FAQs About Red Ear Slider (RES) Turtle
Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles)
by Darrel Barton,
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, Amphibians, Red Eared Slider Care, Shell Rot in Turtles,
on RES Health: RES Disease,
RES Disease/Health 2, RES Disease 3, RES
Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, RES
Health 7, RES Health 8, RES Health 9,
RES Health 11,
RES Health 12, RES Health
13, & Shell Rot, Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 3, Shell Rot, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,
FAQs on RES Health by Type:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Traumas, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,
& Sliders 1,
Red Eared Slider Identification,
RES Behavior, RES Compatibility,
Question about Red Eared Slider
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a pair of 13-year old Red Eared Sliders which some friends gave
to me recently. The pair are in a large backyard pond, and the male has
a fleshy blob of flesh sticking out just in front of his left, rear leg.
The lump is about the size of a golf ball. I have included a couple of
photos, one of which also shows the female. Any ideas about this lump?
<First off, based on size and looks, I'd say that's a female.>
<Those lumps are usually cysts, which would be hard to the touch but can
occasionally be a prolapse of the intestines. At the size indicated, I'd
say it's too big for home treatment and this turtle requires a trip to
the vet for close-up examination and treatment.>
Sick baby red eared slider 10/13/12
<Hi Abby, Sue here with you.>
I bought three baby red eared slider almost a month ago and they were
all fine up until about a week a half ago I started noticing one of the
turtles become increasingly lethargic. She normally was very actively,
and very feisty and funny to watch but recently all she does is sit on
the basking rock with her eye shut--sometimes for hours. She hardly
responds when I nudge her and will only start moving if I put her under
water and hold her in my hand until her eyes open- which can take about
a minute and a half.
<I agree. From what you describe, she appears to be ill.>
Once both her eye are open she'll start squirming and I'll put her back
in the tank where she'll swim around for a while
<Until she’s better, she needs to come out of the water and be put into
a warm dry environment. Here’s a link that shows you how to do that;
look under the section called “ISOLATION AND DRY-DOCK”. I’d also read
the rest of the article as well.
(I even saw her eat twice in that past 3 days!)
<You don’t mention what you’re feeding them which I’ll get into more
below, but frequency wise you should only be feeding them once every
couple of days for no more than they can consume in 5 or so minutes.
Overfeeding can lead to a variety of illnesses.>
but not long after, she'll return to her basking rock. The tank has an
adequate filter, a basking rock, a UVA and UVB rays, and is about 76
degrees. I clean the tank every week.
<I’d suggest changing the water much more frequently than that if you
have 3 turtles – how frequently depends on several factors like how
powerful your filter is, how large your tank is, whether you feed them
in the tank or in a separate bin, how quickly you scoop up uneaten food
and waste, etc.>
Yesterday, I separated her from the other two turtles who seem to be
perfectly normal. As I was separating her, I realized she has developed
white bumps next to her mouth, a tiny dot on her arm, and on her foot-
all on the right side. It looks like a fungus to me, but I have no idea.
<Could be; there’s another section in that link I gave you above called
“Fungal Infections” that you can read over. Fungus is often a result of
improper basking or water conditions. Besides what I mentioned above
regarding the water changes, also see further below for some of the
other questions I raised about your habitat.>
<Generally speaking, if you notice the spots have an odor or you're able
to rub them off, then it’s likely a fungus. If you have any doubts about
it, and given she's also been lethargic, it would probably not be a bad
idea to bring her to a vet who has the advantage of being able to
physically examine her – preferably an herp vet or a vet that
specializes in reptiles/birds/exotics.>
The temporary tank, does not have a filter (I plan on changing the water
daily), but it does have UVA and UVB rays and a rock for her to bask on.
<The temporary tank shouldn’t have any water in it at all. As above, she
needs to be dry-docked according to the instruction in that link.>
I will send another email with pictures.
<Abby, the pictures aren’t clear enough to see anything, and even if
they were I’d still tell you what I did above as far as the spots you’re
<Other than the spots, it seems at the very least your turtle has a
Vitamin A deficiency. Closed eyes are a key symptom of that illness.
What have you been feeding them for their diet? And how often and how
much of it have you been giving them?>
<The link I gave you above also talks about Vitamin A deficiency (see
the section, “Swollen or closed eyes”), and offers some suggestions.
Here’s also a link to an article that talks about it exclusively:
<Nearly all turtle illnesses are a result of something wrong with either
their diet or their habitat/care. You described a little about your
set-up but didn’t mention other things that can also be associated with
the symptoms you’re seeing. For example, things like -- whether you also
have a heat lamp in addition to the UVA/UVB lights, what the basking
temperature is under those lights (should be around 88-90 degrees F), if
and for how many hours a day she was out of the water basking BEFORE she
got sick, etc.) So I’m also going to give you this link to our general
care guide – read it over to make sure you’re providing her and them
everything they need -
<You’re welcome, Abby. Follow the Isolation, Vitamin A, Fungus, and
other sick care instructions and see if any/all of that helps. If while
you’re doing these things you see her spots, appetite or lethargy
worsening, or you notice any new symptoms, then the best course of
action is to take her to a vet who can physically examine her. >
Teeny Tiny Turtle Trouble - 10/04/2012
Hi WWM! :) [Just call me L ]
<Alright, L, then I'm S. Actually Sabrina, or Sab, will do.>
I know that you probably have loads of articles on this certain subject
but I just need to make sure about it and get some advice from you guys.
<We do, actually, and I'll paste in some links in a bit....>
I have two small terrapins, one about 5 cm and another around 4 cm.
<This is very small indeed. Many places in the US, this is smaller than
is legally saleable - you'd think it'd go without saying not to stick
your pets in your mouth, especially when they carry Salmonella, but I
guess it's been done anyway, and so there are laws about it, saving us
I don't know how old they are though.
<Young, I'm sure, at that size.>
After I got the smaller one, I bought a bigger tank to accommodate both
terrapins- I think they're RESs.
<"Bigger" is a relative term.... as is "big".... what is "big" to you
may be "small" to your animals. Bear this in mind as you continue to
research their husbandry.>
It was fine for a few days until one day when I noticed that the tiniest
terrapin was becoming less lively. She slept all the time and I started
to worry about her. Then, I started noticing some white cotton-like
spread clinging on to her limbs. I was worried and researched on the Net
and I found out that it might be a fungal infection.
<Or bacterial.... but bad news, either way. Do also try to be sure that
it isn't just normally shedding skin, too; this is described a bit in at
least one of the articles I'll link....>
As I couldn't go out to a vet and didn't have any fungal cream, I placed
it in a different tank filled with water and salt as suggested by a
Apparently the salt would act as an antiseptic. I did this for half an
hour for two days, then put it back into the tank after drying her. She
still continued to sleep often and the fungal infection was still
there... Then recently I decided to put her and the slightly larger one,
which was starting to develop the same symptoms of fungal infection,
<Yikes! It's too little, too late now, but I'll say it anyway:
quarantining the sick animal is/was an important step that seems to have
been skipped. Now you know for the future, though. If a critter is sick,
get it into a quarantine system to allow it time to recover, and to
prevent the spread of illness to healthy pets, as well as for the
obvious purpose of medicating if necessary.>
into the salt water again. Separately, of course. The larger one from
the start had no problems, was active and swam all the time. After the
salt water he continued to be as lively as ever. For Tiny, after the
salt water, she started sleep less. Now, she is awake most of the time
in the day.
<An improvement upon her previous behavior?>
She also swims. Although sometimes, she swims with her eyes closed.
<This might be telling.... Something conspicuously absent in your
otherwise detailed email is a description of the animals' habitat. The
symptoms you describe may be entirely environmental. The habitat must be
suitably large and offer ample space for both animals to get completely
out of the water to dry off. Their basking area must have the right
temperatures and also lighting that provides UVA/UVB, and no glass or
lens between the light bulb and the habitat that would block the UVA/UVB
Of the utmost importance is water quality. You must test (or have a fish
shop test for you) Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. Ammonia and Nitrite
must be ZERO, Nitrate as low as possible, but at least below 20ppm.
Proper filtration is a must - turtles eat (and poop!) a lot!>
I noticed that her limbs were free from infection on the top, but the
cotton like stuff still clings to the bottom of the limbs. I observed
her for about four to five days and can say that she is alert,
responsive and eats, basks lots, swims and sleeps well at night. She
seems fairly fine other than the fungus. Is there a way I can treat her
without bringing her to the vet and buying fungal cream?
<Well, my gut reaction to this is that if what you're doing hasn't fixed
the issue, and the animal is sick, it should see a vet. I, personally,
feel pretty strongly about this, especially considering the rise in
availability of vets that specialize in reptiles. If, however, this is
impossible, or if you don't have a reptile vet in your area, I am
hopeful that the following articles will be of further use to you. Once
again, do please observe and be sure that the fluffy stuff isn't shed
skin (which would look sheet-like, almost) and is normal. Since you
describe it as having been there for four or five days, though, I would
be less inclined to think it is something normal. Check and correct any
environmental issues, and read the following articles for more
this may be the most helpful, with regards to treatment.... please read
Note that the FAQs contain scads of information, as well. On the
following link, scroll to about the bottom, and you'll find lots and
lots of FAQs pages on turtles, in addition to the articles linked above.
Thank you and sorry for the long message! I look forward to your reply!!
<Best wishes to you and your chelonian pets!>
<-Sabrina, sneaking into the webmail and out again....><<Wow! B>>
My red eared slider is very sick, please help.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am not sure how old it is, but its shell is almost 2 inches. It has
been acting abnormally for about 2 weeks. He is barely active and has
only eaten once in about a week, and that was only a mealworm.
<Not a good sign>
His eyes are swollen and he rarely opens them.
<Yes, he's sick>
His color is slightly fading. He occasionally opens his mouth. I
originally thought he had a respiratory infection, so I have some
Baytril coming in the mail. About an hour ago I went to pick him up and
noticed his shell is becoming soft. I have been looking up the symptoms
and think he has MBD. I would feed him calcium rich food, but he is not
eating and since he is so small I am scared I may hurt him if I try to
force feed him. I live in a very small town and have called all the herp
vets near by and all of them are out of town for about a week.
<He needs calcium and vitamins injected. Luckily he doesn't need a
"herp vet" for that. Ask your vet to supply "Calcium Gluconate
50 mg/kg IM every other day for 6 days" to be injected in the
front leg and a general purpose multivitamin at 100 IU/kg subq weekly
for 2 weeks >
I have two RES but the other one is perfectly fine. I have them in a 10
gallon tank, about 2/3 the way full of water. I have a running filter
and a heater. I read to adjust the heater to 80F to help him heal so I
plan on doing that. I have a floating dock for them to bask on and have
a lamp about 2 feet above it with a 38 watt light bulb. My mom works at
the vet in town but they only treat dogs and cats, so I may be able to
receive some help from them but very minimal.
<first, both turtles need to be kept warm and DRY for the time being.
Read how (and why) to dry-dock a turtle while it's healing here:
As you'll read, every condition he has is brought on by a combination of
environment and diet>
Anything would be appreciated, I am extremely worried about him and do
not know what to do. If it would help I could give him a calcium
injection. I have the proper needle and calcium pills that I could
dilute in water, but I would not do that unless I knew it was safe.
<Ground up pills injected would probably be fatal. Use Calcium
Gluconate as stated. Your vet will have plenty of it>
The Baytril should be here tomorrow. I am extremely worried about the
soft shell and lack of eating and lack of activity.
<DO NOT administer Baytril yet! It's extremely toxic to the
animal and in its weakened state we don't need it yet.
Calcium and vitamins and complete change to a warm and dry environment
<Tell your mom that every dog & cat Veterinarian should have a copy if
my friend Doug Mader's book: Reptile Medicine and Surgery, 2nd Edition
from Dr. Douglas Mader. ISBN-9780721693279. Simple references to
basic treatments have helped many veterinarians help many patients that
are out of their normal field of expertise>
My red eared slider is very sick, please help. 8/15/12
I am not completely sure of my rd
Re: My red eared slider is very sick, please help. - 8/17/12
Thank you very much.
I managed to get a vet appt in for tomorrow so I will take him in to get
the calcium&vitamins. I went and bought a cuttlebone (and I chipped off
the back), and Zilla Calcium Supplemental food spray today. My mom
picked up Zilla caloric supplement and appetite stimulant, but I do not
plan on using it until I know it is safe and if he does not eat on his
Thank you for your help, I will go dry dock them both tonight.
<Good moves. Once you get him healthy again and if you feed
him Koi pellets and an occasional earthworm, he'll get all the vitamins
and minerals he needs. Cool, clean water, a warm basking
area with good UV-B sunlight and all can stay well!>
Sores/Scabs on RES arm – 8/13/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Thank you so much for your fantastic and informative site.
<You're welcome. When you win the lottery, please remember
the "donate" button on the home page>
My wife and I have written you before regarding our RES' ears not being
very red. We were so impressed with your quick response and help.
<That's why we're here. Well that... and the free food>
Sadly, we now have a more pressing question. We went on vacation
for a week, and left Horace in his tank with an automatic feeder.
<For future reference, that wasn't necessary. Any trip less than
two weeks, just don't feed him>
We came back and he had knocked his ramp down, as well as dislodged his
<Turtles can be little wrecking crews. Things have to be settled
and secured. I use plastic wire ties even on my rock work.>
We don't know how long he was in the water without the ability to bask.
It couldn't have been more than 3 days. When we came home tonight,
we noticed three sores/scabs (not sure which) on his arm. They are
about the size of the head of a q-tip and brown. This has never
happened before! Could it be caused by the prolonged water
<No. Most likely he scratched or injured himself in the scuffle
and then the wound succumbed to some sort of infection>
There are no other turtles or animals in his tank. His water was
very clean and clear when we got home, as his filter had been running
the whole time. Perhaps he cut himself when he dislodged his ramp
What should we do to help him heal? Will this kill him?!?!??
<Not if you treat it>
We have some skin and shell conditioner we put on his wounds to
discourage him from biting them.
<Read here and treat. Dry-dock him for a few days, iodine and
hydrogen peroxide and Horace will be just fine.
Sidenote- in the past, we have sometimes seen him biting this same arm
on occasion. We figured he just had an itch as he never broke the
skin or even caused redness to appear in this area. Could these
wounds be related to this biting behavior?
Should he never have been biting his arm in the first place?
<They do lots of things that shouldn't do, but habits are hard to break.
Our job is to see that his water is clean and cool and his basking place
is warm and dry and his food is a balance diet. Beyond that if he
wants to bite himself or sing country music, indulge him>
Thanks again! Horace is much appreciative!
All the best,
Ricky and Jacqueline
turtle noises 8/13/12
how are you? i own a male red-eared slider about 6-7 years old, he's
been with us for 5 years. He spends a good portion of the day outside of
the water (we have built him a slide so he comes and goes out of his
water as he pleases) but lately when we put him in the water he makes
these strange noises, like he's giving out bubble or sucking in his
breath or something like that, its quite difficult to explain.
<Reads like some sort of respiratory infection>
he seems healthy, he's eating normally, and plays with us too, but if we
leave him be, he spends mostly all day sleeping and is a bit slow, but
that is typical for him because around this time every year he gets
lethargic. physically he is all ok, no swollen eyes, no soft shell, he
just doesn't like to waste his energy a lot, and is eating a little less
than usual but eating. The noises are sort of scary and I'm worried, can
you help me as to what it is, is it something i should be worried about
and if so, how should i fix it?
<Please read here:
and the Related FAQs file linked above. Bob Fenner>
I would appreciate your help a lot
Sores/Scabs on RES arm
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Thank you so much for your fantastic and informative site.
<You're welcome. When you win the lottery, please remember the
"donate" button on the home page>
My wife and I have written you before regarding our RES' ears not being very
red. We were so impressed with your quick response and help.
<That's why we're here. Well that... and the free food>
Sadly, we now have a more pressing question. We went on vacation for a
week, and left Horace in his tank with an automatic feeder.
<For future reference, that wasn't necessary. Any trip less than two
weeks, just don't feed him>
We came back and he had knocked his ramp down, as well as dislodged his
<Turtles can be little wrecking crews. Things have to be settled and
secured. I use plastic wire ties even on my rock work.>
We don't know how long he was in the water without the ability to bask.
It couldn't have been more than 3 days. When we came home tonight, we
noticed three sores/scabs (not sure which) on his arm. They are about
the size of the head of a q-tip and brown. This has never happened
before! Could it be caused by the prolonged water exposure?
<No. Most likely he scratched or injured himself in the scuffle and
then the wound succumbed to some sort of infection>
There are no other turtles or animals in his tank. His water was very
clean and clear when we got home, as his filter had been running the whole
time. Perhaps he cut himself when he dislodged his ramp and platform?
What should we do to help him heal? Will this kill him?!?!??
<Not if you treat it>
We have some skin and shell conditioner we put on his wounds to discourage
him from biting them.
<Read here and treat. Dry-dock him for a few days, iodine and hydrogen
peroxide and Horace will be just fine.
Sidenote- in the past, we have sometimes seen him biting this same arm on
occasion. We figured he just had an itch as he never broke the skin or
even caused redness to appear in this area. Could these wounds be
related to this biting behavior?
Should he never have been biting his arm in the first place?
<They do lots of things that shouldn't do, but habits are hard to break.
Our job is to see that his water is clean and cool and his basking place is
warm and dry and his food is a balance diet. Beyond that if he wants
to bite himself or sing country music, indulge him>
Thanks again! Horace is much appreciative!
All the best,
Ricky and Jacqueline
My baby sliders possible shell rot 7/21/12
I've included several pictures of my two female yellow belly sliders….I
have not noticed any change in there activity. I clean there tank every
2 days. They have a diet of turtle pellets, lettuce and carrots. i also
use a water treatment for the tap water.
I have noticed there bellies have been darkening lately. and one of them
came to me with a wart like bump on her shell but it has improved
greatly and fresh new shell is now visible.
The darkening on the bottom of the shell is what worries me, I have
taken the following steps since i noticed the bottom of the shells.
<Some change in the colour of the shell is normal; as the animals age,
their colours will become duller, muddier. So long as the shell smells
clean and feels firm, don't worry too much. Use a fingernail to scrape
at the suspect area of the shell; healthy shell will resist scraping and
feel tough, like horn; soft shell will flake or come away as powder, and
there's usually a distinct fungus odour as well.>
1. I have raised the wattage of the lamp to increase the heat, but i
also leave a shaded area for them.
<Good. Heat isn't the only thing though; you must provide UV-B light as
well. You can buy combination lamps. You don't want an ordinary UV light
though, or UV-A, but specifically UV-B.>
2. I leave them in a clean dry tank for at least 2-3 hrs. depending on
<Not really necessary, but if they don't mind it, then go ahead and do
this. But otherwise, if the air under the heat lamp is warm, they'll dry
3. I never feed them in there living tank, i use a separate feeding
<A good idea.>
4. I never fill the living tank with water level above the rock level to
leave room for basking.
I admit to having a tank which is too small for their growth, but we are
working on upgrading their living quarters shortly.
what can i do to reverse the affects if any and any tips on what needs
to be corrected in my turtle keeping?
<Do start by reading here:
Adequate calcium in their diet plus a UV-B light source are the two
keys. Vitamin supplements help with the former, and a UV-B lamp supplies
the latter. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My baby sliders possible shell rot 7/22/12
Thank you so much for your prompt response.....I feel a lot better now,
I checked but no signs of soft or smelly shells. I will keep an eye on
<Glad to help. Prevention is better than cure, so be sure to follow the
tips on diet and UV-B. Cheers, Neale.>
Red Eared Slider won't stay in the Water
We have a Red Eared Slider that is about the size of your palm (3-3
1/2"). Unfortunately we went on vacation and left someone to care
for him (we think it's a male). Before we left he was always
active and lived mostly in the water, yet would bask appropriately under
his UV or Heat Lamp. His eating habits were better when he was
younger...he would take food from out hands...but prior to our leaving
his eating wasn't what it used to be.
<Often decreased appetite is the first sign that they’re not feeling
Unfortunately when we returned his water was TERRIBLE...cloudy, algae,
old food, etc....I usually change it every two weeks..with proper
additives and filter change.
<What do you mean by additives? As long as your water is safe for you to
drink, no sort of additive is needed.>
He is in a 20 Gallon Tank with about 11 Gallons of water has a 50 Gal/hr
filter and was fine before we left. When we returned home he was
on his basking rock and not in the water...I figured it was because it
was so dirty...I immediately cleaned his tank, replaced the water with
clean treated water.
<Re: treating water – as above.>
He won't get in the water...I put him in the tank and he stays on his
basking rock with head legs and tail out like normal. When I try
and place him in the water he floats, then swims back to his basking
Is he sick?...
<Could be – turtles will often spend more time basking when they’re not
feeling well. It’s also possible he’s feeling stressed from all the
changes that happened over a short period of time. Turtles are creatures
of habit and often don’t like ANY change in their care or environment -
whether it’s for the better or for the worse!>
<However, you also mentioned his appetite wasn’t the same even before
you went away. So it could also be that he’s starting to show some ill
effects from a problem either in his care and/or habitat that’s existed
for a long time. Because of their slow metabolism, it can often take
turtles months, sometimes even longer, before they actually start
showing signs of illness. So my first recommendation is to carefully
read over our basic care article in this link,
to compare the care you’ve been providing to what’s recommended in the
article, and to make whatever changes necessary. In particular, compare
your lighting (must specifically be UVB), check your water quality (do
some water testing just before you clean the tank), and also make sure
that the land and water temperatures are both in the recommended ranges.
Also compare the diet you’re feeding him (not only the ‘what’ but also
‘how much’ and ‘how often’) to the recommendations in the article.>
Should I take him to a Vet?......When I put him in a smaller container,
with water, to feed him, he is active eats some....but moves around like
It's been 3 days since I cleaned his tank and replaced the water, but he
won't stay in the water.
<We’ll try! The fact that he’s still active and eating at least a little
are both good signs. What I’d suggest is to err on the side of caution
and respond as though he’s not feeling well. Remove him from the water
completely for a week or two and place him in a warm dry environment
except for a few minutes each day. This link below tells you exactly how
to do this – read under ‘Isolation’:
<The ‘isolation’ treatment won’t hurt him at all if he’s not sick; in
fact it will even help by giving his body a rest and his immune system a
little boost. And he may not mind the warm and dry since that’s what he
seems to be seeking out right now anyway. Having said that though, don’t
be alarmed if HE’S not crazy about his new temporary quarters! >
<Good luck! Give this a try, read over both links, and write back if you
need any clarifications or any new concerns come up. ~ Sue>
Re: Red Eared Slider won't stay in the Water
Sorry – I just noticed the 2nd link I gave you with the instructions for
‘Isolation’ is wrong; here’s the correct link!
Re: Red Eared Slider won't stay in the Water
Thank you for your response......the additives are to control Algae, his
Waste and a Clarifier that has been recommended by Vets and other people
with more knowledge than I have all are to try and keep his water
<Understood, but … you also have a turtle that’s sick right now (and was
showing signs of illness before you went away) despite the advice you’ve
been given. I understand it’s tempting to use these products, but
unfortunately when it comes to turtles and water quality, there are no
good substitutions, quick fixes, or short cuts for clean, clear water –
water additives and filters included. Once every two week water
changes is likely not cutting it for you given that you’ve got him in
only 11 gallons of water (the smaller the tank, the quicker the water
becomes dirty and the more it needs to be changed). I’d suggest
upping the water changes to at least once a week (if not more).>
<Also water in smaller tanks tends to be more vulnerable to the heat
given off by the lamps – which makes the water even more hospitable to
algae growth, especially when food and organic matter is left in the
water. Any waste or uneaten food should be promptly removed
(netted up or siphoned); don’t allow it to sit and decompose in the
water. Or better yet - feed him in a separate container (plastic
bin is fine) filled with a couple of inches of water, and then simply
dump it when he’s done. I’d also try to position your lamps away
from the water and directly on the basking area as best you can.>
<All these additional things should be done regardless of additives and
filters to maintain good water quality. And if you’re doing them
properly the water WILL be clean and clear -- then you can use the money
you would have spent on additives to buy something else - maybe save up
for a larger enclosure and more powerful filter which he’ll eventually
I have spent hours trying to make sure he is well taken care of, before
we went on vacation he was acting normal eating and active. There
has only once been an issue, and of course he went to the Vet and acted
<Unfortunately smaller tanks are often more, rather than less, work when
it comes to turtles.>
I've tried extra heat, but as of today he hasn't eaten in over 5 days.
He has his head out, but he is very slow to move. He was in the
water, but it was probably by accident, because he wasn't swimming, just
<It’s not just extra heat he needs; he needs the Isolation (warm and dry
OUT of the aquarium) method that I recommended to you in my 1st reply
(refer to the link I sent you in that reply). It was likely he was
in the water not by accident but to try and cool off from the added
basking heat you gave him. This is what you want to happen when he’s
healthy but NOT when he’s sick. A humid environment where water is
present 24/7 (regardless of whether he’s actually in the water or not)
can be harmful when a turtle is sick as this is the very environment
that bacteria and fungi thrive in – and they’re more than happy to seize
the opportunity to take advantage of a debilitated turtle.>
<Once he’s all better, then yes, make whatever necessary changes in your
care according to the recommendations in our Basic Care guide that
I linked you to in my 1st reply, including his water and basking
temperatures if they’re different than what’s recommended in our guide.
HEALTHY turtles need cool water (68-70 degrees) and warm (88-90 degree),
dry land with a heat bulb and a UVB bulb (strip UVB lighting preferable
as distribution of UVB rays is better).>
When I add heat if he's hot he will move toward his UV Light
<Again -- check to make sure the bulb is specifically a UVB bulb. He
needs UVB now while he's in Isolation and also later when he's feeling
better and back in his aquarium.>
.....but eyes are closed, legs out, tail out....will move them slowly if
I pick him up, or put him in a smaller container.
<It definitely sounds like he’s gotten worse since you last wrote.
He not only needs the Isolation but additional treatment. Eyes
closed are almost always due to a Vitamin A deficiency. If he's
really moving this little, I'd suggest bringing him to the vet ASAP for
vitamin injections (and have her assess if he also needs injectable
antibiotics), but in the meantime read here for how to treat Vitamin A
deficiency at home:
The only caveat to this link is that we now recommend Isolation and not
putting turtles back in the aquarium again until they’re well. >
<Also, the link I sent you in my 1st reply for Isolation has a section
on Vitamin A deficiencies and recommends some additional treatments. >
Could he be fighting going into Hibernation......he has never been
colder than 74-75 degrees, and has lived in the same habitat for over a
<No – he’s sick.>
If he's ill...what could it be...there are no bubbles...according to the
Vet that would be a respiratory issue.....he's just not active, eating
or acting normal.
I think it's getting worse.
<I agree; he needs proper treatment NOW before he gets any worse:
• As I recommended in my original note, remove him from the
aquarium and follow the Isolation instructions in the prior link I sent
you for how to keep him that way. The enclosure can be as simple
as a 12” deep or so plastic storage bin or even a cardboard box.
He WILL need access to water every day to drink and poop, but ONLY for a
• Again, make sure his light is UVB. He needs this now while he’s
sick and also when he’s healthy. UVB is what helps turtles properly
digest/convert food into the vitamins they need, and is also important
for their immune system/functioning.
• Read and follow the recommendations for treating Vitamin A
deficiency that I sent you in this reply, and also in the Isolation link
I sent you in my original reply.
• Consider taking him to a vet for a Vitamin A injection, and
possibly also a Vitamin D as well (preferably one who specializes in
turtles or at least herps, even birds). While treating orally (by mouth,
not eyes – he needs to ingest it) is OK, the most optimum and quickest
treatment is by injection (after the injections, though, you should
still continue to treat him orally until he’s all better).
• Once he’s better and eating again, make whatever changes are
necessary in his diet (including not only what, but also how much and
how often you’re feeding him), and also to his environment (all the
things I already mentioned and that are in our basic care guide).
<If you read and follow these recommendations promptly, you should start
to see him improving in a couple of days. However, if instead you
see him becoming worse during this time, you’ll need to take him back to
the vet again, because at that point it’s likely he developed a systemic
infection and will require injectable antibiotics. >
<Good luck; let us know how things go. If you do write again, though,
please give us more specifics about how you were taking care of him
before he got sick. This is because nearly every turtle illness boils
down to a problem in their diet or environment. ~ Sue>
Re: Red Eared Slider won't stay in the Water
Thank you for everything ...unfortunately Mr. T went last night!!!!!
<I’m very sorry for your loss, as I know the rest of our crew is too.
Turtles are very stoic when they’re sick which helps protect them in the
wild from predators, but that strategy unfortunately doesn’t serve them
well as pets. By the time they show symptoms they’ve often been ill for
a long time. Should you ever decide to get another one, hopefully
you’ll find the information I sent you useful. Our crew has had years’
of experience keeping turtles, so if you ever come across any advice
that conflicts with something you’ve seen on our website, do write us
before acting on it, and we’ll be happy to clarify for you. Best wishes
to you, Sue >
MBD in RES mild or severe 6/7/2012
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have been going through your forum trying to find out what constitutes
as mild or severe Metabolic Bone Disease (soft-shell)
in turtles. I have a 2 inch red eared slider. Her water temp is
currently between 82-84 (brought up from 72 when I realized it was that
chilly), she has a UVA/UVB bulb and mostly eats Omega One Juvenile
Turtle Pellets with a Calcium level of 2%.
<72 is actually the right temperature for a healthy turtle>
She rarely eats treats except for krill and occasionally a piece of
zucchini although I offer her all approved veggies. I bought a new light
today (her old one has only been around 3 weeks but may have been
older). She also has a soluble calcium 'rock' in her water at all times
and a charcoal filter. She also gets water conditioner when I clean the
tank (usually throw half the water out weekly).
<The water change is good - the calcium block is really a waste of your
money. They don't gnaw on it very often and calcium dissolved in the
water does them no good at all>
She has some discoloration on her shell (from green to yellow) and her
shell is quite flexible especially on her back end. She is still eating
though and moving around. There is no deformation of her limbs or jaw
and her shell is not flat. She has a mild ridge on her back shell
(visible only looking at her sideways) and has one spot that may be mild
pyramiding. She is still active, can haul herself out of the water,
walks around my desk without difficulty, and does bask on her floating
<She should be basking under a heat lamp AND a UV-B light source.>
As of today, she has been given Calcium powder supplement for reptiles
on her food (34% calcium) and a cuttlebone (her first one). The increase
in calcium only started today but I am concerned to know if this is
considered a 'mild' case of MBD that will clear up with the appropriate
care or if I should take her to a vet for a calcium injection (which may
be impossible because I live in an area that has no reptile vets).
<Even SEVERE cases of MDB will clean up with time and proper treatment.
If there had been deformed bones - and you'd see that in her walk or
swimming - they don't reshape themselves … but the bone and shell
strength will bounce back - you'll start seeing results in a few weeks>
If there are pictures showing the difference between mild and severe MBD
and what I should look for, that would also greatly help me.
<It's hard to see in turtles. If she was an iguana I could show you lots
I would prefer to wait a few days if it's mild to see if she heals
naturally but if this is severe, I will take her immediately. That being
said, I'm a university student so any help you can offer would be
<Here: read this: it's virtually everything you need to know about
correcting her living conditions :
<This one covers the treatment of most conditions you could run into:
Red Eared Slider care India - 5/8/2012|
Hiya - Darrel here
Glad to see am asking for help almost after a year :D
Hope everything's been OK
I recently shifted my house along with my turtle in March.
I had to leave him with my friend for 25 days because of official trips. She fed the poor thing fish pellets instead of turtle food !!. So I come back to find his eyes shut and swollen. I have been feeding him pellets since past 1 week and also
changing his water daily. He is very lethargic and prefers to keep his eyes shut. His appetite is fine thankfully. In fact he opens his eyes (slightly) only when I give him pellets. After feeding he's active for some time and then he goes
25 days is a VERY short period for a turtle to develop those symptoms, Ruchika. There may well have been something going on even before you shifted
This is what I plan to do (wanted opinion/suggestion) 1. Put vitamin A drops (diluted with water) on his eyes daily 2. Soak his pellets in cod liver oil before feeding him (once in two days) 3. Put mild anti biotic in his tank (Telmycin) for 2-3
days Should I do anything else ?? Is all this ok ??
The first two are fine, but #3 is a waste of your time. What you should do instead is add some small pieces of chicken liver to his diet - that will help get the vitamin A into his system.
Also, make sure he's getting unfiltered UV-B exposure -- he should bounce back in no time
Big Guy my new Turtle
Hi my name is Kristal,
<Hiya Kristal, Darrel here>
I have written to you before but I had just gotten another Red
Eared Slider Turtle so, I have 3 red Eared Slider Turtles now
and they all get along well fine, but my new one named Big Guy
hasn't been acting himself lately.
He didn't really bask a lot and he would eat a lot but now he doesn't
eat and is always basking in the basking rock and he rarely gets in the
water any more.
<There might be something in the water he doesn't like>
I tried giving him his favorite food, I cleaned the tank thoroughly with
no chemicals or soap, gave him a whole lot of attention, but he still
isn't acting right. I would like for you to please e-mail me back ASAP,
because I wouldn't want him to pass away.
<Let's not worry about that just yet>
The water temperature is 76(f) if you need that information.
<The first thing I think is that maybe he just doesn't get along with
the other two. You don't mention the size of the tank, but there
are certain sizes of enclosures - that cause problems. When an
enclosure is big enough, they all have their own space. When it's
far too small, they tend to put their territorial instincts on hold …
but in that in-between size, it can be stressful, especially for the new
<My first suggestion is to try to change things around. Move the
rocks, maybe the basking area, change the light angles, etc. try to make
the tank appear "different" so that it's not the same old tank they
first two had before the new guy came.>
<While you’re at it, check for vibrating filters, pumps … anything like
that … anything that they might sense that you or I wouldn't notice that
just scares him>
<Lower the water temperature. If you have a water heater, take it
out - turtles should have room temperature water.>
<If none of that makes a difference, take the other two out for a day …
put then in a high-sided cardboard box for 24 hours and let Bug Guy have
the place to himself - see how he reacts to that.>
<Finally, read here about 'dry-docking' him for a couple weeks. If
it turns out that he's feeling a little ill, the dry-warm isolation will
help give him a chance to improve.
Help - two (2) RES living in Malaysia.
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I live in Malaysia with limited vet treating exotic animals. I
have been researching online and still could not confirm the
problem of my Red Eared Slider turtles. I love and am very proud
of them and want them to live as long as possible.
<We and they thank you for your caring>
Just a quick summary of what happened.
What made me extra concerned about their current condition is the
death of one of my RES (8-inch) a few weeks ago at the
<Well, that will do it>
I do not trust the vet anymore because they did not even realized
my RES was dead until I went to pick it up the next day.
They put my RES into a big tub resided by 30 gold fishes.
<Sick reptiles should never be kept in water. They
are best off in a warm dry place>
My RES had a 'puffy/ saggy' neck. I didn't
bother at first but then, I saw an ulcer growing on the area and
later on, the ulcer turned from white to brown and then burst, no
longer puffy but saggy skin. The process was not sudden, its neck
was puffed since many years ago.
<But it WAS an indication that something was wrong>
It was still eating and running on the last day I had him in the
tub. I suspected it drowned and died. When in the goldfish tub,
it was struggling to float and I didn't know it couldn't
<I'm completely confused. The Vet put him in a tub
with no basking area when in his care? Here it sounds like
YOU kept him that way>
Its dead body was like a statue, it stood steadily at the bottom
of the tub, eyes turned blue, all limbs and head were out from
<Debilitated from years of improper care and too weak to
struggle any longer>
Alrighty, now in the attached picture, you will see arrows
pointing at problem areas of my living RES which confused me. I
do not know if it is water retention/ edema or obesity. Both
turtles have the same problem at both their thigh areas, the
female (on top) being more serious.
<I would suggest that you know if you're feeding them more
than you should: They should have a vegetable-based diet
(such as Koi Pellets) and all they can eat in 5 minutes, 3-4
times a week. No more>
I have been keeping the female RES since I was seven (7) years
old and I was totally clueless about how to care for the turtles.
That probably explains the pyramiding.
<Actually their shells seem flattened. I'd make sure
they're getting enough calcium>
The female RES however survives and is now twenty-two (22) years
old, 8-inch, been laying eggs every year the latest being Jan-12
(13 eggs) and Feb-12 (5 eggs). She loves eating and if I feed her
only a little food, she will keep checking the butt of the male
RES, waiting to eat poo.
<Yes … not very appetizing dinner conversation,
They both live outdoor in a big blue tub under the roof without
any lamp or filter. Natural sunlight everyday with average
temperature of 32-34 degree Celsius all year round. I change
their water everyday.
<My only concern is that the water will tend to get too warm
under those conditions. If possible, find a way to shade
the water so only the basking area gets sunshine>
Water height is around 3-4 inch.
<That will heat up very quickly>
I used to feed them only turtle pellets, but have recently cut
down pellets and introduced vege and fruits. I feed them
everyday. I noticed that they bask everyday.
Would you be able to confirm their problem? Shall I
add more water into their tub or dry dock them for a period? Can
I feed more to the female RES because she might be pregnant and
need to eat more?
<Try giving her (actually both of them) a calcium
And also, I believe the bottom turtle is experiencing shell rot.
The arrows pointed area has turned whitish. They bask everyday
and I have been keeping the water clean now so I am hoping it
will heal naturally. Is that possible?
<It's possible, but I'd dry-dock him for a month or so
just to be sure. As soon as his carapace REALLY dries out,
you'll be able to spot and treat the fungus if it's
there. You would be shock at the number of times a case of
shell rot turns out to be nothing more than water spots from
minerals in the water>
It would be so much appreciated to get a reply from you. I let
them out for a walk, bath and feed them everyday and my love for
them is no lesser than a mother's love.
<I hope we helped, Yann:
Sick terrapin, help!! 3/21/12
My red eared slider is 7+ years old now. I'm not
certain, but since it has long claws and is quite large now (est. 8-9
inches), I'm guessing this suggests its a male?
<I agree. But do also check the tail. Males have very long, thin
tails compared to females.>
I live in Singapore and keep it a huge tank in my backyard with no
heating or artificial lighting, but it is able to receive sunlight, and
I let it out for walks once every few days.
I also change its water once every 3 days, and have been feeding it
turtle pellets since I first had it. I have not changed the type of
My terrapin has been refusing to eat for 5 days now. It has no visible
physical problems - no sore eyes or swelling. There is some mucus-like
substance on its skin, but not sure if its a problem. It has been
'farting' / 'pee-ing' green water, with no solid stool.
What should I do? Is it some kind of bowel problem?
<Difficult to say. Loose, green faeces could simply be from
consuming algae or some other plant matter -- this is 100% natural and
won't do any harm, assuming of course the green food wasn't
poisonous. It's actually a good idea to let turtles and terrapins
eat green foods periodically, with many salad foods (such as lettuce)
being eminently suitable.>
Please help asap, I am very worried! My terrapin has been with me for a
long time and I am very attached to it. Thank you for your
<Do watch the animal for a while. Don't force it to eat. If its
behaviour is normal -- i.e., swimming, basking, sleeping -- then
don't worry too much for now. However, if the terrapin isn't
behaving normally, or doesn't eat anything for another week or so,
then it's time to go visit a vet. Or at the very least, write back
to us for more help.>
Problems with Red Eared Sliders
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red eared sliders that I just got two weeks ago. I have been
trying to be very careful because I am new as a turtle mommy...
<Thanks - we and they appreciate it!>
One is young (pet shop said less than a year) and the other is (again
according to the pet shop) maybe two years old. The two year old, Chip,
came with a chip in his shell but it seemed to be regrowing and
<The have remarkable regenerative powers>
The baby (Tiny) seemed perfectly healthy. I have a sulfa block in their
water to help Chip's shell heal and I have kept their UV light on
12 hours a day.
<The sulfa block is, in my opinion (also known technically
as the 'right' or 'correct' opinion) not a wise use of
your money. It doesn’t HURT … but the amount of
medication that would get into the water and onto the shell to prevent
any form of fungal infection is next to nil. Sulfa
block's dumb cousin, the Calcium Block has the same problem … to
get enough calcium in the water to get the calcium into the turtle
would mate the water into mud … or … drywall>
Their water is a constant 82-84 degrees F
<That's a little warm. Water should be room temp (68-73f)
and the basking rock around 88-93f so that they have a choice>
And Tiny has been using the basking rock regularly. I feed then the
turtle food that the pet shop had been feeding them once a day and then
I also give them a treat in the evening (veggies 2 days and then meat
<I feed my water turtles ReptoMin floating food sticks then they are
hatchlings and by the time they are about the size of a half dollar
coin, I switch them to Koi pellets. Koi pellets are a well
balanced, complete and inexpensive staple food. Then, once
a month or so … I feed an earthworm or two.>
<Beef or chicken liver isn't bad as a treat … but be sure to
feed them in a separate shallow container … because any meats will
foul your tank water horribly. No other meats are really
acceptable … nor are crickets, meal worms or feeder guppies or
I don't have a filter yet but have been cleaning their tank a
minimum of every other day to keep it clean
<You shouldn't have to work that hard, Alita. If you
siphon the bottom and end up changing 10% of the water every week or
so, then you should only have to really clean the tank & water once
a month of maybe every six weeks>
And I have been using the water treatment that the pet shop told me to
<Another thing not to bother with. Sliders are happy as
can be in any water you'd dare drink. They don't
get any particular amount of water through their skin, so normal
amounts of chlorine, phosphates and other things that would kill a fish
- don't even fazed them>
Yesterday I noticed that both turtles have some small white spots on
both the shells and their skin.
<That could be the start of a fungal infection (easily addressed) -
but it COULD be just water spots!!! I've had many a
nervous turtle parent bring me what they thought was a sick turtle only
to have it come off with just a quick rub. The key to preventing
fungal infections is plenty of basking under warm lamps (with the UV-B
I also noticed that Chip has a bump on the side of his neck. Normally
he will let me pet his neck a little but when I touched the bump he
jumped like it was painful. This morning I also noticed that Tiny's
shell on the bottom seems to be a little soft. I wanted these turtles
forever, they were a gift from my husband and I just love the heck out
<We'd like to help you, too!>
What should I do? Please get back to me ASAP!
<OK. FIRST. A bump on a neck can be an abscess and
that should be lanced and treated by a veterinarian. The only
thing is … most veterinarians get 6-8 weeks of reptile medicine in
their first year of school and then spend the rest of the time on cats
& dogs. If may take a bit of research to find a vet in
your area that actively practices reptile medicine. On THAT
topic, I leave it to you … but here's your backup-up plan.
In your area or likely nearby is a turtle & tortoise club and in
that club is someone who is an 'old hand' at common medical
treatments and has the equipment to lance an abscess and drain it and
then flush it with Betadine from the local drug store.
After that, a month in Dry-Dock and he's likely as good as
<Now here are two brilliantly written 100% accurate article on Red
Eared Sliders. You can trust them implicitly -and any info or
advice you get to the contrary is just WRONG.>
<First general care: Compare your care to the article - Especially
the correct KIND of UV light http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
<Now - how to treat common problems. Generally and easy
read that will allay some of your fears … and it describes how to
keep a turtle warm and dry while recovering from just about anything:
<Finally … we're here for you: A wealth of information,
open 24 hours and freeway close!>
red eared slider, hlth.
<Hi there, Sue here.>
We have a 2 year old red eared slider. We have had him about 10 months.
He has been in good health until the last few days. He stays under his
UV and basking lamps all day and will only go into the water to sleep.
He has not been eating.
<When was the last time he ate? What have you been feeding him
since you got him?>
We cannot see any signs of fungus, his eyes are good, no cuts etc.
<You mentioned he basks all day now – does he seem lethargic to
you? If you put him on the floor, is he active and running
around? Is he alert when you pick him up, or does he seem *out of
We keep his tank very clean and have good filtration. Our vet does not
treat exotics. We would appreciate any advice you can give us. At your
recommendation we are taking him out of his aquarium and placing him in
a dry container with his lights.
<Thanks for doing some research on our site before writing in!
It sounds like you’ve read the following link about *Isolation*?
<If his only symptoms right now are lack of appetite and basking
more than usual, Isolation is where I’d start. It’s possible
he is coming down with something, but first let’s give him a few days
of R& R in a warm dry enclosure with a few minutes’ access to
some food and water each day, and see if that jump starts his appetite
back up. Just be careful not to *bake* him! Heating pad
(one without the automatic shut-off) should be wrapped in a towel and
set to *Low*. If you're using a light above as a heat source
instead, adjust the wattage of the bulb to keep the temperature around
85 or so since you’re taking away his choice to cool off in water
anytime he wants.>
<In the meantime, here’s another link to our Basic Care guide:
<Read it over completely – in particular compare your water and
basking temperatures to what’s recommended (water kept on the cooler
side and basking temperature warm enough to do its *job*), as well as
his diet (what, how much and how often you’ve been feeding him), and
make sure the light you have over his enclosure is UVB
specifically. Most all turtle illnesses are caused by something
amiss in either the diet or environment.>
<You’re welcome. Hopefully this will do the trick! If
not write us back and let us know what’s going on. If you do
write again, though, it would help us to know all the details of your
set-up and care.>
<Hi Karenlynn, Sue here with you!>
I have two pet res and love them dearly. The turtle I am writing about
is not mine, it was brought in as a captive raised, abandoned turtle to
the local pet store I frequent. She arrived with swollen, dry looking,
wrinkly looking eyes.
<Most probably a Vitamin A deficiency.>
She was also sluggish and lethargic. They treated her with commercial
otc turtle eye drops and she improved greatly over the period of about
two weeks, becoming more active and eating well.
<Both are encouraging signs! However, injectable (or even
oral) Vitamin A (taken internally) are the most effective ways to treat
Now, over the past week and a half, her beak first became golden in
color, as you describe a scute that is about to shed. Today when I went
to visit her, her beak looks as if it is peeling off at the edges on
both the lower and upper mouth. It appeared she is having difficulty
opening her mouth as well.
<Have the edges lifted up enough yet so that you can peek at what
condition the beak is underneath? If not, DON’T force them or
try to peel them off. Until this old (top) layer is ready to
separate, it will remain *stuck* to the lower, newer growth underneath
so that if you try to peel it off, you risk removing any new growth
which you definitely don’t want to do. Also, how is her
shell? Does she have any soft spots?>
I am desperate to save her and the store will allow me to help her any
way I can. They are very compassionate but deal primarily with dogs,
cats and fish. I am quite knowledgeable but this is outside of my
comfort zone. I can go take a picture of her tomorrow if you want
<You can if you’d like. However my guess without seeing any
photos is that the same thing that was going on with her eyes is also
what’s happening with her beak – a fall-out from chronic
malnutrition (lack of calcium, Vitamin D, and possibly also lack of UVB
if her owner never provided her with it).>
All help and advice is greatly appreciated. I cannot bear to see her
<I understand and that’s very nice of you; I’d want to do the
same also if it was me! Here are my suggestions-
1) First, until she's all better and we can figure out what's
going on with her beak, she should be taken out of the water and
placed/kept in a warm, dry enclosure that has a UVB (must be UVB) light
overhead. Water is a turtle’s worst enemy when they’re
debilitated. She should just be given access to water for a few
minutes each day to drink, eat, and poop. For complete
instructions about how you or the pet shop can set this up for her,
read the section called ISOLATION in the following link-
2) A vet should really be taking a look at her beak to see what’s
going on with it. Also because of her unknown history and obvious poor
care up to this point, she’d really benefit from having a vet examine
her and do at least a basic work-up on her (i.e., check her shell, skin
and the inside of her mouth, a stool sample to check for parasites,
some basic blood work to look at her vitamin levels, her white blood
cell count for signs of systemic infection, maybe also look at her
liver function, etc.) .
Ideally the pet store should be doing this, but if not it would
certainly help her if you could locate and have her seen by a vet who
specializes in turtles/reptiles. Maybe your regular vet can
recommend someone. If not – I’ve got to believe there must at
least be an avian vet in your area who sees birds. Many vets that
see birds are familiar with or have some level of experience with
turtles, and in particular, would be a good resource to examine her
3) If she’s still able to eat, I would also be adding a powdered
vitamin supplement and some supplemental Vitamin D3 to her food.
Just put some food in a cap, sprinkle a pinch of each into the cap, add
some water and mix until the food is softened (this will also make it
easier for her to eat the food if she’s having trouble. I’d
also give her some additional sources of Vitamin A. Some
suggestions for this are included in the link I gave you above (look
under the section called “Swollen Eyes.”) She should also
have a UVB light over her, and if the pet shop allows you, you could
also put her in a small open air container and bring her outside the
shop once in a while to get her some real UVB, obviously with close
<You’re welcome Karenlynn. Good luck with her and let us
know how things go! Write us back if any more questions or
concerns pop up.>
Re: Sick RES
Thank you so much Sue! I will go tonight or tomorrow and take pictures.
Some good news is that today she seemed to be able to open her mouth
and did eat a bit. I truly appreciate all of your help!
<No problem, glad to hear she showed some improvement! Let us
know if you need any more assistance with anything; we're happy to
help any way we can. ~ Sue >
Turtle with sores on his feet 3/3/12
Hi there, I recently got a red ear slider from an internet site. A few
things have been worrying me. First, he won't eat I've only had
him for about 2 days but still. And also, he has a sore on his front
foot right between his toes & also on the back foot. The water is
heated & I also have a heat lamp & UVB lamp. He's a little
bit bigger than a quarter so that's
why I'm so concerned. So, if you could get back to me ASAP that
would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time!
<Hello Claire. Do start by reading these two articles:
Make sure that you're providing ALL the things turtle needs, and
keeping OUT all the things that can harm them (sharp rocks for
example). Most of the problems you're likely to see are easily
prevented. But once your turtle gets sick or damaged, it's crucial
to identify the problem quickly and seek appropriate help. If all else
fails and you can't identify the
problem from the list on the second article listed above, go see a
Sneezing RES in Russia 3/1/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Well, my healthiest baby RES is sneezing. He had sneezed a few weeks
ago and I didn't pay attention but now every day I catch him
sneezing at least twice :( He is 2cm in diameter. Has a basking spot
(Exo terra medium sized magnetic floating dock) with 50w Exo terra
basking spot lamp at 12cm distance (kept on for 11-12 hours a day) and
Exo terra Reptiglo 5.0 at around 15cm (4-5 hours a day). I've
bumped up the water temp to 27.5 degree Celsius.
<Too warm. He's unlikely to bask when he's that warm
in the water>
He is eating well-a diet of ReptoMin baby pellets; Sera reptile
pellets; Sera reptile mineral pellets; blood worms; occasional shrimp;
occasional boiled fish. Right now there is no discharge from the nose
or mouth. He has been basking (lately more of it) and eating well
<Those are all VERY good signs>
He even started sleeping with half his body on the dock. I would hate
to lose him as I've lost two little torts due to lack of knowledge
and inadequate habitat. This one was always the healthiest one. I live
in Russia so all antibiotics can be purchased over the counter (as far
as I know). I can't find a herp since I don't speak the
language. I tried keeping him in an elongated luke warm box with
warm+cool areas but he seems extremely uneasy and scratches at the edge
of the box constantly. It hurts me to seem him like that. Please
<It may be uneasy for him, but we still do what's best>
<The first thing here is not to panic. A turtle doesn't
sneeze the way humans do and when they do expel through their noses,
it's not usually due to the kind of cold that we catch.>
<The standard treatment for a suspected respiratory infection is to
"dry-dock" the turtle under conditions similar to what you
The fact that he is ACTIVE while you are doing that to him is another
REALLY good sign - it means he's healthy and energetic enough to
make the effort!>
<What I would do is dry-dock him for two weeks (just as described
under isolation treatment. And Meanwhile I'd review this care sheet
and check everything in his normal housing against what's here:
Thanks a lot and once again, your site is the best!
Re: RES not eating and very sleepy
Hello, I hope you reply soon? I have noticed a new symptom just
today. There is a small and slightly raised pink spot on
her neck which I noticed when she was stretched out. As well
as this around her neck there seems to be a 'crack'. She is
going in the water, and we are putting her in a separate Tupperware for
a swim and to try and tempt her to eat. But she still is spending a lot
of time basking. Still not eating. I wondered, could the UVA/B light be
causing these skin problems?
<That's not likely, Ruth. The red patch on the skin
is sometimes simply an irritation or abrasion from rubbing against the
shell above the neck. We normally see this in obese turtles, but
it does happen sometimes on others.>
<The problem, which you've already discovered, is that while the
symptoms are there, they're non-specific symptoms -- nothing is
dramatic enough to make us go "AHA!" and know what to do
<Ninety degree water is certainly unusual and it presents some big
problems. First, with a "natural" temperature that hot,
the turtle will feel no need to bask and the lack of basking reduced
the effectiveness of the UV-B radiation. Also high temps like
that will cause an explosion of fungi and bacteria in the water … not
usually a problem for a healthy turtle … but when something goes awry
and the turtle becomes susceptible, it makes it easy for the fungi or
bacteria to take hold>
<All that said, there is nothing specific here, so I'm going to
tell you what I’d do if I were there and they were mine:
I'd move them both OUT of an aquatic environment and into a dry
environment for now. Similar to what we call
"dry-dock" for a sick turtle -- only something more
permanent. I'd keep them that way, feed them in a separate
shallow bucket of water every day for 15 minutes and I'd try to get
them at least 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight (unfiltered through
glass or window screen) every day … making sure that they're
out-door stay had a shaded part they could crawl under.
I'd keep them this way for at least two months.>
<Here's my thinking: EVERYTHING about the 90 degree water
just screams out that there will be problems if the turtle gets sick
for other reasons. What I mean is that the hot water itself
is not the problem -- but once there IS a problem, the hot water makes
everything worse. In your part of the world, the steps taken to
compensate for the heat is just a part of the keeping process.>
<Also, check your UV lamp - First make sure it truly is a UV-B lamp
and not a Plant-Gro or other type of specialty bulb. Second, make
sure it's within its life span - the manufacturers will tell you
how many running hours before the UV is reduced to half or even
less. Good luck!>
Our Red Eared Slider is sick!
<Hi Abi, Sue here.>
We have a RES named Bud (about 3 years old), and he has a
respiratory infection. We didn't know it until
today, when he stopped moving and was just floating in the water.
I got him out, and we cleaned his tank and put him in a dry one with
the heat lamp shining on him.
<That was good you thought to do this. If the heat lamp is all
you have that’s fine, just make sure it’s not too hot (though the
temperature should be in the higher (but still) tolerable range for
them (around 92-95 degrees). A heating pad (the cheap drugstore
kind without the automatic shut-off) set to *Low* and wrapped in a
towel is safer. See here under *Isolation* for more specific
instructions about dry-docking and also further down the page under
*Wheezing or bubbly nose*:
At first, we thought his sluggishness and loss of appetite was due to
hibernation, because it's February.
<Indoor turtles don’t hibernate unless your house isn’t
He had been opening his mouth and sneezing for a while, probably since
<These are in fact signs of a respiratory infection. Sounds
like you didn’t recognize it at the time. Respiratory
infections are particularly hard for turtles to fight off on their own
and can worsen fairly rapidly. An immediate trip to the vet when
you see first these signs is the best (and really only) course of
action you can take to treat this type of illness.>
This may sound kind of weird, but what I'm wondering is this: how
do we know if he's dead? (He was moving just a little when I got
him out of the water.) Does he get stiff or something?
<Abi, if you have any doubts at all about whether he’s still alive
or not, take him to the vet immediately for injectable antibiotics
(assuming he does have a respiratory infection, which from your
description sounds likely. This is the ONLY thing that will save
him at this point if he is still alive. Once at the vet, your vet
will be able to confirm whether or not he’s deceased. >
<If he has passed, the crew and I are truly sorry for your
female with arthritis and keeps tipping upside
<Hi Amanda, Sue here.>
I'm looking for information and advice for my RES.
we live in new Zealand and have 2 a male and female. about 6 months ago
the females (Tommy) developed a large lump behind her left
'arm' and wouldn't use her arm so we took her to the vet.
he said it was nothing to worry about as she could still swim and was
eating as usual.
<Well right here we already have a problem. Whether Tommy
could technically swim or not, the fact that she was not using her arm
anymore should have prompted the vet to do at least SOME further
investigation (i.e. such as a biopsy or blood work). Also, has
her arm been preventing her from being able to climb onto her basking
area for the last 6 months? If so, this should have signaled
another potential problem.>
then 3 days ago my husband woke to find Tommy upside down in her tank.
he put her on her basking dock and left her there as she was still
breathing. when i woke she was back in the tank upside down. we took
her to the vet who scanned her and said she has arthritis in her left
arm (which still cant be stretched out) but couldn't see any other
issues. since then she has been in our how water cupboard as we were
advised for keeping her warm,
<Amanda, I’m having a hard time making sense of what you’re
writing. When you write us again, please don’t use *txt* language and
also to do a spell check and review what you’ve written first before
submitting us a query. We want to help, but to do so effectively,
we need to be able to clearly understand the information you're
providing us. >
<I’m also not sure what you mean by a *water cupboard*.
However, if what you're saying is that you’re still keeping her
in some form of water, you need to remove her from it NOW. Not
only is she at a considerably higher risk of drowning right now, she
also needs to be kept warm and DRY, NOT warm and wet, until if/when she
fully recovers. A warm and dry environment (with a UVB light!)
will help give her immune system a boost no matter WHAT is going on
with her until you can get her the proper treatment she needs. >
<Instructions for how to keep her this way are in the section called
*ISOLATION* in the following linked article about turtle
diseases. I’d also highly encourage you to read through the
entire article as it discusses various infections, their symptoms and
she's no longer eating and can only swim in circles and also only
walk in circles.
<No longer eating, difficulty staying upright, swimming/walking in
circles are all not very encouraging signs to say the least.>
she does however manage to stay upright when i put her into her tank
today. can u please help with what may be wrong and how i can
<First, NO MORE TANK right now! Immediately read and follow
the *Isolation* instructions outlined in the 1st link I gave you.
<Next, I'd immediately get her seen by ANOTHER vet for a 2nd
opinion! Ideally a herp vet who specializes in turtles. If
not possible, then a vet who sees lots of reptiles or even birds.
Time is not on Tommy’s side right now for any more trial and
<We unfortunately don’t have the advantage that a vet does of
being able to see or examine Tommy from where we are. However,
the behavior you describe is consistent with some sort of systemic
infection. And ANY infection requires prompt treatment by a vet
– especially if it’s already been *brewing* for the last 6
<If it was me, I would first want to get the lump on her arm
definitely ruled *in or out* as an abscess. Abscesses are fairly
common with turtles, and under the arm is actually one of the more
common places for them to occur. An untreated abscess can lead to
a much more serious systemic infection. If it does turn out to be
an abscess, the only remedy is surgical removal followed by a course of
antibiotics. Her immune system alone will NOT be able to fix this
type of problem. A turtle I rescued once actually DID have an
abscess in the exact same spot as yours and she eventually pulled
through it just fine. However she was treated right away while
the abscess was still localized. >
<Tommy’s wobbly and erratic swimming behavior is also consistent
with a respiratory infection though you didn’t mention any other
respiratory like symptoms. The only treatment with this type of
illness is a course of antibiotics which again requires a trip to the
vet. The 1st link I gave you talks a little about respiratory
illness, but here is another link that describes it, along with the
symptoms, in more detail-
<I do hope you can get Tommy the help she needs in time!
If/when she's all better, here's a link to our basic care guide
to make sure you have everything covered -
<Please write us back and give us an update on her, or if you need
any clarification at all on any of the articles or any further guidance
at all. We're happy to try to help her get better however we
Re: female with arthritis and keeps tipping upside down
<Hi Amanda! I ran your situation by another crew member,
Darrel, who’s kept and bred turtles for many years and asked him if
he’s come across a similar situation to yours. He said he’s
seen arthritis in an X-ray but never a large lump like the one you
describe or arthritis in a turtle, so he said it was very
strange. However, it comes down to only one of two
possibilities: either an inflammatory process that’s affecting
her mobility and/or causing her pain/stress; or a growth or infection
that’s causing the same symptoms and either needs to be treated with
antibiotics and/or surgically removed. >
<No matter which, though, I would NOT put Tommy back in the water
(as this vet suggested to you) until if and when her mobility is back
to normal, and she is behaving and eating normally again.>
<You could try to take her back to the 1st vet and tell her that the
lump IS now affecting her ability to eat and swim and see what more she
might do for her. Preferably she (or whatever) vet you take her
to is someone who sees/is experienced with turtles, reptiles (or even
birds); is someone who is willing/able to do a more complete work-up
including blood work (to confirm that there is no infectious process
going on); and is someone who would also be comfortable/able to perform
minor surgery on her to remove the lump if it does turn out to be a
growth or infection.>
<If it turns out to be some chronic inflammatory process and not a
growth/infection, then you’ll need to manage her as a *land turtle*
going forward because of her risk of drowning. Believe it or not
this can be done successfully even though she is *technically* a
semi-aquatic turtle! She’ll eventually adapt to a dry habitat
just fine though you’ll need to take her out for a few (*supervised*)
minutes each day to drink, poop, and about 3 times a week or so – to
eat. A plastic storage bin filled with a couple of inches of
water will do just fine for this purpose. If you see her
skin becoming too dried out, just increase her time in the water a bit
each day. Her dry habitat should have both a cool side and a warm
side (88-90 degrees F) so she can choose where she wants to be. A
UVB (check to make sure it IS UVB) light should cover the entire
<And if it does turn out to be a chronic inflammatory condition,
I’d ask your vet if there are any long term pain medications you can
give her so that she's comfortable and motivated enough to
<Hope this helps – let us know how it goes and write us back if
any other questions or concerns come up. I hope she feels better
RES Partner died. 2/21/12
<Hi Jackie, Sue here with you.>
One of my turtles passed away last night and I was wondering if
it'd be a good idea to get a new one. She never fought with the old
one but she did tend to eat most of the food. She's currently about
5 months old so she might not have an issue adapting with a new turtle.
I'm currently in collage so There isn't too much space. I'm
not sure if that'll be a contributing factor to the decision.
Please reply as soon as possible.
<Jackie, I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your turtle.
You didn't give much information to go on to (i.e. how old or how
long you had your turtle before he died, a description about the size
and make-up of your habitat, what type of care you're providing,
etc. However, from what you did write, my answer would be a categorical
NO for several reasons!>
<The first (and main reason) is the fact that one of your turtles
just died! To me that raises a big red flag that something is not right
about either the care or the environment you're providing them -
and it should be a red flag for you also! Before rushing out to buy
another one, the best way for you to honor the life of your dead turtle
is to try to figure out why he died so many years before his time was
up (unless he was old when you got him). Turtles are not an expendable
commodity. With proper care they can live 40 years or more in
captivity! So without question before you buy another one, make
absolutely sure that you're providing the one you have left with
everything he needs! Start first by reading over this entire care
guide, and make whatever changes are necessary in your care and/or his
<Turtles don't need a lot but they MUST at least have the *bare
minimum*: a dry basking spot, a UVB light, proper water temperature
(68-70 degrees), proper basking temperature (88-90 degrees), and a
proper diet. If you compromise on any one of these things, your turtles
WILL become sick and die. If you are not or cannot provide them with
their basic needs then by all means do not buy another one, and
moreover, save the life of your remaining one and give him away to
someone who can. >
<And if you already rushed out and bought a 2nd one before trying to
determine why your other one just died, I'd return him as soon as
<Secondly, turtles don't need (or want) companions. They compete
with each other for resources. Don't buy another one just so they
can grow up together or because you're afraid your one turtle might
be lonely. These are myths! Turtles also eventually become VERY large
and will require much more later on - and the more you have, the more
of your time and effort will be required!>
<Next, you didn't give the dimensions of your enclosure, but if
you have them in a dorm room, my guess is your enclosure is very small.
As a rule, the smaller the enclosure, the more likely they are to
become stressed and have compatibility issues if forced to occupy the
same space together. Small enclosures are difficult if not impossible
to set up in a way that allows them to each have their own private
space to physically and visually get away from each other (as they
would be able to do in nature), and at the same time also allow them
enough room to swim about freely (as they are also able to do in
nature, and which is an important quality of life factor for them).
<And finally, last (but not least!) I don't know how college
life is for you, but I know I barely had time to care for ME when I was
in college! :) >
<You're welcome Jackie. I realize this may be hard advice to
read, but truly the best advice I can give you is to focus on your
studies right now AND to make sure that you're providing the proper
care for your remaining turtle. See how this goes first and then wait
until you're OUT of college - and see what other changes await you
in life - before deciding whether to get any more
Red Eared Slider's ears not
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My wife and I have a 1.5 yr. old Red Eared Slider about 5-6 inches
<Congratulations! Is it a boy or girl? Are cigars in
We have him in a 20 gallon tank with a good filtration system and a
large basking area, with both heat and UVB lights. He basks a lot,
several hours each day, and is also an active swimmer. He feeds well
and eats his calcium bones regularly. Lately, we have noticed that his
"red ears" are no longer a bright red.
They are now a grayish color, almost as if the red is covered up by
grayish-brown skin. Is this alright or could it be indicative of a
<Oddly, it could be either>
His shell was also flaking more than usual, so we started using the
Tetra Turtle Vita Shell- Shell and Skin Conditioner just this week. We
have seen an improvement in his shell (i.e. less flaking), but no
change in his ear color. The tips of his "ears," closest to
his eyes, are still a bright red, but the part of his ears that is
typically covered by his "turtle neck" are discolored. Thanks
for your help! Horace Pemberton III appreciates it.
<Well, the good news here is that Horace is not in pain. Nor
is this a critical issue. But it is a bit strange.
The first thing to think, which you have already thunk - is that
he's dirty or that he's having a problem shedding. To
test this, dip a Q-Tip (technically that is a "Q-Tip Brand Cotton
Swab on a Stick") in some household vinegar. White vinegar
is best, cider vinegar is OK but do NOT use Balsamic vinegar (unless
Horace is one of those snooty, euro-centric health vegan
turtles). Anyway '¦ when you hold him and tuck his
little front feet IN '¦ he'll have to stick his neck OUT
and then you can swab it. Expect Horace to be a bit offended and
hold this against you for a few weeks. See if any color (gray)
comes off on your swab.>
<If this doesn't do it, check his diet. Repto-min
floating food sticks and/or an un-dyed Koi pellet (I used Kay-Tee
brand) in case his skin is coloring due to a dye in the food>
<lastly '¦ fill a shallow bowl with about 2 quarts of
lukewarm water and dissolve in 2 tablespoons of salt. Give Horace
a bath like that for 15 minutes twice a week.>
<then write back in about 2 weeks>
All the best,
<Back at ya!>
7 year old Red Eared Slider with pink under
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My daughter's 7 year old Red Eared Slider, Skippy, has had a pink
tinge to his skin on the underside of his tail and on his rear claw
skin. We spoke with our vet last week and he advised to take Skippy out
of his tank every day for 3-4 hours so he could completely dry out. We
have done that each day. The pink tinge is also now near his neck on
what would be our shoulders. Also, today, he has spent an unusual
amount of time on his basking dock, moving very little, mostly staying
in the same position other than moving his head in and out of his shell
and looking around. He ate his ReptoMin this morning but not all of it.
This is all very unusual for him. We have checked his water temp,
basking temp, etc. His tank is cleaned once a month and the filter
changed. Any advice would be helpful. We plan to call his vet
tomorrow but it would set our daughter's mind at ease if she felt
he would be ok.
<Well, the first thing that comes to mind is simple dye
coloration. Is Skippy's basking rock one of those
'red brick-looking' stones you buy? Or is it an actual
red brick? Anything like that?>
<The next thing is a colored dye in something Skippy eats?
<Now from THAT, we get into medical issues. Pink skin
can be a sign of Septicemia, which is bad - but very unusual. I
mean VERY unusual. We normally see that in turtles that are so
sick they've stopped all feeding and movement for a month
'¦ not Skippy's case.>
<Does Skippy have a UV-B lamp next to his basking lamp? When
he basks to get warm, he needs to absorb UV-B which comes from a
special lamp - not through glass or screen. Read here:
<Also, his water temp should be no higher than room temperature
(unless you live North of the Arctic Circle)>
<The thing about turtles like Skippy is that when they get sick or
even a bit run down, the natural aquatic environment that is their home
can become their enemy: when they're not feeling well, the
warm & moist world gives a leg up to the bugs and germs, so what I
suggest is this: Let's give Skippy 2 week
vacation. Let's keep him somewhere warm and DRY where
he's under UV-B 24 hours a day. Again: read here about
warm, dry isolation:
<Once he gets accustomed (a few days) we should see him being bright
and alert and actively feeding when you place him in water>
turtle passing blood through
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a *Red Eared Slider* of 1.6yrz who is
approximately of palm size. Recently, he has developed a swelling
around his neck and after two days he started passing fresh blood
through his vomit.
<this is serious>
i consulted a vet but he was not able to diagnosed the problem. I
think he has a eye infection based on the description in your site his
eyes have become puffy and he is being shedding lot of skin in the
<When combined with the other symptoms, the puffy eyes and the
shedding indicate that he is in fact quite sick>
Please if there is anything we can do to help save him I would greatly
appreciate it. Thank you so much for your help.
waiting for your reply.
<Well, lets see here. The main problem is that you have a wide
range of symptoms that require different treatment. The swelling
around the neck and vomiting blood are acute symptoms that normally
require urgent care, but then - what are we to do? It's not
like we can do a laproscopy to see the digestive tract nor are we
likely to do surgery to correct what we might find.>
<This is one of the sad situations where we can treat what we CAN
treat and make the pet as comfortable as possible and hope that nature
can repair him for us.>
<The first thing is to get him out of the warm, wet environment and
someplace warm and dry. This will make her life easier and less
stressful. Read here:
<If he's eating, find some chicken of beef liver and feed him
small pieces of that. The vitamin A will help the swollen eyes if
it's from a vitamin deficiency. If it's more serious and
it's part of an infection in the neck and head, then it won't
help '¦ but in any case it won't hurt.>
<If your veterinarian is willing, a course of Baytril injections
(diluted in saline) may knock down an underlying infection that is
causing the problems.>
<I wish I could tell you more, but in a case with so many symptoms
and an inconclusive diagnosis from a veterinarian, all we can do is
what we know helps them>
Red Eared Slider question, abnormal
Dear WWM crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've been scanning through your turtle FAQ, couldn't find
anything similar though. In recent years my 9 year old Red Eared
Slider's been weak, not eating so much and lost weight.
<As they mature they will have less of an appetite - to match
they're slower growth rate. LOSING weight is unusual,
unless they were chubby as juveniles, then it does happen>
When I took her to the vet before they couldn't diagnose any
concrete disease but that her blood is abnormally thin (as if she
had been hit by a car or dropped from very high place and lost a
lot of blood, which hasn't happened) which would explain her
lack of strength, but they said they couldn't do much about
it and that she might pass on soon.
<that seems strange to me. Animals that lose blood and
don't die as a result then replenish that blood.>
However she's still been alive and kicking since then, still
weaker then before but maintained an even energy level.
<They are very resilient animals>
Why I'm writing to you know is because the other day I
noticed that her rear feet doesn't look as they usually
do. She has had a history of being bitten there by her
fellow turtles in the tank so she did have some scar originally
but now it looks like in the attached picture on both
<It's an interesting picture>
It's as if her skin has been pulled back in the heel and then
formed some kind of crater?
<Looks like skin forming around scar tissue from way over
It's a bit hard poking there and when I do, she pulls her
legs back in, I'm not sure cause it hurts or just because
she's always been a little careful. Any idea on what it
<Really hard to say from on-line, Sofia. This sort of
thing requires a physical diagnosis, but I sure wouldn't go
back the veterinarian that diagnosed "thin
<I think you should look online in your local area for a
Turtle and Tortoise Club or Society. If you can find one,
I'm sure you can find a local person who is an 'old
hand' at home diagnosis and treatment. Beyond
that, read here -- you COULD treat the heels as if they were
physical injuries '¦ dry-dock her, treat with topical
antibiotics for a week, etc.
Thanks a lot!
Please help-Sick Red Eared
Slider -- 1/3/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
This mail comes to you from a place where we do not have Vets who
can treat turtles. We have a Red Eared Slider who is my baby. I
do not know his age as he was with another family who moved out
and gave him to us. He has been with us for 3 yrs. His length is
about 8 inches (which may tell you his age).
<That is a fully grown, female turtle>
For the last few days I have noticed the following 3
1) His skin (around the web and neck area) has turned pink or
2) The shell (where it peaks -right in the center) is going white
around the edges.
3) I feel a very faint skin like membrane peeling off from his
skin around the neck.
<These are not GOOD things '¦ but then not
necessarily signs of serious illness, either>
The major change in recent times has been his food. We used to
feed him turtle food pellets, however in the last few weeks it
has been unavailable and hence we are feeding him dry shrimp
(which may have a lot of salt content).
<High salt content, high fat content - AND certain organic
dyes that can cause skin color changes>
He loves it more than the pellets,
<We all like junk food better than healthy food>
However it may not contain the vitamins /calcium that he needs
which are normally there in turtle food.
<When normal pellets aren't available, try vegetables like
corn, romaine (which she probably won't like), you can also
try to find a bit of chicken liver.>
He is kept in a tub where we have made an arrangement where he
can climb to a dry area for basking. His water is changed
everyday and I give him a bath (just keeping him under flowing
water and very gently rubbing the shell to clean any dirt if any)
every alternate day. Being winter we keep him in slightly warm
water. He basks for nearly 5-6 hrs. Sometimes he stays up on the
platform for even 8 hrs coming down from his perch only late in
<That part sounds fine>
My question is if all the above problems are due to some
deficiency or is it some kind of infection.
<It doesn't sound serious enough to be an
If it's an infection please please guide me how I can treat
it at home and get him well as soon as possible. My friends
scared me that it is some kind of infection which has spread to
his blood and it's very serious. Please tell me it
<A pink or reddish skin tone CAN come from a septic infection
and that is VERY serious -- BUT that almost always happens after
a serious injury or a prolonged illness - and the coloration is
almost always involving ALL the skin, not just the neck
And if it is then pls email me the immediate remedy to cure my
<My guess is that the skin has a tinge due to dyes in the
food, the shell is white due to mineral deposits in the water and
the skin is otherwise normally shedding>
I await your reply very eagerly.
Thanks and much regards,
<First, Sharda, fix the diet. No more shrimp. She
likely won't WANT the vegetables, but maybe will eat some
sort of meat. Hopefully the pellets will become available
<Beyond that, swab the skin with a cotton swab or cloth dipped
in ordinary household vinegar. It's OK to drop right on
the skin, try not to drip any in her nose or eyes, but if a bit
of that happens don't worry - it might sting a little but it
won't hurt her otherwise.>
<Mainly, watch for the normal signs. Is she active,
bright and alert? If you place her on the floor in your
room, does she eventually come out of her shell, look around and
<If she's active, alert, swimming and basking and she
continues to eat a better diet, then the chances are that
she's just fine>
Re: Please help-Sick RES 1/5/12
Thank you so much for your reply answering all my queries and
most importantly to putting my mind to rest that nothing serious
is wrong with my baby..
<Glad I could help!>
Since Ii sent you the mail I changed his diet from dry shrimps to
fresh water fish (cat fish from the river). He has been eating it
for the last 4 days. The colour of his skin is I think gradually
changing. The skin around the neck has got its original color
back..Its now the skin around the web which needs to come to
<Most people don't realize that the Great Flamingo is
WHITE in color. They get pink because they eat a shellfish
that contains that pink color>
I shall try and swab the white spots on the top of the shell with
vinegar. We do have hard water in the tap. We normally use
filtered water for him in the tub but it being winter we fill the
tub with warm water from the tap which cant be filtered and
that's why maybe the shell has the mineral deposits.
<And remember, small amounts of mineral deposits in no way
I don't notice the shedding of the skin anymore..so I guess
he is done with it.
<It goes in cycles, but now you know what to look for>
By the way from the net i found that he is a male.. As his nails
are long and his tail is also long..(unlike a female). Sorry I
had not provided you with these details. However i am still
unable to ascertain his age.
<His age is really only important to him - for you and I -
baby, juvenile, sub-adult, adult and geriatric are all we'd
ever need anyway>
After receiving your mail I tried feeding him romaine lettuce but
he refuses to eat it ..in fact he took it in his mouth n spat it
out ...just like a human baby...so i guess i have to devise ways
to mince it with his fish and feed him...
<I don't eat Romaine either>
He is pretty active, swimming, basking, going around the
house...we leave him around for about an hour on the floor for
some exercise..and he happily roams about and when he is done he
comes back to his tub. He loves to sit on my lap n shoulder and
pat me on my cheeks with both his front legs. I have read on the
net that that's how they try to attract a female..but am
happy in the thought that he is showing his affection to me.
<He probably is, they have very individual
Am really grateful to you for your response.
<Thank you for your kind words>
If you or any of your crew member ever come to India pls let us
know and we would be glad to have you over.
<I'll pass that on to Bob, our leader. He is a world
traveler (often barely one step ahead of Interpol) and may very
well get to India one day.><<I too thank you for your
kind invite. RMF>>
<Sharda, it was our pleasure to help you!>
Re: Please help-Sick RES
Just writing to tell you that my baby's doing well. Have been
feeding him river fish and his color is back to normal. Attached
is a pic of him,
<That's a handsome Slider!>
Thanks once again for your help.
<You are most welcome! Tell your friends about us!>
Red Eared Slider Skin Issue --
<Hey there! Ho there! Hiya - Darrel here>
I had a question about one of my Red Eared Sliders.
I've had them for about 2 1/2 years - rescued them from a dorm
bathroom at my undergrad, so they are probably older.
<I wonder how long they'd been living in a bathroom -- and what
kind of housekeeping service wouldn't notice a turtle in the
I last saw my turtles in August, so I'm also not sure how long this
has been an issue.
<Do they take frequent trips? Or is this some sort of shared
custody thing? Who feeds them every day?>
I noticed that on one of the turtles, the skin around his hind
legs is really reddish. His front legs are a little bit but
not nearly as noticeable. His behavior is normal otherwise: he eats his
regular amount, swims actively, and fights his sister for the prime
sunning rock. Any ideas?
<Well, it depends. The two usual culprits are excessive
amounts of red dye in the food they're eating (they should be
eating Koi Pellets or Repto-Min food sticks, neither of which contain
any red dye) or stained from the water: Some people use red
bricks or roofing tiles as basking areas and both of those can leach a
dye into the water.>
<The reason we look for superficial things here is that a systemic
redness of the entire skin surface can also be a sign of sepsis - a
systemic infection of the body - and since that's almost impossible
to treat by the time it shows, we'd rather look for things we CAN
<Swab the area with alcohol on a Q-Tip (Q-Tip brand cotton swabs!)
and see if the color comes off. In any case as long as he's
eating, active and alert '¦ swims, basks and fights with his
sister '¦ I'd just keep an eye out for it getting worse
and not worry too much>