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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Disease/Health: Diagnosis 

Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton,
The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton,
Turtle eye diseases; Recognising and treating eye diseases in pet turtles by Neale Monks,
So your turtle has the Flu? Recognising and treating respiratory infections in pet turtles by Neale Monks,
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 Disease/Health 1, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Disease 3, RES Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, RES Health 8, RES Health 9, RES Health 10, & Shell Rot, Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 3, Shell Rot, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,


FAQs on RES Health by Type: Environmental, Traumas, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,& Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Reproduction,


Is my turtle ok     3/19/20
This white spot showed up a few days ago I thought that it was just something on him and after looking closer it looks like it his skin.
<Hard to tell from your photo. If it's dry skin flaking off (looks like sunburn on a human) that's normal. But if it's part of the living skin, that's not normal. Dry docking is a good first approach:
Keep the injury clean and if it looks to be healing, just carry on until the turtle is better. Do read the above link, especially with regard to drinking, feeding, and defection.>
I don’t know what it is should I be worried about him or will he be ok.
<Cheers, Neale.>


Questions about my RES     1/30/20
Hey Crew, I have a female RES, have had her for 19 years.
<Decent age!>
She's always been very active, a super eater, and basker.
But about 2 months ago, out of nowhere, she stopped eating, swimming much, and never gets up on her basking platform. She's in a 30 gallon tank that's about 78 degrees, has both lights required, and the water is kept clean.
<Understood. As a rule, leaving the water at room temperature, while providing a warm basking light (together with the UV-B lamp) is recommended. While I doubt the water is dangerously warm, turtles do need to be able to cool down as well as warm up. It's how they thermoregulate.>
I took her to the vet and she took x-rays to see if she was producing eggs, she wasn't. Her lungs were clear and there were no signs of any abnormalities. A blood test was also taken. No signs of infection or
deficiencies. The only thing that came back a little elevated was parasites. So, I administered 3 doses of anti-parasitic medication, by mouth, 3 days in a row. That was a trip!!
<I bet.>
No improvement.
<Oh dear.>
Previous to this, maybe 6 months ago, she had an infection on her neck. The vet cleaned it and gave her antibiotic shots, several of them, and Topsy healed up very well. She was still eating and swimming during her treatments.
Right before she stopped eating, my other turtle, named Taxi, who lives in a tank next to Topsy, but on a stand, Topsy's tank is on the floor, escaped from his tank and fell into Topsy's. He hit the light, knocked it into the water, and the bulb exploded. Then, I assume he went after Topsy for a date night and she bit the heck out of him.
<Yikes. Takes me back to be college days...>
I put him back in his tank and he healed up just fine. Did she maybe get an electric shock that damaged her insides or something? Taxi didn't act normal for a while after this either, but eventually got back to his normal self.
<For sure an electric shock or even stress could have caused some sort of problem, but a dangerous shock would be apparent immediately, and if she was still alive thereafter, it would seem to rule out the light bulb incident. Stress from the amorous encounter might put a turtle off eating for a day or two, but really, these animals aren't especially smart or sensitive, so it's not like PTSD is a thing for them. So if the turtle appears otherwise uninjured, I'd tend to rule out psychological stress.>
That's when Topsy stopped eating, shortly after this incident. She hasn't had a single crumb of food for over 2 months. The other day I bought Flukers Repta boost and have given her two doses. She spit most of the first dose out, the second I just spilled into her water. I figured she's gonna swallow some it that way; I didn't want to stress her too much.
Anyway, today, I gave her another small dose, by mouth, which she swallowed, thank you Lord! This stuff is supposed to give her energy and an increased appetite, right?
<Possibly. None of these appetite enhancers works miracles, and won't convince an ailing reptile to eat food if it physically can't.>
Also, today, I noticed her mouth is red, like it would be her upper lip, not inside, but where her upper jaw meets her lower jaw. Just on one side, down from her nostrils to the corner of her mouth. Could that be a symptom of disease or a bruise from trying to get her to open her mouth to squirt the Repta boost in.
<Either. A bruise is possible, but should heal quickly enough if it isn't infected (so clean if red inflammation is better than dead white patches or odorous bacterial discharge). Throat infections do happen in reptiles, particularly ones going towards the lungs (what are called Respiratory Tract Infections) but these are commonly associated with additional symptoms such as wheezing, watery eyes, even in serious cases a sloshy sound inside the lungs.>
I love her so much and don't know what to do next. I've visited every website I can find and no one gives me substantial advice on what could be wrong.
I sure hope you can help me. This is costing me a fortune, as well. The last appt. at the vet was nearly $300 and now she wants me to go to an exotic pet specialist. Yikes! I'm not a Rockefeller! I want to do what I can to help this sweetie, but money is an issue.
<I do sympathise, and to some degree this has always been a problem with reptiles. They're comparatively cheap to buy and feed compared with mammal pets like dogs and cats, but vet bills can be similarly expensive. On top of that, the pool of vets out there with the skills to treat reptiles is often smaller and so more difficult to access, making reptile healthcare doubly expensive. The flip side of course is that kept properly reptiles tend to be remarkably disease-free, perhaps because they're often kept singly and away from any other reptile that might pass on a parasite or pathogen, something that can't be said about cats and dogs that encounter other cats and dogs all the time.>
What say you, Crew!!??
<My instinct here is that if the turtle hasn't eaten in two months, diddling around with food additives is probably pointless. Offer choice food items every day, but remove if uneaten. Force feeding is likely a
stress factor and probably does more harm than good. Your care hitherto must have been basically sound, because 19 years isn't a bad innings for a Red Ear Slider -- certainly a lot better than most of the pet store hatchlings can expect -- even if they can and do live 20-30 years under good conditions. I'd perhaps brace myself for one more trip to the vet, because I'm wondering if an intestinal blockage might be an issue, but beyond that, there's nothing obvious from what you've said that could explain the situation. I would optimise living conditions though. I'd remove the heater from the water, if used, and I'd double check the UV-B lamp especially is not life-expired (most have a 6-12 month useful lifespan). Wild turtles will go months without food during winter, so I don't think starvation is an imminent threat, but it's hard to say really.>
Thanks so much for any advice you can give me!
Sincerely, Catherine
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Questions about my RES      2/1/20

Thx Neale, but wouldn't an intestinal blockage show up on an X-ray.
<Does rather depend if the vet was looking for one. For sure something like a pebble would be obvious. But constipation might not be so obvious, and other tests would be used.>
The vet took two pictures one from below and one from the side. Also I turn my heat way down at night when I go to bed so would 65 to 68 degrees be too cold 4 her tank water? Or should I just turn the heater down to 70 degrees?
What do you suggest?
<Room temperature water is pretty much perfect. I think setting the heater to 22C/72F as a backstop would be fine, but the main thing is that the water is cooler than the hot spot in the vivarium. Cheers, Neale.>


Red Eared Slider Turtle Advice     12/29/18
I observed a small bump/lump on the left side of my red eared slider turtle's neck this morning, which didn't exist before. It is only visible when she is breathing inside the water tank with her neck expanding, but it feels like a small bone has grown in there. Otherwise, her behaviour is completely normal, her breathing and nostrils are in excellent condition and her shell is hard and healthy looking. Due to the fact that I am not aware of any veterinarians who are trained to treat turtles in my area, I would deeply appreciate it if you could inform me about what might be the case with my pet and maybe propose possible ways of treatment.
Thank you in advance for your help,
<Metabolic bone disorder, bacterial infections, goiters, benign cysts and tumours are all possibilities. If it's appeared overnight, then an infected wound or bacterial infection causing a swelling is more likely, but if the lump feels hard, it may well be it's only become obvious recently, and actually been there awhile. There's simply no way to guess from a text message. This is one of those instances where a vet is the person to speak with. If you don't know a vet who treats reptiles, a good start is to visit a local pet shop that specialises in reptiles and amphibians. Failing that, your local or national animal welfare charity may be able to help, and some charities, like the Tortoise Trust, have lists of reptile vets all around
the world:
If the turtle is otherwise breathing and feeding normally, and you are confident it isn't in any distress, then there's probably no immediate hurry. But still, the thing with reptiles is that many problems develop
very slowly because of their slower metabolism, and it's easy to overlook serious problems until they're too difficult (or expensive) to treat.
Cheers, Neale.>


Constipated turtle      12/1/18
Hey folks! I was hoping I could get your opinion on something.
<Sure thing!>
My red eared slider has/had a bit of shell rot, which I treated with iodine and an anti-fungal creme.
I took her to a vet, even though there are no herp vets here, I just took her in because they have a lab, and I wanted her poop tested. Which they did, and they told me she apparently has too much fiber and starch in her poop. They told me nothing else useful, didn't give any kind of diagnoses, just told me that's bad and that I should only feed her animal matter, no plants.
<This is, well, wrong. Red-Ear Sliders are omnivores in the wild, with adults predominantly feeding on aquatic plants. They should indeed be producing lots of faeces, which would indeed look quite fibrous. Of course starchy foods, such as cereals, probably shouldn't be given too often, as these aren't a natural part of their diet. Better to focus on cheap aquarium plants (such as Elodea) as sold for Goldfish system, alongside pellets and small bits of seafood. ReptoMin isn't bad at all, especially for hatchlings, though it is a bit protein rich, so as the turtle gets older, it should be given less often. Koi pellets are a good, cheap staple.
They're plant-based and readily taken by hungry turtles.>
I tried doing that, and now she's constipated.
Probably this just layered over the fact that I was dry-docking her because of the fungus and only put her in water for about an hour every day.
She hasn't pooped in over a week, and now she WON'T eat any plant matter.
I'm not sure what to do now.
<Turtles often can't defecate unless placed in room temperature to slightly warm (i.e., not cold!) water, so that might be one factor. A protein-rich, fibre-poor diet will cause problems too.>
Even if taking her to the vet again was in any way useful, which it probably wouldn't be, it is now very cold, so taking her anywhere is very risky, especially since I don't have a car.
Anything I can do?
<Placing the turtle in slightly warm (18-22 C) water should raise its metabolic rate a bit, and with everything ticking over nicely, its gut muscles can push the faeces out better. In cold conditions this doesn't happen because the muscles become inactive. I would check the tank has no gravel in it -- very occasionally turtles swallow gravel, and once inside them, it can cause serious blockages. An x-ray is the only way to check for this, but "prevention is better than cure", so don't combine turtles with gravel. Beyond these, simply increasing the fibre content of the food, and scaling back anything likely to cause constipation, such as dried shrimps, should be avoided.>
I've been keeping her in water mostly warmer than her usual temperature in hopes that it'll relax her insides and she'll rehydrate, and I tried putting a bit of olive oil on her food, though I'm not sure if she actually ingested any.
<Worth a shot, though!>
So far, no poop. Would human laxatives make a difference?
<Possibly, if you stuffed something like bran fibre into some small piece of seafood the turtle would swallow whole.>
Though I'd be scared of trying to force-feed anything because of the risk of it going in her lungs instead.
<Quite so. Force feeding animals is extremely risky, and shouldn't be attempted unless you've been shown what to do by an expert. With cold blooded animals, which have much lower food requirements than mammals, starvation will take many weeks, even months, to become a life-threatening danger.>
Any help would be appreciated.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>


My RES     7/24/18
hey wwm I've got a RES that's about 6 1/2 -7 yrs old and the past couple of week he's started to look swollen like he's to big for his shell. he doest move and just floats around in his tank unless we pick him up and put him on his basking rock. i have 0 knowledge on turtles but i know something is wrong his appetite has decreased too. what may be the problem and what can i do to help him get back to his normal self. ty -milli
<Hello Milli. Does sound as if your turtle might have a respiratory tract infection and/or metabolic bone disease. Both of these are extremely grave, and without treatment will kill your turtle. First of all have a read here:
As ever, prevention is much better (and easier) than cure, so understanding why a turtle gets sick is very important. A lack of warmth and especially a lack of UV-B lighting over the tank are two critical factors here. In the short term, a trip to the vet is probable. But once you get the turtle home again, you'll want to ensure the environment is optimised for a speedy recovery (i.e., ensure the UV-B lamp is less than 6-12 months old, ensure the heat lamp is working). I've cc'ed our two turtle experts just in case I've missed something. Cheers, Neale.>


Turtle problem       6/11/17
I send you email sir.
<Hiya Bhakhar - Darrel here>
And his picture is in this mail
<Yes it is.>
<The problem is that this is one of those cases where you seem something that isn't obvious to me, so let's see what I see>
<You're showing me two sides of his face, so the problem can't be on just one side.>
<The eyes look clear>
<The skin doesn't appear to be swollen or gray in color>
<That looks like a healthy baby Red Eared Slider!>
<Here's everything you need to know to keep that little turtle healthy:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >


Sick Red Eared Slider     2/28/17
<Hiya, Darrel here>
My name is Randall. I have two red eared sliders, both about 20. They share an indoor pond. About 2 weeks ago, one of my turtles started basking a lot. When I put him in the water he started to float. He can still swim but its on top of the water. He floats evenly on top of the water, not lop sided.
<The floating is not much of a problem, Randall. If a turtle has been out of the water for a very long time, this can be typical because air has simply permeated his skin and into his body. In time as he swims, this goes away. THAT SAID as we read on ...>
He also doe not eat much, if anything.
<This is more the problem, Basking a lot AND not eating is a sign that something is wrong.
Our biggest problem of course, is that diagnostics are expensive and often inconclusive. He may be fighting an infection or he may have become weak from a poor diet. Even when turtles are eating well, sometimes they get sick from eating the wrong things.>
Do you know whats going on?
<Sadly, no. At this point it's a guessing game and the best answer we have, short of having him examined by a veterinarian and running blood tests - is to treat AS IF he has an infection. Keep him warm and dry and feed
him tiny bits of highly nutritious food. In other words create an
environment where he has the very best chance to heal himself. Read here about dry-docking.
As far as diet is concerned, small pieces of beef or chicken liver in his bath water is where I would start.>
Thank you


About my red eared slider; not eating     1/24/17
Hi there I have had my turtle for about 6 years now. She has always been a good eater until recently she's been being fussy and refusing food she has eaten for quite some time. She is only eating one specific type of food but less of it. She is also less active then she was and she is sleeping a lot. She still basks during the day in natural sunlight but whenever she seems to go in the water she seems to always want to sleep. The water is not too cold as I know that could have been a possibility. She tends to do a strange thing with her mouth sometimes as if she is grinding her teeth(although she has none) She does not seem to have any abnormal breathing though. Please let me know if you could give some advice.
<Sorry for the delay replying. I wonder if she's egg-bound? Quite common in female turtles. Male turtle not required! See if a tray or box of warm, dry sand attracts her attention. Place it in her habitat, so she can climb onto it easily. Exercise is also important to get things moving, in much the same way that lack of exercise promotes constipation in humans.
If this doesn't help, and you can rule out diet, temperature, and lack of UV-B light, then a trip to the vet will almost certainly be required. Egg-binding is serious, and if it doesn't fix itself (as it usually does) then the eggs die, decay, cause septicaemia, and the turtle dies. Yikes!


Turtle Skin Problem          11/12/15
Hi WWM crew,
<Hiya Darrel here>
I really need some help in finding out how to treat my red eared slider.
*Before bringing to the vet:*
Initially, I noticed that the neck area looks very wrinkly/bulging and has these brownish red patches around it (its only at one side of the neck). She's not as active as she used to be and she didn't stick out her neck much even when she's eating. When she swims, she doesn't use her right arm much (the arm near the affect neck area) so she tilts to one side when she swims. There were also foams in the tank but I'm not sure if its because of the water, the filter or the turtle. The foam started around 3 months ago but it only happened 2 or 3 times. She stays together with another male red ear slider that is slightly smaller than her and i feed her the pellets once a day.
She's about 4 years and 7 to 8 inch.
So I brought her to the vet and the vet said her shell seems fine and the formation is good. I told him about the skin and he gave an antidote jab to see if it helps as we weren't sure what's the cause. The shell gets slimy but the skin is not slimy. He said she looks fine and I just have to ensure the environment and the water is clean so now i change the water once in 2 to 3 days. Previously I've always filled the tank with tap water but I've found out that I'm supposed to put the water overnight before putting into the tank or use filtered water so now i use filtered water in the temporary container.
<No… that’s for fish .. from the days where the water supply had simple chlorine in it that would burn the gills and kill the fish. Today even an overnight aeration doesn’t get rid of the chlorine because it’s often bound to ammonia that stays in solution much longer>
<For turtles … any tap or well water that you could possibly drink and not die from is just fine – as is>
*After bringing to the vet:*
She's eating fine and seems to be sticking her neck out more often to eat. She also opens both of her arms wide now when she swims. Everything seems better but the skin condition around the neck seems worst. The skin is not wrinkly brownish red anymore but it looks as though it has torn opened or like the skin is rotting. Its pale pinkish and has bumps and looks a bit flaky too. I'm not sure if its the fungus in the water that's worsening the skin condition or whether its some internal infection.
Note: I've read the previous FAQs and I couldn't quite find a similar problem, I think it might be skin infection and saw some advice to keep the wound dry. Should i keep my red eared slider in a dry area so the wound can possibly heal?
<Yes!! Read this carefully and treat as if it’s a cut or scrape http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  this may have started from a simple irritation or a scrape and gotten worse, but in any case the treatment is to keep her dry, apply betadine twice daily and allow her to heal>
I plan to bring her to the vet again but your opinion, experience and advice would really help so that I can inform the vet as well on possible cause and solutions. (Treating turtles is not common around my area)
<If your vet suspects that the infection may be internalized, then ask him if he can prescribe Danofloxacin or the old standby (but harsher) Baytril>
I've attached 2 pictures when the skin was wrinkly and 1 picture when the skin has gotten worse.
I would really appreciate a reply.
Thank you!

red eared slider     10/1/15
I have had this red eared slider for about 5 years. About a week ago, it started going limp when I would pick it up. Then started to gasp for air.
What has caused this?
<From your message, I can't really tell. So let's do a checklist of the "big three" reasons turtles get sick...
(1) Heat lamp over the dry basking spot working?
(2) UV-B lamp is in use, and less than a year old?
(3) Calcium-rich diet provided?
If the answer to any of these is "no" then that's why! There can be other reasons, but honestly, 99 times out of 100 these three are the reasons turtles sicken and die.
A five-year old turtle is just a kid really, these things should live 20, 30 years in captivity, but often a vivarium that was adequate when they were really tiny becomes less useful as it matures. UV-B lamps for example have a finite life, and even if they "light up" to your eyes, they won't be producing enough (invisible, to us) UV-B light after 6-12 months depending
on the brand. So if you haven't replaced the UV-B lamp since you bought the turtle, then that DEFINITELY needs to be done -- and if you don't have any UV-B, then that's ALMOST CERTAINLY going to be harmful, even lethal to your turtle. Have cc'ed Darrel, our turtle guru in case I've missed something.
Neale Monks>


My RES Will not use his/her front left leg.      5/26/15
When I first got my RES he/she was very active and lively... Then she came down with an eye infection and was really depressed it seemed, as well as he/she seemed to be losing the use of the front left leg.
<Can happen, though reasons are multiple. Lack of calcium, vitamins and UV-B light in particular can affect the growth of bones, and this in turn can lead to lameness. Dietary shortcomings, but especially lack of Vitamin B1 through overuse of thiaminase-rich foods (shrimps for example) can lead to problems with the nervous system. Do understand that dietary problems and lack of UV-B are major reasons for the perceived difficulty in keeping reptiles healthy in the long term, and many vague sets of symptoms seem to have their underlying cause in these two key factors. So review diet (enough greens in particular, but also regular calcium dusting) and ask yourself when you last changed the UV-B lamp (most only last 6-12 months, consult with the manufacturer if you're not sure). A quick (and
inexpensive) vitamin shot from the vet is a good way to jump start the recovery process, but obviously conditions in the vivarium must be appropriate.>
I cleaned the tank and put he/she in some clean water for a time being. The eye infection seems to be going away but the leg is all but useless it seems, and the only time he/she seems to use it slightly is when swimming...
<Worrying. Do consult a vet.>
Note I do have a Plecostomus and have heard nothing but bad things from this fish... May this be the problem and if so, why is my turtle not able to use his/her leg???
<Mixing fish with turtles in home aquaria is invariably a bad idea. I can't think of a single situation where it won't end badly for one or other species. Their requirements are too different. So yes, separate them. While it's unlikely the Plec caused the damage, water quality won't be acceptable for the catfish in the long term, and I guess it's possible that a hungry Plec might graze on bleeding skin or damaged scutes, preventing normal healing. Have cc'ed our turtle expert in case I've missed anything. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My RES Will not use his/her front left leg.      5/28/15

He/she will eat nothing but the algae tabs that I was feeding my bottom feeder... what are some of the things I can buy/try to feed he/she that can solve this potentially harmful issue??
<Do read:
Numerous food options. Not feeding other foods for a few days/couple weeks will usually encourage turtles to take new items of food offered to them.>
FYI I have all the lights and correct temperature, so more than likely its the diet?
<No, diet in itself is rarely a "killer" issue (Red Ear Sliders are highly omnivorous) but a lack of calcium and UV-B (not light, UV-B) will turn an indifferent diet into a fatal set of problems. Do read, review where you were sent, and use a process of elimination to establish what's likely wrong. If you dust food with calcium, and changed your UV-B lamp in the last 6 months, yes, you can rule those two out. If not, change the UV-B lamp and start dusting food with calcium (a cuttlebone is great for this, cheap, easy to use, and if you put a piece in the tank, they'll nibble on
it periodically as well). Do also contact a vet if this turtle has been "out of sorts" for a few weeks and isn't getting better. Turtles, like all reptiles, are cheap to treat early on, but because their metabolism is slow, things worsen slowly, so if you aren't careful, the reptile gets very sick. A vet will check for a broken bone, give a vitamin shot, and provide you with a list of things to change/improve based on their observations.
Well worth doing. Cheers, Neale.>

My turtle is not fine          3/30/15
Hello Sir/ Maam
I have a 1 year old red ear slider. He was doing well but since (3 months)
I took him out of his aquarium and kept him in a tub filled with water due to some reason he is not eating food neither pellets nor anything else.
Yet he used to be active. But now He keep sleeping all day long. I don't have any vet near by to diagnose his problem.
Please help I am worried
<Prachi, let me direct you to this article first:
Sounds a lot like your turtle has not received the right care. Assuming he doesn't have an infection yet, improving his living conditions in three ways will help:
(1) Provide a source of UV-B light.
(2) Provide the right food (not just pellets).
(3) Provide a suitable source of warmth.
My educated guess would be he's not been getting all three of these things.
Reptiles take a long time to die, and when they go off their food, it's almost always a sure sign of poor food. By the time other symptoms become obvious, it's often too late to treat without medical attention (antibiotics, vitamin shots). But do read:
A vet will be able to diagnose the problem more specifically, of course,


I have a RES and he is no longer swimming around his eyes are swollen and he has a little bubble at the end on his nose when he is under water (which is now all the time ) he won't bask or eat I am so scared !
<These symptoms sound very serious. You need to get this turtle to a vet, ASAP. Key questions to ask: Do you provide UV-B light? Do you provide a basking lamp for warmth (which isn't the same thing as a UV-B lamp)? Do you provide a varied, vitamin-rich diet that includes green foods? If the answer to ANY of these is "No", then that's what caused the problem. Short term, go to the vet. Your turtle will be given a vitamin injection. Long term, fix the conditions you keep the turtle in. Lack of something in the way you keep your turtle has meant its immune system has become weak. Respiratory tract and eye infections are VERY common when turtles are kept badly, and invariably lead to death if not treated. Once you've called your vet to make an appointment, have a read here:
The good news is that a visit to the vet and much improved care at home (sic)... "will likely result in recovery"> <likely Neale>
Re: PLEASE HELP MY TURTLE !      2/15/15

Thank you so much I really appreciate it !
<Most welcome. Neale.>


Red Eared Slider Green Diarrhea     2/14/15
I have two 3 month old red eared sliders at 1.5 inch. About 1 week ago, one of the sliders started to have green diarrhea. The feces is bright green in color and has tendency attach to objects or aquarium walls. After closer inspection with magnifier, the feces looks fibrous; it consists of a web of small green fibers.
<Could be undigested cellulose from the green foods you're hopefully offering them. Not a problem if that's the case. But if you haven't been offering fresh greens, then something else was eaten. Possibly organic (for example houseplant leaves that someone/something put in the tank). But could also be inorganic (filter wool, for example, or pieces of fake plants). Review, and act accordingly.>
At one point the slider behaved sluggish for couple days. But since then it has been acting normally and eating normally.
I feed them Zoo Med baby turtle pellets once a day. UVA/B and basking light is offered close to 12 hour per day and they basking normally. Water is at 81F constantly.
<Bit warm by modern standards. When I was keeping turtles in the 80s, it was normal in the UK to heat the water. But nowadays the recommended approach is to leave the water at room temperature, while offering heat via
a heat lamp only. This is closer to the normal situation in the wild, and does indeed seem to work well, without the risk of the turtle smashing the glass heater (which happens, sooner or later, with larger turtles).>
Water is filtered 24/7 and partial changed daily. I have been feeding them recommended leafy greens but since I first observed the green diarrhea about 7 days ago, I have stopped providing other food choices besides the pellet.
<Ah, there's the answer. Simply cellulose. Turtles can't digest cellulose any more than we can, so it comes out much the same way it went in. We call it "fibre", and recognise its importance to a healthy digestive tract.
Likewise it's not a problem at all for turtles, and probably a sign everything is working as it should.>
I have been searched your site and other forum for days and couldn't find anything similar. Please help any input is appreciated. thanks,
<Most welcome. Neale.>


Hey.... child; RES, resp. issue        2/13/15
My name is Oscar I have a red eared slider. I have had her for almost two months now. She keeps sneezing ounces in while and I want to now what's wrong with her and also she has stop eating. I feed her some little brown pellets and lettuce but now she just stopped.
<Time for you to read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm
and the linked files above. And likely time to get your turtle into a vet. for a respiratory infection.
Bob Fenner>


Hi I need help with my res turtle       9/17/14
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have three baby RES turtles I bought online over a year ago.
They eat once a day but recently one of them got swollen eyes and bobs it's head back and forth constantly? Is he ok?
<NO! He's got a Vitamin A deficiency>
What do I do?
Also at night it makes a squeaking sound
<and possibly a respiratory condition>
The other turtle, without my noticing, got fat and now the crease In the bottom of its shell looks like it's splitting open. Is this normal?
<No. That sounds like obesity and just like a Vitamin deficiency is a sign of poor nutrition>
<Read here about how to treat them:
both their conditions sound advanced, so this may be a long road to recovery>
<After that, read here about proper conditions and proper diet:


My Red Eared Slider Can't Float     8/14/14
Hello, I just bought my RES a couple days ago from a store in the city as a baby. I know that it is illegal to buy them when they are so small so I'm doing my best to take care of him.
<Is it illegal? News to me. But maybe the laws in your home are different to those of the UK.>
His name is Murtle and he is an absolute character except over the past 24 hours or so I have realized that he seems to be unable to stay afloat.
<Classic symptom of respiratory tract infection.>

It looks as if he struggles to swim to the surface for air and when he does he's constantly kicking and swimming to stay there.
<Yes. Obviously, keep the water level as low as possible. Enough to cover his knees is fine. If the filter won't work this way, disconnect, and just do daily water changes. He can bask under the heat/UV-B lamp to warm up.
Despite what was commonly said in the past, you don't need to warm the water. Warm air, heated by a heat lamp, and a source of UV-B is all they need. You can buy combination heat/UV-B lamps and these are absolutely ideal.>
The only time he is able to stay afloat is if he uses something to prop him up such as his rock he uses for basking and the corner of the tank and another rock to put his back legs on to keep him close to the surface. I and not sure is this is a problem or if I'm thinking too much.
<Is a problem. Needs treatment. Without treatment, respiratory tract infections are invariably fatal.>
When he's on the side of the tank it looks almost as if he's dancing up and down trying to get to the surface. I'm afraid he's subject to drowning or
if he's sick.
<Yes, drowning is a VERY real risk.>
Please bl me save him!! Thank you!!
<Do read here first:
A trip to the vet will be necessary. This isn't necessarily expensive, do understand that, but I know it's a hassle for many people. But there is nothing, NOTHING, your pet store can sell you that will help. Usually, antibiotics and possibly a vitamin injection will be prescribed and used.
If finances are limited, consult with your local animal welfare charity to see if they can help. I've cc'ed our "turtle guru" Darrel in case my diagnosis is wrong or could be modified. Good luck to you both, Neale.> 


Please please respond ASAP.
My husband came into the room because he emptied water and said the turtle don't look good. I went in the bathroom and all of her limbs are limp, her eyes are open, she is non responsive, won't poke her head out, won't try to bite when fingers are close. She is shedding as usual, shell is not soft, eyes won't blink, around neck, shoulder, head area looks white almost pale.
I looked up reasons why and it said possible drowning or some illness/disease starting with a s. I tried the drowning method. Pulling her head out and stretching out all limbs... not sure what to do next. I am at work. Bout to call a herpetological vet, don't have money to treat, hopefully they can give advice over the phone, antibiotics inexpensive or none needed, just time. But if we have to bring her in and have to pay
right then, I may tell them to put her down:( She is my baby. My in laws visited from Brasil and bought it initially for my 2 daughters, but I have been caring for her and she is mine :) PLEASE HELP! She is still in same condition when I left for work this morning. If I didn't have to work I would have stayed home to find a solution.
We have had the turtle since 2006 when it was a baby. We call her a girl but not sure exactly after research:) My husband put the turtle in bucket of water a few days ago, OUTSIDE. Not sure how many. We used to keep her in aquarium, but she seemed to like it better outside. She has never been sick, except a cracked shell about 4 years ago, but when I came home yesterday 07/21/14, I brought the bucket in because the water was filthy.
We live in Santa Clarita where the temp is about 90-100+ most days. Been pretty cool since she was outside. I forgot to empty her water after coming home from 2 full time jobs and busy doing other stuff:(
EMAIL ME AT XXX.com or if possible call me at 310-XXX or my husband Rodrigo at 714-XXZX if I don't answer because I am at work. I line in southern California.
<OK - sorry to say that things don't look good just from what you're saying.
When I suspect drowning I do as you do - I place the head downward so that any water in the lungs does drain and move the limbs in and out is what we hope is an attempt to drive circulation. When not moving the limbs I place them somewhere warm and, as always, head downward.
I can tell you that I have seen a turtle recover. 6 hours later I come back to dispose of the little thing and it's looking up at me... but it's rare.
Keep her warm and dry and prod her rear limbs periodically -- and hope.
I wish I could do more.>

RE: rED EAR SLIDER DYING       8/1/14

Thank you so much for your email.
<Neale here; Darrel, Sue seem to be out.>
Sad to say, I found A HERPETOLOGICAL vet and she advised me of the same thing over the phone.
<Good. Invariably, vets are the best people to help sick/ailing reptiles.>
She told me to try and touch her eye ball with finger or object and if she does not blink, she is either brain dead or dead.
My husband tried it and nothing. But I told him to wait. He also held her upside down to try and drain water out. He put her back on the floor, limbs extended. About 4 hrs later, he text me and told me she was gone:(
I came home after work and placed her in a box. HE took her to vet on Thursday and they cremated her. No more turtles for me.
<Sorry to hear that. In some ways it's "once bitten, twice shy" with pet animals, especially reptiles, which can be very specific in their requirements (despite the animals themselves often being very cheap to buy,
so popular impulse purchases). But on the other hand, successful keeping of turtles need not be difficult or expensive. Do review this on WWM; see here:
Maybe you'll come back to turtles when the time right!>
Thank you so much for your feedback! Really appreciate it.
<Thanks for writing, Neale.>
RE: rED EAR SLIDER DYING      8/1/14

Thank you so much for your email.
<Yer welcome>
Sad to say, I found A HERPETOLOGICAL vet and she advised me of the same thing over the phone. She told me to try and touch her eye ball with finger or object and if she does not blink, she is either brain dead or dead. My husband tried it and nothing. But I told him to wait. He also held her upside down to try and drain water out. He put her back on the floor, limbs extended. About 4 hrs later, he text me and told me she was gone:(
I came home after work and placed her in a box. HE took her to vet on Thursday and they cremated her. No more turtles for me.
<On behalf of Bob, Neale, Sue and the entire crew, we're sorry for your loss. I'm especially sad that there are no more turtles in your future.
There are so many Sliders sitting in horrible conditions in fish stores that would have a great life with someone as caring as you and your husband. I hope that time allows you reconsider :)>
<Best Regards from all of us>
Thank you so much for your feedback! Really appreciate it.
Have a great rest of the week!


Possible blister?      6/26/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a 19 year old, male, Red Ear Slider turtle. Up until a week ago, he had been living in a 30 gallon tank. I broke it during cleaning, and he lived in a large Rubbermaid tote for about 6 days, until I got him an 80 gallon tank which I put him in today.
Once I set up the tank and put him in, I noticed a sort or dark looking blister on his "chin" and then a smaller spot a little further down on his neck (I have taken a picture and will attach). In his old tank I had rocks (good sized ones) along the bottom, I'm wondering if maybe he nicked his jaw on one and got hurt. However, I did not notice this on his chin when I moved him to the Rubbermaid. The new tank has no rocks so it can stay cleaner, and I have a turtle conditioner block inside as well. Will this blister go away?
<Usually, yes>
Or what is it actually?
<I'll explain>
Should I take him to my vet right away?
<No need>
I appreciate any advice.
<Meghan, what usually happens, especially with a change of enclosure, is that during her period of stress and anxiety she walked around, scratched and rubbed along the way until she actually injured herself. Sometimes, when an enclosure is especially unsuitable, we'll see them do it seemingly on purpose.>
<What you need to do here is remember that once they have an open wound, the warm, wet environment they normally love is not their friend anymore.
Read here about dry-docking and treat for Cuts Bruises and Bites --  <<Yikes; no citation/link>>
she'll be fine>
Thank you.
<Yer welcome>

white spots on young red eared slider   2/18/14
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have just purchased a hatchling red eared slider from a pet store and after examining him I noticed small white spots. I have never owned a turtle it was a surprise gift, I'll attach a picture, I'm not sure if this is normal or if the turtle needs vet attention.
<Well, it's not normal, but doesn't require vet attention.   It's probably a fungal infection, which is easy to clear.   Read the following two articles>
< This one outlines everything you need to know about keeping turtles. 
Check all your care and housing against what the article states and correct any errors/omissions:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<This one describes in detail the problems you can encounter, how to look for them and what to do about it 
<A little attention from you and all should be well>


RES     8/13/13
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have 7 Red Eared Sliders and they all live in the bathtub with adequate water and lighting.
<Sliders are colonial animals.  They're happy to live in groups and usually get along provided there is enough space for any two to get away from each other when tempers flare>
However, I noticed that on the tub there will be some red fluid like waste coming out from my turtles but the problem is I do not know which one is experiencing it and I'm wondering will it affect the other turtles living together?
<Two possible things: The first, most common and most forgotten is simply poop containing red dyes in whatever food they are eating.  The second is blood in the urine or stools.   If a close examination of each animal isn't possible, the usual test is to put one in a separate tub overnight and check to see if that turtle's private water is OK>
<In MOST cases the bleeding is due to a cut or bite that heals within a few days, but if the problem persists you should isolate each animal one at a time until you find the one in crisis and then treat accordingly.>
<As far as good or bad for the others, that isn't a primary concern.  Since they live together they are all exposed to each other's pathogens so it's only a question of water quality>
My other question is that when I'm washing my turtles I would notice that inside the their legs and arms contain some orange pimple like skins and I'm wondering are they bad ?
<I'd like to see a picture, if possible.  There is a virus that causes benign cyst-like bumps on the limbs but the orange color is not familiar to me>


Red Eared Slider Question (They're not moving ) 12/24/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've searched all over for the answer to this question, on Google and on the website. I have two Red Eared Sliders, both about 1.5 inches wide. They get heated water and light (although not a UVB light). I feed them leafy greens like spinach and mix in a few pellets of Repto-min. I change the water when it gets dirty or if the food starts to not look fresh. I don't have a normal filtration system. The tank is pretty huge compared to their size (14in diameter). They have a basking/rock area and enough water to submerge to swim in. They've been doing fine, swimming around, eating happily, coming out of the water. I am going out of town for the holidays and my roommate will be looking after them. I thought it would be a good time to clean the tank so my roommate wouldn't have to do that much work. I did it the way I normally did. Put them in another bowl with warm water, same temp as the tank. And usually they both swim like crazy. I go and clean the tank and rocks etc. But by the time I put them back in... both of them are not moving! Their legs are sticking out.. the head is not really all the way in but the eyes are closed. No response when I poke them. They have no weirdness about them, so no funny growth, nothing growing on them, nothing falling off them. I figured I'd leave them the way they are back in the tank and see what happened the next day. Put in fresh food. The next morning (5 hours later), before I left for my bus out of town, they were still like that. I'm afraid they might be dead? But what else could it be?
<I'd agree that they are no longer with us>
What else could have caused it? Why would both of them suddenly die if I didn't do anything differently?
<The death of two individuals at the same moment is very unusual and it's an indication of some form of EXTREME condition - water VERY hot or VERY cold or '¦ a toxin (like bleach or ammonia) in the water in VERY high concentrations '¦ but there are all things that would have had to be SO extreme that you would have HAD to have noticed.>
<So that more or less rules out environment>
<Which, when we rule out that '¦ leaves us with the fact that they may have both been very sick for a very long time and never showed symptoms>
<This is very often the case with reptiles and fish, Jane - they tend to be very stoic, looking "almost normal" and acting "almost normal" on the outside - all the while getting sicker and sicker on the inside. Many times with fish and reptiles, the period between symptoms and death is merely hours: They'd been sick for months and they never let us see it until they were just too sick to act normal anymore.>
I really liked them too! and I really don't want it happening again if I get another RES.
Thank you so much. Sorry for bothering you with so many questions.
<No bother, Jane>
<Turtles indoors do not need heated water. They need a basking area with heat (88-93 degrees) and UV-B (They MUST have this!!!) and water between 68-73 degrees) so that they can choose the temperature that suits them. Water that is too warm combined with a basking area means their metabolism is either in High gear or Extra High gear -- and it's possible that they couldn't get enough to eat to maintain it.>
<Read this link - cover every subject listed and make sure everything is up to standards before you try again>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Happy holidays!

Adopted Adult Read Eared Slider ....concerns  12/11/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I checked everywhere on your site for this but couldn't find this combination of things.
<It's all there '¦ we just haven't put the words together in the right sentences yet!>
for starters, I rescued (6 days ago) this turtle of 8 years from a woman who only had her in a small 24 gal tank outdoors (temps here are 40-70 now), no light, no filter, no basking area, no heater. she only fed her pellets and went up to two weeks without changing the water. Not only was the water black but the turtle was too. she was very pale, no colors. needless to say my first thought was to get this turtle as far away from this woman as possible. the woman said she was molting and would probably get larger soon. the only other information offered was that she laid eggs a few years ago.
<That's pretty bad care alright. Glad you stepped in>
This is my first turtle so I've been doing a lot of reading. Offering food, watching from a distance and removing everything after an hour.
she is 8" wide, 10" long
<That's a BIG girl>
First day- fresh water went well, she was very active. Pieces of scutes falling off. noticed her shell is deformed with her left side being rounder, more convex and her right side flatter and concave compared to the left side. the area of flatness is right around where a right shoulder blade would be if she had one. No appetite.
<That's fine - they don't have to eat every day>
Day two- hearty appetite for green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, carrots and boiled chicken. total amount offered/eaten was not more than the size of her head.
<That's about right. HOWEVER '¦ believe it or not, simple old Koi Pellets are a more balanced diet for her than all that stuff you took the time and trouble to provide for her.>
Day three- no appetite, water change, added a filter and a light. no room in this tank for a basking area of her size. More scutes
<She needs both a basking (heat) lamp and a UV-B lamp. A filter is good, but the thing to remember with a turtle is that you'll still need to do water changes! It's pretty unlikely that you can have a filter big enough to keep a turtle tank clean.>
<She does NOT need a heater in the water. If the tank is indoors, room temperature (67-73f) is fine -- and if the tank is outdoors, no heater will keep her warm enough during the winter anyway.>
Day four- no appetite, partial water change, mostly inactive. swam around more when light was off. started showing signs of color...yellow stripes rather than grayish white. ear getting brighter.
<Sounds like she was simply DIRTY in addition to everything else>
Day five- no appetite, mostly inactive, brighter colors, started to notice a pink color around her legs.
<The pink is NOT a good sign>
Day six- Partial water change, still no appetite, lots of yellow, area around her legs are very pink. More scutes.
<Pink is often a sign of Septicemia (the presence of bacteria in the blood) and if it is - that is a condition that requires veterinary care.>
is the no eating for four or more days normal? Maybe she had too many veggies and greens for her first time?
<Many things. First, a healthy turtle can and will go weeks without eating. For example, if her metabolism is slow due to cold or cool conditions (lack of basking, etc.) her stomach is still full -- this too is not a healthy thing. Second, a sudden departure from her staple diet can cause metabolic upsets just like in people.>
Do I need to give her something to make her poop? Since I have the filter now, I can't tell if she is pooping.
<That's not our problem, don't worry about that>
Is the redness around her legs normal? I thought maybe it could be because of the light since she's never had one. Maybe circulatory because she's been more inactive than active since the light and filter?
<The redness is not normal - HOWEVER '¦ there are so many "things" to deal with here it may be premature to decide what it all is.>
Do I need to be concerned with the deformity of her shell?
<NO. Not now. Besides, not a lot we could do for it if we really were concerned>
Do I need to worry that she has only laid eggs once in her 8 years and could she be bound up with eggs?
<VERY unlikely - and not on our top 10 things to worry about anyway>
Do I need to get a heater for her tank. I live in Florida and my indoor temp is 78 in the summer and never lower than 71 in the winter.
<No - not at all. In fact it hurts more than it helps. We need her to bask under heat and UV light and the reason she basks is to warm up. If the water is nice and toasty they choose not to bask and without basking they get sick>
I appreciate any help you can give. I'm trying to keep costs low and avoid going to a vet since I want to get her a larger tank as soon as possible.
I've been doing a lot of reading to find answers....but I think I found needless concerns. :-)
<OK - here's the deal: First, get her under sunlight. Basking. Even if you have to take her for a walk in the morning or evening. Just remember if you set her on the lawn, don't take your eyes off her for a second!! It seems, when we're not watching, they can run like horses and climb like lizards: One second they're sitting there staring at you, then you run inside to grab a drink and come back out -- and they're across the street in someone else's garden.>
<Before you buy a bigger tank, buy a UV-B lamp. I'd rather see her in a big Tupperware tub or cardboard carton under basking and UV light than in water. She can live very happily in a warm, dry environment and it may even help her recover from some of the poor care she's had.>
<You'll have a few challenges doing this. You STILL need the lamps on one side of the enclosure so that she can get under the lamp and also away from the lamp. One part lighted and another part shaded would be good. Make sure she can't climb out - the walls should be at least TWO TIMES her length.>
<Place her in her tank once each day for 15 minutes to allow her to drink, eat and poop. Offer her basic Koi pellets (they're a completely balanced diet for Sliders, too!) and no more that she'll eat in 5 minutes. You'll also see if she poops. Then, back in her warm & dry place.>
<this thorough drying-out will help her fight off any skin fungus, it will expose her to the UV light which she needs and hopefully it will spike her metabolism into eating, pooping, etc.>
<Now, as far as the scutes are concerned, if they're coming off as thin, finger nail-type transparent sheets and the shell underneath looks new and healthy, then this is a good thing. You can even scrub her off with a toothbrush and a tiny bit of dish soap (as long as you don't get it in her eyes, nose, mouth, etc.) and this will help in the process of cleaning her up.>
<When you DO get the bigger tank, remember we try to set things up to offer her a choice - wool water or warm basking - and then let her decide what she needs>
I love your site, thank you so much for it!
<Thank you!! We're kinda proud of it too!>
<General care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Health concerns: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Read them both!!!>

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