s just get to the matter at hand. I have previously sent a
mail about my turtle Mars getting respiratory infection and you have
still not replied to that.
<Have you received it yet? I sent it to you this morning before you sent
this one. Let me know if you still haven’t received it and I’ll
This time it is about my second turtle, Pluto.
For the last few days he has not been so active, it looks like he is
trying to sleep most of the day, I guess it is the drop in temperatures.
<Well, assuming you keep your house at room temperature, the outside
weather shouldn’t have too much of an effect on his behavior. Indoor
turtles will sometimes have a bit less of an appetite during the colder
months, but I’d be a bit concerned if you’re suddenly seeing him
sleeping most of the time. Other than loss of appetite, lethargy is
another common initial sign that they’re not feeling well.>
And last night he slept on the filter, not on his favourite place, i.e.
the rock in the water for them to hide in.
<Just a word of caution with caves – in particular as they're growing,
make sure that there’s nothing in the water than can accidentally trap
them underwater. You don't want a situation where the are JUST able to
fit into a hole, but then get stuck and not be able to get back out.>
He is eating and is happy but not so active, he has his moments of
sudden, fast swimming but otherwise his head is often in the shell.
Should I be concerned? Or is it ok?
<My motto is “When in doubt, take them out!” It never hurts to dry-dock
them. I’d try it for a couple of days, observe him during that time, and
if he seems better, put him back in the aquarium. Especially now if you
dry-dock him in what might be the earliest stages of an illness, you
might actually prevent it from taking hold. >
<This is just what to do for an immediate response though. What you want
to do is eliminate any and all factors that might be causing both of
them to become ill. Have you had a chance to read over Darrel’s basic
care guide yet? >
<A couple of things that comes to my mind in your case in
1) The question of lighting. Hopefully you’ve gotten a UVB light
by now? If so, what I’d suggest with Mars and Pluto now is to keep them
in separated boxes/containers but put them together so they can share
the UVB. They should each have their own heat source, though.>
2) Diet: Given that Mars clearly has had a Vitamin A deficiency and now
Pluto may be becoming ill as well, I question whether the pellets you’re
giving them have all the essential elements they need, and what, if
anything else, you’re feeding them. In my last note I mentioned giving
Mars a phosphorus-free calcium and Vitamin D3 supplement. You should do
this with Pluto also, and I’d also recommend that you give both of them
a pinch or so of a multivitamin once a week. Reptimineral H by Sera is a
good one if you’re able to get it a local store or online. ~ Sue >
Turtle Behaviour, RES repro.
I have a red eared slider turtle of just over ten years. She is about
the size of my hand. I have never had any problems with her at all but
over the last week she has started to stand upright in the tank and bang
her shell against the glass. She only does this when I am in the room
and in particular while I am sleeping. I have gotten out of bed to feed
her, I pick her up and talk to her. It doesn't seem to matter what I do
when I put her back in the tank she just starts all over again until I
give up on sleep and leave the room. I have noticed she has not been
eating as much (less then half) of what she normally does. Tank
conditions (size of tank, temps, filter) have not changed in about 5
years. I am at a loss of what is should try.
<Hello Nicole. While it's possible she simply wants to get out
(especially if the tank isn't all that spacious) my guess is that she
wants to lay some eggs. There are two clues here: lack of appetite and
Why? Well, when reptiles start to form their eggs, their stomachs are
squished a bit, so they want to eat less. Plus, aquatic reptiles
typically lay their eggs at night when it's safer for them to come out
of the water.
Put these two things together and you may see my train of thought.
Anyway, a vet can help here, partly by providing an injection that
causes the female to lay, and also by giving your turtle a once over to
make sure she's otherwise okay. Installing some sort of land area a
square foot or so in area and with 3-4 inches of sand will provide her a
place to lay her eggs, and it's a good idea to do this before the turtle
becomes egg-bound, so the female can lay when she should have done.
Sounds like you've missed the boat here. With the eggs stuck inside her,
she'll be in increasing pain and eventually the eggs go bad, rot, and
the resulting infection kills the turtle.
Oh, and don't get mislead by thinking that females kept alone don't get
egg-bound -- they can and do, though the eggs will be unfertilised of
course. Cheers, Neale.>
Red Slider Turtles, unequal growth concerns -
About 8 months ago I bought my daughter two baby turtles downtown. Had
no idea what I was getting us into - but felt compelled to do our best!
<This is a good opportunity to remind everyone that’s it’s always best
for an animal’s welfare to research (from reliable sources!) as much as
you can about them before you buy them. This is especially true with
exotics because the average pet store employee typically doesn’t have
the necessary level of expertise to give accurate advice – and
unfortunately all too many times, they don’t. The other reason it’s
important to know ahead of time what you’re getting into with turtles in
particular, is because if properly cared for, turtles can live well over
40 years and grow to be the size of dinner plates!>
They are currently in a very large tank with a filter, basking dock and
<This is a good start - hopefully you have a UVB specific light also?>
They are fed daily in a separate little tank.
<That’s good; this will help keep the tank clean between water changes
(which need to be done even when you have a filter). However, they
should only be fed every other day – not every day, and only as much as
they can eat in about 5 or minutes or so. Overfeeding can lead to health
One of the turtles is growing much more quickly than the other. It is
not 40% bigger than its companion.
<Did you mean to say “it’s about” rather than “it’s not”?>
Is this normal?
<It’s normal as long as the little one is growing and thriving, and the
larger one is not growing too big too fast.>
They have very different temperaments which was obvious from day one.
The one which grew quickly is very calm and allows me to move it to the
feeding tank without much reaction. The other one is always in constant
movement. It goes crazy when you pick it up and even in the water it
swims quickly around the tank. If it was a child it would be ADD with
Hyperactivity!! Could this be the reason for the size difference?
<Yes and no. Just like people, turtles grow at their own individual
rate. However, it’s also true that when you have two turtles, one often
emerges as the more aggressive one and may steal food away from the
other. The best way to balance things off is to feed them separately,
but again, they should both be limited to only around 5 minutes each to
avoid overeating and growing too fast. They’ll still each grow at their
own individual rates feeding them separately, but at least there won’t
be the issue of one taking more than his fair share from the other.>
<I should also mention here that average adult female turtles are larger
than males, so if one of yours turns out to be a male and the other a
female, in the end the female could land up to be a few inches larger
than the male.>
Also, the shell colors are no longer the same color. I just want to make
sure that they are okay.
<If what you’re seeing is a “caramel” like color this is most likely
occurring because they’re beginning to shed their shells. Shedding is a
normal part of the growth process. However, it’s important to
distinguish between normal and abnormal shedding. With normal shedding,
the layers that eventually come off are very thin and hardly noticeable,
and the new shell that emerges is a nice healthy color. With
abnormal shedding, shell layers will be thicker, may not shed normally,
and the new shell underneath may not appear healthy. Clean, cool water;
proper diet and feeding amounts; correct lights and basking temperatures
all influence shell health (which is essentially their bones.) Hopefully
you’re feeding them a healthy diet in the right amounts and they’re out
of the water for several hours a day basking under both a heat and UVB
light, with a basking temperature in the 88-90 degree range. >
<Reeva - here’s a link here to our general care guide:
Take a look over it to make sure you’re giving them everything they need
and they should do fine!>
<You’re welcome - if you have any questions after reading over the
care guide, please feel free to write us back; we’re here to help!
Red-Eared Sliders attacking a tank thermometer
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hi Brittney, Sue here with you.>
I have two red-eared sliders, aged 5 for the larger male who is roughly
5 inches and 4 for the younger male who is roughly 3 inches, give or
take a few quarter inches on each. They are in a 20 gallon tank, which I
do realize is small for the two but at the time I got them in which they
were both the size of quarters and the space was plenty adequate for
what research I had done. Recently I have hit money troubles and while I
can afford the proper nutrition, I have not been able to upsize their
tank. However, every day while I am home I let them swim in the
bath tub in luke warm, about 74 degree water to allow them to really
stretch their legs.>
<No need to do this. You don’t need to buy an expensive glass aquarium.
Clear plastic storage bins work just fine and are much cheaper. For
example, Sterilite makes a 110 quart size one that’s around 35” long,
19” wide and 12+ inches deep. I’ve seen them at Target for only around
The diet consists of this:
10(per turtle) ZooMed Natural Aquatic Turtle Pellets. It is the Formula
for turtles 2-6" and the pellets are 3/16".
<The Zoo Med pellets are OK to use. I’d personally start switching
them over to the Maintenance pellets that have a higher vegetarian
content. You can also try alternating them with Koi pellets which are
almost all vegetarian based.>
4-5(per turtle) ReptoTreat suprema Krill Enriched Food Sticks with
Beta-Carotene and Canthaxanthin to enrich color. 4-5(per turtle) Freeze
Dried Mealworms. I occasionally treat them to Dried River Shrimp or
Krill in place of the Meal worms.
<Wouldn’t give them any of these at all for a treat. Instead I’d feed
them a couple of LIVE earthworms each every few weeks. Live earthworms
are a much more nutritious treat.>
They get greens about once a week that includes Kale, baby spinach and
Parsley. (the same greens we feed our rabbit)
<That’s great. Mine also enjoy eating red leaf lettuce, carrot top
greens and some bits of shredded up sweet potato.>
The staple diet is fed 3-4 times a week while the treats are fed 1-2 times
<Would limit the treats (earthworms) to only once every few weeks, not
1-2 times a week. You don’t want to over feed them.>
The water stays at roughly 70 degrees and they have a large basking
platform that while not heated itself is heated by the two UV bulbs,
which are about 40 watts a piece.
<First of all, double check to make sure the UV bulbs are specifically
UVB bulbs. They must have UVB. Next is that their basking temperature
should be in the 88-90 degree range. They need this amount of heat
to be able to properly digest their food. If the UV bulbs aren't giving
off enough heat to get the temperature into this range, you may need to
add a heat bulb as well.>
The bottom of the tank is covered by river pebbles and large smooth
pieces of rose quartz. It is filtrated by two canister filters.
Both are active and shed occasionally, have hard shells and clear eyes.
But my question stems from something totally different, the first
paragraph was also to ensure that my turtles are indeed healthy and
whether or not the thermometer attacking could be a result of hunger.
They have never had any strange health issues, but recently a strange
behavior has started occurring. I installed a tank thermometer a few
months back. They were fine with its presence up until about two weeks
ago. They have been fed as normal, and I even tried increasing the diet
to 15 pellets a piece, which they still ate in the amount of time
<That's fine; just feed them as much as they can in 5 or so minutes,
then remove whatever food is remaining. My guess, though, is that their
attack on the thermometer is more due to a lack of space to move around
in than it is an issue of hunger.>
Recently though, both males have begun to attack the thermometer. At the
size the older male is, he can get his mouth around the tip of the
thermometer and I'm afraid he will break it and hurt himself with the
glass shards. I have tried moving the thermometer, removing it and
hiding it behind the basking area but they still attack it. Any
suggestions on how to remedy the situation? I have found no information
searching Goggle and the FAQ on your site for the answer.
<Actually I do have a suggestion – simply remove the thermometer!
There's no need for one, and turtles shouldn't have glass thermometers
at all in their tank for precisely the reason you mention! As long
as you keep your room temperature around 68-70 degrees or so the water
should reflect this. Having said that, though, sometimes the water in
smaller tanks can be more susceptible to heating up from filters running
and/or heat/light bulbs. If you feel this is happening and want to
monitor it, then what I’d suggest instead of a glass thermometer is one
of those thermometers that’s kept on the outside but has a (plastic)
sensor you drop in the water. That will eliminate your concern about
them breaking it and injuring themselves.>
Thanks so much for your help and I am sorry if provided too much
information or if I am rambling. I wanted to ensure that my reptiles are
indeed healthy because I really do love them.
<You’re welcome Brittney. It’s always better for us to have as
much information as possible about your care and set-up so you did
great! It sounds like you’ve already done a lot of research, but I’m
also going to give you a link to our basic care guide just to make sure
you have everything covered!
Shy male 8/15/12
Hello, i have a sexually mature RES turtle and a
questionably sexually mature female, she will occasionally try courting
with him, but he often seems scared, or bashful. What would cause this
<... as you state, the current lack of maturity of the male, interest of
the female. Read here:
and the linked FAQs file RES Compatibility. Bob Fenner>
Won't bask 7/1/12
<Hi Lisa, Sue here with you.>
Our family was given a wild RES recently & we pretty
much bought him the Mercedes model tank (tank, lights, filter, landing,
<Sounds great! Just make sure one of the lights is specifically UVB; UVA
alone is not enough.>
Problem is he won't stop swimming. Is this normal? Shouldn't
he get up on the landing to bask under the light? We are concerned
he is getting too tired. Any help would be most appreciated!
<It’s very common for them to become anxious when they’re placed in a
new environment. He should start to calm down in a few days. You
also want to make sure that there is enough of a temperature gradient
between the water and his basking spot so that he’s encouraged to get
out of the water to warm up and completely dry off. Many sites
unfortunately recommend too warm of a water temperature. Water temp
should only be around 68-70 degrees F; basking temperature in the 88-90
degree F range.>
<You’re welcome, Lisa. Sounds like you’ve already done your
research, but since you’re a new turtle mom, I’m also going to give you
a link to our basic care guide so you can make sure you have all the
bases covered as far as his care needs. Read it over and feel free
to write us back if you have any more questions!
RES Turtle acting strange
At home, we've got two RES turtles, one male and one female. We got them
August last year. They're now around 5 inches in length, with the female
<Adult females are usually larger than males on average.>
We've kept them in a tank, and the female has always been more
aggressive (she's bitten off some nails of the male). We just recently
found the female showing the mating dance thing to the male. It was
probably just a sign of dominance, since the male was eating at the
time. So we've separated them. The male seems fine even with his much
smaller tank. What we can't understand is that the female has been
scratching the side of the tank endlessly. She used to do this before,
and we joked about her "escape" tendencies, but she usually calmed down
after some food and a water change. But now she's not even bothering to
eat. We're wondering if she might be wanting to nest?
<It could be. She is a bit young yet, but some females start
reaching sexual maturity around this size, and the sudden, unusual (for
her) behavior you describe (extreme restlessness, loss of appetite) are
some of the signs you often see with gravid turtles.>
But both turtles are probably less than a year old. (We got them very
<WOW – I assumed you got them at 4”, which is the smallest size that pet
shops allow them to be sold. If yours were tiny when you got them and
they’re already 5” long after only 9-10 months, this is WAY TOO fast a
rate of growth. >
<What have you been feeding them, how much, and how often? Over-feeding
is the most common mistake people make, and it can lead to a whole host
<Also, what are you keeping their water temperature at? If the water is
kept too warm, this can also accelerate their metabolism and growth
We tried to set up a "land" tank with soil, but she just lies at the
edge, very still, and is suddenly scared (and withdraws into her shell)
when people go near. So now we set the original tank up with a patch of
land in a Tupperware container. She doesn't bother with it, and only
steps on it so that she can reach up higher the edge of the tank. We're
concerned with her, and since they're our first turtles, we're not
really sure what to do. We've also noticed her biting off the small
coral rocks we placed in the tank. Is that okay?
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
<First -- IF your female is in fact gravid, she’ll be more likely to lay
eggs with complete privacy with no one around. You could try putting her
in a separate box outside the tank overnight, every night when things
are quiet, then back in the pond during the day. There’s no harm in
doing this even if she’s not gravid. You can continue this until she’s
either laid eggs or her behavior has returned to normal.>
<You also want to make sure you have the nesting box set up
appropriately. Ideally it would be a dark sided plastic tub approx. 24"
x 16" x 30" or so tall. The substrate should consist of a 50-50 mix of
Vermiculite and play sand at least 6-8” deep (or more if you can). There
should also be a basking or heat lamp that’s positioned/pointed toward
one corner of the box so this section is the hottest, and so that the
temperature becomes progressively cooler away from the lamp, across the
rest of the box. The idea is to provide her with a wide range of
temperatures that allow her a choice on where to lay them. Here are some
good resources for you to read that explain more about nesting and
<2nd – At the same time you're trying out some other options with the
nesting, I’d also make sure there is no OTHER reason for her behavior.
There could also be something in her habitat or environment that she
doesn’t like. One place to start might be with the water temperature to
make sure it’s not too warm. It should only be in the 68-70 degree F
<I’m also going to give you a link to our general care guide which I’d
advise you read over thoroughly, compare to what you’re doing, and make
any necessary changes:
<In particular besides the habitat itself, I’d carefully read over the
feeding requirements to make sure you’re giving her the correct diet,
and not feeding her too much or too often. This is very important! I
know this isn’t what you wrote in about, but your turtles have
essentially gone from hatchlings/young yearlings to near adult in less
than a year!! This is WAY too fast! At the size they’re at now they
should only be eating every other day to 3x a week MAX and no more than
they can eat in 5-10 minutes MAX -- and, you also want to make sure
you’re feeding them an appropriate diet.>
<Give all this try and write us back with any more questions or
concerns. We’re more than happy to try and help however we can.>
Baby Red Eared Slider – 4/19/12
Hi. My name is Nancy.
<Hiya - what a coincidence! MY name is Darrel!>
I have read over your site about A LOT in the last 2 weeks.
<We thank you for that!>
I receive a lot of information, but some of it I am not always sure it
applies or doesn't apply. And different symptoms sound so similar I
don't know which resolution to try. Anyways, on with my question..
I have 2 baby red ear slider turtles. We have had them over 2 weeks now
and I love them. There is Gator he is about 3inches if even, and Rock
who is about 2-2.5 inches. We have the setup for them according to
everything I have researched but I am a little worried, mostly about
Rock. Gator has grown as they were both the same EXACT size when we got
them. Gator has a yellowish/white line around the outside of his shell
although his shell is thick and hardish. He eats very well and loooooves
bloodworms, he also swims a lot and basks a lot.
<So far, so good>
Rock has not really grown any at all.. He loves to swim, he even sits
and sleeps on the bottom.. He will NOT again will NOT bask. He always
sits in the water against the rock, or wedges his self between something
and sleeps at the top of the water (if not the bottom). His shell is
VERY thin, and extra soft..flexible soft.
<Not good signs>
He too eats everything that Gator eats. Only difference is Rock won't
bask and stays in the water ALL THE TIME. Help I am worried about my
<Good for you - we're probably catching this early>
So I guess the real questions are should I worry about the
yellowish/white line around the outside of Gator's shell
<As long as, when you scrape a portion of it and smell it - it doesn't
have a foul odor, then no>
And what do I do about Rock?
<Rock needs some tough love. He needs to be what we call
'dry-docked' which means to keep him warm and dry and under substantial
amounts of UV-B lighting so that his body can synthesize the Vitamin D
<Start by reading here: How to dry-dock a turtle and treat him for
soft shell (we're guessing that, but the treatment can't hurt!)
<Meanwhile - read here about the basic care: It's really all you
need to know:
two KEY things most people miss are
(A) Cool, unheated water
(B) UV cannot come through glass or screen>
<For Rock, we want to make sure that he has a chance to thrive - give
him this head start, so to speak. In the mean time, the tank may
be an issue.
Maybe there is a filter noise, a vibration of some sort - which Gator
couldn't care less about but bothers Rock.>
<Also, after a week or two of dry-dock, if he still won't bask - try
dry-docking Gator and let Rock have the tank to himself. Who
knows? Maybe they had a fight and don't like each other? It's
worth a try>
Please and thank you for all your advice.
Randomly aggressive male
<Hi Bizzie, Sue here with you.>
Short back-story: We were given a male RES in Nov of
2009. He was about 5 by 4 by 2 inches, and has been housed in a 40
gallon tank with approximatly (approximately) 25 - 27 gallons of
water. In Feb. of 2010 we got a female that fortunately was the
exact same deminsions (dimensions).
<Well, don't be surprised if she lands up larger than him when
they're both fully grown. Females typically outsize males in
the turtle world!>
Durning (During) the first day of introduction, we had a piece of plexi
glass with holes cut in it separating (separating) them in the water
and a brick barrier separating (separating) them in the basking
<Nice planning ahead!>
Both turtles shared the same heat and water. After awhile (a while), we
removed the plexi glass. All was fine for a bit, but the male started
being aggressive (aggressive) toward the female. I monitored
(monitored) the situation for the whole day and made sure the female
wasn't getting to (too) beat up, but pretty much let them do their
thing. After hours of this, they started getting along.
<Not an uncommon exchange for their first meeting!>
Things have been fine for just under a year now but at random times he
chases her around the tank relentlessly. On more than one occasion, I
have had to intervine (intervene) when he gets a good hold of her back
leg and just will not let go. I know she has turned the tables on him a
few time because he is missing a front claw.
<Turtles of the same species and size typically get along fine, but
like people, they can also have their bad days! >
At current time he is 6 inches long and she is about 8.5.
<As above, not surprising she is the larger of the two.>
As for feeding, I give them floating sticks as the staple diet,
<Very good. >
but add change once or twice a week in the form of feeder fish,
crickets or krill.
<NOT good! Crickets and krill are the equivalent of junk food
for turtles, and feeder fish are often carriers of disease and not part
of their natural diet in the wild even though they share the same
*space*. So make it #1 on their New Year's Resolution list to
cut all of these out of their diet now! The only *treat* you
should give them is an earthworm or two each, and only every 2-4 WEEKS
or so, not 1-2 times PER WEEK!>
<Also, how much and often are you feeding them the pellets?>
During the staple diet feedings, he doesn't seem interested in the
<Likely because he's filling up on the junk food instead, and as
a result either not hungry enough or just plain not wanting the
healthier stuff! If I had the choice I'd pick the human
equivalent of chocolate cake, too! You're lucky your female
still goes for the pellets! Once they taste the *good stuff*,
they often become fixated on it and won't eat what they're
supposed to be eating. Which is NOT good, because that's when
they get sick from vitamin deficiencies (which is unfortunately all too
common a problem) -- and then you have a whole NEW set of problems on
your hands! >
He picks at it now and then while she goes to town on it. When I
feed them the crickets and the krill, he goes to town on that as well
as she does, and as for the fish, he goes after them but has a hard
time catching them and seems to give up. Meanwhile she gobbles them
up. So my question is multi layered.
1-What can I do to curb some of this aggression (aggression)??
Remember, it's not an on going (ongoing) thing just
<Well, some of the typical things that can trigger aggression are
competition over food, competition over basking, and stress over being
confined in a small space where they can't get away from one
another when they want. >
<The easiest, most immediate thing you can try is feeding them
separately so they're not competing with each other for food.
<However -- I think it's important to back up a bit and look at
what's happened over the last 2 years. In that time you went
from a SINGLE 5' turtle in a 40 gallon tank to TWO 5' turtles
in a 40 gallon tank to now a 6' and an 8 Â½ ' turtle
in a 40 gallon tank!! A 40 gallon tank is small even for ONE 8
Â½ ' turtle; let alone an 8 Â½' AND a
6' turtle. Whether or not living in such tight quarters
together is THE trigger that's causing their occasional aggression,
it's likely at least causing them considerable stress. So
aggression or not, I'd seriously consider getting them a larger
enclosure - in particular one with more surface area (length and
width). Turtles appreciate that more than depth. It also
doesn't have to be an expensive aquarium. It can be an
extra-large storage bin or a plastic preformed pond; even a kiddie
<A larger enclosure length/width wise will also give you more
flexibility and options as far as ways to arrange plants,
dÃ©cor, stones, etc. in their tank in such a way that will
give them private areas to go to when they want to escape from each
other, and also be out of the visual range of one another. And if
they've reached the (combined) size where they've outgrown
their basking spot, a larger enclosure will also allow you to create a
larger basking area for them, or even two separate basking
2- Should I intervine (intervene) when he gets that kung fu grip on her
<Well prevention is always best so I'd start there. But
yes, I'd definitely intervene before more injuries happen!
Being a little *nippy* once in a while is one thing, trying to take a
chunk out of the other's leg is another! If you continue to
see this behavior (albeit only occasionally) despite taking the above
measures, then you may need to separate them for a time and try again
further down the road.>
3- Should I be worried about his slow growth rate??
<No, as long as he's thriving -- alert, active, swimming,
eating, basking. And it's very normal for a turtle's
growth to start slowing down once they reach 4-5'. What
I'd be more concerned about is that your female is not over-eating,
growing too fast and becoming over-weight. Over-feeding is the
more common mistake people make. You should only be feeding them
the pellets every other day or 3x/week and only as much as they can eat
in around 5minutes or so.>
And last: What kinds of food do you recommend (recommend) for the
staple diet that won,t (won't) make the water look so dirty all the
time and could entice him to eat more regularly?? The ph is good,
it just seems like the dye from the food is making it look like it is
always dirty, and I do a 20 gallon water change every 3 days.
<Eliminating the feeder fish, crickets and krill should
significantly help BOTH problems! So will feeding them less, and
less often. And all you need for their staple is a Koi pellet or
good quality turtle pellet like ReptoMin which most of them seem to
<Feeding them in a separate enclosure (again, separately!) will help
keep the water cleaner longer between water changes. I'd
especially recommend a separate enclosure when you offer them
earthworms. It's an extra step in feeding them, but in the
end it should save you time by reducing the number of water changes
you're doing. A separate enclosure may stress them out a bit
at first, but they should eventually adjust. They'll do
better if the enclosure is not too small. What my turtles finally
adjusted to was a plastic storage bin about 22 x 14 x 10, with about a
bucket and a half of water in it (a little over 3' of water).
Let them eat and poop, then simply dump it out!>
Thanks for all you advice.
<You're welcome; let's hope at least some of it works!
Please feel free to write us back if you have any other questions or
concerns. The owner and editors of our site just ask that you
first do a *spell check* before submitting queries to us because most
people access our site through word searches.>
Inactive Red-Eared Slider! D;
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently (actually yesterday..) just bought a Red Eared Slider turtle
from my local pet store. (Because no one else sells turtles.)
<I hope you did your proper research first. Read this, just in
We brought him home to his new 15 gallon aquarium, he looks to be about
5-7 inches long.
<Fairly well grown>
But, he stays in the back left corner of the tank by the filter and the
heater. (which is on the back middle of the aquarium.) I have a basking
place set up for him, including a UV light that is very close to it. He
won't leave that spot, only to swim around a little, but he goes
straight back there and pops his head out to breathe. He doesn't
bask, at all. I tried to force him on there, but he frantically
''ran'' off. I'm very, VERY scared/concerned. What
do I do??
<First '¦ R*E*L*A*X*>
<If someone scooped you out of a tank, put you in a box and drove
you somewhere else, then dumped you into a tank of water, you'd
stay put for a while, too. Franklin (is that his name?) is
scared right now and when turtles are scared they seek the safety of
<You don't need the heater in the tank '¦ water should
be no higher than room temperature '¦ and the basking area
should have a UV-B lamp AND a radiant/heat lamp. READ that
link. READ!! PLEASE!! All is explained in that one, tiny
<Lastly '¦ if Franklin is healthy '¦ firm shell,
alert eyes, clearly aware of you, etc. then he can go weeks without
food '¦ even basking isn't a real priority.>
<Give him a week or two to settle down. Give him plenty of
'alone' time and when you do approach him to look or even touch
him, be slow and gentle.>
<Meanwhile, read that entire article linked above '¦ and
let us know in a couple weeks how Franklin is doing (and maybe what his
actual name is)>
RES growing... 12/15/11
<Hello Qavi, Sue here with you.>
I bought 2 red-eyed turtles 2 months ago.
<I think you meant to say red-*eared* slider turtles.
Red-*eyed* turtles are either mommy and daddy turtles with newborns, or
the handful of teenage mutant ninja turtles who temporarily go astray
when they became *legal* and stay out all night partying! (Just a
little chelonian humor there, don't mind me :) >
Since then I have been having quite fun with them.
<People are often surprised to see how entertaining they can
But i need to ask that how long does it take for them to grow as I read
they can grow up to 12 inches. But how much time does it take
<It takes many years for turtles to reach their full size.
Unfortunately I can't get any more specific than that because each
turtle is different, and several factors affect their growth
rate. As a general rule though, assuming you have baby turtles,
they typically grow at a quicker rate until they reach about 4' or
so (which again, varies, but they usually get to this size within the
first couple of years). After that, they grow at a much slower
rate until they reach their full size.>
<You're welcome! I'm also including a general care
link for you to read over to make sure you are giving them the critical
things they need -- especially a dry basking spot under a UVB light and
a heat lamp, cool clean water, and a healthy diet:
long lost turtle 12/8/11
Hello and thank you for your website's valuable information.
<Hiya and thank you!! Darrel here>
Our baby Red Eared Slider went missing from it's tank about one
week ago. We blamed the cat of course '¦
<guilt by association isn't it? It eats ONE bird
'¦ and for the rest of his life, EVERY TIME a bird or rat part
ends up in your shoe, you automatically blame the poor cat!>
-- and searched the house frantically , every nook and
cranny...or so we thought. Today I found our little baby (1.5 inch)
slider before almost accidentally stepping on him. It seems somehow he
got into or folded up in the blanket basket near the floor.
<They're amazing climbers, too. I've seen them scale
fences that even *I* would have problems with>
Anyhow, we put him in a small container of warm water hoping for a
miracle. After about half an hour his dehydrated little body started
moving....very little and very slow. Once he opened his eyes and was
more active we put him back in his tank but he won't stay on the
basking rock. He crawls into the water and then just floats around only
swimming when he gets caught in a current or runs into something. He
does not swim downward, only on top as he is floating.
What are the odds he will come to behave as before and how long will it
<Lets ask ourselves a different question, shall we? If YOU
were wrapped up in a blanket and tossed into a hamper for a week
'¦ how long would it take YOU to get back to acting
Was this a hibernation out of survival instinct and how can we help
<They are INCREDIIBLY durable, aren't they?>
<Give him a week or two to fully get back to his old
self. Just being IN the water is "security" to
him, so that's understandable. If you see him always swimming
and never resting '¦ and you think he might exhaust himself,
you can place him in a shallow bowl of water.>
Thank you so much for your time,
Turtle Warmwater Revival(ist)
<Meanwhile, Stacy '¦ you have some apologizing to the cat
on your plate!>
My red eared slider is acting really strange
<Hi Blu, Sue here with you. Hey, I think I just made a
He hasn't been eating much and will randomly start frantically
swimming around the tank I don't have a thermometer but I have a
basking light a red heating light and a water heater so I can't
imagine that he's cold.
<A water heater should not be used; water should be room temperature
(68-70 degrees F). Keeping the water on the cooler side is what entices
turtles to get out of the water and warm up, which he should do for
several hours a day.>
<No need for the red heating light; a regular light bulb is fine to
serve as the heat source above the basking area; it should be around
88-90 degrees or so F. I'd recommend a thermometer; you can get one
<As far as the basking light, make sure the box it came in
specifically states that it is UVB. A UVA only basking light (which
many are) is not adequate.>
I feed him usually red shrimp, zoo med natural aquatic turtle food and
ReptoMin food sticks with the occasional apple slices and carrots.
<Wouldn't feed the red shrimp; has no real nutritional value for
him. The rest is fine. You can also give him an earthworm or two every
few weeks for some added nutrition.>
His tank is not the biggest and since he is in my room his sleeping
pattern is mixed since I have to turn the light on and off in the
morning and at night.
<Lights should be left on for about 12 hours during the day; off at
What can I do to make sure he is not sick and is comfortable in his
environment? Thank you!
<From your description it doesn't sound like he's sick; but
rather more of an environmental issue causing him to behave this
<You didn't mention how long you've had him. If you just got
him or just put him in this new enclosure, he may just need a few days
or couple of weeks to acclimate.>
<Another reason why he may be overactive is because he's too
warm which is increasing his metabolism. As above, take out the water
heater and see if the cooler water settles him down. As you may know,
turtles are cold-blooded and rely on their environment to regulate
their temperature. As a result, they should be in an environment that
allows them to choose between *cool and wet* (the water), and *warm and
dry* (the land).>
< I'm also enclosing a link to our care guide below. Read it
over and make any other changes that are different from what you're
<Try these things out and see if that helps. If not write us back
and we'll see what else we can do!>
turtle behaviour 10/29/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm a new turtle owner (about 3 days ago). I acquired 2 Red
Eared Sliders and a Map Turtle from people who were moving
away. I have them in a 75 gallon tank with a basking light, floating
dock, heater, and decorations. I haven't set up the filter yet
because the only place that sells filter material close to my house is
about 45 minutes away.
<You can still set it up and run it for water circulation>
Up until today they seemed normal, but I've noticed that the Map
Turtle is swimming around frantically, hitting the glass and it
definitely looks like he is trying to escape.
<Map Turtles (Graptemys) are by nature more shy and more skittish
than the Sliders and it may very well BE frantic for a while after any
kind of move>
I was going to try to take him out of the tank to see if that calmed
him down, but he just hides under the dock so I can't reach
<You're going to have to be able to remove your turtles
periodically, Jennifer, so you might as well get used to moving the
dock and grabbing the little guy.>
I thought maybe the water was too warm, so I turned the heater off but
he's still freaking out.
<Your water temp should be 68-73f (about room temperature) and no
hotter. It's very important that the turtles be offered a CHOICE
between cool water and a warm basking area (underneath a heat lamp of
Should I be worried?
<Not just yet>
The other two turtles seem fine, albeit very playful. I'm wondering
if maybe the two Red Eared Sliders are bullying the Map?
<That's POSSIBLE, but not likely. Sliders aggression is usually
with other sliders.>
<Map Turtles are a bit more aquatic than Sliders, Jennifer. For that
reason water quality is more important to them than to the others. Make
sure the water is clean & clear, siphon out the waste material
frequently and do partial water changes on a frequent basis.>
<Your Map Turtle may be stressed from the move and set-up, he may be
upset that the filter isn't running (no ears, but sensitive to
vibrations and water currents), the water may have been too warm (NO
WATER HEATERS IN TURTLE TANKS) or he may not have enough privacy.
Believe it or not, I've had Graptemys that did not thrive well in a
tank that was in our main hallway where there was a lot of noise and
activity around their tank all the time '¦ and when I moved
them to a tank in the den, they perked right up.>
<Here's a link discussing general care that you can apply to the
Map Turtle as well as the sliders: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
Red Ear Slider turtles making odd sounds
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just have a quick question about my turtles, during the day they are
great they bask and act normal swim around and eat but I notice when
they sleep they make weird noises and I don't know how exactly to
describe it... maybe bubbly? This seems to be only in the sleep and I
can't go see which one it is cause if I go by them they just wake
up and swim to by where I am. Are the noises some thing to be worried
about or no?
<No. They make a wide variety of noises when at rest, sometimes
sounding like air swishing, sometimes like bones cracking. As long as
their eyes are clear and no actual bubbles from their nose '¦
their shells are firm, they are active, basking, swimming and eating,
don't worry about the sounds>
<Except '¦ if '¦ late at night '¦ you
hear a sound like a whisper '¦ and when you sneak up close, it
you hear them plan to steal a credit card, hot-wire a car and go
shopping. THEN you have problems>
Red Eared Slider Behavior
Hi, my name is Rich.
<Hiya Rich - Darrel here>
I came across some threads on-line about different questions about Red
Eared Slider turtles. I just couldn't figure out a way to ask my
question on the forum, so I clicked on the "contact us" link
for this email address.
<We're glad that you did>
Here is the situation I am going through with my RES turtles.....Last
year, my girlfriend and I were given 3 adult turtles; 1 female and male
around 7 & 8
<Around 7 & 8 PM?>
-- and another male around 4 or 5.
<That's awfully early!! Who the heck is going around giving out
turtles at THAT hour???>
I have a 55 gallon tank filled half way with cork wedged between the
back and front sides of the right side of the tank with a 100W bulb
above the cork and a UV light above the water on the left side of the
tank. I also have a 12 inch log on the left side of the tank as a
platform to stand on to breathe while swimming.
<SO far, I'd place the UV bulb on the same side as the heat lamp
and basking area. They absorb the UV light much more efficiently when
Since I've gotten the turtles, the younger turtle has grown
significantly and is now close to the size of the other male. Through
this past spring and summer, both males were initiating the mating
ritual. I have to say, both males were getting pretty lucky lol.
I've now been noticing that the female is aggressive, especially
with the older male.
<Sometimes they get that way. I always wonder if it's not that
she's just so sick & tired about THEM getting lucky all the
time and all she gets in return is bloated with eggs - perhaps Heather
can explain that in more detail>
Yesterday I actually witnessed the younger male attacking the older
male keeping him from the female while the female was on the other end
of the tank almost watching to see who will be the victor.
<Or thinking 'oh dear, here it comes again!!'>
That male then attacked the back of the female's neck-really do not
get their behavior yet. Today, I noticed that the older male had his
nails bitten off and the two other turtles are keeping him from the
side of the tank with the log. What's going on? Did the younger
male win as the "alpha male"?
<Their behaviors aren't that formal, Rich. They don't have a
fixed hierarchy or social groups. When there are multiple animals
loosely living together we just call it a colony. The reasons the other
two seem not to like HIM are not likely related to social structure,
but more than they are afraid of him. Also, they don't bond in
pairs or align against outsiders the way more social animals do.
Perhaps he is just a jerk?>
I understand she might be pregnant, what do I do now? I do not have
room to set up another tank. Should I take the two males out and keep
the female in the tank in hopes she lays soon?-when exactly would she
lay? Or should I keep the males in the tank and fill a rubber tub with
sand and put the female in there?
<A bit of a combination, Rich. I'll take your through it
generally and hope that you can fill in the blanks>
<Get a rubber tub or similar container, fill it with 3 inches of
water, place a rock in it and a basking lamp over the rock. A plain old
60w incandescent bulb on a clamp-lamp will be fine.>
<Place of odd man out in that for a few days. Give everyone a chance
to rest. Then, swap with the other male. See how the pair respond with
the younger male out of the picture. MAINLY what you're doing is
just changing things. Animals that get territorial and aggressive often
feel a bit less secure and therefore less aggressive when there are
changes in their territory. Making periodic changes, often if just for
short periods of time, will often calm things down>
<If the female is pregnant (the technical term is gravid) she'll
get nervous when it's time to lay. She'll start moving
constantly, swimming away from the males at all costs and she'll
walk around the basking area like she's looking for something or
looking for a way out. This is your cue.>
<Drain the rubber tub and fill it with 6 inches deep with a 50-50
mixture of vermiculite and water. 50-50 by WEIGHT NOT VOLUME (read
) and place the aforementioned basking lamp back on the tub, shining
toward one corner>
<Place the female in there and just leave her. She may wander
around, she may dig immediately or she may just sit there. Leaver her
there for a few days, taking out to place her in a shallow bowl of
water (separately from the others) for about 5 minutes so she can
drink, poop and maybe eat - then back to her tub until tomorrow>
<This isn't remotely the optimum nesting box, but Sliders will
eventually even just plop them out in the water if they can't find
proper space '¦ so we're providing a place where no matter
HOW she expels them, they'll have a chance>
<she'll either lay or be back to her old self within a week - in
which case she re-absorbed the eggs - and in any case can go back in
the tank. Keep the setup intact in case she repeats the
I appreciate all the info you can spare, we've really gotten close
to the turtle.
<They are entertaining and engaging low-maintenance critters, for
From what the previous owners told me, they've had the female and
older male for at least 7 years and got the younger male 2 years ago. I
would really like to keep them all together, but if I had to remove one
of the males which one do I choose?
<The pretty one>
Thank You, Rich & Heather
<Rich - don't worry about getting rid of one - we're a LONG
way from that decision>
Re: Slider Behavior 10/4/11
When I was speaking of the turtles (saying around 7 & 8), I mean t
7 or 8 yrs old-(about 8'') the female. The elder male is
probably 5 or 6 yrs old (6'') and the third is 3 or 4 yrs old
(5'') (not really sure how old exactly so I'm speaking of
around when the previous owners told me they had them.
<I knew that - it was just more fun to think of someone banging on
your door at 4am giving you a turtle. We're chained to desks here
in the basement of the Flemner Building in downtown San Diego and have
little entertainment '¦ so sometimes I just make stuff
Since I sent the email, I removed the female and placed her in a
container (about 3'x 2' x 16''deep) with about
6'' of top soil. Since I've done this, I've noticed
that the males calmed down. The older turtle is now swimming with his
tail out, instead of curling it in while the female was in the tank. I
forgot to mention that the female is the aggressive one and has been
snapping at the older turtle really bad, hurting his tail and chopping
off some of his claws. I actually felt bad for him because it seem as
if the younger male knew he was hurt and was trying to make it worse.
But once I removed the female, they've been getting along. I'm
not sure if these turtles have become too big for the amount of water
and space they have in the 50g tank.
<There is no question that they're living in tight quarters,
Rich. A turtle that is 8 inches long housed in a tank 12 inches wide
(STD 55g show tank) is living in tight quarters. But that isn't a
major consideration in behavior for them. Generally speaking, they are
comfortable singularly or in large colonies and do quite well in
<What you DON'T have here is enough space to give them visual
privacy. There isn't enough real estate for you to construct a
space where on can get out of site of the other two (around a corner,
behind a rock, etc.) which is often a solution to this kind of
aggression. If one turtle can run away and hide it gives them an
opportunity to relax and it makes the aggressor feel less
"crowded" (to make a pun).>
<The problem in your case is that a substantial improvement would be
a pond-based environment, not simply a larger tank'¦ so
we'll discuss that another time. FOR NOW, keep changing things,
moving resources (docks, rocks and basking areas) to keep them
"adjusting" because it leaves less time for
About the female being gravid, I am quite worried. I do not know if she
was gravid before I even got them (being that these three turtles have
been together for years), so I'm worried she may be egg bound.
<Egg binding is a terribly rare occurrence in all turtles, VERY rare
in Sliders - and for the most part an egg-bound turtle simply becomes
infertile as the eggs calcify like a kidney stone. It's just not
something I'd worry about>
I have had her in the tub for 2 days now, taking her out for about an
hr in the bathtub to swim and drink. I'm curious to know what's
going on inside, how can I tell if she's become egg-bound? Should I
continue doing this? When will I know she is ready to lay? How long do
I have to keep her away from the turtles before returning her back into
<Generally about a week. But as I wrote, if she's trying to
nest, her behavior will change - she'll seem restless, always
searching, exploring, on the move '¦ like she's looking
for something, etc. The behavior is SO dramatically different from a
slider's laid back norm that you'll spot it immediately. If
she's not acting that way '¦ leave her there for two
weeks, just to help shake things up back in the main tank>
Thank You much for your insight....it is the worst thing trying to get
advice from the people at the pet stores!
<Tell me about it>
Being that not many know how to care for large turtles like mine
instead of the smaller turtles in the stores, so most of my
"turtle caring education" has come primarily from online.
<That too, has its ups and downs. The good news"¢ is that
you've found me, Neale, Sue & Bob -- real experts "Accept
This is actually the first time speaking to someone about MY situation
with MY turtles instead of just reading all of the forums of passed
posts to get the specific info needed to care for these adult
Rich & Heather
Re: Slider Behavior
I have had the female separated from the two males for this past week,
taking her out of the plastic tub with dirt and placing her inside of
another plastic tub filled with about 4 inches of water. She stopped
eating at this point.
<She's stressed. Change does that. Make sure she has a basking
I've been trying to feed her romaine lettuce and sticks, and
she's been ignoring both.
<If she's otherwise healthy, she can go months without food.
Relax on that. Offer food every three days for a while. When she's
hungry, she WILL eat>
The males on the other hand have been swimming around together.
I've noticed a little aggression and snapping between the two, but
a lot less then when they were all in the tank together. I am still
concerned about the female, though. Like I said, she stopped eating
during this experimental phase and I'm also still curious about her
being gravid. The previous owner said she laid eggs only once before
and laid only about 4 or 5 eggs inside of the water-this was a few
years ago. My concern is that she didn't lay all of her eggs in
that clutch...and since then hasn't laid again. I know for sure she
has eggs inside. I checked by the hind legs and definitely feel
something(s) in there. Could she have absorbed the remaining of the
original clutch and since then produced more and can not pass the eggs?
She had characteristics of being gravid during the spring but now
she's not acting it at all. I live in New York and it is starting
to get cooler this time of year, and even COLDER in a few months. If
she didn't lay this past spring, will she hold them safely inside
until next spring? What should I do?
<Well, you can take her to a vet and get an X-ray. The eggs show
clearly on a standard plate-picture.>
We got these turtle already full grown so we didn't get a chance to
slowly adapt to how to care for them at each stage, but knew the little
equipment they supplied was not going to be enough to maintain so I
went ahead and purchased a few filters (trial and error-which can
become quite expensive). I am now using the Fluval 305 which I used for
the 30-or-so gallons that I put inside the tank. I find myself having
to change the filter and clean the tank quite often due to cloudiness
and the odor. Have any advice in this field too?
<As I've said many times, turtles are simply poop machines. No
filter will keep the water clean if you don't siphon and change
water regularly. When I run a canister filter, I dump the bio-filter
material -- you'd need a bio-filter the size of the Everglades -
and I use filter floss in the first chamber and activate charcoal in
the next TWO chambers. This helps greatly with the odor
<I also keep the tank bottom SIMPLE '¦ either bare, or bare
decorated with large-ish smooth river stones, so that I can easily
vacuum-siphon between them. In a 55 gallon setup with 2 turtles (25
actual gallons of water) I siphon and replace about a gallon every
Saturday, break down and clean the entire thing twice a year -- and
change the filter carbon about every 8 weeks>
I know there's a lot I put in here..but like I said in the previous
email, I'm glad I can actually speak to knowledgeable people about
this stuff and about my particular setup/experiments.
Thanks a Mil!!!!
<Here's your change: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
Re: re: Turtle flapping her back legs
I'm glad I was the 800th!! Thank you for all your help and advice!!
I'll be looking for Koi pellets from now on and I guess I should
give HER a more feminine name than "Franklin"!!
<Well, as it turns out, turtles have no ears & they never come
when you call them, son Franklin is a perfectly good name.
Slider Stick-Up! 9/21/11
I've had this RES for about 6 months now, she is healthy, friendly
and a great family pet! My daughter discovered about a month ago that
if you hold up something silver to the tank the turtle will hold her
front claws up and shake them...It looks like she is either under
arrest or she is trying to cast a spell. I have sent a video of her
doing it. Have you seen this before and do you know why she is doing
<It's a defensive gesture. She doesn't like the shiny
surface, which to her is an alarming, unnatural thing. Turtles will use
their claws to defend their faces, just like you'll put your hand
in front of your face if
something unexpected comes towards your eyes. So, the best way to avoid
stressing her is to not put silver things in her face! Cheers,
Re: Slider Stick-Up!
Aww! That is Horrible! OK no more silver near her tank! Thank You!
<Glad to help. Have fun! Neale.>
Female RES behavior. 9/19/11
<Hi DJ, Sue here with you.>
I have three turtles an adult res/painted turtle
a baby western painted turtle and my female res. I own a 55 gallon tank
with everything they could need.
<When you're writing in with questions and concerns about your
turtle's health and/or behavior, it's helpful for you to
include the specific details of your set-up along with your query,
because most health and behavior problems result from turtles NOT
having everything they need. See below for some of the things we like
to know first about your set-up.>
However my female res acts strange. she is about 5(I don't know
because she was a gift but she is mature) and very antisocial. she sits
in the corner of the tank curled up and hardly moves from there until
late night (like now). my male does the little "mating dance"
and she bites him on the nails. she doesn't want to mate? I've
tried egg checking and put her in a 6 inch dirt enclosure. she just sat
there. is she sick? or are these normal personality traits. she
didn't use to do this either. I don't know what happened. can
you explain any of this?
<DJ, that is great that you noticed a change in her behavior and are
writing us, because a behavior change is usually the first indicator
that a turtle isn't well, or at the very least, not happy.>
<What you're describing as her behavior isn't typical
egg-laying behavior. And it would be unusual this time of year to see
<It sounds to me more like she's either coming down with
something, already ill, or not happy with 'something' in her
environment. Until we figure out what that 'something' is, you
should treat her as though she is ill, remove her NOW from the tank,
and put her in a warm, dry environment. If she is becoming or already
ill, this will give her immune system a little 'boost'. Follow
the instructions for doing this under the section called 'Immediate
Treatment - ISOLATION' described in the following link:
<As far as what might be going on with her, there are a couple of
things in particular that come to my mind, but without more specific
information, it would just be a pure guess on my part. Things such as
Exactly how long has she been behaving like this?
How long has it been since she hasn't eaten?
What do you feed her, how much and how often?
When was the last time she was out basking?
How long did she bask for each day?
Did she get completely out of the water and completely dry off when she
Do you have both a heat and a UVB light?
Did she bask directly under both of those lights?
What is the temp above the basking area under those lights? (Should be
around 88-92 degrees F)
What is your water temperature? (Should be on the cool side, around
68-70 degrees F).>
What are you doing to keep your water clean and how often do you clean
<Hopefully you get the idea now - Any one of the things above could
explain why she's acting this way!
<So after you follow the Isolation instructions, next read the
following care link with the above questions in mind. See if you're
doing something different than what's recommended:
<One thing I can offer right now is about your 'baby'
turtle. How small is she compared to your adults? If she is
significantly smaller, she should have an enclosure all her own until
she catches up in size. Turtles of the same species (in general) get
along fairly well together, but they can at times be snippy. An adult
being snippy with another adult is one thing; an adult being
'snippy' with a baby turtle can mean a missing arm, leg or
thanks for reading.
<You're welcome, DJ. Hope the information above helps you to
start unraveling the mystery. I'd also be happy to help you
further, but would first need the specifics above about her
Re: Hiya... RES...? 9/13/11
I think he's eating his poop.
<They're known to do that; that's why it's important to
remove their poop right away, either before they eat it or before it
breaks apart and contaminates the water.>
also, is that a good diet? because I just decided to start feeding him
2 pellets and 3 little pieces of romaine every day.
<A turtle of his size should be eating more than two pellets! Allow
him to eat as much as he wants once a day for several minutes every
he also doesn't bask much, and I feel that this will cause his to
<Lack of basking is a concern, because in order for him to digest
his food properly, he should be basking under a heat and UVB light for
several hours each day. It could be your temperatures are off. The
'land' area under the heat and UVB bulb should be between 88-90
degrees F. The water should be around 68-70 degrees or so. This
temperature differential encourages turtles to get out of the water to
warm themselves up.>
are there any other common turtle illnesses?
<Below is a link to an article describing the common turtle
illnesses and how to treat them. After reading this over, if you feel
he is ill, follow the instructions given in it for isolating him in a
warm, dry environment, along with any other instructions for treating
the specific illness:
<Also, I believe I sent you the care guide below already, but if you
haven't read it yet, you should read it over carefully to make sure
you're providing him everything he needs. Mostly all the common
illnesses turtles suffer are caused by something missing or wrong from
either their environment or from their diet. ~Sue>
Re: Hiya... turtle
ugh, he wont bask! 9/26/11
<Dear readers - this is an extract from a much longer chain of
emails in which a few salient details were not brought forward. While
you will not see it in this extract, rest assured that the
"he" in question - the one that will not bask and is eating
his own poop - is in fact a Turtle, a Red Eared
I don't know why, I tried making the water colder but it wont work.
I try to repeatedly place him on the rocks, but he goes back.
<A lot of times that is simply because they don't feel secure
when they are exposed and out of the water. Is there a chance that he
basks when you're not there and jumps back in the water and the
first sense of vibration?>
<Another possibility is room conditions. A ceiling fan's
movement can sometimes scare them. Vibrations from air conditioners or
even TV's sometimes.>
<Change things around. Remove the floating dock and put in a brick
that he can climb on (even if you have to lower the water level for a
while) or maybe a branch or stick - I've even used a piece of 2x4
lumber placed in at an angle. You may find it's just something
we'd never notice about the setup that is spooking him>
I'm afraid he's going to get too soft. In between his scutes is
this brownish stuff that I can scrape off and I dunno what it is. He
poops and stuff so I think he's digesting fine, but I don't
know what to do about him not basking.
<Well, let's approach this from a different angle. Sometimes, I
place my turtles in a plastic storage tub and then put that in the back
yard. I arrange it so that a portion of the bottom is under the sun a
portion is shaded by the sides (keep in mind that as the sun moves, so
does the shade)>
<You can also artificially bask him by placing him indoors in some
form of container (I've even used cardboard boxes with high sides)
and use the basking and UV lamps from his tank to make him a sauna, so
to speak. With the basking lamp shining to one side more than the
other, he can select between moderately warm and really warm but in
either case he'll dry out and receive UV rays. Once you know that
they lights are set so he can get out of the baking-hot area and that
the lamps don't cause a fire hazard, you can leave him there all
day '¦ you can put him there all evening while you watch TV,
etc. and get him to accept the conditions.>
<If he's a nervous turtle (some just ARE more than others) this
may be a bit stressful on him, but the hope is that if can do this
twice a week, it will be enough for now and that eventually he'll
seek out the warmth of the basking area>
Re: Hiya, RES basking and shell concerns 9/27/11
okay, thanks sue!
<You're very welcome, but actually the thanks goes to Darrel!
I'll pass this along to him!>
I was also wandering, can I just put him in a container with no water
and put him under the uv light for a few hours?
<Absolutely! Not just UVB though. You also need either the heat lamp
as Darrel suggested or a heating pad (LOW setting) wrapped in a towel.
If you go with the heating pad, you need to find one without the 2 hour
automatic shut-off. Fortunately, the ones with NO automatic shut-off
are the 'cheapest' ones that you can find most of the big chain
or does he need to have water?
<You should place him in water for a few minutes a day so he can
drink, eat if he wants, and poop. The exact instructions for how to do
all this are in the attached link under the section called,
'Immediate Treatment -- Isolation'--
is the softness/soft stuff between his scutes normal?
<No, his shell should be hard. But try drying him out a couple of
days a week as Darrel suggested, and see if his shell improves. If not,
adjust accordingly, and give him more days in the dry container. As
long as you give him access to water for several minutes a day, he can
go for weeks or more like this. Fungi and bacteria LOVE wet
environments which is the reason why the DRY treatment usually does the
trick. Hopefully as Darrel says this will also have the added benefit
of getting him to get out of the water to completely dry off and bask
under the lights when he IS in his aquarium.>
Red Eared Slider Behavior Question
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My 3 Red Eared Sliders are exhibiting some behavior I have never seen
them do before.
My smallest one is getting bit and chased by one of the bigger
<Not good. That said, how MUCH smaller? Are we talking half the size
of the other two? In this case size makes a big difference>
They are all males.
<Are you sure of that? How big are they?>
Also, the smaller one has a square grayish looking patch on the top of
his head on the extra skin part. I don't know what that is --
<One of three things: an abrasion can often look like a gray patch
when it's small. A small piece of normal sloughing skin can look
gray before it falls off. A fungal patch looks gray. The problem is
that if it's on his head or neck, we're not likely to be able
to examine it really close-up because they often retract their head
when picked up. When in doubt, assume fungus and treat as such:
-- or if that is why he is getting chased and bit. Any ideas?
<The typical situation is that the small one is an immature female
and the other two are newly maturing adults who have just now taken
notice of her. Without pictures or much more detailed descriptions I
can't even guess if that's your case or not>
I took him out of the tank to give him a rest last night as this
behavior only started yesterday on 9-6-11.
<One thing that is important in keeping any animals in colonies is
that you provide an environment arranged in such a way that that the
animals can get away from each other - visually - when needed. In fish
keeping we do this with rock & coral formations, so that a pick
being picked on can get "out of sight" of the aggressor.
First, it gives the victim the chance to rest, recuperate and feel
secure (very necessary for their health & well being) and it give
the aggressor a sense of boundaries -- they often sense their
territories to be what they can see directly '¦ so, as they
say, out of sight-- out of mind. Turtles also can benefit from this
sort of arrangement. I'll often erect a barrier in the center of
the basking area so that there are two distinct sections under the
<In your case, you've already taken the first step: take the
small one out, let him (or her) recover for a day or two in a separate
world. Next step, before re-introducing him to the other two, make some
sort of BIG change to their setup: move the basking area to the other
end, change the rocks or decorations around - ADD some rocks or
decorations, etc. The idea here is that when you re-introduce him,
you'd like all three to be seeing a "new" neighborhood
rather than putting the small one back into "their"
Please email me back any info you can provide.
<That's all I have until I know more>
Red eared slider does not go into the water
<Hey there, Sue here with you.>
I recently purchased a baby red eared slider and put it into a 10
gallon tank with other fish.
<I hope they aren't/weren't pet fish!>
After a couple days the turtle got used to the water and habitat. It
would eat pellets in the morning and evenings and it would bask in
between. One day I noticed that the turtle was eating one of the
guppies that I had in the tank, so I decided to buy a bigger tank and
set that up just for the turtle.
<Good idea; turtles view fish as food rather than tank mates; and we
don't recommend feeder fish for turtles as they are often infected
with, or carriers of, disease.>
While I was buying the tank I decided to buy another baby slider as
well. I set the 30 gallon tank up and put both the turtles in. My
original one is doing just fine, same routine he was doing in the 10
gallon tank, but the new one will not go into the water at all. It sits
basking all day, and when I do put it in the water, even at the far
end, it swims frantically around the tank until it gets back to the
<He's clearly stressed; what we need to determine is whether
it's his new digs, having a roommate, or both!>
One time it even scared my original slider into hiding in the plants
for a while. They both do bask together just fine when my original one
does decide to bask.
<Turtles are usually fine with each other out of water. If there are
compatibility problems, it's in the water where we see
The water is 80-82 degree Fahrenheit, and the basking area is at 90
<Basking temp is fine, but wow; water is WAY too warm! Turtles need
to be given a clear choice between cool water and warm dry land in
order to thermo-regulate. Water temp. should be in the 68-70 degree
range. If you're using a water heater, remove it. Cool water is
what you need. Ignore what you might read elsewhere to the
The only thing that I have seen the other one do is drink water by
leaning its neck over from the basking area. It has not eaten ever
since I have put it in the tank.
<Again, this is likely stress from one or both of the above
The eyes, shell and feet look just fine, just not as dark in color as
my original slider. Is there anything that I am doing wrong? Or can I
try something different? Maybe some vitamins or something that you can
recommend if you think it is sick. Anything would be greatly
<How long have you had him, and that he hasn't eaten? If
it's just been a couple of days, it's more likely the reason
for his behavior is the stress of being in a new home and/or with
another turtle than because he is ill. Turtles actually prefer being
<To try and pinpoint the true cause, for now I'd narrow down the
list of possible causes by temporarily separating the two of them.
Either put a divider in your tank (they sell them in pet stores) or
remove your ORIGINAL turtle (to keep things as consistent as possible
for your new turtle) and place him in a separate container. It can be
as simple as a plastic storage container. Set the two enclosures up so
that both turtles can share the same UVB and heat source to bask. Then
wait and see how your new turtle responds to being alone. If he goes in
the water and starts eating, then his stress may have been driven by
the other turtle. If that's the case give him a few days to just
adjust to his new home before trying to introduce the two. Then, once
he seems adjusted to his new home, try again to place him with the
other turtle. You may need to start with some short supervised visits
until they become more familiar with each other. >
<Even if/when they can eventually live together, you'll want to
set it up in such a way that they can get out of the other's visual
range, by using plants and other dÃ©cor. Separate basking
areas are sometimes also needed. And I would suggest feeding them
separately as that can be a main cause of aggression.>
<You're welcome. If he hasn't eaten for weeks or he
continues not to eat, it's possible he might be ill and we'll
need to go to Plan B. But my first guess from what you've written
is that his behavior is due to stress. And lower that water
temperature! That may also help calm him down as well when he is in the
water. Good luck; let us know how it goes! ~ Sue>
Re: Red eared slider does not go into the water
I tried all of the suggestions with now change. I took it to the vet
yesterday. He said since the turtle is very young it was really hard
for him to hear if he had a respiratory infection. But the doctor did
notice a couple bubbles when he did submerge the turtle in water, so he
prescribe 5 doses of antibiotics.
<It's common for turtles to blow bubbles when you submerge them
or when they're in water. It's when they blow bubbles and show
other respiratory symptoms on land that we normally start questioning
respiratory infection. However, your vet has the advantage of getting
to see him and we don't, so he may have seen other symptoms that
caused him to think this. Here is a good link to an article that lists
the symptoms and covers respiratory disease in turtles:
<Normally if we suspect a respiratory illness, we'll recommend
removing the turtle from the water and putting him in warm, dry
environment according to the directions outlined in this link under the
section called 'Isolation':
<Nothing you've said so far would lead me to suggest that you do
this. However, if your vet feels strongly that this is what he's
got, or if you notice him getting worse and showing the symptoms of
respiratory disease mentioned in the 1st link above, then I'd say
go ahead and isolate him because warm and dry is the place he needs to
be if he's sick.>
<On the other hand, if he's eating fine, is basking, active and
swimming around (not lopsided) and has no clear signs of any
respiratory illness, then I'd say hold off for now on the
isolation, and just continue to observe him for any changes.>
He administered the first dose, and taught me how to do it as well. he
told me to inject a does every other day. When I woke up this morning
both turtles were in the water doing fine.
<Glad to hear that. How has he been the rest of this week? Has he
Thanks for all your help. Are there any other suggestions you may have
that I can do just for the turtles to have a happy home, food,
<As a matter of fact we do; that's one thing we're never
short of! Below is (another!) link to a general care guide that covers
diet and other basics:
<Vitamins aren't necessary if they're eating a balanced diet
and getting plenty of UVB, but you can if you want once a week or so
dust some (phosphorus-free) calcium with Vitamin D3 on their pellets
and place them in water for a few minutes before feeding them so that
they absorb the powder. A couple of earthworms every few weeks also
offer them an additional (and natural) vitamin source as do dark leafy
greens. Besides a good diet, the key things they need to stay healthy
are cool and clean water, warm dry land, and a light above where they
bask that's specifically UVB (make sure it is). They don't need
a lot of things, but what they need they really have to have. The
article describes all this better, but please do let us know if you
need further guidance on any of the items mentioned there. We want your
turtles to have a happy, healthy home also! ~Sue>
RES... shedding skin
Hi my name is Kelly,
<Hi Kelly, I'm Sue.>
I brought my mum some red eyed slider turtles a few weeks ago
<How many is 'some'?>
and I noticed one was shedding a little on his neck. Only now his she
seems to have gone waxy and he is very sticky. His shell looks like it
has got a light grey covering on top? can you please tell me why this
<Shedding is a natural process as turtles grow, but shedding on the
skin shouldn't be so noticeable. And any sort of issue with a
turtle's skin and/or shell is nearly always the result of something
amiss in their diet or environment (in particular water quality;
possibly also water and land temperatures that aren't quite
The turtles have a big enough tank, lamp and dry land. They are given a
various diet of veg, greens, fish, etc. and are well cared for. Hope
you can help as I've search the internet and can't find
<Kelly, I'd like to help, but I'll need more specifics about
your set-up and care -- problems with the following things in
particular can lead to skin and shell problems:
1) How many gallons of actual water is in your tank? What are the
actual dimensions of your tank -- length, height, width? How many
turtles do you have in it? How large (straight length of top
shell/carapace) are each them?
You said your tank is 'big enough'. A 'big enough' tank
when it comes to turtles is really a relative term that is dependent on
how big your turtles are, and how many of them you have sharing that
same water/space. The waste from 1 small turtle in a 40 gallon tank is
quite different than the waste from 2-3 large size turtles in that same
size tank. Turtles produce a considerable amount of waste. And if
you're also feeding them in that same tank, eventually food debris
will start to build up as well, even if you do have a good filtration
system. The more water you have in the tank/the larger the tank, the
longer it takes to build up concentrations of waste.
2) Also, what are you doing to maintain their water quality?
'¢ Are you using any sort of filter? How often are you doing
water changes? What percent of the water are you changing when you do?
Even with a good filter, you'll still need to do frequent water
changes; the frequency and amount depending on how quickly the water
'¢ Are you netting up larger debris and suctioning up smaller
debris right away when you see it, or is it sitting a while before you
get rid of it?
'¢ Are you also feeding them in this same tank? If so, you may
want to feed them in a separate container and give them a few minutes
after they eat to poop in it before putting them back in their regular
3) What is their water temperature? Water that is too warm can also
land up increasing their growth rate which can result in more than
normal shedding -- as can poor water quality also. It can also
discourage them from getting out of the water to bask. Water
temperature should be on the cooler side, around 68-70 degrees F.
4) What's the temperature under their heat lamp? It should be
around 88-90 degrees F or so. Besides good clean water, they also need
this amount of heat along with the ability to completely dry off, to
discourage bacteria and algae from building up on their shell and
5) When you say 'lamp', what do you mean? A UVB lamp? A heat
lamp? Turtles need both for good shell health. If you don't have a
UVB light specifically in addition to a heat lamp, you need to get one
right away or they will become sick.
6) How long are each of the turtles completely out of the water and
basking under the lamps for each day? They should be basking (directly
under) the heat and UVB lamp for several hours a day.
7) How much and how often are you feeding them? Over-feeding is
unhealthy for them and can cause growth spikes and excess shedding.
They should only be fed once every other day and no more than they can
eat in 5-10 minutes.
8) Also, re: their diet - Are you giving them a good quality turtle or
Koi pellet? That should really be the main 'staple' of their
diet. And I'd replace the fish with an occasional earthworm or two
every few weeks. That's a healthier treat for them.>
<Also, check out the following link-
It covers everything I mentioned above (and more!) about all the basic
aspects of care that they need.>
Kind regards and Many thanks Kelly.
<You're welcome, Kelly. Hope this helps. As you're going
through the list of the items/questions above that I raised, as well as
in the care article, if there are any of them you see that you're
doing different, make the recommended changes and see if that helps.
And if you want to reply back to us with all the specifics about your
current care and set-up (questions I raised above) to get our feedback
on it, that's fine too!>
My 3.5 year old RES is squeaking
<Hiya - Darrel here>
So I recently just bought a larger tank for my 3 and a half year old
RES just under a week ago.
<She turned 3 1/2 just under a week ago?>
She's adjusted well as usual and is just as friendly and curious as
she always is. She's currently shedding and basking more frequently
than usual and only for short periods of time. From what I can tell
she's not swimming lop-sided but when she stands up for air she
makes a tiny little squeaking noise every now and then. Could this be
the start of a respiratory infection or something else or something I
shouldn't worry about?
<At this point I'd worry with a small "w."
"worry" but not "Worry."
Could the excessive basking be a sign of her water being too cold?
Because that is entirely possible since I live in the basement
<Are you a Trekkie?><<Haaaa! Oh, Darrel. B>>
and I need to get a proper heat lamp.
<Actually, you need two lamps - heat and UV-B. The HEAT lamp can be
a plain old ordinary 60 or 75w incandescent bulb in a cheap hooded
clamp socket you get from a building supply store'¦ but she
NEEDS that heat and she needs it as soon as humanly
<The UV-B can come from direct sunlight (if you take her for a walk
4 times a week, or a florescent bulb like a Vita-Lite or a newer
"combo" heat and UV like our friends at ZooMed now make.
Whatever you choose, he HAS to have it>
<Meagan - you can't waste time on this. She has very few needs,
but what she needs, she HAS to have '¦ or "worry"
will give way to Worry, then WORRY and then P*A*N*I*C and no one wants
odd turtle behavior
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Background info: Red eared slider, approx 5-6 years old, lives in an
indoor 6' ft x 3' pond (2' x 3' land area) with 2 other
adult females. Frequent water changes, UVB, basking, water temp. 80
<Water temp is too high (should be 68-73 & no higher) but
everything else seems fine>
I'm hoping that you may be able to identify some odd behavior my
Red Eared Slider is exhibiting. I took her to her vet and even she is
stumped. My turtle is extending her neck and arms, and floating with a
completely gaping mouth. One time, when I picked her up to see if she
was OK, projectile water flew out of her mouth, and her head was
extended and limp. Then in a flash, she snaps out of it and everything
is fine. I have seen her act this way 3x in the past month. Her vet got
a really good look down her throat and did not see anything out of the
ordinary, no mucus, obstruction etc. She also got a good feel of her
stomach and did not feel anything unusual; She has not lost any weight
since her last visit. The vet says she seem to be in good health and is
really strong. Her appetite is on and off and she is eating at least
one time per week. The vet says her appetite is normal for mating
season. There are no small rocks or decorations in the pond. Thank you
very much for your time, as it is greatly appreciated.
<This one's a stumper, Jacqui. I ran this behavior past a
world-class reptile vet (He LITERALLY wrote the book on Reptile
Medicine and Surgery) and the short answer is that there's really
no way to know for sure.>
<The longer answer is: the behavior sound neurological. It's as
if there are mini-strokes '¦ or seizures '¦ or
neuro-transmitter deficiencies of some sort. More to the point, even if
there was a way to test for these, there would be no way to treat it.
The only wild hare that either of us came up with '¦ and this
is a REALLY long shot '¦ is an underage or overage of vitamins
or minerals. You might try assessing the diet and possibly
supplementing with a multi-vitamin (grind up a Flintstone's
chewable and mix it with some bread -- not kidding!!). If, on the other
hand, you are already supplementing, discontinue for a month.>
<One other thing '¦ remove the water heater it you have
one. Unplug and remove it completely. Stray micro-currents can cause
strange effects that some animals react to more than others>
<Beyond that '¦ treat her well, give her the best care you
can and keep good thoughts.>
Re: odd turtle behavior 7/5/11
I just want to thank you for your time and advice,
I really appreciate you going out of your way to help me.
<We enjoy doing it -- and Bob gives us free food>
I can't explain how frightening it is when she is behaving this
way, but its very bizarre and very scary.
<Yes it is, especially when the cause and the prognosis are
I do not give my turtles any supplements, so I will certainty try this
and I have removed the water heater. I am nervous about dropping the
temperature because I have had their water temperature at 80 since I
got them 6 years ago, but I'm gonna try and drop it gradually.
<No worries. An overnight drop is well within their ability to
Thanks again for your help.
<Hope it works out for you>
Red Eared Slider, beh., repro.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 3inch Red Eared Slider, about 6months old. He basks regularly
but constantly swims against the glass of the tank while in the water.
He never just swims around the tank. He is always in the corner trying
to swim thru the glass. Why is he doing this, and is it normal?
<He's doing it because he has a brain the size of a grain of
rice. I don't know WHY, Timothy, but some do and some don't.
It's nothing to be concerned about. Remember, in the wild, there is
no such thing as a clear boundary -- something they can't see but
prevents them from moving forward. In a pond, or even the same sized
tank with opaque sides, they don't behave the same way.>
Also, is it possible for a Red Eared Slider and Yellow Bellied
Slider to breed?
What will the babies look like?
<OK '¦ a little more detail on that last one. All the
Sliders, Cooters, etc. will interbreed and the results are extremely
variable. Often you might get a yellow-bellied slider with a pink patch
near the ear.>
My Red Ear Slider Turtles...
Hi, <Hiya - Darrel here>
I am really have some concerns about my two red ear slider turtles. I
rescued them from a friend who was very bad because he kept them in
their closet, never changed the water of the aquarium. There were three
of them and what I did was put them in a large aquarium that
accommodated the three of them and I bought an artificial rock where
they basked in the sun. I would change their water every two days and
feed them turtle food and they love fresh shrimp and fresh fish. I kept
them in our backyard.
<Thank you for the rescue, but generally speaking an aquarium is not
the idea thing for keeping turtles outdoors. The glass can have a
tremendous heating effect on the water that you really can't
control. You should either keep them inside the house, which is
easiest, or build them some sort of small pond>
I live in CA and when the weather became cooler in October, I went to
PETCO and they recommended the coconut mulch where they can
Immediately they burrowed themselves under the mulch.
<Hmmm. Although they do hibernate (actually they bruminate as you
wrote) over winters and can even survive a frozen lake, it's
important to note that not all DO survive each winter. I'd much
prefer that you take them indoors during the colder months>
In January, one of the turtles came out and I thought that it already
woke up. I put it in the water. But I put him back again in the mulch.
After a week I just it not moving and it was dead but the two other
turtles are still burrowed.
<Yes, this winter in California was "bad" for reptiles. It
was cold enough to slow their metabolisms down, but NOT cold enough for
them to really enter brumination / hibernation. Just as you
experienced, one warm week and a turtle began to get active, yet he
wasn't really up to speed.
I'm sorry you lost him>
In February, the two woke up and basked themselves in the sun. I do not
know if I did something wrong in moving them inside at night and I keep
the lamp on. And move them again in the morning outside .
<No, that was good.>
I kept doing this until April when I moved to a new place. Then I
placed them in a large plastic bin with the artificial rock. They would
bask in the sun but them I am scared to let stay outside so I move it
again to the small aquarium and put it under the table without any
light at night in the backyard and move it in the morning to the bin so
they can bask in the sun.
<That seems like a lot of work. Why not move the aquarium indoors
and simply add a basking lamp and a UV lamp?>
A couple weeks ago, they would not eat but they would bask in the sun
and when I got home one day I found the other turtle missing. I kept
looking but cannot find it. I then released the other in our
<OK - stop. Unless your back yard is some sort of natural habitat
for turtles, releasing them there was not a good idea. Outside of a
genuine nature preserve, they need to be confined to an area where you
can care for them>
Then I found it at the back of the door leading to our garage with its
side up. As to the other turtle, I found it burrowed in the dirt under
our almond tree. Both them are burrowed there. Is this okay?
They are still burrowed until now and the weather here is still chilly
at night. Do you think they will die?
<To be honest, you need to improve your standards of care quite a
bit or that may happen>
If they wake up and if I put them in a large aquarium with water enough
for them to swim can I keep them there all night long with our light in
the backyard on? I am a new turtle owner.
<Yes you are>
<Lilia, start here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm read this
entire article. Make sure you understand it COMPLETELY. Do further
searches on WWM (there is a Google Search Box at the bottom of the home
page, click "search on WWM" and type your keywords) and write
back if you can't get other answers>
<After you've read the article and understand their basic needs,
then we can talk about how to house and care for them. As I said
before, an aquarium is a bad idea for outdoor use. As you have already
experienced, the sun heats the water and the night chills the water. To
keep the sun from heating it TOO much and the night from chilling it
TOO much - you have to have a whole lot of water in the tank. Four or
five inches in the bottom will heat like an oven during the day -- and
the glass sides makes it worse. The only exception is if you had the
Aquarium on a porch or under an awning where it doesn't get direct
<As far as the bin is concerned, a large plastic bin or what they
call a "stock tank" can make a nice turtle habitat. It takes
a bit of work to fix it up to look pretty in the yard, but that's a
different subject. The important thing is that the sides have to be
high enough that they can't climb out. The one thing we don't
want is for them to get out and wander around the yard or bury
themselves somewhere where we can't find them>
Re: My Red Ear Slider Turtles
Do I just wait until they come out of the dirt or do I dig in the get
them out and put them in the plastic bin again?
<Please get them out now>
Should I leave them outside at night?
<It depends on the amount of water you have. If the bin is an 18
gallon Tupperware tub filled to 10 gallons, then no - it will get too
cold at night AND too hot during the day unless it's shaded. If you
have a 100 gallon plastic tub with 50 or 60 gallons of water, and a
wire mesh cover to keep cats and other predators out, then yes they can
stay out all night>
I want to get them out of the dirt now and put them back in the
<I agree. But remember, they need a nice, dry, warm basking area
too, not just water>
RES, sys., beh. 5/17/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently just discovered your website this morning and it has already
helped me out so much.
<Thank you - it's always nice to know that we're
I was reading on other websites before and apparently I wasn't
getting the right information on my turtles.
<What???? Seeing another web site behind our backs??? I hope
we're forming a commitment here Anja '¦ and that WWM
isn't just another url passing in the night. Not just another notch
on your favorite places '¦>
Anyways, I have a problem with my turtles and I'm not really sure
how to address it. I just recently obtained two Red eared sliders and I
got them in a 10 gallon tank (That's what was sold to me when I
bought them from someone, not a pet store) I read somewhere that these
turtles could need up to a hundred gallon tank at their peak growth, is
<Yes, that's true. The good news is that you're a ways off
from that. As they grow, their RATE of growth slows. For example they
may double in size in the first year, then take 5 years to double THAT
size and even longer to double THAT size. So what to do with two fully
grown sliders isn't a worry to have right now>
Also I felt like the 10 gallon tank may not be giving them the space
they needed so I switched them over to a 20 gallon tank, a lot
<And I bet they appreciate it!>
Well when I had the 10 gallon tank I would sometimes see both of the
turtles on the floating rock I have in the tank basking under the
warming lamp, now that I've switched over to the 20 gallon, the
smaller one (Which I'm assuming is the male now, before I thought
it was female, but the growth on the one is clearly faster than the
smaller one.) I've checked their claws and they are the same
length, the smaller one is just over three inches and the bigger one is
about 3 and a half, maybe a little bigger. I don't think they are
at the maturity level yet for mating so I'm not too concerned
<They're a little too small to tell yet anyway. In any group of
animals, even a group of two, one is likely to grow faster than the
other. 3 1/2 inches is just on the cusp of maturity for a male, just
when they START to grow the longer claws, etc. so it's still
possible you have two females. It also, as you suggested, doesn't
really matter yet>
Also, the one I assume is male (the smaller) he never basks, he would
bask in the 10 gallon tank but now that I've upgraded, all he does
is sit under my floating rock and sometimes he'll swim the length
of the tank looking like he's trying to get out. I read that this
sometimes mean it's a pregnant female needing to lay eggs.
<Not at that size, no. It means that he either hasn't adjusted
yet - or that he's unhappy>
<The first thing to do is list exactly what has changed. Is the
light closer to the dock? I mean - is it TOO hot for him? Is the water
too warm? Or too deep? It's possible that the change triggered a
territorial conflict between the two and he doesn't feel welcome on
the rock. (that's unusual, by the way '¦ most territorial
disputes are related to being in the water. For the most part, basking
areas appear to be neutral territory.>
So I'm just very confused on this.
<It's a bit of a puzzle, I agree. Try this: Make a secondary
basking area somehow. A brick or rock or wooden plank, etc. something
different. Then angle the basking lamp so it hits both places. See if
maybe Skippy just wanted a place to call his own.>
Also the bigger one makes a weird noise when I pick her up, is it just
because she's frightened? I'm not really sure how to describe
the sound of it. But the other one will not make this sound.
<Well, I'm not sure either. A sound like an electric can opener?
Or maybe like Space Invaders? Any sounds like THAT and you could make a
living on talk shows '¦>
<Or a hissing noise? That's just air escaping as they withdraw
their appendages. A CLICKING noise? They do that with their jaws, for
no other reason I think, than just to mess with us.>
<Nothing is really unusual about unusual noises, Anja - unless the
turtle starts telling you to beat up your landlord, I wouldn't
worry about it.>
And just one (or two) more things... How much water should my tank
have? Should I be filled up halfway? Do they like to swim?
<They seem to LIKE deep water (4-8 inches) but are often very happy
in less. 3-4 is fine. The main considerations are that they can reach
the basking area AND that from the basking area they CANNOT reach the
top and climb out.>
I have about 3-4 inches in it right now with pebbles on the bottom
because I never thought they could get up onto the floating rock but
now the bigger one is the only one that goes up on the rocks to
<Let's see what changing things around does>
Also I never see the little one eat and I'm very concerned that
he/she is not getting any nutrition, this is the same one that hides
under the floating rock all day and night.
<Now THAT is a problem. So let's take everything else and set it
aside (for now) and deal with this. A turtle will not eat for three
reasons: It's ill, it's stressed, it's not hungry. Assuming
that it's getting enough heat for metabolic processing, it will
eventually be hungry. Stress is certainly possible, given what we know.
Illness is not something I can see from here, but your description
isn't of an illness.>
<First, take both turtles out of the tank and make them a temporary
home that is warm and dry. Yes, warm and DRY. Read this article about
illnesses and especially the part about isolation. Keep them both warm
and dry for about 4 days, giving them each a separate bath every day,
with the opportunity to drink, poop and eat. Then back into the warm
and dry land. Removing the smaller guy from a stressful environment may
itself be relief, but more important we don't want to worry about
his refusal to thermo regulate.>
<Now - why take the larger one, too? Because if it's
territorial, we want them to experience all changes TOGETHER. If the
problem is about territory, taking the smaller one out of the tank for
a week makes it MORE like the tank "belongs" to the bigger
<Meanwhile, the second link covers basic care - pay special
attention to basking areas, heat and UV-B. You can work on changing and
rearranging their main tank while they're on
<General care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
<I'm trying, Anja. I just hope you'll stop sneaking around
with other web sites>
RES Basking under water?
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My Red Eared Slider, who is a 1yr and months, hasn't been basking
on his dock lately.
I do see him on the bottom with his legs stretched out like he would on
the dock and his head stretched out too.
His water is on the warm side ranging from 76 - 78 degrees.
<Yes it is>
I can't get the temp to drop. I don't remember having this
problem last summer. How do I get his water to stay cooler?
<Assuming the room isn't 76-78 degrees, you have to find out the
reason why. Some obvious things are the basking lamp shines too much of
its energy on the water -- or too close to the water. Some filters,
pumps, etc. are inefficient and transfer their heat to the water.
Sometimes having return water from a filter fall through the air helps
to cool the water. You've probably seen terrariums where the return
water slides down a piece of glass and then trickles into the water?
This helps cool that water.>
<And SPEAKING of "obvious" I deliberately didn't
mention that if you have a water HEATER '¦ that is likely the
<On the other hand, if the ambient temperature of the room Edward
lives in is 76-78 degrees, then you can't do much about it.>
I've tried placing frozen bottles of water in a Ziploc but he put a
hole in the bag. Don't want to risk him eating the bag.
<Besides '¦ that's WAY too much work>
<If nothing specific is heating the water, then maybe there just
isn't enough water. A bigger (deeper) tank will not increase in
temperature so readily. But my guess is that the basking lamp is
heating the water by being too close (or too powerful) and this ALSO
explains why he doesn't bask -- if the basking lamp is heating the
water 3-6 degrees over room temperature, then it's likely BAKING
the basking area and making it way too hot for Edward.>
He does eat normally and swims around too.
<Then, for the moment, we have only a puzzle - no health
He's even started fluttering to his reflection.
<He must think he's a hottie!!>
Thanks for your help :)
RES care India 4/23/2011
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two 8 months old RES. I reside in India where temps are between
40 degree Celsius (summers) and 20 degree Celsius winters.
<Ah - Metric temperatures!! That's 104 Degree Summers and 68
degree Winters for those of you still in The Old Dominion>
It is difficult to get uvb bulbs here.
<I've heard that. Still - it is well worth your while to
You guys have already got many mails on that.
I just want to know can I do without it if every day I place them under
direct sunlight from 8:30 A.M to 9:30 A.M and provide them adequate
vitamin d3 in their food.
They do stay in the sun for 20 min max after which they start feeling
hot and move over to shaded area. When they do this I place them in
their feeding bowl and feed them. After they have cooled enough I place
them again in direct sunlight area for another 20 min.s or so. After
which I quickly put them back in their main tank.
<VERY nice care, Ruchika - and more than adequate. Just remember
that they can cook so quickly in the sun '¦ make sure you
don't ignore them even for a few minutes.>
<They do have a BASKING light in their main tank, correct (a heat
generator) so that the can thermo-regulate during the rest of the
<Other than that, your care is more than adequate and will keep them
Re: RES care India 5/3/2011
Am facing a tough a situation.
Both my turtle are breathing through their mouth, although not
consistently but say after a minute or two sometimes longer. Earlier
they used to do that just after eating but now that is not the
<That isn't actually bad. But are they breathing from their
mouths because of bubbles or discharge from their noses? THAT would be
bad. But JUST opening their mouths and breathing, which is known as
gaping, isn't bad>
One of them is swimming Very lopsided (his side point the shell is
touching the sky!!) and prefers to sit on the rock whole day, the other
one has slight lop-sidedness but is very active and most of the time
manages to hide it ...that is he swims so fast!! and he does submerge
himself. None of the have either mucous or air bubbles. We don't
have vet who specialize in reptile here so would require lots of your
<Well, let's see what we can do. FIRST get them both warm and
dry. Read here about keeping turtles in isolation:
<At this point, good UV is important. As I recall you have them
outside for around 20 minutes, twice a day. That should be adequate -
but the REST of the time they should be warm and dry. When you give
them a bath each day to let them drink, poop and eat, try to find some
food in your area that is very high in vitamins A & D and alternate
between those two. After two weeks of this type of treatment you can
try putting them back in their normal tank & water and notice if
their behaviors has changed>
My 2 Red-eared Sliders 3/12/11
<Hiya! - Darrel here>
I have two red-eared sliders, both female in a 100 gallon tank and they
seemed to be doing excellent except its been about a week now that my
larger female keeps going crazy on everything in the tank like the
plants, basking floater, the heater and even the filter hoses, she
keeps trying to climb on everything and just rips it off. She does this
every day multiple times a day and I don't really know why. My
biggest guess is mating season and I do remember her doing this last
year but stopped eventually but I don't remember if it was during
mating season too.
<That would be my guess too, Manuel. Reptiles don't have to be
gravid (that's a $5 word for "having eggs") in order to
exhibit nesting behavior.
Sometimes even females that haven't been in the presence of males
will act this way and some can even form eggs. If you can take her out
of the tank and place her in a fenced garden or someplace with a dirt
floor, she may wonder around, try too dig a hole or two, and then
settle down. When I didn't have a garden, I'd just make a
nesting box for my turtles from a big Tupperware tub and 3 or 4 bags of
Slider 4-6 years old 3/1/11
I have been taking care of my daughter's turtle since she has gone
away to school.
<Thank you for doing that>
I don't know if it's happened before but for the last few
months I noticed there are times where the turtles skin on upper legs
and neck and around eyes have a pink tint. Most times her skin is
normal. Is this indicative of a problem?
<In a very sick & debilitated turtle, this can be a sign of
Sepsis, an infection of the entire body -- but the turtle would show
VERY strong signs of illness -- and that doesn't come and go. So As
long as he's active, eating, pooping, etc. we'll rule that
<Some turtle foods contain certain dried krill material that can
color the skin - which is exactly how flamingos get to be pink --
they're actually white and their food stains their feather
Tried searching but couldn't find this, thanks!
<So no, by itself it's nothing. If the turtle is active, eating,
basking & swimming I'd just pay attention to the basics and not
worry about it.>
RES, young... fdg... floating lopsided...
<Hiya!! Darrel here>
I have a Red Ear Slider who is approximately 3 months old, the size of
a silver dollar, named Timon (as in Lion King).
<Did you know that The Lion King was based on a Japanese cartoon of
the 1960's called "Kimba the White Lion"?>
He eats so much!
<It's good that he has an appetite. That said -- overeating and
obesity is a HUGE problem in pet care. We feed our guys too much. Timon
should get all he can eat in 15 minutes, three times a week.>
I have noticed that his left side is constantly higher than the right
side of his body while he is in the water. When he basks he lies evenly
but as soon as he slides back into the water he has what I have termed
a "ghetto lean". I am very worried for his well-being. Is
this normal? If not, how can I help him?
<It's not normal, but it's not uncommon, either. Usually, in
a healthy critter - which Timon seems to be, it means nothing more than
he hasn't expelled all the air from his lungs evenly, maybe he has
some gas in his intestines '¦ but nothing to worry
Thanks so much, Concerned Turtle Parent.
<Read here for general care '¦ see if you've got
everything covered: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
Aggressing in RES 1/30/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two Red Eared Sliders that I got last February.
<Coming up on their anniversary>
I believe the larger one is a female and the smaller one is a male.
They have all the signs that I have read about as far as how to tell
the sexes apart, except the larger one frequently gets on top of the
smaller one and tries to mate.
<That activity may not be mating. It may be one of a hundred
behaviors they exhibit for reasons that we don't
However, I still wonder because the smaller one seems like a female,
since he is so dainty and sweet.
<Or they may just be growth differently. Sexual characteristics in
turtles develop with SIZE, not with age -- and size is often dependent
on growth><<I do like this last stmt.>>
They got along perfectly up until about five months ago. Then, I
started noticing something was wrong with the smaller ones feet. They
were raw and he was not using them (only swimming with his front legs).
The female was attacking the male's feet. It healed and they were
alright for a couple of months. However, she is attacking him again. It
has gotten pretty bad- to the point where she will bite and latch on
and hold. I have banged on the tank, trying to get her attention but
she still wouldn't let go and had to be separated by hand. Do you
have any idea why this might be going on, and what I might be able to
do about it besides giving her up? All advice would be much
<A couple of things. The bad news is that the bigger one may simply
be mean. I know it sounds strange. While most Red Eared Sliders get
along fine in colonies, the occasional one will be just snappy and
scrappy and mean to the others. If that's the case, you have no
choice but to separate them permanently.>
<Before you get there, try a few things. First, separate her for a
few days. Take the aggressive one out of the tank and keep her in a
plastic tub, cardboard box , etc. (anything with sides high enough that
she can't climb). For a few days she doesn't need any real
lighting of heating, just put her in a shallow bowl of water daily in
order to drink, poop and eat -- then back in her box.>
<Meanwhile, rearrange the tank they live in. Move things around,
change where the basking area is, etc. make it "different."
While changing it, see what you can do to make it so that the two
turtles can move to where they can't see each other. Sometimes when
animals that don't get along are offered "visual privacy"
they will both calm down. After 5 days, put her back into the
"new" tank and see if her attitude improves>
<Meanwhile, be sure to treat the wounds on the little guy!!>
Thank you very much,
RES Question; compatibility and growth rate
<Hello Lauren, Sue here with you.>
I have three RES-two of them are 4 inches and the other one is approx.
2 inches. I got them at the same time, yet one is drastically smaller
than the other one.
<I assume you meant to say 'the other two' instead of
'the other one', and that all 3 were the same size when you
<Have you been keeping all three in the same tank together?>
<If 'Yes' to both the above, the most likely reason one is
so much smaller than the other two is because when turtles are living
together, one or two almost always become the 'dominant' ones
and as a result, get most of the food, the better basking spots, etc.
The 'non-dominant' ones get what's left over. This can
affect their growth, and growth rate.>
I feed them the same amount of food so I was wondering if there was
anything I could do for the smaller one to grow to be as big as my
<First thing is that turtles, like other species, all naturally grow
at different rates and grow to different sizes, so it's unlikely
they'll all be the same size when they reach adulthood.>
<Second is that females are larger than males, so unless all 3 are
the same sex, it's also unlikely they'll all be the same size
<Third is to also consider that rather than the issue being the much
slower growth rate of the smaller one, it's possible that the issue
instead might be too quick a growth rate of the larger two -- see more
about this below.>
<Having said all this, it's important to make sure that your
smallest one is thriving. Here are some things to
<Have you been feeding the three turtles altogether in the same
tank, or feeding them each one separately in a separate tank?>
<Are you sticking around to watch them while they eat or while
they're basking to see if your smallest one is getting the
'short end of the stick' (meaning less food than the others,
and/or not the prime basking spot under the heat lamp)?>
<Are you providing a basking 'land' area that is large
enough to accommodate all 3 of your turtles?>
<Is the smallest one getting the same amount of basking time under
the heat and UVB lamps as the other two?>
<Are the bigger ones in any way intimidating, or otherwise acting
aggressively toward, the smaller one?>
<Has your smaller one been continuing to grow steadily over time, or
has he stopped growing while the others have continued growing?>
<If you know for sure your littlest guy is getting enough food
(which translates to eating steadily for at least 5-10 minutes per
feeding every other day), and continues to have a good appetite, then
he's likely getting all the food he needs.>
<However, even if you do determine that he's getting enough
food, heat and light, our recommendation is to keep turtles of
different sizes separate from each other in separate tanks. Click here
for more about this, and the reasons why:
<Also, click here, scroll down the page to the heading called
'Turtles', and look for links to other FAQs about
<Besides addressing feeding and compatibility concerns, I'd also
suggest you read over the following care link, and check your care
against each of the items listed to make sure you're providing all
three of your turtles the right care:
<In terms of general care, in particular given your turtles'
very different growth rates, make sure:
1) Each of them eats only every other day, one feeding only on the days
you feed them, and for no more than 5-10 minutes for that feeding.
It's very important not to over-feed -- -- Also, as noted earlier,
consider whether the issue is that your smallest one is getting too
LITTLE food, or whether your larger two are getting too MUCH food!)
2) That for their main diet you're feeding them a good quality Koi
or turtle pellet like ReptoMin. Also an occasional earthworm for a
treat (1-2 every couple of weeks or so). Leafy greens (such as red leaf
and curly green leaf lettuce) are also good to offer them for some
fiber. The greens also give them something to munch on the days
you're not feeding them.
3) If you are able, try to feed them in the morning. This allows them
the remainder of the day to bask under the heat and UVB to digest their
food so it doesn't rot in their stomach. Turtles do not digest food
as fast as we do. They, also unlike us, need heat from an outside
source in order to be able to properly digest their food.
4) All of them are getting to bask under both a heat AND UVB bulb for
several hours each day. (A separate UVB bulb plus a regular light bulb
for the heat source). Both types of lights are an absolute must.
5) That the temperature under the lights is between 85-90 degrees. This
is the temperature they need in order to be able to properly digest and
metabolize their food (mount a suction thermometer directly above the
basking land under the lights)
6) Their water temperature is on the cooler side (low 70's F; put a
separate thermometer in the water also) so they feel cool enough to be
encouraged to get out of the cool water to bask (as well as to have a
place to cool off when they get too hot). Turtles cannot self-regulate
their body temperature like we can.
7) Their water is kept very clean (i.e. 'Net up' excess food
right after they eat -- don't let it sit all day; use a good filter
to keep water circulating and to provide some mechanical filtration;
and do a 50% water change AT LEAST once a week, more often if you see
it's needed. >
<Aside from the compatibility issues, all the items listed above are
THE most critical aspects of turtle care. Over feeding, not feeding the
right things, poor water quality, and lack of UVB and proper heat are
the most common causes of all turtle diseases and a significantly
shortened life. If you're doing all of the above things and your
turtles are all active, getting along with each other, eating the right
type and amount of food, and all basking for several hours each day
under a proper heat and UVB source, then you don't need to be
concerned if they're not all the same size -- with the caveat of
the compatibility issue. Keep your eye out for any signs of aggression
or intimidation by the larger two, and know that you may need to put
your smaller turtle in a separate container either now or at some point
in the future, for his overall health and for his safety.>
Thank you in advance!
<Hope this helps!>
Red ear slider, trauma
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My 2.5 year old female red ear slider recently fell from a height of 1
meter tall, twice..
'¦ once landing on her belly and another time, she landed on
her back. The second time she landed, she actually stayed still with
her hands and leg flared out for a few minutes
<I would too if that happened to me!>
'¦ ( I was too shocked to touch her as I thought she actually
died ). After awhile she started moving.
Every time I cleaned her tank, I would put her in my kitchen sink. I
think she must have grown a lot to the point she could actually climbed
out of the sink and that is when she fell off.
<The first time '¦ was an accident - you didn't know
how well she could climb. The SECOND time was negligence. Please
don't let it happen again>
My worry is that she might have internal bleeding. What should I do
now? She is moving around now, but in a very scared manner.
<You'd be scared too if I let you drop from 15 times your
height. And you might be a little cross with me, too.>
<Internal bleeding is an interesting question, Suyi. In the first
place there really isn't a practical way to tell since it's
unlikely we're going to x-ray her and even if we did it's an
inconclusive test. Second, even if there WAS, there's little to be
done. Surgery on Turtles and Tortoises is delicate and extremely
<FORTUNAELY for all of us, turtles are tough little critters and
even cracks in their shells often heal and leave them no worse for
wear. I have a Red Eared Slider in my pond that lost BOTH front feet to
a raccoon and she still swims and carries on and fights for food and
space just like the rest of them>
<Suyi - be on the lookout of for signs of distress. Not eating,
closed puffy eyes, etc. If you encounter them, write back. Meanwhile
just try to give her a quiet and stress-free time until she's her
old self again. Meanwhile, when cleaning the tank, put her in the
bathtub -- or even a cardboard box that has sides high enough to
prevent her from climbing>
Diet, inactivity and care conditions, RES
<Hi Tanya, Sue here with you.>
I have a few questions. I have two red ear sliders. I've had them
for a few months now. The first couple weeks I had them they ate the
pellets but them they refused to eat anything until I stared feeding
them baby shrimp. The freeze dried kind. They won't eat any thing
else. Is this ok?
<No, freeze dried shrimp has little to no nutritional value and
shouldn't be a part of their diet. Stick with the pellets as their
'staple'; feed them only every other day as much as they'll
eat in 5-10 minutes to avoid over-feeding. If you see one stealing all
of the food, you may need to feed them separately. You can also offer
them fresh greens liberally every day (not iceberg, though - use red
leaf lettuce, curly green lettuce, dandelion greens, etc.) I put them
on a clip with a suction cup and attach it to the inside of the
aquarium to try and keep them confined to one place for easier
clean-up. The only 'treat' we recommend is an earthworm or two
every couple of weeks or so. Most turtles love earthworms and
they're much healthier for them than freeze dried shrimp. Your
turtles will land up sick with nutritional deficiencies if you continue
to feed them this as their staple.>
<Having said this, as you mentioned they like the taste of the
shrimp and now don't want to eat anything else. It's no
different than kids wanting only dessert but not their vegetables. One
thing you may want to try is to 'wean' them off of the shrimp.
Try putting several pellets in a cap from a drink container, then stick
just a few of the freeze dried shrimp in with it. Wait at least 20
minutes or until the pellets are completely softened, then mash
everything into a pulp and see if they'll take small amounts of
this off the top of the spoon. If they do, then just gradually decrease
the amount of shrimp over the next week or two until it's only the
pellets they're eating. We often also suggest holding off feeding
them for a few days to try and make them hungry enough to eat the
pellets. The only caveat with this is that they shouldn't be
otherwise debilitated (which yours may be; see below). Healthy turtles
can go a few days without food but I wouldn't advise doing this
with malnourished or unhealthy turtles.>
Also, I noticed the skin on there face is peeling. It happens only when
I fully clean out there tank. It is only the face which is peeling.
What's happening to them?
<Not sure why you're only noticing this when you clean out the
tank, but usually when skin is peeling to the point that you're
noticing it, this usually points to either water quality issues and/or
a water temperature that's too high. How often are you doing water
changes? What type, if any, filter are you using? What temperature is
the water? I'll forward this question on to one of other crew
members to see if he has any additional insights on this as
Another thing I have noticed is the smaller of the two turtles just
sits in the corner of the tank under water. Is she depressed or
<Turtles often just like to 'hang out' but if she's
doing this all the time, this would not be normal. Healthy turtles
should be spending several hours out of the water each day completely
drying off under a heat and UVB lamp (both of which you are hopefully
providing. And when they're in the water, healthy turtles also like
to actively swim about as well as just hang out. If you don't have
the proper lighting and heating they require, I suggest you get these
items as soon as possible and see if they make a difference. Both of
your turtles will become quite ill if you are not providing these
<As an aside, if you've only been feeding your turtles freeze
dried shrimp AND not providing a basking area, heat lamp and UVB, it is
likely they ARE debilitated. Especially your one turtle that is
completely sedentary sitting in a corner. If all these things are true
then I would shy away from the 'starvation' option above in
favor of weaning, and purchase the needed equipment as soon as
possible. Turtles don't require a lot, but what they do require,
they must have or they will become seriously ill.>
The larger turtle will occasionally go to the little turtle to play
with her. The water is really deep. Is it possible for them to
<Though turtles do breathe air like we do, they won't drown
unless they get trapped by an object under the water and can't swim
up for air, or if they're seriously ill and having difficulty
swimming (i.e. are swimming lop-sided). Otherwise you shouldn't
worry. And while turtles do appreciate deep water, what they appreciate
even more is a large surface area with lots of room to swim
please help me.- Tanya
<Tanya, try out the things I mentioned above and see if these things
help them convert back over to the pellets and increase their activity
levels. I've also attached a link below that is our basic care
guide. Compare the care you're currently providing your turtles to
what's recommended in this guide and make whatever changes are
necessary. Let me know how it goes, and please feel free to write back
with any more questions or concerns.
25 year old red eared slider, hibernation mostly
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My name is Katie,
<Wow - this is my second Katie in the same day. Hiya>
'¦. I've been browsing through your website this morning -
it's great! Very informative.
However, I wondered if you could give me a little help with my turtle
questions. Here are some facts about our Frankie.
-Shell approx 8 inches head to toe, 6 inches wide.
-Female, goes on an annual trek out of her backyard pond (18 inches
deep, gravel bottom) and into the garden every August to lay eggs.
-Approx 25 years old, purchased in 1995 from a home and was about 10 or
so when we got her.
-She lives in the pond from May thru November - we live in Northwestern
Ontario, Canada, the pond freezes solid in winter - is transported to a
giant naturalized tank (6 feet long, 18 inches wide...not sure of the
gallons) in our basement.
- Fed earthworms and pellet mixture throughout the summer.
- Enjoys moonlit evenings, soft music and good conversation
- Turn-on's include males with thick tails and long, fluttery
- Turn-off's are political conversations at dinner and Donny
Osmond. This last one appears to be personal but she retracts from any
attempt to get details
<All good so far, Katie>
My questions are,
a.) What kind of lamp should we put in the tank during the winter?
<When shopping, I always hope for a magic lamp. So far though
'¦. No luck>
We've had a vitamin d and a heat lamp every winter in the past with
success but I'd like to know a specific kind, as I fear she may be
getting older (I don't know the life expectancy of RES) would she
now need more special attention?
<40 or 50 years is possible with good care>
<If by a vitamin D lamp, you mean a UV/B lamp? If so, that and a
heat lamp, both arranged over her basking area, is just fine. For a
million years, I used Vita-Lite by DuroTest Corp. Not because it was
specifically for reptiles, but back in the day it was the only
fluorescent lamp that published actual data on it's UV/B output.
Nowadays there are many companies that can documented outputs and much
higher "B" than the Vita-lite.>
b.) Should we let her have a hibernation period in her basement tank?
As the pond begins to cool down quite a bit in early October, we think
she may begin to hibernate and hide away - apart from the occasional
warm, sunny week. Fishing her out on the transition day results in a
bleary eyed, yawning turtle who takes a few hours to come around.
<There is nothing about the hibernation process that is necessary
for their survival, Katie. It's natural, yes, but so is freezing to
death or getting eaten by an alligator. If it was me, I'd bring her
in a bit earlier in the year '¦ except I can imagine how you
feel (because it's how I feel, too) about taking away those last
few precious days of sunlight. But it's best for her>
c.) Earthworms and bait shops are scarce in winter around here and very
expensive for the amount she eats on a daily basis. We like to spoil
her during the summer with them as she has such a short, outside sunny
season in her pond. She doesn't like the pellet food on its own,
and won't eat vegetables.
<Think about it - would YOU eat pellets if you had the choice of
<Wait '¦ that didn't come out quite like I thought
'¦. Would you eat rice cakes if your were offered
<The problem you have, Katie - the problem we ALL have '¦
is we tend to let our pets be in charge of their care. We get them
acclimated to a "happy" food and then we're puzzled that
they refuse to accept the "better" food.>
<At 25 years and she's healthy, I think we should change very
little and what we do change, change gradually. Once inside, I'd
not feed her for a week or so and then offer a few pellets that had
been rubbed in beef liver to see if the flavor would entice her. If
yes, repeat every 3rd day. If no '¦ offer every 3rd day. Give
it a month to see who wins.>
I did read on your website about the water being too cool, I'm
thinking the heat lamp would probably encourage her appetite.
<We like the water to be 68-73(f) and the basking area to be
88-94(f) or thereabouts.>
I realize I've written a novel of questions and apologize for that,
but she is very special to our family ( a gift from a now deceased
grandparent) and we would like to keep her healthy and happy wherever
she is for as long as possible.
<Your letter was great & you're doing good things, you care
and you want to do what's best for her. I wish there were more like
Thanks so much!
Thunder Bay, Ontario.
<That is '¦ aside from the Donny Osmond thing '¦.
Either you or the turtle need a therapist about THAT one!>
baby res help 11/10/10
Hi, I am Mackenzie
<Hi Mackenzie, Sue here with you.>
and my RES is acting strange when he is in the water. I can put him in
the water but he goes crazy!!! and when I put him in the water and get
him out he opens his mouth a lot,
<The behaviors you're describing can be fairly common,
especially if he's a new turtle or you put him in a new
environment. Turtles typically exhibit this type of behavior when
they're either stressed out and/or scared. However, it would help
if you could send me some additional information to better pinpoint the
most likely cause, including:
'¢ Is this a new turtle for you? How long have you had this
'¢ What type of enclosure are you keeping him/her in?
'¢ How long has your turtle been living in this enclosure?
'¢ How big is the enclosure (length, width, depth), and also #
and I don't think he is eating.
<Again, if he is a new turtle, it's possible it may take him a
few days before he feels comfortable enough in his new surroundings to
eat. I also need more information here as well --
'¢ Why aren't you sure if he's eating? Are you staying
with him while he eats and know for sure he's not? If not, you
should stay and watch him during feedings. Allow him about 5-10 minutes
to eat, watch him during this time, and then scoop out whatever uneaten
food is left so it doesn't decay in the water.
'¢ How often and what are you feeding him?
'¢ Do you have a heat lamp and also a UVB light above his
basking area? What is the air temperature right above his basking area?
And what are you keeping the water temperature at? (should be around 70
to 72 degrees F)
'¢ Does he get completely out of the water and bask for a good
portion of the day after you feed him? If not, he should be. Turtles
require heat (around 88 to 90 degrees or so) in order to properly
digest their food so it doesn't rot in their stomachs and make them
sick. They also require UVB light so they can properly metabolize
calcium from their diet.
'¢ How are you keeping the water clean? Do you have a filter?
How often are you doing water changes? Turtles drink the water they eat
and poop in, so it must be kept very clean or they will become
if you can help send something back. >
<Mackenzie, please write back with the information above so we can
better help you. In the meantime, you should compare the care
you're giving your turtle to the care guidelines listed in the link
below to see if there's anything you need to correct (i.e. such as
proper heating, lighting, basking, water temperature, water
quality/filtration, feeding, etc.).
Need Help with Slider Behavior and Eating -
<Hiya! Darrel here>
I have a new juvenile (?) Red Eared Slider purchased from a reputable
pet store. I've had him about a week. He lives in a 20-gallon tank
purchased as a "kit" for aquatic turtles. There's a cut
out in the end of the tank where the filter goes, so the tank is always
half full of water. It came with a filter, two lights and a basking
rock. I purchased a "hiding log" for him. It will need to be
larger at some point, and I'd like to add a land area eventually,
but this seems to be adequate for now. The 3 issues I have are:
1) he doesn't really eat. If I put dried shrimp in the tank he will
eat that, but not his pellets or anything else, really. I've read
it's beneficial to feed outside the tank and I've tried that,
both with and without water. I put him in the smaller feeding tank and
he just tries to swim or walk forward, (depending on if there is water
in it) kind of flailing his legs. No interest in any food, even shrimp
in the feeding tub. In the main tank, his water seems to be plenty
warm, about 82F, and he is active. How can I get him to be interested
in food and how can I condition him to eat in the feeding tank, instead
of kind of flipping out?
<OK, first, the water is WAY too warm. Water should be no higher
than room temperature (low 70's, etc.) and the basking area in the
90's what we want to do is offer Scoobert (my name for him,
doesn't have to be yours) a choice in temperatures and let him
decide warm lamp or cool water.>
<Besides, we don't want heaters in a turtle tank. If you live
south of the arctic circle, any room temp you're OK with is fine
<Second, dried shrimp is a problem. Not part of their natural diet
nor is it very nutritious, so this is something we have to
2) I believe the water is plenty deep for him. His shell is about 4
<If he is really a he, that's approaching sexual maturity and we
consider them to be young adults>
-- He frequently stands on his back legs and pokes his nose out of the
water. What's up with this?
<They do that. It's like they're waiting for a bus or
something -- standing on the bottom, front claws against the glass,
head poking out of the water and just .. watching. That's not
abnormal behavior at all. No worries.>
<Parenthetically, I have an adult female rhinoceros Iguana that
watches daytime TV for hours at a time. She was enamored with Tyra
Banks -- got up close to the screen and took turns staring with one eye
then the other. But then she'd get hysterical '¦ almost
unmanageable '¦ when Montel Williams came on. Go
I think maybe he is just breathing, but I made several trips to the
store to research and watch the other turtles when I was deciding to
take this on, and I never saw this behavior in any of the turtles.
It's kind of cute, so I don't mind it, but I need to know if
there might be something wrong--with him, or the set-up.
<The setup is a tad small for a 4 inch slider '¦ fine
"for now" but he'll likely need more room.>
3) He won't bask. I know he can get to the rock because he gets up
there to get shrimp if I put them there. I've placed him on the
rock, but as soon as the "hand monster" is gone, he plops
back into the water. I switched the two lights tonight to see if a
warmer rock is more enticing. But I am not sure which light goes where:
I have a bluish, curlicue UVA/UVB lamp, and one that seems to have a
regular household bulb. Which one goes over the rock?
<Both. The UV-B bulb is necessary for bone health (without UV-B he
can't metabolize Vitamin-D) and the heat is necessary for
metabolism and digestion in general. Usually you can accommodate both
on the same basking area.>
<For the moment, let us assume that because the water is so warm,
Scoobert never feels the need to warm up - therefore doesn't choose
to bask. Fix the water temp and give him a week to see if he changes
his mind about sun bathing>
Thanks for any help you can provide. I wanted a turtle because I find
them restful to watch.
<Me, too! Restful, relaxing and sometimes comical, just when I need
I want to do right by my responsibilities and I did a great deal of
research before committing--books, internet, and observation. But my
little guy doesn't act like any of the turtles I've read
<Just like kids. Everyone has advice for problems my kid doesn't
have '¦ and when he DOES have a problem someone has already
been through, my kid doesn't respond to the solution
Maybe I need to get HIM to read the books!
<NOW you're getting silly! They get the books all wet when they
try to turn the pages!!> But instead of the restful enjoyment I had
planned for, I find myself totally stressed out over this, and I feel
like I'm failing as a turtle mom. Do you have any suggestions?
<Why .. yes I do.>
<First. Chill out. Stop stressing. Nothing bad is happening and
you're so far not even in the neighborhood of something bad
<Let's correct the water temp. Room temp'¦ around
70-73(f). Basking site should be around 89-93(f) The probe of a cooking
thermometer will test this just fine. Adjust the heat (visible) lamp
away or close to get somewhere in that ballpark.>
<That leaves food. Koi Pellets are the preferred choice. Cheap,
pet-store local and 100% complete and balanced diet for Sliders,
Cooters, etc. Kay-Tee is a fine, inexpensive brand from our friends at
<The problem will be that they can fixate of a food and ignore
everything else and we make ourselves feel really, really bad when they
don't eat when we want them to eat.>
<What I'd do '¦ besides stop stressing. Is change the
water and basking temps and offer no food at all for a week. An entire
7 days. See how he does.>
<Then, on day 8. Take him out and put him in a plastic tub or such
with about 2 inches of room temp tap water and let him be in there for
about 15 minutes undisturbed. Then put 3 or 4 (no more) pellets in
front of him and wait for 10 minutes. Then, eaten or not, Scoobert goes
back in the tank and the tub water/food is tossed. If he eats, repeat
tomorrow - if not -- SKIP a day and try again. Do this whole routine
for 2 weeks. Be strong!! Scoobert is strong, but you are stronger!!! In
6 weeks, ONE of you WILL CONTROL THIS RELATIONSHIP! Make sure it's
"CooterMom" on the WWMedia Boards
<I think you're doing a great job.>
<One last thing.>
<Do not EVER let a Red Eared Slider anywhere near your ATM card!!!
They have NO self control when it comes to spending money>
my turtle twitches
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have what I think is a red eared slider he is about 6" long. A
friend gave him to me, he used to live in a pond. He now lives in a 40
gallon tank. about twice a day I see him under the basking light with
both back legs straight out off the ground, for about 15 minutes off
and on he will twitch his front legs and neck. After this he seems
fine. He will do this 2 or 3 times a day. Is this something I need to
<Nope - he seems happy to me. The twitching is normal Basking like
that is good - it means he's choosing when he wants to be warm
& dry and when he wants to be cool. He extends the limbs and neck
so he can expose the skin to the heat, which tends to keep the skin
free of fungus and/or parasites.>
I really appreciate your help,
<So far, Kandace, everything seems fine. Here's a basic article
on care. Make sure that your keeping meets the recommendations and
you'll be fine.>
Aggressive turtle behavior
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red sliders in a 50 gallon tank. They are
19 and 14 years old.
The smaller and older one that I believe is the male has been attacking
the other one. He grabs her from the front and tries to bite her
<That's turtle courtship>
I have had to separate them before by taking them out of the water. He
won't let go. I am afraid he will drown the other.
<It's not likely he'll drown her, but it is stressful for
The larger one also seems to be sloughing off some of her skin. It
looks like she has fuzz on her legs.
<She probably is shedding and the chances are that's all it is.
Just to make sure, it's important that the water is clean and that
she gets plenty of drying out under the basking & UV lamp. Make
sure those are in proper
place and that the UV is within it's useful life - many people
don't know, but UV lamps will continue to glow and 'appear'
normal for quite a while after their UV effects have diminished. Follow
the manufacturer's suggestions for maximum useful life, usually
rated in # hours.>
I feed them floating sticks and dried shrimp.
<I'm not a fan of the dried shrimp - they're high in fat,
low nutritional value and not even close to a part of their natural
diet. I feed mine exclusively Koi pellets -- with an occasional (once a
month) earth worm just as a treat.>
<Yes. Take them out of the tank for a few days. Place them in a dry
tub or box with the basking light and IV lamp from their tank place
over the box. Drying her out will help with her shedding skin and a
of environment may help the male to back off a bit. Either way, she
gets a break>
RES beh. 8/28/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I searched through the data base and couldn't find anything that
specifically relates to my question.
<well, let's see what we can do>
I just acquired 2 red eared slider turtles; I have no experience with
<well, here we are. Start here for the most basic information:
They spent 4-1/2 years in a semi-large aquarium and now I have put them
in an outdoor, 130 gallon pond.
<Let's hope the pond has covered filter intakes that they
can't get sucked into, no rock caves that they can get stuck under
-- and also that at some level, around the pond or at least the yard,
is a fence they can't climb over or dig under>
They have been in it for 3 days and are terrified, or more like
mortified of me. I understand they will probably have some fear going
out of one environment and being thrust into an extremely different
<If you took ME out of a tank I'd been in for 4 1/2 years and
suddenly put ME into an outdoor pond '¦ I'd sit on the
bottom for days, figuring out how to get even. Most likely trying to
evolve opposable thumbs so I could order automatic weapons over the
However, they are not coming out of the water at all. I have a place in
the pond where they can bask in the sun and yes, they can access it,
but they are simply sitting at the bottom of pond and hiding.
<They are undoubtedly frightened, Ben. Nothing to worry about at
this point. They're clearly coming up to the surface to breathe
'¦ they're just not doing it when you're
They won't eat and I am worried about their just sitting down there
like that. I have read on your site that they should be coming out of
the water and getting some good sunlight.
<They will when they feel secure enough to do so>
They aren't eating, either. I assume it's because they are too
afraid to do anything.
Is there anything I can do to help them get over the fear or is it just
going to take time?
Or do they ever get over it?
<yes, they will -- although they will probably always be
"skittish" when people come to the pond edge. Look at it this
way: All their lives "people" were more or less at eye level
and now, suddenly, you tower over them like a giant. That will un-nerve
them for quite a while. Don't let it get to you>
How can I get them to start eating again, I have the food the former
owner was feeding them. I have filtration and aerators going so I know,
at least, they are getting enough oxygen out of the water down
<Um -- no. They breathe air, not water. They'd drown if they
didn't come up to breathe every so often.>
I pull them out when I come home from work, put them on the basking
area, but they immediately jump back into the water and go to the
<Yes. And while I applaud your attempts to help them, the act of
catching them and hauling them out is something that just frightens
them even more.. My suggestion is that you leave them alone for a few
weeks. Don't bother trying to feed them. If they were well fed by
the previous owner, they can go MONTHS without food - so that's not
really an issue. Leave them alone to get used to their new
surroundings. Make your approaches to the pond slow, quiet and stop
from a distance. Give them 'space'. One weekend I suspect
you'll look out through a window and see them swimming at the
surface and resting in the shallows or near the basking areas. Not long
after that they'll start to climb out. It will be just the head at
first, then a few days later the front half of the body, etc. until
eventually they'll climb out and sun themselves. Then you can put a
few turtle pellets out. They'll dive to the bottom when you come
and put the pellets in, but probably swim up and eat them as soon as
I appreciate and thank you for any advice.
<My big concern will be the winter, Ben. It gets very cold in
Phoenix in the winter. Unless they pond is deep and has lots of water,
it can get too cold for them to thrive, but yet not cold enough for
them to hibernate. Come around November, write back and we'll
discuss 'over winter procedures' but for now, just hang
Re RES... sys., heat 8/31/10
Wow, thanks, Darrel, for the very detailed and informative reply!
<That's why I get the medium bucks!!>
"<That's why I get the medium bucks!!>"
OK Darrel, how do I get on the payroll?
I had wondered about the cold - yes there are nights when it can get
down in the 30's and sometimes occasionally in the high 20's. I
also have 2 other ponds full of Koi and Goldfish, but, I picked up 8,
300 watt heaters from a pond that was being shut down. I don't know
what temps the turtles need, I do know that a couple of heaters in each
the other ponds should be good for the fish. I just don't have any
place to put an aquarium or otherwise in my house, I don't have a
garage, the only other outdoor structure I have that I could put the
turtles is in a large shed.
<The subject of over-wintering is itself a complex one. To make
matters worse, you will find literature that tells you that Sliders can
in fact live in ponds and lakes that freeze in winter and survive the
<The problem of course, is that not all do. The cold weather is
inherently hard on all reptiles and especially aquatic ones. The
problem I have with heaters is as follows: Reptiles have digestive
systems that shut down at cold temperatures and activate at warmer
ones. The Danger is that there is a middle area where the animals are
almost non-active (torpid) but have not fully shut down. At times like
this a slightly warmer than average winter day can start them up
"just a bit" and then the next cool day, shock their system
'¦ leading to remnant food actually rotting in their stomach
and causing death.>
<This is why we generally stop feeding reptiles in early October,
while it's still fairly warm and we don't start again until
April or perhaps even May -- well after any chance of a cold
<What this means to you is this: You have no way of assuring that
two or even four 300 watt heaters would keep them warm
"enough" to keep them safe.>
<If it was me, about the time the early cold spells start (maybe
October) I'd take them out of the water, place them in a cardboard
box on some towels, fold up (but not seal) the box and let them spend
the winter on a high shelf in the shed until early or mid
But, since that isn't heated, I don't see that that would do
any better for them than just leaving them in the pond?
<Oh sure. Air is a much greater insulator than water. Snug in a
cardboard box, 32 degree weather isn't even an issue, let alone a
I mean, if heaters aren't enough then perhaps I better start
looking to find a new owner for them?
<Ben - you may not have a place indoors, but you have something more
important. You care. Give them a chance, they'll grow on
<Just one word of warning: Do not EVER let a Red Eared Slider, River
Cooter or Yellow Belly turtle have access to your ATM card. They have
no sense of money or spending limits - they'll embezzle your last
dime from you!>
RES blowing Bubbles -- 8/21/10
Hello my name is Robert
<Hiya - I'm Darrel>
I have three Red Eared Sliders, 2 at 3 months old, and one at 2 months
old and are all under 1.5 inches. they are in a 20 gallon aquarium with
13 gallons of water, two filtration systems (one for circulation and
the other for more heavy cleaning) a floating dock for basking, Heating
lamp/UVA light as well as a UVB lamp, there are some fake plants,
larger rocks and
gravel (which I did my best to strain out anything small enough for
them to swallow, but I noticed a lot of the smaller stuff gets sucked
up when I vacuum the tank as well.
<That was nice of you, Robert - they do sometimes eat small gravel
bits and they can become impacted in the intestines, so you did a good
thing straining them out>
there are also small roseys in there for them to eat, however I have
noticed that they each have only eating two out of the 12 I bought. I
have had many turtles in my life from rescues or ones that were going
to end up in a bad spot if I didn't take them in. but these are the
first domestic turtles I have raised and they act very different from
the painted and Sliders I am used to.
-- in particular my one turtle, which would be the healthiest of them
all (However they are all showing extreme health and happiness) has
been sitting at the edge of the dock and blows bubbles and then eats
them again. they have a very healthy diet of veggies, pellets and the
fish when they do eat them, there is a minor algae issue on some of the
larger rocks but the
fish have been picking at that. and these turtles show no sign of any
sickness, they eat constantly, and are the most active I have ever seen
any turtles. so why does this one blow bubbles, and I mean he literally
blows them through his mouth. I some times see them blow them out their
nose (all of them) which I thought was a respiratory issue, but my
local experts say they are all right and just simply releasing air to
sink to the bottom of the tank. do you have any insight as too why he
might be doing this?
<It is a peculiar behavior, Robert, but not a dangerous one. The
first indication you'd have that it was a health issue would be if
this turtle were UNABLE to breathe without doing this. In other words,
if every time he was in the water at the surface he was bubbling and
even when he continued to bubble>
<My guess is that his glottis doesn't always seal properly and a
small bit of water gets in his throat, then when he tried to expel it,
it makes a bubble. If it were respiratory, it wouldn't go away when
he hauled out & dried off?
thank you very much, I tried to give you as much information as
possible, please let me know if you need to know anything else
<You did fine. Keep paying attention to the details and everything
should be just fine>
Female RES exhibiting strange behavior! ... beh, app, hlth,
<Hi, Jenn! Sue here with you.>
I have a 5 inch, female RES named Spike. She's been around for a
little over 4 years and she's strong and healthy according to the
vet, but I'm not convinced! Spike has been swimming frantically in
circles with her neck to one side and her mouth open, thrashing in the
water and ramming into the glass.
<Sudden restless or frantic behavior can occur for a few reasons. A
couple in particular come to my mind with your turtle, Spike, though.
See further below.>
She's normally pretty mellow, so when the vet told me she was fine
except for some excessive scute shedding, I was a little
<Shedding is a natural, normal process for turtles. However,
excessive shedding is not, and can occur for a number of reasons,
including: (1) Too fast a growth rate. This is either the result of too
warm a water temperature which in turn speeds up their metabolism
(water temp. should be in low 70's); or overfeeding. Spike should
only be fed 2-3 times per week (preferably in the morning), and no more
than she can eat in 5-10 minutes. (2) Inadequate basking. You mentioned
below that you take her outside several times a week, though, so this
may not be an issue. However, if you live in a cooler climate where
she's indoors most of the year, does she haul out to bask for a few
hours each day during the 'off' seasons? If not, this may also
be due to either too warm a water temperature or not enough of a
temperature gradient between her water and her basking spot. Turtles
need to be given a very clear choice between cool water (preferably
under 73 degrees F) and warm (upper 80's F) basking temperature.
Cool water is what entices them to get out of the water to bask and
warm up. I try to keep my turtles' water temperature between 70-72
degrees F and their basking temperature between 88-89 degrees F. Also
'¦ do you have a UVB light over the basking area? If not, you
do need to get one. UVB helps turtles to make/absorb calcium which they
need for proper shell health and growth; otherwise they become much
more prone to disease. (3) Inadequate filtration, poor water quality.
Make sure you do a 50% water change at least once each week (more often
if needed), and that you remove all poop and uneaten food right after
Spike's done eating so it's not left to decay in the water
'¦ especially if you don't have adequate filtration -- but
even when you do.>
Spike hasn't eaten in almost two weeks. She's not interested in
ReptoMin pellets, freeze dried baby shrimp, alfalfa sprouts or
anything. The vet told me to coat her food with calcium powder, but
she's just not having it!
<Loss of appetite in conjunction with sudden restless
behavior/frantic swimming is often associated with a (sexually mature)
female turtle needing to lay eggs (yes, even when there is NO male
around!!) At 5', Spike is starting to approach the 'age of
sexual maturity'! See end of this note.>
Her water temp is 76 and her basking temp is 86.
<76 degree water is on the warm side; 86 degree basking temperature
is on the cool side. As above, I'd aim for a water temperature of
70-72 degrees F and a basking temperature of 88-89 degrees.>
She lives in a turtle tank that's 18in x 36in, but I take her out
for backyard adventures a few times a week to explore. I noticed an
email with a turtle acting similarly where you told the owner to wash,
wash, wash everything out...so I did that...and her behavior still
persists, along with her alarming lack of appetite. I just don't
know what to do! I've racked my brain for some sort of
environmental change, but I can't think of a thing. I don't
want her to hurt herself with all the violent swimming...and I
can't sleep at night with her splashing around!
<There are a couple of things that initially come to my mind about
Spike's sudden over-activity:>
<The first is that she may be too warm.>
<Warm water increases a turtle's metabolism and causes them to
become more active. Spike's excess shedding is another possible
indicator that her metabolism/growth rate is high and that her water
may be a bit too warm. Are you using a water heater? If so, no need to
unless (as one of my fellow crewmates has joked many times, you live
north of the Arctic Circle!!) Contrary to what's stated on many
other websites, as long as you provide Spike with a warm basking
option, the water temperature can and should be kept in the low
<With summer approaching, warmer air temperature could further be
adding to the overall affect of her feeling too warm. Even though Spike
is an indoor turtle and not as significantly impacted by the outdoor
climate, my own experience with indoor turtles has been that they often
sense the increased humidity and warmer air temperatures indoors as the
warmer outdoor weather of spring and summer approach.>
<Her open mouth as she's swimming is an indicator that the air
inside her aquarium may be too warm and/or humid, and that she's
trying to seek out cooler air to breathe. Warm, humid air has less
oxygen density. As a result, she may be opening her mouth and possibly
breathing faster and/or heavier in an attempt to take in more
<Besides being too warm, the 2nd thing that comes to mind with
Spike's sudden frantic behavior -- especially in combination with
her sudden loss of appetite -- is that she is gravid and needs to lay
eggs!! This is very common behavior displayed by a female turtle
looking to nest! As noted above, a female RES can be gravid without the
presence of a male; the eggs just won't be fertilized. You
mentioned Spike is 5' long. Captive female RES turtles can become
sexually mature as 'early' or 'young' as 3-5 years of
age with a carapace length of 5'. So it may be your little girl has
finally grown up!!>
<Given that it's springtime, and Spike is now in the 'sexual
maturity range', it's very likely that she IS in fact gravid
(carrying eggs). If so, it's VERY important that you set her up
ASAP with an appropriate nesting spot outside of the water for her to
be able to dig and lay her eggs. If she is prevented from, or unable to
lay her eggs, she can become egg-bound. This is an extremely serious
health condition that can cause a very painful death. So it's
important you act now. Here are 2 links to guides for you to read about
egg laying and how to build an appropriate nesting spot for Spike:
Any help is appreciated, thanks for all you do,
<You're welcome, Jenn! Please try these things out and let us
know what happens with Spike!>
RES... something -- 06/09/10
You probably haven't even seen the other email I forwarded you last
night, and in the meantime I checked this morning and already have a
new one! (By the way, I DID reply to one question yesterday on my own!)
As far as the question below, though, I know you say NEVER release a
turtle back into the wild, but since this turtle was JUST found and was
likely trying to dig a spot to lay eggs, should I suggest she take it
back to the same spot ASAP or should I suggest she try and find a local
rescue group to take it in?
It looks like she has no intention of keeping it. Also, any idea of why
the turtle might have been covered in ants? Is this normal for a wild
turtle or is it a sign of a possible disease?
I was at the park today and we found a big red ear slider on land
covered in ants trying to dig. we took it home and washed it off with
the water hose. its covered in moss should I clean it then release it
where I found it or just release it? I was just wondering because we
have a red ear turtle and I wash him once a week a web site said that a
clean turtle is a healthier turtle is this true?
Releasing a wild turtle, keeping turtles clean, RES
beh. -- 06/9/10
<Hi Krystal, this is Sue here with you.>
I was at the park today and we found a big red ear slider on land
covered in ants trying to dig. We took it home and washed it off with
the water hose. It's covered in moss. Should I clean it then
release it where I found it, or just release it?
<Normally, we recommend NEVER to release a turtle back into the wild
even though we may have only had it a short time. However, because you
just found yours today and it appears as though it's a
"she" and was likely trying to dig a hole to lay eggs, I
checked with another colleague of mine to get his opinion. He replied
that it's ok to release within a day or two... if she appears to be
in good health and has had no contact with other turtles. This is to
avoid the potential of her harming other creatures she will come in
contact with, since she could be carrying new
types of germs on her which are foreign to that environment.>
<I would recommend that rather than clean her, you just hose her
down as you did, and try and release her as close as possible to the
spot where you found her. Turtles carefully choose spots to lay eggs,
and the spot where
you found her is apparently the one that she favored. It's very
important that you release her as soon as possible, as it can be
extremely harmful to prevent a female turtle from laying her eggs when
I was just wondering, because we have a red ear turtle and I wash him
once a week. A website said that a clean turtle is a healthier turtle.
Is this true?
<If you're referring to a turtle you find in the wild, it's
more important to just leave them in the wild and not try to remove
them from their habitat. This is the environment their bodies have
become accustomed to.>
<In the case of your own turtle, it's not necessary to wash him
weekly; however it is necessary to be extremely diligent about keeping
his WATER extremely clean - including weekly water changes and cleaning
food and poop right after he's done eating so these things
don't start decaying in the water. Please see the following care
article which covers this and other great care suggestions in greater
<Good luck! Hope this helps.>
Turtle Shaking & Not Eating! Need Help Please!!
'¦ my name is Nicole
<Mine is Darrel>
'¦. and I am a new owner of a baby (2inch) Red Eared
Slider (Michelangelo). About a month ago, my fiancÃ©
was on his way home from work and they were selling them on a corner
(which I later found out was illegal to sell or own baby turtles).
<NOT illegal to own them (in most places) usually just illegal to
sell a water turtle with a carapace (shell) length of less than 4
inches except for educational purposes.>
Anyway, we had him in his plastic container for a day or so until we
could get to the pet shop and get an aquarium and such. For the first
week, he did not eat anything and did not know how to swim!
<Maybe just stressed out>
I was getting so worried! It wasn't until my fiancÃ© came
home with some printed out aquarium pictures for the tank and as soon
as I put them up, he immediately started running around his docking
platform and diving into the water.
<Interesting. Most likely, what he saw out the glass where the
pictures went frightened him.>
By the next day, he was swimming and holding his breath going down to
the bottom of the tank and best of all, he was eating! I was so happy
he was doing great! I figured he was stressed out about the
<My guess, too>
I have tried multiple food with him, crickets, lettuce, meal worms,
turtle food, minnows and the only thing he would eat for sure was the
meal worms and turtle pellets. Therefore, I would feed him twice a day,
pellets in the morning before I went to work and meal worms at night
around dinner time. I would cut 2 or 3 pellets in half in the morning
and chop off the heads of the meal worms and cut them into 3's or
halves depending how big each worm was at night. He seemed to love it!
He was active and playful and curious about everything. When holding
him he would run around in your hand, never shy! However, this past
Sunday, May 23rd I was out and my fiancÃ© tried to feed him.
He called me and said he was not eating. I thought that he was just
doing something wrong. When I came home, I tried to feed him and sure
enough, he did not eat. I thought ok maybe he just is not hungry. I put
him back in his tank and tried again Monday morning. Again, he did not
I have tried every day twice a day since Sunday to try to get him to
<A bit strange>
After observing him and watching his movement, I noticed that when he
is on his docking platform he does this weird spasm thing where he is
almost shaking and jolting. He goes up to the water as if he is about
to go in and
then jolts back. The best way I can describe it is that it looks like
he is hiccupping! When I take him out and put him on the bed, he runs
around like he is perfectly fine. However, as soon as I pick him up I
can feel the muscle contractions in his little body and it seems as
though he leaps unwillingly. I am just so confused because I have been
doing the same things I have been doing for the past few weeks and he
was doing great.
<OK - first lets' everyone calm down. Nothing TERRBILE is
Please! I hope someone can help. I am so scared for him. It breaks my
heart to think that something bad might happen. I am taking any and all
<OK - that right there is a bit overboard. Let's NOT take any
& all suggestions .. just one at a time>
What other food could I try to get him to eat? After this, I am unsure
as to what to feed him and how to keep a well balance diet. I thought
the pellets were good for the vitamins and the meal worms were good for
What should I do?
<First, regarding food. I feed my hatchlings Repto-min turtle
pellets and small-sized Koi pellets. After about 4 months and for the
rest of their lives, I feed them just Koi pellets (a perfectly
balanced, perfectly complete diet for Sliders & family) with just
an occasional earthworm (like maybe one a month) just as a treat.
Mealworms have very little nutritional value and are high in fat as
<If he doesn't act right where he's living, let's let
him live somewhere else. If you can come up with a plastic tub that you
can put just a tiny bit of water in (just up to the bottom of his neck)
and just a slab of stone, wood, etc. that he can climb out on
'¦ move him to something like this for a day or two and see if
his behavior changes. Turtles don't have a particularly complex
nervous system so complicated neurological conditions are unusual. Not
to mention, of course, that if it WAS some weird medical condition
it's unlikely we'd be able to treat it anyway.>
<So here's what I'd do. I'd take him out of the tank
that he doesn't seem to like and place him somewhere else like I
described above for a few days. Keep in mind he still needs a warm
& dry plus cool and wet. Still needs UV light, etc. -- but some
place different. On the VERY off chance that he's had a fall or a
tumble and his stomach is twisted, pick him up & hold him head up
(to the ceiling) & tail down (to the ground) for 3 or 4 minutes.
Just hold him steady and calmly. At first he'll probably struggle,
but eventually he'll relax. I can't even TELL you small the
chances are .. but what the heck, you probably have an extra 5 minutes,
don't you? After that, place in his new digs and see how he
<Don't sweat the food right now. Don't offer food for 3 days
and then place him in shallow water and offer one turtle pellet and see
what he does. If he ignores it, skip two days and try again on the
Are there any medicines for this?
<Not until & unless we see an actual condition to treat>
I love him so much and will do whatever it takes!
<First, take a breath, next take your time & third, give him
some space. It very well could be all the handling that is the source
of his discomfort.>
Red Eared Slider different behavior
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had my Red Eared Slider for about 6 years now, but over the past
few months, he has been acting differently than ever before. He swims
around frantically, paddling so loudly that I can hear him throughout
<sounds like he wants out>
He will occasionally bask and calm down, and he sleeps at night, but he
will exhibit the frantic paddling for hours during the day. Yesterday,
he tried to climb out of the tank off his basking area several times
which he has NEVER done. I lowered the water level to try and
<Water level shouldn't be the main deterrent. Sliders are
AMAZING climbers. A well fitting top is the proper answer>
Also, his tank gets cloudy within less than a week now which seems to
have been happening for about as long as the paddling.
<That may be a clue>
I took him to the vet a few weeks ago since I thought maybe he had a
respiratory infection (making a slight whistling sound when he would
surface) and he was on Baytril for 10 days orally. He seemed better,
calmer for a few days but he is back to the paddling. Would love any
suggestions of how to make him happier and back to his normal
<There are several issues. One, has he outgrown the enclosure? Two,
if HE hasn't changed, what HAS changed? Any possibility there's
a small electrical leak into the water from a filter or heater (there
shouldn't even BE a heater)? What about noise and/or vibration from
something NEAR the tank? Go through ALL things like that and try to
imagine what may be different from HIS point of view>
<Now to our clue: the cloudy water. COULD be that he's simply
stirring up more gravel and therefore 'unleashing' contaminants
from the bottom into the water. OR his activity AND the water color may
be a pointer to something wrong WITH the water!>
<My suggestion is that you do a complete tank breakdown. break down
your tank, wash the components in salt water (or ordinary table salt
mixed in ordinary water) and get them as clean as you possibly can.
Rinse the tubes
and hoses in hot, hot, HOT water and then set it all back up -- gravel,
filters, logs ... just like usual ... but OUTSIDE somewhere. Fill it
with the normal amount of water and then add 2 cups of chlorine beach
gallon of water. Make it stink. Then run the full system, pumps,
heaters, whatever ... for two days. This will kill bacteria, fungus,
and almost anything organic.>
<Now we're half done>
<Now rinse. Rinse again and then rinse more. Drain all the water,
refill with fresh water from the hose, run the system for an hour and
drain THAT ... and then repeat.>
<Now dry it off as needed, take it back inside and set it up just as
you would a brand new system (because it is). THEN let's see if
Herkabie settles down>
Re: Slider different behavior 5/26/2010
Thanks for the suggestions & I will do that after I run one other
thing past you. Could he be a she and wanting to lay eggs?
<That's fine with me!>
<Oh .. wait. You're asking if it's likely, not if I minded.
<At 6 years old, "He" would have longer from claws that
would look clearly like fingernails. SHE would not. I always thought
this to be a cruel joke of nature, given how hard human females work to
grow their nails '¦.>
<If she's a she, it's possible. Not terribly likely, but
Re: Slider different behavior 5/27/2010
Her(?) claws are so long that she scratched me and made me bleed when I
took her to the vet.
<In the Slider & related families, the MALES have the long nails
on the claws, not the females. When we say 'long' we mean LONG.
Exaggerated. Take a look at this turtle article
about 3/4 down the page, a Yellow bellied slider on it's back - and
note the length of the nails. That is, without question, a
I have created a nesting place for her, so I'll see what
Thanks for your help!!!!!!!
Biting- Red eared sliders
<Hiya - Darrel here>
we have three red eared slider in a 75 gallon tank, two boys and one
girl. the boys like to put their hand above their heads and tap each
other in the heads with their finger nails, what does that mean?
<Usually the boys wave their nails in a fluttering action in front
of the girls. Waving in front of each other in an unusual sign of
and second the female is becoming more aggressive toward the other two
unprovoked. what can we do to calm her down? should we get rid of one
of the males or just separate them altogether.
<This is a sign of mating behaviors. In a month or so she might
start acting restless, swimming fast and climbing in and out of her
basking area as if she's looking for something. When that happens
you should provide her a nesting box and you may get some eggs!>
<In the mean time, try rearranging things. Move the basking area and
redirect the lighting, move any rocks or decorations around. Sometimes
that eases tensions. If that doesn't help, remove one of the males
for a day: give him a warm dry box to stay in with a towel and maybe a
heating pad in the bottom. Don't use a heat lamp unless you're
SURE he can get far enough away from it not to burn himself & make
sure the sides are HIGH - turtles can be remarkable climbers.>
<Put one male in there for the day, perhaps putting him back in the
tank in the evening at feeding time -- then put the other male in the
box the next
day. Keep this up for a week and see if the changes and separations
ease her anxiety.>
Re: RES Turtles 5/13/10
One other thing, the male is about 4 3/4" seems to be very
nervous. He swims at the side of the tank very frantically like he is
trying to get out. Is this normal and why does he do this?
<It's a behavior that many exhibit from time to time. Sometimes
it's as if the glass barrier is a concept beyond their
comprehension '¦ other times it's just something they do
periodically. Is this something often done in your presence? If you
peak from around a corner, does he calm down after a time? If it's
true constant when in the water, there may be an irritant or something
disturbing him. Make sure there's no stray electrical current it
the water ... no heaters (shouldn't be there anyway), remove any
powerheads (just to see if it makes a difference) and finally, simply
rearrange the items in the tank. See if any of that calms him>
The female is 6" and has grown very rapidly to over take the male.
She seems to be pretty calm. We are just guessing that they are male
<Likely yes. The females grow much larger, while the males grow long
fingernails on their front claws>
Thanks for all the information its been very helpful.
<Yer welcome - Darrel>
RES gravid and hibernating? 05/07/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My rescued 2+ year old RES which I was told by a vet was a male, turns
out gravid after I noticed that she dropped single eggs on two separate
occasions about 2 days apart.
<That pretty much overrides the Vet's opinion, doesn't
She does seem to have more, as the area behind her rear legs is
indicating. I proceeded to get some moss in efforts to provide a
nesting area, I covered the tank so she would lay them.
<Not sure what you mean by 'covered the tank' I'm
guessing this is not her usual tank filled with water & a basking
Next morning now she is herself buried under the moss with a toe
sticking out. Should I be concerned at this juncture?
<Nope - not yet. You've given her an entirely new environment
and she's adapting to it. Let her just 'be' in the new
setup for a few days, maybe a week. Make sure she has access to water,
even if it's just a shallow bowl she can climb into, and otherwise
let her have some time.>
<Here are a couple of links -- the first is general care on Red
Eared Sliders -- just review it and compare how you keep her to the
guide. The second is on eggs and incubation. The chances are probably
95% that the eggs are not fertile '¦ but we never know FOR
SURE '¦ so maybe, if she lays more, you can try to incubate
She has shown no real issues other than what I have described in the
two years I've had her.
<Sliders tend to be issue-free and easy to care for. Just don't
let her near your checkbook or ATM card '¦ Sliders and Cooters
are COMPLETELY irresponsible with money and credit!>
<Hope it helps!>
Red Ear Slider, beh., eyes
<Hiya right back!! Darrel here>
I have a 2 year old, male Red Eared Slider.
<Is his name Herkaber, by any chance?>
Nothing is new with the tank...I do frequent water cleanings and filter
changes albeit not very often water changes.
<Turtles are very tolerant of water quality>
I've noticed over the past 3 days, my poor turtle doesn't keep
his eyes open underwater.
Above water, no problem. He is also not eating as much as usual. His
eyes don't appear to be swollen or any mucous or such. Like I said,
I know I don't do as many water changes as I know I should. I did
just do a complete water change about a month ago. What can I do to
help him out?
<This is just about the worst kind of symptom, Kymberly -- a symptom
with no indicator. No one thing that can clearly be seen as a starting
point to investigate. It's temping to think that it's water
quality and he closes his eyes simply because the water irritates his
eyes, but when you see their native environments they generally seem to
function across a HUGE swing in quality and consistency.>
<There are two ways to go here, Kymberly and I think you should try
both. First, obtain a gallon of distilled water and pour it into a
plastic tub (like a shoebox size) and set it next to Herkaber's
tank overnight '¦ let the water temperatures equalize. Then
when you have the time, take him out of his take and put him in what
will be, for all intents and purposes, pure water. No matter what,
he'll likely open his eyes for a while (because it's all new)
but see how he does after 15 or 20 minutes -- then put him back in his
take and see if the closed eyes are back. It will tell us
<Now here's the more likely thing: Long term conditions have
been less than perfect and up until now he's tolerated it, but
it's starting to take it's toll on him: Basking temp? UV-B
light? Diet? Water temp? Light cycles (day/night)? Compare your keeping
and conditions at every step against this care guide written by an
absolute genius at turtle keeping and see if there is anything to
correct or improve.>
Re RES... -- 03/20/10
Thank you so much for responding...and in a very timely manner too!
By the way, close with the name! Haha (It's Hurley)
<Amazing '¦ considering I make up half this stuff as I go
Anyway, I did what you said,
<Always good to do as I say.>
<Not so good to do as DO '¦.. but that said, some of the
most fun I've ever had came from the worst decisions I ever
I put my turtle in distilled water and he did great! His eyes stayed
open right from the start and he even started eating again! So I
changed the water in his tank. I'm keeping a log of environment
conditions like you said and hopefully this won't happen again!
<The weird thing is that the kind of sensitivity you described is
unusual in the entire genre so it makes me wonder what WAS the issue
with water quality. Hmmmm>
PS, I love the "absolute genius" thing.
<I'm fond of it myself -thanks!!>
Red Eared Slider Swims Funny After Eating
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 5-year-old red eared slider, and about a month ago, she
started shedding her scutes. The scutes were thin and didn't seem
to bother her, and the shell underneath seemed to look fine, so after
some research, I just figured it was normal, and let it be.
<Very normal. Growth. Your little girl is growing up!>
About three days ago, after she ate her dinner, she started swimming
funny, and freaking out by tucking her arms inside of her shell, and
curling her tail in and swimming backwards in the tank. The episode
would last a few seconds, then she would calm down, and a few minutes
later, she would do it again. I watched this go on for about an hour,
then decided that I would go to bed and check her out in the morning -
because it was late, and there was nothing I could do at that point.
The next morning, when I woke up, she was perfectly fine and basking
like usual. She was fine all day until night time when I fed her again.
About 5 minutes after she ate, the same thing started happening with
the arms and tail tucked in, swimming erratically.
The next morning, she was fine again. Today, I just fed her, and again,
the same thing happened, so now, I'm very sure it is somehow linked
to her eating. I'm just feeding her some greens, chopped-up
carrots, and turtle pellets - her regular diet.
<The technical term for this is "weird">
I mentioned the scute shedding just because she had never shed a scute
before until last month when she shed about 10, and I didn't know
if it could be related in any way to this new issue. Her tank
temperature is about 80 degrees like it's always been, and her
basking temp is around 85.
Today, turned up her water temp to around 85, and I moved her heat lamp
a few inches closer to her basking area to bump up the temp there a bit
to see if it would help, but it didn't seem to make any
<WAAAAAAAY TOOOOO HOT!!!!!>
<WAY TOO HOT!>
<way way WAY too hot!>
<Um, did I mention that the water is too hot??>
<Water temp 70-74 MAX and basking temp around 88-90>
<Her problem is that you have her metabolism jacked up so high
there's no 'off' time. She's digesting too fast,
growing too fast and shedding too fast.>
I'm worried about her, but I don't have any money to take her
to the vet.
What's wrong with her? Is this something I can treat on my own?
<Not vet needed. Let the water assume room temperature (unless you
live north of the Arctic Circle) and set the basking temp around 88 to
90 and let her choose -- and she'll be fine>
<Also, standard rule here with turtles: NO IN-TANK HEATERS.
Thank you very much.
<No problems NOW! Read here: