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FAQs About Painted Turtles

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

Related FAQs:  Yellow Bellied Sliders, ( Other Aquatic Emydids (Bog, Pond, Painted...), Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, 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

Painted turtle breeding question     9/16/19
<Hello. Apologies for the delay in replying.>
I’ve read Darrel’s write-up re turtle hatching and have a question. I’ve installed a pond in my backyard and have 3 painted turtles (+koi and gf) in it. Because I’ve lost a few turtles over the winter (Michigan; my pond is over 4’ deep, lined, in ground), I’ve started taking them inside now.
<Good approach.>
What I wonder, and can’t find via searching the internet, is because they’re inside now and don’t brumate, does this change the ‘breeding’ season?
<Not directly. But most reptiles will use day length (often specifically UV-A) to calibrate their internal clocks. Indoors this isn't possible, so breeding tends to be a bit more variable.>
Or will they still likely mate March through June as they did in the wild?
<To some degree, yes, more or less. Day length will be the main triggering factor.>
I ask because I would probably NOT know if my female actually laid eggs in the indoor holding pool I’ve set up for them. Which means, come summer, they head out to the big pond and a lot more space and I’d have to keep the indoor pool going JUST IN CASE eggs were laid. I also worry if I’m not allowing brumation and the breeding season is askew, that any eggs laid outside in the summer might not have enough days for gestation.
<Understood. If you keep the turtles relatively cool and with the amount of light over their tank limited, it's unlikely they'll lay eggs. Once moved into a suitable enclosure with higher temperatures, more food, and longer day lengths, this should trigger egg-laying.>
Another question; I have limited area where I’ve set up my over-winter pool so can provide only modest ‘earthen’ area for possible egg-laying. Is there a minimum amount for the female to actually feel comfortable? Or will she simply lay the eggs in whatever space I’ve provided?
<It needs to be big enough she can move about and dig comfortably, but that's about it.>
I currently have something equal to about 2 sq feet, about 12” deep.
<Sounds fine.>
And a final question; is there a optimal setup to make the earthen area conducive for eggs to hatch? Basic ground temp? Percent humidity?
<The sand needs to be steadily warm, around 28 C, and the sand should be damp but not waterlogged. The idea mix probably includes a bit of perlite or compost to hold some moisture. But at the same time it needs to be airy enough the eggs don't suffocate. Beyond that, the main thing is the sand isn't disturbed -- moving the eggs usually kills the foetus.>
Since I also overwinter orchids and tropical pond plants in the same room, I think I’ve got that covered but if there’s something I’m missing, please let me know.
<Sounds good.>
Anyway, I liked the write-up and hope either Darrel or another expert there can help out.
Thank you.
<Hope this helps. Neale.>
Re: painted turtle breeding question     9/16/19
Thanks, Neale; it does help. I was going to keep the lights on for 12 hours, do you suggest I lower that number?
<Yep. Treat as per winter wherever you live; but do ensure the UV-B light is on for sufficient time (at least 4 hours/day) for the turtles to get sufficient vitamin D.>
(it was mainly for the tropicals I’m overwintering with the turtles.)
<Understood. Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle shedding poorly      6/23/18
Hello all,
<Hiya – Darrel again>
I wrote you around 13 years ago because my southern painted turtle got her head stuck in some tubing. I dry docked her and she recovered though I swear the hypoxia contributed to her having less sense than her feeder guppies.
<Most turtles are not college material anyway, so no worries>
Since then, she has had a number of health issues: got her flipper stuck in a filter, resulting in rehab and a slightly weaker arm; fatty liver; peritonitis; and retained eggs leading to oophorectomy. She has been
treated with every antibiotic under the sun and even with lactulose for the liver. Her quality of life went down so much due to the regular force feeding of meds that I stopped the lactulose. Two years later, still kicking. She's about 6 inches stem to stern and has held steady at 12oz no matter how much I try to feed her.
<Sounds like all that’s missing is the sound of coconuts banging together and Moe or Larry going “Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.” Sorry for her troubles.>
I say all this because over the last few years, she is shedding poorly. She has UVB/heat lamps, a good filter, a diet comprised of Zoo Med, Hikari wheat germ, Mazuri, and ReptoMin; a tank heater, and guppies to chase/eat.
<Personally, if you live south of Point Barrow, I’d leave the water at room temperature. There is virtually no part of her natural range that would see the heat of a tropical aquarium heater>
In the past her scutes would come up cleanly but now they peel apart or don't come off at all. I've attached a picture. The shell is not soft, no signs of infection or fungus, and she eats/basks well...but not right now because we just moved...and she doesn't seem to be in discomfort.
<and she LOOKS fine as well. That ‘look’ on her shell … that kind of dirty, frayed at the edges and kind of but not quite discolored look … is all natural for them as they age>
Other than being unsightly, should I worry? She's extra splashy right now and letting her walk around helps.
<I wouldn’t worry a bit>
What does it mean? I suspect it is a laying urge not extinguished by removal of her ovaries.
<Well, yes it is. There are eggs developing in her oviducts so she doesn’t get THAT urge. But that’s not to say that she won’t get agitated and want to walk and explore at some fast, frenetic pace. Those sort of scattered, active and crazy bursts of energy are typical for her kind>
Thank you again,

Painted turtle spending time on dry land      6/10/18
We have an outdoor turtle sanctuary with painted water turtles and ornate box turtles. In this area we have a good sized pond with goldfish and aquatic plants along with basking rocks and marginal areas. The other part of the sanctuary is dry land with natural and safe turtle plants. There are digging areas as well as a couple of hibernation dens. The box turtles seem to be happy and thriving as well as one of our paints.
<Sounds perfect>
We have a male painted turtle that has been in this environment for well over a year and he's great. He seems happy and even begs for treats and rides on the goldfish tails. About 2 weeks ago we rescued a female painted turtle. The first few days seemed okay with minimal issues between the two. Now the male picks on her often, chasing her and nipping at her hind legs and face.
<He’s a man in love>
Now she's been spending more time on the dry side. We often find her hanging out with the box turtles. She has now resorted to taking over one of the hang out areas from the box turtles. I suspect she's even spent the night out of the water as I've found her in this same hang out spot in the morning (5 am morning).
<She can go weeks and even months out of water>

She seems healthy; I'm wondering if the two just aren't going to get along, maybe the male is a bully or wanting to mate? Maybe she was previously impregnated and looking to nest? Maybe she's stressed?
<Stressed would be my guess>
Any suggestions on how to make sure she stays healthy and to rectify the situation between the two paints?
<Yep. Take Milford (assuming the male painted is named Milford) out of the pond area and put him in another container … maybe just put him in the house in the bathtub for a period of two weeks. During that time, put Griselda (assuming her name is Griselda) back into the pond ONCE every day when you find her resting on land. In other words don’t BUG her or CONFINE her to water… if she’s on land doing something leave her alone. The idea is to get her to rediscover the water without Milford bothering her. If by the end of two weeks she’s taken to the pond like the other water turtles then she was stressed and needed a break from Milford. After she is acclimated and happy you can re-introduce Milford and see if they reach an understanding. If Griselda shows an affinity for being a land turtle, then she’s just odd and as long as she’s active alert and eating … let it go>
Keep Smiling, Regina

Soft Spot on Eden's Head and Shell      6/10/18
Dear Crew
<Hiya, Darrel here>
Last year, I was given Eden, a painted turtle, that someone could keep anymore; she had a leech on the back of her head and one on the back of her shell, after cleaning and putting her in clean water the leeches came off and then raw spots healed over slightly. Now, a year after that I was out cleaning to pond and turtles and I noticed the soft spots were still "Soft Spots" they look fine; she is acting normal not sickly - Should I be concerned ?
<In one word: no>
<In this case, Mary think AABE -- is Eden Active, Alert, Basking and Eating? If she passes those four tests then don't worry. Just examine her periodically and make sure nothing gets worse.>
Mary in MD

Turtle Pals    7/22/17
<Hiya, Darrel here>
My name is Kori and my boyfriend and I already have a baby Eastern Painted Turtle named Archie. We saved him from my Aunt's garage during our Memorial Day party. They do have a rather large pond at their house but they also have very large fish and significantly larger than littler Archie turtles. My Uncle is also trying to have a specialist come out and catch the huge snapping turtle they have. So we figured we'd take the little guy home.
<Good thinking. Archie would be just a snack for a snapping turtle>
When we first rescued him he was almost about the size of a quarter. He has grown some but not a significant amount as we've only had him for a short time. He seems to love his tank and the setup and is always swimming over to say hello to us! Anyways my boyfriend was wondering if we could purchase another baby eastern painted turtle around the same size and be able to keep them in the same tank. If so at what size/age is best for introducing them? I.e. Should we wait longer or is it better to have them together at such a young age?
<The younger the better, but it makes no real difference since all of the Emydid turtles (what we call pond turtles, like Red Eared Sliders, Cooters, Red Belly, Painted, Map, etc. – all the turtles with that same body shape) will usually get alone fine as long as their sizes are similar. That said you WILL get turtles that just have bad attitudes and that can cause problems.>
<Here is the secret to dealing with that: the SIZE of the enclosure is not as important as how you have it set up: Just like with fish we try to create hiding places, etc. for reptiles we try to create VISUAL PRIVACY. Place rocks, stones, dividers or whatever so that they can get out of each other’s site if they feel too much pressure. (Not a bad idea for people, too.) Usually basking sites are neutral territory and we rarely see fights on land, so as long as they can swim out of the other’s site they’ll learn to get along just fine)>
Also we believe that Archie is a boy because his tail is quite long as are his claws. With that being said he is still a baby and we cannot know for sure. We were wondering if we do get another turtle should we try for another male or a female or if it is even possible to specify when they are so young.
<No, you really can’t tell at that age and they all get along fine anyway. Here’s the thing; If you do get a boy and a girl, the boy matures before the girl and annoys the crap out of her for mating … years before she’s ready. Just get two (or three) and enjoy!>
Our last question is how large of a tank should we have if we end up with two little cuties? Thank you so much we've tried looking this up but it seems to be most about RES and we weren't sure if the same rules applied! (:
<Every rule for Red Eared Sliders applies in exactly the same way. They even mate and produce babies if they get the chance. 100% same rules!>

Painted Turtle with growth on front foot       10/17/16
<Hiya Darrel here>
I have recently acquired an adult (I believe female) painted turtle who has a huge growth on one of her front feet. It is the size of a golf ball on the under side of the foot and a small marble sized second growth coming off the top of the foot.
<That’s huge for a turtle that size>
These seem to be under the skin, as the skin is still stretched around the top one, and most of the underside growth, but that one seems to have split and what is inside looks like a porous yellow sponge.
<A cyst of some sort>
The poor turtle has zero use of this foot, and it interferes with it being able to climb in and out of water without difficulty...she also seems to have sat sedentary for some time with minimal movement in her environment as she had a serious growth of algae (the long stringy bad kind) all over her shell almost appearing like a weeping willow when lifted out of the water.
<At this point, water can be her enemy. Time to treat the growths and dry-dock her>
I have scrubbed most of the algae off using online recommended methods (from this site actually), and now am wondering what I might be able to do in terms of treating this growth. Might it need surgical removal?
<It would seem no other option at this point>
If so, where does one go for such things?
<Typically this is performed by a veterinarian. While most vets don’t specialize in reptiles, most have had basic exposure and training and would be capable of examining and excising these growths. After care involves keeping her warm and dry with a course of IM Baytril (or preferably Danofloxacin)>
Can I clean it with peroxide and treat it with topical antibiotic ointment? And if so, HOW does one clean and treat (and keep clean) such a sore when the turtle obviously needs to be in water so they don’t get shell rot and such???
<It’s the other way around. When a turtle spends TOO much time in the water or doesn’t get enough exposure to sunlight (UVA & B) is when you’ll see shell rot and other fungus. At this point, she needs to be warm and DRY and get a 5 – 10 minute bath each day.>
Any insight you could give would be greatly appreciated. Also, what is the likelihood that I would be able to cut away this growth myself, as it is not bleeding, oozing nor displays as an “open” wound...just where the split is there is a “hole” of sorts, but again, it displays as a sponge-like interior?
<I wouldn’t try it yourself – but if you find a Turtle & Tortoise Club in your area you may run into an experienced ‘old hand’ at such things that could do it for you.>
Thanks again!- Briana

wild painted turtle    6/5/16
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I found a large painted turtle digging a nest this morning.
<Way cool!>
She appeared to lay eggs (I was watching from the kitchen). When she left there was a deep hole about and inch wide but she didn't cover it up. Do I cover it (it's right where my dog can get it) or does this mean she is coming back?
<She won’t be back, she probably forgot. If you cover the hole the eggs MAY hatch naturally, but why not hatch them yourself? It’s not hard and the babies are adorable {until they grow up, drop out of college and come how with some loser who thinks he’s going to be a musician, at least!}>
<read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtleReproArtDarrel.htm > I didn't disturb her and she appeared to be content.
Jeanne Paul

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 >

I can't seem to log onto your site. Please answer this question.      5/8/16
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I recently had three turtles share a 40 gallon tank temporarily, trying to find a good owner for at least the two - African Sideneck and South American mud. Long story - I was forced to take these turtles to find them homes- the 40 gallon tank for 3 turtles is not fair. I know.
<Actually many turtles do fine in colonies sharing tight spaces. It depends on the species and sometimes the individuals>
Anyway, The painted turtle who is now about 1 1/2 yrs old has never been alone. He is the remaining one now. He has 2 platforms and now he does not bask as much (I think he was scared of the other two and was always basking to get out of the way) but now he spends a lot of the day attacking the bubbles that the filter is releasing into the water. Is that normal ?
<Debbie – you bring up a great question. We gauge the general health of the animals in our care based on a few criteria: Are they active? Alert? Eating? Bathing? Basking? And the last one: Any change in behavior?>
<In this case it’s hard to determine right away, but let’s assume that he is eating when you offer him food. He’s active if he’s chasing bubbles. Is he alert? Does he recognize you when you come to the tank and act like ‘oh boy! Food!” and then – does he actually eat?>
<If the answer to these is ‘YES’ then give him a month or so to settle down. Just be aware if he NEVER basks or NEVER swims … beyond that let’s give him some time to adapt to the changes and set into a new routine.>

Invisashell     3/3/16
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Darrel here>
I recently became the owner of a painted turtle that a friend got from the wild about a year ago and didn't want any longer...I have had him for a few months and I know his shell is growing but is it normal for him to have a tiny transparent ring around the entire edge of his shell? Is this part of the normal growing process?
<Yep - that's normal and healthy>
I am also concerned because a friends kid pulled a tissue paper thin scale off his shell!!!
<Please hove your friend's kid stop doing that; the pieces are ready to come off when the underlayment has completed its growth and then the piece comes off all by itself>
(pic included of shell and piece torn off) I know it was starting to flake off a little but I don't know if doing this will cause him harm.
<The sloughing of the shell is normal - ripping it off for him is not>
Also his top shell is about 2 inches long..is there any way to guess how old he might be?
<perhaps two years, maybe 2 1/2. Hard to tell from a photo>
Any information would be much appreciated.
<Painted Turtles fall 100% under the care instructions for the Red Eared Slider. From light to heat, water quality and food - it's all right here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Painted Turtle; hlth. concern           11/12/15
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I am emailing you because I am worried about my turtle, he is usually always swimming at the tank and acting like he wants to get out but just in the past day it seems like he’s not as energetic, and he didn't eat what I would usually feed him at night. I have had him for about 2 years now, and it is November so it is starting to get colder out. I just wanted to know, should I be concerned?
<First, I want to tank you for noticing the behavior change. Most people don’t notice, or don’t give it any serious thought, until it’s almost too late. I check my animals every day and I look for changes every day, so congratulations on paying attention!>
<That said, one day is not in itself a big deal. Pets, just like people, have “off” days and “down” days and, as you suggested, seasons change and it changes behaviors.>
<When you notice a change, think to any changes you’ve induced, like heat, light cycles, new equipment or furniture. If there is nothing, think about seasons change. Assuming Herkimer (if that is his name) is kept in a tank indoors with no water heater (and that’s how it should be) then yes, the water is getting cooler and he is getting slower and more lethargic – and that’s normal.>
<My inside turtles have a heat lamp over their basking area but the water is left to be room temperature, which chills this time of year. I expect them to be less active and less hungry. Instead of feeding 5 times a week I feed 3 times. By December and January/February that will be once every 10 days if even that often. They sleep more. But here’s what I look for: When they ARE awake they are still alert. They still look at me as I walk by, etc.>
Thank you much.
<Give him a week, see if this is a pattern, then get back to us>

Painted turtle; hlth.      6/22/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My husband was recently coming home from work in eastern Idaho, he nearly ran over a turtle so he picked it up and brought it home knowing our 3 yr old son would love it. We believe it's a western painted turtle. Well it's got a piece of skin coming off, not shedding like, but like a scab coming off but its skin.
<If so that's easy to treat>

I just went and bought a 99 liter tote and we have one side with white garden type rock then water halfway up. Once I get paid I plan on getting the UV light and everything else he may need. We are trying to get him to eat ReptoMin floating food sticks but he just claws at the sides to get out.
<His life has changed radically all of a sudden. Don't worry too much about that for now. First take care of his wounds (here's everything you need to know:
) >
Should we just put him back or what kind of supplies should we get for him?
<If he was completely healthy then maybe, but if you have an injured turtle I'd keep him>
<Next order of business, as you suggested, is proper housing and care.
One thing to keep in mind is that this does NOT have to be complex or expensive. The tote is a good start! Now read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<As far as feeding is concerned he (or she) probably won't feed much until after the treatment for the wound and gets into his new home and settles in. When that happens often times a single earthworm will grab their attention and jump-start their appetite>

little white bubble      3/17/15
I have a male painted turtle that is about 6 years old. He has a very small white spot on the back of his neck that looks like a blister. What could this be and how would I treat it? His tank is kept very clean, his appetite hasn't changed, and he is very active. He is the only turtle in his tank.
<If the spot isn't infected, then "dry docking" the turtle for a while, and using H2O2 or povidone-iodine to clean the wound/blister should work. Don't be afraid to keep the turtle fry for days, weeks. Provided the turtle is warm and has access to drinking water, they're fine like this for a long time. Aquarium water is inevitably a bacteria-laden soup, hence keeping the
turtle dry. Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm
The section on dry-dock about halfway down is the bit you want to read closely.

Painted Turtle Mainly Basking... fed goldfish, lettuce, heater...       2/12/15
<Hi there>
Back in the summer I acquired a yellow bellied slider (he's still a baby, about 2-3inches) and a painted turtle (about 5inches). I am housing them together as that is what the previous owner was doing and they get along perfectly. Now, my slider is almost always in the water chasing fish.
<Mmm; are the fish stocked w/ them? In how large a system?>
(Yes, I have now found out that that is not a good staple diet
<Exceedingly poor; and expensive>

and will be buying Koi food as soon as I get paid Friday as your site has suggested.
I clearly don't remember what my turtles used to eat when I was kid as I thought I did.) My painter, on the other hand, is always on the rock just laying there. He looks at me when I walk near the aquarium and only goes in the water when I have to dump buckets of water in during partial water changes (this is because I use the basking rock as it lessens the waves
that the water causes and doesn't make the turtles "spin"). I have plopped him into the water on occasion, but he just runs back to the rock. He doesn't seem to be unhealthy otherwise. No issues in breathing, swimming, no shell issues, no bacteria issues that I can see. We have also notice a decrease in his eating too.
<The food change; now...>
In case it may be the reason, a little about my set up: They are currently in a 50G tank filled about halfway.
<I see>
They have a floating dock, a filter, a basking area that consists of a flat rock, feeder fish (which I will let them eat and then I won't be adding anymore),
<Remove them; take back to the store>
a calcium block on the bottom (I provide a new one every 2weeks provided the old one is all gone), a water heater that keeps the water at 75F (you're site says the water shouldn't go over 73F, should I take the heater out?
<I would; yes... unnecessary and too great a chance it will be smashed, broken>

It's programmed so I can't change the setting. The room they are in is in the high 60's this time of year so I thought it'd be best for the water heater to keep the water warm enough for them.) and some java moss. The water change is done about every other day or else it starts to smell (assuming from the fish). I change the filter about every month (at least I try to). I will be adding a UVB bulb again, I had to order some more since it burned out.
Is this normal behavior for a painter?
<Considering the set up, temp., goldfish as food... not unusual; but not healthy either>
Should I take the water heater out? As for providing vegetation, is romaine lettuce OK as a staple?
<No; see WWM, the Net re food for Emydids>
I was debating adding a fountain in the tank just for presentation, is this a bad idea for turtles?
<Yes; a poor idea... better to have an internal power filter w/ no surface spray>
Thank you for your time.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Fighting Painted Turtles    1/4/15
I have two baby painted turtles. One is a southern painted turtle, and the other is a western painted. My western painted turtle is biting the neck and the tail of my southern. My western turtle is younger, and more aggressive then the southern. We have a 55 gallon tank, and two rocks. We feed them once a day, with a mix diet of shrimp, and worms.
<Will need more variety than this. Bear in mind these turtles are more herbivores than carnivores. Koi Pellets are an excellent staple, augmented with fresh greens and only occasional meaty treats. Let me direct you hereabouts:
Let me also stress that PREVENTING illness in turtles (through proper diet and a special UV-B light) is cheap and easy. But FIXING diseases is expensive and presumably unpleasant for the turtle. So get the diet sorted, and if you don't have a UV-B lamp (not a basking lamp, this is something else) go buy one of those ASAP.>
Is there anything I can do to make them get along? Or is there a reason for their fighting.
<Sex. Territory. Politics. Actually I made the last one up. But the first two are for real. Male turtles (usually: longer claws, longer tails) will harass female turtles, often nipping or scraping at them. They like to get on top of the females, and do a weird fluttering thing with their front paddles. It's distinctive. Since all Sliders are pretty closely related, frustrated males will think nothing of flirting with females from other species. As for territory, turtles aren't social, they don't give a rip about having companions, and if one feels the other is getting in the way, it'll make its feelings known! If you have two turtles, you may well need two basking rocks as well. Don't expect them to share. Some do, some don't.>
Thank You!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Painted Turtle; shell, CaCO3       9/8/14
I just got a baby painted turtle from a friend last week. He is currently in a 15 gallon tank. I've got a really good filter, basking area with heat and uvb lighting. I started noticing there are tiny white, clearish flakes coming off him. Its all around the edge of his shell and a little bit on his legs. I tried to scrub it off with a q-tip and it came off, but it has come back. It is nearly impossible to see you less you are looking for it. He doesn't seem bothered by it and is his appetite hasn't diminished since I've had him. He doesn't seem stressed out at all. The tank is clean and at a good water temp. I was trying to figure out if it just normal shedding or if there is a fungal infection and how to tell.
<Do you by any chance have hard water in your area? Hard water will leave limescale on the shell as the water evaporates. Try dabbing a little vinegar on the shell - if it fizzes, it's probably limescale. Limescale is not harmful at all, but because it's rough, bits of dirt and algae can
trapped in it. So it's a good idea to clean it away periodically. Have cc'ed Darrel and Sue, our turtle experts, in case I've missed something.
Cheers, Neale.>

sick turtle      7/10/14
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I woke up this morning to find my painted turtle on her back motionless at the bottom of our tank. She has never done this before. I tried moving her to her rock and she remained motionless. I believed her to be dead and removed her from the tank and placed her in a box and I was preparing to bury her when I noticed the towel she is wrapped in move!!
So now I know she is alive but do not know what could have caused her to behave this way? My vet isn't in due to the holiday. Any thoughts on here behavior and any tips to help her until I can get her to my vet?
<Yes --- keep her warm and DRY for now. Do NOT put her in water where she might drown.
Read here under dry-docking
<When it's time to hydrate her, place her in a shallow bowl of room temperature water that is not as high as her shoulders (so that she has to bend her head down to drink, but not drown)>
<As fast as what caused this, it could be a range of environmental or dietary issues. Read HERE to see how her care is compared to what she needs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thank you!

Erratic Eastern Painted Turtle Behavior      6/22/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Recently my girlfriend and I got our first turtle.
<Ah, what a special time. First turtle, beginning care, planning for the future, setting up a college fund … good times!>
He is in a 40 gallon tank with day and night basking bulbs, with a whisper 1030 filter and a water heater that keeps the water at 79 to 80 degrees.
<Too warm. Water should be room temp (63/73) with basking area 88-92>
He seems to be quite happy with his tank; swimming and basking as normal, sleeping on his basking dock. The only thing that is worrying us is his feeding habits, when we got him we were feeding him everyday. After a few days he stopped eating, upon doing some research we started feeding him every other day, but he still won't eat very often, and today we saw him starting to eat pieces of gravel. We removed the gravel and started to feed him some worms. He's grabbing the worms and frantically swimming with them in his mouth but not swallowing them. We are starting to become very worried and just wanted to know if there was an explanation for these behaviors or if we should bring him to a vet. Thank you
<No vet trip needed. He's a bit too hot and WAY too over-fed.>
<This is a good time to remind all our gentle readers. Obesity from over-feeding is one of the top health problems in all our captive animals. We feed them too much.>
<Read this article and check all your care against what's here. If another site gives you conflicting information, that site is wrong - feel free to tell them, too. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Now, as far as Whiskey Pete is concerned (that IS his name, isn't it?) lower the water temperature and don't feed him for 4 or 5 days. I'd say 5 days, but you're worried parents so you'll cave at 3 days (see? I knew it!). On the 5th day, offer him a small amount of Koi pellet, Repto-min or similar. If he doesn't eat, that's fine. Scoop out and try tomorrow. Once he starts eating, feed him all he can eat in 5 minutes THREE TIMES A WEEK - no more.>
<Like any child - he'll beg you for more and you'll feel guilty and think you’re being bad parents, but you shouldn't and you're not.>

Turtle question      4/1/14
Hi my name is Sara.
<Hiya Sara - Darrel here>
I was hoping you could please help me out with a question about my turtles.
I have a 3year old painted turtle about 4 in shell in a 75 gallon tank and I also have a baby map turtle. About the size
of a quarter in a separate 40 gal tank . Could they ever live together?

<Hmmm. They CAN .. but I'd be concerned about the size difference. Both species are colonial... which is to say they live in areas where others
live and as a rule they don't really fight. The problem is that a single territorial "nip" from the painted turtle -- just a reminder who is boss -
could be deadly to the map turtle... so my suggestion is to keep them separately.>
<As a side note, Map turtles are more sensitive to water quality issues than sliders, Cooters or painteds ... so pay close attention to her water

Turtle question; beh. (:   2/18/14
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just had a quick question about my painted turtle.
He has been making this whimpering sound for the last month as if he is begging for food/attention. It started after I got laid off my job and have been spending much more time at home with him. He appears to be in great health so I don't believe it to be a respiratory infection. Normal appetite, though I feel he might be eating more than usual. Shells in good shape, and no mucous. Normal basking. I'm just concerned. The nearest vet is almost two hours away that can take reptiles, so I wanted advice before dragging him on a four hour drive for what is most likely nothing.
<I agree - nothing is out of the ordinary so far>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated (: this is my first time owning a turtle but I've had him around three years with no complications. This is the first abnormal thing that has happened.
<well, there are a few things.  First, turtles can't really make sounds, so I'm not sure what you're hearing.  The DO learn to associate people with food and they will make efforts to clamor for food each time they see you… >
<So you've covered all the things I'd normally suspect - he basks and swims, is alert and eating, shell is firm, eyes are clear … so there are only two things, the first one being the sound.  If it's a clicking noise then it's something they do with their jaw for no reason I can tell and really has no other meaning.  If it's a crying sound … like a whimper …  that's not a sound that a turtle can make … so … um … well …  let me put it this way:  As long as the whimper doesn't turn into a voice telling you to kill your landlord or join a cult in Oregon… I wouldn't worry about it.>
<Here are the basics -- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm  make sure you have all the basics covered>

Painted turtles.... comp., sys.    7/6/13
I have two baby painteds that will be two in August, and I just found a new hatchling in our yard (very dry, closest pond is about a half mile) so I made him a little terrarium (to make sure he wasn't sick first). I would like to assimilate him with my other 2 painted turtles, but am afraid that they will be too aggressive for this little guy. So far I have just let him in a Tupperware container inside the tank to float so they can get used to seeing him but I wondered if there is another way that I could let him in the water without them fighting. They are too small for me to sex and it seems as though they are nipping at him, but I cannot tell if they are nipping at the intrusive plastic container or the other turtle. They seem very curious to check out who/what is in their tank and why, but I cannot tell if they will be aggressive and I do not want to leave them alone together or let him enter the tank if all they are going to do is attack him. Any suggestions? I currently have a 10 gallon tank for 2 3" inch turtles and this hatchling is about an inch or an inch and a half; I know I need a bigger tank but I have to wait until I move in a few months to have room for one (looking for a 50 gal).
<I'd keep the new, smaller one separated till it's at least two inches in length. Do read here:
and the linked files above re Turtle systems... there are some inexpensive alternatives (other than tanks) that you might want to explore. Bob Fenner>
Re: Painted turtles....outdoor pond sys.      7/7/13

As I was reading up on the tank situation I was also reading about having them in outdoor ponds... how deep of a pond would you recommend for an outdoor pond in Monroe County, Wisconsin?
<A foot or two; but would bring the turtles indoors, the garage for overwintering>
We are in the
southwest-central part of the state. Winter varies from -10 up to 50 degrees. Summer can be as hot as 104, but averages around 75.
<Ahh, BobF>
Re: Painted turtles....     7/8/13

Was also interested in overwintering/hibernation (mostly for the new baby that was born outside) if I do end up building a pond; I'm finding a few things on the site but it seems to all be for Red Eared Sliders, there wasn't really any info for Painteds.
<Are very similar in their care. What is stated re RES can be applied to Painted Turtles, all Emydids. B>

from aquarium to pond    6/27/13
<Hiya - Darrel here>
A little over a year ago, my mother brought home two painted turtles when one of my niece's classmates rescued turtles from their yard and gave them to classmates. We suspect them to be about 1 yr and 4 months now. They've been picky about their diets since they were little and now pretty much ignore everything except shrimp and krill.
<Neither of which would be part of their natural diet.  Both are fatty and not very nutritious>
While they normally get along, they are starting to nip and bite each other, one doing so more than the other. They are both also swimming with an arm or leg (and almost always tail) tucked.
<They may need some alone time>
They have both grown very quickly lately, seeming to have new chutes constantly and one always being slightly bigger than the other for a week before it switches. They are about 5 inches now. Both seem in well health. We are looking for local friends who would like to host a turtle permanently, but feel they might benefit more in a pond.
<I'm not sure I agree, Jennifer.  I'm not a fan of turtles in ponds mainly because Raccoons, Possums, Skunks, Herons, Crows, Owl and Hawks ARE a fan of turtles in ponds.   It can be done and they're wonderful when done right, but it's safer and easier for the turtles to be indoors - or at least in a controlled tank-like environment.>
Are their any steps to follow? I am worried because they are picky eaters and have only been in an aquarium setting.
<The biggest problem is their fixation on food.  Get some Koi Pellets or Repto-Min floating food sticks (same exact food, just more expensive).  Let the turtles go for 4 days with NO feeding. (Don't let them guilt you - they can go months without food!) and then offer about 5 pellets or sticks at feeding time.   If they ignore the food, scoop the food out and wait 3 more days and try again.  DON'T give in!  DON'T give up.  Trust me… when they are hungry enough, they WILL eat the pellets!>
We just don't have the space or resources for 2 large tanks and they need to be separated before this becomes a big issue.
<I suspect that the problem you're seeing is that one is a male and he has reached maturity.  If the other is female, she won't mature for another inch or so in size (turtles mature by SIZE, not age).  He's bothering her and at times behaves in kind.>
<They probably don't need separate tanks, just some time apart.  I'd take both of them out of the tank and "dry dock" them for a week or two… doing the food experiment every 3rd or 4th night as described here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm
In other words, put them some place warm and dry.  Even together, they will likely not fight in the new surroundings.  They'll both rest and recuperate.   Give them daily baths so they can drink and poop - and every 3rd or 4th night offer a few pellets to each.  If they don't eat, don't worry - they will.>
<Now AFTER a week or two and AFTER they've started eating, you can move them bank to their tank.  In the man time, redecorate their tank: rearrange a few things, maybe add a rock or a brick or something that would allow them (from a turtles' perspective) to get out of each other's site.   That, by the way, is an invaluable trick for reptile AND fish keepers when dealing sign aggression.  A two step process:  1) rearrange things so that no one feels like they are on their "home turf" and also make places for one or another to hide.  You'd be amazed how just adding a brick… so that a turtle can swim away and go "around a corner and out of sight" of the other -- seems to calm them both down.>
Any advice in the matter is greatly appreciated!
<Yer welcome>

Eastern Painted Turtle question, sys., overwintering       4/11/13
I acquired a baby Eastern Painted turtle last summer while on a trip to CT.
It spent the summer in my outdoor 1200 gal. pond, but I brought him in before winter. He has been living in a 20 gal. aquarium with filter, heater and basking light in my basement. I want to re-introduce him into the pond but I am not sure how to go about it. Do I put him back in when the pond water reaches a certain temperature? I would appreciate any help you could give me.
<Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) do naturally inhabit places that sometimes get quite cool, even frosty, though they do best (are most common) in warm temperate to subtropical environments. So, the short answer to this is "it depends on where you live". Assuming you live somewhere that's cool temperate, in other words where summers are warm but winters cold, often frosty or snowy, then you will probably want to save putting this little chap out until late spring when all risk of frost has passed and the days have become substantially longer than the nights, so air temperature at night doesn't drop too low. Basically, from around May through to September is going to be about right. My understanding is that it's air temperature that matters, not water temperature -- turtles and terrapins warm up on land, and then go into the water to cool down (or at
least, being cooled down while they're foraging or whatever). So, provided daytime air temperature is around 18 C/64 F and nights aren't very much cooler than that, your turtle will deal with whatever the water temperature in the pond might be. I've cc'ed this to our resident turtle expert Darrel, so if I've missed something, I'm sure he'll chip in! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Eastern Painted Turtle question      4/11/13

Thanks so much, you have been a big help. We live in central Illinois where we do get some harsh winters, thus the decision to overwinter him inside.
<Sounds very wise.>
This at least gives me some direction, thanks again.
<Glad to be of help! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Eastern Painted Turtle question     4/12/13

The only things I'd add are these:
First, when moving a turtle in and out of protected enclosures they changes are more sudden that when nature does it, so the turtle's metabolism has a hard time keeping up.  What concerns me is when we move our turtles outside a little too soon - when the days are starting to warm and the nights begin to be wild ... the turtle adapts very well -- and then we have a cold spell for 5 or 6 days.. a slight relapse of winter, you might say... can be very hard on the turtle.  Perhaps he's eaten a full meal and now with the cold, the food just sits there in his stomach starting to rot.    For this reason I usually wait until we can "count on" Spring weather.  Later rather than earlier.
Second, when we change their surroundings so abruptly, it often causes them to be a bit unsettled and they can respond to this with what I can "walk-abouts."   They simply LEAVE.   Many years I think I've "lost" a turtle, only to find that a year earlier when he left, he'd walked to a quiet corner and buried himself at the base of a bush.  So it's best if the pond area is enclosed or fenced in some way.
Re: Eastern Painted Turtle question    4/12/13

The only things I'd add are these:
<<Thank your Darrel for this/these additions. Cheers, Neale.>>

Eastern Painted Turtle, comp.    3/19/13
Hello there,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My name is Casey. I have an eastern painted turtle and she's about 9 months old. I'm reasonably confident she is female, although I've read that sexing them at such a young age is very difficult.
<Almost impossible without probing their insides>
All is well in her world, but I'm worried about her being lonely. I've looked into getting her a little sister, but I've gotten mixed opinions about the subject. I guess I just want her to be happy, and I feel like having her live out her long life alone isn't something that would make her particularly happy.
<Turtles are colonial… which means that they are found in loose groups in the wild, but they are not SOCIAL.  That means that, with the exception of mating, they do not seek out the company of other turtles and as a long time keeper, I can assure you that they don't thrive any better in groups than individually.>
I'm completely satisfied with only having her, but if it would be to her benefit to have a friend to swim and bask with, I'd gladly get her that friend. I've read that there can be aggression, especially among males.
But I've also read that turtles can get along fine living together.
<Sometimes< that too>
It was suggested to me by someone at a pet store to get another female of the same age or younger before my turtle is a year old, since they'd both be young and be able to get used to each other sooner. If I should just leave my baby turtle in her solitude, then so be it. But if you'd suggest getting her a little friend, should I get a turtle of the same breed, sex, and age? Or is there a different breed that would make a good companion? I'm not sure what action I should take, if I should take action at all.
<I wouldn't.  If you're happy with just her AND you are taking really good care of her, then I wouldn't upset things by adding anyone new.>
Thank you for taking the time to consider my little turtle and her possible loneliness.
<Giving advice is what we do.  We like doing it!>
I apologize if this is a repeated question that I looked over in my search for information.
<Thanks, Casey … it's a question that comes up often, but mainly it comes up because people are looking for a REASON to get another turtle and they don't want it to be "Because I Want One!" so they project the human emotion of loneliness onto the turtle.>
<I think you and she will do fine - just the two of you.>

Baby Painted Turtle, laying eggs?    9/25/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a baby painted turtle that I've had for five months or so.  Its shell was the size of a quarter and now it's probably about 2 1/2  inches long.
<That's impressive growth>
 It stopped eating about 2 weeks ago so I did some  research and realized it didn't have the proper lighting, so it now has  a heat lamp as well as a UVB light.  It seems to love the heat lamp and  has been on its rock basking a lot but still hasn't started to eat  yet.  I noticed the past couple days it has been kicking its back feet  a lot and has never done this before.
<They do that as a normal part of basking>
It also seems restless and will  jump on and off its rock and will swim frantically into the glass.
<Also typical behavior - they do that when they see you coming because they associate you with food>
I  already did a lot of reading and all these things seem like signs of  egg laying.
<Not in this case - all signs of a typical turtle>
But I also read that they usually don't lay eggs until  they're at least 4 years of age.
<No, that's incorrect information - Reptiles attain sexual maturity by SIZE, not age>
My turtle isn't even a half a year old  yet.  I'm just hoping there is a reason for its loss of appetite other  than illness.
<Let's not get too nervous just yet.  Not eating for a few weeks does sometimes happen for no apparent reason.  First things first, your description is that he's awake, alert and active? All good signs.  Is the shell firm and hard?  No soft spots?  The eyes are clear?  No bubbles from the nose?>
<If all the basic health signs are positive, then let's look at environment.   A warm basking area?  Cool, clean, unheated water?  No dogs or babies or other 'monster-looking' things that might be terrifying him?
Read this article on basic care - every word - and measure your care standards against the recommendations.  
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm  if everything is in line, STOP trying to feed him for another week - then offer something like an earthworm and see if he doesn't go right for it>

Question about our pet turtle, repro. beh.     9/11/12
We have 2 painted turtles in an aquarium. With a gravel area to dig in. The one turtle that we believe is the female, has gone into the corner and dug into the gravel, and has become inactive for several days. Is there anything wrong with her? Should we be worried? She seems to have dug with her front claws. And her head is buried, but does lift her head once in awhile so we know she's alive, but we've had her for a few years and she's never done this before? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your help~Kim
<Greetings. Your female wants to lay eggs. That's normal, and sometimes happens even if she hasn't mated. She needs to be placed somewhere with soft, dry sand and she'll do the rest. Unfortunately, if she can't lay her eggs, egg-biding is a common result, and that results in an expensive trip to the vet. Do research re: turtle egg-binding, egg-laying. An egg-cellent, sorry, excellent site is here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question about our pet turtle   9/12/12

tyvm...could i ask a little bit more?
she is in the corner of the aquarium...face first with her face buried in the corner. she's been this way around a week-10 days. very rarely raising her head. We do have what we think is a male turtle with her. He seems to be very protective of her and has been lying on top of her a lot…
<Definitely not protecting her… not something turtles do… more like annoying her by trying to mate…>
but she's barely moved in over a week.
<Ah now, that's a bad sign. Could be egg-bound already. Have a vet do an x-ray. Egg-bound turtles are in a huge amount of pain (obviously!) and eventually die miserably. It's fairly easy to treat, and your vet can help out here.>
Wouldn't she be facing outward if she were laying eggs?
<Who knows?>
thanks again for any advice~KimKeeley
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: Question about our pet turtle   9/12/12

we are getting worried that she may get dehydrated because its been close to 2 weeks she's been in that corner(again...face first)so we really are concerned something is wrong. please reply asap.ty~kim keeley
<See previous reply: visit a vet, now. Cheers, Neale.>

Painted Turtle with Missing Feet     9/7/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have just adopted a turtle from craigslist, as I did not want to let him be adopted by someone who would not take care of him.
<thank you>
He is missing three feet. They have healed to little nubs. I am assuming that they are all healed. They do not slow him down.
<They are amazing creatures>
His tail is a little messed up as well. It just looks a little scarred up. He seems to be completely healed.
<that's likely>
My questions are:
1) Can he be in pain from this?
<Not pain as you and I know it.  They are incredibly resilient animals and manage to get by in the most amazing ways>
2) What could this be from?
<Usually a raccoon, possum, cat or very poorly train dog got to them>
 3) What are the special considerations that I need to do for this little guy?  ... He is in water that is enough for him to swim around, but not go fully under. He also has something to get up on and he does not have problems with this.
<The special considerations are just that you try to think from his perspective.  For example, he should have water that he can go fully under, but not deep enough that he can't poke his head up just by standing on his numbs and lifting his neck up.>
<Another consideration are the things that might make him tip over - since he can't easily right himself like a fully functional turtle could.  Let's follow that logic:  If you have him in some sort of box that has a water dish in it … the water dish should be constructed so that it has gently sloped sides ALL around it - so that no matter which direction he heads... it's a gradual slope and nothing that can cause him to topple over.>
<But let's say you have him in an aquarium with water in it and a ramp or rocks that he can hobble out and dry off - in that case you WANT deeper water.  The reason is … if he falls into shallow water upside down, he stays there until you find him (or worse).  If the water is deeper he can just roll over.  Imagine you had ho hands and fell face first into 6 inches of water - you might drown.  But if you fell face first into a pool, you'd just wriggle and float and spin until you were face up.>
<The next consideration is any kind of obstacles in the water that he could get stuck on.>
<It's also possible to keep him land-based and merely place him in 6 inches of water twice daily to drink, poop and eat - but I really don't think that's necessary.  If he is truly healed, he wants your attention and food.  Mostly food.>
I want to make him have a happy life!
<Give him attention.  Don't over feed.  Clean water.  UV-B lamp.  Basking area.  Make sure that, periodically he gets COMEPLETLY dry.>
 Please help!
<I hope we did>
<yer welcome>

Painted Turtle, Unusual Behavior     9/7/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had a painted turtle for 17 years, and this year I brought him to college.
<That's right on schedule, maybe even a year early.   PLEASE don't let him get a Liberal Arts degree, OK?  All that right-brained stuff seems like a good idea at the time, but when he gets out and tries to get a job …he'll find that very few people want a painted turtle that is versed in Kafka.>
I bought a new tank and everything that was set up so he could be put in water immediately.  He has a floating dock next to two stacked bricks for basking.  I noticed he cannot climb up unto the bricks, they must be larger than the ones at home, so I have stacked them creating a step.  I have not seen him bathing at all and it is worrying me.
<A new environment will stress him for a week or two>
He is also not eating as much food as he normally does.
<We all eat too much anyway>
He stops eating in the winter usually, but it is still the end of summer.  He also has started to swim back and forth and splash water with his back legs, which is something I have never seen before.  I don't know if I should be concerned, or if he is just adjusting to his new home.
<Give him a couple weeks to settle in.  Look for odd things like vibrations from fans or air conditioners that might be giving him the jitters.  Anything electrical IN the tank like a heater (take it out permanently) or a filter (turn it off for a day or two)?>
<Other than that, give him a week or two to settle into college life.  Heck - it took ME two years!>

Turtle Question - 8/17/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had a painted turtle for a little over 12 years and I noticed that his front left leg is now swollen. He can move it, but he tries to move around on the other three instead. I noticed this problem about three days ago when he was out swimming in a pool we had just bought for him (I filled it with water from the hose -Softened Water- and added some weeds from the lake by our house). It doesn't seem to be getting any better and he only seems comfortable sitting under a heat lamp.
<That's not necessarily a sign of anything bad>
There wasn't any trauma or injuries that I know of and he stays inside most of the time (except for the past few days where he has been in the pool). Today I made an appointment to see a reptile vet and she informed me that he may have kidney disease or some other infection. She took some blood to run tests and said that she would get back to us. If he does have kidney disease, are there any things that we can do to help him?
<Let's wait as see the results of the tests>
I know she mentioned antibiotics for infections, but can anything be done to help him get comfortable or reduce the swelling in his leg?
<In this article, you will find a general treatment for a sick animal - we call it "dry docking."   In your case, if we keep Herkimer warm and dry as opposed to warm and moist, it will be a little bit easier for his system to deal with whatever is ailing him http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
We feed him ReptoMin sticks and sometimes meat/worms – is there anything that we can change in his diet to help?
<ReptoMin (aka Koi Pellets) is a good staple diet and for occasional treats I use earthworms.>
Thanks for your help.
<Ash - let's wait as see what the vet says.  There's no point in jumping the gun and treating a condition that the turtle may not have.  Write back after you get the results>
Re Turtle Question, painted, leg prob.     8/27/12

I just got the call from the vet's office saying that he does have kidney problems. His uric acid level is 12 and they say it is just a matter of time for him. Do you know of anything that we can do to help him or at least ease his pain? I just don't want to see him suffering, especially sine we have had him for 12 years.
<So sorry, Ashley.   If it helps, my experience is that they feel pain in a different way than humans do.   I've seen turtles with severe wounds from recent dog bites that are still more interested in hobbling over to get food than have their wounds tended.>
<In your case, look for an alertness in the eyes, the ability to follow your movements and (hopefully) a willingness to eat.   When those are past, then it's time for you to take him to the vet and have him released from his pain permanently>
<The one thing you can be proud of is the fine care and attention that you've given him … and I certainly hope that the joy he brought you inspires you to go and get another little guy to keep up the tradition.>

Injured Painted Turtle, incomp.       7/5/12
I have a painted turtle that I took from the wild when it was quarter sized.  It is now a year old and my cat brought me another painted baby turtle the same as the other's original size.  I supervised them together for a few days to be sure they would get a long and then put them together to live.
<Not compatible if there is a large size differential>
 The little one doesn't seem to be too skittish around the older one, but I notice the other day that it looked like his tail was injured.  It had the end hanging off.  I watched them and didn't notice ANY aggressive behavior. 
<... not right then>
So I thought maybe he hurt himself.  I took noticed a few days later, that when in the water together, the baby turtle doesn't stick his back legs out of his shell, like he is hiding them from being bit.  So I took him out of the water and looked him over, he now has a smaller nubby tail and is missing parts of his back feet.  He has nubs for them too, with only one claw left on each back foot.  I separated them right away,
but I don't know if the baby is ok or not.  It doesn't seem to slow him down with swimming or running...but is he going to be alright?
<Can't tell from the data presented. Please search on WWM... re turtle aggression, injury... Treatment may be advisable depending on the extent of injuries>
  I've seen a lot of posts about injured turtles, but I don't know if he will heal on his own from the injury or if I should be doing something special.  Thank you very much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Painted turtle shell issues? Neale's try  2/29/12
I have a young painted turtle who has recently been developing some shell issues, can you maybe help tell me what they are?  In one of the pictures it shows a black spot with white in the middle on my turtles underside, the back has been there for a while but recently the white started coming and it looks like some sort of disease or infection.  Also my turtle's shell has began separating as well as turning upwards, although I know that the turning up of the shell is from a bad diet and eating too much but I'm not sure if the splitting of the shell has anything to do with it? 
Thank you, 
Veronica C
<Hello Veronica. The key thing here is whether the shell smells normal or musty. If there's any odour like mould or similar, then Shell Rot may be an issue, and you'll need to treat. If in doubt, consult a vet; but in the meantime, do read here:
Take some time checking the "holy trinity" of things that cause problems with turtle shells: diet (need a source of calcium); basking lamp (needs UV-B); and water quality (regular water changes and a filter essential).
Cheers, Neale.>
Painted turtle shell issues? Darrel's go    3/1/12

 Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a young painted turtle that has recently been developing some shell issues, can you maybe help tell me what they are?  In one of the pictures it shows a black spot with white in the middle on my turtle's underside, the back has been there for a while but recently the white started coming and it looks like some sort of disease or infection.
<That picture is certainly large, but the image isn't actually very clear.  It would help if you could send another.  In the mean time, a white from an infection will appear very clearly to be ON TOP of whatever coloration is present.   You can usually get a toothpick and scrape a tiny bit and the white will come OFF … or at least you'll see the background coloration below it.  Further rubbing with a cotton swab and some vinegar will usually result in a removal of at least the outer layer - if it's fungus.>
<It's easy enough to treat him for a fungal infection even if it's just a normal shift in color:  After he's been dry for a few days, the difference in texture between an infection and normal coloration becomes fairly pronounced.>
<read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
Also my turtle's shell has began separating as well as turning upwards, although I know that the turning up of the shell is from a bad diet and eating too much but I'm not sure if the splitting of the shell has anything to do with it?
<The terms you use are a bit vague.  As they grow the outer edges of the scutes (the pieces that make up the top of the shell) do curl up a bit.   As each scute gets ready to separate, the edges will separate first.   The key here is that you can see the scute become milky-clear … like a fingernail … as it separates from the fresh scute below>
He has a heat lamp and a light that are left on most of the time also.
<Some clearer pictures would be most helpful>
Thank you,
<Yer welcome!>

Sick Western Painted Baby Turtle      2/22/12
<Hi Tish, I’m Sue.>
I bought 3 baby western painted turtles two and a half months ago. They were all between 1" and 1 1/8" when I got them. The one I'm worried about has been staying mostly in the basking area for the past 4 days. When I put him in the water to try to encourage him to eat he just floats around the tank and blindly finds his way back to the basking area as soon as he can. Not eating means that, of course, I haven't seen him poop either. I don't know if his eyes are swollen but he doesn't seem to open them and bumps into the side of the tank when he's floating and when the current from the filter gets hold of him he swims like a madman but still doesn't have his eyes open. On the rare occasion I have seen his eyes open over the past few days, they're only open a slit. His eyes are sort of a whitish gray color (shut).
<Swollen or closed eyes are a sign of Vitamin A deficiency, fairly common with captive turtles.  What have you been feeding them?>
He has also developed dents (pits maybe) on the tail end of his top shell and has two dented spots on the underbelly.
<Are these spots hard or soft to the touch?  Soft shell spots in particular need to be addressed.  Shell deformities, whether hard or soft, are also a sign of dietary deficiency, and also potentially incorrect lighting and basking temperatures.>
One on each side about  midway between his head and tail. They live in a 40 gallon turtle tank. Temperature is kept at about 76 to 78 degrees.
<Too warm, should only be 68-70 degrees.  Turtles need an environment that allows them to choose between cool water and warm dry land.  See more about this below. >
They have a reptile day light for 12 hours and a reptile night light for 12 hours a day.
<Is it specifically a UVB light?  If the package said simply “Reptile light”, it may or may not be UVB.  Many are only UVA.  However, turtles specifically need UVB to properly digest food.  Lack of UVB can lead to vitamin deficiencies that besides affecting their eyes and appetite, can also lead to serious shell and bone diseases.>
<Also, what is the temperature under the basking lights?  Besides a UVB light, make sure their basking temperature is warm enough.  They need the right amount of heat along with UVB to process the nutrients from their food.  It should be in the range of 88-90 degrees.>
<It’s also important that all 3 of your turtles are out basking for several hours a day under the heat and UVB.  Keeping the water cool and the basking area at the right temperature will help encourage them to get out during the day.>
They are all three growing at different rates and he is the medium size one at this time but the other two are still eating and active whereas he is not.
<It’s fairly common for turtles to grow at different rates.  As long as they’re all thriving (alert, active, eating, basking, and growing) there’s no need to worry.  It’s good you wrote us now about your one turtle looking and acting noticeably different, because making the necessary corrections now in their diet and/or habitat conditions will also hopefully prevent the other two from becoming ill.>
Not only am I worried about my sick pal but I am worried about if having him in with the other two will make them sick as well.
<Tish, the problem isn’t whether he will make the other two sick, but rather something about the diet or habitat you’re providing them which, if left uncorrected, could eventually also make your other two turtles sick. >
<The first thing you need to do is remove your sick turtle from the tank and place him in a warm, dry enclosure (with UVB) until he’s better.  Read the linked article below under the section called *Isolation* for how to do this correctly.  Also read two other sections in this article:  *Swollen or closed Eyes* and *Soft shell* -
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >  
<Next, I’d highly suggest taking him to a vet for a Vitamin A shot (preferably a vet who’s experienced and knowledgeable about turtles or at least exotics).  An injection will provide him with the best and most immediate relief of his vitamin deficiency, and will also help to bridge the gap over the next few days before he gets his appetite back and opens his eyes again.>
<Also -- if the dents in his shell do feel soft, the vet should also give him injectable forms of Calcium and Vitamin D.  Soft shell is indicative of metabolic bone disease and left untreated can be fatal. >
<Once he gets his appetite back and depending on what the vet finds/recommends, you may also want to consider adding a phosphorus-free Calcium with Vitamin D3 powder supplement to his food (especially if the light you’ve been providing up to this point hasn’t been a UVB light). Rep-Cal makes a good one.>
<I’m also going to give you 2 other articles written by our crew members.  The first one describes Vitamin A deficiency in more detail including symptoms and what to do to prevent it:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm >
<This last article is our general care guide.  Read it over carefully and make whatever changes are necessary in either their diet and/or habitat or general care so they stay healthy:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Please write us back after you read these if you have any other questions or with an update on him. I hope this will help! ~Sue >

A Painted Turtle in Pakistan    1/18/12
Dear WWM,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am writing to you from Pakistan.
<The Internet certainly brings us all together, doesn't it?  I'm not sure when, 200 years from now, historians look back on the Internet and see it as a positive thing for mankind.  It allows a tremendous amount of false information to survive.   It has made people forget about books and the pleasure of reading.   It has given people the attention spans of fruit flies and less and less often are people willing to THINK instead of just reading and repeating a Wiki article>
<That said, it does bring us all closer together.   No other invention can allow a question from Pakistan be answered by someone in California in almost real time.  I'm happy to be able to help you!>
My question is about My Sister's "Painted Turtle"
<Do you mean the actual Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta?>
I would like to give you a little background story first.'<OK>
My sister saw these tiny turtles at the "Pet Fish Shop" and brought one home .The shop owner told her to keep it in a water container, put it in sunlight for couple of hours and give it fish food or turtle food. It wasn't until I searched the web and realized that keeping a painted turtle is a huge commitment like keeping any pet.
<Yes it is.  BUT - their needs are simple, so it's FAR less than keeping a dog or cat or Mountain Gorilla>
I was extremely hurt to see that the "Fish Pet Stores" are selling the poor creatures to people without telling them about the commitments of keeping them.
They are a favorite among kids and I guess all the pet shop owner care for is the money they are making.
<And - the shop owner could make MORE money by selling the kids what they need to take care of them properly>
Well as they say Ignorance is a blessing at times. We don't have any law either that can prevent this immoral practice towards the painted turtles.
<I'm sorry to hear that, Isma>
Now coming back to my Sister's Turtle, she used to put the turtle among fishes in the fish aquarium .The turtle developed some sort of infection around the left foot nail at and that was the time when I started searching the web for information because we don't have Vets that deal with reptiles in our country and cannot get medications specific for reptiles too..
<I understand>
The only source of help in case of a problem are the people running the pet shops who are mostly of little or no help. It's been a month now since we have minimized the turtle's water exposure and don't put it in the fish aquarium anymore.
The foot infection subsided but it developed an eye infection during this time.
<Diet and lack of natural sunshine>
It would rub the eyes and has this white deposits over it's eyelids that we would clean.
I searched the web and inserted Tobrex eye drops , Its been 3 days that we are inserting  Tobrex and the lids don't have deposits over them anymore but it still rubs its eye specially when put in water.
But the main issue since yesterday is this that he cannot eat   : We put the turtle in its Feeding Bowl for eating and he wants to eat and puts the food in the mouth but cannot seem to swallow it and throws out. And every time he throws out the food it rubs its face vigorously and seems like he is very uncomfortable. Turtle tries to eat but most of the time food is thrown out and he is rubbing the mouth uncomfortably.
It's not pooping so it strengthens the fact that it's not eating. I have stopped Tobrex eye drops too as I fear it might be a reaction to them.
Otherwise he seems fine.
WWM  I am relying on you for help as I have no clue about this.
<We'll do our best>
Suggest me what should we do and if necessary what medication I should be giving to the turtle since there are no vets and the turtle needs to eat.
Some Facts:
1: We get a lot of sunlight and put the turtle in sun for couple of hours daily. UVB lights are not available in market.
<OK - but sunlight filtered through glass or window screen is not really helpful.  The danger, of course, is that full sunlight can also 'cook' the poor turtle.  Make sure there is SHADE that he can crawl into when he feels too warm>
2: We are planning on getting it an aquarium as only fish aquarium are sold in our market and that too the ones with no filter so we are thinking of changing water every other day.
<That's OK.  I've kept many hatchling turtles in the kind of plastic containers people use for washing dishes or even for storing shoes.>
3: Turtle medications or supplements or any other products are not available in the market.
<Not to worry about that just yet>
4: We are trying to feed him vegs and fruits too for a balanced diet but it is refusing
<I'm going to suggest small pieces of chicken liver or Earthworms>
5: It has a basking light.
6: Eats turtle food that I purchased from local fish store
<But he's not eating right now, correct?>
You People are doing a great job and sites like yours are the only source of rescue for individuals like us.
Hope to hear from you ASAP.
With Much Regards,
<First, read this article on treating diseases. 
 the warm and dry part (dry-docking) is the most important here.  Put him in water for a few minutes every day to him to try to drink and poop and eat.   Treat like it says for swollen eyes - simply because that combines with feeding tips for eye problems>
<Second, read this article about basic conditions.  Compare it to his environment and see what may need to be changed: 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Now, once a turtle has stopped eating we can't treat him with improved diet, so this is the first concern.  After being warmer and dry for a few days, we hope that his appetite improves.  If you think he coughs out any food he tries to eat, then you can cut the chicken liver into pieces small enough to be swallowed whole.  Just one or two pieces inside him would be a very good thing>

3 year old S. Painted Turtle Sleeping out of water.   9/26/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have an almost 3 year old Southern Painted Turtle alone in a 55g fish tank, water temp is low 80s, a good basking platform with a range from 85-100 degrees, she can move around and find a sweet spot.
<The water temp is a bit too high. If there is a heater, please remove it and let the water assume room temperature (around 68-72 is perfect for them)>
A varied pellet, cricket, worm diet.
<pellets good, worms good (earthworms) meal worms and crickets BAD>
Good uvb bulbs, and 150g rated filter. The Turtle has a healthy appetite and is very active.
<Does he have outside interests? Hobbies? Belong to any clubs? Does he have a Facebook page?>
Recently at night I have found her sleeping outside of the water, or propped up in the corner. I have looked but cant find any explanation as to why she would do this. I was able to get a picture of her sleeping propped in the corner. Is this normal, or should I be worried that something is wrong, Please any help would be greatly appreciated. as soon as I snapped the picture, the flash woke her up and she went back into the water.
<Josh - this is completely normal and not a problem in any way. Those are the conditions he chose and it indicates that he's feeling secure. They'll often choose deeper water when they feel insecure or threatened. Nothing to worry about at all.>

2 Year old painted turtles stopped eating    8/12/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
First off, I wanted to thank you for all the hard work and taking the timeout of your day to answer everyone's questions. I enjoyed and learnt a lot reading different articles on your site over the last few hours and only with I had found this site when I originally got my turtles.
<Well first off from us THANK YOU!! We enjoy helping people>
I have a male and a female painted turtle (they came from a side of the road stand with dozens of them in one tank!
<Yes, the seamy side of the pet trade>
Originally at only 1.5 inches in diameter, they lived in a 10 gallon tank with heat lamps and a filter (no UV light since I take them outside every once in a while.) As they got slightly bigger (about 3-4 inches), the male became aggressive and one day when I got home from work, I noticed some blood in the tank, after examining the turtles, I realized the male one had bitten off two toes (for lack of a better word!) from each of the female one's feet. At this point, I made a divider so they were separated but could still see each other. I then moved them to a 20 gallon long tank and kept the divider, until the female one started climbing over it (it was made up of a piece of a dog crate divider as skeleton and covered with chicken wire with a lip at the top on the male one's side) and kept going to the other side. I decided to remove the divider and watch them closely, and they seemed to get along just fine. The female began growing rapidly, quickly managing to become about twice his size over a matter of months.
<That sort of aggression happens. It's not typical, but not exactly uncommon either. The primary treatment is to have a big enough enclosure that they can get completely away and out of visual range of the aggressor. When that doesn't help, then you have to separate them as you have done. Later, when sizes change, so do the parameters of aggression.>
Currently, the female one is at 8" in length and 7" across, and the male is at 6" in length, 4.5" wide and stands at about half the height of the female (from what I've read online, the female seems to be rather large for her age.)
<Yes - those are very larger turtles>
I understand their tank is too small for them, and being a student, and working full time, I have been working on a stand for a new 40 gallon breeder I bought every chance I get to be able to set it up and give them more room.
<Kash - remember this: Turtles are VERY forgiving animals. Even though a water-filled tank is their typical and preferred enclosure, a large plastic tub with only a smaller plastic tray of shallow water can be a suitable home for MONTHS if that's all you have to work with. We are obligated to keep our pets in optimal conditions, but don't stress over it, either. That's the beauty of turtles>
After reading your article for caring for a red ear slider, which as I understand is similar to caring for the painted ones
<Virtually identical from an environment & care standpoint>
I now understand my wife has been over feeding the couple by feeding them once, sometimes twice a day for as much as they will eat over a 15 to 20 minute period.
<Oh YEAH!! They're PIGS! They'll eat all day and most of the night if we let them, and yet they do very little to burn off the calories>
The male has always had very good self control and always left some of the food behind and seems to be a healthy size. The female on the other hand seems to be bulging a bit and will be going on a diet immediately with you recommendation of 3 meals per week and only a treat of once a month (which they were getting daily as an addition to their Repto-min diet.)
<They'll grow more slowly, but they'll be healthier>
My issue with them is a couple of days ago, they suddenly stopped eating as much as they used to. As mentioned early, the male didn't eat quite as much as the female to begin with, but suddenly, they both just started eating one or two bites at the most and leaving the rest of the food.
<Here I want to commend you for noticing the change in behavior. That's our primary defense against all forms of illnesses - watch, observe and catch it EARLY>
<At the rate they've been fed and assuming they're otherwise healthy I'd let that particular symptom go for a good month before I'd concern myself.>
They're both still very active, climbing over each other and following me around when I put them on the ground in the dining room, I just want to get a professional opinion on their sudden change in behavior aside from them actually needing to be fed less.
<Make sure they are getting some extra sunlight AND exercise. Make sure the water & basking temps are within range and then give them a solid month before worrying.>
Also as a side note, the tank is filtered by a Zoomed 501 canister filter and is cleaned with a complete tank cleanup and water change whenever the flow starts to get restricted. I do pick up whatever bigger particles the canister filter doesn't catch with a net every other day or so.
<Excellent care>
Any advice you can give on this situation and how to better care for my turtles would be greatly appreciated.
<First, give them names. Second, keep them away from credit or debit cards (they can easily develop online gambling problems). Third, sunlight and fresh air will help stimulate them. Fourth, change up the food offering a bit: Try a couple of Koi Pellets (which are virtually identical to Repto-Min sticks only a lot cheaper), Fifth as long as they eat a bite or two and otherwise appear active and alert, don't worry>
<Finally, go out and buy your wife a "Thank You" card for caring so much for your turtles>
Thanks again for all that you do,
<No Charge!>
P.S. Just to describe their environment better, they have always had a floating dock with a heat lamp pointed at it (it is on approximately 6 hours a day) and also a platform a couple of inches under water under another heat lamp (also on about 6 hours a day) so they have the option of basking on dry land on half submerged in water. The water temperature is kept at 78 - 80 degrees F.
<The water is way too hot should be around 68-70 degrees, so that they have a solid CHOICE between warming up or cooling off. This warm water is another factor in their over-eating and faster growth>
Re: 2 Year old painted turtles stopped eating   8/21/11

Hi Darrel,
Thanks a lot for your quick response. Just wanted to let you know that we did name the turtles when we got them, we just started calling them Mr. and Mrs. Tuttle, or The Tuttles for short, and they never ended up having first names!
<IT's OK - they rarely come when you call them by name anyway>
I'll be sure to incorporate all your suggestions into their environment and eating habits since I do want them to live happy, healthy lives. After all, we do enjoy having them around.
One other question that came to mind since my last email was their size and the size of their habitat. Everything I've read online indicates that the females get to be around 10" long. With mine being already 8" at 2 years old, do you think she will get bigger than that?
<A little - but as they age they grow more slowly. A hatchling will double in size in 12 months, but then take 2 years to double THAT size, etc. So her growth is, for the most part, done>
Also, since I am planning on setting up a new tank for them in the very near future, should I just go ahead and get a 75 gallon tank (my local pet store is having a sale on 18 -
18.5" wide tanks right now), or will the 40 gallon breeder one be sufficient for a couple of years?
<Turtles really benefit from surface area more than depth. If you have to choose one, go for length and width over depth>
Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing back from you,
<Glad to help>

Egg question   8/10/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm sorry if this seems like a silly question, but I'm having trouble finding the answer when I search on Google
<Too much information is also as bad as not enough - not to mention that every answer eventually gets to Google, right OR wrong>
It just strictly talks about breeding and nothing else. I've had my painted turtle for close to seven years now and she laid eggs right when I got her, I read everything I could about hatching the eggs but I was unsuccessful.
<Here's a simple article about how to incubate turtle eggs: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/TurtleReproArtDarrel.htm >
My silly question is...Do female turtles lay eggs even when they're not being bred? One sit lead me to believe that they lay them yearly like a cycle and if you don't have a place for them to bury the eggs the will retain them and become very ill? Which I feel like this information isn't correct since I've had my turtle for so long and she never laid eggs again, but it still got me all worried, I'm only a teenager so I'm attempting to learn as much as I can about turtles...sorry if this was a dumb question!
<Actually, Kelsey, that's a GREAT question!!!!>
I just don't want her to die because I love her :)
<Well, thanks for that Kelsey. We all appreciate that you care and are trying to make a good home>
<Here are your answers: Yes, it is possible for a turtle to lay eggs even if there has been no sexual activity. Some turtles have been known to lay fertile eggs for as many as 10 years after their last mating. Other times, for reasons we don't fully understand - if the seasons and times and feedings and {whatever else} is JUST RIGHT, they can gestate eggs for no reason at all.>
<Now here's where it gets interesting and/or complicated: It takes the female a few weeks to gestate the eggs. During that time she usually eats a bit more, but is otherwise acting normally. The eggs inside her are soft, jelly-like things. If conditions are wrong (too hot, too cold, too little food, too much stress not fully understood) her body can just reabsorb the eggs. Toward the end of gestation, the eggs "shell" or form a firm leathery outer covering in preparation for being laid. As THAT is happening, your turtle begins to act weird. Little or no appetite, swimming against the glass almost all the time, roaming the basking area over and over listening to 60's music and joining mainstream political parties yanno just WEIRD.>
<This is the time that, if she is provided a nesting box with the right kind of substrate at the right depth and the right temperature, she'll dig a hole and lay the eggs. But even if she CAN'T find these conditions, most of the water turtles will just eventually squirt the eggs out ... on land even in the water just to get rid of them>
<The dangerous condition that some people write about is called "Egg Binding." And this happens when the she doesn't lay the eggs or is having trouble expelling them. I have at times treated this by inducing labor with Oxitocin - the same drug used to induce labor in pregnant women. If the eggs bind and are not expelled, she can carry them for the rest of her life (they calcify and become like rocks) or they can decay and rot and she can get sick.>
<ALL THAT SAID . 99 out of 100 times, if they can't lay the eggs they expel them in the water. Of the 1 out of 100 where they can't, 90% of those times the eggs calcify and all that means is that she can't have any fertile eggs in the future so the egg binding condition that leads to a serious health problem is a real long shot and nothing I'd worry about on a regular basic.>
<Look for clear, alert eyes. Steady appetite. Basking and swimming, etc. Normal activities keep her out of traffic and away from credit cards (Painted Turtles have NO financial common sense at all!) and she'll be fine!>
Re: Egg question, painted turtle    8/21/11

Thank you so much for your help!!!
<No charge!>
She's definitely a normal, happy, and hungry turtle!
<Does a parent proud, doesn't it?>
Also now I'll know what signs to look for in the future, so I feel a lot better now :D
Thanks again!
<Tell your friends about us!>

Red Ear Slider Questions, sys., fdg.   5/5/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I acquired a hatchling Red Ear Slider about 8 months ago.
<Is his name Merky, perhaps?>
He (or she) has grown from about an inch to 3.75 inches at this point and I'm starting to wonder if the 10 gallon aquarium he is in is starting to get too small.
<Yeah - a little bit too small.>
I know you typically can't sex them until they are 4 inches or larger but he is almost that length and looks like he has the toe nails and tail of a female. I know these girls can get quite large and want to make sure I have the proper housing.
<It's always a good idea to look forward, but also remember that AS they get older their rate for growth slows, so even if Merky IS actually a girl, she'll not grow from 4 inches to 8 inches anywhere nearly as fast as she grew from 1 to 4.>
What size aquarium do you recommend for a turtle of this current size and how long would it last before I need to upgrade again? I don't want to buy a 20 gallon only for him to outgrow it in the next 6 months or so.
<Well, if an aquarium is the way you're going, I'd say a "Breeder" tank, They come in 30 gallon and 40 gallon sizes. They are both 36 inches long by 18 inches wide; the difference being the 40 gallon is taller. Although it may be hard to locate one, they are perfect for turtles because turtles appreciate WIDTH and LENGTH of an enclosure much more than depth.>
I was also wondering at what age these turtles are typically full grown and what size tank/pond should I plan on once he gets to this point? I have a 90 gallon aquarium I could move him to if I had to but it would require some reworking. If I did move him to the 90 could I comfortably house two turtles or would I be setting myself up for needing a much larger system in the future?
<A typical 90 gallon tank is 48 inches by 18 inches and would house 2 turtles nicely. Keep in mind that they would be perfectly happy in 12 inches of water, leaving plenty of room for a basking area under a UV lamp, etc.>
My final question is about feeding, I've read that after a hatchling becomes a yearling they should be fed every other day vs. every day and I'm wondering at what size/age I should move to this schedule. He is fed a mix of turtle pellets, veggies, crickets and some fruit.
<No crickets, please. They are Mother Nature's Peanut Butter Cups: Junk food>
<I feed my hatchlings every other day for the first year and then 3 times a week thereafter. I use Koi Pellets as the staple diet, with an earthworm or two once a month. I feed all they can eat in 5 minutes, 3 times a week. Always keep in mind that we humans ALWAYS feed our animals too much.
Over feeding and feeding the wrong foods are much more common problems than underfeeding.>
Your help is appreciated!
<More reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm 
Re: Red Ear Slider Questions 05/07/11

Thanks for the info so far.
<Not a problem>
I have a few follow up questions if you don't mind.
<Not at all>
I live in So Cal so having him live outside year round is a possibility, I believe. I do worry about predators that could snatch him and would have to look into the space and filtration required to put a pond in our small yard.
<I understand. Predators are always a worry. On the other hand ponds open the door to much imagination. Nothing says that they have to be a hole in the ground. MY pond is above ground, outlined with concrete blocks (cinderblocks) that contain a pond liner AND a fence with a lip on it then around the outside is a decorative garden that hides the blocks.>
In a few years with a bigger yard I think this will be the plan.
<Then you can add Koi and even bigger filters and then even more Koi and then rebuild the pond to be bigger and hold more turtles and then HUGE filters and PRIZED imported Koi and then have to retire from your job because there isn't enough time to do that AND care for the Koi and the turtles O.K. wait. On the other hand, maybe not>
As it is I have a light for heat on his basking area but I put him outside in a part sun/part shade container most days to get his sunlight.
<That works. The prices on specially-made UV-B lamps have come way down in recent years, but then I don't want to take away from your "together time" with him.>
If I do move him to the 90 and decided to get him a friend do you recommend a specific pairing of sex and size?
<You mean like am I a dating service?>
Also, would there be other turtles that are not Red Ear Sliders but are similar enough that they could live in the same habitat?
<Yes. All the Sliders, Cooters, Pond Turtles, etc. all share the same needs and seem to get along just fine. What you will find though, are simply certain individuals that are a bit more nippy than others, so try to find a turtle that is around the same physical size. Sexual pairing is problematic because the males mature faster than the females and begin their courtship behaviors while the females are too young to respond and to me, it just seems to annoy the females but then again, I may be projecting back to Jr. High School>
<The one thing I'd do, whether you use the 90 and/or later when you build a pond arrange the decorations, rocks or whatever you use so that the two turtles can, when in the water, get out of each other's visual range. For some reason, Basking is a shared resource and they almost universally get along "up top." It's in the water where they seem to have their tiffs and as long as they can get out of each other's site for a while when they need it, they'll otherwise work out their differences.>
Thanks again
Re: Red Ear Slider Questions... Painted Turtle sel., comp. now   5/9/11

I have decided to go with a Painted turtle.
<Nice choice>
I like the Midland and Eastern but was concerned as adults they'll be significantly smaller than my Slider. I was leaning toward the Western Painted for that reason.
Wouldn't that make your name Eileen?>
Do you think this is a concern?
<Not even a little bit. Eastern Painteds and Sliders of all types will get along fine. The THREE issues to consider. (1) Your PARTICULAR Slider and Painted may not be suited for each other. No way to know, only time tells. (2) As long as they are similar sized when introduced (that whole fighting for dominance thingie) they're usually fine thereafter. (3) arrange the enclosure such that when they are both in the water, they can get away from each other visually. Bricks, rocks, etc. to break up the water basin, seems to do the trick. Basking spots, for some reason, are virtually neutral territory>
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
<Sent from my TRS-80>

Feeding Red ear sliders and Painted turtles vegetables constantly?    2/1/11
I have read that it is advisable to constantly have plants for the turtles to eat in the tank. When I drop romaine lettuce in my tanks the turtles eat the whole leaf in less than 30 min. I would have to keep a head of lettuce in the tank every day too keep up with them. I guess my general question is: Can you really overfeed with leafy greens (aquatic plants, lettuce)? This is in addition to my feeding of Tetra ReptoMin pellets 3-2 times a week.
My 5 Turtles-
0.3.1 Red Ear Slider Trachemys scripta elegans: Holly (7.2") (8 years old), Pine (7") (8 years old), Preakness ( 3.75") (2 years in March), Clover (3") (2 years in March)
1.0.0 Eastern Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta picta: Bonsai (4") (15 years old)
2.0.0 Convict Cichlid Amatitlania nigrofasciata: Stripes (4") (1 year), Mugger (3") (1 year)
<Hi, Sue here with you.>
<The greater concern when it comes to overfeeding your turtles is to not overfeed them the pellets. I do as you do and feed mine a good quality pellet (ReptoMin, Koi) every other day but only as much as they can eat in 5-10 minutes. >
<As far as feeding them too many greens, really the ideal to aim for overall is offering them a balanced diet not too much of any one type of food. Technically, ReptoMin and Koi pellets should provide them with a balanced diet, but personally I like to offer mine some greens in addition to the pellets just to give them some added fiber, some different sources for some of their vitamins and nutrients, and also because plants and greens are most like what they would be eating if they were living in the wild. I usually give them the greens on the days they dont eat pellets, but sometimes also on the days they do if I happen to have some extra greens on hand. I also give them an earthworm or two every couple of weeks as an added healthy treat.>
<As long as your turtles are not refusing the pellets, then youre fine offering them as many greens as theyd like. I wouldnt worry, though, about keeping them supplied 24/7 should they clean you out!>
<One thing you did mention in your note, though, is that you feed them a lot of Romaine lettuce. Do you offer them any other types of greens? If youre going to offer them greens, I wouldnt feed them just one type. The website below lists several other recommended greens and plant materials that you can offer your turtles to give them more of a variety:
http://www.redearslider.com/plants.html >
<I tend to stick with the ones listed under Beneficial and Recommended and once in a while some under the Moderate. In the summer when I have them in an outdoor pond, I also give them some of the plants listed under Aquatic Plants.>
<Another crew member whos kept turtles for many years feeds his only Koi pellets (no greens at all) with an occasional earthworm, and has had good success with that. So it would seem either approach is OK, or even somewhere in-between! And given the ages of some of your turtles (especially Bonsai, your 15 year old turtle), Id say that whatever youve been doing all these years appears to be working out just fine!>
<Youre welcome, hope that answered it!>

How is this feeding routine for my Painted and Red Ear Slider Turtles? 1/24/11
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a painted turtle and a few red ear sliders. I feed them every other day. I'm feed ReptoMin pellets along with vegetables and bugs. Here is a typical week of feeding.
Monday: Pellets
Tuesday: Nothing
Wednesday: Various vegetables (rarely fruits such as apple skins) like romaine lettuce, carrot tops, wild dandelion leaves (from my lawn. Its safe)...etc.
Thursday: Nothing
Friday: Pellets
Saturday: A few bugs, usually stink bugs (brown marmorated)
Sunday: Nothing
How is my feeding routine?
<Incredible. FAR more involved that my feeing routine. If you'll research the ingredients on the Repto-min, you'll find that it's high in vegetable matter and by itself is a fully balanced diet. I use Kay-Tee brand Koi Pellets on my water turtles, TJ. They're also a completely balanced diet for Sliders and their brethren and much cheaper. The only uh-oh are the bugs. Turtles can easily "fixate" on one particular food and ignore all others. My guess is that bug are like candy to them. If it was ME I'd cancel Bug Day except for once a month and I'd use earthworms instead>
<As far as the schedule, that's great, too. Make sure you feed only what they can eat in 5 to 10 minutes>
I'm interested in the health value of banana PEELS. I would cut them into bite size pieces and they would be feed (on occasion) along with the vegetables on Wednesday.
<Bananas are high in natural sugars, which neither the turtles nor their water need, so I'd say no. HOWEVER if you decide to do it anyway no need to cut them up -- the exercise the turtles get by tearing into things and biting off portions --- is good for them>

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

Re: Painted Turtle Problems - 10/10/10

Thank u so much
<Yer welcome>
-- and to clarify the shedding I don't see it when he is out of the water when he is in the water it looks like floating stuff coming off his legs and neck the pet store said this is shedding and its normal but it seems to be getting worse so I thought I would bring it up do u suggest just letting my boyfriend have the fish and let him live alone?
<The fish has nothing to do with this _ was just saying that turtles don't recognize "company" as humans do and live fish isn't even a good food source for them. That said, the fish is fine where he is>
<Normal shedding of turtle skin happens in pieces so small you never see them. From here it sounds like you have a fungal infection. Not a bad one and very easy to clear up.> And also I feed him live worms and pellets that contain a vitamin d supplement. You've been a great help.
<Thanks for saying so>
I just started university and this has been adding so much extra stress as I thought I would have to bring him to the vet and to be honest my program left me with noooo money to do that!
<I understand. In your case, it's all in the links I sent you. Keep him warm and dry. If you don't have anti antifungal cream you can drizzle white vinegar over his skin (avoid the eyes and nose!) and let him stay 'wet' with that for 1/2 hour before giving him his daily bath. Or you could alternate - do the vinegar one day and the next day put 4 tablespoons of table salt in a 1/2 cup of water and drizzle THAT on the alternate days. Let it stay on him for 1/2 hour before his daily bath & feeding.>
<The problem right now is easy and inexpensive to fix>
<Good luck in University!! Lern gud!>

3 legged painted turtle -- rescue or release?   9/23/10
Hi Darrel,
A (quick!) question for you. I received a call from my daughter's summer camp today asking if I could take a wild Eastern painted turtle. They're dredging one of their ponds because it's become overgrown with sediment and weeds and is dying, and are relocating all the wildlife in it to another one of their ponds. One of the turtles they pulled out yesterday is apparently a female turtle with a 6" straight carapace length (SCL) that has a missing hind leg. It's an old injury so no direct concern about that, but their naturalist/rehab person is concerned that the turtle may be at more of a disadvantage than the other turtles from being placed into a completely new environment, especially with fall and cooler weather now settling in. 
She's also more concerned about this one because the adults have very strong homing instincts and several have already tried making their way back to the dredged pond, and she's concerned this one may try to do the same. She remembered that I had turtles and called to ask if I'd be willing to take her. If not, they're planning to release her into their other pond. What do you think is the better (more humane) thing to do here - let her stay wild, i.e. let them relocate/release her into their other pond, or should I take her in? (I'm OK taking her in if you think it would be better for her than relocating her).
Thanks Darrel, would really appreciate your advice on this.
<Sue - the first rule of Irish Families, Orphanages and Turtle keepers:
There's Always Room for one more!!>
<Have her bring it home, give it a goofy name and the kind of good care you give your guys - and it will do just fine!>
P.S. There's also a 3rd option - for me to take her and release her into the pond behind my house. However, my concern is that if she should try to return back to her original pond, she'd have a much farther distance to travel (about 5 miles) than the pond they were going to relocate her to, and also many more obstacles to overcome (a river to cross, busy roads, etc. and probably more likely to get hit by a car given she is missing a leg).
<Turtles will absolutely and inexplicably go to "walkabouts", Sue. Or in his came "Limpabouts">
<Transplanting to another natural pond goes against our Prime Directive of no casual releases- ever.>
<You have the room and the heart - go for it!>

Need help w/ turtle i.d.-what to do??  5/24/10
Hi - -
I'm hoping you can assist me. I had posted this on another site but, alas, after 95 hits nobody left me any info. We just want to do what's best for this little guy.
<Tis good>
About a week ago this turtle showed up in our backyard. Not sure how he got there since we're all fenced in. He's a little over a foot long. Last Sunday 'Tommy Turtle' found his way into our pool. We've fished him out several times and given him some other water options but he's determined to be lounging in the pool.
We don't know of anyone in our neighborhood that had a pet turtle but we do live near a big pond; could he of traveled from there?
We would like to know what kind he is and if he should be taken back to the pond.
<Mmm... maybe. There's a chance that this animal is a "lost pet"... that wandered out of a yard, perhaps while the owner was cleaning its system... or allowing it a bit of UV/Sunlight for the day... I'd try posting some "Lost Turtle" posters about the neighborhood, perhaps listing this animal on Craig's List for your locality>
Of course, our daughters would love to keep him but with how big he is I'm not sure if we could give him all that he needs or even what that would entail.
<Easy enough to do... Read here:
by Darrel... the care of this species is identical>
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!
<Oh, I believe this is a painted turtle... Maybe Chrysemys picta. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Need help w/ turtle i.d.-what to do??  5/24/10
Bob - -
Thank you so much for the info. I did check out the link for the care of an RES, however, is an indoor enclosure an option for 'Tommy'?
<Oh yes>
He seems A LOT bigger than the turtles in the pics. We will definitely put some signs up near the bulk mailbox area to see if anyone has lost their pet. If no one comes forward and we decide that this is not something that we can do, should we take him back to the pond area?
<I would not do this... there is too much chance of this animal being a vector for disease to native wildlife... and being an errant pet, unfamiliar w/ predators>
Is that painted turtle 'native' to Northern California/Sacramento Area (where we live)?
<See the Net re...>
Also the whole pool thing, he just won't stay out. We do have a kiddie pool that we pull out for our dog in the summer time; should we put Tommy in that instead?
<... please read where you were referred... Turtles need specialized care... this species, room to get out of the water, provision of UV light wavelengths, heat... simple foods/feeding...>
I really appreciate all your help. Thank you!
<Please help yourself. Read. BobF>

Painted turtle and Algae eater compatibility   5/23/10
<Hi, Brendan. Melinda here tonight.>
I am sure you get these kind of questions all the time and I do apologize but I have been searching for an answer and heard contradicting stories.
I own a Painted turtle approx. 1 yr. old in a 30 gal. tank and I am wondering about the compatibility with an algae eater.
<Generally, it is thought best not to combine fish and turtles, for a number of reasons. The first reason that comes to mind, for me, is the difficulty of maintaining good water quality when you've got an animal such as a turtle in the tank. It would require a lot of upkeep to provide what fish require, which are Ammonia and Nitrite levels at zero, and Nitrate below 20. In addition, turtles are usually happy in room-temperature water, because they're able to get out and bask, and return to the water after they're nice and warm. The difference between the warm basking area
and cool water allow them to effective regulate their body temperatures.
However, when it comes to fish, often, a heater is required to keep water temperature elevated and/or steady. Therefore, often, the situation is such that someone is going to be uncomfortable!>
I understand that fish are a part of a turtles natural diet but I have also been told that turtles will usually not bother an algae eater.
<Well, turtles will eat fish, but obviously, that's not what's best for them, especially on a regular basis. It's also not much good for the poor fish, who is being constantly chased around a 30 gallon aquarium! Also, there are many fish which are considered "algae eaters." Some would grow as long as your 30 gallon tank, and some only reach an inch! Therefore, the term itself is such a broad one that I'm not sure which fish you're thinking of housing with the turtle. In addition, most of the fish which your local pet store might call "algae eaters" may not eat algae at all,
may only eat algae as juveniles, or may have additional nutritional requirements which must be fulfilled in order for them to be healthy.
There are many aspects to consider, but ultimately, I would leave your tank as it is, and enjoy your turtle.>
I would very much appreciate a professional opinion before spending money on an algae eating fish.
<If you are experiencing problems with algae, it is likely due to one or more of several factors: an overabundance of light, an overabundance of waste products, or overfeeding/ lack of maintenance. If you'd like to clean algae on glass, your local pet store will probably stock various scrapers and Mag-Float type tools that will help. If it's algae on large rocks/decor, feel free to wash them and place them back in the tank. Without knowing more about your situation, I can't give a lot of advice, other than to avoid adding any fish to the tank, and to read here on algae:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwalgcontrol.htm and
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_3/fwalgae.html, and to read
on turtles, and their incompatibility with fish:
Thank you
<You're welcome. Please do write back if you have any questions after reading.>

Re: Painted turtle and Algae eater compatibility 5/26/2010
<Hi Brendan!>
Thank you so much for your prompt response I had been struggling to get a straight answer for quite some time.
<I'm glad you found it helpful.>
I'm happy to have found your website.
<I'm happy I could help!>

Painted Turtle Problems... shell    5/23/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
First off, sorry if this jumps around a little. I'm sure there would have been a better way to organize this all.
<Not to work, Heather!! My mind is like a steel trap!>
<[Editor's note: Yes, his mind IS like a steel trap - everything that goes in, comes out mangled]>
We have an adult female painted turtle named Rembrandt (thought she was a he until he laid eggs!) my step-son found at a park about a year ago. We had her for about 3-4 months and I noticed some white spots on her. I had been doing a lot of research on turtles because I wanted to make sure we did everything right. I took her to the vet and he said she was a good weight and size and that she did indeed have a small case of shell rot. At the time it was just a little on the edges with a small spot about the size of a pencil tip here and there. He got rid of the slightly "mushy" very edge of her shell on the back right of her top shell. Gave us Betadine solution to put on twice a day and told us to keep her in a dry place for part of the day.
<Sounds like a good start, but I'd have had her out of the water ALL day except for feeding time.>
Each day for a couple of months I had religiously taken her out of her tank, dried her off, put the Betadine on her, and had her crawling around in the bathtub. It didn't really look like it was getting any better or worse for that matter. I wasn't sure what I was looking for it to do. We had about 20 gallons of water in the tank, a 75w heat bulb and a uvb light with 40 gal filtration. We changed our water changing habits making sure that we did a 50% water replacement more often and changing the entire tank water more frequently as well as change the filter more often. We are also using a water conditioner and Nutrafin Water Clean. When we first got her we could not get her to eat the ReptoMin and gave her shrimp. We've later found out that shrimp were packed with bacteria and could have actually aided in the bacteria growth! Yikes! She finally got used to eating ReptoMin and she eats this exclusively. We tried the meal worms and she didn't take to those very well.
<ReptoMin is a fully balanced diet for her. It is essentially identical to Koi pellets, which is what I feed my hard shelled water turtles. They're nutritious and fully balanced AND fare less expensive>
I'd noticed that that the bottom of her shell became more cloudy colored. I started to worry that the shell rot was getting worse!!! I decided to start putting her in the tub again as we had some more Betadine left and this time moved the heat light into the bathroom while she was in there (originally the vet said it wasn't necessary and that she could be without the light for the time she was in the tub drying out). I noticed that she would dry out and there was white residue on her. There doesn't seem to be any soft spots on her though. There are still the little white spots on her shell here and there the size of a pencil tip and somewhat scratch off with my nail.
<The treatment isn't very effective>
I then started to research the "whiteness" that later developed on her shell thinking it wasn't shell rot but rather something else. I found some info on problems with minerals in the water. I realized that last year our water softener died on us. We've not replaced it yet. We've since increased our filtration to 80 gals (2 - 40 gal filters). When the water evaporates there is a "ring around the tank" and also if any water splashes on tank lid it dries and there are white spots. So to me I wonder if that is what the white on her shell is.
<You'd be surprised home many times I get an emergency call about white spots that turn out to be just water spots & mineral deposits, so yes, it's possible>
Her shell is not soft and when it dries out a paper thin layer can be easily peeled away with needle tipped tweezers to reveal a more "colorful" shell below but still the underbelly is not very vibrant. However then it would get all cloudy again within a number of days. I know they say "do not peel away any of the shell" and I feel awful for doing it.
<Yes, it's generally a bad idea. Things that are supposed to shed will shed naturally - the underlying material isn't "ready" when the scutes first start to loosen.>
But when it came off it was very thin and somewhat brittle. Somewhat difficult to explain so hopefully you understand.
<You're explaining it perfectly>
However, there was one small area that is right by her front right leg that when that dried layer was removed it reveled a very vibrant color of green and red. But then I noticed this color was gone a day or two later!
<This is natural for turtles her age. The colors darken as they age and when new shell is exposed it almost immediately darkens to match the other areas>
Now it is a cloudy white color with a red color behind it. More pink like. Almost like bone. I fear that that little layer was not just a paper thin layer but rather one two many layers. There is no bleeding. Does seem to bother her if I touch it.
<There are several possibilities here, Heather. The worse case is that she's developed and infection that has become septic (spread to her blood and therefore to all organs in the body). The telltale evidence is that shell, skin and/or bones start to take on a pink hue to them and the pink looks like it's coming from "underneath" rather than on the surface. This requires an immediate trip to the vet and a strong case of injectible and oral antibiotics.>
<On the other hand, this could be a case of shell damage from the (suspected) fungus. When the scute material (the plates that make of the shell) is damaged and dies for some reason, the area that dies sheds the last scute and what you see underneath is indeed bone, which surprisingly looks like bone. Beige with just a tiny bit of pink.>
<Turtles with a dead scute can go on to live happy and productive lives -- they scute area simply needs to be cleaned with peroxide and alcohol weekly to prevent algae from growing into the bone.>
She is very active. She swims and eats just great.
<both good signs>
What is it that we are doing wrong? I'm sure we could clean the water more often even and change the filters even more.
Could it be that she has mineral deposits? I have noticed that the edges of her shell where she originally had the shell rot are really hard and they are off white.
<It could be, but at this point it sounds like it would be a serious case>
Almost like how you get lime build up around a faucet.
The cloudiness on the underbelly is off white as well. I'm wondering if she needs to go back to the vet or if this is common with shell rot that it just takes a very long time to shed that edge off and get a "fresh start". I would like to try to correct any of our problems before taking her back into the vet just to get whatever meds and then it only be a band aid for a problem that ends up persisting. I will try to take pictures and send them if you think it is necessary. Please let me know if you need any additional information.
<If I were to take one guess, it would be mineral deposits. BUT, as you said, there are more than a few slightly different symptoms, so it's best not to guess.>
<Here's what I'd do: First, read the enclosed link on treating illnesses. Especially the part about warm, dry isolation. Even though we don't know what's wrong with Rembrandt, everything that COULD be bothering her gets worse if she stays warm & moist and gets better if she stays warm & dry. As long as she gets a shallow bowl of water for 5 or 10 minutes a day in order to drink, poop and eat, she can spend months out of water. She won't LIKE that (especially if it's just mineral deposits after all) but it's safe for her. The next thing I'd do is see that she gets some natural UV (sunlight) every day. I'm talking about direct, natural sunlight, as in taking her for a walk for 15 to 20 minutes a day. Both of these things will promote her own natural healing>
<The key to water spots or mineral deposits is that they're right on or near the surface and respond well to cleaning. Mix some household vinegar and lemon juice (50/50 mix) and place some on a cotton swab and then gently scrub a few spots on her shell. Let her air dry naturally and repeat again in an hour. After two treatments, a water spot will be gone or show remarkable relief.>
<Lastly, no don't wait to fix whatever might be wrong with the environment. Fix Rembrandt first. The symptoms you have described are just varied enough that it's worth a trip to the vet. If it is a bacterial infection it's not getting better and will get worse untreated.>
<Two links: One on treatment (warm, dry isolation) and another on general care. Match up your care against the guidelines and see if anything can be improved>
Concerned New Turtle Owner,
<treatment: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<General Care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Re: Painted Turtle Problems  5/24/10
Thanks for the info Darrel!
<Yer welcome!>
I've taken some pictures today.
<She's a pretty girl>
I've included different ones so as to illustrate the concerns I have. Hopefully they are clear enough. The bright white (or at least seemingly bright white) spots tend to really show up the drier she is.
<From here, those white spots look like chips in the very outer skin of the scutes. Very common and nothing to worry about>
This is evident in the different bottom shell shots.
The area on her belly you will notice looks very cloudy and it almost looks like its something under the top layer.
<Or the inside of the surface keratin is discolored>
However, like I'd mentioned before, after peeling away that very outer brittle layer (shame on me) it still is cloudy underneath. Is this from poor water and "stains"? Or is this a terrible infection?
<Infections don't present that way normally. For some odd reason, I'm thinking a calcium deficiency>
I also showed the site of the original shell rot and how it has become a very hard yellowish color. Is this a sign that it has never healed or is this a normal healing process? I also took pictures showing her eyes and beak so that you can see how clear they are. She is fast when I put her down to crawl around. She tries to climb quite vigorously.
<My guess is that she's generally healthy!>
I feel terrible about the one scute on the right side. It seems to become more white as she dries. And there is a definite ridge between that area and the surrounding. So it seems the damaged shell thought is probably true. I feel terribly terribly awful because had I not tried to remove the cloudy peeling scute at least she'd had something there even if it were a dead one. If indeed the last scute has been shed is there anything that can be done? Is it like this forever?
<Yes. It's not terribly debilitating for her and she can live a happy life and even sell Amway if she wants. What you need to do is periodically swab the area with hydrogen peroxide and then coat in Betadine (once a week or so) to prevent an opportunistic algal growth for getting a foothold.>
She has that area in the back that was the result of the original shell rot damage where the vet broke off the very edge. It is of course not a smooth edge anymore and there is a pit here and there but some she had when we got her. Will any of her shell "repair" with age or is it permanently "deformed"? Will the spot by her right leg ever get better? That is a very beginner question Im sure. Can you tell by these photos if she seems to have any terrible issues? I don't want to hurt her and I don't know if it is better to set her free or not.
<First - you're doing well & she's doing well. Second -- and mainly for the rest of the readers -- DO NOT EVER EVER EVER EVER *E*V*E*R* release an animal that has been in captivity for much more than a few hours into the wild. EVER. There is nothing but chances for bad things to happen - to her, to the habitat, to the community she'll be joining. Not ever.>
<Ahem. Heather, you're doing fine. Make sure she gets proper nutrition and UV lighting. Check, double check and triple check those things. Due to her shell condition, she'll benefit from a bit more attention to water quality than otherwise, but you don't have to be paranoid about it, either.>
<Get some calcium supplement pills. Try to find some that are pure ground oyster shell, but if that's not easily possible, calcium & phosphorous is OK. Smash one up & mix it in with a half spoonful of wet cat food and try to get her to eat it. Supplement with a ground up calcium pill twice a week for 2 months (or wuss-out and go to the vet and pay a bunch of money for injectible vitamins & calcium). I think, with just a bot of extra attention, you can improve the shell quality without making yourself a nervous wreck>

painted turtles... Comp. w/ own species, diff. sizes   5/23/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have 4 2" baby turtles, 1 4" turtle and 1 8" turtle. All of them are painted turtles and well taken care of.
<Glad to hear that>
The 8" one I just got and was wondering if it would be ok to put her in with the rest. I do put her in with them now but only when I can be there to supervise and so far everything is fine.
<Usually that is the case>
I just don't want to come home to some dead or injured babies one day though so I would really appreciate your input.
<That also is a distinct possibility, Stu. In general, the 4 inch turtle is a bit bigger than I'd put in with babies. It's not that they're cannibals or even predatory on each other it's just that, as you already suspect, one snap of an adult in a 'bad mood' meaningless to another its own size, is deadly to a baby.>
<The 4 inch turtle is fine to be with big one, but I wouldn't put a fully grow adult in with two babies>
thank you!
<And Stu? Thanks you very much for thinking of this ahead of time. All too many of these questions we get are long after it's too late to do anything about it>

Turtle mating ritual or dominance? 5/21/10
Hello Crew,
<Hiya! Darrel here>
April 14, two years ago, I found an Eastern Painted Turtle hatchling which I adopted. I have kept it in a bowl on my desk at work Mon. thru Friday, bringing him home with me on the weekends. This April, I set up a ten gallon aquarium for him/her at work, which he/she shares with a small crab (not me). Since it has been in its new home (two months), it has almost doubled in size. (Is this normal?)
<The crab?>
<No, you mean the Turtle, right?>
<Reptiles do not grow to the size of their enclosure, as is sometimes the case with fish, but what CAN happen is that a larger enclosure leads to more comfort, more activity and more eating, all of which lead to faster growth>
Last Friday (5/14) I found another Eastern Painted Turtle hatchling which I adopted. I have it in the bowl vacated by "Killer".
<Wow. What are the chances of that?>
Several self-proclaimed turtle experts (research vets) have told me that because both turtles are the same species, Killer would not harm "Ditto".
<Well, it's like this: The sliders, Cooters, Painteds & family are not combative or predatory upon each other. Generally they can live happily in families or even a colony. But with that said, individuals can get snappy at times and the rule I generally follow has two main components [1] Match them to relatively the same size (no hatchlings with grown adults because one little 'snap' from an adult female is 'hey! Where did my arm go?' to a hatchling) and [2] give the group a large enough environment so that individuals that don't get along can get away from each other. Not likely in a 10 gallon tank>
I have tried putting the hatchling in the larger tank for several hours each day and until this afternoon there were never any problems. Today, Killer started vibrating his/her claws on both sides of the baby, but without actually coming in contact with it. I put Ditto back into the smaller bowl and my search for info on the internet brought me to you. I found an answer from '06 'Mixing turtles' about mating rituals and an answer from '07 'Mixing older & younger turtles together' about the older turtle showing the younger one who is the boss. Is it possible that both answers apply (even though both turtles are Eastern Painted)? Does this mean Killer is a male? I know the larger tail and longer claw nails are distinctions, but I have nothing to compare against.
<Killer is probably a male, if for no other reason that he's exhibiting male behaviors. The thick tail thing is a subjective judgment, but the front claws are obvious: They either look like short nails barely extending beyond the hand or they extend OUT and are clearly long nails. Let's assume Killer is a male>
I can barely see the baby's claws at all. Does Killers response mean that the baby is a female? Will a larger female turtle show dominance the same way?
<No way WE can tell with a baby, as the sexual characteristics aren't visible on the outside until the turtle grows quite a bit. What Killer can tell that we don't know>
<This is my suggestion: Since we can't tell and don't care and Killer thinks she's a girl let's call Killer the expert in this situation and giver her a girl's name>
Any feedback would be appreciated.
<My secondary feedback is regarding the tank and the bowl -- proper nutrition, proper basking and especially UV lighting. All pretty much covered in this article:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thanks for your time,
<Yer welcome>

Someone is clawing the carpet. Painted Turtle beh.   4/8/10
To whom it may concern:
<Hiya! I'm not exactly CONCERNED just yet, but I'm Darrel - nice to meet ya>
My wife and I have owned a painted turtle for about 4 years after my brother found her one as a baby.
<Your brother was a baby when he found a turtle?>
<Probably your brother was grown and the turtle was a baby?>
Until now, I have never noticed any awkward behavior. After looking several places, I haven't found any reason for her to be doing such a behavior.
<Your wife? Or the turtle?>
Basically, as she crawls around the floor
<Your wife? Or the turtle?>
she stops and begins clawing with her hind-feet at the carpet.
<.. ah .. the turtle!>
First she pushes back her left foot 4-5 times, and then steps forward to do the same thing with her right foot.
<Almost sounds like she's doing the Hokey-Pokey, doesn't it?>
This happens for up to 20 minutes one night, when we decided it a little nerve-wrecking and we placed her back into her aquarium.
<Who's nerves?>
If you could shine any light on this situation, it would be greatly appreciated.
<Perfectly normal behavior, Justin. She's just testing the ground. Were it to give way, she may stay there for a minute or two digging a shallow hole and then just move on. It's an instinctive thing they do some times, for not particular reason. What you could you if you wanted to see what else might be on her tiny mind, is put about 2 inches of vermiculite in a cardboard box and then set her in that one night. Sometimes immature females will dig nesting holes even when they have no eggs>
Thanks for your time, and I appreciate your helpful
<Thanks Justin - we thrive on positive comments!> 

Painted Turtle question from yesterday (update) 10/17/09
Hi everyone
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Sure hope someone can help me out with this one. I have a 2 year old painted turtle who looks like he is trying to hibernate and I don't know why. I am basing this on his sudden inactivity, loss of appetite and literally stunned appearance. I have also noticed that he seems to be trying to bask at night when the light is turned off and sleeping all day in his weeds when the lights are on. (It is almost like his day and night are reversed). Shortly before this change in his behavior started he was exceptionally hungry. In the past I had a Red Eared Slider for almost 20 years but never encountered this type of problem. I really don't know how to help this fellow.
<Tell me about the environment>
First of all I will tell you about the set up. He is in a 75 gal. long tank with about 50 gal. of water. I am running 1 small Fluval filter at each end (one under the dock and basking area and 1 around his weed area)
in the center I am using a larger Fluval filter. He has an infrared basking light, and a long canopy type sun light over the docks. I am heating the water to 80. Every 5 days I change 20 to 25 gals. of water.
<Water should be 65 to 73, no warmer. The BASKING area is supposed to be where he goes when he wants to be warm. You're making a situation where he may be climbing out of the water to cool off>
He does not appear to have a respiratory infection (he is not puffy inside the front of his shell and when I can get him moving he seems to swim straight).
Any help you could provide would be appreciated.
<Hmmm, I'm still thinking' here>
I would also like to say how much I appreciate being able to ask for your assistance.
Ottawa, Ontario
Hello again
(Jeanette here)
<No problem>
First of all sorry for the typo in the subject line in my question from yesterday concerning my painted turtle who seems to be trying to hibernate.
<We read & write typo fluently, Jeanette! I personally can typo 120wpm>
I wanted to provide you with an update.... Last night after I e-mailed you I tried very hard to think of what may have changed in the turtle's environment in the last couple of weeks. I don't know why I didn't think about this before but about 2 weeks ago I added a filter under his basking area which consists of 2 docks and a clump of weeds. I did a water change early this morning, removed the new filter and shortly after I noticed the turtle was sitting in the weeds under the heat lamp. This used to be one of his favorite spots. Seems like a positive sign.
<There ya go. Vibration or noise from the filter caused his secure place to seem insecure and, having no secure place to bask he became what we professionals term "funky." You found it and fixed it!>
I would certainly appreciate any additional advice you could offer and any suggestions about what I could improve upon.
<You're right on top of the most important thing, Jeanette: You're aware and you notice things. The rest is comparatively easy! Lower the water temp, find another place for that filter and then .. just for routine, check all your care against the guide in the link below>
Once again thank you.
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: Painted Turtle question from yesterday (update) 10/17/09
Thanks very much Darrel
<Yer most welcome!>
I have to keep reminding myself that this is not the Red Eared Slider I had before.
<They don't like warm water, either. Is his name Herkabee?>
I will lower the temp over the next few days. This explains why he sits on the dock after the lights go off at night.
<Either that or he likes staring out the window at the stars>
And...the filter will never again be allowed to invade his safe place.
Thanks again
<Herkabee thanks you, too.>

Painted turtle hatchling, sys.    10/7/09
When can I introduce my Southern Painted turtle hatchling to my 55 gal. aquarium? It has the new Reptology Turtle topper with proper lights on it (UVA/heat & UVB. I just don't want the turtle to drown. Currently it is in a 5 gal. tank with lights and floating basking platform.
<Vicky, you can introduce it whenever you want. But it would be a good idea to lower the water level down such that the water isn't more than twice the depth of the turtle's shell length. As the turtle grows, and as you become more confident that it can swim strongly, you can raise the depth of the water.
Cheers, Neale.>

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

Baby Painted Turtle with wound on leg 09/03/09
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I have caught a baby painted turtle (3 inches) with a pretty deep injury on one of its legs. I am guessing that it is an injury caused by a snapping turtle. The injury is on the part of the leg that rubs on the shell. What do I do to help the infection. Should I leave him out of the water so it can scab over and can I put any kind of medication on the wound to help it.
<Well, you came to the right place, Carmen -- we just happen to have a freshly published article on the basic treatment of common illnesses in Trachemys (Sliders) and Pseudemys (Painteds, Cooters, etc) that covers your questions.>
<First, you're right about keeping him dry. Wet/moist and warm is called an Incubator for germs. There's a section on how to house him to keep him warm and dry, cover the leg twice a day with povodine/Betadine/Iodine for three weeks (four if you can force yourself) all the while keeping him warm
and dry except for 15 minutes or so in a shallow pan so he can drink, poop and eat. It's all in the article>
<No charge! In fact, we'll throw in an article on general care too!!!!>

Turtle question, beh./comp.    5/2/09
We had 3 smaller painted turtles in a 90 gallon tank (2 males and a female) the one male started biting the smaller male so we found the smaller male a new home. Now months later he has been biting the female. At first it was just her feet. But today he had her by the neck where she could not get away although she is larger than him. Do you think we need to find him a new home or is this normal behavior?
<Yes and yes. Terrapins are not noted for being sociable animals, and in small tanks, the males can be quite aggressive. Dominant males will often harass smaller males, and their breeding behaviour can be quite violent.>
We have had them around 2-3 years and this is the first we have seen of this.
<It's taken this long for them to reach sexual maturity.>
<It's actually not uncommon for sexually mature males to be kept singly, in their own tanks. Building two or more basking rocks above the water line may help the terrapins to space themselves out, or you could use a divider (plastic mesh from a garden centre) to keep the aggressive male away from the other two. Cheers, Neale.>

Frozen painted turtle  11/29/08 Hi. <Hiya Deb - Darrel here this morning> We recently found a painted turtle (4 inch diameter) frozen in the ice of our pond. We chipped out a section of ice with the turtle and brought it inside to thaw. Incredibly, the turtle does appear to be alive but still in hibernation. <Yes, he was hibernating to the point of stasis. The Emydid turtles, for the most part, do quite well in frozen creeks and ponds by shutting down to an almost imperceptible metabolism until the thaw comes. On the other hand, this is never something we intentionally do to our pets because not all do survive. In your case, I would have suggested to leave him alone and let nature take it's course, but I understand the desire to "jump in" (pun intended) and try to help. Now that he's out, we'll press onward> We aren't sure what is best for his survival now ... keep him indoors and let him come out of hibernation or place him in a shallow goldfish pond that hasn't frozen over yet. The daytime temps are still in the mid 30's with overnight lows dropping to high 20's. What is his best chance of survival? <Deb, at this point, I'd like you to bring him indoors, place him in a cardboard box or some other suitable container with high sides and then place him in the coolest part of your house. Not a porch or area exposed to the outside temps in the 20's, but not next to the heater either. I'd like him to experience temps in the 40's, 50's & 60's for a few days, if possible and then up to the comfortable indoors temps of your house. In other words, we want to warm him up FAIRLY quickly, but not so fast as to shock his system. If he warms up gradually over a few days or a week, you'll see occasional signs of activity (mostly looking around probably the way WE do when we first wake up in the morning) and then small movements until he has shaken the hibernation off and then begins to walk around. Wait a week after he's fully active to place him in a shallow bowl of room-temperature water to soak and hydrate for a few minutes, and then another week before offering him some Repto-Min sticks or Koi pellets (same thing only less expensive) in the water.> <At that point, might as well give him a name and create a more {semi}Permanent winter home for him and either keep him there as a pet, or plan to release him to the pond when the nighttime temp is consistently above 60 and the daytime has consistent sunlight and at least 75 degree days.> Thanks you, Deb <Yer welcome, Deb!>

Lonely painted turtle 6/13/08 Hello, my name is Russell. <Hiya Russell, I'm Darrel!> I have a very simple but kind of stupid question. <Hmmmm Contrary to popular opinion, there ARE such things as stupid questions ... so let's see what happens next.> Let me give you the facts first. I have three red eared sliders and I am wanting to add a painted turtle to the pond, which is about 500 gallons . My question is will the painted turtle be lonely since there is no other painted turtles in the pond with him, or will the sliders keep him company? <Russell, that is NOT a stupid question. In fact, that question is the OPPOSITE of a stupid question and here's why: First, admitting that you don't know something is a sign of education and intelligence. The more someone learns, the more they realize that there is always something new to learn. Second and most important to your friends here at Wet Web Media ... is that you asked a question about compatibility and the ultimate happiness of a pet in your care BEFORE you purchased it and not AFTER. That's not only intelligent, but compassionate as well. Third, nature is filled with species that get along with themselves but not similar species, so it's a valid question just on it's face. Give yourself a big pat on the back from all of us here that all too often have to solve problems that were created when no one asked a question first!!!!!!> <Ahem> <Now the good news! Sliders, Cooters, Painteds, Chicken Turtles, Map Turtles, Red Bellies, Yellow Bellies and the like ... almost all the Chrysemys, Pseudemys, Graptemys -- get along just fine. The Graptemys (Map Turtles) need somewhat more attention to water quality and some of the South American and Mexican sliders can be a bit snappy ... but that aside and assuming similar sizes .... a Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta for example) will get along well with your sliders and be a part of the happy family in your pond. Thanks for the intelligent question and the great timing, Russell!> <Darrel>

Southern Painted Turtle -03/27/08 Please help... I have a southern painted turtle who is just the size of a silver dollar. I've only had him for a couple weeks now and am just getting to know his (her?) behaviors but the past couple nights/mornings I've noticed he/she is buying herself under the sand. Why is he/she doing this and is it normal? I'm a bit worried that I'm doing something wrong!!! Please help!!! Kristina <Kristina, assuming that the turtle is otherwise healthy (i.e., getting a balanced diet of green foods as well as meat and being kept warm and provided with UV-B light and clean water for swimming) then I shouldn't be too concerned about odd behaviours. Yes, turtles do sometimes burrow into sand. Usually this is because they are overheating, so check the air temperature above the sand (I'm assuming the sand is the land part of the vivarium). You may have the lights too close to the sand, so the poor turtle overheats. Do also remember that ventilation is important, so make sure there are at least a couple of gaps in the hood to let air circulate. Adult turtles of course will dig nests when ready to lay eggs, but yours is far too small for that to be an issue. Chrysemys picta dorsalis reaches sexual maturity at about 10 cm in length in the case of males, and a little larger for females. Cheers, Neale.>

Painted Turtle - behavior question 1/27/08 My wife and I are the proud caretakers of Sam, a painted turtle that my brother and I found about 25 yrs ago. Over the years I've seen much varying behavior and tend to not worry too much if Sam continues to eat and appears to be healthy. Our turtle thrashes when she sees us, occasionally we take her out and hold her for a while which she used to enjoy for a varying periods of time, even closing her eyes and going to sleep or resting. For the last couple of months, this has all changed and holding is not tolerated. In addition, she has gone into a feeding frenzy, almost nipping my fingers when I feed her food sticks. Why the spastic behavior when she used to be mellow? Is there any reason to be concerned? Great website by the way, glad I found you. Matt <Hi Matt. Simply sounds as if your turtle is getting old and cranky. Happens with most animals and indeed people. Of course, do inspect the animal and look for any possible sources of pain, such as abnormal swellings, signs of infection, etc. It would also be a good idea to inspect the faeces for any signs of worms or an unusual texture. Turtle sticks by themselves aren't a great diet, so I hope you've been varying that. A bit more fibre might help clear out the system, relieving any constipation. Chrysemys picta lives a long time, and compared to wild specimens (which live for over 50 years) yours is middle aged. Of course, wild turtles spend many months close to dormant, whereas indoor specimens are kept warm and active all year round. So there are differences, and yours may indeed be simply getting old. Cheers, Neale.>

Swollen back legs on my painted turtle  1/8/08 Hello, I'm Tanisha <Hiya Tanisha - Darrel here> My turtle is only like 2 years old and the other day his feet looked huge...they are so swollen.. <Is it the feet themselves or the entire back legs?> He still eats, walks, swims everything, but I cant afford to take him to the Vet.. <I understand> what could it be... How can I help him... <The first thing to do is take him out of the water, Tanisha. Even though the live in and near the water, the wetness and moisture also encourage the growth of fungus, bacteria and fungi.> <Put him in a small cardboard box, plastic container, anything where he can stay and be safe. Let's get him dry and around 88 degrees. Sometimes I put a heating pad set on "medium" inside the box. Place a shallow dish of water in there every day and place him in it for 10 minutes -- just enough time to drink and maybe eat, then remove the water entirely> <My guess is that he's got a vitamin or dietary deficiency that we can correct once we know more. Does he get direct sunlight (not through glass)? Or does he have a UV light? What are you feeding him?> My whole family loves him. We all really grew attached to him...he's part of the family. <Please write back wit answers to the questions above and we'll see if we can help. Also, read the linked article below and compare it to how you are keeping him, write back and tell us more, OK?> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Turtle infection, maybe? 08/01/07 Hi Crew, <Hiya -- Darrel here> I have a female Eastern Painted turtle who is 5 years old. She seems to have an infection on the bottom of her shell. What should I do. <The first think is to let her get dry -- all fungal and bacterial infections are harder to control when they're wet all the time. Just remember that she can stay out of water for weeks without ill effects and what you should do is put her in the water for a few minutes each day so she can drink and eat, then take her back out again.> <Now for the infection, I'd like to have more information - is it black & slick feeling? Or white and feels just like the shell? Please write back with more. Meanwhile, keep her dry and wash and scrub the area with a little household vinegar -- it helps most infections and we're not going to send you off to the store (or the vet) until we know a little more about what you're up against. So write back with some more detail and in the mean time, search our site for "turtle" and "infection" and you'll get lots of reading material.> Thanks for any help.

Turtles and koi mixed 07/18/07 Hello, Crew, I have a few questions. Will a 5-year old female Eastern Painted turtle eat koi that are larger than her? And will she leave an unfenced pond? What about a 3-year old male? Thanks, Joe <Hello Joe! Chrysemys picta picta is one of the nicest North American freshwater turtles (what we call "terrapins" in England, bizarrely enough after a Native American name for these animals apparently not used by most North Americans!). In fact, this was the second species I ever kept, and good fun it was too. Lived for many years before being passed on to a zoo when I went to college. Anyway, in common with other species in the genus, these animals are primarily herbivorous, which is why their optimal diet in captivity is one based on green foods. Juveniles will eat small fish as well as insect larvae, but the adults are too slow and clumsy to catch fish, though they certainly eat carrion. The problem is that in a pond the odds are biased towards the turtle because it is more difficult for the fish to swim away to safety. Feral red-ear terrapins have been reported eating ducklings in London ponds, apparently being released into the ponds by irresponsible owners bored with these large and somewhat difficult pets. So while you might be lucky mixing koi and turtles, and it's certainly be done, there are no guarantees at all. As for your turtles upping-sticks and moving out: yes, very likely. Even if they don't get out, there's nothing to stop predators like mink or cats getting in, so this is something to consider carefully. Cheers, Neale>

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

Turtle With Eye/Head Problem   1/4/07 Hi, My boyfriend and I came home yesterday from a three week vacation to find one of our painted turtles completely disoriented.  It's left eye socket is swollen about twice its normal size, his head is cocked completely to the left, as if it is stuck and he cant move it back straight, and he can only swim/walk in a tight circle. We called a pet store in Detroit last night and they told us the turtle may have gotten too hot and suffered brain damage, but I don't see how that is possible. Is there another reason? Some sort of disease that would cause this? Should I attempt to gently pull its head out to straighten it? I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have no access to vets or anyone with knowledge of exotic animals. Thank you, Brie <If your turtle is wild caught then there is a host of parasitic worms that may be at work here. Go to Kingsnake.com and contact a good herp vet that may be able to walk you through a proffered treatment for this problem. In the meantime raising the temperature of the environment to 85 F may work like a fever and help treat the disease.-Chuck>

Turtle Eating Gravel   1/3/07 Hello-I have a 7 month old eastern painted turtle and I just witnessed her eating some of the small pebbles on the bottom of her aquarium.  Is this normal and ok????Thanks! Kelley < Your turtle is needing some additional vitamins and minerals. Try adding some green vegetables like spinach and kale to the diet as well as offer some liquid reptile vitamins weekly.-Chuck>

Painted Turtle Care While On Vacation   12/24/06 Hi crew! I read almost your entire website and learned sooooooo much.  But this question I did not see...In September, my first and second grade class inherited a painted turtle from an environmental educator.  He is adorable and the kids love him.  We are on winter vacation and I gave him 5 minnows in his tank to hold him for a week. After I put the fish in,  I realized his basking light was out so I went to get a new bulb.  By  the time I got back, 30 minutes later, he had killed, (but not eaten) almost all of the fish!  He had eaten about 3.  Bert is about 4 inches. Will keeping the dead fish in the tank for another week be harmful? Did he over eat?  Will I need to feed him again before the week is out?  How long can painted turtles go without eating. Thanks so much. Lenae < Clean out the tank and remove the bodies. Instead of fish, place some live Anacharis aquarium plants in the tank with him. The plants will live as long as there is some light on them so the won't rot. The turtle will eat them when he gets hungry. The are actually good for him and will fill him up until you get back from vacation.-Chuck>

River Tank  10-27-06 Hi Kathy, It's Pufferpunk (not Pufferpink but that does sound kinda funny...) Thanks so much for the reply.  I'm a new turtle owner (just a few months), she is an adult painted turtle.  Can you explain about or send a link about the river-tank system you mention?  I have a huge canister filter but it does, eventually, clog with plant bits. <Here are a couple of pics of the 55g river tank kit I have: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/Pufferpunk/TurtleRiverTank.jpg http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v345/Pufferpunk/DwarfAfricanBullfrogHome.jpg I'm sorry I don't have better pics.  I think if you really search, these are still being sold somewhere...  There's a powerhead under the water fall, that draws all the water through the gravel that's built up on the land side.  It goes over a water fall & through a river, back into the water 1/2 of the tank.  It's pretty cool.  ~PP> Thanks again, Kathy Thanks so much for the reply.  I'm a new turtle owner (just a few months), she is an adult painted turtle.  Can you explain about or send a link about the river-tank system you mention?  I have a huge canister filter but it does, eventually, clog with plant bits. Thanks again, Kathy

Clipping Turtle's Nails  10/11/06 Greetings from Michigan! <Greetings from Chicago!  Pufferpunk here> We have a painted turtle and his nails are getting really long.  Should I clip them? <You can, with conventional cat or dog nail clippers.  Look for the quick & try not to cut it.  Have Quick-Stop on hand, just in case you do cut the quick.  You may want 2 people to do this--one to hold out the foot (the turtle will try it's hardest to retract it) & one to clip.  ~PP> Thanks for your time. <No problem!> Carol

Turtles Appetite Slowing Down   9/30/06 Hello, I have a painted turtle, which I rescued from an abandoned apartment four months ago.  I took her to the vet for a full inspection and received a clean bill of health.  She is 7-inches long and is kept in a 30-gallon tank with proper heating, lighting, basking area with lamp, and a significant filter.  Water is changed once/week and she is fed twice per day (pellets and leafy greens.) The question: it is now late September and she is eating less and slowing down.  She is spending a lot of time basking and sometimes I see her sleeping underwater during the day.  While eating she will chomp down on a pellet and spit most of it out.  She used to love these pellets and eat as many as I'd put in the tank.  Now she'll just eat a few per day.  I tried buying a variety of pellets, but she won't touch the others.  She no longer has much interest in the leafy greens, either.  Further, she seems to be burping large air bubbles underwater more than before. Other than that she seems to be normal.  I put her in boarding for a month while traveling, where she got a little fat (the pet shop that took her said she had quite an appetite.)  I know the Fall season beings a change in turtle behavior, but this is my first season with her and I'm not sure if this is normal.  Please advise. Thanks, Matt < During the fall turtles appetite normally slows down. This is in anticipation of hibernation. Food should be stored as fat. Food left in the stomach will rot if the temperatures are not right for digestion. If your turtle already has a good weight then she is probably OK. If she was thin then there would be a need for concern.-Chuck>

New Turtle Creates New Problems  - 08/25/06 I have an Eastern Painted Turtle that is approximately a year old.  He was an inch or so big when we found it and now it is about three or so. We have never had any problems with it.  My husband brought home a larger one about a month ago.  All seemed well at first. The newer turtle seems like he has some kind of slimy stuff hanging from his skin when he is under water.  He lost a clear layer or membrane from the bottom of his shell and now there are 2 ulcers or holes that have developed there.  I have removed him from the tank.  The smaller turtle  has a little of that slimy stuff too.  He has not been eating for the past few days.  He is also spending  most of his time on the basking dock and not in the water. He used to swim all of the time. The sections of the top shell are lifted in areas, is that due to growth??? You can see where he has just gone through some growth on the shell.    Really his lack of appetite an change in behavior have me concerned. Thanks for your help < When you introduce a new animal to an established captive, the new animal should always be quarantined for at least a month. Painted turtles are found wild in the Midwest. Older turtles often carry parasites that can be transmitted to other turtles. The combination of stress and poor water quality has generated a bacterial infection of the shell of the one turtles and a possible respiratory infection on the other. Keep each turtle in his/her own container. Keep the water very clean and make sure each turtle has a basking site that gets at least to 85 F. The larger turtle should have a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block added to the tank. This will inhibit the bacteria problems. The affected areas should be cleaned and some Repti Would Aid by Zoo Med applied to the affected areas. The smaller turtle needs heat and maybe antibiotics. If the appetite doesn't pick up within a week after applying the extra heat then start to look for a vet.-Chuck>

Painted Turtle In Need Of Some TLC   8/12/06 Hello, and thank you in advance for all of the useful information that is provided on your website. Just recently, yesterday in fact, I "adopted" a baby turtle from a family friend who found it somewhere. They did not think they were providing for the turtle adequately and so they gave it to my boyfriend and I. First, let me say I knew absolutely nothing about turtles and never had one. Immediately we began to learn about them online through your site and others like it. The turtle is a baby painted turtle and is about 3 and a half inches long. I suspect it is small for its age because of the environment they had it in and the food they gave it. The turtle lived in a 10-12 gallon tank filled about halfway with water and a minimal area to get out of the water. He only had a rock or two that stuck up out of the water. The lamp they had on him was a normal household bulb located quite above the top of the tank. They fed him on a diet of mealworms every three days, food sticks every day, and crickets every now and then. The lamp did not keep the tank warm at all. He is currently still located in the same tank with the lamp moved closer, which does not really help. We plan on getting a thirty gallon tank with a UVA/UVB lamp, filter, and water heater today. We also plan on introducing lettuce and other foods into his diet, any suggestions would be much appreciated. < Unless the area you plan on keeping him at gets very cold at night, I would skip the water heater unless the water gets down to the 50's.> My actual question though, is that when I brought him outside for about thirty minutes today I noticed that his left back leg drags behind him when he walks and he sometimes does not use his front legs. I'm almost positive that this is from his lack of vitamins, calcium, and exercise. His shell is also shedding scutes a lot. I find them in his tank and after I brought him in several more were beginning to peel off. His coloring is also very dull for a painted turtle and his shell looks dry. I think he has shell rot but I'm not sure. His previous owners did not keep his tank very clean and the water was not running at all. I don't know if this is a factor but he lives with two fish in the tank. We cleaned it out and put in fresh water as soon as we got him. Will his problems clear up and get better as he grows older and we take better care of him, or should we take him to see a vet who specializes in turtles? I've already become extremely attached to Tommy and don't want him to get any sicker than he already is. Any help you can give me will be much appreciated. Thank You, Jacquelyn < Check the temperature of the basking spot with a good thermometer. It should get up to at least 85 F. Move the light closer or get a larger wattage bulb to increase the temp. Adding vegetables like kale and spinach will help. If you see no improvement over a month then start to look for a turtle vet.-Chuck>

Painted turtle won't eat veggies   8/8/06 Hi, My name is Laura and I've had my painted turtle zip for five years. I got him when he was a baby and he's still eating roughly the same things now that he ate then. <Turtles/chelonians are extreme creatures of familiarity> I've tried to give him different kinds of fruits and vegetables, but every time I try, he just bites them into little chunks and leaves them floating in his water. He NEVER eats them.. I saw a question posted about a turtle that swam at the glass every time the person moved or walked by.. and mine does that too. Your answer for them was to feed them spinach and kale, but my turtle won't eat it.. What is a girl to do?! ~*~Laura~*~ <Try mixing the new foods on/with a bit of the old... as with small children... Bob Fenner>

Re: Painted turtle won't eat veggies  - 08/11/06 Thanks so much.. I mixed the new food with the old and he eats the old food first.. but then eventually eats the new food. <Heeeee! Like me and my first time with Brussels sprouts! BobF>

Turtle Expert, Turtles With Injuries  8/8/06 Hello Robert, I hope you are a turtle expert.  I have two turtles with problems. 1st Case is a 3 inch Eastern Painted Turtle.  He was bitten by a bigger female (which is no longer with the little guy).  Parts of the back of his shell have fallen off and it appears white, not a fungus, but the scutes seem to be missing.  I use a soft toothbrush to clean it every other day and spray it with HerpCare Skin & Shell Treatment by Mardel letting it dry then putting him back into the water. 2nd Case is a 3 1/2 inch Red-eared Slider.  Recently one of his eyes have become infected.  I don't know if he was injured or what happened.  When she is underwater it looks like fungus.  She can open it and you can see slight puffiness around the eye.  The eye itself looks fine.  I have been treating her daily with Fluker Laboratories' Reptile Eye Rinse. Both are still active and eating. What would you recommend I do for them? Thanks! Brian Kallenberg < Keep the turtles isolated so they don't get worse. Keep the water clean and add a  Dr Turtle Sulpha Block by ZooMed. This should inhibit any bacterial growth. Try ZooMed Repti Wound Healing Aid and the Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip. This should really help with the wounds/trauma. If the eye problem is caused from a deficiency in vitamin A, then look into amending the diet with more vegetables with a vitamin supplement. The ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops really help with these eye problems.-Chuck> Re: Turtle Expert, Eye Problems In Turtle   8/12/06 Thanks for your help, I have one last question.  Since the infection is only in one eye, can I rule out a vitamin deficiency? Brian < No, not really. The other eye may come down with the same problem and delaying treatment may only make things worse.-Chuck> Near Drowned Turtle Needs Help   5/27/06 Hello all, I was cleaning my southern painted turtle's tank tonight with a Python tube. After I finished cleaning, I left the tubing the tank, figuring I'd move the tubing later. At some point, the turtle worked himself into the gravel vacuum. I discovered this, removed him, and am now trying to dry-dock and warm him up. He's alive, but I don't know how long he was in that tube...could have been a few minutes, could have been over an hour. He's still fairly young and a little undersized, since apparently I've not been giving him enough food even though people said to stop feeding him every day. I am not sure exactly how to dry dock, so he's on a towel in a large Tupperware with a light shining on one end in the hopes that he'll warm up some. He's responsive to touch and movement, but very lethargic. Help? Veronica <I would place him in a shallow dish with the basking spot on one side. The spot should get up to 85 F. Place him in on the site for 15 minutes. He should be fairly warm to the touch. Take him off the site and place him away from the light in a little bit of water. After 15 minutes then place him back under the light. The logic here is to warm him up but not get him too hot and dehydrated. In the shallow pan he can drink if needed. Hopefully the heat will drive the fluids away from the lungs and the shallow water will allow him to drink and not dehydrate the rest of the body. Repeat often until you get some normal response. This may take a few days. A lung infection may come and require a trip to a vet for antibiotics.-Chuck> Re: Near Drowned Turtle Coming Back   5/27/06 Hello Chuck, Thank for the quick reply. In the time that I've been waiting, I had put him in a towel-lined bucket with a shaded area so he wasn't too hot. He has been trying, for the past hour or so, to escape. He did a ninja chin-lift up the towel and out of the bucket (and into the box I had the bucket in, just in case) I think this is a good thing. Most of the time he is tucked into his shell, but I'm not sure if that's lethargy, tiredness, or stress. It is nighttime here and I don't want to stress him by leaving the  light on all night. I've put him in another bucket with some water in it, as well as a small ramp of gravel that is under the lamp. He can get himself out of the shallow water (doesn't totally cover his shell) easily. Should I leave the light on all night? Should I do what you are suggesting? He's moving pretty well on his own now and it's a question of keeping him warm/hydrated vs. the stress of moving. Much thanks again, Veronica < Turtles are pretty resilient. I am assuming that your turtle "Shut Down", as if he was going to hibernate to stay alive and conserve oxygen. I have no proof, it is just a hunch. Sounds like your turtle is well on his way to recovery. I would just set him back up in his normal set up and let him decide when it is time to bask. Still be on the look out for respiratory problems. The symptoms are wheezing, coughing and an inability to sink.-Chuck> 

Poor Painted Turtles  - 03/22/06 I have 2 red eared sliders that I've been raising for about a year now and their doing awesome but now my sister brought to me her 2 painted turtles she got this summer and they have not grown at all! Their probably the size of a quarter still. She never had a light or warm water or anything for them and now I have to take care of them. I have no clue what to do with them and I feel bad for them! All I have right now is one cage, so I put them in with my red eared sliders. They're probably 3-4 inches and their a male and female but I don't think their even one yet? Can they reproduce? < Probably not until next year.> Is it okay for the baby painted turtles to be in the tank with them? < No, red eared sliders are very aggressive turtles and will hog all the food and intimidate the smaller turtles to the point to they will not eat.> What should I do to help them grow? < Start treating them like you RES's when they were small and give them the TLC they deserve.> When I pick them up I can actually feel their legs moving through the center of their shell on the bottom in the center. I think their not in good shape? What can I do? Help me please! < Start by giving them their own tank. Set up a basking site that gets at least 85 to 90 F. Start to give them ZooMed Aquatic Turtle food for hatchlings along with some small washed earthworms. Basking and proper diet with start to harden the shell and get them back on track.-Chuck>

Soft Shell on Non Soft Shell Turtles  11/10/05 I have two baby painted turtles they are about 3 months old. There are two things that concern me and was wondering if you could help. The first one (which isn't serious because I believe I know what's wrong) is that the bottom of the shells are very very soft. I believe its because they are still small and are still growing or it could be because they just shed and we weren't aware of it. < Soft shells are never a good sign. Make sure they have a good basking site to get out on.>  <<Kind of like how soft teeth are never a good sign?  MH>> And the second problem is. The one turtle has a lump on the right side of its neck. The problem didn't start until after he ate guppies (we believe). We know he ate the fish because the one guppy in the tank was pregnant and when we looked there was only 1 baby guppy and I know that guppies have more than one baby. Now I believe that the lump is from the scales of the fish, I think the turtle is too young to digest the scales. This happened to my snake and in the end the lump killed him.  I don't want this to happen to my baby turtle and there are no vets around here that specialize in turtles. I also believe he may have a cold because his eye is very infected. We are already taking care of the eye, and we are putting calcium blocks in the water for the shell. But the most concern is the lump. Please help ASAP. Also my other turtle the abandoned one, the shell rot is gone. Thanks a million :) Sincerely, Jessi Rae < The soft shells and lumps in the neck may both be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Get some reptile vitamins and increase the warmth on the basking site. Get a thermometer and check it. It should be around 90 F.-Chuck> 

New Turtle Needs New Home  9/29/05 Just yesterday which was September 27, 2005 I found a turtle wandering the street.  Its a Eastern Painted Turtle and the shell seems to have been cracked but looks as if it has healed on its own.  Though its healed I was wondering if I should do anything special in caring for this turtle.  She is very large compared to my other turtles.  I have 2 baby red ear sliders, 2 baby eastern painted turtles, and a (I believe) Florida soft shell.  Now the turtle I found yesterday is about 6 inches, and I have little money so I have to substitute for awhile for a tank for her.  I was also wondering if any of you have any suggestions on what to use as a tank for a while until I get a little more money.  Advice is greatly appreciated, for I need all the help I can get for this poor little gal.  Thanks again. Jessi Rae < You can use a kiddie wading pool if the weather is still OK where you live or a good sized Rubbermaid tube. You don't have to use an aquarium. Just find something that is non toxic and will hold water. A long term solution should be found as soon as possible.-Chuck>  

Sick Turtle 7.24.05 I just caught a baby Painted turtle and he was fine for a couple days but now half his eye is red and I don't know what is wrong I can't take him to the vet and I don't want to put him back. I have had many other Painted turtles and they were fine but this is my first baby turtle. He also just sits around all day with his eyes closed. I am concerned please get back to me soon. <If you cannot take him to the vet all you can do is make sure his environment is setup correctly.  I would not release him unless he was in the same condition as when you found him.  make sure he has clean warm water around 78F.  You can find more information on the care of aquatic turtles in the following article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm >

Sexing a Painted Turtle  11/22/04 Hi, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 21 year old painted turtle that I adopted from I friend about a year ago.   <Now that's an old reptile!> My friend claims that some time ago should found a small egg in the turtle's aquarium and so she assumed that the turtle must be female. <Very good guess.> But when I held one of my female box turtles up next to the glass of the aquarium to say hi to the water turtle, the water turtle started doing that weird hand swishing mating ritual, which would suggest the turtle is a male turtle, right? <I think the egg was the giveaway on this one.  It must be a female turtle.  You can also tell by it's tail.  Males have tiny short tails & females have longer fat tails.  My turtles do happy dances whenever I go near their tank, thinking they might be fed.> Assuming my friend wasn't hallucinating or lying,  where could an egg possibly come from? Strange question, I know. <Unless there was another critter in the tank to lay an egg, it had to come from the turtle.  ~PP> -LG

Turtle Food 1/11/04 WWM Crew. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Please can you tell me the best food for my turtles I have 1 painted (2 months) old and 2 yellow bellies (3 months). I live in the UK and food seems to be frozen bloodworms, frozen daphnia and frozen turtle food. I would like to give them a good diet. <I have an African Sideneck, Asian map & soft-shell turtle (in addition to 6 box turtles).  They eat cut-up pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, turtle & cichlid pellets, earthworms & crickets.  Make sure to use reptile vitamins w/calcium on their food, at least 1x/week.>   Thank you for your time.  Damon <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Turtle Enclosure. Dear WWM Crew, I'm hoping that you could help me with some information on Eastern Painted Turtles and a suitable enclosure for them. I understand that this site is for fish related topics, but the categories are more diverse here and I'm sure that you could point me in the right direction. <I am sure we can be of assistance. I actually have two Yellow Bellied Sliders (pretty similar) that are native to Florida. They summer out in my 1500 gallon pond, but I have to bring them indoors once the water temperature hits 60*F. They are stinky if you do not clean their tank often and filter it hard.> I own an aquarium maintenance business in Southern N.H. <I own one in Pittsburgh, PA.> and usually deal with fish. <Me too!> I got a call from a construction company that is remodeling a Veterinary hospital that had over the course of the summer, somehow obtained some Painted Turtles that they rehabilitated. I'm not yet sure what was wrong with the animals. <Probably shell rot from poor captive care conditions.> Currently the Turtles are being kept in a small aquarium awaiting a new home. The Animal Hospital would like to make a large display tank for the Turtles as a focal point for the waiting room area. <Sounds like potential for a lovely indoor pond display.> I am not very familiar with Turtles and would like to learn more about the specific needs of these animals beyond the "Warm water, heat lamp, rock to climb on." basics that I've been able to find. From the limited information that I have found, it's apparent to me that a short and wide enclosure is more desirable and that to feed them properly is a water quality nightmare. <Yes, I just upgraded my 75 gallon turtle tank to a trickle filter.> I was thinking of a short hex shape with about a third of the area built into a land mass. <Mine rarely get out of the water except to "sun", either artificial or real. I use a small driftwood island in the pond and a piece of driftwood tied in place with plastic cable ties indoors.> What recommendations might you have in regards to a land to water ratio and Turtle "Furniture" I've also read that they do cut themselves easily and that sharp objects are not suitable. <I have not had any troubles with driftwood, but would also strongly consider the indoor pond idea with a small area for them to climb out of the water but not out of the enclosure.> Lighting seems to be a very important issue as well, would Metal Halide pendants be too much? <Probably more than they need but they would appreciate it. I would go for 6,500 K Iwasaki's, a 150 watt lamp. Otherwise, ceramic heat lamps with fluorescent lamps for vitamin production.> Would they not be of the right quality of light? <The full spectrum lights more geared towards live plants would be ok.> What type of lighting would you recommend, I would really like to recreate the environment as perfectly as I can. <Either of the above options.> From my reading I can't see any real consistency with the way "Turtle People" keep their water quality. <Massive and regular water changes> Is pH and water hardness a concern for Turtles? <I never measure either.> I assume that the same rules would apply for biological filtration. <Massive> And what is a suitable water temperature. to keep the Turtles from hibernating? <Room temperature should be more than adequate with the lighting for additional heat.> Do you recommend chemical filtration? <Activated carbon would help reduce odors.> Many of the articles that I've read mentioned that no substrate is best for the water portion of the enclosure, but I don't think that the client will go for that, is there any preferable substrate for Turtles? <They will dig and generally make a mess of any gravel you put in their. Strongly consider those black, hard plastic ponds. You should get a good deal on them this late in the season. Two would be great. One for them to swim in which drains down to a trickle filter, which then pumps up to the second smaller pond run as a bog filter, which lastly flows back to the turtle pond. Now that I think about the MH's would be best for the indoor pond and bog filter idea.> And, of course, I have to ask (as I'm sure the client will ask me) if there are any suitable tank-mates to keep with Turtles maintenance critters and/or display animals? <They will try to eat most other things. You maybe able to house a gold fish or two depending on the size of the turtles, size of the goldfish, and size of the enclosure.> Lastly, what type of skimmer do you recommend for this tank? Just kidding, been a long night of research! Although, I would be interested in any suggested reading. <Take a look at Bob's article here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdturtles+.htm the linked FAQ file and the bibliography at the bottom.> Thank you very much for your time and I appreciate your letting me bombard you with all of these questions, that is if you're still reading after all that! Again, thank you very much for your time. Sincerely, Michael P. Gillespie <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Thanks! (Turtle enclosure) Dear WWM Crew, I just wanted to say thank you for the help with the Turtle Enclosure! Seems to me like if it can be kept in an aquarium, you can find answers. We ended up going with a 5'x3' acrylic with a sectioned off dry section for the design, 2 metal halide pendants, and 2 sumps. Actually, one of the sumps will be a planted tank that will drain into the main sump. So I do have some more questions. I understand from your reply that Turtles will produce a lot of waste material, so we though that incorporating a planted tank would help to maintain water quality more consistently. <Yes, good nutrient export.> We will have room for a 20H with a power compact fixture. Is it possible to, in effect, make a sort of "Freshwater Refugium" out of this tank? <More so a plant scrubber than a refugium, but similar designs.> If so what type of plants can be used to consume waste efficiently and possibly what plants could be used to feed the turtles as they are cropped from time to time? <My turtles have eaten many of the pond type floating and bunch plants. You will have to experiment with what will grow under your conditions. Fast growth and nutrient uptake should be your priorities.> Are there any critters that can be maintained in this planted tank to benefit the system or also be used to feed with such as Crayfish? <The freshwater shrimp have some benefits when keeping plants.> Do you have any recommendations for a substrate for this plant tank? <I would use plain gravel for any bog type plants, excess nutrients will abound. Floating plants may work also.> And lastly, are there any of the above mentioned that should be avoided? <Nothing that comes to mind.> Thank you again for all of your help. M.P.Gillespie. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Help??? With Turtle System I came across you email address on the WetWebMedia information page. I don't know if you can help me or not, but I figure its worth a try??? <Yes> we've had 2 painted turtles and a snail in a tank for about 3 yrs now. a few months ago I noticed what appeared to be pieces of white lint. eventually the lint grew to the length of 1/4-3/8" and greatly increased in number. I've completely stripped down the tank and cleaned it a couple of times now. the lint seems to be gone, but later that same day, or the next they are back. the boy from the pet store said it was anchor worms, but from what I've seen on the internet, they are not the same thing.  <Not Anchor Worms (Lernaeid crustaceans) assuredly> I looked today with a magnifying glass and what I figure to be an egg sack, looks like a pearl. does this ring any bells? do you know what it is? how I got it? how to get rid of it? something else, maybe of no importance, but who knows?  <Don't know what this is... likely just an algae growth of some sort. I would try using Jungle (Brand) Pond Blocks (at the rate of one per ten gallons first... At most would lightly chlorine bleach the system, vacuum/siphon, rinse all contents... including the turtles but not the snail... Fill tank to highest mark, place about one ounce of bleach (laundry strength) per twenty gallons, leave five minutes, dump, rinse, re-fill, dump, rinse, re-fill.> we have ring neck doves and a couple of times they've messed in the tank. I clean it out as soon as I notice it. another thing is that I have had some seashells from the ocean, I've had in storage for years, that I put in the tank some time back. could that be what's going on? sorry to be so long winded. please advise. thank you. <The shells might be contributing to the re-occurrence, growth... but not likely a problem. The turtles will tend to make the water, system more acidic and the shells by "melting" aid in keeping pH about right. Bob Fenner>

Small turtle my cat brought home hi<Hi, MikeD here> I was wondering if you could help? First my cat brought home a very small turtle slightly bigger than a quarter amazingly it was and is still alive. I have tried to find out it's type. we are in Maine, the small critter has an almost rounded dark shell, with an orangey/yellow bottom shell. the back legs have red stripes and the front legs as well as the throat area has yellow stripes and nothing on top but two small yellow dots on either side of its head.< Most likely it's an Eastern Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta>there are several ponds miles down the dirt road. I am sure the bass one of which I caught (4lbs) would enjoy this little critter as a snack.<They would!>I have decided to try and keep it as I love turtles and am willing to spend what it needs for its care. The way I see it I already have 18 pets what's one more! Do you have an idea as to what kind it could be?<See above, Eastern Painted turtle>any special care tips?<To do it right you need a small aquarium,50%water/50% land and a good herp light. Herp vitamins/calcium help too> thank you for your help my e-mail address is XXXX@aol.com if you would be kind enough to respond there. thanks again<You're welcome. Hope it helps a little> Marcee

Painted Turtle Shedding I have 2 young painted turtles in about a some where between 20-30 gallon tank. well our oldest about 1 year's feet are shedding as so my dad says. we do not know how to cure it we have looked every were so you are our last person to  turn to. And I have another question how do you tell the difference between a male and female painted turtle? <It is pretty normal for turtles to shed, I would not worry too much.  Focus on proper husbandry, clean water, correct temperature, and a good diet, I am sure your turtles will be fine.  The males will have much longer toe nails than the females, the underside of the males shell (plastron) will be more concave than the females as well.  Best Regards, Gage>

Turtle Talk I have searched the web for my answer, but was unable to find it. We have a painted turtle, who is around 4 years old. He is growing very quickly, and I have purchased a cream to keep his shell healthy as he sheds scales, feed him food pellets along with shrimp pellets bought from the local pet store where he was purchased, and keep his tank clean and filtered. He came to recognize us whenever we walked into his line of sight, and became very excited and would come to the glass and wait for us to come to the tank to feed him.  Lately though, when he sees us, he rushes to the tank wall, splashes wildly, actually splashing water out of the tank onto the floor. At first, we thought it was just because he was hungry and was happy to see us. Now, he splashes like crazy and when we attempt to hand him a piece of food, he snaps so fast and hard that he has connected with fingers and literally brought himself out of the water attached to our hands. We feed him two to three sticks of food in the morning, and two or three at night, along with very small pieces of grapes or fresh fruit. I am not sure if this is a normal behavior, or if he feels the need to increase his food intake for some reason. He is growing rapidly and I am afraid of overfeeding him and making him obese. Can you please help me out with this? Thank you.........Sue Diesing <Some of the charm with little turtles is their ability to train their owners. They have obviously learned that you are the source of food and have learned that they're harder they beg the more you feed them. If they look like they are healthy and well fed then I would feed them a little heavier in the morning and maybe a little in the evening. Maybe they will learn that no matter when you walk by they will only be fed at certain times.-Chuck> 

Murtle Laid an Egg Dear Crew: We have a 25-26 year old female painted turtle, by the name of Murtle.  Murtle is healthy and happy and lives in a (3/4 full) 75 gallon aquarium complete with a heater, a dry platform, an underwater cave, a UV basking light, etc., and she has her own school of guppies to keep her tank clean. Murtle has never been ill except an ear infection when she was around 10 years old, the vet gave her antibiotic shots and she recovered rapidly.  Murtle has not been exposed to another turtle in about 10 years as she killed both of the males that we tried to acquaint her with. Every spring Murtle seems to go thru a cycle, she suddenly eats all of her guppies constantly begs for additional food and is very cantankerous for a few weeks. Then everything suddenly goes back to normal.  We have joking referred to it as her annual turtle "heat" cycle. This year was no exception, the guppies disappeared a couple of weeks ago, but today we had a surprise. Murtle laid an egg. Is this  just her body trying to reproduce without a mate? <This is an infertile egg that is occasionally laid by female turtles in captivity.> Is she wanting to reproduce? < This is probably less a function of what she wants and more so a function of her reproductive cycle responding to being well taken care of and spring time.>  Can this activity hurt her? < It doesn't hurt per say but it will deplete her of vitamins and minerals. I would make sure she has a well balanced diet and include some vitamins.> Is there any way to stop this type of activity? < Not really, it is caused by her hormones.> Is there anything special we should be feeding her in addition to her ReptoMin turtle floating sticks, occasional geckos, bugs and fruits? < I would add some washed earthworms, crickets dusted with calcium powder and kingworms that have been gut loaded with a good reptile additive.-Chuck>

Turtle Won't Eat Anymore Hi, We have an Eastern Painted turtle (Turtiss is her name). We think she is between 3-4 years old. She used to eat meal worms (as many as possible) and now she won't eat much at all. We bought a 30 gallon aquarium for her when we got her along with a deck for her to bask in. She used to eat some fish flakes and lettuce, but she really won't eat much of anything. Do you have any ideas as to why her appetite has changed so much? Karen Sennott < Turtles need a good amount of heat on their basking spot to help digest their food. Without enough heat the food sits in the gut and rots. Not good. Check the temperature of the basking spot with a thermometer. It should at least be 90 to 100 degrees on the spot itself. If it is lower than that you need to get a bigger light source or move the existing heat source closer to the spot. A few days of warming up should help get things moving.-Chuck> 

Turtle Troubles Hello, We have had our turtles for a year now, we bought them at the same time. They were the same size at the time, now the RES (Red Eared Slider) is almost 3 times the size as the EPT (Eastern Painted Turtle). The RES is a female and the EPT is a male. I have done a considerable amount of research since having the turtles. Since when we bought them we had no idea what we were getting in to, (no thanks to the PetSmart people, another issue altogether). They have a great set up and are loved very much. So my main question, sometimes the RES will get in the EPT's face and put her hands out and shake them at him, one time I saw the EPT open his mouth at her. Is this a sign they are not getting along? One last thing, I have read that some males do this as a mating ritual.  I am sure our RES is a female. Thanks so much- A <Turtles really like to be left alone , so when one turtle gets into the other turtles face it is to be noticed.  I don't think your turtles are getting along.

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