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FAQs About Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles Compatibility

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

FAQs on: Yellow Bellied Sliders/YBS/Cooters 1, YBS 2, YBS 3, YBS 4,
FAQs on: YBS ID, YBS Behavior, YBS Selection, YBS Systems, YBS Feeding, YBS Disease, YBS Reproduction/Young,

Related FAQs:  Yellow Bellied Sliders/YBS/Cooters 1, YBS 2, YBS 3, YBS 4, & Painted Turtles, ( Other Aquatic Emydids (Bog, Pond, Painted...),Turtles 1, Turtles 2, Red Ear Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Shell Rot, Turtle Reproduction, & by Species: Musk/Mud Turtles, Softshells, Snapping Turtles, Mata Matas, Tortoises, & AmphibiansOther Reptiles


SLIDERS      1/26/15
I have a six inch yellow slider that I have had for two years. it is a male... I was recently given a baby red ear slider, shell is maybe two inches. I was curious if I could put this 2-inch shelled red ear slider in my 60 gallon tank with my 6 inch slider. I don't want him attacking this small tiny turtle, is that possible?

Please help!!!! I have searched Google and I have seen other setups with small and both large, but I don't want this tiny little one hurt. Thank you Ashley:)
<Two females will coexist better than two males, and larger males are apt to bully smaller females or males. While you might get lucky, I wouldn't assume that you would, and an adult Slider can do a fair bit of damage with that sharp, strong beak of theirs. The golden rule, as ever with reptiles, is keep them singly unless you are reasonably sure they'll get along.
Turtles aren't social animals. A tank divider may be a useful investment.
Have cc'ed Darrel in case he has a second opinion. Cheers, Neale.>

Yellow Belly Slider; from the land plowed under. Comp.     11/23/14
A few months ago the company I work for, plowed up acres of wetlands where everything from Catfish to Gators lived, they had the gators moved but plowed the rest.
<Tragic. Wetland is an incredibly threatened habitat with massive biodiversity (much of which is pretty cool, from turtles to carnivorous plants).>
I work nights so I would circle the property to rescue any lucky escapees.
One night I brought home a 5-6 inch YBS male. Being very late when I got home, I guess I did the wrong thing and put him in a dry aquarium with a rescued box turtle, female.
<Well, lesser of two evils I suppose. If this turtle was doomed in the wild, and the shelter you offered, even if on a "co-habiting" basis was the best deal on offer, you did the right thing. There's always a risk combining reptile species though, because of aggression or even predation.>
Before I had time to re-situate them, they became very affectionate to one another.
Eventually I got a scolding from the vet, but in the meantime the two have become inseparable.
<As can happen. Recent scientific reports suggest that reptile behaviour is turning out to be much more complex than biologists had supposed.>
I have now situated them with my other 3 box turtles so the five of them live in an enclosure together. The slider seems perfectly happy and when I separate them and try to put him in water he totally freaks out and never stops trying to get out of the water.
<Then don't force him. Provided he has enough to drink, a Slider won't dry out. They're not fish or even frogs that need damp skins to stay alive. Their skin is just as watertight as that of any other reptile (i.e., very) but their kidneys aren't particularly good at conserving water, so they leak water out via their urine/uric acid, and presumably through evaporation from the mouth as they breathe and/or thermoregulate (commonly seen as gaping if they overheat). In other words, make sure your turtle has access to lots of clean drinking water, and he'll be okay. Eventually he may decide to take a swim, usually when they've basked a while and gotten quite hot. Swimming is a key way these reptiles cool down. So even a shallow pool of water enough to bathe in might be all you need, and you'll probably find your Box Turtles use this too. Just make sure it's shallow enough neither species is at risk of drowning.>
So I have been compelled to just keep them together. Will there be any ramifications I love him living outside water.
<"Dry Docking" turtles is standard operating procedure when they're injured or sick, and Sliders can survive weeks and weeks out of water. Do read:
Eventually he will probably want a paddle, but for the meantime, no worries if he doesn't.>
I do pay him with his girlfriend occasionally but neither seem to like being in the water. I keep a shallow trough of water in the enclosure for whoever wants to bathe. And I feed the slider by putting his food on the water...the Boxies also enjoy it. I don't want anything to happen to the slider, but I don't want him unhappy either so is it okay if I just let him live like that?
<For some time, months even, yes; thereafter you may want to plan around offering some sort of swimming area. There's another issue though: diet.
Short term, Box and Slider Turtles can eat much of a muchness. But long term, Sliders are herbivores while Box Turtles are omnivores (in part, scavengers on carrion for a start). Too much meaty food is bad for Sliders (very bad!) while a Koi Pellets and greens-only diet (perfect for Sliders) would not be adequate for the Box Turtle because it needs at least some protein in its diet on a regular basis.>
Thank you,
<Do have a read of Darrell's wise words on mixing species, here:
It's the one titled "Mixing turtles 6-29-07" about halfway down. I've cc'ed  

Turtle question. YBS, RES comp.     11/3/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'm glad that I found your site. It's a true wealth of information.
<Thank you. You show a great deal of taste and wisdom for noticing>
Unfortunately for me, even after searching, I did not find an answer to my problem so I am writing in hopes that you can give me one that will work for Stan & Olivia (turtle's names).
We are fairly experienced turtle-owners having had several for 5-6 years now and no health problems.
<It makes it easier to care for our pets when we don't have health problems>
We had 2 yellow-belly sliders that we got as babies and, as they grew, we bought larger and larger tanks for them. When we hit 185 gallons we got a red-eared slider to add to the other two. At first they did not get along well but soon adapted and they are all "buddies" now and even share the same basking deck.
<Sometimes they even climb on top of one another to bask, like a pyramid. It's comical when one at the bottom decides to move and a stack o6 6 or 7 topple over>
Well, we decided to get 2 more RES (a male and female so as to help ensure mating) as I wanted to observe the egg-laying and hatching process. The new turtles arrived with an unknown age but about 4-5 inches in size and seemed healthy. We put them in the tank with the others and they just disappeared. We had to remove tank decor to find them. With their hiding places gone
they just stayed under the two decks we had for basking and never climbed out of the water.
<That's fairly typical for new introductions. Stay quiet, stay out of the way and don't attract attention>
Then I noticed that the YBS's were "bullying" them by biting at their feet and tails. I immediately took them out and put them in the bathtub until we could get another tank. Luckily, we were able to find a used 55 gallon tank and stand but paid lots of $$ for accessories. Now they have their own home.
<Assuming their sizes were about the same, they "probably" would have gotten over it after a while. What we normally do when introducing a new animal to the collection is re-arrange the entire tank - move everything around, change rocks, reposition the basking area, change the angle of the lights, etc. That way NO ONE has "their" territory and all of them are more-or less in a "new" space. It puts them all on equal footing, so to speak>
Anyway, these poor turtles are terribly scared. I don't know if this developed before we got them or because of the bullying (don't really think so) but I can't get then to "come out of their shells" (pun intended).
<Time. It takes Time>
The big problem is that they won't bask. I've checked water temp and have nice warm heat lamp and UV lamp over their basking deck. Nada. We spent 80 bucks on an "over the tank" basking area that has enclosed sides thinking maybe they would be less afraid in there. They won't go in on their own and if put in they immediately run down into the water and hide in the darkest
area of the tank.
<Yep. Leave them alone. They are skittish. They need time>
Knowing that they have to bask occasionally to dry out, I daily take them out and put them into a small kiddie-pool with no water and with heat & UV lamps. Because they looked sad alone in the empty pool I put the floating basking deck in there (again there is no water) thinking maybe they would climb on it to get closer to the warmth but they immediately crawled UNDER the
deck to hide.
<Right. All the changes and moving are, unfortunately, contributing to their fear>
I weekly put shell conditioner on them and try to pet their feet and stroke their shell daily to get them used to me but the smaller one (male?) just tucks in completely and the larger one opens it's mouth as if to bite.
So, after this long diatribe my main question is how do I get them to bask on their own? Secondary questions are how long is it OK for them to be IN and be OUT of water?
Your response will be greatly appreciated.
<Well - let's start with the basics. Let's assume they are bright and alert, clear eyes, strong limbs and firm shells. In other words just like you - they also have no health issues. Given that. Put them in their tank in some corner of the house where they are seen & see but not fussed over or gawked at continually… then leave them alone. Don't handle them or walk them or come to the tank and try to feed them. Leave them alone. If they surface to breath and notice that the outside air is warm and the environment looks safe, they'll slowly venture out and eventually bask. Water should be room temp (68-73 degrees) and basking 88-94 degrees. Feed them once a week by dropping a few pellets into the water. It's OK if they get hungry. In fact, hunger is a significant reason to get over one's shyness: You may be the great big, scary-hands monster, but when you are also the source of food there is a reason (after a week or two) to try to overcome their fear.>
<In short, my first guess is that things are happening too quickly for them and it all blurs into one big commotion - so they hide>
Bob & Debbie
PS: they get along great with each other and are virtually inseparable.
Re: Turtle question > reply      11/7/14

Hi Darrel: Thanks for replying (enjoyed your humor - we are still in good
I just came back to the computer after being the "big scary monster" and taking them out of their comfy familiar surroundings and put them into the "dry pool." I read your advice and now will put them back into their home and leave them alone. I was under the understanding that handling them helped them to "bond" to you and get used to you as their owner.
<It does -- but timing is everything. When you are new in town and scared of everything, being levitated and handled isn't going to calm you down. AFTER they are accustomed to seeing you walking around and learning that most times they see you -- means food -- THEN you can start to handle them without annoying them. In that regard not much different than a teenager>
The other 3 can be hand fed and I can "swoop" them around in the water by their foot and
they just come back for more play. But, I will take your advice and avoid the new turtles as much as possible.
My one important question remains: how long is it OK for them to be immersed in the water? I don't want them to have problems with their shells not drying out...
<*IF* they are otherwise healthy -- they're good for a month at least. Leaving them alone in a room all day with a basking light… they'll almost always bask when no one is looking>

Turtle bites   8/10/14
Hi there,
I got two female yellow bellied sliders the other day and one of them (Sassy) has recently gotten aggressive towards the other (Tilly).
<Is not uncommon; repeat after me: "turtles aren't social animals, they don't need/want friends". Less facetiously, do see if there's competition for space. Bigger vivarium, bigger/multiple basking spots, more rocks to rest on... various things you can do to allow them to spread out naturally.
Turtles are snappy when competing for living space, especially places to haul out and bask.>
They are now separated but Tilly has received an injury to her neck. It's not bleeding but a small part of her skin is lifted.
<Best take her to a vet, but if the wound is minor, not bleeding, and seems to be clean, you might be fine by just dry docking. The aim here is to keep the wound dry (which keeps bacteria out) for a few days. Ideally, keep the one turtle away from the other until the wound is fully healed. You might want to think seriously about rehoming the aggressive one, or at least upgrading the living conditions as suggested above. Do also check they actually are females -- sexing isn't as easy as you might think.>
I'm currently unable to further look at her neck because she has tucked herself inside of her shell. I was wondering if she is otherwise okay due to the lack of blood.
<Do read here:
The sections on "Docking" and "Cuts, Bruises and Bites" are relevant. Have cc'ed our turtle expert Darrel in case I've missed something. Cheers, Neale>

My turtle was bitten, and incomp. f's     10/16/13
I really hope you guys are still answering peoples questions!
Last Thursday 10/10/13, My yellow bellied slider had his penis bitten by our soft shelled turtle when he was fanning... it bled for a few minutes and then stopped.. this isn't the first time it's happened and usually it just goes right back in after a few hours but today is 10/15/13 and it's still out.. there is swelling and the skin around the cloaca is all ripped... I called around today and could not find a vet in the area that takes turtles... I'm really worried about my little man.. i tried the honey trick I read online but that didn't work.. and there's no way I could manually try to put it in because it's just too swollen.. is there anything I can do?? I really don't wanna lose him :(
Thank you,
<Angela, you really need to get this guy to a vet. If it's still bleeding some hours after the damage, then there's a very high risk of bacterial infection (e.g., septicaemia). Chances are he'll need to be kept out of water for a while until he heals. The vet will fill you in with the details here. Also, and I cannot stress this too strongly, Softshell Turtles (Trionyx spp.) should only ever be kept alone. They are extremely nasty animals that bite first, ask questions later. They're dangerous to their owners, let alone any other poor animal trapped in the same glass box as they are. There's a pretty useful summary here:
Cheers, Neale (bcc'ed Darrel, our turtle expert).>

Yellow belly slider and Florida map turtle compatibility     8/25/13
Dear Crew
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have a yellow belly slider in a 55 gallon tank with feeder fish, we just recently bought a Florida map turtle and want to put them together. The slider is about 3.5 inches and the map turtle is about 1.5 inches. How should we introduce these two? We believe the slider is male but aren't sure about the map turtle b/c it's still pretty much a hatchling...from what we know...
<OK - if you do your research, you'll find that feeder fish are not any major component of a Slider's diet.  In general, because of the conditions in which feeders are raised, they're not even healthy fish, more prone to spread disease than nutrition.  If you read the article linked here you'll find better nutrition options.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<To the issue of introducing them, my suggestion would be "No".   Sliders, Cooters, Maps and their families all get along just fine except when you have one individual that may just be mean … but they all need to be relatively the same size.   The problem here is that they could get along fine day to day for quite a while and be very used to each other and then suddenly in a single instant there is tragedy.  With an adult Slider and a hatchling-sized Map … a tiny little warning "go away and leave me alone" nip could be fatal to the map.>
<On the bright side, housing the tiny Map Turtle separately isn't expensive (read the article above)>
<Two items of note:  Map Turtles are normally a bit more nervous and skittish than Sliders, so they tend to spend more time in the water when people are around -- so a Map is best housed in a room where they can get "alone time" under the basking lamp.   Also, they are a bit more susceptible to skin fungus than Sliders.   Two things prevent this - the alone time/basking time mentioned above AND more frequent water changes and cleanings>
<Yer welcome!>

Nothing but a shell, YBS, Soft Shell incomp.     9/2/12
Good afternoon.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I was out of town for 10 days and had a friend look after my 7" yellow belly turtle. When I arrived home, the water in the 100 gallon outdoor pond was too green. I took the water out and found three baby soft shell turtles, and it remains a mystery as to how they got in there (the pond is ten inches in height from the ground).
<Unless someone put them there, I agree>
They have lived together just fine over the last 3 weeks. So, after finding more soft shell turtles in my pool, I transferred them to the pond.
<OK, a mother laid her eggs somewhere close by>
But today as I went outside to feed the turtles, one was dead! He was missing his arms and head, and was only a shell with legs. Would my yellow belly do this, it seems quite vicious.
<Yes he could>
 I do believe this little soft shell turtle may have been sick because he was basking on top of the water for the entire day. Does being sick or dead change anything in the turtle world, or did my turtle just get annoyed by the little guy?
<It could have been either.  Turtles are what are called 'opportunistic feeders' which mean that they will eat anything that doesn't fight back or run away>
 I have now removed the soft shell turtles and put them in the lake (I didn't want to take any chances), but there are still two more in the cave area, hopefully alive, that I cannot get to. Should I be concerned?
<Softshells make very interesting pets.  As they grow they develop short tempers and with their long necks it's best to have them where they don't have to be handled very much.  Also, they need much cleaner water that a Yellow Belly or Red Eared Slider would need>

Turtle in a Fish Tank?   6/22/11
Hello, my name is Reba
--Reba, I'm Darrel
and I went to a pet store today and got a baby yellow bellied slider.
-- it's pretty
I also bought a mini size floating dock. The lady in the store said it would be fine for the turtle until it got bigger. I have a 30 gallon tank.
I also have two algae eaters. My turtle isn't going on the floating dock (the basking platform) I put a picture of the turtle in the bowl that she came in. As soon as I got home I put her in the tank.
-- tropical fish tanks are usually not good for turtles, Reba. The water for a turtle should be 68 to 73 degrees (no heater) while tropical fish like it warmer.
-- the turtle will not bask on a floating log unless it wants to get warmer and there is a heat source above the log.
-- read the article. Read and understand all of it, then write back if you have more questions:
Re summat to do w/ chelonians recently...  6/23/11

The lady at the pet store said I didn't need a lamp? Just water, a basking platform, and food.
-- I'm sorry, the lady at the pet store is wrong. Reptiles, which include turtles, regulate their body temperature by swimming in cool water and then basking in the warm sun, or the heat of a basking lamp. It is absolutely NECESSARY that the turtle have a place to haul out, dry off and get warm - otherwise all kinds of health problems will crop up. The lady at the pet store is not giving you correct information. EVERYTHING that I gave you in that link to the article on basic care is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

Yellow-bellied sliders ears suddenly turn red  11/30/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a juvenile yellow-bellied slider (approximately 8 months old -- male). Last night I had to remove one of the other male yellow-bellied sliders because he was becoming aggressive and biting the others.
<that happens sometimes. Hopefully it's temporary. An important thing in keeping any group of animals is realizing that there WILL be fights for dominance and position. The two best ways to avoid any serious injuries are
1- Keep the sizes relatively even (not hatchlings with adults, etc.) and
2- may sure that the enclosure is large enough that they can get away from each other, meaning out of visual range, when they need to. Sometimes putting up a visual barrier that semi-divides the tank or enclosure into two sections is all it takes>
Tonight I notice that his ears have suddenly gone red. The other juvenile (small age -- female) can from the same group of hatchlings and still looks like a yellow-bellied slider.
<That is unusual, to say the least>
Can you please give me any suggestions as why this would happen and if it is possible that he is a red-eared slider. If so, will she also develop the red markings?
<All of the sliders, cooters, painteds, etc. interbreed easily and produce many variations in offspring. That is likely the case here -- that what you have is a Red Eared Yellow Belly. Usually the combination of the various genes expresses in the egg and they simply come out in various shades and patterns. What caused this transition after birth is unknown. It's not UNHEARD of .. but very rare. Whether or not it will happen to any of the others is unknown. And, in the overall scheme of things, unimportant.>
<If, on the other hand, one of those guys develops opposable thumbs and begins to cruise the Internet late at night ordering all sorts of turtle toys on your credit card '¦ THEN you have a problem!>
Thank you
<yer welcome!>

Turtle "buddies", unimaginable, but not impossible? YBS comp.  7/29/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
So here's the deal, I absolutely love your site. I think in the past 3 days I've spent all my free time just reading what you've had to say. ^.^
<You show a great deal of taste, style and intelligence for noticing!>
But, I have a problem.
About 1 month ago I obtained a baby turtle! I have to say that little guy is the love of my life. When received he was just the size of a quarter and has grown beautifully. I'm pretty sure he's a yellow bellied slider, but there is some debate concerning him being a river Cooter'¦
<Very little exterior differences, the River Cooters tend to have more yellow on the face and a slightly flatter shell after they mature, but right now '¦ hard to tell from this distance>
Anyway, my question is about African Cichlids becoming his tank mate. I know you guys never recommend it, but you see I have this friend.
<And your friend is an African Cichlid????>
She's the one who got my started on turtles in the first place.
She has this 55 gallon aquarium with a male yellow bellied slider and probably 10 cichlids, an algae eater, a common Pleco, and a electric blue crawdad. (We know the tanks a bit crowded and we're working on getting a 75-100 gallon so everyone can be more comfortable, oh, and the crawdad will probably stay in the 55 because he gets a bullied a bit.) She's had this setup for over a year now and the turtle is of almost 2 years of age. When first introduced the turtle would chase the cichlids for a while, but would give up. He eventually learned he wasn't fast enough to actually catch them. Now he doesn't even seem to notice there presence, like they're just tank decorations or something.
<Fish is not a part of their normal diet unless they happen across a dead or dying fish> He is always hungry of course, he eats a combination of turtle pellets, shrimp, and krill every day, once in the morning and once at night.
<Stop the shrimp AND the krill - neither are even remotely part of his natural diet, both are higher in protein and fat than he should have>
The tank is filled about 80% full and the turtle has two basking areas available with UVB lighting. She has 2 and a ½ times the normal filtration and she does water changes every 2 weeks. (I know this because I unfortunately am there for the majority of those changes.) Her water levels are in the range you guys recommend for African cichlids and honestly the only fighting that every goes on in the tank are between the cichlids themselves.
<That's not as surprising as you think. Turtles and fish occupy the periphery of each other's eco-systems. Generally they'll stay out of each other's way and co-exist.>
Also I think Iggy (the YBS) might think he's a Pleco. They're always hanging out together and the Pleco often sucks on Iggy's shell. Also if Iggy ever see's the crawdad walk by he swims over to it and does, well, he does the male matting dance/ritual. ^.^
<Iggy may not be all that bright, as turtles go '¦. Crawdads ARE part of their diet>
It's really quite entertaining, but it's probably not normal.
<I agree on both counts>
So basically, what makes her turtle so different from all the others? Why did it work for her? Why couldn't it work for me? I mean, is there any really health reason for turtles and fish not to live together? Other than the possibility of the turtle eating the fish?
<Not from the turtle's perspective. If anything at all, the water quality problems caused by the turtle will be a problem for the Cichlids. There is no biological filter you're likely to set up at home that can accommodate the poo-machine that is a Emydid (water turtle) so the frequent water changes may be a bit stressful to the fish.>
<Beyond that '¦ the problem is simply that SOME turtles WILL each fish SOMETIMES and ALL turtles will take a snap occasionally and the outcome to completely beyond your control.>
<I have a goldfish that is about 9 inches long and the absolute RULER of a Koi pond that contain some 20 inch monster Koi. He started out 11 years ago as a feeder goldfish that was put into my turtle pond by a well meaning neighbor. Initially the turtles chased him around but, just like your friend witnessed, finally gave up. About 2 years later, the fish got so dominant that it was difficult to feed the turtles because he literally chased them away at feeding time. After a while I thought maybe he'd learn some manners if I put him in the Koi pond. I thought that a fish the size of a row boat might be intimidated by Koi the size of the Titanic '¦ but it turns out that he's the boss there, too. I'm not worried at all about Bruce and his needs '¦ I'm more afraid that the Koi may hire a lawyer and sue me for allowing their harassment.>
And are there any specific African Cichlids or just fish that you guys think would go best with a turtle? I would like to get my turtle (Pie) some new tank mates as soon as possible.
<Like I said, there aren't any fish impervious to a turtle's beak and bite. Too small and they can become victims, too large and they can persecute the turtle.>
<The reason we never recommend the mixing is because there is simply no way to predict or control the outcome. They may be fine, depending on the temperament of your particular turtle or they may not.>
<In my opinion (also known, technically as the "right" or "Correct" opinion) the best companion for a Yellow Bellied Slider named Pie is a Mississippi Map Turtle named Larry.>
<That said, the advice that will be easier for you to take is this: Make sure your tank has plenty of room -- space -- for the animals to get away from each other when needed. The more swimming room the fish have to evade the turtle, the sooner the turtle gives up and accepts them as neighbors.>
Thanks so much for your time,
<No charge!>
Re: Turtle "buddies", unimaginable, but not impossible? Was Cooter comp., now nutr.    8/1/10

Thanks so much for answering my last question, :D
Although it did stir up another.. I understand the whole not feeding them krill and shrimp situation, so what would you recommend?
<I feed mine from hatchlings to breeders purely on Kay-Tee bran Koi food pellet available at pet stores -- with an occasional (0nce a month or so) treat of an earthworm or two. Diet, it turns out, is the easiest part>

Slider and map turtle relationship... comp.  -- 03/18/08 Hello, <Hi there> I have two young turtles (sex unknown): one yellow bellied slider, and one Mississippi map turtle. They're just over a year old (I bought them a year ago, when they were very small but I don't know how old exactly they were then). The slider is about a centimeter bigger than the map turtle, when measuring across or down the shell, but this is because last autumn the map turtle didn't want to eat for a while (the heater had stopped working as well as it had been and the slight drop in temperature made him stop. As soon as we got a new heater he was back to his old self again). They are about 7cm (slider) and 6cm (map) across the shell. They are both active and energetic, swimming and basking, and seem to be in generally good health. They have plenty of space to swim and bask separately. <Good> After a few months of having them there were a couple of small fights over food, both times with the slider attacking the map turtle (he is the more aggressive, and more hungry one). I now feed them separately, which has been working well, and I have had no more problems. When they were younger they used to just ignore one another, swimming and basking on different sides of the tank, <Mmm, how big is this tank/world?> but now they seem to have become friends, but I don't know if this is just to my uneducated eye. If one is on a rock, the other will come and sit next to it, and they will bask together, sometime posing with their necks slightly outstretched, crossing each other, as if hugging. They will often bask one on top of the other as well. Now sometimes when they are sitting together in the water, or hanging onto the side of a rock together, they will look at each, and the slider will stretch out his neck to reach the other one, and they'll just touch faces then just look away. When I first saw this I thought he was going to take a bite at the other but he never does. I have even seen them taking little gentle nibbles at each other when the other is shedding slightly - never actual bites, just taking the loose skin off - again, at first this really alarmed me. I'm just worried that all this 'friendliness' isn't friendly after all, and is maybe territorial or something else, and could lead to fighting. <Me too> I would say the slider is the more dominant one, but not excessively - barely noticeable really. From the sounds of it, do you think these turtles are happy to be living with on another and are they actually getting along? <Mmm, most of the common aquatic turtles used as pets (including these two species) "get along" well enough by default of being placed together... esp. as small individuals... However, they do need room... psychologically... I think the root problem with these two is too little space.> Is this normal turtle behavior? Thank you for reading all this - I am sorry if its a silly question, but I just want them to have the best lives I can give them. Thank you again, Leanne <Then please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Older And Younger Turtles Together   1/7/07 I have a yellow belly Cooter, adolescent, and today I bought a baby ybc.  We are unsure of either sex.  When we put them together all the older ybc does is shakes its front claws in front of its face and sometimes spits water out its nose. It looked like it tried to bite the baby once, but didn't. The pet shop owner said it would be safe to put them both together. Will this go away, or what should we do? Thanks. <I don't recommend mixing turtles. Turtles are very territorial and the larger turtle was demonstrating to the new smaller turtle who is boss. If they were red eared sliders the bigger turtle would have snapped at the smaller turtle for sure. These turtles are not as aggressive but the smaller turtle will surely be bullied until he catches up in size.-Chuck>

Yellow Bellied Turtle Questions   9/11/06 Hello! Just discovered your site and have to say it's brill! We have a yellow bellied slider called Tiny (not appropriate any more!) He is about 14 months old and his shell is about 5.5 inches long. His diet is varied frozen fish, bloodworm etc from the pet shop but I wondered if there is anything else we could give him. He is always begging for food and seems healthy enough. < As these turtles get older their diet changes from a meaty to a more veggie diet. Offer some green spinach and kale. The fiber in the veggies will keep them full longer.> Also, should we clip his claws as they seem to have grown a lot even though there are rocks for him to use in his tank? < You probably have a male turtle. Their front claws are very long compared to the female's claws. I would recommend that you leave them alone.> And also, one last question, could we add a baby slider to the same tank or would he see it as an "invasion" of his space? < The new turtle would be looked at as competition and would be constantly harassed by the bigger turtle.> The kids are begging us for another but the tank set up was expensive so I really don't want to get a second tank! Keep up the excellent work! Joanna, UK < Thanks for your kind words.-Chuck>

Mixing Turtles  6/15/06 Hello Turtle Crew, Thank you in advance. We inherited a YBS a couple years ago. His shell size now is approximately 5 inches long. We just purchased a hatchling RES (shell size 1.5 inches). The pet store owned said they would get along fine and the large one wouldn't pick on the small one. I just read on your site when a turtle wiggles his front legs in front of his face towards another turtle, it is doing the mating dance. We are nervous. We don't leave them in the tank together unless they are supervised (which is a huge hassle). Would our older turtle try to mate with a hatchling? Will he hurt the baby? I don't know the sex of either turtle. Many thanks! <I do not like to mix turtles. The YBS is probably a male with long front claws and try to coax the new turtle into breeding. When the urge to breed is over they will view each other as competition and will fight over turf and food.-Chuck>

Run Away Turtle   5/15/06 Hello, For a couple of months I have been letting my 2 yellow-bellied turtles roam the back yard each day for about an hour. I keep an eye on them and they usually go to the same places and sleep. The male is much more active, but follows the same path, where as the female finds a spot and digs in and sleeps. Well for the last week the female has been burying herself under bushes making it difficult to find her. And 2 days ago I lost her in the yard for good, I was working in the garden and turned for about 10 minutes and we can't find her anywhere. There's no access out of the back year since its all cement wall, so I'm thinking she's nesting. Is it that time of year? < She may be looking for somewhere to lay her eggs.> What I don't know is, is how long is the nesting process and will she come back? < If she has found a way out then she may not come back.> I have 2 pools in the backyard, all natural, no chlorine, and I figured she would head to the pool when done. If she doesn't come back, I would like to get another female for the male but I'm having a hard time locating a 3 year old female of the same size. Seems red sliders are more common. Is it okay to get a red slider female to put with the male? Or is the male better off alone? I assume they get attached to each other and he would like a companion, but I have no idea if turtles are "family-oriented".. Appreciate your help, Celeste < Turtles really don't get along except to breed. The rest of the time they are considered competition to each other. I would still give it a few months before I gave up. Look at Kingsnake.com to find a replacement turtle.-Chuck>

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