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FAQs About Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles Behavior

Related Articles: Turtles, Shell Rot in Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider Care

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Yellow eared turtle      5/23/16
Hello Team,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am Angel from India, I have a yellow eared slider turtle, which is with me for the last 10 months. I call him Jai, now he is sleeping continuously for the last 1 week, we do not have vets who check Turtles. He drinks water, but doesn't open eyes. If shown in open space for a longer time he just opens eyes for just 5 secs. He is not having food. He was having cold, and I have seen him having trouble in breathing. he is also not pooping. I have given him parsley water, out him in luke warm water. When he is in warm water he has sneezed. Please help me I want him to be active and grow up healthy, he is just not a pet for me he is like my son, Please suggest me healthy food or medicines- I am not sure we will get medicines here, but I will try. Please respond me ASAP. I know you may feel awkward in this email. I love my Jai a lot, I want him to be active and healthy, please help me please.... please. Thank you.
<Angel, the first thing Jai needs is be warm and dry. I am sending you a link to an article about how to treat common problems with sliders and the single most important thing is to keep him dry and WARMER than you he would in his normal conditions. The warmth increases his metabolism and that helps him heal. It also perks him up and makes him a bit more awake. It sometimes improves the appetite, which allows us to treat him by giving him nutritious foods that help him heal. This link is an article on how to treat common illnesses: EVERYTHING you need to know is in this article if
you take the time to read all of it, understand all of it and apply the instructions exactly as described. If we haven't caught his condition too late, you can bring him back to health with these instructions:
Thanks & regards
GOD bless U

Freshwater turtle help. YBS, brumation         4/21/16
Each time I've done a search online I've come up with your site, so not sure if it's okay i seek help here or not.
Our two turtles live together and are not in an aquarium but rather have been in tubs with covers that they've continuously outgrown. I'll attach a couple of small pics to add colour :o)
4 year old yellow -bellied slider (loc. Italy in climate sim. to California)
Went into a type of brumation in November 2015 - still having trouble getting it to wake /eat. (if I hold him he moves about with force to get out of being held)
Tom (name) did not eat at all, but the other one did the entire time. Tom however preferred to sleep/walk about occasionally and just stay on it's own.
I kept him out of water a bit but in the bathroom floor and perhaps I've given him a cold/flu from perhaps a drafty area while out of water. I had read turtles like to stay out of water occasionally during this time, so each few days I put him in long enough to rehydrate (bottoms up :o) and swim a bit.
This lasted until about March.
He wheezed a bit on and off during the winter but it was slight so I didn't worry about it. He (or she) also had swollen eyes at some point but they seem to come
and go so I didn't think it was a vit. a def. as it was more so when tom was out of the water. NOW - he's not eating so that's 5 months without food, isn't listless per se but in water does not float and just goes to the bottom to hide. They have an outdoor tank (rabbit cage/plastic bottom) that i put them in on a sunny day to get their vitamins, I also did this in the winter as I have for past 4 years without problem, only for a few hours at the heat of the day and not on a windy day.
IN summary
Not eating,
eye scratching with forearms
a lightish coloured spot on his head
not floating if I put him in the bathtub of warm water (as always been happy to be on bottom, not a swimmer per se, normally walks slowly even in water)
sneezing or coughing under the water on and off (i have video of this which could send via drop box if you like)
bubbles coming out of nose or mouth sometimes, when in water a weird flicking/jerking of the head to the left or the right from time to time.
For the past 10 days I 've had him in inside in a small plastic tub keeping him contained and alone, with a small water heater that heats the water 2 degrees more. Therm. reads about 22 - 25, so that would be about mid 70s.
But for me it feels fresh to the touch, not warm like a bath I'd want to enter.
I thought it needed to be 70 degrees to eat and about 80 to get better, so perhaps it's not hot enough. There appears no changes in him and I worry that one day I'll just find him not moving at all b/c he starved to death.
I'm fairly sure he has a RTI /eye issue but how to treat and what to do is beyond me. I contacted an exotic pet vet but she was an hour away and wanted 100 euro just to look at it or tell me anything, so i declined to try other avenues first.
I hope this is the right avenue . I thought this would be a short email, so sorry - so much for being brief :o) I look forward to any help you could offer me
Anne Medcalf
Imperia, Italy
PS ( i read various posts on your site re illness etc. esp. the sleeping one late 2015. )
<Brumation can be a problem because, as you essentially said, too awake to sleep but too asleep to eat. The real concern is not eating, by the way.
Our concern for brumation is that there is food in his stomach that is rotting instead of being digested. The treatment is pretty simple: Dry-docking. Get him somewhere warm and dry were the temperature is around 32(c) 24 hours a day. Let his entire body warm up and get his metabolism into motion again. Same treatment as if he was otherwise sick (dry-dock, UV lights and a short bath each day) and let's see how he's doing after a week>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  <

Yellow Bellied Slider Snaps at food when eating      4/11/13
Hi, there. :)
<Hi there back! Sue here with you.>
My name is Rachael, I live in Ireland and I have a female yellow bellied slider, who I have had for 2-3 years. She is in a 120L tank that is half-full of water with a 4 month old Repti Glo 2.0 UV light.
<I’m not as familiar with the Repti Glo.  Reptisun 5.0 bulbs have gotten very good reviews for the quality of their UVB.>
<Also – do you have a heat lamp as well above the basking area? If not, you should have this also.>
She has a floating basking area affixed to the wall of the tank by suckers. She also has a small but powerful filter, and a cuttlefish bone. There's no heater.
<Nice set-up! Sounds great so far.>
I'm currently away at university, so my mother is minding her. She is fed every other day, and we give her enough food to fill her head (minus her neck).
<That’s a good measure. Another way you can do it is to feed her all she can eat in 5 minutes.>
Half of it would be vegetables (sometimes fruit as a treat about once a week), a quarter would be dried shrimp (mum refuses to touch the dried mealworms for the time being, but if they're necessary, I'm sure she'll man up XD), and the other quarter would be Koi pellets.
<Hmm, if you’re saying Koi pellets you must have read our website!  The only thing I’d change (which may make your mom even less happy!) is that I’d substitute a real live earthworm or two for the dried shrimp and mealworms (these are the turtle version of junk food!), and only give the earthworms as a treat once every few weeks or so, not as part of her regular meal.>
We feed her in a separate basin half full of water, but put her back in before she has a chance to poop. Should we leave her until after? I think the basin is a little colder than her tank. She can walk around in it.
<The small temperature drop for that period of time is not a problem. It’s really up to you. I find with mine that they poop shortly after they eat so I’ll usually give them a few extra minutes. However, when I do this I scoop out any uneaten food so they don’t overeat.>
My mother tells me that recently when feeding the turtle, she puts her head out of the water and opens her mouth in anticipation of being fed and snaps at the food more aggressively than before. She only does these things when being fed. Is this normal? Is she just excited about feeding and more confident now that she's so familiar with us now?
<That but also likely that he's just going through a hungry spell! I sometimes find with my turtles that their appetite seems to perk up a bit in the springtime, even though they're indoor turtles. The important thing is not to give in to them and overfeed them!>
Also, the last time I went to visit (February), her poo was slightly runny, and a lightish brown. Is this normal? Do I need to change her diet, or is there a parasite problem?
<How has it been since February? If it’s been fine since then, I wouldn’t worry about it.>
When I got her, her shell was already almost four inches long, but I'm not sure how old she is, because the pet store was taking brutal care of the turtles (their tank was far too small and the water was filthy and full of old, mouldy food.)
<Unfortunately this is too often the rule rather than the exception.>
She hasn't grown much in the two years that I got her. She's only about 4-4.5 inches long. Am I doing something wrong?
<Not from what you’ve written here! Her growth rate is typical; turtles tend to have a growth spurt up until they reach 4-5” at which point their growth rate tends to slow down. So she seems to be right on target!>
Her bulb is about six inches away from her basking area, and she has a cuttlefish bone for calcium that she chews on occasionally.
<All sounds great!>
Any help would be much appreciated. :) Thank you!
<No problem! It sounds like you’ve been a very good turtle mom to her so far! The only thing I’d add is to give a read through our care guide just to make sure you have everything covered!
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Good luck with her Rachael, and feel free to write us again if any more questions or concerns pop up! ~ Sue >
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider Snaps at food when eating      4/15/13

Thank you very much for all your help. I really appreciate it. It's great to know that I'm doing okay. :)
<You’re very welcome! It’s nice when we receive questions from people who have taken the time to research how to properly care for their pets as you have!>
I'll fix her up with a heat lamp as soon as possible.
<Yes, she definitely needs to have that with the UVB. It’s the combination of the two that help with their digestion of food and maintaining a health shell and bones. You want to aim for a basking temperature of around 88-90 degrees F (or 31-31 degrees C).>
I'm not sure how I'm going to go about doing that. (It's actually a fish tank.) The long, UV light bulb screws straight into the lid, and the only flat area on the lid is straight over the bulb. Would it be okay if we cut a hole in the lid and put the heat lamp was over the UV bulb? It wouldn't overheat and start a fire, would it? If so, I could use two screw in bulbs instead and leave the lid off, right?
<The ideal set-up if you can do it would be to have a screen top over the top of the aquarium (where the holes in the screen are at least ¼” wide and preferably even more).  Then just rest either a combo heat lamp and UVB fixture or the two separate fixtures on top of that – but directly over where your basking area is. The screen offers protection against the fixtures accidentally dropping in the water which you definitely don’t want to happen!>
I'm a little confused about what you said about the earthworms, though. Are the earthworms junk food, or am I to give her earthworms instead of shrimp as a regular part of her diet?
<No, the earthworms are much healthier than dried shrimp! Dried shrimp doesn’t really offer much in the way of nutrition at all so would replace the shrimp with a couple of earthworms instead every few weeks.>
Where could I get them? (My backyard has very rocky soil, so we don't get many worms there.)
<You may be able to find them at a pet store. If not try anyplace that carries fishing supplies or the fishing section of a sports store.  Just check to make sure the earthworms haven’t been exposed to any pesticides.>
I'm not sure if it's runny or not. I haven't been home since February, and my mother always forgets to check. I'll be home for the first weekend in May. If it is runny, what should I do?
<If you find her poop is still runny, I’d take her to see a vet (along with a stool sample) and ask the vet to test it for parasites and determine whether or not she needs any sort of medication to treat it.>
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider Snaps at food when eating     3/18/13

Excellent. :D
How would every two weeks be for giving the earthworms? :) Or should it be three?
<Every 3 is fine, but no hard and fast rules about it! The idea is just to give them as an occasional healthy treat.>
My Mother's into gardening, so she might be willing to make a wormery.
<Many swear by vermiculture as a superior approach to composting. You’d then have the best of both worlds – a healthy nutrient source for your garden and also for your turtle! >
She already grows vegetables organically in a polytunnel. :D
<Good for her!  I haven’t made that leap yet, but also do organic gardening!>
I'll be sure to bring her to the vet if it is. :) How could I bring her so that she would be comfortable? It's about a 20-30 minute journey to the vet. Would a shoebox with holes in the lid be suitable?
<That’s definitely fine.  You might just want to put an old dishtowel on the bottom to prevent her from sliding around or to absorb any pee.  And if you want to get fancy, you can also buy a small soft-sided pet carrier to tote her around!>

Yellow Bellied Slider behavior issues      7/5/12
<Hi Kath>
I bought a yellow bellied slider from a garden center in Bordeaux when I moved into my apartment 8 years ago. As you can imagine, the animal has grown - his shell ("Tulip" revealed himself to be a male a couple of years ago) measures about 7"x 5" and his 10 gallon aquarium has become restrictive.
<Needs much more room than this... a four foot by 1.5 foot base easily>
 I'm looking to replace it but I do have a budget and most aquariums get considerably taller before they offer more horizontal surface area. And then you need the furniture, etc.
<Perhaps a plastic "tote" (e.g. Rubbermaid brand) would be better, more easily affordable>
I know what South Carolina year-round temperatures are like and figured that since it was part of the natural range of this reptile that he could pretty much live with the same temperatures as we do, i.e. I don't heat inordinately as our winters are fairly mild. In good weather, he has an area on the balcony with shade, a terraced collection of weeds to climb and a shallow cat litter box full of water. But he spends most of his time trying to come back in and in his aquarium he climbs out. (he has a basking island/cave, actually a broken flower pot, but it works)
<Please read here re your turtle's needs:
it is the same for all Emydid family members in captivity>
Once out and about, he basks, stretches, marches around looking for ???,
and seems to love finding dark corners to snuggle into. He has climbed into bookcases. Is this normal? Lately he installs himself under a cushion, digging at it?, and will spend the entire night and most of the morning there. Should I force him to stay in his aquarium for the night?
I put him in to feed him but once he's done eating he wants back out.
<Mmm, yes to normalcy... Do read here:
This is the first year where escaping has become the norm. His appetite is good. Is it bad for the animal to let him spend so much time out of water?
<Not a problem>
I'm trying to figure out a system where he can get back in as easily as he gets out but in the meantime, what's your opinion?
Also, do these turtles need company?
<They do not>
They're not sold here anymore because of people freeing their overgrown red-bellied sliders - which further endangers the European pond turtle.
Anyway, any information would be greatly appreciated. Tulip is part of our family now and we want to treat him correctly.
Thanking you in advance,
<And read the linked files above for useful background and input. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

My Yellow Bellied Slider, sys./beh.      4/29/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a yellow bellied slider that is about 9-10month old. I'm not sure of the sex yet but I know Sheldon as he so :).
<It doesn't seem to matter to them, either.  They show no signs of distress if given a name of the opposite sex.   Dressing them up in clothing of the wrong sex is touchy … but hey, that's a different story.>
Anyway, he's been fine up till recently, a few days ago I was going to sleep when I heard a banging noise and got up to investigate and he was trying to climb out of his tank, for the next 3 hours we played his nice fun game where he doesn't do anything when I'm watching him then tries to do it again when I want to go to sleep.
Anyway, so he stopped doing it for two days so I thought it was just a phase, about an hour ago I heard it again and jumped up and he was upside down on his ramp because he'd tried it again.
I don't want to take the ramp out because I want him to be able to rest but I don't want to leave it in and not be able to sleep because I'm scared he will turn upside down again or get out, what do you suggest I do and why do you think he's doing this?
<I'm not sure what goes on in their tiny brains, Katie.   You have to remember that their average brain size is just a tiny bit more than your average town Mayor's brain.>
<Two things come to mind.  Are there any sort of filters, pumps, fans or anything near Sheldon's tank that could be giving off a strange vibration?  They are very sensitive to such things and something that you or I may not even be able to notice may seem like an earthquake to him.>
<This could also be seasonal.  I often find that, at the seasonal transitions (longer days, shorter days) that some turtles seem to feel "antsy" and stir-crazy for a few weeks.>
And also one last thing after he did thing he went to the bottom of his tank and starting trying to eat his own arm? I think it was just the skin of his arm but he was acting like I never feed him, when in actual fact I think I feed him a little over his recommended amount, why do you think he did that?
<He's not hungry.   He's likely stressed - OR - perhaps he has the beginning of a fungal infection. Think of how you’d feel if you suddenly developed a rash or something that wouldn't go away.>
<Here's my two suggestions for you:
1) Read this article and treat Sheldon for a fungal infection.   I'm reasonably certain he doesn't have one … but it can't hurt.   Keeping him warm and dry for a week or two with lots of exposure to UV-B lighting will be a therapeutic thing for him just in general. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Meanwhile, examine his tank and setup for anything that might be causing his distress and then  ... change things around.   Make it seem different when he gets back after his two week vacation>
<Lastly, when you do 'dry-dock' him, he'll also try to get out, climb out, etc. because it will be a new and unfamiliar environment for him … don't let that worry you.>
Sorry for the long message,
<If was fine!>
please help Shelly :).
<I hope we did!>

yellow slider basking issue   4/14/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I recently acquired a small yellow slider from a co-worker that didn't want it any more and only minimally took care of it.
<Thank you!!>
I think it is still young as it is only about 3 inches long. The turtle was never provided sunlight access or any type of basking.  I have it in a 10 gallon aquarium for now with a filter. The tank sits directly in front of a south window and gets tons of sunlight, plus I take it out and put it in a small container with a basking rock and a little water for cooling off for about 15-20 minutes a day in the direct sunlight. It doesn't seem to have any interest in basking.
<Well, if it's had improper care, any number of physical and environmental factors may be at work.  The first thing is that sunlight through glass - or even through window screen is basically just a heat source, not a source of proper UV lighting.  Also it tends to heat the water -- and if the water is warm the turtle will not seek a basking area in which to warm up.>
In the tank, although it does swim in the sunlit water while feeding and tentatively exploring (it's very shy), it seems to prefer to hide in the shadowy rocks. When taken outside to bask, it doesn't get on the rock and only seems interested in getting out. As it's never had the opportunity to do so, does it just need time to figure it all out and realize it might actually like it? It was only fed bites of lunch meat, but I've got it on the ReptoMin sticks and some fresh veggie bites.
It doesn't eat the veggies yet, but I let them float around for a while hoping it will get curious enough to try them.
<Switch to Koi pellets.  They're cheap - they're a COMPLETELY balanced diet, too>
It loves the earthworms & grubs I dig from the flowerbed for treats.
<Great treats.  But just once a month or so>
As I've only had it less than a week, do I just need to be patient and let it learn to be a proper turtle? Thanks!
<Sheila - as soon as you learn to be a proper Turtle Mom, little Specky will shape right up.>
<First, read here:  This is ALL the basics:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Note especially that you don't have to waste money on dechlorinators or water treatments or sulfa blocks …. Water filtration is optional since you'll be changing water every so often anyway.>
<Give Specky cool water to swim in and a warm basking area and let him CHOOSE what he needs.   All the food he can eat in five minutes, 3 times a week.   OK 4 times a week if he tugs on your heart strings>
<I'd rather he NOT be near natural sunshine if it comes through any form of glass or screen because the benefits are small and the heat is great.  A plain old ordinary 75 watt incandescent bulb right next to a Repti-sub UVB CFL bulb for the basking area would be the best way to go.   The water should be 63-73(f) and the basking area 88-93(f)>

A new Yellow Bellied Slider      1/24/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just bought a Yellow bellied Slider turtle yesterday. Only one.
I have him in a ten gallon tank with a UV light and a little decoration he can use to climb up on and bask. I have him by the window sill. I open the blinds and turn on the light everyday before school. I turn the light off every night before I go to bed. My school starts at 9:15-3:25. He is eating just fine.
<Sounds good so far - just remember - light through glass can heat up a tank really fast.  That can make the water warm, maybe even HOT.   Keep an eye on that>
My only concern is that I notice that he doesn't ever come out the water to bask in the light or sunlight. I even try putting him on the decoration (that floats) but he just continues to jump in the water. The people where I bought him from told me about turtles known for getting soft shell if they don't get out the water to bask. I'm concerned that this might happen to him. If there is anything you can tell me that you could tell me that would be very great.
<I can tell you a lot!!>
<First and foremost, He may just be nervous.   When turtles are scared, they seek the safety of the water.   He may bask just fine when he's alone and at the first vibration (he can sense you coming before you can see him) he may jump in the water.>
<Second, back to what I said '¦ if the water is too warm, he won't want to bask.  The water should be room temperature and no warmer -68-73 degrees(f)- and the basking area between 88-93(f).  This gives him a choice.>
His name is Gordon and my name is Christa. If there is anything you could tell me that would be great.
<Have Gordon read this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Better yet, print this out and read it TOO Gordon.   YOU, Christa - need to know everything in that article.  It's short, easy to read, brilliantly written and tells you everything you need to know about Gordon's care.  Gordon probably already knows most of it, but it couldn't hurt to tell him!>
<Best Wishes on your new friend from Me, Bob, Neale, Sue & the crew here at WWM>

Yellow slider terrapin, beh., sys.    8/5/10
hi, sorry to bother you - I had a read through the other questions and couldn't find anything quite right.
<Fire away!>
basically we have a yellow slider terrapin, a black knobbed sawback and a dwarf musk terrapin in a very large tank.
<An interesting collection.>
(not quite sure of the gallon amount but its over three feet long, two foot deep (water level) and nearly three feet wide)
<Sounds fine.>
we have a large fake rock thing attached to the one of the long sides which is about eight inches directly under the lamp for basking. as well as a floating bit of driftwood so that they can climb out if they don't want to be under the light.
there are lots of rocks, caves and bits and pieces under the water since the little one likes to explore.
<Yes they do.>
obviously we have a heater, two filters (one hang-on - very powerful, one smaller one on the other side) and clean the tank out every week or so.
okay the yellow slider has started acting out of character, he's sitting on the basking rock pretty much all the time, he's not lethargic in himself but he doesn't instantly dive into the water like he used to.
<I see. Well, not really a problem in itself.>
I've checked him over and he's eyes, tail, arms, legs and shell are fine.
<Good. Also check he isn't "wheezy" at all, and that he feels a good weight. Have a smell too, to check that there's nothing "foul" about the shell or skin. If you can, examine his faeces to check they're normal.>
he's eating okay and there are no problems with the other terrapins - they all seem quite friendly with each other.
also he seems to be sleeping out of the water more than he used to - he used to sleep hanging in the water with his claw on the wood.
<To a degree, turtle behaviour changes with age, so again, I wouldn't worry too much unless the turtle stops feeding or otherwise exhibits aberrant behaviour.>
another thing is that he lets us stroke his head without retracting it - not all the time but quite a lot, he doesn't bite or seem in any kind of pain and he's swimming fine but I don't know why he's doing this - I was wondering if its a maturity thing?
<Could well be.>
like now he's big enough to defend himself from predators maybe so he's enjoying the rock more?
<Certainly possible. Juvenile turtles are food for all sorts of animals, but as they mature they become less and less vulnerable, so react nervously only to things likely to harm them.>
or if its just that he's more tame than he used to be?
sorry, you probably think I'm worrying unnecessarily but he's quite grumpy by nature and this is slightly odd.
<Indeed. There's a difference between lethargy through disease and simple changes in personality. If he's sick, he'd likely be eating less and when he swims, he'd be weaker at it. The eyes and nose are usually give-aways when turtles are sick. But if he overall seems completely normal and happily eats his dinner, then I'd not worry overmuch.>
if I thought there was anything seriously wrong with him then I'd take him to the vet but I'm thinking that it'll be extremely stressful for him if I'm worrying about nothing y'know?
<I don't think there's a problem here.>
anyway thank you for reading this.
<No problem. Cheers, Neale.>

spastic behavior -- 8/3/10
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a yellow-bellied slider, about 4 years old. She lives in a small (700 gal.) pond with a Koi and a few Shubunkin. She has always been gregarious in her behavior (we call her Tabitha the Tudinous Turtle), and especially so at feeding time, coming right up to the edge of the pond and staring us down until the pellets fall, and then gobbling them up immediately.
<Sounds nice>
Lately she is swimming in a weird manner, retracting her head with each stroke, and seeming as though she is confused as to the proper direction to go, even to get her food. She is eating, but not nearly as much as before.
She still basks on her favorite rock each day, but is spending more time in and under water than before as well. I am worried that she is developing some kind of central nervous system disorder, or that some insidious kind of plant or virus is infecting her. Can you help me?
<I can try. A nervous system disorder isn't out of the question, but it's not the place I'd look - for one thing their nervous systems are pretty simple and for another, there's no way to test for it or any way to treat it if we found something.>
<What I would do is take him out of the pond for a while and keep him warm and dry inside the house. This would give you a chance to observe him at close range. Dry skin and shell usually points up mechanical damage,
fungus, wounds, etc. more easily than wet skin --AND-- if he really is hurting, then this 'rest' will make it easier for him to heal.>
<This link talks about treatment of common illnesses and a focal point is what I call isolation (keeping him warm & dry with access to water for only a few minutes a day). What you should do is follow that regimen for 2
weeks --even though you're not actually treating for any of the diseases listed-- and see if Tabitha simply heals from whatever ache or pain she may have. During this process you can examine more closely to see if she DOES
have a problem>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Richard L
Los Angeles, CA
Re: spastic behavior   8/5/10

Thanks for the advice.
<Happy to give it>
She has never been out of the pond (since we got her, at about 4" in length...she is now a big girl), so I don't really have the setup to accommodate her. I imagine I will have to get some kind of aquarium, with a heat lamp for her to bask, right? Sorry, but this is all alien to me.
I'll do my best, though.
Thanks again.
<Rich - don't sweat it. A Tupperware tub (excuse me, a Tupperware Brand Plastic Storage Container) or a cardboard box will do JUST as well and not cost as much. All we're trying to do is give he a rest while she
{possibly} heals from whatever is bugging here (was that a pun??)>
<Don't go all overboard and spend tons of money for what may be not much more than a 2 week vacation from being wet 24/7>
Re: spastic behavior   8/5/10

Got it. Thought that the front bathroom tub (enclosed glass shower doors), with about 2" of water and a nice brick platform for dryness, with a little halogen desk lamp for basking, might do the trick. What are your thoughts
on that, if any?
<She should be warm and dry and NOT have access to water at all except for the 15 minutes a day that you place her in the water to drink, poop and eat. The operative theory here is that almost all of the opportunistic
things that "could be" (remember, we have no direct evidence) affecting her from the outside are all encouraged by moisture, so we want to keep her dry.>
Thanks for all the practical advice and the encouragement.
<yer welcome>

Adult Female Yellow Bellied slider question 5/13/10
Trachemys scripta scripta
Hello Crew!
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am new to turtle keeping and live in South Carolina (coast). Late last fall I came upon a female yellow bellied slider along the road in the middle of a road construction site.
<Ah - the Trachemys scripta scripta! The Construction Site Turtle. Scientists have been puzzled for years as to what draws the Yellow Belly turtles to construction sites. Author and turtle expert Pete Pritchard believes that the odor of the Portland cement may be a powerful attractant to the females. Others disagree because they are found JUST as often in road construction sites, where there is no cement at all - only asphalt. I have my own theory '¦ much simpler than that: They see the Yellow Construction helmets and think "MOM!">
<Ok. I made all that up. Pete IS a world renown turtle expert and they DO use asphalt (invented by John Macadam for whom those roads were originally named -- but everything else I just made up.>
Unsure what to do, I brought her home to what I thought would be a temporary arrangement. I have a 2,000 gallon pond in my fenced backyard, into which she escaped. After apparently surviving the winter, she emerged about 6 weeks ago and I have been feeding her Repto-min daily.
<Excellent food choice, Ronda. It's 100% balanced nutrition for her. Now here's a hint: a decent quality KOI pellet will have exactly the same nutrition but save you bunches of money. I raise my Trachemys from hatchlings to adult sized breeders on nothing more than Koi pellets and an occasional (monthly) earthworm just as a treat.>
We named her Ace. She basks on the rocks, eats tadpoles, and seemed to otherwise be happy (I guess?).
<It would seem so>
Last week she went "missing" and we found her finally along the side of the house in a flower bed where she stayed for the night but then she went back in her pond the next day. We did capture her at that time and cleaned her shell (some algae and mud), measured her--8" W x 9" L--and made some photos, which is how we determined, fairly surely, that Ace is a girl (short toenails and small tail).
Anyway, yesterday we noticed that she is missing again! She basked all afternoon and then sometime between about 3pm and 5pm she disappeared. We searched the yard--under bushes, in landscape, along the house--no turtle. Unfortunately, we discovered that the side gate was ajar and we are TERRIFIED that she has gotten out of the yard and become lost. Is this possible?
<Yes it is, Ronda. They go for walks. No reason (that we know of) ... they just GO>
<Another thing they'll do is burrow into the base of a bush or hedge and cover themselves more or less completely. Again, no one knows why they'll do this, but most keepers have 'lost' one or two .. even for a whole year '¦ only to turn up while doing spring gardening.>
We live in a neighborhood with little traffic, thankfully, but are afraid for her safety nonetheless. The docks and homes along the water in the neighborhood are in brackish water. Would she go into this? How far might she wander?
<Unfortunately '¦ miles and miles. Look to where you found her - how far did she wander and what did she encounter in order to get there?>
We have informed our close neighbors to be on the look for her--this would cover about 3 acres both on our side of the street and across the street. Will she venture farther than this? Might we never see her again? We do have an opossum and raccoon on our street. What are your thoughts and what should we do? We are ready to post MISSING TURTLE posters with her photo on them!! Please help/advise ASAP!
Many thanks in advance,
<I've posted signs like that many times. For all you know someone three blocks away has noticed that a turtle just showed up in THEIR pond suddenly. So yes, post signs.>
<Also ... look around the house in DARK places. My turtle ponds are all fenced in (because of this inexplicable wandering urge they have) but even so, when one does get out (it seems like when no one's watching they that gallop like a horse or maybe simply levitate - but they disappear FAST!) - I find more of them in my garage under the work bench than any other single place.>
<Check around the house, the base of all bushes and trees, any leaf piles or lose soil, under ledges -- anything she could crawl under '¦ and by all means put up the posters!>
<best of luck to you>

Biting normal or not? 5/11/10
Hi Crew,
My name is Amanda! Jan of 2009 my grandparents brought our daughter 2 yellow bellied sliders from Florida. They were hatchlings at the time and have grown quickly we have a male Mr. Turtle and a female Tuck. Today we took our turtles outside (which they are usually kept in our living room in a tank) while outside a neighbors daughter 10yrs old..picked up Tuck (our female) and was bit on the lip.
<The turtle bit the child's lip? What on Earth was this child doing? Surely at 10 years old she should know better than to try and kiss a turtle... Kids these days!>
They have bit my fingers when taking food out of my hand, but never made me bleed.
<This is what they do if they're not habituated to being handled.>
I don't know if this is normal or an accident.
<Normal for non-habituated reptiles.>
I don't know if Tuck was scared or just wanted to be on the ground exploring.. please help I'm sort of freaked that someone got bit.
<I'm not sure why you're freaked out or surprised here. Reptiles are not family pets in any meaningful sense. Unlike dogs, they aren't social, so couldn't give a rip about you. All they want is warmth, a basking spot under a UV light, a mixed plant and animal based diet, and a bit of water for swimming. That's it. The rest of the time they want to be left alone. Some people habituate their reptiles to handling by holding on to them periodically, for short periods at first, and then for longer periods or more frequently as the reptile matures. With luck, the reptile will get used to handling. Some species are better at this than others -- Bearded Dragons for example are easily habituated, and that's one reason they're popular. But other reptiles never really enjoy being handled, and turtles, as you'd imagine given their shells, prefer to be left alone. So yes, Tuck was scared, and his biting was simply a result of that. When it comes to hand-feeding any animal, it's best not to, and when hand-feeding my predatory fish I always use steel forceps, not my fingers. I've said it before and I'll say it again, turtles aren't pets for children. They bite, they and their enclosures can carry salmonella, and they provide nothing in terms of affection. None of these things are really issues for healthy adults, but children often allow themselves to get bitten or do things that cause animals to bite them, and children are especially at risk from salmonella infections because they don't wash their hands as often as they should.>
Thanks in advance--
<Hope this clarifies things a bit. Cheers, Neale.>

help -- 02/14/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Got a yellow bellied turtle from someone who was going to ditch it. I like it but its fluttering its front claws in front of its face in a quick fashion.
<usually that's what males do in courtship, Casey. Males have the long nails and they flutter them in front of the female as if you say "See? Look! I have long nails!">
<In the human world, I've found that it's never a good idea for the male to have prettier hair, longer nails or just be prettier than the female ... but apparently things are different in the turtle world>
<So if he's doing it to another turtle, that's normal.>
Should I be concerned ?
Thanks --CASEY 

Lethargic Yellow Bellied Sliders    8/1/08 Hey Crew, <Hiya Mariana, Darrel here> So I have two yellow bellied sliders that I've had since March of 08. <Were they babies when you got them or adult? I'd like to know the sizes.> Recently they have been sleeping a lot, and when I put food in their tank, they don't eat. They no longer freak out to sounds or when I come in the room. Are they going through something? <Being tame is good, but this sounds like lethargic which is NOT good.> They are both male. <How are you judging this?> I recently cleaned their tank, and also put in a new light because I had the wrong light for them. <Recently cleaned their tank ?? I'm hoping you do that FREQUENTLY, Mariana. There's not a lot of information here, like the size of the tank, the size of the turtles or the type of filtration ... so all I can tell you is that most people underestimate how often to clean and they OVER estimate water quality. I'm sending you a link I'd like you to read & compare to your care standards> Am I doing something wrong or is this natural behavior? <My guess ... based on VERY little information, is that they are either not able to warm up enough under a basking lamp or they are sick from environmental reasons, like water quality. Read the link, check out how you're doing and then get back to us, OK?> -Mariana < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Worried Turtle Not Growing  4/6/08 Okay, I am fourteen with a yellow bellied slider. He is my first turtle so I am very cautious about anything wrong with him/her. I will have had him for a year this summer and he has not grown. Unlike the rest of the problems I have read, he doesn't live and never has been in the same tank with another turtle. I first got him last summer when I found him trapped in my in ground pool and kept him. I decided to keep him because there is a pond in the back yard but it has an alligator in it, and vary large fish, other large turtles, etc. Do you think this is because he hasn't been with other turtles in so long? < The reason he hasn't grown is probably environmental. Wrong food, not enough heat or light and things like that.> He is still small enough to fit on the thumb muscle in the palm of my hand. Please help, You are very smart people from what I have read in your articles. Thank you. < Start off with the tank. He/she needs a place to come out of the water to bask. This basking site needs to be 85+ F. It should contain a good basking light to provide the proper amounts of UVA and UVB. This helps the turtle with proper vitamin development. Small turtles need a diet higher in protein than older turtles. Keep the water clean and don't let the water go below 65 F.-Chuck>

Turtle Habits  2-05-08 Hi, <Hey, Mike with ya this evening> Was wondering if you could help. <Will try> I have 2 18 month old yellow bellied turtles(1 male, 1 female) recently the Meryl (our female turtle) has been basking a lot and not eating much. I took her to the vet for a check over as was worried and he said she was fine, Henry (our male turtle) is eating fine, basking and being pretty normal except for a high pitch noise, he is not gasping for air. Do turtles communicate through sound vibrations? <Turtles don't really audibly communicate at all as far as I know, but can and do detect sound via vibrations. You may want to perform some further research regarding the vocalizations, I've never heard of this> It is not all the time mainly the evening. <Make sure you have an incandescent bulb that produces UVB, and preferably bring them out for some sun several times a week> Also when Meryl is in the water Henry is getting quite frisky with her could this be why she's out a lot, he's not being aggressive or biting (think he's trying to mate but Merts' not interested). <Could definitely be a cause/factor. Reptiles don't need a whole lot to survive, and in the winter they naturally don't eat as much, even when kept indoors. As long as she's eating something, even if it's only once or twice a week, I wouldn't worry about it. Just make sure they're getting their UVB and sunlight, and a varied diet, possibly with some vitamin additives> Would much appreciate some advice. <Hope I've helped> Many Thanks <Anytime> Carly (Meryl & Henry) <M. Maddox>

Pink bellies on turtles  7/12/07 Hello, <Hi> I have a Mississippi map turtle, and a yellow bellied Cooter, both of which are about 2.5 to 3 inches in size. More recently they have both started to get pink bellies. I think they are not getting enough calcium in there diet. I have tried the turtle bone, and I am not sure what else to do. How can I get rid of the pink bellies? <Well, to be honest, this is an unusual one. My guess would be a microorganism in the water ... like a micro algae. How is your water quality and how often do you change it?> As well as get more minerals in the water? Not in the water -- too many minerals in the water will stain & coat their shells just like hard water deposits in your bathtub. (Minerals was my first reaction to the pink bellies, but I couldn't think of a mineral that would cause that on the turtles without making the water appear rose colored. Get them minerals via their diet (basic Koi Pellets or Repto-Min food sticks supplemented with the occasional night crawler)> I have noticed that their shells look like they have wrinkles? I not sure how else to explain it. <As their shells grow they shed a thin, semi transparent layer of the scute and sometimes that can look a bit wrinkled. Is that what you're talking about?> I don't think there is any shell rot, or fungal disease. <Doesn't sound like it -- at least not normal fungal problems> Is this considered soft shell? or can this be attributed to them growing? <Soft shell is just that -- you feel the shell and it's not like your fingernails, but softer.> I am sorry for all of the questions. <By all means. Questions lead to answers and we all like those!> Thanks, Concerned turtle owner <You're welcome. Darrel.> <please review this article against your keeping and conditions and write back if you can find anything else to report. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>  

Yellowed Belly Hatchling Basks With His Eyes Closed   12/31/06 Hi, I have bought a hatchling Yellow-Bellied Slider, and before buying I researched a lot. I have had him for a day, and I'm feeding him on ReptoMin food sticks. He ate yesterday, which seems okay. I have noticed that when he comes out of the water onto his basking area (which is at 85 F), he tends to close his eyes. He keeps them open in the water and when he's sleeping (he sleeps at the top of the water), but when he gets up onto land and basks, he closes his eyes (his eyelids are like a clear-ish film). I just wanted to know if this is normal, or should I be worried? Thanks. < Basking lights are very bright and the eyelids are there to protect your turtles young eyes from too much light. If the eyes get puffy or do not open then there is a vitamin A deficiency and ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops are needed.-Chuck>

Hibernating Turtles - 10/11/06 Dear Turtle Expert, I have a Yellow-bellied Slider that last year I hibernated in my unheated garage.  I was told that I was lucky she survived.  Should this species not be hibernated?  A heat lamp was applied during the very cold months so the water didn't freeze.  If it can be, what would be the optimal temperature. Thanks! Brian < Last year was a very difficult year for hibernating turtles. Early warm spring temperatures brought turtles out of hibernation early. Then cold spells left them out in the open with nothing to eat any many got sick and died. Make sure that your turtle is in good health and has good body fat to carry him over the winter. Place him in an aquarium with a heater set at 45 to 50 F. Don't feed him for awhile so the gut is empty and will not foul the water. When the nighttime lows are in this range you can bring him out of hibernation.-Chuck>

Turtle Waving  - 04/19/06 Hello!  My friend has a female yellow-bellied slider.  She has a certain ring that she will sit next to the tank and move it around in front of the turtle she will put both of her front "paws" above her head and wave them around. Why does she do this? Thank you for your help!-Beki < Males usually respond to objects that resemble other turtles in an attempt to mate. If the stone on the ring sticks out while forming a fist or closed hand then it loosely could be interpreted by the turtle as another turtle. See if he/she still does it later on in the year.-Chuck>

Yellow belly not so yellow 7/29/05 Hi there.  I have recently been given two beautiful adult yellow bellies from my cousin and her husband as they are moving and can not accommodate them.  I have three RES and they all get along wonderfully in my large tank (I got a new excuse to buy a bigger one) I noticed, though, this past week that the male yellow belly is getting a pinkish tint to his yellow underside.  I am concerned about septic concerns.  Could this be anything else? <Mmm, not likely... usually poor water quality is the root cause...>   His limbs are fine, shell fine, and no bulging eyes.  Also, I have noticed some mating signs (fluttering around the head)  but she is not interested.  I do not really want baby turtles, is there anything I can do to prevent this?  Thank you so much for your comments and advice.   <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down to the Turtles area... re Disease, Systems, Behavior. Bob Fenner>

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