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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Behavior 2

Related Articles: The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider CareShell Rot in Turtles,

Related FAQs: RES Behavior 1, RES Behavior 3, RES Behavior 4, & Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Disease, RES Reproduction, Turtles in General: Turtles, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, AmphibiansOther Reptiles

Re: Red Eared Slider Swims Funny After Eating 1/27/10
Hi Darrel,
Thanks for the advice. I've re-adjusted her temperature, and hopefully she'll get back to normal soon. The strange thing is that this has been her tank temperature for years - I had never adjusted it, and never seemed to bother her before. I was watching her yesterday after feeding time, and it almost looked like she was maybe choking on something. Her mouth kept opening after she ate. I observed her, and after an hour of slamming herself into the walls of the tank, she finally calmed down and rested at the bottom.
<Try to examine her and see if perhaps she has a swollen throat. It's unusual, but this could be a manifestation of a medical condition.>
Also, I noticed you mentioned to not use an in-tank heater. That's what she currently has. What do you recommend as a good heater instead?
<I don't heat their water. 68-73 degrees is fine for them as long as they have a basking area, so let the water just be at room temperature. The other reasons for not having a water heater: (1) Turtles can burn themselves by resting directly on it. (2) Turtles can break them as they get bigger and cut themselves on the glass.>
Thank you!

Email #1 - RES - More Basking Questions and Update   1/16/10
Darrel, Hi 'ya'..Sue here again!
If you received an email from me a few days ago, please disregard it; 
<No .. I was out of town, so it disregarded itself>
I don't believe it went through because I forgot to reduce file sizes on photos...I fixed photo sizes and reworded/split the emails in two...
<we appreciate that>
First, thank you again for your ideas about how to resolve our turtle's sudden over-activity problem (see reference emails below); Shelly has now returned to the land of turtle bliss! Basking again, taking an occasional dip in the water, and just 'hanging'! Ahhh, to be a turtle. Thought you might enjoy seeing a couple of photos (attached above) of her (or as we're finding out now that 'she's' getting bigger, maybe a 'him'!) enjoying the rays again!
<yes, I like pics>
I thought you might like to know that the problem turned out to be just what you said - a short term case of 'stress' most likely brought about by environmental issues outside the tank. He had been fine for months with water temperature of 79-80 and basking temperature of 88-90, so I really thought something was seriously wrong with him when his behavior suddenly changed a couple of weeks ago. After trying out a few of your ideas, my guess now is that it had something to do with the room temperature. Even though it's the same now as it was in the summer, he must have somehow sensed some minor change in the air with the onset of winter, and decided he no longer wanted to get out of the water (can't say I blame him!) I didn't want to go cold turkey all at once on him though and pull the water heater out, so I started by dropping the temp of it just a couple of degrees to 77-78. The very next morning he scrambled up on the floating dock the minute the light came on!...didn't even come over to be fed! It was so funny to see such him do a complete 180 with only a 2-3 degree water temp.
drop!! Thanks again for your insights; glad it turned out to be nothing serious and a simple fix!
<Turtle psychology is such a lost art >
I do have some other questions, though, about basking and feeding. None of them appear to be questions that have already been asked on WWM. I did look again as I did before through the articles and applicable topic FAQ's just to be sure...even the Sliders 1 and 2 FAQ's that had mixed topics, but didn't find what I needed...though I have to admit I did start getting a little blurry eyed by the end, so hope I didn't miss anything already answered! All my 'fun reading' starts around 9:00 at night, so if I missed something, I do apologize. I know all of you are doing this in your spare time, which is so kind, so I don't want to waste it. I know how valuable time is for me and I'm sure none of you are any different!
<My times is your time. Other wise I waste it on fast cars & fancy women. Or is that fancy CARS and . Oh well .. never mind>
BASKING - below are the basking questions; I sent the feeding questions in a separate email (hopefully easier for you to file by topic - sorry I didn't do this on the earlier emails)
<OK -- here we go>
- 1st is, is it normal for sliders to literally put their head down to sleep occasionally when they're basking (see 1463 photo)? Shelly only does this once in a while for short periods of time.
<They can sleep all closed up or extended a bit. Usually the former, but both are acceptable. I see them more 'extended' when they feel secure>
- Is it o.k. if the time they bask varies literally several HOURS from one day to the next? Some days he basks ALL day long and into the evening; other days just for a few hours in the morning then swims and hangs out in the water all afternoon and evening.
<Whatever she likes. As long as she's happy, alert and eating, let her be a princess.>
- Last on basking - In one of the FAQ's, either your or someone else mentioned that they leave the UVB light on for 12 hours during the day in the summertime; but only 8 hours a day in the winter. If the turtles are indoor and we're not trying to replicate the seasons, why is it recommended to shorten the time the light is on in the winter from 12 hours down to 8?
Especially since the UVB is suboptimal to the natural sunlight, wouldn't we want to be compensating for that by leaving it on 12 hours per day all year long?
<In a perfect world we ARE trying to replicate natural light patterns. At least, that's what theyre telling you. Personally I don't bother. 12 hours a day 24/7/365 and I raise little babies to in turn be breeders in that.>
Thanks Darrel.....feeding questions next!!
<I'm all atwitter!>

My beloved turtle, RES... hlth... beh... gen. reading   11/20/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Rachel - Darrel here>
I have a red ear slider who is about 6" length-wise. He has a UVB/UVA light, a basking light that keeps his basking spot at about 92 degrees.
The water in his tank is at 79 degrees. I bought my turtle at pet store because I felt very sorry for him. There were about 12 other 6" turtles in a twenty gallon tank with only five inches of water. There was no room for them to swim or bask. I have a big tank for him and have filled it up with water. The tank is about 70% water and 25% basking area. He hardly ever goes into the deeper water, when he does he seems to be struggling.
<Hmm, what do you mean "struggling?" That covers too much territory for us to help>
He spends a lot of time on his back fins standing with his head out of the water in where he can reach up were I have a slope.
<I'm GUESSING that you mean he's standing in the deeper water, against the glass, with his head up RATHER THAN hauling out on the slope? If that's it, that is not all that unusual>
This is obviously not normal right?
<I'd like a more detailed description>
Is this because he had so little swimming room at the Pet shop?
<Unlikely -- maybe just what he wants to do...>
Should I lower the water level in the tank so he is more comfortable? Your help would be much appreciated. Thank you!
<Rach - here's a link that covers all the basics. First make sure that you're in-line. Next, if you're concerned about his behavior in water, make a few subtle changes and see what happens. Drop the basking temp to about 88 and let the water temp go to room temp (shouldn't have a heater anyway) and see. Next, lower the water "just a little" and see. Then, raise it back up and move his basking area a bit. If his behavior is a function of his tank, tiny changes should result in small improvements ...
until you learn what he's after.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: my beloved turtle, beh., RES   11/21/09
struggling: he swims franticly, all of his flippers are moving extremely fast.
<They do that sometimes>
He ventures out into the deeper water only rarely and when he does he only goes out for maybe five seconds before he swims right back to the more shallow end. When he is in the deeper end almost always has a flipper on the filter to keep his head above the water.
<No problem here, either>
He spends about 90% (when I am around) of his time on his back flippers in the middle of the shallow area (not against the glass just kind of floating with his head above the water)
<they do that. Just sitting there, basking there, floating there ... for hours ... thinking turtle thoughts and not much else.>
<Rachel, nothing here gives me reason to be concerned. As long as he eats, poops, and does bask from time to time, he seems fine. Like I said before, if you want to experiment with turtle fung-shuei and change things a bit, you might cause him to feel differently and therefore act differently. If not, he seems OK with that, too.>
<Regards - Darrel>

RES beh... couple of new questions -- 11/16/2009
Hi Darrel,
<Hiya right back>
I have asked a couple of questions on here before with results.
<You're lucky -- Some days I'm so dumb, the people around me LOSE IQ points>
I have a couple more. One is a really dumb question so I will ask it first.
<If there's ONE THING the Internet has taught us it's that
Can a turtle be right or left "handed?" My baby RES always turns left. When she is in the floor, in the yard or in the water, she never turns to the right.
<Is her name Zoolander, by any chance? Anyway .. they're not 'handed' as in penmanship or anything like that. In fact, their penmanship looks like chicken scratching. But they do have sides that they seem to 'favor' in swimming, walking etc.>
Next question deals with habitat. I talked to you before about her not basking as much as she should. I have lowered her water temp. I keep her out of the water as much as possible. I do put her back in her water tank for the night. Why can't I just fix her up a total dry tank and keep her in that all the time except when I feed her in her feeding container and again before bedtime?
<If you read my link on caring for illnesses and the section on how to isolate an ill or stressed turtle, that's exactly what I say to do. A few minutes a day in a shallow bowl of water>
Also would let her dip in the water a little extra on the weekends when I am not working and am at home to take her out of the water after maybe a couple of hours. I know she is a "water" turtle however it seems she looks better when she is not in the water 24/7.
<Until she recovers from or crawls out from under whatever stress she's in, little Zoolander will do better if you keep up this routine. Swimming is part of their natural habitat but it IS stressful on her and she doesn't need any more stress right now>
My only concern is what is best for her. I have been thinking about a shallow saucer in a dry tank so if she feels the need to get wet she could but the depth of the water would be very small. Just a plate put in the tank so she could get wet but not be able to flip on her back and drown.
<excellent idea!>
Thanks for all you help!!!!!
<Yer welcome!>

Is my red eared slider's behavior normal?  11/13/09
Hi. I have a couple of questions about my turtles. I have three red eared sliders. I am not exactly sure of how old they are, but I can tell you that I got two of them in August of 2008 and they were about 1.5-2 inches.
<Less than a year old at that point.>
Today the female is a little over 6 inches (I call her "Big Mama") while the male is a little less than 5 inches.
<See how fast they grow!>
I wanted to know if their growth rate is normal knowing that I've had them for just a little over a year and they were both the same size when I got them.
<Is indeed normal. Much better to view it as this: people *underestimate* how fast these animals grow when they buy them, assuming they stay small and cute.>
The third turtle was given to me in September/October of 2008 and she was smaller than my two turtles. I'd say she was no more than 1.5 inches. Today she's about 5.5-6 inches.
<Again, good growth rate.>
I currently have a Fluval 405 Canister Filter and have a 20 gallon tank (Yes I know, it's very small! I am going to be getting them a 100 gallon reptile tank very very soon.)
<Small tank, yes, but I'm impressed with your choice of a super-sized filter.>
I also have a dock, a basking lamp, and a water heater.
<All sounds wonderful. Does the lamp provide UV-B? That's a very useful, arguably essential, addition to any turtle habitat. Indeed, it's probably more useful than the water heater. There's a case to made for letting the turtles warm up on land and cool down in the water. That's what they'd do in the wild.>
I've been feeding them Zoo Med aquatic turtle food ever since I got them.
<I'd add some plant material to this. In fact, you can feed turtles very cheaply using all sorts of green foods you'd have left over from your own cooking. Green and red lettuce, endive, peas, melon among other things all work well.>
I have fed them live fish a couple of times, but, after reading some of your answers regarding that, I'm probably not going to anymore.
<Good. It's cruel, it's unnecessary, and it's risky.>
Anyways, about a month and a half ago, one of my turtles (the one that was given to me in October of 2008) started making (or at least that's when I started noticing) this wheezing/squeaking/chirping sound (especially at night). You can hear the wheezing for a couple of seconds and then it stops for a bit before starting again. I researched it and learned that there was a possibility of it being a respiratory infection.
<Yes: this is certainly a possibility. Turtles can sneeze for no particular reason, and if they're fat, they certainly do wheeze when moving about. But if this is happening a lot, then yes, an RI is definitely a possibility.>
Only problem is that, she doesn't have any other respiratory infection symptoms. She eats, is active, swims normally, doesn't have mucous, doesn't blow bubbles, doesn't keep her mouth open...
<All good things... but the safe approach would be to assume the worst, and have a vet take a quick look. Much better a vet catches an RI early on and cures it cheaply and easily. Best case, there's nothing wrong, and the vet doesn't have to do anything.>
I was wondering if there could be any other reasons for her making these noises with her nostrils, or is this still probably a Respiratory Tract Infection?
<Occasionally turtles sneeze. Males may wheeze a bit when mating or fighting. Fat turtles apparently do wheeze when moving about. But otherwise no, like most reptiles, turtles are essentially silent.>
My third question is that this same turtle that has the wheezing problem tends to act like a male. I'm pretty sure she's a female due to her short claws, short tail, and big size (or am I wrong?).
<Size is neither here nor there. But males do usually have much longer claws, though of course these can be abraded by rough rocks or might not even grow properly if the diet is limited somehow. The tail is the 100% reliable thing though. If the cloaca is nearer the shell than the tip of the tail, it's a female; if the cloaca is closer to the tip of the tail than the shell, it's a male.>
What she tends to do is compete with my male slider by wiggling her claws in front of my biggest female slider ("Big Mama").
<That's a very male behaviour.>
I know male sliders do this to show off and mate, but why would a female slider do that to another female slider?
<Likely just a hierarchical thing. These aren't social animals in the wild, so to a degree, keeping them in groups is bound to throw up some odd behaviours now and again.>
Thank you soo much for taking the time to read and answer my questions!
<Happy to do so. Good luck, Neale.>

Red Eared Slider Aggression 10/9/09
Hi there,
<Hey there! Ho There!>
My roommate and I adopted a pair of young male red eared sliders just yesterday from a rescue center. Their names are Timmy (6 inches, 2-5 years old) and Asim (4 inches, 0-2 years).
<I assume Asim's last name is not "Metrical"?>
Their home is a 90 gallon tank filled 2/3 with water, with a couple large rocks piled on one end for basking, and some ornaments scattered about.
There is a fake, hollow log at the other end which I think Asim slept in last night (Timmy doesn't fit). I've attached a photo of the set up (without the log).
<That's a nice setup. You're doing well. Now get rid of the log. It's a sad fact that turtles often do get caught on things underwater & drown, so nothing they can get caught under, over or around. Worst case scenario is that Asim BARELY fits in when he goes to rest and barely DOESN'T fit when trying to get out. Think like a turtle and check out the space. >
<"NO CAPES!" -- Edna Mode>
<"NO LOGS!" -- Darrel>
When we put them in the tank they seemed to be getting along fine; Asim followed Timmy everywhere he went. After a while, Timmy climbed up on the basking rock, and Asim followed. Even though they have more than enough room up there, Asim crawls onto Timmy's back and stands there whenever they are on the rocks at the same time. Sometimes Timmy stays put, and other times he jumps into the water, sending Asim flying. When we feed them they each seem to be eating the same amount of food.
<So far, you're describing normal turtle relationships.>
Timmy has been eating the gravel incessantly, even though we have provided him with more food than he can eat.
<Another easy fix. No Gravel Small Enough to Swallow. They can eat enough that they get impacted and die. Change to small river stones from your local building supply store.>
Today, we noticed that Timmy was acting strangely towards Asim. He head-butted him once. On more than one occasion he put their heads together and shook his front claws in front of Asim's face. I noticed that someone reported this in an FAQ question already, but the response was that it was a normal courtship behavior for females, and for males it could signal an attack. Not soon after, Timmy bit Asim's neck and refused to let go for some time.
I had to intervene out of fear that Asim would be seriously hurt.
<Wise move>
I held Timmy out of the tank until we could be sure that Asim was okay.
Since Timmy has been back in the tank, Asim has been frantically swimming at the front of the glass. Timmy was acting normally, aside from some lightly aggressive lunges toward Asim. We have taken Timmy out of the tank to try and give him more food (thinking that hunger may have been the problem) but neither turtle seems to like eating out of water.
<No, they don't. At best they grab food and drag in back in>
<I assume that we've ruled out that Timmy has the long front claws of a male and that perhaps he's trying to mate with an immature female?>
Some advice on how to cope or fix the gravel-eating and aggression would be greatly appreciated.
<What you've come across is just that particular set of parameters that encourages aggression. It could easily be simply the mix of those two turtles. Could be that Timmy is a whole new person around a turtle his own size. Or not -- maybe Timmy is just a jerk (don't laugh, it happens!)>
<What you should try first is just CHANGE things. Lower the basking temperature a few degrees -or- lower the water temp (obviously harder to do). Rearrange the entire tank (Basking rocks in Right Front as opposed to Left Rear -- and remove all decorations. Or add some. Mix things up and see what combinations you can change that make Asim less frantic and/or Timmy less aggressive. Add a third closer to turtle Timmy's size (a bit more dicey, but worth a try). Build a partition, add a second basking platform and give Asim his own room, so to speak.>
<As you can guess, *I* am guessing. As keepers we run into this sort of thing from time to time and there's no one cure for it. Do different things until you find something that works!>
Thank you,
<No charge>

Re: Sick Red Eared Slider  8/18/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am writing because I am concerned about Captain again and I just searched the website, but don't see anything about what he is doing. He has been swimming very quickly through his tank lately, like he is trying to get out. Then, he will get up on his log and sit there, but it seems like he is having muscle spasms. His right arm and leg both shoot out of his shell and his head snaps to the side. It doesn't appear to be a controlled motion. I can't tell if he is in pain. He is eating and pooping and swimming, but this weird spasm thing has me pretty concerned. Have you ever
heard of anything like this?
<The kind of things you describe aren't uncommon at all, but when I see it it's almost always in younger turtles that are housed indoors -- in other words not something I see in the wild or in a pond situation, so without doing a blood workup, my mind wanders toward calcium and maybe potassium deficiencies. Both those are easily treated with powdered supplements that you can put in his food>
Should I take him to the vet immediately?
<Not if his only symptoms are spasms. Chop some small pieces of raw liver, coat them in calcium and potassium powder(s) and feed him one small piece a day for two weeks.>

My RES is Turning Orange!  8/18/09
Hi there!
<Hiya! - Darrel here>
I have a 6 year old female Red Eared Slider named Nostradamus (I wrongly guessed at her gender when I named her... oops!).
<More interesting is the base name to begin with --- were you expecting Nostradame (ne Nostradamus) to be making weird, almost indecipherable predictions that someone in the far future would turn into infomercials about food choppers?>
She has been very healthy throughout her life with an occasional respiratory infection here and there (about every other year treated with injectible Baytril). She also laid 17 eggs last winter!! My question is, do you know why she is turning orange? I don't mean a pale orange, I mean a bright, bright orange! It looks like a mask around her face, on her nails, and her shell is now turning an orangish tint. The "mask" on her face does not touch her nose and eyes, just the surrounding skin. She is also more lethargic, sleeping more than usual, and occasionally gapes her mouth and rubs her face.
<Changing color isn't a common symptom of any disease I'm familiar with, Kathy.>
Nothing has changed in her tank, I do not use any sort of heating equipment and the water is consistently around 75 degrees. She has never been much of a basker, but she is eating well (ReptoMin with RepCal mixed in). I keep her in a 55 gallon tank with a Fluval 404 filter. I took her to a new vet two days ago who seems very knowledgeable and he said the orange could be a couple of different things. First, vitamin A deficiency. Second, fungal infection.
<Vitamin A deficiency almost always presents with eye infections, however nasal discharges are also common and your reference to respiratory infections makes an interesting connection. A SEVERE deficiency can lead to all kind of infections and skin infections often show reddish or orange .. but that's a huge leap of logic at this point>
To be on the safe side, he drew a basic blood panel to send out (no results back yet).
<That will tell us a lot>
He gave me a supplement called the Sunshine Factor, which is red palm oil that can safely supplement vitamin A. I've been giving 1mL orally per day... this involves making her so mad that she tries to bite me, then quickly squirting in the supplement :-(.
<Small pieces of beef liver are also high in Vitamin A and turtles like them. When the blood work comes back, injectibles are the way to go>
I haven't seen any change back to her normal color, however, and she is still lethargic.
Does this diagnosis seem about right to you? I'm inclined to trust my new vet, but I have never seen this before from her and I'm a very concerned turtle mom!!
<Thank you for being concerned, Now I too am concerned. But just a little. Regardless of trusting vets, I DO trust blood work, so let's see what we get. In the mean time, please write back and tell me more about her diet and about her basking & UV lighting>
Thank you so much,
Kathy :-)

Red Ear Slider dilemma 7/31/09
Hello WWM:
<Hello Diana,>
I have/had a red ear slider a hatchling, he /she was the size of a half dollar, I put him on the grass outside and he burrowed under the grass, I was sitting there watching and he disappeared, I didn't walk away or anything I checked the grass over and over and nothing. I kept checking and still checking for him to come out. I put water and food out for him thinking he will come to the water since their is no water source around.
What do you think happened? I feel like I'm crazy he disappeared so quickly. Looking forward to some in site. thanks so much for your time and have a great day.
<Well, he may still be the burrow, though to be honest, these animals prefer to spend their time in or near water rather than underground. More realistically, unless you were watching him all the time, he may have walked off someplace. Another animal might have found/eaten him. Really, there's a whole bunch of things. Hatchlings really aren't "safe" outdoors, at least, not away from their natural habitat or some sort of secure, managed enclosure. Not really sure what else to say!>
<Good luck with your hunt, Neale.>

Re: Red Ear Slider dilemma, beh.  08/04/09
I sent the email below a few days ago, I deleted your response by mistake.
but I just wanted to say thanks for the quick response and let you know that I found Rocky my RES actually it's my nephews I'm glad I didn't tell him I lost him.
<Glad to hear this.>
I'm glad he came home because I would have never cut my lawn until I did.
Thanks again and have a great day
<You are most welcome.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Red Ear Slider Sleeping 7/27/2009
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Hi I have two RES about 4 - 5 months old. One of them is constantly sleeping, and kind of both of them have been avoiding the lamp they don't go on the rocks that I have put in my aquarium anymore, and they used to do that a lot, since I have changed the rocks positions (they wanted to escape in the position the rocks where placed) they don't do it anymore. The water from the summer heat gets really warm and from the lamp, so periodically I put cold water to stabilize the temperature!
<If the heat lamp is heating up the water, then you need to redirect it so that it hits ONLY the basking area, or move it further away from the basking area. The rapid swings of temperature could be part of the problem, so while I commend you playing so close attention and treating the condition, we need to find a way to PREVENT the condition>
They eat normally but the fact of day sleeping almost every time I check it its sleeping. Is this any sign of illness or it is normal?
<No, it's not normal. A turtle will choose between the heat of basking (around 88-93 degrees) and the cool of the water (not heated, just room temperature) as they need. A turtle that avoids the basking OR the water and is not active is usually ill. The link below on treatment contains the instructions for keeping them both out of the water (except for daily baths) for a while to help their immune systems fight whatever they are getting. But here's the thing: Without knowing more symptoms, I can't help you decide what they have and therefore how to treat them, so here's what I'd like you to do: I'm also sending a link on basic care instructions. It explains what the need and why. Go down the list of care items and prove to yourself that your care fits the needs. In other words, start out by assuming you have the wrong heat and prove that you do because it matches the care. Then assume you have the wrong UB and again, prove that you do because it matches the care. Water, rocks, diet ... right down the list. If you're lucky, you'll find something that is wrong ...
because by knowing what's wrong, we can figure out what to do to treat them!>
<Best of luck with your detective work>
Any advice?
Thank you in forward,
<Care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: Red Ear Slider Sleeping 7/31/09
Hello Again,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have checked out the conditions they were living in and found these problems according to the links you have sent me:
- The water was over heated from the sunlight which was filtered by a windows
<Right: the heat we don't want PLUS no UV - the worst of both worlds>
- RES are covered with something white probably bacterial infection or something like that
<Visible whitish residue is more often fungal than bacterial -- and easier to treat>
- The eyes of one of the RES are swallowed and it keeps them most of the time closed by this avoiding the light from the basking area
<Probably a vitamin A & D deficiency. The good news is that proper UV exposure is a systemic solution. Meaning it doesn't have to be on the eye in order to begin to reverse the condition that causes the eye to swell.
The only concern is that if the condition has progressed too far to heal simply by treating the cause>
- I was feeding them every morning which resulted in a bad diet
<Too much food. Hopefully WHAT you feed them is also verified>
Steps that I have taken
1. Isolation - I have put them on a box and they got a lamp on top which is 12 - 15 hours on
2. I have isolated the sun light that was exposed to the aquarium and I have checked the result and the water is cool just as the RES like it
3. I am exposing the RES to direct sunlight for 15 min (3 times a day)
Steps that I am planning to take according to the documents I've red.
1. Planning to feed them tomorrow with cows liver
2. Clean their shells with a toothbrush and vinegar to remove the white stuff that's attached to their shell and their heads ( how will I do that on their heads I still got no clue).
Is there anything I forgot or anything I am doing wrong?
<As long as the steps you take show signs of working ... and the turtles show signs of activity and feeding, then by all means continue. The more natural sunlight the better -- assuming that you have the time and that you can given them more without overheating them.>
<Keep up the good work!>

Re: Red Ear Slider Sleeping 08/02/09
What happened so far ...
Day 1 of Isolation
RES were too frustrated, one of them had already closed eyes and the other was on the same road.
Day 2 of Isolation
Both RES had closed eyes, no big activities and avoiding the sun whenever tried to get them into direct sunlight
Day 3 of Isolation
Both RES showing huge improvement, swollen eyes are gone the white fungal is gone (thanks to the vinegar and CANESTEN Cream - which is the same as mentioned on the treatment page). And it is clearly visible how the shields are getting pure cleaned up.
I just want to thank you guys for helping me out, you saved my RES.
<Glad to help, Dar -- Hearing your success is why we do this. Well, that, and the free food!>
<Just remember to keep up the treatment for a good solid month after they appear well and above all -- find the source of the original problem and correct it!!>

Red Ear Slider Behavior/Reproduction  7/27/09
My name is Char.
<Hello Charlene,>
I have 2 red ear sliders that I got last December when they were about the size of a quarter and was told they were about 2 months old. So, I believe them now to be 8 months in age and one is 4'' long and 3.5'' wide and the other is 3.5'' long and 3.25'' wide. I noticed last night that the smaller of the 2 was "fanning" himself and now today the other has also done so.
My question being: in males does size or age play a role in their sexual maturity?
<Appears to be both, with males needing to be a certain size and a certain age. But, as with most animals, males are probably more "flexible" in this regard than females. In any case, males will be at least 2 years old before they are sexually mature, at which point they should be a good 10 cm or so in shell length.>
I know that females need to be at least 6'', but I can't seem to be able to find anything pertaining to males. I've started to wonder if the smaller of the 2 is looking for a female companion as he also tried to mount
himself onto the larger male.
<As with male animals generally, sexual behaviour tends to appear from quite an early age, even if the male animal in question wouldn't be big enough to attract (or fight for) a sexually mature female. Sex-play
behaviours will certainly be exhibited, as will aggression, long before the male animal will be able to secure access to a mate, or, where relevant, protect the nesting site or offspring. What your Red-ear Slider is doing
falls comfortably into the range of normal behaviours exhibited by the species. Nothing to worry about. Keeping two males won't cause any problems if the habitat is big enough, though as you'd expect, sexually mature males are aggression and will fight if overcrowded. Most people find keeping singletons best. They certainly don't need "friends".>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Slider Ate A RAT? 7/18/09
Dear WWM
<Hiya Mary - Darrel here>
I have a 9 year old Red Eared Slider, Myrtle. During warm summer months she is in a child's wading pool (which I change the water every other day).
<I assume she has a rock or branch to haul out & dry off, etc.?>
Yesterday when I came home from work, she was eating something in the water.
<Myrtle clearly doesn't wait a half hour after eating to go swimming, does she?>
At a closer look, it looked like a giant rat. I live in a wooded area and I have NEVER seen a rat before in my life!
<If you live in a wooded area or a non wooded area or an urban area or suburban area, rats are sharing the environment with you. They're about the most adaptable animal on the planet.>
The head was gone and the only thing that remained was the hind quarters and back feet. I'm pretty sure it was "rat" feet I was looking at.
<Probably. Or a mouse. But not an elephant or a moose or a 1963 Chevy Impala at least>
I guess a hawk or eagle dropped it OR The poor thing was looking for a drink and couldn't get back out and drown.
<If you have even the slightest concern about hawks, let's focus on their ability to get at Myrtle!!! This would be a good time to ring the pond in hardware cloth and then a light weight poultry netting (chicken wire) over the top.>
Unless you may think that Myrtle killed it?
<Rats are pretty good jumpers and turtles are very bad ambush predators.
This scenario is not high on my list of probabilities. It would have to be a HUGE turtle and a small rat. That it fell in is more likely.>
<My suggestion is that you give thought to whatever can get IN might be a threat to Myrtle and don't worry about the other way around>
I'd like to know your opinion. Is a turtle capable of "murder"?
<Not really, but they ARE prone to financial crimes such as check fraud and embezzlement, Mary. Never leave your check book lying around ANY turtle or tortoise. Turtles, especially will steal your PIN numbers and go online
to buy all sorts of things. I mean, I'd 'get it' if a turtle ordered 100 pounds of frozen fish ... but what in the heck does a 7 year old Red Belly turtle need with a trampoline???? First it gets here and no one know why .. then my insurance company finds out and DOUBLES my homeowners' insurance and to add insult to injury the turtle has NEVER used the darned thing!>
<I better get out of here before they trace the line!>

Turtle scratching her neck 6/27/2009
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I have read just about everything on your site.
<Wow! We wrote it and probably haven't read THAT much of it!>
Very informative and I learned things I did not know about Red Eared Sliders.
<Thank You for saying so. That's what we're here for Mary. That .. and the free food>
I have a 9 year old female who is truly a part of the family.
<I'm happy to hear that, too. A lot of people don't like reptiles -- they think that they're mean, slimy and creepy... yet that describes my brother-in-law completely and HE is part of the family.>
A week or two ago I noticed Myrtle scratching her neck with her front arms.
I thought maybe she had mites or something. I had to literally wrap her in a towel so I could take a good look at her neck. She seems to be rubbing the area raw. Once after scratching she started to bite at the arm that she was using to scratch with. Is this a fungus or dry skin or mites.
I'm at a loss. Today I took the day off to go to "That fish store" to try to find an answer. I hope nothing is seriously wrong. The neck area is rubbed to a brownish scab like color. Can you give me some advise?
<Without an examination it's hard to say from way over here, Mary, but the treatment options are similar>
<First, take Myrtle out of the water and make her a temporary home that is warm & dry. Here's an excerpt from an article I'm writing:>
< Recognize immediately that the very environment preferred by the turtle, warm and wet ... is also the optimal environment for the growth of fungus and bacteria -- and even if neither are the primary illness, you can be assured that if you leave a sick turtle in a warm, wet environment long enough, fungal AND bacterial will seize the opportunity to take hold and take over. For this reason, the single most immediate treatment for any illness in a turtle is to remove them from their tank, pond or enclosure and place them somewhere warm and dry. Remember that, in the wild, water turtles occupy the habitat AROUND the water as much, if not more than IN the water. Moreover, a turtle in good health can survive months out of water and a sick turtle really needs the rest. A temporary shelter can be anything from an empty aquarium to a plastic bin or trash can or even just a cardboard box with high sides (keep in mind a determined turtle is an incredible climber). Add a heat source, which can be a regular electric heating pad (if you're lucky enough to be able to find one without the annoying 'automatic off' feature) to a light bulb suspended over head. Ideally you want to achieve a constant temperature of between 85-87 degrees. Since we are deliberately taking away the turtle's choice to move from cool to warm, we have to pick a constant that fits both needs. NOT having to move between temperature zones and not having to swim or climb is the first step on giving the turtle the ability to direct his attention more toward healing. You must also provide UV-A and UV-B light sources, which perhaps can be moved from his original enclosure or -- in the alternative, a minimum of 10 minutes of direct (NOT filtered through any kind of glass or screen) three times a day. Assuming he is healthy enough to be moving, the regimen will be to place him in a shallow container of luke warm (room temp) tap water every day for 5 minutes in order for him to drink, poop and possibly eat. Shallow means no more than half his shell under water when you place him in it -- and really only enough to cover his tail and cloaca. Assuming that he is being treated for his actual condition and improving, he can go YEARS in this condition without ill effects.>
<Now that she's out of what is basically an incubator for bacteria, fungus, mites, worms and insurance salesmen we'll start a basic treatment. After her daily bath, let her dry completely and then clean the affected area(s) with hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab, then soak or dribble some Povidone (any kind of iodine) on the affected area. Do this for a week and note the healing. The scab may turn to a scar, but you'll still see the signs of healing. If NOT, then stop this procedure and treat the areas with a topical anti-fungal cream sold for athlete's foot and that contains miconazole or Tolnaftate and give that two weeks.>
<Chances are that you'll see progress in a few weeks and Myrtle will be ready to return to her regular environment in a month. MEANWHILE this is a perfect time to completely clean and disinfect her normal home.>
Also, Thanks for your site.
<Once again, Yer welcome! We enjoy doing it.>
I will be coming back again and again and reading other peoples turtle problems and solutions. Very interesting.
Thanks again
Mary D.
[Editor's note: <sigh> The views of this particular crew member, while usually accurate in a bizarre alternate-reality sort of way, do not reflect the views of Wet Web Media, so .... Once again ......
On behalf of Wet Web Media, we'd like to apologize to brothers-in-law, mothers-in-law, insurance salesmen and in fact all kinds of salesman (except door-to-door salesmen who wear cuff links). ]

RES Issues 6/14/09
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have a Red Eared Slider that is about 5 inches long and he/she hasn't expelled any fecal matter in about 4 days. He/she still eats very well he/she just doesn't go to the bathroom. I also noticed that the area around
his/her tail is hard and round and it protrudes from the shell.
<Sounds like the Cloaca is a bit impacted... think constipation. What I'd do is try a warm water bath for 15 minutes twice a day. See if simply warming the water that naturally seeps into the opening will help.>
One more thing, I saw him/her trying to eat a Doctor Turtle medicated block about 2 weeks ago.
<I doubt that's related. The calcium in those blocks readily breaks down in their digestive system. That said, those blocks don't do much good, either.>
<Good luck>

I followed all your steps but still need turtle help. 4/29/09
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hiya! Darrel here today>
I have followed the steps you suggested before resorting to sending this e-mail, but after much reading and searching have not really found an answer to my situation on your website or others.
<On behalf of all of us, we really appreciate your searching first and asking second! Thanks for trying!>
Background information: 11 months ago my fiancé and I got 2 baby red eared sliders. They are currently residing in a 10 gallon tank (we are in the process of up grading to a larger one now) with heat lamp/UV etc., water heater, proper food and filtration etc. When we first got them their shell size was about 1.5 inches, and the slightly larger one was not always very nice to the slightly smaller one but they eventually got along well as they now do. The large one is a little over 4.5 inches and the smaller one is about 4 inches. About three weeks ago we noticed them doing the fanning with their claws- the little one to the big one- which we now know is their courtship.
<Again, thanks for researching!>
Then we noticed the little one attempting to mount the big one- again we now know they are trying to mate. I know that the males are usually smaller than the females and grow more slowly- which is consistent with our turtles up until now.
<Males don't exactly grow more slowly. As turtles mature, their rate of growth slows and since males mature sooner than females it can just SEEM that they grow slower. That isn't YOUR case, however.>
<Let's read on>
The problem: The cloaca on the bigger one is not very close to its shell at all making me think that she may be a he, the big one is also now approaching the small one and fans him with her claws, they both have the same size claws; so I am really confused about their sex.
<The important thing here is that THEY aren't confused about their sex>
While the smaller one is behind the big one and they are doing their mating stuff the big one who is on the bottom is pushing its "stuff" out under its own belly and stroking it. Everything I have read says that the males will push their penis out and do this.
The questions: If the big one is a female than why is she pushing her stuff out?
<She's not female - that's why>
It is possible for females to push their stuff out?
<Not and ever get it back, no. Besides, once a female turtle puts her stuff out, she gets a bad reputation>
It does not seem to hurt or cause any stress at all. Does this mean that the big one- who pushes its stuff out- is a male?
If the big one is a male than why is the small one trying to be the male? Does that mean they are both male?
If so why is the big one pushing its stuff out but going to the bottom position and letting the little one get up behind it before putting its stuff out? Is it bad for him to push his stuff out without mating?
<It's just what they do, Nicole. Don't worry about it. Many animals will exhibit this behavior in a single sex environment and, while it's goofy, it's nothing to concern yourself with,>
Is there anything I can do to stop it? Anything I can do to discourage mating if they are a boy and girl? I dont want babies or stressed/sick turtles, please help.
<The fact that they're both males pretty much takes care of the eggs/babies aspect and as far as sick and diseased, that's not really an issue, so again ... don't stress YOURSELF over it>
Thank you so much for reading all that, I am sorry it is so long but I dont know what information is important for you.
<It wasn't long at all Nicole -- you have NO IDEA how much some people can write and yet still manage to not give us enough information for help. You did well -- and once AGAIN ... thank you for doing the research before writing. It makes our job easier!>
Thank you again.
<No charge!>
Nicole L.

I have few question about my Sliders  4/28/09
Hi! I'm Roxel from the Philippines.
<Hiya! Darrel here from Southern California>
I got questions for my turtles. I have two (2) Red-Eared Sliders (Grub and Schnitzel) both 4 and a half inch long. Grub is the eating machine and Schnitzel is the stubborn one.
<But Schnitzel DOES eat, correct? Just not as much as Grub? Sometimes, when one animal is particularly dominant, the other just doesn't thrive ... or at least, not as well. If you suspect Schnitzel isn't eating - or not
eating ENOUGH -- take him out of the tank and place him into a private container of water 1 inch deep once a week. Give him an hour to acclimate and them give him a private feeding. See if, after a couple weeks, his appetite improves.>
One day, I'm cleaning their tank. I put them in a pail for a while. The water is deep for them and as I observe them, Grub can float and swim but Schnitzel stayed at the bottom of the pail and comes up to get some air. I thought there was something wrong with the two. I made Grub sink to the water but still he still floats up. I made Schnitzel come up but he or she(still can't identify the two) sank YET comes up to inhale some air.
<That's not AS strange as you might think, but worth checking into>
This is my question: Which one of my turtle is unhealthy/sick?
<Not necessarily, Roxel. Both turtles SHOULD be able to float AND sink as they desire and as long as this behavior is voluntary it's not an issue.>
What are the ways (if there are) to make them heal?
<Several things. First, make some longer-term observations of them. Do they both swim at times? Both bask at other times? Then spy on them.
For example, sit in the corner of their room, out of the way, and read a book. Glance up every so often and note their positions. Does Grub ALWAYS float? Schnitzel ALWAYS sink to the bottom? Read three more
chapters and check again. Etc. Try again tomorrow. Make sure you have enough samples to really know what you're seeing. If you conclude that they really do both have some sort of problem, the next thing to do is remove them to a place that is warm and dry (I use a cardboard box with high sides and a heating pad on "LOW" in the bottom) and leave them there for a week ... placing them in a container with 1 inch of water each day --separately-- for 15 minutes each, so they can drink, poop and eat. This "drying out" will often help if they have an air pocket or even some fungal gas pockets under the skin ... and the one that is always at the bottom can benefit from drying out as well. Then place them back in their tank and observe again and note what, if anything, changed>
<Check your standard of care against the link below, correct anything that's wrong, but remember this: If their active... if they swim and bask and eat with enthusiasm, chances are they'll be fine!>
I'll be looking forward for your reply. Thank You!
<Yer welcome!!!!!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

How To Differentiate Shedding Of Skin And Fungus Infection? RES beh., hlth.   4/12/09
Dear Crew
<Hiya, Darrel here>
Recently, I noticed that the water in the tank of my two Red Eared Sliders was full of transparent pieces of things which I do not recognize.
<hmmm. So far, a bit vague>
Then I noticed that the sliders on their some parts of their body seems to be shedding their skins. But I do not know whether that is just normal shedding of skin or fungus infection. May I know what is that?
<Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, since healthy shedding results in pieces of dead skin falling off and fungal infections cause the death of skin which then falls off, but generally speaking, a healthy shed is a
continual process where very small amounts pieces come off all the time.
These pieces are so small that they're rarely if ever noticed.>
<If you have visible pieces or strips of skin that seem to be trailing off and you have so many of them that they are free floating in the water, you should assume that you have or are building up a skin condition that
requires treatment.>
<Skin fungus is harder to treat than shell fungus, yet it's easier to cure>
<This is my standard first-line treatment for fungus in water turtles:>
<The first thing to understand is that a water turtle's normal environment is warm and wet -- and as any scientist will tell you -- the best way to grow fungus or bacteria is to keep the germs warm and wet! To treat the turtles we need to remove them from their environment and keep them warm and DRY. I use a cardboard box with high sides and a regular old electric heating pad on it's lowest settings for this. The trick here is to buy the 'economy' type heating pad that does not have an Auto-Off feature. I wrap it in a cloth towel and place it in the bottom of the box and cover that with a layer of newspaper. Then just place the turtles in it. After they've been in for about 24 hours, place them is a shallow bowl of room temperature water for around 5 minutes. This is to give them time to drink and poop. You can put a few food pellets in there and they may or may not eat, don't worry about that now. After 5 minutes or so, take them out and
let them dry off for an hour or so.>
<Now we'll treat the fungus>
<For shell fungus, apply a topical anti-fungal cream from the drug store to the affected area. Look for any of the brands that contain Miconazole (or any that end in -azole) or Tolnaftate -- brand name is unimportant.
Remember to run thoroughly in order to press it into the area, but don't waste the cream -- only the bottom-most layer makes contact with the shell - thicker is not better. Repeat this process for 14 days. You should
start to see results in the affected areas after 5-7 days, but treat for the full 14>
<For skin fungus, if the fungus is localized, apply household vinegar to the affected area with a cotton swab and rub lightly. If the area is accessible you can even scrub (lightly) with an old toothbrush. If the fungus is around the head or neck or affecting the entire turtle, the treatment is a bit harder. I alternate between a salt water bath and a vinegar dip. The salt water bath is a tablespoon of salt (aquarium salt is great, table sale will do) per cup of luke-warm water -- as much as you need to over the whole turtle. Place him in the bath for 2 to 3 minutes and them remove him to dry off for a hour, then rinse him in fresh tap water). The vinegar "dip" is usually more like trying to dribble the vinegar over his whole body including the neck and face, yet without getting it into his eyes or nose. It's basically impossible to avoid getting into the eyes or nose, but I try. If the animal gets an uncomfortable amount and continually tries to wipe his face with his front
claws, then give him a quick rinse in tap water. Otherwise, just as with the salt bath, let it dry on him for an hour and then give him a rinse.>
<Meanwhile -- and this is the most critical part -- environmental conditions allowed the fungus to get a foothold. The water is not clean enough, the filter not strong enough, the water is too warm, the basking
area is not warm enough, the UV is not present or not functioning properly.
Take the opportunity while the animals are being treated to break down their habitat, clean and sterilize everything (including the canister filter AND the tubing) so that everything is pristine and ready when the
turtles come home.>

RES abundant skin shedding   4/9/09
We (husband & I) have 3 RES, of varying ages, in a 110gal aquarium. The largest is approx. 6" from head to tail; the smallest, 3".
They feed on a diet primarily of aquatic turtle pellets.
<Ah, do change this; except when very young, these turtles are mostly herbivores, and without fresh greens they aren't going to be getting the right balance of vitamins and fibre they need. Cheap aquarium plants, such
as Elodea, works great as a staple, and you can reserve the pellets for use once or twice a week, alongside green curly lettuce, small pieces of white fish or mussel, and live foods like earthworms.>
There are 3 docks in the aquarium, each with its own 75watt UV bulb for basking.
We use a canister filtration system, and the water stays around 75 degrees F.
<All good.>
They all feed and seem (from what I can tell) content.
<Like most herbivores, their appetites are large because they "expect" to eat a lot of low-energy food, i.e., greens. When we give them super-concentrated high-energy food, such as pellets, they don't feel full
despite getting the energy (if not the vitamins and fibre) they need.>
Now, for the question:
Is it remotely normal that they shed their skin, a lot?
<Yes; the more mechanical filtration you have, the less it's a problem though, and if the water is filled with floating skin, either up the water changes, or double the turnover rate of the filtration system.
Realistically, you want 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour for adults.>
I have examined them out of the water (up close & personal), and they seem to have healthy skin (ie: no inflammation, no discoloration).
<Likely they're fine, though vitamin issues may make their skin less healthy than it might be, just as humans have better skin when they eat a healthier diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.>
They just constantly have shedding skin coming off of them. Should I be concerned?
<Not really, beyond by comments above.>
How can I help them (if they in fact need help)?
<Happy to help.>
p.s. Please accept my most humble and sincere apology if this is a ridiculous question you have previously addressed in your forum; also if l have offended you horribly with any abuses of the English language.
<Ah, it seems the wrong people worry about our occasional outbursts on the issues of spelling and grammar! Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle beh.    3/15/09
When I put my fingers to the glass of the aquarium, my turtle swims over to them and flutters his front claws rapidly against the glass and even follows the movement of the fingers and repeats this. Is this an act of aggression or just playful interest? Does this show how he would act with other turtles?
<Quite normal. Depending on the species and the sex, it may well be some
type of aggression. Reptiles don't play. Cheers, Neale.>

Lethargic Red Eared Slider 2/11/09 Hello, <Hiya, Darrel here tonight> I recently bought a baby red ear slider about a week ago. <Congratulations!> Shell length is about 1 and ½ inches. He has the proper set up. UVB lamp and heating as well. 2 dry spots and a filter. His water temps are typically 75 F but now that he is sick, I bumped it up to 80. He hasn't eaten since I bought him 1.27.09 and I assumed he was adapting to his environment when he just recently started rubbing his eyes and tearing up. <Not a good sign> I assumed it was the waters chlorine levels and change the water to fresh water. <Turtles are fine in normal tap water> Then his eyes were swollen shut and he's been sleeping all day. I purchased zoo med Repti eye drops and that opened his eyes then he closed them again. I have been using them for the past 3 days now. He hasn't been active at all and just sleeps all the time and I'm curious as to what illness does that lead to. <Reptiles and Fish are very stoic animals, Marlie. That means that they don't show most signs of illness until they are so weak they can no longer hide it.> <My guess is that his feeding and climate have not ALWAYS been as right as you have them and now it's mostly a long-term debilitation.> He hasn't been swimming lopsided nor coughs, sneezes, or has mucus secretions but he hardly wakes up. Can you please tell me what is wrong exactly is his body fighting a respiratory infection or just en eye infection? <Take him out of the aquatic environment and place him somewhere warm and dry. I'd like his air temp to be around 88 to 90 degrees constantly. Raising his metabolism will help him a little bit in fighting off whatever is getting to him. At least 10 minutes of direct sunlight each day as well. We want to expose his skin to unfiltered sunlight (not thru glass or even screen) for a few minutes, but not so much as to cook him (turtles can overheat)> As far as the cause, mostly likely a vitamin deficiency and the sunlight will help a bit. The big problem is that if you can't perk him up enough to eat, he'll have to be force-fed and that's not something for the novice. Warm him up as described, place him in a shallow bowl of luke warm water once a day for 5 minutes at which time you can offer him a few Koi pellets, ReptoMin food sticks or maybe even an earthworm (pets stores carry Night Crawlers -- one for him and the rest in your garden)> How can I make him eat, be active and healthy? <I appreciate the desire and effort, Marlie, we all feel the same. Hopefully he'll respond and start to eat and we can get enough nutrition into him to help him recover.> Please help I don't want him to die. <Nor do we, Marlie. Warm, dry, sunlight and food and we'll all root for you!>

Turtle twitching/shaking head rapidly 1/7/08 I have a red eared slider that was kind of dumped on me by a friend who was neglecting it, but since then I have taken very good care of him. He is about a year old, maybe a little younger. He has a large tank with a water heater, a swimming area and a dry area with a proper basking lamp, and the temperatures are fine and the water is clean and his diet his healthy. (I've done a lot of research since I first got him). Yesterday I noticed the he was acting VERY strangely. <Oh?> He is basking much more then usual and when he is on his log he seems very agitated. He flicks his arms and legs out quickly and shakes his head back and forth rapidly. <Hmm... not typical for solitary turtles.> It almost looks like he is trying to scratch his face, but he does flick his back legs a lot also. It is very bizarre to watch and it has me really worried! I love the little guy :( He also constantly turns around on the log in between the twitching, and he will often jump into the water only to quickly come back out. <Agree its odd, but unless there are reasons to suspect disease or vitamin deficiency, I'm not sure its indicative of anything (at least, not to me). Let's assume your turtle has access to UV-B light (do check this: not all basking lamps are UV-B, some are UV-A, and some just plain regular light). Let's further assume that it's getting a balanced diet rich in greens and not too rich in anything containing thiaminase (for example, shrimp or fish). The issue here is that thiaminase and lack of UV-B cause vitamin deficiencies, and among the possible problems are damage to the nerves, and this can indeed manifest itself as odd movements such as convulsions. Although not particularly common in turtles because most species are more or less herbivorous, this is a serious problems for things like garter snakes often given a fish-based diet.> When he is in the water he seems fine, and his eyes are as bright and alert as always. He is a very active turtle but I've never seen him do this. It's almost like he is having a seizure. <At least some of these behaviours might be social, for example threat behaviours aimed at you. But I don't really know, and haven't heard of these sorts of problems in turtles that are otherwise healthy and receiving the correct diet.> I would love any advice. I live in a very small town and the vet wasn't much help. Thanks Sam <For now, would observe, taking specific care to notice appetite and any signs of things like eye or respiratory tract infections. Odd swimming behaviour is one sign of respiratory tract infections as fluid in the lungs causes problems with buoyancy, but this won't be apparent on land. (On the other hand, wheezing and mucous production are good signs of an RTI, so be on the alert for them.) If the turtle is female and above a certain size/age, say 10 cm/3 years, then egg binding can cause female turtles to behave erratically. Uncorrected, this can lead to major problems, so do sex your turtle, and be prepared for egg laying if "he" turns out to be a "she". There's a great run down of "odd behaviours" over at the excellent Red Ear Slider web site, here: http://redearslider.com/unusual_behavior.html Do have a look over them, and see if anything sounds familiar. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Ear Slider -bottom heavy 9/21/08
We have 3 turtles. The one in ? is seven months old, 5"x3.5 (approx). The king/queen of the tank. This evening at feeding (pellets) the turtle was lagging. As though bottom heavy, have difficulty getting up on the larger out of water level rocks. We have had pea size gravel in tank - now removed. The turtle is still interested in food. Back legs seem to work labored, signs of difficulty holding stance to put face above water. The smaller turtles seem to be helping - boost up - (if you will) their mate. What can be causing this??? The shell looks fine, and all looks good as far as I can see - But TurTy is still running bottom heavy??? What can I do??? Will this pass if he ate stones???
Thanks for your time and attention.
<Greetings. Swallowing stones is not normally a problem. But if she has done this, and can't pass them, then you will need to see a vet. A simple x-ray will confirm the problem. However, I do wonder if this particular terrapin is a female, which is easily checked. Males have much longer FRONT claws than the females. If the claws are smaller than the flipper, it's a girl; if the claws are longer than the flipper, it's a boy. Furthermore, females have smaller tails than males, and the cloaca (the combined anal-genital opening) is much closer to the shell than the tip of the tail. There are some nice pictures here:
Now, the reason I'm concentrating on sex is because females are prone to becoming egg-bound if they have the wrong diet and/or no place to lay their eggs. That would account of her heaviness and clumsiness. This is a fatal condition, and MUST be fixed quickly. If you suspect this to be the case, your terrapin is in much pain and distress, and needs help. Egg-bound females begin by frantically trying to get out of the tank: they're looking for somewhere sandy to put the eggs. A shallow dish of sand will do the trick, but if you miss the window of opportunity, the eggs can get stuck, and a vet will need to fix the problem, either surgically or by administering a hormone. Either way, YOU CAN'T FIX THIS YOURSELF.
It's a very common problem with terrapins kept indoors, and likely accounts for much (gruesome) mortality. In any case, a trip to the vet is in order, sooner rather than later. Cheers, Neale.>

RES turtle question... beh./repro. mostly, plus keen insight into the human cond.    8/18/08 Hi - I hope you can answer my questions, as I don't know how to do it on your website. <Quite simple. Start on the Freshwater page, go to Livestock, and then browse the Turtle articles and FAQs. Failing that, there's a Google search box. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm > I have two sliders, about 11 years old, probably from the same "litter" (is that the correct word?) and very, very friendly. They are great pets, very responsive, eat out of our hands and we love watching them. They live in a 10 gal. turtle tank, <Whoa... 10 gallons? That's WAY too small for them. At 11 years old, these things should be the size of dinner plates. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm > have a nice big floating rock on one end, and love to stand up on their hind legs on the rock and hang on the sticks that support the rock with their front legs. They both learned this trick on their own. <Hmm... suspect they learned this more from necessity than any sense of fun. This habitat is just too small for them.> They get along really well, and the only time there's competition is when they eat. One is bigger and dominant, but they never fight. <OK.> Last year they started this fluttering thing, and reading your website I see it's courtship behavior. It seems to be mutual, no one turtle chasing the other, and both seem to have the same length of nails. My husband wonders if they are gay -- well, OK, maybe, but maybe they are of different genders and I can't tell. <Trachemys scripta elegans is easy to sex. Males have much longer claws on their front flippers than females. Males also have longer, thicker tails with the cloaca (the combined anal/genital opening) near the tip rather than close to the shell.> So, if they aren't the same sex, what should I do? There is no sand in the tank (it's a water tank, so sand never occurred to me). Should I try sand, and what kind of sand? <Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtlereprofaqs.htm > I see no evidence of sex organs or even mating behavior. The fluttering is lovely to watch -- so gentle and sweet. We feel it's communication on a level we can't quite understand, and are not meant to understand. Sometimes they do it twice or three times a day, and sometimes not at all. Today and yesterday I saw it again. <Glad it's providing entertainment! Yes, it is quite a strange thing to see...> However, if I should be doing something for them, can you let me know? <If nothing else, a bigger habitat.> Their names are Yin and Yang and I have them since they were very very small. It's interesting how you can get to really like turtles -- never thought it would be possible, but they really have fun personalities! <It is certainly possible to become fond of any pet animal, even one with such limited intelligence as a terrapin. I always thought they have very pretty faces, especially eyes.> Thanks for any advice you can give -- Susan <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Red Eared Slider behavior 07/14/08 Hi, <Hiya, Darrel here> I have a few questions for you, I hope you can help me care better for my son Pauli: <I'm going to read on before I make any leaps of logic here> 1. I bought a RES, her eyes were swollen shut and were draining pus. I went to the Pet Shop and got drops and other medicines, the tank has UV lights, the water temp was fine, and I left her in the sun for 30mins a day, but after a week she died, I just want to know what more I could have done as I am scared to buy another one, I got too attached and then got sick when she died. <On behalf of Bob Fenner and the entire crew, we're sorry for your loss, Chantell. Buying an animal that is already showing signs of illness will almost never have a happy ending. The predators of fish and reptiles usually go for the weak and injured animals first, so if you're a fish or a turtle it pays NOT to be sick or injured, but even if you are sick or injured -- it pays to not APPEAR to be sick or injured. For this reason fish and reptiles are very stoic animals - they often will appear to be just FINE until suddenly they appear REALLY sick and this is often just hours before they die. Most fish or reptiles have had a debilitating disease for weeks -- sometimes even months -- without any signs that you would see unless you were looking closely and knew just what to look for> <You did the right things -- Vitamin A (injections are best but drops usually work), massive antibiotic injections and sunlight are three of the four things needed, but by the time the eyes are weeping pus, the fourth item you needed was a small miracle. Again, our sympathies.> 2. Also I have a male Red Eared Slider named Pauli that I have had for about 8 months now. He is healthy and beautiful. Last night I was talking to him and he started to make funny sounds, like he was "talking" back to me. I called my husband as I thought I was imagining it but he did the same. He swims to the top of the water with just his head out and then makes the sounds. Is it normal? <Is he telling you to kill your landlord or buy stocks in an Internet Startup? I know that sounds crazy, Chantell, but take it from me -- I breed turtles ... and turtles don't know ANYTHING about the stock market!> <Seriously, the can make a sort of clicking sound with their jaws and something resembling a hiss/growl as they breathe. The thing to do is make SURE that it's not the bubbly/raspy sound of breathing through an upper respiratory infection. Look closely for bubbles coming from the nose as he breathes.> 3. Pauli eats anything meaty and leafy, but he refuses to eat the pellets we give him. I have tried to mix it with meaty things but he is too clever, he eats the meat and leaves the pellets, when he does occasionally bit into one he spits it right back out. Do you have any suggestions how to get him to eat it? <Yes I do, but you're not going to like it. After you verify that Pauli is otherwise healthy you stop giving him food of any kind except Tetra brand Repto-Min and you offer THAT only once a week for no longer than 10 minutes & then you remove it and try again next week. Week after week. Into next month and maybe the month after. Until Pauli gets hungry enough to eat. It's a contest of wills, Chantell. I once went .... brace yourself .... in fact sit down .... I once went THREE AND A HALF YEARS with a Box turtle named Clara that had fixated on strawberries and wouldn't eat anything else. Every week, every month, every year .... nothing. I was convinced she was trying to out-live me until one day she turned a corner and ate the earthworm I'd offered. After that, everything was fine except for her incessant chatter about investing in some company named goodell or goober or Google or something like that!> <Make sure that water temp is not too warm -- and that basking temp IS nice and warm. Available temperature choices are a major factor in eating habits.> 4. Last question, Pauli sometimes has the habit of swimming around and then doing a 180degree turn in the water when visitors come over, is he playing? <We're not sure if turtles have that level of sentient awareness, Chantell, but they sure do entertaining things!> Thank you, <You're welcome!> Chantell P.S We don't have vets in the UAE specializing in reptiles, so a friend suggested this sight. Keep up the great work, I learned a few things from the site. <Keep the kudos coming! We're vain & shallow & respond well to praise!!!!!!>

What is she doing? RES beh.  7/6/08 hello, <Hiya Mom -- Darrel here> My son and I have a female Red Eared Slider and she has been doing some odd things; <I have a son and HE is doing some odd things -- but he's 15 so I just ignore it> First she will often (if you put your finger pad against the glass) put her head down and tuck it in a bit then she will frame her face with her claws and vibrate them. <Interesting, that sounds like a male courting behavior. You haven't said how big the turtle is (turtles reach sexual maturity with SIZE, not age) or how we know it's a female. Is the shell about 3 inches long or more? Are the front claws elongated? (See Figure 1 in the link below) If so, you have a male not a female> The second odd thing she has done is (when I had her outside yesterday in the sun) that as I held her she peed 2 times and then looked like she was about to poop but then something black with a yellow center came out of her poop hole instead, she pushed it out and pulled it back in 2 times. <The evidence is piling up .....> When I took her back inside she did not do it again. I am concerned- is this normal or was that her bowels? <That was his .. um .... reproductive organ and as long as he can pull it back in, then it's normal -- although I'd caution your son that it's ok normal for a TURTLE to do that, not for a human (boy was THAT ever an expensive lesson!!!!!> or was that her womb that she was thinking needed to be out to be fertilized? <Not really, everything is fine> What do these two behaviors mean? <They mean that your little turtle has grown up. There's nothing you have to do about it, either. Sliders are colonial animals, which is to say that in the wild they tend to congregate, but they don't seem to suffer at all being housed singularly.> thanks <Hope that helps!> mama T < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

RES with weird behaviors, hlth. issues, reading  03/18/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Doris> This is my first time writing to a webpage with a question so I'm not quite sure if I'm doing it right or not. I have 4 RES. One RES is older by two years. About 45-50 days ago I purchased 3 baby RES. I've recently changed the 20 gallon tank to a 40 gallon tank, with a floating island and a basking light. When I came home I noticed that one of my turtles weren't moving in the water. I took him/her out to see if anything is wrong, it seems that the right eye isn't fully opened kind of like a lazy eye. I placed it on land and realized it stretched out its neck and opened its mouth like it's trying to take in oxygen. After taking oxygen the RES "lazy eye" opened like before. Is my RES not ready to be in such a big tank with that much water? <Reads like it is having troubles... with both breathing and its eyes...> Or could it be lack of oxygen? Is my RES sick? <The latter> I hope you have an answer to my questions. By the way this is a great site. Thanks for having this site for people who have questions like me. Sincerely, Doris. <Please make use of it. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm toward the bottom... on Turtle Diseases. Bob Fenner>

Weird behavior, RES      2/13/08 greetings... <Hiya Viki -- Darrel here> I have 2 young Red Eared Sliders about 2 ". Boris is perky but doesn't eat pellets...likes chicken and crickets... <Would you eat what's good for you if you could eat snack food instead? Those foods as a staple diet will lead to malnutrition, starting with vitamin deficiency. If you can't get them on ReptoMin or Koi pellets (same food, just cheaper) then feed them night crawlers (earthworms). Start feeding the worms three times a week - to build up their diet .... then after a month, reduce to once a week while offering pellets the other two times. The idea is that once they're healthier we let them get hungry enough to finally accept the pellets.> Natasha doesn't do much except some BIZARRE neck stretching and opening her mouth and making a sort of clicking noise. She doesn't eat, doesn't really swim <If she does that frequently it is usually a sign of metabolic bone debilitation (probably brought on by the bad diet) but it can be easily and quickly treated. She needs vitamins and calcium and hopefully she'll get both in the worms and eventually the pellets if you can get her to eat. Raise the temperature of her environment a few degrees and see if that helps get her appetite back. Also, short (5 minute) soaks in 85 degree water can also help stimulate the appetite, Failing that, you'd need to see a veterinarian about vitamin and calcium injections> I got a new light to intensify the basking scene... <Basking & warmth is good, but are they getting UVA/UBV as well?> any other suggestions? <FIRST, WE SET TRAP FOR MOOSE AND SQUIRREL! [psst! Did y'all know that Rocky (Rocket J Squirrel) was a girl squirrel?]> She seems sort of , I dunno, handicapped. <Not handicapped ... debilitated -- on her way to becoming ill. But hopefully we caught it in time and can get her back on track in a hurry> thanks for your help. <Yer welcome -- read this link for a quick refresher course> <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Re: weird behavior... Chelonian f's     2-14-08 Oy sad to say that Natasha expired this evening. very sad. it got to be that every time she stretched her neck tonight she would tip over. oy oy oy. OF course she was debilitated, she never ate from the moment she arrived here...We're working on Boris' diet. earthworms for breakfast. thanks for your time and help. V <Dear Viki, On behalf of Bob Fenner and the entire crew we're truly sorry for your loss. Please keep us updated on Boris and don't hesitate to let us know if we can be of further help> <Kind Regards, Darrel>

Re: weird behavior... Boris the chelonian    2/27/08 Hi Darrel...Boris is doing really well. He always seems hungry now - he eats pellets and earthworms greedily. How often do you think they should eat when they're this little? <Less than we eat, Viki -- I feed mine every other day in the summer and every three to four days in winter. As long as WHAT they eat is healthy for them, then our next big problem is obesity. Believe it or not, more of our pets die of over feeding and the complications that brings than pass from insufficient diet. Glad everything is working out!>

Young Slider with shell color changes   2/13/08 Hi WWM, <Hiya SB!> Thanks for being here and having such a great site. <Thank you, too. We like being here!> I couldn't quite find what I was looking for with the search engine because I'm not too familiar with the terminology and the structure of turtle's shells. I have a very young Red Eared Slider turtle (slightly bigger than a 50 cent piece). I've been taking care of it since November and things have been going pretty good. I have a 20 gallon tank, a hang-on filter (I know they're not very good, but I can't afford a canister right now) <Actually, hold up there. It's just fine for a tank that size, it's easier to clean than a canister and for that reason you'll do it more often -- if it's working for you, don't change it!> A UVB/UVA bulb directly overhead, an ample basking area, and I feed the turtle a diet of ReptoMin pellets and occasionally a krill as a treat (maybe three times a week). I also completely clean out the tank every Friday unless I'm especially busy. <Sounds good so far. Better than good. Great actually.> Lately I've been noticing the colors of his shell changing. The area between the sections (I suppose they're called scutes?) <They are called scutes and the area between the scutes are called margins ... but mainly called ..... The Area Between Scutes> of the carapace has been becoming darker and darker, until now it's almost black. Although the turtle is still acting normally and very energetic (constantly tries to bite me during feeding), this has me very worried. What are the possible causes of this and what should I do? <That's normal as the grow, SB. As he/she ages they bright green is replaced by a duller green and then a darker color that helps them blend in to their surroundings and the margins become dark & then black. SO ...... IN OTHER WORDS ... the cause for this is that your Slider is growing and thriving because you're being such a good care giver!!!> Thanks in advance for your help. <Once again, you do the work ..... and I take the thanks. I LOVE THIS JOB!!!!!!!! -- Darrel>

Strange fanning behaviour on red eared sliders 1-22-08 Hello, I have read through your behaviour answers and have learned that the fanning of the front feet signify an attempt to attract the attention of a female. <Correct. They also do it when they're mating. I had two terrapins of different species, and yet the male would "mount" the female (hardly the correct word, but you get the drift) and it would seem like he was scratching her eyes out.> All good. However, I have to sliders, one is about 2" and one about 2.5" large (I can't tell if they are male or female because they are too small still.) They are the same age. The larger one is swimming up to the smaller one and starts fanning the front arms then the smaller ones sits and does it back. Are my turtles just confused or is it also an aggressive show of dominance? Is there something I should be worried about here? <Quite normal, and nothing to worry about. It may be pre-mating display, or a dominance display, or merely some sort of reptilian chit-chat. Provided the terrapins don't start biting each other, they're fine.> Thank you very much Suzy <Cheers, Neale.>

Red Eared Slider Question, shell colour    1/1/08 Hi, I have had an unusual occurrence with one of my red eared sliders. We have raised them from hatchlings and they are currently in a 30 gallon tank (they are three). They have uv light, heat lamps and a basking area. The water and filter are changed regularly. They both seem healthy and energetic, but the larger one's scales have taken on a reddish tint. This is both on the top of his shell and the bottom. His skin appears normal in color, and their are no soft spots or fungus growth. Any idea what we might be dealing with? Thanks so much! Lori <Hmm... difficult to say without seeing them, but do bear in mind that old scales (or scutes, to be more precise) at the top of the shell eventually flake off the shell. Before that happens they tend to become semi-transparent and more horny-looking rather than the green/brown they normally are. In addition, as the Sliders grow, their overall colour becomes less bright green and more green/brown. Provided your Slider is otherwise healthy and shows no sign of infection, then I'd not be too alarmed just yet. Cheers, Neale.>

Is an over-active Slider too hot? 11/16/07 Hey Crew! <Hiya Jamie!> I read through your Faq's and I really enjoyed the site. Thank you for the great info! Well onto my questions... My first question is about my female RES that I bought about 6 months ago, she's been very healthy and always active and friendly. We keep her in long 20 gallon tank, with a heater/filter, heat kept around 78 degrees, basking platform that she can easy climb on, and a UVA/UVB lamp. She's about 4 inches now, maybe slightly bigger. 1) First problem encountered with her was that she refuses to eat any kind of pellets, we tried 3 different kinds and even soaked tem in tuna to entice her. She dislikes them so much, she even acts like they aren't there. After many tries, we finally decided to try to keep a balanced diet (as best as we can) with veggies and extra stuff (usually feeder fish, crickets, krill..etc.) Any suggestions on how to keep a good stable diet? <The first problem is that the water is too hot. Water temp should be around 65-73 and the dry land/basking temp between 85-93 -- She needs to have a choice as to be warm & dry or wet & cool and so far you've taken that choice away from her. -- I'll address the feeding concerns a little later on> 2) For some reason lately she has become extremely active and loves to climb onto her basking platform and then attempts to climb out of her tank, sometimes getting too close for comfort. She even ends up back flipping into the water and one time got stuck. Any explanation as to why she is doing this and how we can prevent it? <My guess is that she's active because she's a bit over heated and her behavior will change when you provide her the proper temperature gradients. Also, you'll find that the water stays a bit cleaner and clearer at the lower temperatures> <Now, as far as diet and diet fixations go ... Sliders are not usually very picky. If she's otherwise healthy and after about 3 months of correcting her temperature situation ... you can just stop offering her any other kind of foods .... and offer the Koi pellets once a week, scooping them out if she hasn't eaten in 15 minutes, and after about three weeks, she'll wake up & smell the writing on the wall (to mix metaphors) and start eating the pellets. If she's otherwise healthy, 3-6 weeks in nothing to HER ... but you'll be beside yourself with needless worry. Just for comparison, I've had a box turtle so fixated on strawberries that she refused any and all other food. When I finally started offering her a proper diet or nothing at all ... she went for TWO YEARS and three months!!!! It was a real test of wills with an animal that will likely outlive me.> <Start by correcting her environmental issues and read the link below -- check all your husbandry against the guidelines and then ... when it's all perfect. Just out-wait her ... and she'll come along.> Thank you again, and I hope to hear from you soon. -Jamie in Chico, Cali. <Nice town, Jamie -- my son went to college there! -- Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Hatchling Slider with odd behavior 10/21/07 I wrote you recently about a hatchling Red Eared Slider that was exhibiting some strange behavior; spinning in circles as it swims, flipping on it's back and stretching it's neck up and back over it's shell. It has a great appetite, basks regularly and spends equal time in the water. I keep the water temp around 80 deg. and the air temp in the aquarium basking area at 90. The turtle cannot swim below the surface. It spins in circles as it swims because it is trying to get to the bottom and cannot. When it wants to go to the bottom it clings to objects in the aquarium and descends them holding on with its claws. The flipping on it's back is also a result of it's struggle to get to and explore the bottom. I have even held the turtle to the bottom for a sec. or two and then let go and it quickly rises to the top like a fishing bobber submerged and then released. The Slider's' appearance is healthy and maintains a good appetite. It is fed a balanced diet 3 times a week. Could the turtle have underdeveloped lungs, one working lung, or some sort of equilibrium imbalance? <Those are all possibilities, Lorie. In addition to those sometimes a pocket of gas can be generated from an internal infection and I've actually seen turtles act this way temporarily because they simply had ... gas!> <At the moment, your best course of action and treatment is to pay SCRUPULOUS attention to detail regarding habitat, water quality and hygiene. Read and re-read the article here: (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm) and compare your keeping to the suggestions. First off, I'd lower the water temp to something around 72 degrees (That's around 22.5 for those of you living in the developed world) and give him a wider "choice" for his thermoregulation pleasure. Next I'd make sure that he's getting unfiltered UV lighting when he is basking.> It seems to have poor judgment skills; when it eats, it attacks the food but often misjudges and misses them. <One of the endearing traits of turtles is their often comical behavior -- but let's stay away from terms like "Poor Judgment" unless you catch him ordering products from late night TV infomercials or sending money to a Nigerian lawyer.> I'm searching for answers about its condition have been unsuccessful. <It's difficult TO answer because what you're describing is a consequence of some condition -- much like seeing someone with a limp and trying to guess how he got it> I wonder if it is a permanent condition, or will it grow out of it.....or worse, die? <Once again, yes -- it could be any of those things. GENERALLY speaking ... if an animal is thriving, which is to say "active, alert, feeding and growing" then they will either grow out of or learn to compensate for any handicaps they may have. Once in a while an animal can exhibit every trait of thriving and compensating and then one day, suddenly and unexpectedly, succumb to a condition or disease that they've been carrying almost since birth. Technically, a trip to an experienced Herp Veterinarian and the resulting $698.20 medical bill would yield a guess from an expert ... but still only a guess ... with the likely result being that you're told to pay attention to habitat, water quality and hygiene until a more clear-up symptom appeared. When the responsible pet keeper does his or her part in providing a superior habitat, Red Eared Sliders can be amazingly hardy.> <regards -- Darrel>

Odd behavior, RES  9/29/07 To Anyone Who Can Answer: <Whew! As long as you didn't clarify that to an HELPFUL answer, I'm IN!> I have two male red-eared sliders who have been together since they were just babies. They are about three years old. Both are healthy and in a clean environment. One is a bit smaller then the other, but not by much. They have a set of bricks to lay on and I have a basking light on all night and also a UV lamp on all day. The rest of the environment ( an old toy box cut down) is water. <Sounds good so far> There is plenty of room for both to swim and to bask. I have observed the flipping of the claws that the males do for some time. It never amounts to much and they have never bitten each other. They do tend to follow each other around the tank at times and seem aggressive, but nothing much has ever come of it. <So far all is normal> Just recently on several occasions we have found the two stuck together. The smaller one has his head and part of his shell caught in-between the larger ones top and bottom shell. His head is completely out of sight. We thought at first the smaller one was biting the larger one, but they seem actually stuck. We have pulled them apart several times, but last night I heard a splashing and a lot of noise coming from their tank and went to investigate. I found them stuck once again. I placed them both on the bricks and was trying to remove the rack that the light sits on so I could pull them apart when they somehow got themselves unstuck. <Sounds a bit comical, doesn't it?> There was a loud like suction noise when they parted. <Complete with sound effects!> I am afraid that the smaller one will drown if he can not get unstuck from the larger one while they are in the water. I think the brick gave them traction to get apart from one another. They can't get on the bricks while they are stuck together and they don't seem to be able to get unstuck in the water. Have you ever heard of something like this and do you think the little one can unstick himself if he wants too, or is he really stuck and likely to drown? <I've never honestly witnessed to turtles STUCK like that. I've seen positions and behaviors that are similar, but never exactly THAT -- and it's not covered in the literature, either. My guess is that little Bobby can get himself out of any place he gets himself into, but I wouldn't take that chance, either.> I hate the thought of separating them as they really have never gotten that aggressive with each other and finding space for another set up would be a real headache, not to mention a big expense. What should I do? < I'd separate them. As much as turtles seem to "enjoy" being together, they do fine individually as well. I wouldn't look to a whole new setup, just possibly rearranging the existing enclosure so that you could put a clear plastic divider between the two running right down the center of the basking brick. A few months apart and you could reintroduce them again and expect to find their behaviors have changed, hopefully including this "edge play" (everyone get it??? Edge play? As in the EDGES of the shell??? Bwahahahaha). Like I said, I doubt this is a serious problem for THEM, but I agree it's a serious worry for US, so let's make the effort.> Thanks, Laura <Welcome, Darrel> <<Great... RMF>>

Red Eared Slider help  7/21/07 Hello guys, <Hiya Christopher -- Darrel here with you tonight> I wanted to know how to take care of an Red Eared Slider in the winter. For example, how much should I feed him, how often should I change the water and should I still give it sunlight or UVB lighting. <These are very good questions, but the answers are a bit muddy & not very concrete.> <Let's keep it simple. Sliders will respond to the TEMPERATURE CHANGES of winter much more strongly than the subtleties of altered photoperiods (shorter days) and all that science-type stuff. So as long as the Temperature holds, it's not really "winter" as far as the turtle is concerned. If your turtle is inside the house in an aquarium and there is a normal basking light (there should not be a water heater) then for your turtle, it's just another day in the swamp ... No winter to speak of. If it's outside, in a pond .... it's way too small to BE in a pond ... so set up a tank indoors like I described above and -- presto -- no winter. Now ... if it gets a LITTLE bit chilly where you have her, then cut back the feeding just to be sure. It never hurts for them to be just a little bit hungry.> My turtle is 2 inches and is a female. <A bit of a disagreement here, Chris. If it's only two inches and assuming you haven't probed it, she's too small to determine the sex yet. Notice I didn't say too "young" because for turtles, like most reptiles, sexual maturity (and with that the visual differences between the boys & girls) comes with SIZE, not age.> Also, do you know the average growth rate of an RES. Just the approximate average. <That is SO totally dependant of heat, food and environment that anything I say could be wrong (and at the same time right for someone else) -- 3/4 to an inch each year for the first year to year & a half and then slower after that .... but if it's warm enough and she's fed enough, it could almost be double that> Last, do turtles in fact hibernate or not? <Sliders do, depending on where they are. In some Northern states wild sliders have been known to over-winter at the bottom of a pond that's frozen solid at the top. Now ... to anyone reading this who has sliders that can be subject to winter conditions ... PLEASE keep in mind that while they do hibernate and CAN survive a cold winter .... MANY wild turtles do not survive. Some perish outright and many are so damaged that they barely survive the next year. Mother Nature sees that 1,000 hatch so that ONE can live to lay another set of eggs. The odds do NOT favor a turtle wild ... so please don't try it -- as responsible pet keepers it's our job to improve Nature's odds, not duplicate them.> Thanks for all your help. <No charge!>

Turtle's basking habits 09/17/07 Hey, <Hiya> I have a question about my Red Eared Slider. I have a female and doesn't really bask a lot. <Some will bask less than others, but it's good and healthy for her to bask and there's always a concern that it's a sign of sickness or distress. Check your water temperature and make sure it's not too warm (room temperature is fine) since the primary reason for basking is to warm her body. If the basking area is available and warm -- and she's otherwise healthy and active and it seems that it's just her CHOICE not to bask, then don't worry about it.> Also, she will only eat pellet foods. I have tried feeding it insects, vegetables and fruits but it will only eat the pellet foods I give her. Is this normal for an slider? <Again, not really normal - They're omnivorous and usually will eat or at least sample anything and everything offered. But with that said, a quality brand pellet food, especially commercially available Koi pellets are a perfectly balanced diet for a slider and there's not really any reason to feed them anything else.> Any additional information would be helpful. <then here ya go: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> Thanks, A concerned owner. <Your welcome -- Darrel> Re: Turtle's Basking Habits 09/17/07 Thanks again for your reply. So just to clarify everything, if I feed my RES Koi pellets I don't need to feed it anything else or is it best to give her different types of food along with the Koi pellets. Thanks again. <No, Koi pellets alone aren't enough. You need to feed red-eared sliders a mix of foods; it is generally recommended that adults receive about 75% of their diet from plant foods. Clover, alfalfa, dandelion leaves, green lettuce (not iceberg!), Sushi Nori, ripe tomatoes, plums, etc. all work well. They will also happily eat cheap aquatic plants such as Elodea, often sold as "oxygenators" for ponds and goldfish aquaria. Cheers, Neale.>

Can a turtle outgrow it's shell? 9/13/07 Hello again <And a hearty hello, howdy & Hiya right back!> So we've both established my Red Eared Slider turtle is growing too fast. :( I'm trying to only feed 2 times a week now, adding more leafy veggies and less pellets/dried prawns/bloodworms. Does that sound ok? <The ONLY thing I feed mine are Koi pellets ... it's a vegetarian-based healthy & balanced food> I'm now wondering if Its possible for a Slider to outgrow it's shell? I keep reading conflicting information online. <Funny how the Internet has allowed any dufus with a web site the ability to give advice, isn't it? Um .. wait a second .... that doesn't sound right .... forget I said that, OK?> His front legs and neck seem to be puffing out of his shell, and he never fully retracts his legs or neck anymore. Perhaps this is because he is comfortable with me and feels no need to protect himself??? <From the sound of it, he probably is relaxing a bit but fundamentally he sounds obese! Keep on the diet and remember, they have VERY little to worry about or run from in captivity -- they don't need very much to eat.> If he is too big now, will his shell ever catch up to the body, even with more restricted/varied diet .... <In time, yes. The shell grows through a much slower process than the skin and other organs ... it will take a LOT of time ... so please be patient> ... and more exercise? ... <I want to make a point about this ... EVERY YEAR ... hundreds if not thousands of people buy tiny little TurtleGym 1000's for their sliders based on infomercials from Chuck Tortoise and ALL of them end up folded up & shoved under a little corner of their hot rock gathering dust.> <Ahem. OK .. I'm having one of those days. Or perhaps an "episode"><<Darrel you're really out/in there today! RMF>> <Pay attention to habitat, diet and temperature gradients and try not to over-stress yourself or your little turtle.> Thanks for all your help! <Write back & send pics of him!> <Regards, Darrel> PS: Here's a link about the simple yet effective care for Sliders -- it was written by a charming man who is outstanding in his field.> <out ...> <Standing is his field!> <rimshot!> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Red Eared Slider Question, beh.   8/13/07 I have been successfully raising our female turtle Barney for 5 years, from pond to tank and now have a new baby named Ruby, but got stumped by a question from my grandson: How long can Red Eared Sliders stay under the water without coming up for air? I have been searching the web for an hour and have come up with zip. Can you help? <Yes we can. A healthy Slider can stay underwater longer than you've been searching for that answer! In any case, 15-20 minutes. I've seen active sliders submerge and sit on the bottom for an hour before surfacing, but my adult sliders are submerged all night while they sleep. It all depends on their temperature, metabolism and amount of activity.> Thanks, Jane <welcome, Darrel>

Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question 07/26/07 Hi Neale, <Hello Ryan,> I will get a picture tomorrow night of their shell and, hopefully, the Growth Rings. <Cool.> I have noticed one new thing with my Babies. They seem to be eating a lot! they never ate this much before. one would wait for you to leave the room before it ate. Now it comes out and eats like there is no tomorrow. <Normal. These are greedy animals. But the problem is likely a lack of fibre in the diet. If "filled" with green foods containing lots of fibre, they feel satiated more quickly. Just like humans really: we might crave fatty and sugary foods but neither "fills us up". Besides, green foods are where some of the essential vitamins are, like vitamins B and C, so take advantage of their seemingly endless hunger to give them some greens.> Is it possible to feed them too much? <Not really, but water quality obviously suffers.> All I have been feeding them lately is their baby floating pellets but if You put 20 or 30 in the tank between the 2 of them they are gone in a matter of minutes! Is this too much? <If they eat them, then its fine. But I'd only use pellets only once or twice a week; go raid the kitchen for green and invertebrate foods for the rest of their diet. Blanched lettuce, tinned or frozen peas, courgette, soft fruit like melon (with the rinds) and so on. Really, just try anything not obviously risky (chili peppers and onions would perhaps be unwise!). Once these reptiles become adults, their diet needs to be nearly 100% vegetarian if you want them to have good health. In terms of meaty foods, once or twice a week offer frozen prawns, mussels, and other bits of seafood. Don't use meat from warm blooded animals: the fats congeal in cold blooded animals, causing problems.> I heard it is possible for them to grow too fast for their shell. <Garbage. When these terrapins show things like shell deformities, they are either genetic or down to poor care, specifically a lack of UV light and not enough of the right vitamins and minerals (especially calcium).> Thanks Again!, Ryan <Cheers, Neale> Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question  7/28/07 Hi Neale, I got those pictures of the turtles shells, Notice the brown in between the plates that was never like that it was either black or green. Any feedback on this is appreciated. I'm going to pick them up some Peas and lettuce tomorrow, are blood worms good for them? I have been throwing them in there too. Thanks again for all your helpful information! Thanks Again, Ryan <Hello Ryan. I'm afraid those photos are too small/blurry to really pick out anything useful. If you can try again, zooming in on the brown stuff that would help. At first glance, the image with the terrapin over the red/black gravel looks as if it has been painted! The brown stuff seems to be metallic, like gold paint. This isn't a silly idea on my part: it used to be quite common to see terrapins and tortoises sold with simple paintings and patterns on their shells. Anyway, since you said this brown stuff has recently appeared, it can't be paint. So what I'm interested in is whether the stuff is smooth or textured. Fungal infections can happen on terrapin shells, and is revealed by a furry or fluffy texture. Since the shell grows from the insides outwards, the each "plate" on the shell is a stack of modified keratin scales, with the oldest ones at the top. If your turtle is suffering from [a] malnutrition or [b] lack of UVB light then the scales lower down the stack will be deformed. So it would be interesting to see if the brown stuff is actually a sign of deformed scales. It is extremely common for these terrapins to be kept without sufficient UVB light, or with the light but no space for them to bask underneath it. So remind me again what lighting system you are using. It's also worth mentioning that as the terrapins grow they lose their green colour and turn a muddy greeny brown. The bright green plates at the top of each stack eventually fall off, and you're left with a terrapin much less brightly coloured than it was on purchase. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question  7/29/07 Hi Neale, It is a 75 Watt Halogen UVA Light, do I also need a UVB light or maybe? The discoloration in the shell feels just like a shell and it is metallic. Here are some better pictures for You, also are the blood worms good for the turtles? Thanks Again, Ryan <Hello Ryan, The terrapins in your pictures look fine to me. The dark bands between the green scutes are the new, duller, scutes underneath them. As we discussed earlier, these terrapins change colour as they mature. I think that's what you're seeing here. There are no obvious signs of malnutrition or disease as far as I can tell. Now, I'm not sure why you have a UVA light. To synthesize the vitamins they need, these reptiles must have access to UVB lighting. So if you can, swap the bulbs in the fixture, or else add a UVB light to the system over their basking spot. Bloodworms are a fine treat for your terrapins, but don't get them hooked on them -- remember, a healthy slider is a (largely) vegetarian slider. Just like people, these beasties may prefer the "meat" even though its the "vegetables" are actually good for them! Take a read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm . Hope this helps, Neale>

Red Eared Pond Sliders Male Attacking Female   7/25/07 Dear Crew, <Hiya! Darrel here> We have had the male for 5 years and the Female for 3 years. The male had been abused by his previous owner who allowed his dog to use him as a play toy, he was completely white when we got him and he is healthy now. The problem is that when we put him in with the female outside he attacks her. He has almost completely removed her tail, today I had to physically separate them. If we put them in the bath tub together he doesn't do this, it is only when they are in the pond outside. Can you please help us they are wonderful pets and we would hate to have to part with one of them but I am very scared that he is going to do a lot more damage or maybe even kill her. <That's a real possibility, Tammi. It sounds like you have a naturally aggressive animal there.> <When you take them out of their natural element and place them somewhere new, their natural instincts for survival (combined with stress) override their natural aggressive and territorial instincts. In the wild she'd have virtually unlimited space to simply get away from him, so if your pond isn't big enough for her to get away and stay away, you can either fence them off from each other or find another home for him.> Thanks Putzakitty <I've been called MANY things, Tammi, but never Putzakitty. I'll have to think about if I like it.> Tammi

Red Ear Slider Turtle Question, beh.   7/22/07 Hello There, <Ave.> I have 2 Red Ear Slider babies Barbosa and Moe, One of them is about 1 inch and a half (Barbosa) the other is right around 1 inch (Moe). The bigger one does not seem to have a problem with people around the smaller one though will hide behind the filter while You are in the room with it. The bigger one will occasionally swim behind there as if to scope it out but little Moe looks like He is gonna swim through the glass. Usually when You walk in the room they will both be on the rock sunning underneath the UVA Lamp, they will take off into the water and hide which I can understand. <Completely normal. In the wild, baby terrapins are food for just about everything, from bullfrogs to alligators. This is typical for the Chelonia generally, which are pretty well predator-proof as adults, but their infant mortality (for want of a better description) is staggeringly high.> But Barbosa will come swim around while Your around, Moe will come out maybe 8 inches from the filter max and swim back like He is doing laps. I hate to say but the skittish one was dropped from probably 3 feet onto concrete and My Girlfriend and I are thinking this could be the cause of his fears of us. <Possible. Animals do learn because they have to. If they didn't, they'd never avoid danger.> He does seem to be ok it happened 5 days ago, He swims fine and does eat. Moe will not eat with people around but the bigger one Barbosa does not have a problem eating in front of You. Is it just a personality difference? <Likely, yes. Give it time. Train the animal to associate you with good things, like (small) tasty treats. Habituation is also important. Animals love routines. Ever noticed why sheep and cows walk away from a stranger but ignore the thundering noise of high speed trains zipping past their fields? Anything that happens regularly without causing danger is eventually accepted as "part of the background" and stops being scary. What animals don't like is novelty. So if you can locate the vivarium close by where you spend significant amounts of time, you'll see a big difference in their behaviour. I have a Panaque catfish in a tank next to my workspace. Panaque are generally described as nocturnal and very shy. But mine swims about all day at the front of the tank. It does this because it is used to me being in the same place day in, day out at the same time doing the same things. As far as the catfish is concerned, I'm just scenery. So, see if you can put the terrapins by the table where you eat or the sofa where you watch TV or whatever. Someplace they can habituate to you.> They seem to get along fine always sticking close. <They're sociable animals when young. The more the merrier.> I vary there diet I have the baby floating pellets I give them also give them Blood Worms, Yet to get some freeze dried crickets also gonna throw some lettuce in there to mix it up. <Sounds good. Remember the key thing to keeping red-ears: the older they get, the more plant food they should be eating. Adults are more or less herbivorous in the wild except for the occasional day they luck out at find a dead fish or some insect larvae. There are some good articles here at WWM about red-ear diet.> Can You also give Me some feedback on the setup we have? We have a 35 gallon tank for the guys or gals about 1/4 to a 1/3 full, a 75 watt Halogen UVA Lamp the water is filtered with a Ph around 7 or 8. Water Temp is about 72-76 Degrees the basking area is 82 to 90 degrees. <Given their size now, everything sounds fine. Obviously they'll need a bigger tank once they mature, something around the 55 gallon size upwards. I found siliconing glass plates close to the surface to create steps leading to flat basking area worked better than building piles or rocks at one end because you kept more swimming room. So do a little research on what their adult quarters should look like, because there's a bit of art involves. The other thing is the heater. When I kept terrapins I learned the hard way adult terrapins and glass heaters do not mix. They smash them. So invest in some under tank heating if you can, or at least a heater with a plastic guard or better yet a filter with a built-in heater.> They will be separated eventually when the time comes. <Mine never needed separating. Males might squabble, but since they're easy to sex (longer claws on the male) it's easy enough to pre-empt this once they reach maturity.> Thank You for all the helpful information Your website has, also any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thank You!, Ryan

Re: Red Ear Slider Turtle Question, beh.   7/26/07 Hello Again, <Hello Ryan,> I had Emailed before regarding My 2 Red Ear Slider Babies, Your information was very helpful and I have another question. Both Turtles seem to have brown in the lines in-between there Shell Plates where is was once black or green. Is this a sign of growth? I find it for both turtles to have it at the same time kind of odd. Thanks Again, Ryan <Hmm, not precisely sure what you mean, but all turtles develop obvious "growth rings" on the shell plates as they grow. That's probably what you're seeing. If you want to send a photo, we can double-check. Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle shell... shedding?  6/19/07 Dear Crew <Hi. Darrel here> I have a baby turtle. <Just guessing a Red Eared Slider?> A tiny part of its shell looks like it shed a little bit. There's just a tiny light brown spot now... is this from the turtle growing... its shell expanding? <As the shell grows, the outside edges of the individual scales (they're called scutes) can turn a dirty sort of brownish/translucent -- like a dirty fingernail. Is that what you mean?> It's just a total guess...I'm just curious. <It's hard for me to visualize what you're describing without more detail. I'd be pleased if you write back with a more detailed description of what you're seeing. Also ... is his shell hard? Is he eating and active?> Thank you. <You're welcome> <Good Night, Irene>

Turtle growth 06/13/07 How you guys doing over there? <We guys and girls are doing just fine over here, David, thanks for asking> As for me and my Read Eared Sliders, we are doing great! I was wondering does it depend on how often I feed them, that's why my turtles shed or is it that they grow that fast? <What you feed them, how much you feed them and their normal temperature are all conditions that affect growth, David. When they shed a semi-transparent shell-like scute, that's a sign of normal growth as long as the shell underneath looks healthy and normal> My Turtles are about 3 inch from head to tail. The turtle shell is about 2 and a quarter inch. Is this a normal size for them going on about 3-4 months? <That's actually pretty large for that age, David, I'd bet they are a bit older than you thought - maybe even a year or even a year and a half old -- but they sound healthy, so you're being a good Turtle Dad. Just remember that over feeding makes health problems for them, so when in doubt, just feed less> Thank You, David <You're welcome - Darrel>

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