Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs About Turtle Disease: Traumas

Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton, Turtle eye diseases; Recognising and treating eye diseases in pet turtles by Neale Monks, So your turtle has the Flu? Recognizing 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,  Shell Rot in Turtles, Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

FAQs on: Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 2, Turtle Disease 3,
FAQs on Turtle Health by Type: Diagnosis, Environmental, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,
FAQs on:
Shell Rot, RES Disease, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,

Yellow-Bellied Slider Turtle     4/22/20
Me and my fiance noticed a spot on the top of the head of our yellow-bellied slider and were unsure what it may be. We need to know if it's something that can be handled naturally or if we may need to see a vet. I've attached a picture of what it looks like.
<Hello Ethan. This looks to be an ulcer of some sort. Somehow the skin was damaged, and a bacterial infection has set in. 'Dry Docking' the turtle will help (see elsewhere on this website) and you can carefully use medical iodine solutions (such as Betadine) to clean these wounds once the skin has dried off a bit. After the wound has healed, which may take some days or weeks, he can be returned to his normal environment.
That said, if you're taking this chap to the vet -- which is an excellent idea -- your vet will give you a suitable treatment to follow. In the meantime, do try and review the turtle's world to see why he got damaged.
Aggression between turtles is one possibility, sharp objects in the tank might be another. Check also that family members are handling him right, and that you don't have any pets (like dogs) that can somehow get into his... (? the end. RMF)

My turtle     1/28/19
Hi my name is "chino" i was just wondering perhaps you can help me with this, i had many turtles through out my hole life but I've never seen anything like this before, and it's eating me because I don't know what's going on with my turtle, is there anything i could do to help her, because as far as i know, is a female so, am confused,,, i would appreciate anything ,,, thanks !
<This looks like either its rectum or its uterus (or penis, if male).
Either way, you're looking at some sort of prolapse. This is really only treatable by a vet. Otherwise bacterial infection is extremely likely, with a painful death soon following. There's no way a hobbyist can fix this that I'm aware of. Hope this helps, Neale.>


Re: My turtle     1/29/19
Neal --
That looks to me like a rectal proplase. The color and shape for the penis is not typical.
Your recommendation is astute - not something that can be treated at home BUT I will say that over the years I've found old, experienced hands at various local turtle and tortoise clubs can be invaluable in situations like this.
<<Thank you, Darrel for this. Presumably good reptile shops might now some "old hands" that might be able to help out here?>><RMF sent to to orig. enquirer>

injured yellow belly slider       4/23/16
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I really hope you can help me. I have an 8-9 inch yellow belly slider named Morris. she has outgrown all of the available docks on the market so I followed a couple YouTube videos and made her one, which she refused to go on. I have made so many changes trying to lore her up- warmer lamp, different ladder, etc.
<She's handsome and large>
about a year or 2 ago I purchased the Penn Plax turtle topper basking platform but it was too small to fit on her larger tank. after all of my dock fails, I decided to try using the topper again and made a platform to hold it in place. long story short she refused to go up there and seemed scared, so everyday I would put her up there with treats so she could get used to it. a couple days ago I put her up there and she tried to back out down the ladder and got stuck. I ran over and freed her immediately but I think her leg may have gotten caught. she was fine for a day or 2 but this morning she refused food and was swimming sideways and looked miserable. I took her out and her leg is swollen... she's not using it to walk but also can't pull it into her shell.
what do I do??? �� below are pictures of her leg. thank you!
<Right now, just worry a bit ... and feel bad for her. I can't tell for sure without a physical exam and maybe even an X-ray. The swelling would indicate a sprain, or possibly even a fracture. The good news is that neither of those conditions are life threatening and in either case will heal on their own. I have a female slider that size who came to me after losing both her front legs to a raccoon attack and she swims, basks, thrives and even breeds with the other turtles.>
<So for the moment, I wouldn't worry about Morris's health, but you certainly have a challenge regarding her basking. I'm going to suggest that you think "outside the tank" on her environment. Something like an indoor pond, with a shallow ramped side?>

Red Eared Slider with sores        11/9/15
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I recently acquired two turtles at Chinatown in Jakarta because the animals were kept in very bad conditions and I wanted to offer them a better life.
<Thank you>
One turtle has been developing a kind of lump and I don't know what it is, it touches hard. I see another yellow spot appearing under the mouth.
<A quick look from the picture suggests those are scars from abrasions, meaning scrapes or cuts. They can get these from sharp things in the water, sometimes from bites and scratches and sometimes … strange but true … from their own shells: I see many water turtles with sores and scars on the top of their heads from being scraped on a sharp spot on their own shell.>
She likes to spend most of the day inside a hollow log covered in water, while her friend rests on top of the log. So I don't know if she got hurt inside. The water is cleaned at the latest every third day. We take them out to walk on the grass as well.
She's eating well (turtle pellets) and her behaviour is normal. As your page suggests I've already put her in a dry place.
There 're no turtle vets here nor turtle clubs. Even for human beings medical care is very poor.
What can I do?
<This page describes the dry docking as you are doing. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<I would treat for what the article calls “cuts bruises and bites.” Keep her dry and warm and apply a topical antiseptic (like Iodine, Betadine, etc. which should be available at any pharmacy without prescription>
Thank you

Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help      7/27/15
Hi I am sorry it took so long to get back to you but I was waiting for the wound to heal before I let you know and tell you the rest of the problems.
But there is no good news to give ....... I did take him to the vet but the doctor didn't know much about turtles and had never treated a turtle before but she said to soak his leg in a solution of water and absent salt (not sure how its spelled)
<Assume you mean Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate, MgSO4). Can help reduce swelling, but has no antibacterial properties.>
so that she could find out whether there was a stone lodged in or if it was a scab and also after this was done she said to apply a diluted solution of iodine to the infected area.
<Iodine tincture; also called povidone-iodine. On its own iodine will do nothing to help.>
There was a lot of improvement until it came to a stop and just recently he started scratching below mouth so when I put him in water the area starts to swell up so I decided to continue with the dry docking until he got better but it gets worse the leg on which he got the wound on, developed another lump slightly above it (when he is placed on his back to the ground) I have been applying iodine to it ever since ....... and today I noticed on the other leg small pink spots which are barely noticeable ........... now to get to the injury he got when he was a year old (may be less or more I am not sure) he was placed in a small tub with a small stone which was not placed properly so he swam underneath the rock and the rock landed on his back (it was a flat rock which was kept inclined to the tub ) so he got a big depression in his back (he is 9 now so its been a many years) I was told that it would pop back up it time and that it can take 10 to 15 years to get back to normal!!!
if you can help me get him back to normal I will forever be in your debt !!!
Thank you!
<Let me direct you to some reading:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/RESTraumaF.htm
I'm also going to direct you to a specific Red Ear Slider forum that is a good place to get help on turtles:
To be honest, your turtle needs consistently good care at home (hence the articles I've linked you to) and appropriate medical care (the articles help cover some aspects, but veterinarian care would be a major plus).
Assuming you offer good care, employ dry docking while medicating the wounds, and ensure adequate calcium and UV-B, your turtle may well heal.
I'd expect a turtle to heal much faster than "10 to 15 years" which sounds
<<End of post....? BobF>>
Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help     7/28/15

Also He is an Indian flap shell turtle which is an aquatic turtle so is the procedure of dry docking the same as dry docking for red ear sliders ?
<Not sure, but probably, yes. We are fish experts here, not reptile experts. You need to find a reptile/turtle forum, join it, ask your questions there. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help     7/28/15

Thanks for the quick reply
but is there any thing I can do for his mouth which is swelling up and could there be a reason as to why he keeps scratching it ........ he also keeps biting his hand !!!!
<Do read those articles... do find a vet able to help with pet reptiles.
Swellings in the mouth go beyond first aid... they are not something I/you can fix easily. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help     7/30/15

My turtle keeps biting himself very violently so much that the skin has come out and the inside flesh is visible ....... I had taken him to the vet they gave him two shots i.e. taxim 250
<Taxim-O is a trade name for Cefixime; I assume that's what was used here.
I have never heard of this being recommended for turtles/reptiles.>
and an avil injection yesterday and today now he keeps biting himself so I called up the vet and the doctor said it could be a reaction to the injection and that I should give him half and avil mixed in water !!! I'm not to sure of any of this so I need help urgently plz!!!!!!
<"Avil" is a trade name for Pheniramine, an antihistamine. While useful for treating allergic reactions, I'm not at all clear why your vet is using this on a turtle. I honestly can't give you any more advice here.
Presumably the vet knows what he/she is doing, and your discussions should be with the vet, not with me.>
I've tried looking in every corner of the internet for help but nothing I cant understand any of the forum I don't get how to post !!!! plz help me its gotten really serious!!!
<Sorry I can't offer any more help. I am going to direct you to the RedEarSlider.com forum, here:
These people are much more expert with turtles than I am. Sign up (it's free!) and post some photos there for people to comment on. I have cc'ed our resident turtle expert, Darrel, but he doesn't seem to be around, and truly I'm at the limits of my knowledge. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help; Darrel chimes in from the road     7/30/15

I've been traveling a great deal lately and I don't have access to emails.
This is a truly puzzling situation, made worse by the fact that a trained medical professional is closer than any of us and seems unable to find the source of the problem. In reading the emails I keep wondering if the turtle has acquired a parasite through the open wound and now the affected area has become so damaged that the irritation won't stop. In this situation I would take extreme measures about just dry docking: I'd soak the limb in a salt water bath (perhaps as much as 50 grams of salt to a liter of water) for 10 minutes and then remove him, dry the limb and warp it in gauze and tape -- essentially
immobilize the limb so that he simply can't bite at it. I'd repeat this process once a day for a week. If another trip to the vet is possible I'd ask for injections of calcium gluconate and vitamins A, D & E -- as I've seen in Softshell turtles that a vitamin deficiency can inhibit healing of skin lesions.
Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help      8/8/15

could you let me know when Darrel is around ??
<Oh! We forward queries, input to him specifically. BobF>
Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help      8/8/15

is this Darrel?
<Nope.... Send your msg. and we'll send it on. B>
Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help        9/4/15

hi! its me again I wanted to let you'll know that continued putting any medicating and his leg wounds have completely healed !!!! May be it was taking time to heal cuz of the dry docking (because I read somewhere aquatic turtles are not supposed to be dry docked)........
<Quite the opposite. A HEALTHY turtle doesn't need to be dry-docked because it doesn't benefit him but a sick turtle is a different story. Infections are, by nature, opportunistic. Once they get a foothold the grow and continue to debilitate the host, so once any animal is sick we try to make conditions that are UNFAVORABLE to the infection or fungus so that the animal has an easier time fighting back.>
<The problem that you face is simply the metabolism of the turtle. For example an infection in a human will have bacteria that have a life cycle of, say, 40 hours. That means that an antibiotic (which kills bacteria by making them unable to reproduce) will start to have an effect in 20 hours, show actual improvement in 40 hours and have the bacteria on their way out in 80 hours. But that's a human at 98.6 degrees. That SAME bacteria in a turtle kept at 88 degrees has a slower life cycle and may live for a month. That means that interfering with its ability to reproduce can take three months - or more. So by keeping the turtle at 92 degrees in dry-dock you not only take away the moist environment that encourage bacterial growth but you shorten its life cycle to perhaps 2 weeks.>
but what concerns me the most is his mouth swelling up (the tiny flaps on the lower part of the mouth (not internal)
<Be patient. He's healing, but remember ... he was GETTING sick a very long time before he was sick enough for you to notice and he'll start looking and feeling better quite a while before he is completely better.>
I tried joining sum forums like you said but almost nun of them allow you to post if you're a new member !!
<But as time goes on you become an older member. Part of the reason the forums are a mixed blessing is that you are often getting information from people who don't have as much experience or wisdom as they think they do. By now you must have noticed that in life - even people who have no clue what they are talking about seem to have no problem telling you all about it.>
<<Heal Thyself -- editor>>
thank you for responding all this time much appreciated .... ☺:-)
<we wish you and your turtle the best of luck>
Re: injured Indian flap shell turtle please help      10/4/15

HI! its me again (sadly).......
<Hiya – Darrel here again as well>
I noticed yesterday that my turtle had red patches on his skin I am a bit concerned about it I have a couple of pictures (not good quality) they are the best I could get I have circled
the areas (they look brown in the picture because of bad camera)........ his behaviour is normal his eating and basking fine there are no other signs of distress !!!
<Well, we’ve been through a lot here and there’s been tremendous progress. On one hand I don’t want to dismiss a possible symptom … but a turtle that is acting normally, swimming, basking, eating … active and alert … especially one that has been very, Very sick … I’m tempted to leave it alone. The stress of diagnosing and then treating what appears to be a small symptom is harder on him than the treatment may be worth.>
<Soft Shell turtles are very susceptible to water quality issues and thus skin infections, so if the spot gets bigger or more of them, take him out, let him dry off, dribble a topical antibacterial (such as Povodine or Betadine), let THAT dry on the patches … meanwhile make sue his water is really clean.

3 year old red eared slider; trauma       6/22/14
Dear Crew
<Hiya, Darrel here>
Hi my name is heather and I have a 3 year old red eared slider... He fell the other day and cracked his shell is eating is fine, swimming just like normal and basking... But when he comes up for air he's starting to make a whistling sound... The only vet hat deals with turtles where I live is on vacation the next two weeks... Can you please help me.... Even just to make life easier on him till I can take him to the vet... Your help would be greatly appreciated...
<Sorry to hear that. Your turtle needs to be dry-docked for a while to  allow the tissue under the crack to heal.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  >
<Turtles are remarkably resilient about physical injury and he should bounce back from this in time, but at the moment you should give him a warm, dry environment. Put Betadine (any kind of diluted iodine) on the
crack area every morning and keep him warm & dry (except for his daily bath) for about 6 weeks>
Thank you

Sores on feet... turtle     6/8/14
Dear Crew
<Hiya, Darrel here>
We have a 3 year old male that is approximately 10 inches shell length.
<A turtle, right?>
He's healthy except that he recently started getting sores around his nails on his feet. They are like blisters. Nothing has really changed.
<You mean, in the environment, right? Because blisters on the feet *IS* a change>
Call Baltimore aquarium and they said keep them dry more and use betadine. It's not working. Help.
<OK - the basic instructions are correct: Keep him warm and dry. We call it "dry-docking" The problem is that it may be fungal rather than bacterial, which means that betadine would only help prevent a secondary bacterial infection - and the primary treatment is miconazole (athletes foot cream) -- OR -- the problem would be a vitamin deficiency, in which case neither would help.>
<Here's what I suggest: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  read this. Dry-dock and treat for a fungal infection. Keep in mind every detail of the treatment is important!>
<While treating - punch up his diet a bit -- add some beef or chicken liver.>
<Make sure he gets extra doses of UV-B lighting>
<Check all your care against the basics outlined here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Here is an important issue: Even though it appears nothing has changed -- this malady may have been many months, or even a year in the making with no ill effects showing on the outside until the condition began to overwhelm him… so check every aspect of your care against the guide>

Red eared slider with a broken off beak piece    12/24/12
Hello, i have 2 red eared slider turtles, and today i just noticed that my male had part of his beak cracked.
<Rare, but happens.>
i took him out to get a better look, and he refused to turn his head toward me to do so, and when he did he would nip at me. when he would nip it sounded a bit like cracking bone. so i set him down and he crawled next to me where the piece of his beak that was cracked, then came off completely.
it is the very front of his bottom beak, and is not a huge piece, but still rather noticeable. i would like to know, will this part of his beak grow back?
<Eventually, though often imperfectly.>
and what should i do to ensure he heals properly?
<Is it bleeding? Or red-looking? If not, then he'll likely be fine. Keep the water clean of course, and keep a close eye for any signs of infection, such as redness or a weird smell.>
i am also rather curious, my same male also squeaks.
if you walk away from the tank or are in another area away from the tank he will sometimes squeak. is this simply for attention or should i be watching for signs of anything?
<Not so far as I know -- though it may be significant to other turtles! So long as your turtle isn't making wheezing sounds (a common symptom of Respiratory Tract Infections and requiring a trip to the vet) don't worry about occasional hisses, chirps and squeaks -- these seem to be normal.>
his skin is slightly red by where it is i guess attached to his shell and has been for a week or two. i haven't had this before so i have to say i am a bit worried that something might be wrong.
<Ah now, this is more worrying. Healthy turtles shouldn't have any red or sore-looking tissue visible. I'd have a vet look over this turtle as soon as possible. Trust me: a quick visit when little is wrong will be much cheaper than dealing with a serious problem a few months from now.
Typically, the vet will prescribe some antibiotics, give your turtle a vitamin injection, and then recommend a course of action for the next few weeks. Keeping the turtle clean and dry may be required.>
could you please help?
<Do review Shell Rot; it's quite common!
There are some treatments you can do at home without a vet; worth trying.>
it'd be very appreciated!
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red eared slider with a broken off beak piece    12/24/12

oh thank you so much!
<Most welcome.>
i will look in to these two sites, and see about getting him to a vet!
<Good thinking. Cheers, Neale.>

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

Turtle Trauma     3/4/12
Good Day...
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We've been keeping turtles, Sliders and Maps, for awhile now.  We've raised the lot of them from "pups" and  they're probably 4 or 5 years old.   Several of our turtles made a "break for it" from our home-made "turtle topper" this afternoon while we were away.  I'd say approximately a 5 foot fall on to ceramic tile.

<One thing that has always amazed me about turtles has been their astounding ability to climb - and the speed at which they do it, when no one is looking>
One of the smaller ones seemed fine and was returned immediately to the tank.
<Yes, they also survive major trauma with seemingly minor damage>
Another chipped off a small part of his shell but also seems okay
<He also is likely fine>
(however we've separated him so we can keep an eye on him).
<Always a good idea - there is no rush to put them back into an aquatic environment>  Upon counting heads in the aquarium, however,  we realized we were still missing one of our bigger turtles.   It seems he scuttled away under my desk in the office after the incident.  When we finally found him (several hours later), he had obvious blood on and in his mouth.
<I see that frequently as well>
Whether his injuries extend to his internal organs we have no way of knowing. Needless to say, we're fervently hoping not.
<Right.  The other thing is, quite obviously, if he were to have internal organ damage, there isn't much that CAN be done - short of what you're doing already.>
We've taken the two larger, and seemingly more injured turtles and removed them from the tank.  They are in a plastic tub being kept dry and we're placing a UV light over them was well. We've read here enough to know during trauma or illness we must keep them warm, and pretty much dry for a while. We'll provide daily baths, and water enough to drink but after that, we're not sure if there is anything else we can do.  We'd appreciate any further advice you could give us.
<You seem to have read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
Oddly, we were away at the time of the accident preparing their new home at our new home.  A nice exterior pond with more room for our "pack of turtles". Kind of ironic!!
<"I guess irony can be pretty ironic" -- Ted Stryker "Airplane!">
Thank you in advance for any advice you may be able to give.
<Candace, you're already doing everything right and everything you can do.   The more calm and stationary you can keep the one with the bleeding, the easier it will be for him to heal.  I'd put him in a box hardly big enough to move in for the next 24 hours.  After that, just leave him in "dry-dock" with the others.   THEY can go "home" after a few days, the Big one … maybe a week if he starts to act normal and hungry.> 

turtle took a fall, can't get to vet immediately    2/26/12
Help! 1 of my red eared sliders knocked off the top off her tank and fell down 4 feet landing on top of that grate. I found her right where she fell.
There was blood.
<I see.>
The closest vet that deals with turtles is an hour and a half away and I can't get there for two or three days.
<Will need a visit, soon.>
the only injury seems to be a crack on the outer ring of scutes by her tail which is where she bled from. she wasn't still bleeding when I found her, and once I put her in a dry tank she started crawling around like nothing happened.
<As is their wont.>
I called the vet and they recommended cleaning the area with betadine diluted down so its almost clear.
<Sounds fair.>
I need to know if I can put her in water to feed her before I can get to the vet.
<Would keep her dry for at least a day so the bleeding can stop. This will help to prevent bacteria getting in. Water will simply wash away any antiseptic used, and the warm water in the vivarium will be loaded with bacteria. It's also important to keep injured turtles away from the other turtles. Do ensure the turtle has access to a shallow bowl of water for drinking though, as they can dehydrate when kept out of the water, despite being reptiles.>
<Good luck, Neale.>

Injured yellow bellied slider    4/8/11
Hi Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I currently have 2 yellow bellied sliders, a male and a female, in a 55 gallon tank. The male's shell is about 5 inches in length, and the female's is 6-7 inches.
<Those are well sized-adults!!>
About five days ago, I noticed an open sore about the size of a dime on the top of the male's front right foot. I think the female may have bitten him.
<I wonder what he did to deserve it. Did he come home one day with the scent of Red Eared Slider on him?>
<Did he forget their anniversary?>
<Maybe it wasn't any of those maybe she's just like my ex-wife: PSYCHO>
I consulted your this website for advice and immediately took him out of the water and placed him in a warm dry place.
<Many years ago . Back when I was married and living in middle-class suburbia we had block party/pot luck and my next door neighbor Bruce got in HUGE trouble with his wife. HUGE.>
<You cannot POSSIBLY imagine what he did!!!!>
<He was in a neighbor's house>
<He went into the Guest Bathroom>
<No kidding!>
<He had NO IDEA that the Guest Towels were just for looks and that the "real" towels were behind the door under the sink>
<Or that the soap in the potpourri dish was likewise just for show!>
<He spent FOUR NIGHTS on the couch over that>
<Trust me when I say Bruce wished that Margaret had just bit his arm!!!!>
I have been placing him in warm water daily for about 20 minutes so he can eat, but he is not eating. I feed ReptoMin pellets, and he is usually very enthusiastic about his food. He will even take it from my hand when he is in the tank. However, he hasn't eaten at all since I took him out of the tank. His foot looks a little better, but he's not ready to go back into the tank yet, should I be concerned that he isn't eating?
<Linda that's a very good question, glad you asked. The answer is "don't worry about it right now">
<A healthy adult Slider can go 3 months without eating and after all he's been through, being off his feed isn't entirely unexpected. First he got bitten for reasons he can't possibly fathom then he gets taken from his home. You ARE doing it for his own good and I'm the one that wrote that advice, but to HIM it's just more, sudden change. Give him a week or two to adjust to his new routine. Let him rest & heal and adjust. If he eats, fine. If he's too stressed out, that's OK too he's still healing>
<Just let Bruce heal>
I would appreciate your input!
<No charge!>
<yer welcome>

raw spot  3/26/11
me again-
<YOU ???????>
<AGAIN ?????????????>
<Hiya Barb!!!! Darrel here (again)!>
One of my turtles now has what looks like a raw spot on the back of his neck where the edge of his shell rubs against it. Should I treat it with anything?
<Take him or her out of the water and let him (or her) dry off for a few minutes. Dribble some Betadine (iodine) on the back of the neck and then let her sit somewhere until she dries off.>
<Do this every other day for a week and see if it improves>

Yellow faced turtle - injured?  10/2/10
Hi there!
<Hey there Ho there!! Darrel here there!>
Thanks for taking the time to read this :)
<No problem Shinji - it's why I get the big bucks>
I purchased two yellow faced turtles about 1.5months ago, from a coworker. They are a turtle local to the Northern Territory of Australia, and they are aquatic. They originally came in a tank about 250L, but we made a raised pond for them which is 300L of water with a lip around the edge for them to sun bake and exercise on.
<Sounds good so far>
They are about 10-15cm long, brother and sister. I feed them every second day with frozen food (which I defrost first). I also treat them with things like lettuce, and prawns and fresh fish as we get it. We planted around the tank with lettuce and parsley for them to eat as they wish, and they love eating one of the floating pad plants we have in the pond. Oh! And I'm an avid fish keeper, so I have two filters in the pond, and do water changes weekly.
<Sounds very good. I would do a bit more research on their diet in the wild. If you're describing genus Elseya you can reduce the fish & prawns as they grow and gradually replace that with regular Koi food pellets. It's less expensive and actually better for them>
Lately I've noticed the boy developing splotches. These splotches are the colour of rust, and started near his mouth, but I have now found them on his tail and underside of his shell. One or two are small on his legs and very slightly raised. Maybe a scab, but too small to tell. None are bigger than a 5c piece.
<I think a 5 cent piece is far big enough to examine.>
His shell is hard, and clean, eyes are clear. He's VERY active and feisty and will claw my hands up when he doesn't want to be held anymore, and looks around attentively. The girl is much shyer and will hide whenever anyone goes close. I haven't been able to catch and inspect her. She's way too fast a swimmer, but on the weekend she had small marks at the corner of her mouth as well.
I'm not sure what it is caused by. I have Googled and read tons of stuff, and the only thing I have come up with is they might be mild scrapes from something in the tank. But I don't think they've eaten anything that would hurt their mouth? It's ridiculously hard to find information on these turtles so I don't have much to go on.
<I agree>
Do you have any idea what could be causing this?
If you have no clue from the description, I can take pictures in a couple days.
<If you take pictures, make sure that you have focus - often people try to get too much of a close-up and all we see are blurry colors>
Thank you for any help you can provide! Our whole family loves them and we don't want anything bad to happen!
<Shinji - what you describe is odd. It's hard to get a visual in the mind of what you're actually seeing, so let's run down a general list.>
<First, can you rub the brownish spot with a Q-Tip or cotton swab and get any of it to rub off? If not, what about a swab dipped in alcohol or even vinegar? Does anything loosen the material? If it any of it rubs off, does it have an odor? (If you use vinegar, don't bother with the smell test). You can use the eraser on a #2 pencil as well. Try a very small area. I know this sounds mean, but if we can't tell what it IS we can often guess what it is by seeing what's UNDER it. If you rub a piece of and there is raw skin underneath (like a wound) then it may be a scab.>
<If you wet the area with hydrogen peroxide and the "scab" turns white, it's possible that it is a mold growing on the skin and putting root-like material down in the tissue. The more we find out how it reacts, the more we can focus on what it might be>
<In the mean time, take them out of the water and keep them warm and dry for 3 or 4 days. I'm giving you a link on treating common illnesses, but that link has a section on what we call "Isolation treatment" which is how to keep them warm and dry for long periods -- almost every condition causing these spots in encouraged in warm, moist aquatic conditions and DISCOURAGED in warm DRY conditions. Try it for a few weeks and see how the situation changes. Also, and I can't stress this enough, unfiltered natural sunlight!!! Direct sunlight is immensely beneficial to treating almost all skin conditions. Make sure, of course, that they have shade to be able to get out of the sun - and remember, sunlight through glass loses it's benefit.>
<Do some of these tests and write back with results>

YBS; physical injury 11/03/09
Hi there,
I have a 2.5 year old yellow bellied slider (sex unknown)
<Males have much longer claws than the females, so sexing is usually easy.>
who lives in a 75 gallon tank with a gold fish and a sucker fish.
<Glad this is working for you; often doesn't. Do watch his/her companions for signs of bite marks. Conversely, water quality in turtle enclosures can be pretty poor, and this won't do your fish any good.>
A few days ago the filter overflowed, so yesterday morning I put him in a 50 gallon tank while I emptied and moved the other tank so the carpet can dry properly.
Yesterday afternoon I noticed that he had developed a white spot on one side of his head (sorry for the fuzziness of the picture).
<Yes, I see it.>
He used to live in the 50 gallon tank and I got a new style filter when I moved him to the 75 gallon tank.
It only has crinkly blue plastic in one side to filter the water as it flows through. The 50 gallon tank housed a Pacu for a few days about a month ago, the water was not fully emptied but the tank has been empty with a carbon filter running constantly for the last month.
<Do understand carbon is pretty useless in this type of environment. While it may house some bacteria, without any fish or animals in the aquarium, the bacteria that live in the carbon will die back, close to zero. So I'd strongly suggest putting at least some of the "live" media from the filter used until it started leaking into whatever new filter you have here.>
I also had to bring the temperature of the water up from 55F to 72F before I put the turtle in the water.
He still has his basking platform and light while he is in the temporary tank. There don't appear to be any behavioral changes. Please let me know if you have any suggestions regarding the cause, diagnosis, and treatment for my little friends spot.
<Good, clean water and a hot, dry basking spot should help. Clean gently with a cotton ball or some tissue. Dabbing with an antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin) or an antiseptic (such as iodine ointment) can be used to clean any small injuries. Leave the turtle out of the water for half an hour afterwards. Do this once or twice a day, for a few days. Should clear up just fine. If it doesn't do so within four or five days, or the injury starts to look bloody and/or inflamed, have a vet take a look.>
I really appreciate your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

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

Turtle medical help   ~ 01/12/09 I have a small turtle (1/2 dollar size) and type unknown....you know a turtle !!! <Assuming Trachemys scripta elegans, the Red-eared Slider.> it is bleeding out of its shell, although it doesn't seem to be hurt in any way, it bothers my children. what could be the cause and what can be done to help this fella out? <This turtle needs a vet, now. It's in pain and suffering profoundly. The shell is essentially its ribcage, and if it is bleeding through the shell, that means a serious injury. Even if you're lucky and this is some sort of infection that looks like blood but isn't, for example Shell Rot, you still need a vet.> it is housed in a small plastic, hand held, aquarium with river rock and non-chlorinated water about half way up on the rocks. <Not an acceptable house for this animal. Please understand turtles are expensive to keep and incredibly bad pets for children. Since you own the thing now, it's your job to treat it humanely. Firstly, you need to find a vet to either treat or euthanise this animal as required (and no, you can't euthanise a reptile at home, at least not humanely or painlessly). Don't know of any vets in your area that handle reptiles? No problem: visit a relevant web site (such as Anapsid.org) in your area (in this case, the US): http://www.anapsid.org/vets/ Please realise that this turtle is in pain and suffering. You can't treat it at home, and it isn't going to get better by itself. You have two choices: take it to a vet, or let it painfully bleed to death or die from some drawn-out gangrene-type infection. Turtle shells are quite strong, and if they get broken, it's likely because of some extreme force used on them. Children shouldn't handle turtles unless they understand how to be gentle, and certainly turtles should be kept away from dogs, power tools and the like. Secondly, you need to review what these animals need in captivity. Among other things you will need a big aquarium (some tens of gallons), a heater, a UV-B light source, and a filter -- minimum. It's a shame people buy animals before they learn what they need. But I'm assuming you're willing to learn (and spend the money) so that this animal is kept properly. That being so, have a read of this excellent summary of their requirements. None of this stuff is difficult to obtain, and most any pet store should carry the basic things listed above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm > we feed this turtle small pellets from the pet store. <Not adequate. Do review the diet of these turtles carefully. They're herbivores, so the bulk of their diet needs to be soft green plants. This aspect is cheap and easy to handle. They also need lots of calcium and vitamins, and the UV-B light mentioned earlier is essential if they are to process the vitamins they need to survive. Turtle pellets are, at best, a treat to be used for, maybe, 20% of their diet, tops.> thanks!! Michael <Hope this help, and good luck to your turtle. Cheers, Neale.>

Terrapin Lost A Claw  10/11/07 Dear Sir / Madam, <a sir here today -- Darrel> I have two terrapins, one 8 inches long and one 7 inches long. The 8-incher has just bitten off one claw of the 7-incher, and although the 7-incher moves fine, eats well and responds well without showing lack of its usual alertness (save for the fact that it keeps its injured foot retracted), I'm worried because the injury is still fresh and you can see red flesh. <This may be an opportune time for a trip to the veterinarian. Any physical injury that severe would be well served by an exam and professional treatment. That's not what I'd do, but I want to remind you that it's a wise option. Now back to your question> Will it heal on its own, or is there something I have to do to make sure it gets better? <It can heal on it's own, as nature often does, but we can do better. Remove the injured animal from the water and allow him to dry. Examine the injured claw area, pulling it out to extension if necessary, to make sure that the injury is clean (no impacted dirt, sand, etc.) and then coat it liberally with Betadine or similar topical antiseptic. Keep the animal out of the water for the next 8-10 days except for a few minutes each day where you put him back in the tank, allow him a few minutes to settle down & drink... and then feed him. Give him a few minutes to eat, then out, dry & Betadine again. Keep this up until the wound has scarred over completely.> I know it's not the rocks because I've seen the larger terrapin attack the smaller terrapin's claws and sides (sides protected by shell), just that I never expected it to get so serious. <It usually doesn't. They're colonial and communal AND at the same time scrappy and territorial and usually, almost always, fights between individuals stop and settle out LONG before this kind of damage. So yes, this is not typical, but it does happen. The time the smaller one spends away from the big one may help to calm whatever issues they have as well as let the little guy heal. But ... this time away might make the big guy feel that he's won a fight or driven off an intruder, so here's an old trick & tip from fish and reptile keepers from way back: When it's finally time to return him "home" you might consider a complete breakdown and rearrangement of the tank (rocks, lights, basking areas, etc.) so that they little guy is not being returned to the big guy's "home territory -- in a sense they're both starting fresh as equals. When that time comes, keep a close watch on them for a time -- in rare cases two individuals simply don't get along and you either need a habitat so large that they can live apart -- or else keep them separately. But we'll cross that bridge when we get that far.> Truly hope you can help.. my terrapins mean a lot to me.. <I hope we have, Alex and hope we will continue to help> Thank you. <You're welcome> Best Regards, Alex

Re: Terrapin Lost A Claw 10/12/07 Hello Darrel, <Hiya Alex> Awesome! I am truly grateful for your reply, just hope my local vets are good enough for reptiles because they've killed my friends' terrapins before with some kind of vitamin injection.. Once again, thank you so so so much!! Take care, Alex <Dear Alex, I received your message last night and decided to reflect on it before responding because there's an area of animal husbandry here that is critical to all of us, yet so often overlooked and I wanted to make sure it gets complete coverage. You mentioned that your friend lost a terrapin to a veterinarian's vitamin injection and that caused me to think back sadly to all the animals that I've lost over the years and what proximal causes were involved. The sad fact is that a great number of them were lost while in a veterinarian's care and I, like you, might have a good reason to be suspicious. And yes, there are a few veterinarians around that are working with 15 year old information on exotics, reptiles and fish and I have learned over the years that it's not only my right but my obligation to ask a vet to state his experience and training relative to what problem I've brought to him.> <But with that said, any naturalist or in fact anyone who's watched many animal shows on television will tell you that in the wild, it's simply not a good idea to be wounded or weak. Probably the same with people, too ... or as my mother used to tell my brother and I SO many times ... "The least you can do is ACT like you're normal!"> <ahem. Back to the animals> <Even an adult water buffalo with a limp is a sure announcement to the pride of lions. A snake just before its' shed is an easy mark for an eagle and a fish swimming on it's side is calling it's bigger brethren to dinner. For this reason, our wild friends try really REALLY hard not to show any weakness even after some severe injuries. They have all evolved to be very hardy and quite stoic -- which, unfortunately leads to the number one cause of death in our captive animals: By the time they get sick enough that they can't hide their weaknesses any long and begin to limp, sway, wallow or float .... they're often near death's door and beyond salvation.> <We've almost all had a fish that seemed fine and healthy for months until one morning we found him dead and yet that's rarely the whole truth. The truth is that he or she had been sick for a very long time and due to a combination of their ability to act normal, our haste to make a quick exam each day and then run off to the rest of our lives ... and the fact that often we don't even know what to look for ... the animal in question has actually been fading right in front of our eyes for quite some time -- we just didn't notice because the signs were so tiny. So please remember that IN ADDITION to the fact that your pet can't tell the doctor where it hurts, by the time you get your animal to the veterinarian, he's probably used up all his reserves and there's sometimes very little the doctor can do.> <The water changes, the filter cleanings, the heater checks, supplements -and .. and and AND .... the 10 or more minutes a day devoted to really REALLY looking -- are worth a hundred trips to the vet and a LOT cheaper, too.>
Re: Terrapin Lost A Claw 10/12/07
My apologies... one more question.. Will the claw grow again? It's so sad, like he's missing one small toe.. plus will it be ok for him to be on totally dry land for so many hours a day? And must I rinse him to get rid of the iodine before putting him back into the water? Thank you! Alex <No worries, Alex.> <It's unlikely that the claw will grow back -- it depends on how much of the root is damaged, but it really doesn't matter. The flesh will heal and the turtle will get along just fine.> <To answer your other question, yes, he can be out of water for days without problem .. and if he gets a little bit of water time each day to bathe and hydrate, he could be out of the water for MONTHS without any ill effects. If you apply the iodine after he comes out of the water and leave it on until the next day when you soak him again, no rising is necessary.> <Darrel>


Turtle With Bite On Neck   9/6/06 About 2 mths ago, we took on 5 abandoned wild red slider turtles for our 6,000 gallon pond.  The largest turtle ( female ) has recently been injury on her top of her neck. This just happened within the last 48 hrs.  As a result, I've really noticed even more aggression towards this turtle by the other turtles.  Last night we had to lift her and another turtle ( a smaller female ) out of the water with our net, in order for them to release themselves from each other.  It's horrible to watch. I'm not sure if the bigger female is in danger, since all the other turtles seem to be ganging up on her.  What should I do??   Remember they are wild turtles. We have 3 females, and 2 males. (we think?) < You live in CA and red eared sliders are not found in CA. They are probably pets that have been released into the wild by irresponsible pet owners. Feral turtles compete with the native Western Pond Turtle for food. It is a good thing to remove them from a habitat that they are not normally found. Male RES's usually have longer front claws and a longer tail. The red on the side of the head is also less pronounced on males. In some subspecies the males do not have the longer front claws. They could have interbreed with the normal res and produced a male with out the long claws. Remove the female for now and set her up in her own plastic kiddie pool with a couple of bricks in the center for a basking site. Fill it up to the top of the bricks or enough to cover her shell. Cover one half of the pool with a piece of plywood so the water doesn't get too hot in the sun.> I was told by other sites to remove the female from the pond, put her in a stress free environment (a small box/container,  inside my house (since I live in CA - and it's very hot outside) put a towel over it and keep her dry.  I'm not sure what is the best way to treat this injury? < Set her up as I suggested but add a Zoo-Med  Repti Turtle Sulpha Block and get some Repti Wound healing Aid for the bite on her neck.> Also, she is use to eating while in water.  Should I stick her in another container, filled with water, once a day for her to eat?? Or should she stay totally dry until the injury is healed?  It seems like a long time for her to be confined in such a small space?  Please help me on this matter.  Thanks. Attached is a photo of my turtles injury < Set her up as per my recommendations. Watch for infection or fungus. Keep the water clean.-Chuck>

Turtle Expert, Turtles With Injuries  8/8/06
Hello Robert, I hope you are a turtle expert.  I have two turtles with problems. 1st Case is a 3 inch Eastern Painted Turtle.  He was bitten by a bigger female (which is no longer with the little guy).  Parts of the back of his shell have fallen off and it appears white, not a fungus, but the scutes seem to be missing.  I use a soft toothbrush to clean it every other day and spray it with HerpCare Skin & Shell Treatment by Mardel letting it dry then putting him back into the water. 2nd Case is a 3 1/2 inch Red-eared Slider.  Recently one of his eyes have become infected.  I don't know if he was injured or what happened.  When she is underwater it looks like fungus.  She can open it and you can see slight puffiness around the eye.  The eye itself looks fine.  I have been treating her daily with Fluker Laboratories' Reptile Eye Rinse. Both are still active and eating. What would you recommend I do for them? Thanks! Brian Kallenberg < Keep the turtles isolated so they don't get worse. Keep the water clean and add a  Dr Turtle Sulpha Block by ZooMed. This should inhibit any bacterial growth. Try ZooMed Repti Wound Healing Aid and the Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip. This should really help with the wounds/trauma. If the eye problem is caused from a deficiency in vitamin A, then look into amending the diet with more vegetables with a vitamin supplement. The ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops really help with these eye problems.-Chuck> Re: Turtle Expert, Eye Problems In Turtle   8/12/06 Thanks for your help, I have one last question.  Since the infection is only in one eye, can I rule out a vitamin deficiency? Brian < No, not really. The other eye may come down with the same problem and delaying treatment may only make things worse.-Chuck>

Turtle Questions   7/28/06 I have a couple of question? I have a turtle, I have had him for about 3 months. He is a aquatic turtle we found him in a lake. I have him in a aquarium with a really big rock in it, he always sit on it when he is ready to rest or just want to relax. He always jumps off of it. One time he jumped off it and he scraped his foot. At first his foot was just peeling now it has turned a white color. I am really worried about his foot. He seem to be fine, he is always swimming and still very hyper. Should I take him to the vet. and get it checked or what should I do? Please help me he is my little buddy. < If the wound has turned white and is fuzzy then it is starting to fungus. I would clean the foot off with a cotton ball. Then apply some Zoo Med Repti Wound Healing Aid. Keep the water clean and add a Dr. Turtle Sulpha Block to prevent infection.> Another thing I have little rocks at the bottom of the aquarium, I take him out and put him in a little carrying case for turtles lately when he has a bowel movement it looks like he has been eating the little rocks at the bottom of the aquarium, what should I do can that hurt him, if he is eating them? The rocks are the sides of pebbles. < If he is able to ingest the substrate then I would recommend changing it to prevent any potential choking problems.> How often should I feed him? Now I currently feed him 2 times a day, I give him 15 turtle sticks both times, is that enough? <I would recommend feeding three times a week. After each feeding there will probably be a bowel movement. I would then siphon out the waste and replace the water in the tank.> Also how can I find out if he is a he or a she! < Males usually have longer front claws and a longer tail.-Chuck> Thank you for your time!!!

Turtle With Cracked Shell  7/15/06 Hello, I have a pet turtle that somehow managed to fall last month from the veranda to the road below - I live on the 4th floor of an apartment building. It climbed out of its container (does often) managed to climb up a planter and over the wall (this was a first). A neighbor found it lying in the road, not moving, probably in shock and returned it to me the next day. This was about 4 weeks ago and it is active, eating, walking and doing all normal turtle things. But, the bottom shell which broke along a narrow strip about a half inch towards the center and about an inch and a half long just under the right front leg, does not join back together. I put a Band-Aid on it, as I could see the flesh and blood, and it has not got infected, but the shell on the very bottom does not grow back together. I have replaced the Band-Aids to keep it connected, but am thinking it will never heal back together. Should I worry about this? I am feeding some dried shrimp and sometimes some live minnows thinking extra protein or calcium should help. The turtle is active and doesn't seem to be in pain, but of course, there is no real way for me to find out. This is the 2nd time this turtle has jumped. About 3 years ago it fell from the 2nd storey, flipped over and managed to get a small hole in the top shell which healed on its own with no problem. We have had this turtle for 15 years and it is a part of the family even though it seems to want to try to fly. Thank you for any advice. Regards, Judy < This is beyond my area of expertise so I am referring you to a website that specializes in turtles/tortoises and has a chapter of shell damage. Hope you find it helpful-Chuck http://www.tortoise.org/general/shelinj.html>
Re: Gluing a Turtle shell  7/15/06
Thanks, but this is I think describing only the back shell, not the one underneath, which I don't think I can put glue on because it's more like skin than hard shell. I looked on the net, too but couldn't find anything. regards, Judy < Try Super Glue. It will work on skin so be careful. I think it is worth a try.-Chuck>

Turtle Getting a Wound From Bucket 7/16/05 Dear Chuck. I have soaked my turtle in the Sulfa Dip and cleaned the tank several times now.  He certainly is appearing more active than before. < That is a good sign.> However, when soaking him in the sulfa dip in a bucket not much bigger than he is (as per instructions on sulfa dip), he has now developed an abrasion from trying to get out of the bucket.  This abrasion bleeds when he gets onto his platform to bask.  Currently I have left it so that it can dry out and I am conscious of the fact that I may actually create problems while trying to fix them.  I have the Repti Wound Healing Aid, but am unsure that if I apply it whether I will have to keep him out of the water for any length of time.  As always, your advice is sought on this problem.  Regards, Farah Dwyer < Go to the dollar discount store and buy a plastic tub that is not so abrasive. Use this to soak the turtle. You can use a bigger tub. The only reason they recommend the smaller container is so you won't have to use so much dip. Apply the healing aid and allow it to dry before putting the turtle back in the water.-Chuck>

Turtle Injury - 1\9\05 I have recently bought red eared hatchlings (4) two of them have died. I have a 20 gal long with heater, rocks, filter, basking ramp, they eat pellets and shrimp treats. what can I being doing wrong? <Young turtles need plenty of food, and plenty of UBV light.  Purchase an incandescent reptile UVB heat lamp and a clip on lamp.  Point the lamp at the basking ramp.  Every day or as often as you can, take them out for at least 15 minutes of sunlight, but make sure they don't overheat.  Realize they that will grow fairly quickly, and attain over a foot in length.  If you are going to let them go, make sure they are native to your area, and teach them to catch live food such as feeder fish> Today I was cleaning the tank and had the turtles aside and my dog got hold of one and bit a hole in the shell the turtle is alive but bleed what do I do? <Keep the turtle's injury and water clean, and purchase an antibiotic ointment to rub on the shell for the next 7-10 days.  Make sure to clean the wound and change the water every day to prevent infection until the wound heals.  Good luck with your turtles - M. Maddox>

Female Turtle Bit Off Male's Claws?   1/9/04 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> We recently came back from vacation and while cleaning the 150 gallon tank that holds our two red eared sliders (6 inch male and 10 inch heavy female) <What a nice sized tank for 2 turtles!  So many folks don't give them enough room to live.> We realized that the male's long beautiful claws had been replaced with some awful wounds. There may be one or two claws left but they look like stumps now. <What leads you to believe the female caused this?  I've never heard of turtles attacking each other's claws like that.  Maybe his foot got caught in between some rocks?> They seem to be healing fine (not much red left on them). Is there anything I should do to shorten the healing process (like antibiotics, extra vitamins, or separating them)? <You could try adding Melafix (sold in the fish dept.) to the water.> He harasses her constantly and always seems to be fluttering her face. I have not seen him do this since we've gotten home but he is still continuously trying to get it on. I even saw "it" out today. It is the middle of winter and I am wondering why he is still trying to mate. <Sorry to say, that is the male of most species' behaviour!> The temps in the water are about 69-71 degrees. Should I change the water temps. I have yet to turn the heater on because I thought they still have yet to calm down for the winter but can do so if recommended. (They have had eggs in past and once we incubated them and about 40% hatched but are not hoping to do this again at least until the house is warmer -spring/summer if not until next year 2006). <My opinion is that if you are not planning on seriously hibernating them for at a least a 6 week period, I'd keep them warmer.> They eat well - lots of goldfish, pellet food, and snacks like worms, crickets, etc. with extra reptile powder vitamin on some of their food. They seem to get along fine except when he's incredibly horny. What can we do to give him the equivalent of a cold shower when he's getting out of hand? OR is it possible the wounds are something else? <Sorry, I don't know any way to "cool" him off.  There is a possibility that his nails just got too long & shed naturally, or got caught on something.  I try to trim mine when they get overgrown.>   His eyes look clear and he seems to be fine with exception to his swimming skills decline do to the actual wounds. Can you recommend a good book that would cover these topics - I may need to learn more even though we've had her for 9 years and him for 7. <It sounds like you are taking great care of your turtles--even breeding them!  I like this site to search for info: http://www.turtletimes.com/> On a side note, we've always wanted to get a pastel and are wondering if another male or female would be safest to introduce? We will be sure to wait until it is large enough to go in their tank and disease free but what would get along best (a female we guess would be better)? <Actually, getting another female would probably take the "heat" off the other one.> How often are you supposed to feed them - we are sometimes erratic with a feeding schedule and while we are writing in were curious if this is bad for them. <Binge & purge feeding is most natural.  Feed well every 3-4 days.  You could save some $$$ by buying the cheapest fish you can find at the produce market.  I cut up into bite sized strips & freeze,  then thaw in warm vitamin water, as needed.> Thanks, Sara Yule Producer Wiggle Puppy Productions <What are Wiggle Puppy Productions? I really love my new JRT, Kalvin the Krazydog!  ~PP>

Bleeding Turtle My turtle was bleeding around the bottom/outside of his shell today when I took him out of the aquarium. I don't take him out very often, so I don't know how long this has been going on. It wasn't bleeding very much, just enough to make me wonder what could be wrong. He only lives with one other turtle, a red eared slider.  I've tried for a long time to figure out what type of turtle he is, but I haven't been able to. All I know is that he is a river turtle, but not a snapping turtle. I've had him for several years, since he was very small, and he is now about 2 inches long. I just got the aquarium about a month and a half ago, and he was in a much smaller environment before.  I was wondering if the bleeding had anything to do with him growing, or if the other turtle (who is very non-aggressive) had anything to do with it, or if it was some type of infection. Thank you very much! < Two inches for a turtle that is several years old sounds very small. Take him to pet shop and find out what kind of turtle you have. They should be able to direct you on how to care for him. Finding out what kind of turtle you have is critical to proper diet and maintenance. You may have been keeping him in a wrong environment. Can't help without knowing what kind of turtle it is.-Chuck> 

Female Bit Off Male's Claws?  Turtle Stuff I apologize I am just now getting back to you. The email you wrote inexplicably went into my junk mail box so unfortunately I just saw your response. Thanks so much for answering ALL of my questions. It is so kind of you to take time out of your day to help others.  I definitely try to take care of the turtles as best I can. (You should see how I care for my dogs!) The main reason I suspected it was her who caused the wounds was due to the simple fact he was really hot on her tail at that time and sometimes she gets really pissed and snaps at him. I did think it might have been too suspect t hat it happened on both claws though. I picked up some RidRot drops and Sulfa baths to treat him with he seems to be healing well (but of course I still would love to know what happened to him). I have been watching them closer to be sure it doesn't get worse. I am positive it was not caught on anything since their recent tank set up is stripped down and there is actual wounds where several of the claws are missing so a trim is probably out of the question too. But again I learn everyday so I wouldn't surprised if it was something I never considered. I have raised their temps. I don't plan to hibernate them. I have never done so in the past. If it is something you recommend please let me know. I will check out the site you mentioned. Wiggle Puppy is just my company's name. Named after my first dog, Bootsy, who would do what we called the wiggle puppy when he was happy to see us (paws down and butt in the air while shaking his tail). We do film and video work (some features but lately mostly band/concert films). Our last bigger release was a rockumentary for the band Phish entitled IT.  Thanks again for the advice. Let me know if you ever need any multimedia work! < Make sure that you try and keep the water clean so the wounds don't get infected.  Once again a warm dry area to bask is essential for their health.-Chuck>

Self-Abusing Turtle Bites Himself in Japan Dear WWM , I have a male red eared slider that is about 2 -3 years old in his own tank. Recently (last few weeks) he has started to bite his left front hand/claw keratin bits. One of the pieces of keratin is starting to look a bit inflamed and pale pinkish, not like a normal white keratin piece - like he has had a good gnaw at it. Is this self-biting normal and do you think he has potentially infected his claw/hand by biting it? If it is a potential problem, what can I do to fix it? Thank you for your time. Regards, Farah < At one point in time there was probably some food stuck on his claw and as he attempted to get to it he mistakenly bit himself. Now he probably thinks the reddish coloration is still food. I would clean the tank and keep it that way to help prevent the infection from getting worse. I would add a Dr Turtle sulfa block to treat the bacterial infection. I would then feed the turtle several times a day to prevent him from getting so hungry he will prefer the food instead of his claw. When the claw starts to grow back and turn back to a more normal color I would make sure he is well fed so he doesn't go back to his old bad habits.-Chuck> 
More Turtle Trouble in Japan
Dear Chuck. Thank you for your e-mail. The claw is actually still intact - it's just the keratin piece above it that has got inflamed. Just another quick question if that's OK - we live in Japan and can't get Dr Turtle Sulfa Block's here. Can you point me to a website that sells these and would be prepared to deliver to Japan. If not, what would be a good substitute for Dr Turtle's sulfa block? Thanks again for your time. Regards, Farah < Go to ZooMed.com. They now have a mail order business or may be able to direct you to a shop in Japan. DrsFosterSmith.com would probably be able top help you too. Before I would go to the US for something I think I would go to a pet shop in Japan and try and find Japanese equivalent. Maybe print out the ZooMed Dr. Turtle page from the website and take it with you. If you speak Japanese I am sure they will be able to help you.-Chuck>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: