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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Disease/Health: Social

Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton, Turtle eye diseases; Recognising and treating eye diseases in pet turtles by Neale Monks, So your turtle has the Flu? Recognising and treating respiratory infections in pet turtles by Neale Monks, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton,  Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider CareShell Rot in Turtles,

Related FAQs: RES Disease/Health 1, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Disease 3, RES Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, RES Health 8, RES Health 9, RES Health 10, & Shell Rot, Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 3, Shell Rot, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,
FAQs on RES Health by Type:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Traumas, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,

& Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Reproduction,


Red eared Singaporean turtle is sick. ..need help       5/12/16
<Hiya – Darrel here>
My name is Farha from India Mumbai. I have 2 red eared turtles for the last 11 months. They do fine. They were active and normal. Since yesterday i have noticed that my male turtle is not swimming. Its just sitting whole day at basking area. He was not eating also. Morning when i wake up i found him again at the basking area . When i took out from tank i notices some red marks in his paws. His nails was damaged. Earlier nails was big. Pls
suggest what should i do...
<He seems to have hurt himself, although some times a female slider will bite the nails of a male that is bothering her. It’s not a critical wound as long as he doesn’t get an infection from it. He needs to stay warm and dry for a while to allow the wounds to heal. Please read this article – the section on treating wounds. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>

Re: Red eared Singaporean turtle is sick. ..need help      5/23/16

Thank you Darrel
You are right my female turtle only hurt him . I have taken him to veterinary doc he suggested the same to keep him in dry place .along with this he found him suffering from congestion in chest and he suggested two medicine one for wound which is PENDISTRIN SH and for congestion one liquid which is BETNESOL 15ML (BETAMETHASONE SODIUM PHOSPHATE ORAL DROPS).
I keep him in dry whole day . Just 10 to 15 min.s for food in water. Pls suggest if i am doing right.
<You are on the right path, but he should be warm and dry for a few WEEKS not days. Reptiles heal much more slowly than humans. As he stays warm and dry his breathing will also improve. Just be sure to give him that time.>


slider die-off? 6/26/14
Hi Crew,
We have a huge pond on our site. It contains fish, frogs, water lilies and lots of filamentous algae. Up until about three months ago, we had lots of red-eared sliders. They seem to have disappeared. This has never happened before, even during the hottest part of the summer. Any thoughts? We considered the idea that plant die-off is contributing to oxygen depletion, but that seems not to be the whole answer. Is there something we don't know about sliders that could be the reason for their disappearance?
<Mmm; I suspect two-legged predators are at work here. Is there security about the area? Bob Fenner>
Brandis Hartsell, Ph.D
Dept. Chair and Curator
Marine and Earth Sciences
Roper Mountain Science Center
Greenville, SC
Re: slider die-off?
Hi Bob,
Thanks for your response. Yes, we have school district security for the 62-acre area as a whole, but not in particular for the pond. So there is that possibility. Oh well.....
<<This further input from DarrelL here:
slider die-off?
Personal experience (sad)
When a troupe of Raccoons infests your pond, you will find turtles shells in adjacent yards.
For reasons I've never understood. Raccoons and even skunks will attempt to carry their prey (if they can) over the first logical "barrier" (away from the scene of the crime, I guess) before trying to eat it.
<Yeeikes... they didn't state re finding any parts... Am sharing/accumulating this. B>
Brandis Hartsell, Ph.D
Re: slider die-off?
I found one slider shell with one leg left. I found no other shells, and saw a slider laying eggs. A larger-than-usual pred population may be a actor!
<Ah yes. BobF>
Brandis Hartsell

Please help my RES turtle!    9/2/12
Hello WWM,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My name is Jean and I need advice of what to do for my RES Buddy which recently got bitten by another Red Eared Slider that I own, Mr. Turtle. I have read various articles about other turtles on your site that have been through fungal infections in their feet/legs, but I could not find one specifically about their toes.
<What seems to be the problem?>
I own 7 RES turtles and they never have had an issue like this before in the past 2.5 years that I have owned them. Buddy and Mr. Turtle are the same age, in fact, I bought them together when they were only the size of a quarter. Their shells are about 3-4 inches long now, so they're not that big. The other 5 I bought a year later and they get along fine with Buddy and Mr. Turtle. They all live in a 25 gallon (I'm not sure of the exact size because it was a gift from a friend) tank together.
<That's very small for 7 turtles.  It's an invitation of unsanitary conditions>
They don't have any of the equipment to keep the water warm or have any heat lamps because I leave them outside of the house. Living in southern California, it's quite warm and very sunny all day and slightly cool at night. It never gets below 65 during summer/spring and is usually around 72-75 degrees at night. The turtles seem fine living outside.
<As long as they don't get attacked by dogs, cats or raccoons>
 My mom and I have been raising them outside of the house for over a year and it didn't cause any issues. When it's really cold during the fall and winter I bring them inside so they stay warm and I put them in warm water.
<Room temperature water is just fine>
 I feed them ReptoMin turtle pellets and maybe once in a while leftover chicken/duck from dinner (this isn't often, maybe every other month).
<No more than that - an occasional treat should be something like an earthworm - but once every other month won't hurt them>
My mom cleans the tank almost everyday when the water gets really dirty after they eat food. They often poop right after the tank gets cleaned too ha-ha.
<In a tank that small, they should be fed separately:  In something like a Tupperware tub with 2 inches of water.  Let them eat in there and then poop a few minutes later and THEN back to their tank - which needs to be bigger!>
 The water is at about an inch and a half high because we only have small rocks/shells where they can go sunbathe on.
<They need a much bigger enclosure.   Maybe you can use a big plastic tub from a building supply store>
Anyway, yesterday, I witnessed Mr. Turtle picking on Buddy's foot and noticed that one of his nails were gone. I am not sure if he ate the toe nail off or if Buddy already had an issue beforehand. I doubt that Mr. Turtle just had a sudden appetite for other turtles because I feed them every other day and he would have probably nibbled on the other 5 turtles by now, ha-ha.
<I agree>
Buddy was fine the day before yesterday so I do not believe that anything happened before that. I took him out of the water about an hour or so later because I Googled about foot infections for turtles. I then immediately took him out of the water because every article stated that you should take out the turtles from water ASAP and keep them dry to prevent any fungal infections.
At first I let him have a little water and stayed in a small bucket by himself. This morning I took out the water and let him stay under the sun for most of the day so he can get as many vitamins from the sun as he can.
Buddy still eats, but not as much as before. I find this a bit normal because whenever I put him in another bucket he becomes afraid of eating food for a while, then as he settles in, he eats a little.
<It's just the sudden change that scares him - don't worry>
After maybe an hour or two, I put him back in water for half an hour so he has time to eat, poop, and drink. (I noticed he seems to be very thirsty when I don't leave him in water like I usually do). Then I repeat. I make sure he is dry when I take him out of the water. I should also make it clear that I do put him in a bucket separate from the tank because I am afraid Mr. Turtle might nibble on him again. He still moves around like he normally does, but it really looks like he feels pain when he tries to stand on his tippy toes because he always slides back down to his right.
<He should stay dry for a few weeks to heal.  Keep him warm and dry and just put him in water (alone) each day to drink, eat and poop.  Read:
So, I've been doing all the things I mentioned all day today and I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing?
There are no vets around this area, well, I don't think I have ever seen a vet office/building in my whole life... Even if I were to find one around here, my Mom wouldn't allow it. She actually doesn't believe that there's anything wrong with Buddy and I know for sure that she does not want to pay for the vet fee (I hear it is quite expensive).
<Yes - and I don't blame her>
I don't know if we have any medicines that could help treat a turtle.
<Read the article above.  Treat him with dry conditions and topical betadine and he should be fine>
 We mostly have moisture creams and cough medicine. That's about all we have in our home, or at least that I know of..   I also send some photos because I believe me describing his foot may be inaccurate. I circled the abnormal toe just in case you can't really see it.
<Hope - you described it just fine>
In the attachments are photos of Buddy:
IMG_1661: how he normally looks (just in case you needed to know how he looks) it's also him not in water
IMG_1660: back right foot (the foot that got bitten, top view)
IMG_1655: back right foot (bottom view)
IMG_1653: back left foot, which looks pretty normal, just in case you needed to compare it
I'd really love it if anyone can help by giving any advice on what to do and what to not do!  Thank you so much for taking the time to read my e-mail! I look forward to your reply!
- Jean
<Jean you are doing well.  These turtles need more room, something MUCH bigger - but that does not have to be expensive - think about all the kinds of plastic tubs you can buy at the building supply or home stores.  Read
this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

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 basking platform.
<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. 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  >
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?
<Probably not>
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!
<No charge!>
All the best,
Ricky and Jacqueline


Red ear slider turtle with bitten off nose    10/19/10
I have a question.
<Fire away.>
I recently put a female red ear slider into the tank of my other female slider.
<These are not social animals and can be aggressive.>
The newer turtle is smaller. They seemed to be getting along well except at feeding time the larger turtle seemed to try to eat all of the food before the newer turtle could get any.
<I see. Possibly bullying; are you sure the larger turtle is a "she"?>
she got food anyway. They were fine even after I came home from work until that evening when I went to check on them. The smaller turtle had blood all over her head. When I finally was able to see what was going on after all the blood was washed off, I realized the larger turtle completely bit the smaller turtle nose off.
It is no longer bleeding but it seems as though when she puts her head out of the water, she opens her mouth now for air and water shoots out of her nose holes. I know she must be in pain.
Being that its the weekend, the veterinarians who care for turtles office is not open.
<Does need veterinarian help.>
Is there anything I should or can do?
<Needs a vet; at the very least, its nose will need to be patched up a bit and the turtle treated with antibiotics to prevent infection. Keeping the turtle out of the water will help. Provide drinking water, but that's it; warm, damp conditions foster infections, while warm, dry conditions will help the wound heal.>
Will she live?
<Potentially, yes.>
She seems as though she doesn't want to eat now as well.
<Eating is the least of her worries.>
Thank You
<You're welcome. My apologies about the reply being a bit late; for some reason the turtle people didn't check in over the weekend, so you've had to make do with me, a fish person! Cheers, Neale.>

Injuries on my RES's tail and legs... incomp. w/ their own kind of diff. size   2/9/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm a Red Eared Slider lover from Singapore. I had two sliders, one was about just 3/4 size of another and I placed them together till today when I finally discovered something! Just few days ago, my smaller RES could be found swimming frantically once in a while, I really had no idea what was going on and I simply ignored it. Just when I was feeding them, I noticed that the smaller ones was just swimming with it's front legs and it just withdrew it's both hind legs and tail. Then I finally found out that it's tail and both legs were injured; it seems to be bitten off a little on the legs while the tail.. I do not know how to explain but I do have a few pictures.
<Sliders are strange that way. They can live in peace and harmony for years and then one day get into nipping matches and sometimes terrible fights. The size difference you mention -- one is 3/4 the size of the other -- is right on the margin of compatibility>
The injuries is around the end of it's tail while the injuries on it's legs were at the hind toe nails.
Currently, I have separated them and the injured ones are placed in salt solution and I changed it twice. I could not afford for veterinarian so hope to ask for your professional guidance.
<I have an article that will help you and as long as the feet and tail don't get infected, you can treat them at home. Here is the link:>
<The big concern is that, like the rest of us, you now have to have multiple homes for your turtles -- or a big tank with a partition.>
Thank You and pardon my grammar errors. :)
<You are welcome -- and your grammar is as good as mine! :) >

Red Eared Slider Question   12/30/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have had my turtle for about 4 and a half years. I bought him when he was the size of a quarter, he is now between 5 and 6 inches long. After having him for a year in a shared tank with another turtle the same size (my roommate's turtle) I moved him into a larger tank by himself and then I adopted him a girlfriend. His girlfriend, who started of the same size as him, is now double his size and I suspect that she took a bite out of him. I noticed he had a large cut at the base of his nail and immediately separated him. He is now in a smaller tank with shallow water, a heat lamp and basking spot. He seems to be in better spirits, is eating and basking, but I'm not sure that the wound is healing quick enough. Is there anything you would suggest to speed up his recovery?
<Please read this:
and check out your treatment options>
His girlfriend seems a little lonely (maybe she shouldn't have bitten him!)
I would like to reunite them as soon as possible so they don't become aggressive towards each other. I have tried applying Silvadene ointment that the vet gave me last time his girlfriend injured her self, I have also tried some regular antibacterial ointment, neither seems to be doing the trick. I am being too impatient?
<Probably. Healing takes time. It's a much longer healing process in reptiles than in humans. Make sure the wound gets time to be completely DRY each day as he basks. If not, take him out of the water for a week or so - as the illness article suggests>
I have also attached a picture of him, you can see the big red spot. (I hope it was the right file type and you don't have trouble opening it)
<It opened perfectly and shows a nail lost at the root. Ouch>
<The healing will go along find, Natalie, as long as it doesn't develop a secondary infection. As long as he's eating, basking and otherwise healthy - and you're keeping his tank nice & clean, this shouldn't be a problem>
<The problem will be when you try to re-introduce them to each other.
There are three possibilities here
1- It was just "one of those things" that won't happen again
2 - The tank is too small for them and he doesn't have enough room to get away from her when she's in a mood.
3- She's just plain mean and it WILL happen again.>
<You'll have to consider those options, make changes as needed. #1 is the easy one, #2 is a big harder (but it's my guess the RIGHT one) and #3 requires rehoming one of them and trying to find a suitable replacement>
Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom,

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