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FAQs About other than Aquatic Emydid Turtles (Bog, Box, Cooter, Wood, Pond...)

Related Articles: Turtles, Shell Rot in Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

Related FAQs:  Painted Turtles, Yellow Bellied Sliders, Red Ear Sliders, Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Turtle Identification, 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, & AmphibiansOther Reptiles



Aquatic Turtle Beh.; "Sittin' on the dock of the bay..."  Repro.      12/27/17
<Hiya Darrel here>
i have 3 must turtles(2 females 1 male)in a large tank, one of the turtles is spending a lot of time on the docking station, is she looking for somewhere to lay her eggs?
<When they become gravid (with eggs) they get very active, nervous and almost frantic>
.Also don't have enough space in my house to separate the turtles to make another nest for her to lay them, if she is looking to lay eggs, will she just lay them in the tank?
<Yes, or she will just re-absorb them. It's not a problem at all>
<That said, Bradley - when a turtle changes behavior, watch it very closely. Is it alert and active? Does she eat? If she just wants to bask more, that's OK - but if she's not active and stopped eating THAT is a sign we need to talk about>
Kind Regards Bradley Saunders

My Mississippi Maps hatchling     7/23/17
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have a Mississippi map hatchling and a Peninsula Cooter in a 30 gal tank. Whenever anyone walks by the tank the maps turtle (Max) swims super crazy away. Now my Cooter (Thor) is beginning to do that to. Every day I pick them up and pet their heads and say there name and like hold them to my chest then give them a treat.
<That’s probably why they swim away. Being handled by humans is basically a frightening thing to them.>
I was wondering if the tank was too big and they don't feel safe or me picking them up is too early and now they are scared.
<That’s exactly right. To them, you are this HUGE thing and comes and takes them out of their “world” and does strange things to them>
<Although – they like the part about getting a treat>
Because I have a Red-Eared Slider that is bigger and when I put my hand in the water he comes and swims into it for me to hold I'm and say hi and then he knows he gets a treat. (its quite cute cuz he won’t get off my hand when I place it into the water, and when I do he moves his arms all crazy like, super excited for his treat. I also have a western side neck turtle who loves it also.
<You have it figured out. The Slider and the Side Neck have learned that you are a source of food and so they are excited by your presence.>
So idk what I am doing wrong with my babies and why they are so skittish. please help me I don't want them to be upset or them being stressed nor over stressed.
thank you so much,
Raelynn Rettinger
<Rae, you already have it figured out. They are skittish because they are scared. Remember that, in the wild, a baby turtle is just a prey item. Bigger turtles, snakes, alligators and birds – especially birds! And what does a bird do to a baby turtle? The turtle is in the water, minding his own turtle business, thinking turtle thoughts when along comes a HUGE monster that grabs the turtle and lifts it OUT of its water …. Just before swallowing it! The idea that being held close to another body is safe or nurturing is a mammal thing, not a reptilian thing. To them it means being eaten or being crushed.>
<My suggestion is that you stop handling them, give them their treats in the water until they associate you with food and good things and THEN you can start to handle them and treat them more like family … just keeping in mind that being handled will never feel like “fun” to them, so a little goes a long way>

Hi, I found this site. Emydid sys.      5/8/16
My name is Tera, I see you know a lot about red ear slider, my question is my daughter has two red ear slider and one painted turtles, how do I make or get a tank at a reasonable price. Plus I don't know if I'm taking car of them right. help me please
<Here Tera. They are easy (and cheap!) to care for. Rather than a pet store, a home improvement store will have everything you need except for one special light. here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

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>

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

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

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

New turtle mate?     6/22/15
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I've been reading on your website about turtles getting a new mate..but I never really found the answer I'm looking for. I have a female red ear slider a year old about 5-6 inches and I've been thinking of getting her a male western painted turtle..who seems to be about 4 inches.
<No problem>

My red ear slider was a wild turtle. We found her as a hatchling and the western painted is from a farm supply.>
<Would that be a problem? A wild and a pet store turtle?>
<Turtles are remarkably simple that way. They don't care where you come from or where you've been>
How do I know if she likes the western painted turtle?
<You'll never know "for sure" because turtle brains don't work like human brains. They live just fine alone and they live just fine in pairs or in colonies -- as long as there is enough room and enough food to go around.>
<Sliders, Cooters, Painted ... all those turtles that look so alike not only get along, they'll actually mate and produce cross-bred hatchlings.
The three keys are size, room and temperament:
A - if the turtles are about the same size they tend not to bully each other - or at least not as much
B - if there IS some fighting, then as long as one can get away from the other, things usually cool down. You housing arrangement should include some rocks, bricks or plants or the like so that one turtle can get out of sight of the other.
C - once in a long while you will just run into a turtle that just has a bad attitude. It doesn't happen often, but when it does you just can't house the two together unless it's a pond-type arrangement where they can have territories.>
<What I suspect will happen is the male will exhibit mating behavior (flashing his long nails in front of her eyes all the time) and just generally annoying her. At 4 inches he's mature and she is probably not until she gets bigger. She may nip at him and push him, etc. to stop him ... and that happens for a while until he settles down (or she get's used to the behavior) but that's not an all out BATTLE or anything.>
It would be great if I heard from you soon. Thanks for your time
<good luck!>

Co-Habitating RES       3/28/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two presumed Female RES. They are approximately 10 (she has been with me since 2010, but her actual age isn't clear, so 10 is a total guess) and 3 years of age (the 14 year old is about 5.5" head to tail, the 3 year old about 4".) After watching the younger one for two years in a separate tank, I moved her into a tank with the bigger RES and utilized a screen to keep them separated as the older turtle is much larger than the younger one. They have been living and co-habitating this way for about 12 months.
I was having filtration issues this week as the screen (Penn Plax Tank Divider) was not permitting water to pass through to be filtered as well. I have been filtering the water of the tank for 24 hours now and as I prepare to put the RES back in I wanted to see if you have any suggestions regarding either a better screen divider or if allowing them to share a space without the screen would be ok. They have been "sharing" the tank for a year now and I have had little issue with them showing aggression towards each other at the divider point, but wanted a few other opinions before I move forward with co-habitating them for real.
Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated :)
<I segregate my Sliders, Cooters, etc. based on size. When they are similar in size, as yours are, the aggression is usually mild and, I think, the most important thing: the target turtle can tolerate it well. An occasional nip from someone her own size hurts but heals. If the size difference were great (1.5 inch and a 6 inch) then no, never! In your case I'd completely break down and re-arrange the tank so that they both are in a "new-ish" home (as opposed to one being dumped into the other's
home) and then just watch for signs of aggression. What I mean by that is every once in a while for no real reason whatsoever, you can get a turtle that is just plain MEAN and can't be kept with others. So if you see one making its life mission to kill the other one for days on end .. then you need a tank divider or new tank>

map turtle sleeps sideways   2/21/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a map turtle which is a few years old. He has a 30 gal tank with heat and uvb lamps and a basking platform. He exhibits normal happy behaviour (seemingly),
<Yeah, well, so do I. In fact if you were to ask my neighbors, they'd ALL say "He seems like a nice guy, quiet, keeps to himself, always waves when he drives by ….">
basks normally, and is always a hungry fellow.
<Those are all good signs. Keep in mind that he SHOULD always be hungry. In fact all of us should be. Too much food is a bad thing.>
The only thing that worries me is sometimes I catch him kind of floating at a 45 degree angle when he sleeps. Not all the time and he easily corrects it. Should I be worried and have him checked out?
<Nope, Andy. Don't worry a bit. We're all unbalanced from time to time. As long as he doesn't try to buy a firearm or try to talk you into spending all your money on turtle toys, let him sleep sideways if he wants.>
<What is likely is that a he gas a small gas pocket in this lower gut an it moves around, sometimes being off center. As long as he can correct it … as long as it doesn't prevent him from submerging… it will most likely work it's way out over time>
Oh and he has a water heater that keeps the tank at mid 70's.
<I'm generally not a fan of water heaters. The water should be room temperature anyway, but since your heater is keeping the temp at the desired level probably should leave well enough alone>
Pic included
<Handsome guy!>

some questions. Please and thank you    12/23/14
Sorry for bothering you, but I've had a look through your articles but I can't find anything that answers my question (thought you'll probably tell me this is common knowledge).
1. I have bought (three weeks next Tuesday) four musk turtles. (Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo... yes... I am 28 years old and I still love the ninja turtles the 2003 version anyway lol). They are babies, only about the size of a 50pence piece if that. I'm not sure if their male or female, I think they might be too small to really tell.
2. The tank setup (currently) is a 112 litre tank with a large cave ornament (this will be removed when they get bigger as the caves they like to play in now will be too small for them), some plastic plants, and some bog wood stacked on top of each other. and some fish ornaments with flat tops for basking.
I have a filter (which for some reason keeps making weird noises like there's something stuck in it. I've checked, there isn't). I have a water heater (without it the water temp sits at 15 degrees c), with it on it sits at 22-25 degrees. The temp doesn't seem to bother them, and Raphael sits very close to the heater a lot. There's a UV light and a Basking lamp.
<You probably don't need the water heater, and in time my experience is they get broken anyway. Modern thinking is that turtles do best warming up under the heat lamp, cooling down in the water.>
3. They get fed ReptoMin daily, supa fish food every two or three days, and calcium supplement daily. They are fed outside the tank, and I handle them daily. Michelangelo loves it, (though I swear if he keeps trying to throw himself off the bed just to explore the floor I will not be pleased). They have never bitten me. I leave them out until their shells dry.
<Do need a better diet than this. Not tropical fish food, ever, for Sliders including Map Turtles. Much too rich. Koi Pellets are better, ideally mixed with some fresh greens and very occasional meaty treats such as earthworms.
Do read WWM re: turtle diet. Musk Turtles are somewhat different, of which more will be said shortly.>
4. I'm getting a map turtle in January (Ii couldn't not get it, it looked lonely!) which I shall call Oogway (from Kung fu Panda).
Ok, so here's my actual questions. Can Common musks and map turtles live together without problems?
<Not really, no.>

When they get older I will be getting a second tank, I want to set up an over tank basking area that will basically be a bridge between the tanks.
Is this a good or bad idea?
Anyway, thanks for listening to my mad ramblings. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.
<Bear in mind Musk Turtles are smaller (so easily pushed about by much larger turtles, though they themselves can be snappy), somewhat nocturnal (so feed at different times), and more omnivorous than Sliders (so need somewhat more meaty foods, such as mealworms, fish fillet, krill, etc. in their diet). It's a heck of a lot easier to keep turtle species separately
when their requirements are this different. Adult Sliders and Musk Turtles have been kept together in very large enclosures, but in a small aquarium like yours, it hardly seems worth the risk. Cheers, Neale.>

Yellow belly slider and Florida map turtle compatibility     8/25/13
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have a yellow belly slider in a 55 gallon tank with feeder fish, we just recently bought a Florida map turtle and want to put them together. The slider is about 3.5 inches and the map turtle is about 1.5 inches. How should we introduce these two? We believe the slider is male but aren't sure about the map turtle b/c it's still pretty much a hatchling...from what we know...
<OK - if you do your research, you'll find that feeder fish are not any major component of a Slider's diet.  In general, because of the conditions in which feeders are raised, they're not even healthy fish, more prone to spread disease than nutrition.  If you read the article linked here you'll find better nutrition options.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<To the issue of introducing them, my suggestion would be "No".   Sliders, Cooters, Maps and their families all get along just fine except when you have one individual that may just be mean … but they all need to be relatively the same size.   The problem here is that they could get along fine day to day for quite a while and be very used to each other and then suddenly in a single instant there is tragedy.  With an adult Slider and a hatchling-sized Map … a tiny little warning "go away and leave me alone" nip could be fatal to the map.>
<On the bright side, housing the tiny Map Turtle separately isn't expensive (read the article above)>
<Two items of note:  Map Turtles are normally a bit more nervous and skittish than Sliders, so they tend to spend more time in the water when people are around -- so a Map is best housed in a room where they can get "alone time" under the basking lamp.   Also, they are a bit more susceptible to skin fungus than Sliders.   Two things prevent this - the alone time/basking time mentioned above AND more frequent water changes and cleanings>
<Yer welcome!>

Hey     7/16/13
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have picked up two what we call water Cooters off the road deciding I could care for them.

<If they have black skin with yellow stripes, they are what we call Cooters, too>
 I have them in a kiddie pool right now feeding them crickets, worms, veggies and fruit the water is changed once a week.
<Worms and veggies are good, crickets aren't really all that good.   The easiest thing for you to feed and the healthiest for them would be Koi pellets available at virtually any pet store>
My boys are in love.
<Glad to hear that>
When I changed the water this week I found an empty shell I was trying to figure out their sex
<The quickest way - females are bigger and males have longer front fingernail/claws.>
Pretty sure I have one female not two. Now I was wondering if I should get her out and see if she will lay more this week
<The females are peculiar and picky about nesting.  If you have a fenced in garden that she can roam around in, that would be great.  The problem is that we humans don't seem to understand what does or does not make a decent nest.  The most important thing is that it seems to make much time to find just the right spot - and it can take days.  Meanwhile a garden is usually a place they can escape from>
I have noticed red spots but I have read a lot about how to care for them and plan to but if she is going to need sand to bed if she will bed again then that seems most important at the moment. Pretty sure they ate the baby but it was only one shell and couldn't have been there more than a week.
<When a turtle can't find a place to lay the eggs they will often just expel them in the water.  They eggs aren't viable, so they can be just tossed away>
Please help with any advice you could give I plan to make them a better enclosure just didn't think they would go straight to laying eggs - actually thought they were both males.
<It's unlikely the eggs are fertile so I probably wouldn't spent the time and energy to try to make a nesting area unless there is a suitable garden area available that would need only a fence.>
<As far as a new enclosure is concerned, make sure you plan for several conditions.  First, exposure to the sun heats the water quickly.  Make sure water that gets daily sunlight is deep - deep water doesn't heat as fast as shallow water.  Second, remember that turtles can dig AND are surprisingly good climbers.  The fence or wall should be at least 2 times the height of the turtle and then have a lip that curves IN to discourage escapes. 
Third, remember that a fenced in enclosure can be an inviting spot for possums or raccoons or other varmints that could try to eat the turtles.>

Emydid repro./beh.      1/13/13
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have two turtles, a male Red-Eared Slider and a female Painted turtle. I know they've tried to mate before (I was freaking out because she was bleeding and he had a strange bulge so I took them to the vet and that's what they told me).
I see them doing, what I assume are,   rituals all the time (including
quickly wiggling their front fingers at one another).
<Yes, the male turtle waves his fingernails in front of the female, as if he's saying HEY! LOOK AT MY PRETTY LONG FINGERNAILS!  WANT TO GO GET A CUP OF COFFEE?"
Meanwhile the female is thinking "AS IF!!!  I WORK FOR YEARS TO HAVE PRETTY
Now I'm worried for a few reasons. The female seems to be getting on half of the dock that we have in their tank but keeping her body under water and biting at the air and then blowing bubbles under water. This has been going on for a couple weeks and the bubbles are accumulating in the dock area.
Tonight I came home and while she was doing that, the male was apparently trying to mount her (getting on top of her while she was on the dock and wiggling his tail underneath hers). I'm worried that she either has a lung infection or she is trying to lay eggs (which I didn't think was possible with two different species),
<Yes - all the Sliders, Cooters, Painteds, etc. will interbreed>
in which case I don't know as I have the proper set up for her to lay them.
<When the female is gravid (with eggs) and it's time to lay them, she'll usually behave differently - nervous, moving all the time, wandering around her enclosure, scratching everywhere, etc. This behavior is SO unusual compared to their normal activities, you won't miss it.   Building a nesting box for her is more complicated that just putting her in a box of dirt, because even then they just might not find the right spot.  Ideally, the box should be at least 2 feet by 3 feet and have at least 8 inches of a mixture of potting soil and vermiculite.  Place a small, incandescent 60w bulb at one end (about 12 inches from the soil) to provide some ground warmer that other places, place her in there for a few days and see what happens>
<All that said, in your case she's not exhibiting that behavior.  The gaping is not terribly unusual and the bubble blowing is a bit more unusual, so I'm "concerned" at this point, but not "worried" if you understand the difference.>
<Here is a link to an article on illnesses.   The article describes what we playfully call "dry docking" a turtle - and it's based on this principle: 
When the turtle becomes unhealthy, the warm moist environment they normally enjoy becomes a problem -- when they are weak for any reason, the warm moist world gives an edge to the bacteria and fungus that can hurt them.
SO, we take them out, place them somewhere warm and DRY for a couple weeks - and if they are fighting any sort of infection, the tide turns, the advantage is on the Turtle and it's easier for her to lick whatever is ailing her.  Try it for two weeks - it's all carefully explained - and let's see how she does.>
Please help!
<I hope we did!>
Love & rockets,

Mississauga map turtle feeding?    10/31/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
So we got a little map turtle from the pet shop, my concern is it has some difficulty picking apart the pellets we bought for him/her the turtles shell is less than 1.5" in diameter so the pellets are about as big as it can open its mouth.
<Amazing, isn't it?>
The turtle seems more then content to chomp away and smash the pellets with its claws until there small enough for it to swallow. The instructions on the bottle say to only feed the turtle what it can eat in 3 minutes (It could maybe eat 2 pellets in this time frame.) I'm afraid it's not going to be feed well enough so I let it eat 3-4 pellets but it still seems very hungry trying to eat a large log in the tank or even a rock about 100x larger than it.   It will happily eat 6 pellets without stopping and will still look at me like its hungry. Should I let it eat as much as it wants and when it stops trying to eat the food in the tank remove the excess pellets or should I be only feeding it 2 pellets a day?
<Chris, in 37 years of keeping reptiles, I've rarely seen an animal suffering from too little food.  The biggest problem is OVER feeding and the obesity and health problems that come with that, followed closely by malnutrition, which is feeding the WRONG foods.   Keeping little Matt a bit hungry is not a bad thing.  Two pellets that are so big he has to take then apart before he can eat them sounds about right, doesn't it?   Imagine the pellet was a hamburger as big as your mouth could open - and ask yourself how many of those you should eat per day.>
<That said and hopefully noted, Koi Pellets are a fully balance nutrition for turtles and you9 can get them in sizes!!  Visit a local Koi Store and ask about small pellets - them you can go by the "All you can eat in 3 minutes" rule.>
Sorry for the second email but I spent quite a bit of time reading other articles on your site in an attempt to find the answer to my question sadly it led to more questions...
<No apologies!  As long as they lead to GOOD questions and not the ones already answered on the site …>
I have 120 gallon tank that I wired in 2 ballasts and a Heat lamp into the upper lid with a very large hole I cut out of the top. one ballast is regular Florence tubes 2x4' and 1 UVB/UVA light on the other side rated at 10%UVB and 20% UVA it is quite high above the tanks water level (30") and covers a large log on one side of the tank.( is this ok?)
<The UV drops off exponentially with distance, so if the bulb is more than 14 inches from the basking surface, Matt isn't getting much benefit from it.  Other than that … so far, so good>
I found a large rock about 20" in diameter and wired in the heat lamp above it one corner about 1" by 1" in diameter is "uncomfortable" to hold my hand on for an extended period of time but the rock is very large and offers a large range as only one corner is directly under the lamp the rest is over the water. (It's rated at 250w will the turtle be smart enough to stay away from the one little corner that seems to hot imo?)
<For heat, I use a regular incandescent 75w light bulb 12 inches over the basking area.  250W is WAY too hot and WAY too expensive for your needs.   A 250w Chill Chaser bulb is used to heat a 4 foot by 4 foot basking area for 150 turtles>
The lamp heats the water directly under it quite well to give a nice range of temps from one corner of the 4ft tank to other. I have a heater in the tank set to 79F on the other side of the tank as I like to keep my house cold (68F) and from what I can understand when they are little like this they should have warmer water.
<Well, in the wild, they'd have the same water temp as the bigger folks, wouldn't they?  I generally discourage heaters in the water unless the turtle is outdoors.  68 - 72 degree water is perfect for Matt, since he has a 92 degree basking platform.>
I have a filter on order for the tank its only 120 gallons (no store in my area has one in stock)  but the tank is maybe half full of water and only half water so I'm assuming the water is in the 30-40 gallon range is this filter sufficient?
<No problem at all>
I used to own a very large red eared slider and a very large snapping turtle when I was younger they lived in a bathtub outside and in the summer would put an elastic around them and tie a string to it to let them rummage around in the lake we lived at.
The thing I remember the most clearly is that both of them absolutely loved to dig in the sand even when the snapping turtle was the size of a large tire (24" diameter) and (13" for the slider) they would frequently dig very large holes in our beach.
So I got a hold of some clean sand bleached it and then rinsed it for a couple hours to remove all the fine dirt particles and put it in the tank the water is very clear but I read that your not supposed to put anything in the tank small enough that turtles can eat... clearly sand would fall into the category will it be ok?
<Yeah - it's fine.  The danger is something small enough they can swallow but not small enough to pass all the way through.  Beach sand is OK - just a pain to keep clean>
I also would like to put some guppies or tetras into the tank to give the little guy something to play with that would be cheap to replace when he eats it, perhaps a kray fish or bamboo shrimp?
<Well, as a general rule I discourage that.   Fish are not as much a part of their natural diet as people think.  Feeder goldfish and Feeder guppies often carry diseases (well, as do the expensive fishes as well) and if they survive you'll get attached to them.>
I remember my other turtle used to love eating kray fish even when they were very large would the map be less partial to eating one?
<Crayfish fight back.  Bad idea.  Period>
I would also like to add a plant to help keep algae and cleaning down. Would a mint plant be ok? I know they can survive in aquatic/sand conditions but would the turtle eat it? And if it would, would it be ok to let it eat it?
<Plants are fine, but it takes better water conditions and better nutrition to keep the plants alive than the turtle.  Matt needs pretty clean water.  Cleaner than a slider would tolerate.   Weekly water changes  --- or 4 (or more) tablespoons of chlorine bleach every week to 30 gallons of water would be a good idea to keep the bacteria count down, but counter productive for plants.  I suggest plastic plants>
Also he seems a little shy ( I have had him for 3 days now) do these maps get friendly enough that you can occasionally pick them up without them getting afraid?
<Map turtles like Matt are always a bit more skittish that the boisterous sliders and Cooters, but as they get accustomed to you, they will be more interactive>
He seems very curious and will quickly come and investigate my hand in his tank even from many feet away but seems very afraid to get closer then about 1"  as such I'm afraid to pick him up.
<Give him time>
Both the slider and the snapper were very friendly and were more then happy to be picked up is this normal for maps?
<Normal for sliders - NOT normal for snapping turtles AT ALL.  The only time they seem friendly are when they're trying to fool you into leaving a body part within striking distance>
Lastly is my tank large enough that later I could add a yellow or red eared slider and they wouldn't fight?
It seems to be somewhat of a concern on this site and to be honest I can't remember my two turtles ever fighting even when the snapper got much bigger then the slider.
<A snapping turtle not eating a slider is unusual.  You were lucky.  Well, the slider was lucky>
<Aggression among the sliders, Cooters & map turtles is a personality & size thing.   If you give Matt a chance to grow and then introduce a smaller slider or Cooter you should be fine initially.  As the slider outgrows Matt, you will have seen by then a belligerent attitude>
I have never had a map turtle and from what I have read my grandmother had no idea how to take care of the turtles I had when I was a kid :)
<Map turtles are bright, energetic and pretty turtles, their only drawback is that they require a bit more attention to water quality than the sliders.   As I write this I have one staring at me from her perch on the log in the slider pond … time to go change the filter>
Advice much appreciate and sorry for the Tome
<NO problem - I enjoyed it>

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>

Peninsula Cooter Turtle, keeping/sys.     8/27/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
In May I acquired a Peninsula Cooter.  It is about 8" now.
<It's a She then.  Much bigger than a male.>
I live in Sacramento California and the turtle is in one of our outside ponds which is about 4 ft by 6 ft and 3 ft deep.  The pond has lots of vegetation in it as well as gold fish and frogs.  The turtle basks allot and seems to be doing fine.
<As long as he can't get too far from the pond … you do have fences around the pond or around the yard?>
Do I need to bring this turtle in for the winter?  Is it possible for it to hibernate in the pond?
<It's possible to keep her outside, Janeen - the problem with middle California winters is that often they aren't warm enough to keep him active and not cold enough to keep her bruminated (like hibernation) so it can be really rough on her.>
<I suggest that when it starts getting colder around the end of November, you either bring her inside to some tub with water & a basking light, etc.  Or put her in a dry, high sided tub with towels on the bottom and then put her in a dark corner of the garage and let her bury herself in the towels until the middle of April.>
Your web site is great by the way!

turtle tank mates, Map and RES comp.     7/31/12
I was recently on Hilton Head Island and had purchased what were supposed to be 2 RES turtles however after examining both of them and doing some research I have discovered that one of them is actually a Common Map turtle.
<Now called the Northern Map Turtle, Graptemys geographica.>
Will there be any problems keeping the two of them in the same tank?
<Provided it's big enough, no. 75 gallons should be adequate for one, 125 gallons for two, with two males being less likely (and therefore needing more space) than females.>
they are both about 1 1/2 - 2 inches in length at the moment and I have them housed in a 10 gal tank with about 3 inches of water in it. I know I will have to get a larger tank soon but its much bigger than the enclosure they were purchased in.
<That may well be the case, but "less bad" doesn't equal "good"! So you will need a larger tank fairly soon -- within a couple of months -- and it would be completely pointless buying an aquarium smaller than 75 gallons even as a short-term home (a 75-gallon tank will be adequate for a year or two, until they reach the 6-8 inch mark). If money is tight, go straight to the big tank, 125+ gallons. Do bear in mind these turtles get HUGE when grown up, anything up to a 10-inch shell length. And please trust me on this: if you buy a small tank, it will soon get dirty, cloudy, and stinky!
In turn the turtles get moldy and sickly, and if you think a 75-gallon aquarium is expensive, try paying for vet bills! There's a really good summary sheet over at the Californian Turtle Home adoption/rehoming site, here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Introducing a red eared slider to my map turtle's tank 7/10/12
Hey WWM Crew, I've got a pretty time sensitive question that I could really use some answers to. I'm thinking about getting a bigger tank and getting a Red Eared Slider to accompany my Mississippi Map turtle.
<BobF to help you, though only has a tangential background in herpetology>
I currently own a 6 or so year old male Mississippi Map turtle. When I first got him from the pet store, I also bought a second Mississippi Map turtle, but in true rookie fashion I did not realize that he was already sick at the store and he died a few weeks after being at my house. They were both already at least 2 years old when I got them and the two got along perfectly when they were together.
I've been wanting to both get a bigger tank and get a second turtle for some time now. The only thing that has stopped me was a combination of funds and me being away at college. However now that I've graduated, I'm home and I found someone willing to sell me their 100 gallon tank and 2 year old female Red Eared Slider at a really good price. I really want to snatch up the offer while I can, but I'm unsure about the turtle compatibility.
<I give you good odds here.... considering the size of the system, the near-equal sizes of the Emydid turtles>
If I were to change over to that tank and add a new 2 year old female Red Eared Slider, would she and my 6 years old (or older) male Mississippi Map turtle that has lived alone since my other turtle died years ago get along?
Or are the odds of them being aggressive or intolerant towards each other too high to chance? As far as I can tell, the two are pretty similar in size (the Map being slightly bigger).
Unfortunately I don't have long to make a decision and I'm not sure what to do. Can you guys help me out?
<I'd give this mix a go. Bob Fenner>
Adam Moulton
Re: Introducing a red eared slider to my map turtle's tank    8/24/12

Hey guys,
An update to my previous situation I emailed you about. My adult female Red Eared Slider and my adult male Mississippi Map have been living together perfectly for several months now. The map even climbs on the shell of the RES occasionally when they're basking and the RES doesn't seem to mind. Hasn't been any problems, until now.
<Oh oh>
Last night, the RES bit the leg of the map. I saw it and took her out and put her in a small tank I'm no longer using.
I left her there over night, and this morning put her back in the bigger tank. 30 minutes later, she bit the same leg of the map turtle. I took her out again and put her back in the small tank. The map doesn't seem to be hurt, which is surprising because I'm fairly certain the RES could break the skin of a person if she bit them. He hasn't been acting differently either. The bites didn't look like mere nips, especially the first one (she held onto his leg and didn't let go until I picked her up).
Any suggestions as to what's wrong?
<Basic incompatibility... They'll have to be housed separately, at least for now>
 I doubt she was hungry, early in the day yesterday I fed her (in a separate container) a pretty good amount of food, and she ate till she was full (didn't finish everything I gave her).
The only problem I can think of is that I've been having trouble with making an appropriate basking area for the RES. Her size makes it difficult, and haven't found a platform that she can get herself onto or that can hold her weight. I've made a rock beach which extends out of the water under my basking lamp that she climbs onto (as does the map), but she tends to destroy it every couple of days and requires rebuilding each time.
When its in place she can get probably 90% of her body out of the water but not all of it. I don't think that this would lead to her biting at my other turtle, but I can't think of anything else.
If you've got any ideas as to why she just now, after several months of living together fine, is starting to bite the other turtle, I'd love to know. Also if you have any suggestions for making a better basking area I'd love to hear them too.
<Mmm, please read the aquatic turtle Compatibility FAQs archived on WWM, as well as the basking area ones... The index is here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm
toward the bottom... or you can use the search tool... on every page. Bob Fenner>
Re: Introducing a red eared slider to my map turtle's tank - 8/24/12

I was more hoping that maybe something in the environment was irritating the RES because she wasn't like this before. The turtles usually slept and basked together, and I fed them separately except for occasionally when I toss them some treats (I suppose that could be increasing aggression).
<... happens. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rescompfaqs.htm
and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtcompfaqs.htm >
This wasn't an issue until I left town for 5 days earlier in the week. I told my brother to feed them twice over the 5 days I was gone. I doubt he separated them for that. When I got back, I put the turtles in separate containers and fed them. It was a few hours after that when the first bite happened. I feel like something had to have changed while I was gone.
Maybe water isn't warm enough and its irritating the RES?
Also this morning I gave her (the RES) some food and she didn't touch any of it. That's a first for her.
They don't seem to hate each other. I put them together in the big tank again today for 30 minutes to watch them. The map hung out around the RES for a lot of the time and climbed on her shell (all normal behavior for them) and she didn't seem to mind.
Like I said, they've been together for months and they showed all the signs of liking each other. I'm really hoping I can figure out some way for them to live together again because my second tank is probably a bit too small even for the map (he's been much more active since he moved into the big tank when I first got it and the RES) and I don't currently have the funds to buy a bigger tank.
<Perhaps a plastic container of adequate size, low cost. B>

Turtle ID – 4/19/12
<Heidi … what you have there is a baby Graptemys kohni - which is the $5 name for a Mississippi Map Turtle!  His name is Mooney and he's the son of James and Griselda Map.>
<Their needs are the same, in almost every respect, as a Red Eared Slider, so they're easy to keep and lots of information available.  That said - start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm   >
<The main difference is that the Map turtles tend to be a little more shy, so they spend more time in the water - and therefore can be a bit more susceptible to shell and skin conditions.  All you have to do is pay a bit more attention to water quality and he'll do just fine!>

False Map Turtle    3/23/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I searched your site a bit, but didn't find help specific enough to my worries.
<Well, we appreciate your efforts, Natasha - we spend a LOT of time answering the same questions>
Anyways, I have a (baby) False Map Turtle. I believe him a False due to Firefly Encyclopedia of the Vivarium, page 135. The internet has never failed me as it has with trying to find pictures and information on the False Map.
<Yet - I don't like the term "false" it's as if he's done something wrong, yanno?   Not much different than if we called him an IMPOSTOR Map Turtle of a Counterfeit Map Turtle>
I fell for him, Sir Chester of Birmingham, in August 2010, at the Pomona Pet Expo. He was the smallest in the tub of "Mississippi Map Turtles." I currently had my Red-Ear Slider, approximately 10 years old, in a new 20 gallon long (he's now enjoying a in-progress outdoor pond all to himself) so I had his old 10 gallon without use.
<Ponds are cool places -  but remember two things here in California: 1) Turtles love to go for 'walkabouts' when they can get under, around or over fences and they're astounding climbers.  2) Raccoons, possums and other turtle-eating critters also tend to gather around ponds.   Please take that into account>
My False started in the 10 gallon with about 4 inches of water, a floating dock, and heat lamp. I changed the water each week and frequently added warm water to keep the temperature decent. This was the situation for about 3 weeks since he was not planned at all. I finally got him a Whisper20 filter, a heater that keeps the water at about 70-72 degrees, and the UVB lamp that stretches across the top perfectly. I thought all will be well.
<Water should be typical room temperature (68-72 degrees) I usually don't use a heater because I've seen larger turtles shatter the glass PLUS - they don't need it>
It wasn't for nearly a year. I was warned against feeding problems for a couple of weeks, due to stress of a new environment, etc- Sir Chester did not eat for 9 whole months. I tried scheduled feedings in and out of the tank, I tried random feedings, I tried this food and that food; nothing at all. He was my first baby out of all my animals, younger and smaller than even when I first had my "tiny" Red-Ear, and I thought I was going to end up killing him. For 9 months, I nearly went bald with stress.
<Welcome to our club!!  We have a secret handshake and jackets, too!  I'm babysitting a hatchling Sulcata tortoise that hasn't eaten in 5 months …>
He was no bigger than the second joint in my pinky. I checked on forums and called the only (reptile) vet near my area, and they all told me to just wait it out.
That was his only problem aside from being extremely alert and afraid of nearly every movement he saw beyond his tank. He spent his time mostly hidden beneath the floating dock. He would occasionally creep up along the dock's "ramp" and enjoy the heat.
<The Maps (false and true) are all a bit skittish that way.   They'll always be more nervous than a slider, and therefore almost always in the water when they sense someone approaching - which gives people the false idea that they don't bask as much as the sliders.  They DO when they can do it alone!>
May 2011, I finally saw him eat the "dry hatchling food" I had stuck with from the beginning in all the different mixes of food choices. Since then, his need to hide has grown less, and I have switched out the dock for large rocks built up high towards the heat lamp (it's 8 inches away from the bulb, and it's a 75watt) which he actually climbs very well and spends much much longer basking there than on the dock. I have gradually increased the water depth to 8 inches now. Aside from the rock in one corner to bask, he has the rest of the tank to swim. I also occasionally put in some of the small, dried mealworms and shrimp my adult Red-Ear eats.
<Mealworms are the equivalent of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to us.>
Only one of either, probably twice a week. His hatchling food, the tiny pellets, I give about 10 everyday without the filter on. Occasionally he doesn't eat all of them, but otherwise, he eats well.
<Young turtles should eat 5-6 times a week - all the food they can goggle up in 5 minutes>
Now, for what has been worrying me.
My Red-Ear was given to me in middle school, and I think he and I are both lucky he has somehow grown to a large, healthy adult. Then, I did not know of the proper care. He was in the typical plastic tub he came in for maybe a year, then he was switched to the 10 gallon. He didn't have a filter, used to have fish gravel, and didn't have a heater or UVB lamp. He spent 9 years in that 10 gallon with no more than half-filled water level. April 2010, was when I finally had the means to buy the 20 gallon long, filter, UVB and rocks larger than his mouth and a sturdy basking rock. He was basically 4 inches for the whole 9 years I had him in the 10 gallon. Switching him to the 20 gallon long, he grew into nearly 7 inches by August. I was no longer able to hold him with just one hand. This change came around, researching their proper care and all, due to my adoption of other reptiles as my Red-Footed Tortoise and my Bearded Dragon. I became aware how lucky we were he has a healthy shell, no pyramiding. It's why he's now in a 100 gallon pond by himself, maybe to be joined eventually in our 200 gallon pond when Sir Chester grows. Trying to make up for the lost proper care.
<You seem to be doing fine.  I feed mine Koi Pellets from hatchling to breeder size - with an earthworm or two every month as a treat.  You can buy night crawlers at your local pet store, toss a few in and then put the rest in your garden>
And that's the issue: my False's shell is so different from my Red-Ear's. And I've never witnessed the shell growth of a baby. He was no bigger than 1.5 inches, and my Red-Ear had been nearly 3 inches when I got him. I do not know how his growing shell should look like. To me, it seems to be growing, but I have yet to find any shed scutea (plural for scutes?)
<We technical people use the terms "scute" and "scutes">
… and in some parts, it almost seems to have a deep groove in his shell. On his belly, in the middle, it also seems to groove in.
<All normal>
He has grown to a beautiful size of 2 inches now, and does not seem to have pyramiding, but I can't help but worry in the back of my mind.
<The back of one's mind is a terrible, scary place!!  At least, mine is.>
He has a "triangle" sort of shape to his shell that he has had since I got him, same with the grooves; so I don't know if that's normal or some sort of pyramiding that I've caused. The weird grooves are towards the outer edge of his shell. Could you look at the pictures, and correct me in anything I have mentioned?
<The pictures look good - consistent with a turtle mom who is feeding her baby a bit too much.  Remember, Sir Chester doesn't work for a living, has no dependents, no vehicle maintenance to deal with, hair styles that change, clothing that goes out of fashion or "must have" shoes that can cost a month's salary.  He's now at the point where he should have all the Koi pellets he can eat in 5 minutes - 4 times a week in summer and 2 times a week in winter.>
I appreciate it so much.
<Glad we can help!>
The pictures I took of him today, were during his tank cleaning. The shell is pictured after about 10 minutes of hanging out in a bowl while I clean.
<No obvious problems>
Oh, and I use water conditioner. I literally sit there and count the drops of conditioner it should be by each gallon. It takes forever, but what can I say? I'm a new mom to a baby.
<We've all been there - you're doing well. I'd skip the water conditioner completely unless you just have too much extra money lying around.  It's dubious value at best and your money is better spent making your pond critter-proof>
Thanks, and please be brutally honest with me.
<OK.  Brutally honest?  OK. 
You're doing well. 
Battle of the Networks Stars should have been fought with real guns.
Chester seems happy
Occupy Wall Street seems to have the undertones of people that are just unhappy because life is harder than Mom & Dad told them it would be.
Feed him a little less 
Lady Gaga is just a Madonna Mini-Me and Jim Carey was a cheesy rip-off of a much funnier guy named Matt Frewer.
When you feed Sir Chester earthworms or pieces of beef or chicken liver, feed him in a separate bowl because the oils will foul the water.
I'm exceedingly happy that no President is really as powerful as he seems to think he'll be when he's making his campaign promises.
There is no substitute for natural sunlight, so maybe you can engineer a small pond-within a pond (with a mesh cover!) for Chester to have beach days?>
Thank you!
<Yer welcome>
PS: When should I upgrade his tank size?
<Maps are quite a bit smaller than Sliders, so a 20 gallon that is uncluttered will do nicely for years to come.  Upgrade when you have the desire for a new project J  >
Best, Natasha

Questions about Map Turtle Environment   1/12/12
Hello to all,
<Hiya from Darrel!>
I have two fairly young map turtles. I have them in a 40 gallon tank right now, they seem to be doing great. This is the only tank I can afford right now.
<The size sounds fine>
I have a reptile filter for my tank and a lamp.
<A reptile filter would filter out reptiles.  I assume to mean a water filter>
I do not think that this is a UV light, I believe that's what is needed, but it is a 75watt lamp. I have two floating docks, one under the lamp, and the other on the other side not under a lamp.
<You'd know if you have a UV lamp, so that should be FIRST on your list to get>
I need to know a couple of things. First, is this sufficient for my turtles? (Wax and Polish, Polly for short)
<I get it!  Turtle Wax and Turtle Polish!  Cute.   I had a vine plant once that I named "Hollywood And" and hardly anyone got it.   I had a turtle named "Dutch" and that was based on Turtles have shells and SHELL OIL COMPANY was, at the time, based in the Netherlands.   Not only did no one get it, but when I explained it they STILL looked at me funny>
I would like to know if I should build the gravel up on one is to make a shallow water spot. Or would the floating docks be enough.
<That's a good question, Katelyn.   Map Turtles generally have the same care requirements as the Sliders and Cooters, etc. but they're a little more skittish and shy and are often hesitant to bask when people are around.  This makes some people believe that they have less need to bask, which is not true.   Having a shallow area, where they can get closer to the heat gradually may very well encourage them to bask more.   I suggest that you try it - and make a habit of peeking into the room before entering, so you can see what they prefer to do and where to be when no one is looking.   Let them show you what they like - and act accordingly>
I keep the lamp on all the time. I'm afraid they will get to cold if I don't.
<No 11 to 12 hours a day is fine.  In the wild they'd cool at night as well.   Remember, your job is to offer them CHOICES (warm basking, cool water) and them choose what they need at the moment.>
I only had one turtle at first and she only had a 50watt light that I kept on. It's not very cold right now, but it does get to around 60 in the room I keep them at night.
<I like the basking area to be 88-93 and the water to be in the mid 60's to low 70's during the day.  Both can cool to room temperature at night>
Should I only keep the lamp on at night, or should I turn it off at night and keep it on for the day. I just don't ant them to freeze and die. Please help me, I lose sleep over this.
<Relax - you're doing fine.>
Also, I feed my turtles in the morning. And then a few snacks at night. They seem so hungry all the time. Is this normal? How do I know if I feed them enough in the morning?
<Yes that's normal.  They're eating machines and would probably eat all the time if we'd let them.>
Please help,
<read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<And get some sleep!>
Katelyn Peace

turtle behaviour 10/29/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Im 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 havent 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 Ive 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 cant reach him.
<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 hes 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 some type).>
Should I be worried?
<Not just yet>
The other two turtles seem fine, albeit very playful. Im 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 >

Turtle ID   4/30/11
Can you identify this turtle?
<His name is Jeff.>

Re: Turtle ID   4/30/11
Thanks, but I was hoping for something more specific.
<Uh OK>
<Rich - what you have there is a Diamondback Terrapin. They're a great turtle to have as a pet, they're smart, engaging, curious and personable. They're one of the more aquatic species - meaning they like lots of water to swim, play, explore (or do whatever turtles do) and since they are a brackish water species (meaning a mixture of salt water and fresh water), it takes a tiny bit (and I do mean just a tiny bit) more effort to keep them as a long term captive. In my opinion (also known as the "right" or "correct" opinion) it' worth the effort.>

Re: Turtle ID   5/1/11
Thank you for the info.
<Yer welcome>
We have had him for about two weeks now. He seems to be doing well. We currently have him in fresh water with and area for him to get out of the water if he wants. Also got a UV light lamp as we were told it is good for his shell. Should we look into a salt additive for the water? We are feeding him ReptoMin plus turtle food. He seems to like it especially the shrimp pieces. Are there any other tips you can pass along regarding taking care of our diamondback terrapin?
<You're starting out well. Below is a link that covers the basic care for Red Eared Sliders - and it turns out it's the basic care for all water turtles, with a few variations for each type.>
<In Jeff's case, the standard care is also good for him with the addition of some salt water to his fresh water. HOW MUCH is a matter of discussion among experts, but the good news is that there really isn't a wrong answer. Ideally we make brackish water by taking 1 part fresh water and one part salt water from our local fish store. People who live near the ocean and have access to actual ocean water that isn't contaminated with oils, chemicals or other waste can use that. So Ideally, each time to change water, you'd make this half & half mix and then when youre just ADDING water - you add only fresh water, since the salt stays in the tank when the fresh water evaporates.>
<BUT - this is the deciding factor for you: It's not critical that it be a 50-50 mix. Most everyone agrees that at a 1:2 ratio Jeff will get the benefits of the brackishness. What we don't want is to make keeping Jeff such a pain for you that decide to give him up. If obtaining that much marine water on a regular basis is a problem for you, then keep Jeff in the current fresh water setup (change the water every week) and prepare a 50-50 mix once a month - say 3 inches in a small plastic tub - and give him a bath for a few hours. At that rate, 5 gallons of marine water would last you 5 months or so and he'd get the benefit of the salt water on his skin & shell>
Thanks again for the info.

Turtle shows "frantic-stressed out" behavior   10/13/10
<Hiya - My name is Darrel and>
I just got two turtles for the first time.
<I take it you mean the first time you've had turtles?>
I think they are red bellied turtles or at least that is what they called them at the store.
<the easy part of THAT one is that Red Belly turtles have pretty red to orange tints to the belly>
One is about 3 1/2 inches and the other one is about 3 inches. For now I am feeding them only the turtle pellets and doing it twice a day.
<I use ReptoMin turtle sticks and ordinary Koi pellets - both are perfectly balance diets, it's just that the Koi pellets are much cheaper>
I have them in a 20 gallon tank and during the day they have the UVB light and a heat lamp and during the night just an infrared light. The tank is about 3/4 full. They have a floating basking area that might be a little bit small for them, but they both still fit side to
side. The temperature inside the house is 78F.
<That's fairly warm, but if that's the room temp, then we live with it>
The tank has a Tetra in-tank 20i filter. I also put a turtle bone in the tank.
<That's a sweet thought, but not necessary. They don't hurt, but they're no real value>
The little one seems to be doing fine, she eats, swims and basks. But the bigger one has a strange behavior, she seems to be frantic, swims from side to side of the tank full speed like trying to escape from something, she eats Ok, but it seems she never rests, she doesn't bask, she is on the water all the time day or night just swimming from side to
side, trying to get behind the filter or trying to "escape" the tank, it is like she is really scared of something.
<We see that from time to time in turtles>
I am worried that there is something wrong with her and that one morning I will find her dead.
<Probably not.>
I am also worried about the amount of food, I have heard anything from: feed them twice a day one or two pellets to feed them only twice a week. They seem to be really hungry every time I feed them so I keep throwing pellets in until they are no longer
interested, I throw in there at least 12 pellets twice a day. I know they are
both eating because I stay there throwing pellets one by one until they no
longer eat.
<That's a little bit much -- but not terrible. What I do is give them all they can eat in five minutes, 4 times a week. That's all the food they really need>
The quality of the water also worries me, I changed the water a day ago and it is already really cloudy. Is this normal, are you supposed to change the water daily or is it the amount of food or is it the filter that is not appropriate?
<I think maybe you're feeding them too much and the food they don't eat as well as all the poop they create from that much food is fouling the water. Cut back on the feedings like I suggested and see how that goes. Remember they don't have jobs, kids, chores or even runs in the park -- they don't NEED that much food. They eat because it's there to be eaten.>
As you can see I have many questions and concerns, but mainly I am worried about the "frantic" stressed out behavior.
<Now we'll address that. We all see it from time to time and sometimes it comes from the strangest things. What I'd like to you do to is experiment with one thing at a time:>
<Change things around.>
<Move the basking area>
<change the lamp positions>
<Turn the filter off for 24 hours>
<Change the shades or blinds in the room.>
<After each change, give the big one half a day to adjust and see if it affects her behavior>
Thanks for your help, every suggestion is welcome as I have just one week experience in taking care of aquatic turtles.
<They're fun and easy, Monica!>
<Here is a simply care guide to get you started. Suggestions and input are always helpful but this guide is the standard: If someone gives you a suggestion that's opposed to what's in here, ignore the suggestion!! The guy who wrote it really *IS* that good!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm

Asian Water Turtle behavior  6/1/10
Hi Crew,
My name is Susan,<I'm Darrel>
and my husband has had Squeaky (the turtle) for 26 years.
Squeaky is fine, but seems to A) have developed a big attachment to our cat Moose. i.e. when Squeaks and Moose were living in different rooms due to husbands allergies, Squeaks would smash the side of her tank non-stop all night long with her shell. It got so bad we moved her in the same room as Moose so we could sleep, and Voila, the banging stopped.....
<That's strange alright, Susan, but not unheard of. Our animal friends have very different brains than ours and they work in ways suited to their survival, not ours.>
<Anthropomorphism is the term for giving human characteristic to non-human creatures and/or attributing animal behaviors to human motivations. Now, everyone knows that's silly yet I have a female rhinoceros iguana that watches television sits with rapt attention to all episodes of certain shows but will physically turn her back when other shows come on. She will --and I mean this literally-- throw a fit if Jerry Springer comes on. Scientifically, it's probably a reaction to color patterns in the set of his show or a tonal pattern to the sound or it could be that she simply shows good taste and common sense!>
<What I'm saying here is that Squeaky does have a unique personality and it manifests as one behavior when the cat is nearby and another when it's not. Is that love? Scientifically its not possible to answer that but in my opinion, few other things will make someone bang their head against a glass wall for days on end, so in the words of the famous lounge singer "if this ain't love it's the next best thing!">
but now, B) She has recently laid an egg, the first in many years. Is this due to the
attachment to the cat? Does she think Moose is her mate?
<Again, scientifically, a series of events has triggered chemical releases in Squeaky's body that caused her go gestate and form an egg. In our terms, she CLEARLY went from "unhappy" to "happy" when she was moved in with Moose so in the most unscientific terms I can imagine "Yes, it's possible and seems to be the case.">
Do turtles form attachments like the one described normally?
<Not normally, no. When an Emydid turtle forms an unusual attachment, it's almost always for a rock or a log. All I can say is that Moose must be a real looker!>
Do turtles normally lay eggs like chickens? ( barring physical differences...Meaning without a male)
<Yes. The trigger stimulus for gestation isn't the presence of a male, exactly, but a sequence of events that happen coincident and often because of the male's presence>
The only change she has had in 26 years started about 4 years ago, when I realized my husband had never learned how to take care of a turtle, so I got a larger tank, a UVB light, and a floating basking platform. But since I didn't know what to feed her, or temps, lights, etc. I parked myself at the local pet shop and asked, and asked, and asked some more. Could it be these changes in her physical environment that caused the eggs? But that still leaves the cat issue. And before you ask, no, Moose does not seem to hold
her in the same affectionate light.
<LOL! What makes you think I was going to ask that???>'
<OK - I WAS going to at least make a JOKE out of it -- unrequited pseudo instinctive mating behavior -- or some other romantic suggestion>
<The problem with the alternate theory is that you made those changes 4 years ago. It's more likely exactly what you think it is. As they say "If it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck and bashes its head against a glass wall until it can be with its pet cat, it must be Squeaky the Turtle.">
Thank you for your time and help.
<All kidding aside, Susan, there's not much "help" here. The situation is probably just what you think it is but even if it's not, there's not much any of us could do about it. The down side is that Squeaky will outlive Moose, which means that one day we'll have another separation issue to deal with. Since we don't want to doom your husband to allergy issues forever by continuing the line of cats, you might want to consider getting a male turtle of Squeaky's family and seeing if, over time, the Squeakmeister might turn her affections to something more appropriate. Until then .. brag about this situation.>

Re: Asian Water Turtle behavior   6/2/10
That is the funniest email I have had in a long while!!! Thank you so much for all the laughs!!
<[Editor's Note: Oh Dear, please don't encourage him! LOL]>
My husband and I got a kick out of it to say the least.
<Glad I could help>
How long will Squeaks live??? I thought I read somewhere on your site that 30 years is about it.... Moose is 8.
<One theory has it that married men live longer than single men. I don't believe that's true I just think it SEEMS longer. In Squeaky's case, she could well live 30-40 years. Moose can easily live to over 20>
I plan on bragging as it is too good a story.
Tried to email pic. of moose but can't get it to work.... again!
Loved the story about your iguana! Aren't "our" critters amazing?!?!?!
<They're amazing, quiet, low maintenance and never drop out of college after 3.7 years to become the night manager at a drive through car wash>
Thanks again!
<No charge!>
Susan and Mike Gomez

Peninsula Cooter, fdg. sys.  01/03/10
<Hiya Darrel here>
My Cooter hatchling isn't eating that much anymore, his enclosure is warm enough and his water is very clean. The only I can get him to eat is romaine lettuce.
<Not really a good choice. No nutritional value hes missing almost all his dietary requirements.>
He won't even touch the Bites we bought for him.
<I use regular, ordinary Koi Pellets from the local pet store. Its a complete, balanced diet for Sliders, Cooters & friends>
Now when he's swimming he looks like he's wiping his face or clawing at his mouth...I don't know. Sometimes he looks like a dog who has sometimes stuck in his gums trying to get it out.
<Often thats an early sign of a vitamin deficiency or sometimes even a fungal infection starting>
He was fine until about 2 days ago. Did I let the enclosure get too cold it read 74 now it reads 79 or 80 and he still basking from last night.
<Doesnt sound like its all THAT cold. Basking area temp should be in the mid to high 80s and the water temp should be just around room temp. The idea is to offer him both and allow him to choose for himself. Your issue seems more like poor nutrition and the bad news is that once they fixate on one kind of food, its often hard to get him to eat anything else.>
<Here is a link on general care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm make sure you compare all of your keeping to the article and correct whatever is wrong. If you correct the temperatures and he doesnt eat within the next 5 days, then it may be time to take more extreme actions, so youll need to write back.>
I'm thankful for any help!
Thank you & Happy New Year
<Youre very welcome!>

Health ?s about an Eastern Painted Turtle  10/22/09
Hi Crew,
<Hiya Denise - Darrel here>
An eastern painted turtle found my 11 yr old son in July.
<Cunning creatures, those turtles>
We're not sure where he came from since we don't live anywhere near water.
<They manage to walk a LONG way from water and can be on the road (figuratively and sometimes literally for months>
To get started we researched turtles on the internet. My concerns are:
1. His shell, towards his head, is turning white.
<I'd like to see pictures -- even from just a cell phone cam>
<When you take him out of the tank and dry him off, is the whiteness slimy?
or powdery? Can you rub or gently scrape it off or does it appear to be under the scutes (plates that make up the shell)?>
2. He's been eating meal worms every day, and then we discovered that he was getting too much protein. He won't eat zucchini or red leaf lettuce now that he's been eating the worms.
<Like a kid that gets fixated on candy ... a habit hard to break. Find a Koi store in your area and ask them for a sample of their favorite pellet food. Tell them you want to test it out on Bolt and then you'll be back to buy some if he'll eat it. Most of the better stores understand and are happy to oblige. The reason we want to do this is that breaking a bad habit is tough work. It takes determination and discipline and patience... and the first thing we try might not work -- no point in having a bag of food that he won't eat.>
<First, make sure he's warm enough. If he's not getting fully heated under the basking lamp, or if the basking lamp doesn't heat his basking area to about 90 degrees, then he's not getting hot enough to digest food properly and probably not hungry.>
<Once you're sure that part is OK, offer him 3 pellets in the water, right in front of him. If he doesn't eat them within 5 minutes, net them out, toss them away and try again the next day. And the next. And the next.
This is where the patience comes in. Bolt wants what he likes and is perfectly willing to out-wait you ... and your eventual guilt about Bolt not eating is his biggest friend. We run a risk here. There are cases where eating bad food is sometimes better than not eating AT ALL ... those cases being where the animal is debilitated from some on-going disease. It doesn't sound like Bolt HAS a disease, but then we don't really know about the white stuff and loss of appetite.>
We also put 6 feeder fish in his tank in September. He ate 2, but nothing since the 2nd wk of Sept. Now, he won't eat anything.
<This brings out another problem. Live fish aren't part of Bolt's natural diet and I'm sure you noticed how comical it was to see him try to catch them. So what happens now ... to all of us ... is you end up with feeder fish that are now unintentional pets. I had two feeder goldfish that grew so big the bullied the smaller turtles, so they ended up in the Koi pond with koi literally 10 times their size ... believe me, none of the koi dare get in their way at feeding time.>
3. He has a 75 gallon tank w/maybe 6 inches of water in it. Is that enough?
<That's fine. They seem to LIKE water a bit deeper, but they normally inhabit the shallows anyway. Given the complexity of raising the water level in a way that would be safe for him, I'd leave it alone right now. In the LONG term, we keepers like deeper water because deeper water tends to hold it's temperature better that shallow water, so it stays warmer at night and doesn't get as hot in daytime. But then we have to engineer higher basking areas and sometimes baffles so he can't climb out, etc. Let's not deal with any of that right now.>
<This would be a good time to ask about filtration though. It's often hard to filter water that shallow. Do you have an in-tank submersible filter?
External filter? Or just frequent water changes? All are acceptable as long as the water is crystal clear and odorless>
4. We're new at the turtle thing, and don't want Bolt to die.
Unfortunately, I'm a student 3 other kids and we can't afford a herp vet right now.
<Well, at the moment, you don't need one. We here at Bob's House of Wet Fun can give you all the guidance you need!>
5. He has a very large, flat rock to bask on. Also, the tank came w/the long florescent lamp, and we won a basking lamp on eBay for cheap.
<The florescent lamp is most likely an ordinary bulb or an aquarium/fish/plant bulb which isn't providing the proper UV lighting that Bolt needs. Look into a Repti-Sun 10.0 bulb from my friends at Zoo-Med.
You can probably find one that will fit in that fixture for a reasonable price, but if that's out of the picture at the moment, we have a standby:
Good old fashioned sunlight. Put bolt in a cardboard box with high enough sides that he can't climb out (minimum twice his length - 3 times is better) and big enough that when we set it outside that sunlight can reach straight in. Then drape a towel over one corner so that there is some shade area. Now you can set Bolt outside where he can drink up natural sunlight and have a place to get into the shade when he gets too warm. A couple hours a day would be good, but if that doesn't fit into your schedule, whatever you CAN do is still beneficial. Just as long as neighborhood dogs & kids can't get to him and he can't get out ... all you have to check on is as the sun changes, does he still have shade?>
6. Other than these things, he seems ok. No sores, swelling, or oozy pus, and he is still swimming around.
<We're ALWAYS happy to hear "no sores, swelling or pus" those are never good things>
Any help you can give is most appreciated!
<And we like doing it!>
<So here's where we are. I'm sending you two links. The first is on treatment of illnesses and I'd like you to treat for a fungal infection, mainly because it's easy, very inexpensive and getting Bolt out of the water for a few weeks will assist you in breaking his bad eating habits.
Plus it's a fun article to read.>
<Next link is on general care. It describes in more detail the sort of environment he needs and you can use it as a measuring stick against what you have and are doing.>
<Lastly, keep us posted on how this goes. Send pictures, too!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

River Cooter, Scorpion King Mud Turtle... sys., heating, overwintering   10/3/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I am hoping you can help me with this dilemma.
<We'll sure give it a try>
Last year I was given a River Cooter and a Scorpion King Mud Turtle from a friend who could no longer keep them.
<Scorpion Mud Turtle - from South America -- no 'king' in there.>
They live in a 75 gallon tank that has a couple of islands, heat and uv lamps, a canister filter and river pebble bottom ( too large for them to swallow ). The reason I write is that we have recently moved and the only
place to keep their tank is in the unheated garage.
<Sorry to hear that -- no fun not being able to look at them while hanging around the house>
The tank has a heater but it does get pretty cold out here in the winter ( Long Island, NY ) so I was wondering how low can the temperature safely go for these turtles? Can they be hibernated like the red eared sliders?
<Yes and no. They are both capable of 'over wintering' in cold weather, but what people don't always realize is that not every Slider, Cooter or any reptile survive their winter hibernation. There are critical factors that simply aren't that well known: They must eat solidly prior to hibernation so they build up nutrients in their tissues, but then they have to slow down their intake while continuing to eliminate (poop) until little or none is left undigested in the gut ... then they have to cool fast enough to not freeze, etc. Then the spring is just as tricky -- warm up at just the right speed, not warm a bit then a cool spell, etc. Tricky
If not, do you have any recommendations for keeping the tank warm enough?
<Sure. Re-arrange the tank if necessary, but deepen the water if you can -- the more water volume, especially DEPTH acts as a buffer - deep water resists temperature changes. While I don't usually suggest water heaters in reptile tanks, this is the exception - a good 250W heater is a good idea. Cut a piece of plywood that fits over the top of the tank and then cut a hole in the top where the heat lamp sticks down (just imagine that from inside the tank, it will look like recessed lighting in the ceiling).
Then, on the outside (top of the wood) attach some type of posts, brackets or something like tent poles so that you can drape some plastic or vinyl sheeting over the top yet keeping it away from the heat lamp. This "tent" allows an air chamber that insulates the air in the tank. Give this idea some thought and apply some creativity (keeping in mind that heat lamps can melt things) and you can keep your guys nice & toasty all winter long.>
Thank you,
<Yer Welcome!>

Substrate, Terrapin sys.   2/19/09 Hello! I'm quite worried, as my red-eared terrapin, housed alone in a big tank, keeps trying to climb out non-stop. It's VERY restless... climbing and digging away at the sides of the tank. Currently it's about 7-inches in length, and I'm worried it may have eggs. It laid eggs in the water before, because I only have a rock as its basking area. Just need to check, would it be safe for me to place a small basin into the tank, with a mixture of soil and sand for it to lay its eggs? Thank you! Best Regards, Alex <Hi Alex. It does sound like you have a female anxious to lay her eggs. It's important to let her do so: if not, she'll be prone to egg-binding, and that's a painful (and expensive) problem to deal with. Yes, putting a dish of dry sand somewhere above the waterline is recommended. It will need to be reasonably big and deep so that she can sit on the sand comfortably, and dig a nest a couple of inches deep. Something like a cat litter tray is ideal, filled with silica sand or river sand to a depth of 2-3 inches, at least. The nesting site will need to be bigger than the turtle, otherwise she won't be able to climb in and make her nest. Obviously these eggs will be infertile and won't hatch if she's not mated with a male in the last couple of weeks. Cheers, Neale.> Hello Neale, Thank you so much! I will get cracking on it! Cheers, Alex <Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

2 part question about turtles and identification   8/26/08
Dear Crew,
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
Ok, so this is a two part question, first what kind of turtle is this??
<Oh dear .. if I'd known there was going to be a test I'd have studied!!>
<When I first looked at the pictures my sense was that it was a Rhinoclemys (a South American Wood Turtle). When young their carapace (top shell) is fairly flat and somewhat resembling an Pseudemys (the slider families) and as they mature it becomes more domed like a Box Turtle (Terrapene). In this case, Google is your friend. Try Rhinoclemys T  Terrapene and reeves turtle and see what you think>
I got him from a lady who was not taking care of her and she gave her to me. After cleaning her up I put her in my 100gal tank with my RES who is a male (very long claws) who I have had for about a year, and is just a little smaller then the new turtle.
<Not sure the new kid on the block is an aquatic turtle though -- from most aspects it appears to be semi-aquatic at best and needs more dry land. Your identification from more comparison photos will tell all.>
The other day I noticed my RES vibrating his legs in her face, so he wants to mate with her, so if you know what kind of turtle this is, are they close enough for them to mate or is he barking up the wrong tree?
<Yes, in this case my guess is that you're shaving the wrong beard, to make a different metaphor>
thanks for your help!
<I'm also passing your pictures along to a more learned colleague for his opinion. Neale?>

2 part question... Turtle ID, cross-breeding?   -08/27/08 Ok, so this is a two part question, first what kind of turtle is this?? <I have absolutely no idea. The fact the shell is domed rather than flat implies its either an amphibious or fully terrestrial species rather than a truly aquatic species. The front feet appear to lack webbing, but the back feed are webbed, so again, I'd tend to go with some type of amphibious rather than truly aquatic species. I would be keeping this species in an enclosure with equal amounts of water and land, and I'd also make sure the water wasn't too deep. But I really think you need to get in touch with a dedicated Chelonian support/rehoming site such as Turtle Homes: http://www.turtlehomes.org/ They have contacts and resources for identifying "mystery" Chelonians.> I got him from a lady who was not taking care of her and she gave her to me. After cleaning her up I put her in my 100gal tank with my RES who is a male (very long claws) who I have had for about a year, and is just a little smaller then the new turtle. the other day I noticed my RES vibrating his legs in her face, so he wants to mate with her, so if you know what kind of turtle this is, are they close enough for them to mate or is he barking up the wrong tree? thanks for your help! <They are absolutely not the same species! Male Red-ear Sliders will attempt to mate with anything. So long as he isn't harassing her, I wouldn't worry too much. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

Re: Terrapin- R infection.  4/6/08 Dear Neale, Hi again, this is Su here from Singapore. Unfortunately little Meeno passed away this morning ( Sun 6th April) exactly a month since it got sick and stopped eating. <Too bad. I'm sorry.> I guess I also got the Uv-B light a bit too late. But my other two turts are doing quite well. If possible would you be able to shed some light about the turtle? <Not really; there's likely a mix of things going on. The best you can do is correct any possible problems (e.g., lack of UV-B, diet) and hope that the remaining turtles do fine.> A day before, Meeno started to bloat up in her neck/shoulder region, and the water in the tank she was in turned light yellowish ( I had her in antibiotic solution- Baytril) .On Sunday morning before she passed away around noon, her whole body started swelling, and the water also turned yellowish. I tried to put her under the sun to let her bask but she kept on dragging her little lifeless body into the shed. An hour before she died it was gasping for air. I kept her for a few more hours before burying her to see if she will come true ( as I heard stories that some turtles just go into hibernating mode?), but she didn't. <Most terrapins don't/shouldn't hibernate in captivity, so don't worry about it.> The vet said that probably when she had pneumonia there was local abscess in the lungs? <Quite possible. One of the most common reasons reptiles of all types get sick in captivity is respiratory infection (i.e., what we'd call pneumonia in humans). Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/turtrespart.htm > Thank you so much for your time, effort and advice. Heartbroken, Su <Well, I do hope the remaining terrapins stay healthy, and you get to enjoy your pets! You're doing all the right things and asking all the right questions, so I have faith things will turn out well. Cheers, Neale.>

Pudgy Turtle problems 12/5/07 Clear Day Hello. <Hello to you , too!> I have a red bellied Cooter that I had purchased in Feb. of 2006 for my 3 year old daughter. It was approx. 3 inches when we had gotten him and he is now only 3.5 inches. He eats TetraMin turtle pellets and/or TetraMin shrimp every to every other day. We keep him in our 29 gal. fish tank with some mollies and guppies. All of the levels in the water test out correctly and he has a turtle dock to bask outside of the water under a UVA/UVB bulb. The water in the tank is filtered. <The first comment I want to make here is that while turtles and fish live in what appears to humans to be the same environment, in reality they occupy very different niches in the aquatic world. GENERALLY speaking, the conditions required for fish health are often only marginal for turtles. In addition, while fish (especially healthy fish) don't make up a high percentage of a turtle's diet, every once in a while they just get lucky and suddenly a prized fish is gone.> Last week I noticed that the skin around his neck and legs seems bubbled almost as if it is filled with air or something? I can't seem to find anything about that other than swollen eyes which he does not have. I didn't know if maybe he has some sort of shell growth problem since he hasn't grown at all really and maybe he's getting to chubby for his shell. If you could figure something out for us I would greatly appreciate that. <The questions to ask here are his behavior and activity. Is he active? Any problems diving? Internal infections can cause gas pockets that puff out and make a turtle extremely buoyant. This isn't common without a slew of secondary symptoms, but I thought I'd ask.> <It's also possible -- just as you suspect -- that he is simply obese and this is possibly due to a dietary imbalance or environmental issues or both. First, see if you can obtain Koi Pellets at your local fish store. I've used very high quality (and expensive) imported brands and locally produced cheaper brands (such as Kay-Tee) with great success. Failing this, Repto-Min food sticks are wonderful -- they're essentially identical to Koi pellets, just more expensive. Make sure that his basking area gets to at least 83 degrees (f) and preferably as high as 93 -- and that his water is no warmer than 73 (preferably 70). Either or both of these conditions can produce the abnormalities you are describing -- a turtle that eats more than it is metabolizing will have stunted growth while still appearing to be fat.> If you need pictures to better help in seeing his problem I would be happy to provide them for you! <Is his name Pete by any chance?> <Please check out the following article and measure your care against the recommendations and, by all means, write back with pictures!> <regards, Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm > Thank you very much! Kimberly

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

Terrapin Lost A Claw  10/11/07 Dear Sir / Madam, <a sir here today -- Darrel> I have two terrapins, one 8 inches long and one 7 inches long. The 8-incher has just bitten off one claw of the 7-incher, and although the 7-incher moves fine, eats well and responds well without showing lack of its usual alertness (save for the fact that it keeps its injured foot retracted), I'm worried because the injury is still fresh and you can see red flesh. <This may be an opportune time for a trip to the veterinarian. Any physical injury that severe would be well served by an exam and professional treatment. That's not what I'd do, but I want to remind you that it's a wise option. Now back to your question> Will it heal on its own, or is there something I have to do to make sure it gets better? <It can heal on it's own, as nature often does, but we can do better. Remove the injured animal from the water and allow him to dry. Examine the injured claw area, pulling it out to extension if necessary, to make sure that the injury is clean (no impacted dirt, sand, etc.) and then coat it liberally with Betadine or similar topical antiseptic. Keep the animal out of the water for the next 8-10 days except for a few minutes each day where you put him back in the tank, allow him a few minutes to settle down & drink... and then feed him. Give him a few minutes to eat, then out, dry & Betadine again. Keep this up until the wound has scarred over completely.> I know it's not the rocks because I've seen the larger terrapin attack the smaller terrapin's claws and sides (sides protected by shell), just that I never expected it to get so serious. <It usually doesn't. They're colonial and communal AND at the same time scrappy and territorial and usually, almost always, fights between individuals stop and settle out LONG before this kind of damage. So yes, this is not typical, but it does happen. The time the smaller one spends away from the big one may help to calm whatever issues they have as well as let the little guy heal. But ... this time away might make the big guy feel that he's won a fight or driven off an intruder, so here's an old trick & tip from fish and reptile keepers from way back: When it's finally time to return him "home" you might consider a complete breakdown and rearrangement of the tank (rocks, lights, basking areas, etc.) so that they little guy is not being returned to the big guy's "home territory -- in a sense they're both starting fresh as equals. When that time comes, keep a close watch on them for a time -- in rare cases two individuals simply don't get along and you either need a habitat so large that they can live apart -- or else keep them separately. But we'll cross that bridge when we get that far.> Truly hope you can help.. my terrapins mean a lot to me.. <I hope we have, Alex and hope we will continue to help> Thank you. <You're welcome> Best Regards, Alex

Re: Terrapin Lost A Claw 10/12/07 Hello Darrel, <Hiya Alex> Awesome! I am truly grateful for your reply, just hope my local vets are good enough for reptiles because they've killed my friends' terrapins before with some kind of vitamin injection.. Once again, thank you so so so much!! Take care, Alex <Dear Alex, I received your message last night and decided to reflect on it before responding because there's an area of animal husbandry here that is critical to all of us, yet so often overlooked and I wanted to make sure it gets complete coverage. You mentioned that your friend lost a terrapin to a veterinarian's vitamin injection and that caused me to think back sadly to all the animals that I've lost over the years and what proximal causes were involved. The sad fact is that a great number of them were lost while in a veterinarian's care and I, like you, might have a good reason to be suspicious. And yes, there are a few veterinarians around that are working with 15 year old information on exotics, reptiles and fish and I have learned over the years that it's not only my right but my obligation to ask a vet to state his experience and training relative to what problem I've brought to him.> <But with that said, any naturalist or in fact anyone who's watched many animal shows on television will tell you that in the wild, it's simply not a good idea to be wounded or weak. Probably the same with people, too ... or as my mother used to tell my brother and I SO many times ... "The least you can do is ACT like you're normal!"> <ahem. Back to the animals> <Even an adult water buffalo with a limp is a sure announcement to the pride of lions. A snake just before its' shed is an easy mark for an eagle and a fish swimming on it's side is calling it's bigger brethren to dinner. For this reason, our wild friends try really REALLY hard not to show any weakness even after some severe injuries. They have all evolved to be very hardy and quite stoic -- which, unfortunately leads to the number one cause of death in our captive animals: By the time they get sick enough that they can't hide their weaknesses any long and begin to limp, sway, wallow or float .... they're often near death's door and beyond salvation.> <We've almost all had a fish that seemed fine and healthy for months until one morning we found him dead and yet that's rarely the whole truth. The truth is that he or she had been sick for a very long time and due to a combination of their ability to act normal, our haste to make a quick exam each day and then run off to the rest of our lives ... and the fact that often we don't even know what to look for ... the animal in question has actually been fading right in front of our eyes for quite some time -- we just didn't notice because the signs were so tiny. So please remember that IN ADDITION to the fact that your pet can't tell the doctor where it hurts, by the time you get your animal to the veterinarian, he's probably used up all his reserves and there's sometimes very little the doctor can do.> <The water changes, the filter cleanings, the heater checks, supplements -and .. and and AND .... the 10 or more minutes a day devoted to really REALLY looking -- are worth a hundred trips to the vet and a LOT cheaper, too.>

Re: Terrapin Lost A Claw 10/12/07 My apologies... one more question.. Will the claw grow again? It's so sad, like he's missing one small toe.. plus will it be ok for him to be on totally dry land for so many hours a day? And must I rinse him to get rid of the iodine before putting him back into the water? Thank you! Alex <No worries, Alex.> <It's unlikely that the claw will grow back -- it depends on how much of the root is damaged, but it really doesn't matter. The flesh will heal and the turtle will get along just fine.> <To answer your other question, yes, he can be out of water for days without problem .. and if he gets a little bit of water time each day to bathe and hydrate, he could be out of the water for MONTHS without any ill effects. If you apply the iodine after he comes out of the water and leave it on until the next day when you soak him again, no rising is necessary.> <Darrel>


Baby Map Turtle and Juvenile RES in Same Tank?   8/23/07 Hello? <Hello?> We have juvenile RES (about 1 ½ yrs) in a tank. We have purchased a Mississippi Map turtle that is a baby and would like to put them in the same tank. Do you think this would be a problem? The RES is about 5 inches from the top to bottom of shell and the Map turtle is about 2 inches. Thanks! Hope <It is generally recommended that you don't mix species for a number of reasons. One big difference between them is that the Mississippi Map turtle (Graptemys sp.) is much more aquatic than the Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and consequently much more sensitive to poor water quality. Things that don't really bother Sliders, such as small mounts of ammonia in the water, can prove fatal to Map turtles by promoting bacterial infections. So you need to make sure the water in its vivarium is very well filtered and changed regularly (I'd suggest 100% weekly). Your other big problem is that the two species have entirely different diets. Sliders are omnivores when young and almost entirely herbivores when adult, so juveniles need 50% green foods when young to 90% green foods when mature. Map turtles, on the other hand, are specialist predators that feed on snails, crayfish etc. Finally, there are differences in temperament. Map turtles are pretty snappy, while Sliders are more laid back. If you have a really big vivarium you might choose to give it a go anyway and see what happens, but otherwise best keep them separated. Good luck, Neale>

3 Legged Turtle  05/21/07 Hi I need help as soon as possible. I have a large pond (at least an acre large) in my yard. I found a large map turtle in it today that obviously can't swim down. I managed to catch him and he only has three legs. While he was still in the pond I watched him and he would try to swim away and down but would start going in circles and spiral back up like air was trapped in his shell somewhere, the part of the shell with the missing leg leading up. After I caught him in a net I couldn't find anything wrong with him and where he was missing a leg was totally healed so it was an old injury. I don't know what to do with him he might have a disease. Is there a way to help him or should I kill him (but he doesn't seem in pain) and how should I kill him if he going to die. I don't have an aquarium large enough for him and the one I have has my three small turtles in it. Please help me and thank you. -Amanda <I would leave this turtle be... It is not likely diseased, and will live well in your pond, as long as there is not total freezing weather in your locale... Bob Fenner>

White String Fecal Matter On Map Turtle 05/05/07 I have 2 turtles in the same tank, a red ear slider, and a map turtle.  Today when I was  adding some water to their tank, and saw my map turtle had (what looked like) white string (almost floss looking) coming out of its bottom. It was very long and the turtle became a little agitated by it, is there anything wrong with my turtle?? Thank you, Jen < Could be worms. Take a fecal sample to a good turtle vet to be examined. The vet will be able to provide a suitable treatment.-Chuck>

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

Turtles Need The Right Light   1/3/07 Hi , I need some help about the set-up of terrapin tank. From this website and several others ,  I found out that basking spot is needed for terrapin but currently I didn't have any UVB or UVA light installed. I recently have 3 small terrapin in a rather small tank, approximately 25cm by 40cm, and I wanted to ask whether is UVB and UVA really necessary ? < Absolutely! This lighting prevents shell problems and helps the turtle develop normally.> Because from some other website , they say that placing your tank near natural sunlight is sufficient. <UVB and UVA is somewhat filtered out by glass. To make sure they get what they need it is best to actually purchase the correct lighting they require.> My question is, is it true that by placing the tank at natural sun light sufficient for the terrapin ? <Depends on many factors. Duration and intensity of the light are the big ones. The sun moves through out the year. What may work today may not work in a few weeks when then sun changes its angles for the seasons.> If it is sufficient, should the tank be placed under direct sunlight or just a spot whereby there is sun light? I hope you do get what I mean because my command of English isn't very good. < The hours off illumination should match the outdoor daylight hours. Longer in the summer and shorter in the winter. If you keep you turtles indoors where it is warm and limit there basking hours to the short winter time exposures they will have problems. Turtle can live for 40+ years with proper care. I would recommend that you invest the small sum required to give these little guys a chance at a long health life.> Also like several of the people here , I have 1 terrapin that's less active and closes its eyes for a longer duration compared to the other 2 turtles. When I hold it , it will open its eyes and clearly its not swollen and look visually infection free. It mixes around with the other 2 terrapins and also eats normally. Is it ok ? < When I pick up a healthy turtle, it should retract into its shell for a moment and then extend its legs and attempt to get away. Staying retracted in its shell for an extended time does not sound healthy.> Is my tank too small for them? They are about 3 cm (1"+) in length? < Your tank is fine for them at the moment, but you will need a bigger tank in about a year if you follow my recommendations.> I hope you could reply as soon as possible as I love them a lot and I don't want them to pass away like their friends and other terrapin I got from those shops. < Spend a little money to get the right equipment a they will reward you with years of entertainment.> Is it true that they recognize their owner in time? <They are really smart. After awhile they realize who is the one feeding them and soon they will be begging every time they see you.-Chuck>

Turtle Shell Getting Little Holes  - 06/22/2006 I have had a Peninsula or River Cooter for a year now. I have a 10 gallon tank, a heating light, a filter, rocks, and a big rock my turtle can climb on. I use shell cream for (his?) cracked shell, but have noticed that he has a bunch of little holes on his lower shell. At first I thought that maybe it was cracked shell, but they aren't going away. They aren't soft, but little hard holes. I don't know what it is, and I haven't seen any articles describing this type of problem. I need your help. Should I take him to a vet? Thanks-Jasmin <Any type of pitting on a turtle shell is not good. It could be a bacterial infection. Give him a Dr Turtle Sulpha Dip and then add a Dr Turtle Block to the water. If the spots continue to grow than a visit to a vet would be in order.-Chuck>

Turtle Questions ... dis.  6/20/06 Hi! I had a question about a my Mississippi map turtle.  About a month ago I noticed that on his right front foot there was a pinkish spot right under his claw.  I'm not sure how it happened, I thought maybe another of the turtles bit him.  I started putting Neosporin on it and it got a little more pink and swollen but then it got a lot better, and was almost totally healed.  Now I noticed that there are two other small spots on the same leg a little further up.  These ones are a deeper red and seem hard.  His hand is swollen but he swims fine, eats normally, and acts as he always has. < I would recommend that you isolate the turtle and add a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block to the water. The other turtles can't bother him in another tank and the Sulpha block will inhibit bacteria and give his arm a chance to heal.> Also, I have a yellow belly slider who blows bubbles every time she grabs at the food.  Could that be a sign of a respiratory problem?? <No not really. The problems arise when they are sitting on their basking site and blowing bubbles.> Also, my red eared slider and yellow bellied slider dig in the rocks a lot.  I think they are looking for food.  Is this normal and ok?? < Older turtles  need more vegetable matter in their diet. Give them some kale or spinach leaves to gnaw on. ZooMed now has a new turtle bone for turtles to gnaw on and get some calcium. It may be worth checking out since you have so many turtles.-Chuck>  Thanks so much for your help!! - Megan

Rare Wood Turtle Needs Proper TLC  - 06/07/2006 Hello Crew, I just saw Brandon Heuyard's turtle pix  & post of 4-11-2006 post . It is a woodland turtle,...rare,  possibly threatened. It is semi aquatic, lives near stream & rivers. Needs a lot of good care, fresh water for soak immersion which must be changed daily suggest & right after defecation, food is berries fruit, earth  worms, fresh lean beef cut up small. If one wants  to keep  one, I suggest  reading up on them, food, habitat & very important hibernation requirement for continued well being. Not a child's fun pet , but a serious custody only. I do not know how to reach  & am not figure out how to access  forum. Please post & you may share email address with him. Ellen < eplanner(AT)ix(DOT)netcom(DOT)com <<Replace the (AT) with @ and the (DOT)s with . - just trying to avoid someone getting spammed.  -Sabrina>>> < Thank you for your concern and we will post on the site for all to read.-Chuck>

Identification Issue, turtle  - 4/10/2006 Dear Crew: <Brandon> Greetings and Salutations.  As a general rule I keep snakes; however, I  managed to acquire a "turtle."  This was more of an animal surrender as he was not being fed well, possibly was dehydrated, and just didn't seem to be in optimum health.  It is my goal to remedy that unfortunate situation, Besides, my daughter immediately fell in love with him.  Here is my question, what type of turtle is it?  I have been on the search for information and just cannot seem to definitively identify the little guy.  For the time being he is in a 20 gallon tank, nice hide spot, new UV lighting, and a dish of water that he can submerge his entire body while still being able to get out of it.  He is very active, likes to climb, and has spent some time soaking in his water bowl.  After his soak I had to clean his carapace and noticed that he does have color.  I really think it is a painted turtle.  The person who surrendered it thought it was a "woodland" turtle from Canada?  I am not sure where she received her information.  He has been a pet for 15 years, and I believe he has not been kept in a truly 50-50 aquatic situation.  I am sending pictures ( I pray they are not too large).  I am hoping that you can help me identify this little guy; I want to be able to provide the best possible environment for him. <Mmm, looks like a color-variant (due to upbringing) of an Eastern Painted Turtle to me (Chrysemys picta)... have never heard of or seen such a thing as a "Canadian Woodland" turtle> Again I apologize if I broke the picture rules.   Any help you may be able to offer would be appreciated. Brandon C. Heuyard

Turtle ID FAQ on 4/10/06 Dear Fearless Leader, I was unable to open the picture sent for the following question so I sent it back to the freshwater section. After seeing it today on the main website it definitely looks like a semi-aquatic wood turtle in the genus Clemmys. It actually may be a very endangered Clemmys muhlenberg. See ya in a couple of weeks.-Chuck <Yikes... will amend. Danke. BobF>

Smelly Turtle Tank  - 04/04/2006 Hello all, I tried searching your site and while I found people with somewhat similar problems, none seemed quite so severe as mine (so I apologize if this is a repeat question).  I have two Mississippi map turtles in what I seem to recall is a 20 gallon tank.  The turtles are about fourish inches long (one slightly larger).  The problem is this:  I am having to clean the tank (and by clean I don't mean a partial or complete water change, I mean empty the entire thing out and scrub it down) two to three times a week because the water gets very cloudy and they start to stink horribly.  I understand these type of turtles are relatively high maintenance, but I did not think they would be nearly this bad.  The worst time I cleaned them in the afternoon and literally that evening (say a turnover of four-five hours) the water was clouding already. Is this normal (I really don't feel it is)?  And if not, what am I doing wrong?  Just a quick note, I have not changed what I feed them at all, I have started feeding them a little more than I used to -3 times a day about 3ish pinches of ZooMed aquatic turtles food- (because they splash around at the top of the tank and eat like they are starved each time I put food in). Water temps and such have remained constant.  I've had them for nearly 1 1/2 years and this is the first time I've experienced such a problem.  Sorry for the long e-mail, just trying to get you as much info as possible.  Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Luke <As turtles get older they need more vegetable matter in their diets. If you haven't already, switch to the adult turtle formula instead of the hatchling formula. I suspect that they are passing much of this protein into the water causing the ammonia spike. Try this, feed your turtles as much as they will eat. In an hour then vacuum out all the water with a Python Water Changer and replace it with fresh water. This will remove any uneaten food as well as any new fecal matter. This should keep things cleaner for a longer time period. A 20 gallon tank is small for two turtles of this size. Try to up grade to a bigger tank with greater surface area.-Chuck>

Re: Tank Space For Turtles  - 04/04/2006 Just a quick follow up question (the original should be included, so I hope there is no confusion there). About what size tank would you recommend for these two turtles (Mississippi map about four inches)?  And for about how long would a bigger tank be ok for them (in other words, should I just break down and buy a huge tank now)?  Thanks so much for all your help. < A rule of thumb that Zoo Med Labs recommends is the tank should be at least 5 times the length of the turtle. One four inch turtle needs 20 inches or approximately a twenty gallon tank. Two turtles should have a 40 gallon tank. Keep in mind that a female will get up to 10 inches while a male will get about half that size. Two adult females need a 100 gallon tank while two males would need a 50 gallon. Consider placing them outdoors during the summer.-Chuck>

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

Turtles Not Doing Well  12/13/05 Hi WWM guys. I own a young male map turtle. Recently I had to leave him with my brothers map turtle, who despite being my turtles brother, is larger and more dominant at the same age. Since my turtle has returned to his aquarium he has barely eaten and the majority of his food is going to waste. He sleeps and hides a lot more than usual, and I'm concerned as to why his behaviour has changed. My brother suggested he was not eating large amounts when he was with him, as the other turtle was picking up most of the food. He seems happy when he is awake, but just worried something may not be right. Any ideas? < When two turtle of different sizes come together one dominates the other for resources. This includes food and a basking spot. This also stresses the smaller turtle to the point that they may become sick. Check the temperature of the basking spot with a thermometer. As the days grow cooler it may not be as warm as it needs to be. It should be up around 85 F. See if that helps. Chuck>

What Kind of Turtle is it? 8/23/05 My friend just found a small turtle, but cannot find out what type it is.  It is either dark green or black with yellow-green stripes all over its body and shell. Also it has a flat yellow-orange stomach. It has three triangular bumps  on its shell. It has a tail and webbed feet with claws. If you know what it is,  please tell me what it eats. Also, the place where she found it is under  construction. Where would you suggest she release it? < Sounds like you have a map turtle. They are an aquatic species that live on invertebrates, fish, plants and just about anything else. It could be released in a stream , river or creek away from human habitations.-Chuck>

Turtle Buddies Are there any other aquatic animals that can safely cohabitate with a larger turtle (in our case a pacific pond turtle)? <Not that I can think of off the top of my head, feeder goldfish have been known to last a little while, but eventually get eaten, I imagine a crawfish would make a nice snack, frogs or newts would be lunch.  You could try a very fast durable fish, something that can put up with less than perfect water quality.  I had some Giant Danios spawn in one of my turtle tanks once, ended up eating all the fry, but the adults survived with the turtle for a while.  A few years down the road I figured I'd try the Giant Danios with the same type of turtle, they where all eaten within a week.  So, fast, durable, forgiving fish, with good cover, and you may be able to pull it off, but I would not recommend it. -Gage>

Social turtles? Hi I was wondering if you were the one that I talk about my turtle? if I have the right person I was wondering I have an ornate wooden turtle and I was wondering if  they to have like other turtles in the cage with  them? < They really don't care one way or another.-Chuck>

MATCHING TURTLES Hi, I have a male red eared slider who's about 5-6". I recently got a young male Texas map who is about 2". At first, I put the Texas map in with the RES in a 100g stock tank filled with about 80g of water. The RES did not bite, but he was always doing what looked like his mating dance right in the face of the Texas map and also pushing him around  constantly, but there was never any biting. Never the less, I separated the two and put the Texas map in a 20g long tank for now because I was worried about the behavior of the RES, but I was wondering if there was a process I should go through before adding him into the RES tank again? Is the Texas map just too small to be added in with such a large RES? Should I start feeding the RES outside of his tank in order to maybe lower potential aggression? Or will it always be the case that I need to keep them separated? Thanks for your time. < It is always best to try to match up turtles according to size. I would not try and keep the smaller turtle in with the larger turtle. Eventually you will be away for a period of time and the bigger turtle will try and eat the smaller turtle. If not eat then he will take bits out of him and might bite off a limb. Even if the turtles are well fed the larger one will continue to dominate the smaller turtle. If you must put them in together then wait for the weekend when you can spend some time watching them. Put them in together and then feed them. Hopefully this will distract the larger turtle and he will leave the smaller turtle alone. watch them carefully and decide if it is safe to leave them alone.-Chuck> 

TURTLE PALS Hi! I am putting my 7 year old Red-Eared Slider up for adoption. Two people are interested in him. One has a 5 year old Yellow-Bellied Turtle. The other has a 1 year old Red-Eared. Which situation would be a better fit for my guy? Thank you  < Match him up with the yellow belled turtle. Turtles being kept together should be close to the same size.-Chuck> 

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

Endangered or Not? I'm confused about the endangered species list. Is and EASTERN RED BELLIED turtle considered a PLYMOUTH RED BELLIED TURTLE? because the Plymouth ribs on the endangered list and is a sub species of the eastern rb. can you please set me straight I'm confused. >> This has been in our inbox for a few days, so I think none of us are so sure. There is an easy way to find out. You can call your local USFW (US Fish and Wildlife Service) office, and they should be able to help you with your query. They have a website, but I am not sure what state you are in to find you the local number. Good Luck, Oliver

Turtles with Tumors? Hi Crew I have two Graptemys pseudogeographicas  ( one 3 years and the other two) that have developed a lump (tumor?) on their left temples almost simultaneously. On the youngest, the lump has already partially broken the skin.  The turtles don't seem to be in any pain or discomfort and eat well and behave normally.  Could this be virus related?  I feed them their turtle chow as well as fresh meat ( fish, poultry, beef, etc..)  I've had turtles as pets all my life and have never seen or heard of this condition. Even the guy a the pet store was stumped.  I have a newborn baby at home. Does the turtles condition pose any sort of danger to his health? Thanks a lot! Al in Madrid , Spain <Subcutaneous lumps or tumors are sometimes caused by the presence of pockets of maggots of the Bot fly. These lumps should be opened with a scalpel and the contents removed with forceps. Captive turtles may suffer from hard swollen lumps under the skin of the limbs and neck. If they are near the surface then they should be squeezed to if possible. Larger ones may need a incision If you are unable to do this then a vet would be your best bet.-Chuck>

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