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FAQs About Turtle Identification 4

Related Articles: Turtles, Shell Rot in Turtles, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care,

FAQs on: Turtle Identification 1, Turtle ID 2, Turtle ID 3,
Related FAQs: Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, & by Species: Musk/Mud Turtles, Softshells, Snapping Turtles, Mata Matas, Tortoises, & Amphibians, Other Reptiles,

Turtle identification    4/5/20
Good morning . About three weeks ago I found this guy under my bushes. When I spoke to him , he reached his head out curious and then approached me. He has been living in my yard since. Seemingly happy. I have no idea what he is eating . I have offered every kind of fruit, vegetable. If anything he is
catching the fruit flies that gather on them. We have a man made lake across the street. I live here 36 years I have never seen a turtle on this side. I think he was a pet considering how friendly he is. Can you identify for me so I can care for him ( actually I think its a girl) properly.
Thank you for your time
<Definitely a slider of some sort, either a Cooter (such as Pseudemys coccina) or else a Yellow Bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta). Telling them apart isn't especially easy, but the green blotches on the front of the plastron are more similar to the Yellow Bellied Slider. Both species can be kept as pets, in much the same way as Red Ear Sliders, as here:
Older specimens like this one are more herbivorous but they are omnivorous for sure. Koi Pellets make a good staple. If kept indoors, UV-B lighting will be essential, otherwise you'll find yourself taking an expensive trip to the vet sooner or later. You can get very convenient combined heat/UV-B lamps that do a great job! No need to heat the water, but a filter will help to keep it clean (these animals poop underwater, which gets messy real quick). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Turtle identification      4/8/20
Thank you for your email. I just have a few questions. This possible slider is at least 14 inches .That bowl is 12 inches. Do they really get that big?
<Yes, they can. Like most reptiles, and unlike mammals, they will grow until they die. So you can get exceptional sizes, though Sliders tend to max out at around 20-30 cm/8-12 inches. Cooters can get a little bigger.
Bear in mind these nominal sizes are the shell length, not head to tail tip.>
Your article says 8 inches.
<Shell size. Now, I'm not 100% sure on my identifications. So some homework for you! Firstly, does the turtle have webbed feet (often with long nails) or robust, rounded feet (often with blunt claws). If webbed, then for sure he's an aquatic freshwater turtle, what in England we'd call a terrapin. If he has robust feet, he's what we'd call a tortoise, meaning he doesn't go into the water. Check this first. Freshwater turtles of North America are all much of a muchness in terms of care, with the exception of Snappers, so while you might not ID the species, you can be fairly comfortable with regard to size, diet, behaviour, etc. Terrestrial turtles, i.e., tortoises, are invariably herbivores with a taste for carrion given the option, so need a plant-based diet with fresh greens of various kinds, plus occasional meaty treats.>
I ordered a 36 inch pool to put in the yard. I thought I would dig a hole and put it in so he/ she can get in and out easily.
<Very important. Also, if you plan on keeping this as a pet, will be a secure fence to both keep him in the pond area, but also to keep predators out. Foxes, raccoons, dogs, etc. will all have a go at a Slider or Cooter given the chance.>
Possibly get a filter down the line if he / she likes it.
<Depends on the size of the pond, but yes, if you want to see more than murky water, a filter is useful.>
If not I guess I should bring him / her to a lake or river.
<Agreed, that's usually the best thing with wild-caught animals. Getting in touch with your local Fish & Wildlife agency can be helpful, or a university with a local biology programme. Some reptile shops offer good advice, too.>
I do have to say it really seems happy here. It comes right up to my dog when she is out there sun bathing. It has been a good distraction for all if us being stuck home.
<I would imagine!>
I just don't want to bring it any harm. Other than koi pellets do you think minnows would be a good idea?
<A bad idea. Minnows are (a) not their natural diet; and (b) full of fat and thiaminase. Sliders and Cooters, indeed, most American freshwater turtles apart from Snappers, are omnivores that become more herbivorous as they age. Short term, things like white fish fillet, earthworms, shellfish, even beef heart with the fat removed can be used to entice a turtle into feeding. They also enjoy all sorts of aquarium and pond plants, including good old Elodea.>
I really don't know what it is eating now. I have offered every fruit and vegetable. I guess he just living off the land. He has the whole yard to roam. I am sure there are lots of bugs. Any advice?
<In a garden pond turtles will indeed live largely off the land, as you say. But do read the previously linked articles re: feeding, because these animals are really not difficult to feed.>
Thank you for your time.
<Welcome. Neale.>

Wondering what kind of turtle we have     1/13/19
<<Sara, howsit?
> Please re-size and re-send your msg. The pix files are too large. Kbytes please, not Mega. BobF>>
Not sure how to do that.
<This is as good as any!>
Let me know if these worked
<Looks fine to me. In any case, the turtles seem to be Yellow Belly Sliders. Lovely animals, for all practical purposes identical to Red Ear Sliders in terms of size, care, behaviour, etc. I kept one of each in the same tank, and the (yellow) male would even try to mate with the (red) female. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Wondering what kind of turtle we have     1/13/19
Oh cool! Thanks for getting back to me! So the yellow ear makes it a male?
<Nope. It's a whole separate species.
Just observing that I kept a male Yellow Belly Slider with a female Red Ear Slider and they got along as well as two turtles ever do.>
Appreciate your expertise!
<Glad to help. Neale.>

Re: Wondering what kind of turtle we have       1/14/19
Oh okay yes I have Googled more about our little one now. They are cousins v similar :) do you have any tips on telling age?
<Not really. They're not easy to age. Maximum size is around about that of a dinner plate, which they get to in around 5-6 years. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Wondering what kind of turtle we have    1/15/19
Thanks Neale.
<Most welcome.>
Apparently he was had by previous owner for just over a year now.
<Sounds about right.>
Still seems really small from what I thought anyways.
<Growth rate varies, and oftentimes females grow slower than males.>
Can the tank size or amount of water make this difference?
<Not much of a difference with turtles. Maybe a little bit. But so long as they're given enough food, and sufficient variety, they tend to all grow to near enough full size. Expect anything between 20-30 cm for most of the common "slider" species we keep as pets. Some variation, just as with humans, but none of them are pocket-sized.>
He was in a 30 gallon when I got him but there was only a couple of inches of water in it, sadly. Im not sure if he ever had much room to swim. Now that I've mostly filled the tank, he doesn't use his floating rock to bask much ...
<Indeed. Basically, these turtles use land to warm up (under the heat and UV-B lamp/s; the combined lamps are ideal) and then feed, cool down, and crucially, defecate, in the water. Many species hibernate underwater too; in the wild at least. Cheers, Neale.>

ID Confirmation Please     7/24/18
I walked out the side door of my garage this morning and found this pretty lady next to the concrete pad. Her gender became apparent when she started laying eggs right then and there. I think it might be a Chicken Turtle, but I'm not sure. I thought it also looked like a Suwannee Cooter. We live on the eastern coast of Florida, but not close enough to water though. I went back inside and took a closer pic of her shell and eggs from a window.
After I got the message composed, I went back outside to possibly get a better picture of her face, but she had disappeared. I don't know if the eggs will even make it through the night because we have lots of critters around here: raccoons, armadillos, etc.
<Apologies for late reply; our turtle experts seem to be out of town, so you've got me instead! Neither photo is really clear enough to be sure, but your suggestion that this is a Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia) is not at all unreasonable. But I'd also wonder about a Musk Turtle, Sternotherus spp., or Mud Turtle, Kinosternon spp., though these are generally much smaller than Deirochelys (around 10-15 cm versus over 25 cm). Now, when it comes to the eggs, I agree, these are unlikely to survive 'just left there'. It might well be that you can put a cage or box over them in the short term, but I don't know if it is legal to actually collect the eggs and store them safely. Moving reptile eggs is not trivial, because
if they are turned upside down it can prevent them develop. Refer to a local animal rescue centre for help here. Meantime, I'm cc'ing our turtle experts in case I've overlooked something. Good luck! Neale.>

what type of turtle is it?      9/19/16
hello i live in Indiana, i found a turtle a couple weeks ago almost dead i took him and made a house for him or her. i think he's a boy so i named him Trent. I've been doing research and all i have found id that he is a snapping turtle but that doesn't make sense. i get him out of his cage everyday and he lays on me crawls in my hand even my little 5 year old brother holds and plays with him with adult supervision. he has never bitten or anything. even a dog tried to eat him all he did was crawl away. i love him or her to death. can you please tell me what type of turtle he is and what his habitat should be like and what he should eat because i don't want to do any harm to him. (no i don't release animals back into the wild they have a better chance of survival when i take care of them) please let me know asap! thanks!!!!
<What you have there is a common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).
They make interesting pets, they can thrive on plain old ordinary Koi pellets without the need for any kind of live food.
There are only three warnings
1) They can bite fiercely and strike almost anywhere around the front HALF of their body, so the only way to hold them is by the tail with fingers support the rear of the shell
2) They have a really short temper which means warning#1 is nothing to forget about
3) They get REALLY big and then you have a huge, unwanted, dangerous animal on your hands. DarrelL>
re: what type of turtle is it?      9/19/16

Thank you for contacting WetWebMedia. We appreciate your email, but unfortunately cannot reply because it's in a format that we can't post on the site. Please correct your grammar, punctuation, and spelling, make sure the question isn't written in ALL CAPS or no capitalization at all and send it to us again. We aren't trying to be the "bad guys" here, but we are ALL volunteers, and we get dozens of questions every day - we just haven't got enough time to correct questions that aren't formatted properly. Please take some time to fix your question and write back; we will greatly appreciate this respect. Thank you,
<Gabe; am wondering if the writer here is a child. I/we try to make wide allowance for children, non-native speakers and folks of apparent diminished capacity. I sent this along to Darrel, and he has responded.

Turtle ID       8/26/16
I’ve been searching everywhere and can not figure out what kind of turtle this is. a lady didn’t want it. So I took it but she didn’t remember what kind of turtle it is. I have it in a 10 gallon tank but I want to make sure its not going to get too big.
<Much bigger. Its shell will get to side plate size -- 20 cm/8 inches long is about average.>
She said she's had it for a couple months. He goes from the water to the land and he eats his turtle food. I just want to make sure I’m not supposed to do any thing extra for it that I’m not already doing. thanks
<Looks like a Yellow Belly Slider to me, but I've cc'ed our turtle guy just in case I'm wrong. Certainly a slider of some sort, anyway! Basic care will be identical to that of the Red Ear Slider, as described here:
Do understand "turtle food" is actually not a very good staple for them. Okay as a treat, but a mix of green foods, koi pellets, and occasional bits of fish or seafood from the kitchen will work out much better. A source of calcium is required too, plus UV-B lighting. Other than that, these sliders are easy to keep, but unfortunately, like all reptiles, easy to kill too if you neglect the essentials like UV-B and calcium. Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle ID; comp.     4/9/16
Hi my name is Lisbeth
<Hiya Lis -- Darrel here>
and id recently found a turtle with a friend of mine
and i already have a turtle so we thought i should keep it but the turtle i have is a Mississippi map turtle im sorry if I've misspelled it but i was just wondering if it was okay for them to be kept together the turtle we found is a baby but i don't know exactly what kind it is I've attached a picture maybe you can help me identify it and answer my question about keeping them together that would be so helpful.
Thank you!
<What you have there appears to be a Red Bellied Slider and they are as cute as they come>
<From a care standpoint, they're virtually identical to the Red Eared Sliders and their family>
<The MAP turtle is very similar in terms of care and diet, etc. but requires a few extra considerations:
Water quality should be tip-top. Keep it clean and change it frequently.
Map turtles are more likely to develop skin of shell conditions from poor water quality. Next, because they are more shy and nervous, they really appreciate rocks and plants and other things they can hide behind or under when they feel the need. Other than that, those two will do fine together>

Help me identify this turtle     1/15/16
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
Can you identify this turtle?
<Her name is Brandett, daughter of Elvin and Maxine Chelona from Duncan, OK>
It was in Southwest Oklahoma near a highway in Altus Oklahoma
<She attended OSU for a few years but couldn't keep up with the hectic pace so she dropped out and just drifted for a while>
No .. I mean .. what KIND of turtle is this?
<Oh. Hmmm. The gold/tan color is unusual. The pictures, as best I can see, indicate she is a hard shelled water turtle but they are usually green/olive drab to black, so it's a bit confusing.>
<Could you send a picture looking straight down from the top and another straight up from the bottom? Since we don't need to publish these pictures ... the bigger the better>

Help me id turtle        8/21/15
Dear Crew
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
My husband found a turtle on the road it's shell was covered in thick algae can u tell me what kind of turtle it is? Its about 8 inches and i have gotten some of the algae off
<Well, Izzy - what you have there is an adult Western Chicken Turtle. The long nails on the front claws suggests that it's a fully grown male. Males more than females are often found crossing roads and travelling long distances to find new homes.>
<You might check with the wildlife agency in your state to see if it's a protected species.>

re: Help me id turtle        9/4/15
I wrote you about a week ago to help me id this turtle after doing some research i don't think its a western chicken turtle i got u some better pics with a like more shell showing could it be a red eared slider maybe?????
<Hmmm. Thing is -- shell shape or color isn't a primary indicator of species. The shell of most of the freshwater turtles of Slider, Cooter, Chicken turtle varieties are similar. Sometimes you can count the individual scutes and some will have an indicative notch or distinctive gular plate, but for the most part the shell doesn't tell.>
<A red eared slider will, by definition, have round, red oval patches behind the eyes where would expect ear openings to be. Sliders and Cooters have striped skin which is distinctive on the neck and throat area whereas the Chicken Turtles have a mottled, blotched look as shown in your photos.>
<OR - he could be a mix - they all interbreed.>
<In any case, the basic care instructions for the Red Eared Slider apply to your guy as well>

My turtle is still tiny...      3/17/15
Hello! About a year ago I found a tiny little turtle in my friends yard. I THINK he is a snapping turtle. He has a really long neck when he extends it and he is a feisty little thing.
<Hmm... a photo would help... there are various other long-necked turtles... Florida Softshells for example. Most long-necked turtles tend to be more predatory than the common Sliders, and potentially much more dangerous to you. Do get a photo, send to me, and I'll do my best to ID.>
He was about the size on a quarter when I found him. He lives in a 10 gallon tank with rocks in the bottom, some fake plants and a rock for him to hide under. He seems happy and healthy, but he hasn't grown very much (maybe the size of a silver dollar). He still eats the baby turtle food because I feel like the adult food is too big for him. I also give him some dried shrimp but he doesn't seem to like them much.
<Indeed not. Without identifying this beast, it's hard to say what his diet should be. Short term, try offering slivers of white fish fillet or live earthworms. If he goes for these, he may well be a carnivore, in which case pellets aren't the best diet. Indeed, pellets aren't much use for turtles across the board, despite their wide sale.>
I am wondering what I can do to help him grow or if he is on track?
<He is definitely undersized if he's still coin-sized a year after collection. Do let's see this chap! Cheers, Neale.>

TURTLE HELP!!!      7/21/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I got a turtle and I have no idea what species it is.
<Looks to me like you have yourself a Pelomedusidae which is a fancy way of saying an African Sidenecked Turtle.>
I looked at all the websites and I couldn't find one. I need help because he does this thing where he gets on the log at the bottom of the tank and he circles it. He keeps circling it. He never did it before. Should I be worried?
<Nope - he's just active>
I attached to pictures, if you can help me please email back. I don't know if I should be worried. He's the only one in the tank. I have a heater, basking dock, filter and decorations in the tank. And if you could tell me what species he is as well, that would be appreciated.
<The side necked turtles are more aquatic than most, so they appreciate clean, deep water, but they also need a basking site that provides both heat and UV-B lighting. Enclosed is the basic care instructions for the Red Eared Slider -- ALL of which is relevant to the Side Necked turtle as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
Thank you.
<Yer welcome. I can't say for SURE … but I think his name is Smiley>

Re: TURTLE HELP!!!      8/6/14
Hey, It's me again.
<That's funny - it's me TOO! (we got to stop meeting like this)>
Serious question though don't laugh but can turtles get aroused?
<Yep - that's where baby turtles come from>
I know it's weird but I swear my turtle has started almost it looks like his humping the log.
<That's not usually how it looks. You might check to make sure he's not got lose skin on his limbs>
I just need to know if I should be worried?
<Not really. Not unless he gets to your computer late at night and starts surfing the web for turtle pictures and then trying to explain it as "research">
Thanks for not judging.
<No problem>

Please identify this turtle 6/18/10
Dear Crew
<Hiya! Darrel here>
My friend in Alaska got this turtle 10 years ago from someone in an apartment and was told it was at least 10 years old then. So I assume it was a pet before he got it. He doesn't know what type it is but has had it in an aquarium with a small pond and a hiding place and light bulb/heating lamp and feeds it the likes of mixed vegetables and I'm not sure what else but seems healthy and happy...as far as I could tell. But for the life of me... and he never could find out what kind he is...the "bill" he has...I have no idea how that formed or if it is the nature of the species but it is hard but thin...like a toenail...perhaps. His nostrils are above his bill.
<What you have there Laurie '¦ is a 1971 Plymouth Duster with the 340 cu V8 engine in front of a factory 4 speed heavy duty transmission '¦'¦>
<Oops, wait '¦ wrong forum>
<Laurie '¦ what you have there is a very unusual version of a very common animal. That there is a 3 toed Box Turtle (Terrapene triungis) that is very, Very, VERY badly misshapen. Without doubt a birth defect from a poorly formed egg, as you can see if you compare any photos of a 'normal' box turtle. In the egg, turtles and tortoises develop "folded over" at the waist '¦ in essence folded in half. As they grow they straighten out and the plastron (bottom plate of the shell) is flattened to be "normal" as you can see in Louise there, her bottom didn't fully straighten out and is now a bulge.>
<This is one more testament to how resilient our turtle friends are. Louise (and I just made that up, I have no idea what her name is - or even if it is a "her") will live a fine & happy life in spite of some fairly severe differences.>
<Box turtles are terrestrial, Laurie. It's possible that a 3 toed box like Louise may never actually get to swim in anything we'd call deep water. Her enclosure should be primarily land with moss, wood chips and maybe even sand as a substrate with just a dish of fresh water to bathe in. Normally they start out as carnivorous as babies, feasting on worms and grubs and whatever else they can catch -- and becoming more vegetarian as they age.>
<Now you can look up all kinds of information on Terrapene triungis and get lots of specific information about her care (her?? There I go again!!) but at the same time keep in mind that nothing succeeds like success '¦ whatever your friend and you have been doing for the last 15-20 years has allowed something nature would have discarded to survive and even thrive!! Congrats to both of you!!>
Thanks, Laurie
<Yer welcome Laurie!!>
<Now '¦ I wonder if I told the guy with the Plymouth to feed it worms and melon and dip it in water twice a day '¦??>

3 baby turtles, ID, sys./fdg., hlth.      4/3/13
Dear Crew
<Hiya Taylor - Darrel here>
I was given 3 baby turtles this past Christmas and was told that they are red eared sliders but they do not have their red ears yet.
<That's not entirely accurate.  They are born with the red patch on each side, so they are most likely not Red Eared Sliders.>
<The genus' Pseudemys & Trachemys comprise a wide variety of turtles including the painted turtles, the sliders, the Cooters, and others - and for our intents and purposes as pet keepers, they are all the same - they have the same requirements.>

<So, assuming that they look in every other respect just like a Red Eared Slider, then they are probably Trachemys scripta scripta - the yellow bellied turtle.>
I put the three small turtles in a 10 gallon tank and they have almost quadrupled in size. I will soon be getting them a much larger tank. What I was wondering though is how am I suppose to regulate the amount of food that each of them receive?
<Feed them all they can eat in 5 minutes about 5 times a week.   Reduce that to 3 times a week once they are about the size of your fist>
I feel as though two of them are bullying the other one so that one is not getting as much food as it needs.
<That happens all the time.  Take the little guy out, put him in a shallow bowl of water (enough that he can stand it and put his head out.  Give him perhaps 10 minutes to calm down from the change - and then feed him separately.    If you do this at least twice a week, you'll know for certain that he is getting nutrition>
Also they "beg" for food every time I walk by and I am never sure when they are actually hungry and I do not want to over feed my turtles.
<Taylor - overfeeding is the single biggest health problem in our pets.  Because WE feel good when we eat and because we want our pets to feel good - we feed them.  Too much and too often.>
One more thing, how do I tell when they get stressed out?
<The first thing you'll notice (unless you see a physical injury) is a change in behavior.  A turtle that swims like crazy against the glass when you walk into the room - now sits on his rock and just watches.  Or a turtle that swims when you ever the room now swims ALL the time … like he can't stop.  Changes in their normal behavior.   Now, a change doesn't always mean a problem, so once in a while it's OK.  Like ONE day he just doesn't jump in the water to see you … should make you notice and wonder.  TWO days and now it's time to see if anything is wrong.>
<Here is the best guide on the planet.  Read, learn, understand and DO everything it says - and your little guys will be fine!  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Unusual Exhibit at The Singapore Science Centre    4/3/13
 We brought our nieces to the Singapore Science Centre and came across this Pig Nose turtle on display. It was confiscated from smugglers by the local authorities. Sorry for the blurry pic. The turtle was hiding in a hard to photograph corner
<Thanks for sharing Perry. BobF>

Singapore Science Centre turtles     4/3/13
 They have a Star turtle from India as well. I feel sorry for these  critters. They are going to spend the next 20 years in a little corner of the Singapore Science Centre
<Aye ya. BobF>

My new turtle, ID, care - 1/25/13
I'm sorry for disturbing but I'm really having trouble caring for my second turtle.
<Sorry to hear that>
My first turtle is a red slider and she has been really lovely since I brought her but then I brought another turtle that I don't know what it is (I attached a picture of her)...
<What you have there is a Trachemys scripta … a slider, just not a Trachemys scripta elegans (the Red Eared Slider) -- looks more like a yellow bellied slider from here>
<The good news is that the care is EXACTLY the same as for a Red Eared Slider and they get along fine>

First it didn't go in the water but after a while she started to get in the water
<It was just nervous>
But then I noticed something orange starting to form in her tail, legs and neck. And her shell started to get a bit of white.
*note: the orange thing is not showing in the picture because the picture had been taken a long time ago and I noticed the orange thing these weeks*
and in the place I live there is nothing for turtle no vets or even shops so I couldn't provide a vet care for the turtle so if u can please see what is my turtle and tell me if the orange thing is okay or not and if I have to separate her from my other turtle.
<Orange is not a color normally associated with any disease.  It's normally a stain from contact with something like a brick or a rock that is in or near the water.   Try cleaning the areas with some white vinegar and a cotton swab or towel.  Same with the whitish area on the shell.>
<The WHITE is often one of two things:  a fungus infection, which is not a good thing … but more often than that, it's just mineral deposits from the water.  Clean it with the vinegar and see how well it comes off>

What species is my terrapin?    10/31/12
Hi! I'm Jess and me and my mum have a pet terrapin called Squirtle who we think is a female. We got it from a friend but we don't know what species she is. She said her dad got it from the Middle East after he came back to England. We think she's only a juvenile because she's only about 3 inches long and she's 3 years old.  We've checked loads of books and websites but there aren't any terrapins or turtles that look like her. She has a black carapace, a yellow plastron, a short tail and a black neck and face with yellow stripes. We just want to know what species she is so that we know exactly what we need to care for our terrapin.
We hope you can help.
Could you please send two or three pictures of Squirt?   Out of the water and from different angles?

Identifying a turtle   9/13/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently came across a baby turtle during hurricane cleanup in Mississippi, so I'm not sure if its even a land or water turtle. I'm attaching a picture in hopes of someone being able to identify it so I can provide it with proper care.
<Kayla - what you have there looks like a baby box turtle … just about THE coolest land turtle there is. I'd like to see a side view and one from 3/4 toward the front just to be sure … BUT from here it looks like a Terrapene carolina. Lost of documentation on them on-line, great personable pets!>

Turtle identification    9/7/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently rescued this turtle from a 12 year old who had it living in its own filth, in a Tupperware container.
<Well now, Keira, a 12 year old living in his own filth is not that unusual.  They really don't even see dirt until enough of it has clumped together to support commercial agriculture.   The unusual part is a 123 y.o living in a Tupperware container>
<OH … wait …. You meant the TURTLE, didn't you?>
The turtle obviously has horrible shell rot. After researching aquatic turtle care on your site, as well as other sites, I dry-docked the turtle for 2 weeks and cleaned his wounds with vinegar daily. I also changed his diet to Tetra brand ReptoMin floating food sticks with calcium and vitamin C. I also provide an occasional krill or earthworm as a treat.
<So far - perfect!>
I just set up his new habitat (in a 40 gallon aquarium) and introduced the turtle back to an aquatic habitat, with a dry docking area, a basking bulb, UV lighting and water filtration.  I have researched everywhere I feel I possibly can to find out what kind of turtle he is and I can't find any turtle that looks anything like him. Can you identify the type of turtle he is?
<well - totally because of you, I can positively identify this turtle as a STILL ALIVE turtle!!!!>
I want to make sure I'm giving him the proper care and nutrition for his species.
<The pictures you sent are great, but between what could possibly be some shell damage and not knowing where the turtle came from, it's a bit harder to say than you’d think.  I'm leaning toward describing it as a Deirochelys … the Chicken Turtle.    And as long as we're in Good News mode - they are notorious for bacterial shell infections!>
<The chicken turtles are a bit more terrestrial than the sliders & Cooters, etc.  My ideal for a Deirochelys is a larger land-based enclosure with a large, but rather shallow tub for a pond.   Now, I realize that sounds complicated but it isn’t really.     If you took a 50 gallon show aquarium and placed a 24 inch x 12 inch Tupperware pan that has been cut down to a 6 or 7 inch height in one end (with a ramp of some sort) & fill the other with peat or potting soil, etc. he'd have a 50/50 enclosure.   Place the basking lamp as far away from the water as possible and the UV lamp right in the center.   In short order you’d find where he likes to spend most of his time and you can adjust the proportions accordingly.>
Do you have any advice for me to further make this turtle as happy as he can be?
<Generally speaking, turtles are easy to keep happy.  They don't need IPods (no ears) and they CAN'T be allowed near computers (they have no sense of self control when it comes to on-line shopping), usually they don't need much more than food, water, lighting, heat & basic cable TV.>
I appreciate your time, and I love your website, it's helped me with more information than I could ask for.
 Thank you,
<Yer welcome>

Please help me to identify my little buddy     5/26/12
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Can you please help me to identify my turtle?  My children found him in September in the cold rain, I believe he was just hatched, but needless to say, I have fallen in love with his little turtle face!
<They are neat, aren't they?>
I believe he is healthy, but would like to know what kind he is, so I can better care for him. 
Thank you so much,
Jenna, Michigan
<Jenna - what you have there is possibly THE coolest turtle on the planet!!  It's a Terrapene carolina … a Box Turtle.   They are fun, friendly, develop distinct personalities, inquisitive and easy to care for.>
<They're not water turtles, per se.  They live on land, usually NEAR water because they do like to swim.   They mostly eat snails and worms as babies and juveniles and then transition to more fruits and vegetables as they get older.   Just make sure, if you feed him snails, that there has been no snail-bait used.>
<For now, he belongs in the terrarium-type setup.  I make mine starting with a long plastic storage box from a building supply store … you can use actual peat moss on the floor if you want, but I usually buy a couple pieces of indoor-outdoor carpet (not the stuff that looks like fake grass) and put that in the bottom, then I place some tiny potted plants in various places.  He requires a source of UV-B and this can easily be accomplished with a Reptisun CFL bulb from Zoomed and a plain ordinary clamp-lamp with reflector that you get at the building supply store.>
<He'll grow slowly and as he does his shell will start to become much more domed.   He's likely to live over 80 years, too!>
<The only thing to warn you about is that they can tend to fixate on one kind of food and ignore everything else.  I had a box turtle named Bud that decided he wouldn't eat anything but strawberries.   It is a difficult habit to break.>
<Have fun - that little guy will be pleasure to have!>

Turtle Identification   3/1/12
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Please help me identify my turtle.
<His name is Gary.   He's the son of Odman and Clara Scmitterman>
I made the mistake of asking our local pet shop when we first acquired the turtle from my father-in-laws golf course. However, I have never been sure that they were right (they said yellow belly Cooter)
<Wow!  They're not only NOT right … the only way they could have been more WRONG is if they told you he was a toaster-oven>
and am afraid that my poor turtle may not have the proper conditions he needs, in fact I found him at the bottom of the aquarium almost dead from drowning this morning.
<He's a land turtle!>
He has a heater, turtle dock, UV light, and filter in his aquarium but honestly all my research makes me think he is not even a water turtle. Thank you so much for any advice you can give me. My girls and I love Squirt very much but I don't want him to suffer because they wanted him as a pet.
<Sorry it too so long to get back to you, Bree.  I hope Gary is OK>
<Gary (or whatever you named him, is a Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina).  They are some of the cutest and friendliest turtles around - and there is much information about them.>
<To start, they live on land.  They do swim sometimes, but usually just soak in shallow water.   His enclosure would be a solid floor covered in anything from newspaper to dirt or peat or even that indoor-outdoor carpet (it looks nice being green & all and you can take it out & wash it in the sink!)>
<He needs a heat lamp over part of his enclosure, but not a tremendously hot one (I used a normal 60 watt incandescent bulb) and he needs a UV-B lamp - the kind used for water turtles is fine.>
<A shallow bowl of water that he can climb into and soak in is good>
<Food-wise they eat snails, worms, grubs as well as fruits and veggies.   As a youngster he'll tend more toward the snails and worms.    I feed my young ones am earthworm or two every Saturday morning (Pet stores carry earthworms called night crawlers) and I offer a melon piece or a carrot end & top every Wednesday or so.>
<One thing they tend to do is "fixate" on one food and refuse all others.  I had an adult Box turtle that fixated on strawberries and wouldn't eat anything else.   It took years to get her back to eating regular foods>
Bree Scott and daughters :)
<Yer welcome!>

What breed are my Turtles/ Terrapins? 10/26/11
<Hiya - Darrel here!>
When I first got my turtles in April (they were six weeks old then) I was told that they were Yellow Bellied Sliders (I never really believed the shop owner, he didn't seem to know much about them or keeping them). I posted photos of them on a forum and was told that they were Red Bellied Cooters.
I came to WWM a while ago, to ask a question and was given great advice, and so I'm back again. :)
<Yeah - but THIS time you got me rather than Neale or Sue '¦ so the odds on getting more great advice is dicey>
I would really like to know what breed my turtles are, for obvious reasons.
<Because you want to race them?>
I know a lot about Yellow Bellied Sliders but have tried to find information on Red Bellied Cooters and am having a bit of difficulty, so, if they are Red Bellied Cooters could you please tell me if they are like YBS as that is what I've been treating them as for the last six months and I hope that it is ok.. I have attached some photos which I hope will be sufficient enough for you to tell what breed they are.
<Nice pictures.>
<Caralyn, you came to the right place. Here's what you need to know:>
<SLIDERS are green & yellow. Green shells (as hatchlings) with green and yellow skin.>
<COOTERS are black & yellow. Black shells with mottled yellow smudges and with black and green skin.>
<So what you have there are some cute little Cooters (Pseudemys concinna). Now as far as being RED BELLIED Cooters (Pseudemys concinna rubriventris) my guess is NO and the reason I say that is the red bellies usually have red or reddish-yellow on the underside of their carapace before it meets the bottom (carapace) and these don't.>
<For that reason, I believe you have Pseudemys concinna concinna - the Eastern River Cooter>
<Now for the good news: All of the Sliders, Cooters, Red Bellies, Yellow Bellies, Chicken turtles and all their aunts, uncles, cousins and kids all need EXACTLY the same care & the same diet, & the same '¦ everything!>
Thank you in advance
Caralyn Hosler
<Yer welcome!>
P.S. I live in the UK (I don't know if this will make a difference).
<Well, YOU live there so I imagine it makes a great difference to you. Me? Not so much. As far as the TURTLES are concerned, it means only a few things:
1) You have to call them terrapins and not turtles, otherwise Neale gets upset
2) You have to teach them the metric system, because they were born in the Olde Imperial system
3) On their birthday, you need to play a southern movie on the telly for them - something like Smokey and the Bandit (but for heaven's sake do NOT watch that yourself!!) - So they'll remember their heritage.

Re: What breed are my Turtles/ Terrapins? 10/29/11
Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it. As always funny and informative. :)
<SO '¦'¦.A grasshopper goes into a bar and he hops up on a stool and he orders a beer>
<While he's sitting there, the bartender walks up and tries to make conversation. He says You know '¦ we have a drink named after you!>
<and the grasshopper gets all excited and replies "Really??? You have a drink named Melvin?>

I have a question.. 10/13/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I was driving down the road today and witnessed a truck almost hit a turtle that was crossing the road.. My niece instantly fell in love with it and wanted to keep it.
<I understand>
Im just wondering if you can identify the species of turtle it is, and what to feed it..
<Yep - it's a Box Turtle!! (Terrapene carolina) and one of the coolest, neatest, personable turtles you can possibly have.>
<They like to swim, but they live on land '¦ can be very happy in a fenced garden, patio, etc. But I've even had them as house pets as long as you don't have a toddler to drop them or a dog to try to play with them - anywhere she's not likely to get stepped on.>
<At that size, her diet is mainly veggies and fruits, but they like snails and earthworms if they can get them. If you feed her snails, make sure they're not from a garden that uses snail bait, since that is toxic to her as well.>
I will enclose a few pics of him/her..
Thank you for your time...
<My pleasure! - one of my favorite turtles ever>

Turtle identification -- 10/07/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We live in Mobile Al and found this turtle in our back yard. We live close to a large lake. It laid eggs in the ground in the shade of a pine tree. Can you identify it for us?
<Sure. Her name is Alvis Box. She's 26 years old, daughter of Henry and Docka Box. She enjoys walks in the moonlight, 70's rock music and male turtles that are not afraid to cry.>
<Unless you wanted more generic information?>
<What you have there is a Gulf Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina major) one of THE coolest turtles on the planet. Smart, friendly and interesting. They are terrestrial turtles, living around the edges of water and not so much in the water. They enjoy swimming, but live mostly on land. As adults they eat mostly vegetables (the same kinds our parents tried to get us to eat) but will never pass up a snail or an earthworm if given a chance. They make great pets.>
<You have two choices with the eggs: Leave them where they are and let nature take it's course - in which case you need to place a 3 foot wide ring of chicken wire or hardware cloth fencing (enclose the top, too) to contain the babies when they hatch next year.>
<-OR- you can dig the eggs up and incubate them yourself with a much greater chance of the eggs hatching (if they're fertile, and not all layings are fertile). The trick here is to GENTLY dig them up, without breaking them or changing their orientation. It's tricky work '¦ just like the archeologists you see on TV "digging" 10 foot deep holes with paint brushes '¦ it takes patience '¦ but hey, what ELSE were you going to do tomorrow?
Here is a link on what to do and how to do it: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtleReproArtDarrel.htm >
<If you get babies, write back!!>

please help identify turtle 8/24/11
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We found this turtle on a sandy bay beach on Long Beach Island, New Jersey and we'd like you to identify it.
<Sure. That's Gary Terrapin. Son of Bill and Marjorie Terrapin.>
I'd like to know what kind it is. I'm thinking maybe a Northern Diamondback Terrapin?
<Your guess is spot on- that's exactly what Gary is>
Also, what should I feed it.
<Diamondback Terrapins need the same things other turtles need, Kerry- Water, land, basking heat, UV light, love, understanding, a sense of purpose in life '¦ and a smart phone with text capabilities!>
<On a more serious note, that little guy starts with the same basic care and the other hard shelled water turtles as noted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm everything regarding light, heat, temperature gradients, diet, etc. start out the same, so read and understand thoroughly and make sure you cover all the conditions>
<Now for a few differences. The Diamondback Terrapins are brackish-water turtles, which means they live in water that is saltier than fresh water and yet not as salty as sea water. But on top of that, they frequently swim in both fresh water AND sea water. For Gary, you should go to a Marine fish store (or maybe the ocean if you're close enough) and bring home 5 gallons of marine water (or seawater) and mix 2 gallons of that per 10 gallons of fresh tap water. That means if you're going to keep him in a tank with 5 actual gallons of water, make it 4 fresh and 1 saltwater '¦ for the first month or so while Gary is getting acclimated. Then you can gradually make it just plain fresh water.>
<Gary's natural diet is more meaty that the Red Eared Sliders described in the article '¦ in the wild he'd feed on clams, mussels and crayfish, etc. BUT there is no evidence that the really need that in their diet '¦ ReptoMin food sticks and decent quality Koi pellets are fortified with all the vitamins and nutrients a growing turtle needs.>
<Now the only bad news. SOME wild caught Diamondbacks do not adapt well to a freshwater-based life with a vegetarian diet. Gary is young and likely to do just fine, but you should be aware just the same. The SIGNS will be the same signs as any pet in captivity - is he active, alert and feeding well? Clear eyes? Aware of his surroundings? Does he react to you when you approach him? Running away (fear) is fine, as is looking curiously and even scrambling toward you in hopes of a meal '¦ but listless ignoring you and seeming to not know you exist would be a bad sign. (Unless you've recently had a fight with him and his feelings are hurt .. then he'll ignore you for a day or two). Don't over feed him. All the pellets or sticks he can eat in 5 minutes, 4 days a week. No more. Eating well and wanting more is another good sign that he is adapting well.>
<See that he gets some natural sunlight, don't let him have friends over until he's at least 6 years old -- and I was just kidding about the smart phone -- he'll run up THOUSANDS of dollars in charges, downloading apps he'd never use!!>
Sent from my cell phone. Please excuse any typos. :-)
<Sent from my office. Please excuse the insanity!>

hieee -- 07/02/11
I would like to know what kind of turtle my dad brought for me. I'm sending its pics. I searched everywhere but I couldn't get what kind of turtle it is. And I would also like to know how should I take its proper care?
<Your photos are too dark and blurry. Do also note that while we offer a free service in the sense of helping you for no money, we do ask people send images that are no larger than about 500 KB in size. Yours were MUCH bigger than that. Don't send the images straight from the camera. Use your computer to resize them down to about 800 x 600 pixels, and send that image. In the meantime, do read here:
Various Trachemys species are by far the most commonly kept turtles in the world, especially in the US and Europe. In some places, e.g., Pakistan, another species, Kachuga smithii, seems to be popular. Maintenance of most freshwater turtles is very similar. Do note in particular issues concerning diet (mostly green foods); basking (needs UV-B light in particular); calcium (in the diet); and temperature (warm basking spot, 25-30 C, but unheated water). Turtles themselves are often cheap, but the stuff they need (vivarium, filter, heat lamp, UV-B light) are moderately expensive.
Without these things they quickly sicken and die. Cheers, Neale.>

what kind of turtle is this. 6/23/11
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My family and I found this little turtle crawling in gravel by our old apartment.
We have put it in an aquarium and gave him/her rocks and light.
<Sorry - but NO! An aquarium isn't quite the right environment. That baby needs a terrarium>
We have been feeding him insects and dried brine shrimp and such as well as baby turtle food from out local pet store.
<Nope ... Fruits, vegetables, the occasional earthworm or garden snail>
We would really like to know what he is and if he is going to be a dangerous little guy/girl .
<Not only not dangerous, but one of the most personable and friendly turtles you're likely to ever run into>
Please help us identify him/her.
<Her name is Clarissa!>
<Oh wait ... you meant species, etc. didn't you?>
<What you have there is a Terrapene. A baby Box turtle. When they're babies, they have a normal (flat-looking) carapace and look just exactly like the little guy you have there. As She (or he) grows up, the shell becomes much more domed-looking.>
<Do some research on them starting here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/TurtIDSueG3.htm >
<They are some of the nicest and friendliest turtles ever!!! Good luck with yours!>

Found a big turtle in my yard 6/22/11
Good afternoon,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I found your website doing a search on Google. After reading through your other posts I only have two questions. Is this turtle a Yellow Bellied Slider (YBS)?
<She is a BEAUTIFUL Yellow Bellied Slider in great shape!!!!>
I found this turtle in my back yard which is not close (.5 miles) to a stream, and the front yard is on a busy road.
<It's possible, I suppose, that it's a long term captive in your neighborhood that escaped, but whether from a stream, lake, pond or pool, turtles like that can take INCREDIBLE walking tours in search of '¦ whatever turtles search for. I've come across them 3 MILES from the nearest water.>
Should I just put the turtle back in the yard where I found him/her, or should I take him/her to the stream in the park?
<What I'd rather you do is look on the Internet for a turtle & tortoise club in your area. Putting the turtle back in your yard (allowing it to just walk away) is dangerous and we never, ever, EVER, *E*V*E*R release an animal into the wild unless we are absolutely sure beyond question that we are releasing it back into it's native habitat. An experienced keeper in your general area will know if that species & subspecies is a local native and can be safely returned to it's wild state. More importantly, a guy might drive 100 miles to obtain a turtle that large & that pretty. I know I sure would.>
I think your website is awesome by the way.
<Thank you, thank you, thank you. We never tire of hearing that -- and allowing us to take the opportunity to make a shameless pitch right here in the middle of the daily FAQs '¦.
Lights, cameras drum roll & LARGE FONT PLEASE '¦..
Ladies and Gentlemen, if at any time now or in the future you feel so inclined, there is a "donate" button on the WWM web site. The donations received go toward paying for articles and other content that in turn make the web site even more awesome than before.
<thank you for your attention>
<Yer welcome!>

Trying to Identify Small Turtle about 1" to 1 1/2" 6/1/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Found following turtle in parking lot near the bay in New Jersey Shore (Long Beach Island)
See attached two pictures.
Thank you for your help,
Donna Jessie
<Donna '¦ the pictures you sent, 4 in all, have a certain lack of clarity that make identification difficult. My first instinct is that you have a Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta) but with such fuzzy pictures, it could also be a automatic choke assembly for a 1982 Honda Civic.>
<I wish I could be more help '¦ but here's a link that might help you www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/turtles.pdf >

Re: Trying to Identify Small Turtle about 1" to 1 1/2" 6/1/2011
Sorry that's the best I could do with the phone.
<It's OK - I just wanted you to know that it's not that I'm stupid (at least that's not THIS problem!) but that I just couldn't see>
Do you have a picture of the Wood Turtle that you could send me??
<yes, I tried to send THIS link the last time www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/turtles.pdf
and it didn't paste properly. Check out the Wood Turtle>
I went to the pet's store and they advised that they thought it was a type of snapper turtle.
<Nope. If you look at that little guy's plastron (the bottom of the shell) you'll see that it's a fully formed shell with little areas sculpted out for his legs, etc. Snapping turtles, like Mud & Musk turtles, have very small plastrons '¦ almost like a cross shape, with HUGE areas for their arms and legs. It's not a snapper.>
Could you give me an idea of diet.
<Not until we identify. Try the link above (now that I actually sent it) and let's zero-in on what he is>
Thank you,

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