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FAQs About Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles Disease/Health

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

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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

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)

Turtle question        6/15/19
My turtle (yellow belly slider?) is floating butt up on the bottom of aquarium. Eats, suns and sleeps normally. Is it a bladder issue?
<No. Yellow Belly Sliders do not have swim bladders.>
<Will direct you here:
Turtles that lose their balance when swimming most often suffer from some type of bacterial infection. Since your chap is otherwise healthy, antibiotics should work quickly and effectively. A vet will help on this.
If not treated, such bacterial infections usually end up killing the

Yellow-belly aqua terrapin      7/20/18
<Hello Maria,>
Sorry to bother you.
<Not a problem.>
I found your site after searching on Google and I would like to ask you a question about my terrapin if possible.
<Sure thing.>
The problem is she cannot swim anymore, she cannot stand the water not for a minute and she is always basking. (temperature is right). It is not a respiratory problem either no fluid or anything wrong found in her lungs because I took her to a vet specialist and he took an w-x-ray and he told me that this is not the problem. he run some blood tests in order to see if it is an infection or something and i will have the results this coming Monday-Tuesday, he also gave her some liquid antibiotics for a week (she started them 2 days ago- i don't think they really help but let's hope so).
<Right. Now, when terrapins struggle to swim, it's often a build-up of fluid inside their lungs. Respiratory tract infections may be difficult to diagnose, but often the sick turtle will have a runny nose, may wheeze when it breathes, and may be lethargic and disinterested in food. The fact your vet ruled this out is positive, but I'd still keep an open mind, especially if you see some of the other symptoms mentioned. Other reasons for problems with swimming include constipation, egg-binding, and possibly some type of
neurological problem or bone injury.>
By this time what should I do? She likes to sit on the floor all day, dry and the only time she gets in the water is when I put her in my bath tub, put a very small quantity of water and feed her. she is still eating but with great difficulty due to the small amount of water but I can't put more because she is panicking and freaking out.
<Terrapins don't "need" to swim as such, provided they have periodic baths and access to drinking water. Of course it isn't normal for them to avoid swimming! But once they're happy and healthy, they will swim. So rather than forcing a terrapin to swim, it's a good idea to try and establish why it isn't swimming. It might be a health issue, or it might be an environmental issue. If there's another terrapin (such as a larger male) it might avoid going into the water at the same time. If the water is too cold, it will stay on land under the heat lamp. Conversely, if the water is too warm (perhaps you're using an under tank heater or a glass aquarium heater) it won't go into the water either. Focus on the terrapin and its happiness, and when it's ready, it'll go into the water.>
I wanted to tell you that for a very long period of time I've been giving her dry pellets to eat (i don't thing they are Koi pellets) - I will try to buy these next time, and a large quantity of different fruits and vegs. it
seems from what i have read that i wasn't doing well?
<Opinion is divided on products like ReptoMin. Most people think they're a good staple food, but some turtle-keepers think they're expensive for what they are, and substitute Koi pellets. Others prefer a diet based on fresh greens, such as Pondweed (Elodea spp.), with dried foods used only sparingly, if at all. Either way, you aren't likely to be doing any harm with ReptoMin, but you probably should add at least some fresh greens now and again. Fresh greens helps provide fibre, which prevents constipation.>
fruits are full of sugars and she must not eat them but very rarely? once a month ?
<Something like that. While terrapins will certainly eat fruits, they're a now-and-again thing, maybe once every couple weeks.>
Can you tell me if this is maybe the reason of her bad buoyancy in the water and maybe she has internal bacterial infection that can cause gas bubbles in the abdomen?
<It would seem unlikely. Assuming a diet based mostly on ReptoMin (or some similar, turtle-food product) with occasional fruits, your terrapin should be perfectly healthy. A little constipated perhaps! But ReptoMin has calcium and phosphorus, so its bones should be fine, and the fruits should provide a top-up of vitamins as well.>
If that's the case the blood tests would be able to show it?
<Hard to say; your vet will be able to advise here. But personally, I'd review diet, review the environment, finish the antibiotics as prescribed by the vet, and then see what happens.>
Thank you so much for an answer. I really appreciate it. My terrapin is 15 years old. I've had her since she was a baby.
<15 years isn't bad! So clearly you must be doing something right. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin     7/31/18

Thank you so much for your previous prompt reply. I greatly appreciate it.
I am writing again because I am so worried about my terrapin.
<Glad to help, and understand your worries.>
Although I am giving her the antibiotics for 2 weeks now as the vet specialist suggested, she doesn't seem to get better. The vet told me that after checking her blood results he definitely sees a kind of inflammation in her body but he cannot tell why she doesn't want to swim any more.
<Is she perhaps egg-bound? Have you asked the vet about that? It is quite common with female turtles. In short, whether or not the turtle mates, a female turtle will sometimes produce unfertilised eggs, a bit like a chicken does. It will be desperate to lay them. If they don't come out, they will rot, causing serious infection and eventually death. Getting the turtle to lay the eggs isn't too difficult though. All you need is a container with a mixture of earth and sand in it. Now, this might get complicated to set up, but the basic idea is this: change the aquarium you have so that you have a bit of water, the rocks, and then by the rock, a plastic food tub (or similar) containing the sand/earth mixture. The idea is that this sand/earth mixture is dry, warm, and easy to get to. Make sense? Don't worry that she won't have much swimming room. Not a problem for a few days or a couple weeks!>
It's not a respiratory problem, it is just an infection, could that make it impossible for her to swim? He told me to continue with the antibiotics but it's been 2 weeks now and they don't help with the swimming problem. She still has a great appetite and enjoys walking around the house and hiding behind dark safe places but when I put her in the aquarium (even without water at all !) she is panicking, she is acting like crazy.
<See, when females want to lay eggs, being in the water frightens them.
They want to be on land, because the eggs will "drown" underwater. Does that make sense?>
She eats every day in my bath tub (with a shallow water) and she is acting normal while she is eating. When she stops eating she is starting to panic! What else can I do? How long can she live outside the water?
<Indefinitely, so long as she drinks.>
It's been 2 months now that she cannot swim at all (and she doesn't bask either).
Please help me if you can.
can you see the video i have sent you?
<Yes, it helps a lot. The behaviour of this turtle is very similar to a female who wants to lay her eggs.>
please ask me if you need to know anything else...
thank you so much....
<Here's some further reading:
Your vet will understand what "egg binding" or "dystocia" mean, and this might help him/her pinpoint the problem. But see if the sand/earth mixture works first, and this will be a quick, inexpensive fix! Let us known what happens. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin (Darrel, Mick, can you look at this video and check my reply)     7/31/18

Oh Neale thank you so much again for replying!
I am sorry but I forgot to tell you that she is not egg-bound... We are now in month July 2018, she was egg-bound (for the second time in her life) in April 2018 and she laid 12 eggs till end of June 2018. She was extremely stressed out (you cannot imagine how much !), I did create this container you mention but she didn't like it, I tried to get her out in the garden, she tried to dig a lot in the sand but eventually she didn't like it either so she laid all her eggs (not in a row: 4-5 different times) in the water, in her aquarium (like she had done the previous year because back then we didn't even know that she could be gravid!).
She couldn't lay her last 3 eggs (out of 12) so we took her to the vet and he made her a calcium injection so she did lay them so we thought that everything would be OK. After some days when we saw that she wasn't getting any better, in fact she got worse) and she couldn't swim at all we took her back to the vet and he made an X-Ray just to be sure she doesn't have more eggs.
The X-Ray showed that she didn't have more eggs, that's why we started the antibiotics to see if she will feel better (but she doesn't).
<Did the vet think a vitamin A or vitamin D injection might help?>
Do you believe that it is just STRESS because she had such a difficult period of time trying to lay her eggs and now she doesn't want to swim or even be near the water again? (only when she is eating she seems OK).
<There's certainly no need to force a turtle to swim if she doesn't want to.>
I am going crazy. Can I let her live like that for the rest of her life?
Feeding her only for 5 minutes in the bath-tab, drinking water and then letting her around the house, sleeping and hiding underneath the carpet and safe places in the house? For how long can she live like that?
<Some weeks, anyway. It's not a fun life for the turtle though. They should have at least the option of swimming, even if it's nothing more than a few inches of water that cools them down.>
If you tell me indefinitely, I will do that! but I don't believe she can because she is not even basking now. I've put the heating lamp on the floor but she doesn't prefer to go there under the heat. She likes to hide
under the carpet or other dark places in the house (but she seems to be OK when she does that..).
<She may be too hot. Is the water at room temperature or heated? In the "olden days" when I kept turtles as a child, it was common to put a heater in the water. We now understand this isn't ideal. It is much better the turtle can warm up on land, and cool down in the water. All reptiles need to have warm and cool areas that they can move between. This is how they regulate body temperature.>
I promise I will not bother you again. Can you please guess what it might be ?
<Honestly, running out of ideas. If a vet can't see anything obviously wrong, and antibiotics have been administered, then your turtle may simply be stressed or just plain nuts. Observation is probably the best move here.
Offer your turtle a range of foods, and a variety of places to sit, hide or swim. See what she does.>
Thank you so much.
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin (Darrel, Mick, can you look at this video and check my reply)     7/31/18

Thank you very much Neale. I will follow your instructions and I hope she will not die from being out of the water for so long because it has been months since she is doing it...
<So long as she can drink and bathe, and doesn't overheat, she'll be fine.
In short: give her a tank with a low, shallow basin of water to cool down in, clean water to drink, and the heat lamp kept away from the cool water.
Terrapins and turtles will dry out quickly, which is why they need easy access to drinking and bathing water, even if they don't want to swim. Look up "dry docking" turtles in Google to see pictures of this sort of set-up.>
I will also tell the vet about the vitamin a and d injection....
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin     7/31/18

Thank you so much for your previous prompt reply. I greatly appreciate it.
I am writing again because I am so worried about my terrapin.
<Glad to help, and understand your worries.>
Although I am giving her the antibiotics for 2 weeks now as the vet specialist suggested, she doesn't seem to get better. The vet told me that after checking her blood results he definitely sees a kind of inflammation in her body but he cannot tell why she doesn't want to swim any more.
<Is she perhaps egg-bound? Have you asked the vet about that? It is quite common with female turtles. In short, whether or not the turtle mates, a female turtle will sometimes produce unfertilised eggs, a bit like a chicken does. It will be desperate to lay them. If they don't come out, they will rot, causing serious infection and eventually death. Getting the turtle to lay the eggs isn't too difficult though. All you need is a container with a mixture of earth and sand in it. Now, this might get complicated to set up, but the basic idea is this: change the aquarium you have so that you have a bit of water, the rocks, and then by the rock, a plastic food tub (or similar) containing the sand/earth mixture. The idea is that this sand/earth mixture is dry, warm, and easy to get to. Make sense? Don't worry that she won't have much swimming room. Not a problem for a few days or a couple weeks!>
It's not a respiratory problem, it is just an infection, could that make it impossible for her to swim? He told me to continue with the antibiotics but it's been 2 weeks now and they don't help with the swimming problem. She still has a great appetite and enjoys walking around the house and hiding behind dark safe places but when I put her in the aquarium (even without water at all !) she is panicking, she is acting like crazy.
<See, when females want to lay eggs, being in the water frightens them.
They want to be on land, because the eggs will "drown" underwater. Does that make sense?>
She eats every day in my bath tub (with a shallow water) and she is acting normal while she is eating. When she stops eating she is starting to panic! What else can I do? How long can she live outside the water?
<Indefinitely, so long as she drinks.>
It's been 2 months now that she cannot swim at all (and she doesn't bask either).
Please help me if you can.
can you see the video i have sent you?
<Yes, it helps a lot. The behaviour of this turtle is very similar to a female who wants to lay her eggs.>
please ask me if you need to know anything else...
thank you so much....
<Here's some further reading:
Your vet will understand what "egg binding" or "dystocia" mean, and this might help him/her pinpoint the problem. But see if the sand/earth mixture works first, and this will be a quick, inexpensive fix! Let us known what happens. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin (Darrel, Mick, can you look at this video and check my reply)     7/31/18

Oh Neale thank you so much again for replying!
I am sorry but I forgot to tell you that she is not egg-bound... We are now in month July 2018, she was egg-bound (for the second time in her life) in April 2018 and she laid 12 eggs till end of June 2018. She was extremely stressed out (you cannot imagine how much !), I did create this container you mention but she didn't like it, I tried to get her out in the garden, she tried to dig a lot in the sand but eventually she didn't like it either so she laid all her eggs (not in a row: 4-5 different times) in the water, in her aquarium (like she had done the previous year because back then we didn't even know that she could be gravid!).
She couldn't lay her last 3 eggs (out of 12) so we took her to the vet and he made her a calcium injection so she did lay them so we thought that everything would be OK. After some days when we saw that she wasn't getting any better, in fact she got worse) and she couldn't swim at all we took her back to the vet and he made an X-Ray just to be sure she doesn't have more eggs.
The X-Ray showed that she didn't have more eggs, that's why we started the antibiotics to see if she will feel better (but she doesn't).
<Did the vet think a vitamin A or vitamin D injection might help?>
Do you believe that it is just STRESS because she had such a difficult period of time trying to lay her eggs and now she doesn't want to swim or even be near the water again? (only when she is eating she seems OK).
<There's certainly no need to force a turtle to swim if she doesn't want to.>
I am going crazy. Can I let her live like that for the rest of her life?
Feeding her only for 5 minutes in the bath-tab, drinking water and then letting her around the house, sleeping and hiding underneath the carpet and safe places in the house? For how long can she live like that?
<Some weeks, anyway. It's not a fun life for the turtle though. They should have at least the option of swimming, even if it's nothing more than a few inches of water that cools them down.>
If you tell me indefinitely, I will do that! but I don't believe she can because she is not even basking now. I've put the heating lamp on the floor but she doesn't prefer to go there under the heat. She likes to hide
under the carpet or other dark places in the house (but she seems to be OK when she does that..).
<She may be too hot. Is the water at room temperature or heated? In the "olden days" when I kept turtles as a child, it was common to put a heater in the water. We now understand this isn't ideal. It is much better the turtle can warm up on land, and cool down in the water. All reptiles need to have warm and cool areas that they can move between. This is how they regulate body temperature.>
I promise I will not bother you again. Can you please guess what it might be ?
<Honestly, running out of ideas. If a vet can't see anything obviously wrong, and antibiotics have been administered, then your turtle may simply be stressed or just plain nuts. Observation is probably the best move here.
Offer your turtle a range of foods, and a variety of places to sit, hide or swim. See what she does.>
Thank you so much.
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin (Darrel, Mick, can you look at this video and check my reply)     7/31/18

Thank you very much Neale. I will follow your instructions and I hope she will not die from being out of the water for so long because it has been months since she is doing it...
<So long as she can drink and bathe, and doesn't overheat, she'll be fine.
In short: give her a tank with a low, shallow basin of water to cool down in, clean water to drink, and the heat lamp kept away from the cool water.
Terrapins and turtles will dry out quickly, which is why they need easy access to drinking and bathing water, even if they don't want to swim. Look up "dry docking" turtles in Google to see pictures of this sort of set-up.>
I will also tell the vet about the vitamin a and d injection....
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin (Darrel, Mick, can you look at this video and check my reply)     8/31/18
Hello Neale,
Can I please bother you with one more question?
<Fire away.>
My turtle is a little bit whitish (face and shell) - do you thing it is dryness because she stays out of the water a lot? is it dangerous? i try to put her in the water (i bought her a new pool and she seems to enjoy it gradually (at first she was panicking from the first minute but now she eats in there and she stays a little bit longer..).
or it can be from taking a lot of calcium in her diet? I noticed that these pellets i am giving her don't contain calcium (they write that they contain a lot of vitamins but they don't mention calcium) so i decided to give her calcium dust supplement (because she was also gravid laying all these 12 eggs and she couldn't lay the last 3 ones and when the vet made her the calcium injection she did lay all of them), so i thought she doesn't take much calcium...Maybe i am wrong? i should stop giving her calcium supplements?
<She's unlikely to overdose on calcium. Calcium salts are easily excreted by reptiles, so it's unlikely they'll take in too much at one time -- unless you're absolutely crazy and ramming cuttlebone shells down their throats! So adding calcium powder to reptile food, or leaving them a cuttlebone to nibble on, is all perfectly safe.>
thank you so much for your reply. i am attaching 2 photos to see how "white" she seems....
<This is quite normal for turtles that aren't in the water too much. The shell dries out, and the older 'scutes' (from the Latin, scutum, meaning shield) dry out and flake off. This is absolutely normal, even healthy. If the scutes don't come off, it's actually possible for the shell to become deformed or infected with fungus. Indeed, your turtle's shell looks fine, and if it smells nice, she's probably in good health. Infected shells have a nasty, rotten smell. Very distinctive!>
<Hope this helps, Maria. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin (Darrel, Mick, can you look at this video and check my reply)     8/31/18
Thank you so much Neale. You are so cool.
<My students wouldn't say that!>
You are a web reptile doctor!
<Actually, I'm a doctor of rocks! Fish (and turtles) are just for fun.>
Please continue what you are doing - it is absolutely amazing...You help so many people who don't have an easy access to a professional vet in their area...
<And thank you SO much for these very kind words.>
Thank you,
<Good luck, and keep us posted. Neale.>

Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin     9/1/18
sorry to ask.....what s exactly a rock doctor ????
<Oh! I mean my PhD is in geology. Specifically, ammonites.>
<Take care, Neale.>

Baby Yellow-bellied Slider with Bump under Eye    8/1/17
Hey Crew,
<Hey Isabel! Darrel here>
Thanks for everything that you guys do on this site.
<No charge!>
I am a new turtle owner and found this site after doing some online research concerning a recently developed bump under my baby turtle's left eye. I've had him for about two months now, and he seemed perfectly fine and healthy when I got him.
He is currently residing in a half-filled 10 gallon tank, with a basking area, UVB lamp, halogen lamp (for heat), filter, and small heater that maintains the temperature at around 78 degrees. In his tank are also three plastic plants, large pebbles, and sand as substrate.
<The heater is not necessary at all. He can survive and thrive in room temperature water. Heaters aren’t dangerous per se but if he were to get wedged behind it, etc. I raise all my hatchlings in room temperature water – not heaters>
He is fed a few small pieces of leafy vegetables and a few baby turtle pellets twice a day.
<That’s a little bit much. If you’re going to feed twice a day make sure he gets no more than he can eat in 5 minutes, then remove the rest>
A few weeks ago, I noticed a small piece of membrane (maybe skin?) stuck in the folds under his eye. I thought maybe he might be shedding and that it would come off itself.
<That’s typical, that’s what I’d think as well>
After a couple of days, I noticed that the area was starting to swell ever so slightly. The piece came off after a week, though what remains is a small hard lump right under his eye. Should I be concerned about this, and is it possible that it may be an abscess? From what I can tell, his behavior has not changed. I've attached a picture for reference. Thank you so much again.
<It could be an abscess or a benign cyst. If it’s an eye condition it can be treated by adding a source of Vitamin A to his diet and even some Vitamin A drops.>
<Unfortunately you are encountering something that requires a direct examination. My suggestion, if a trip to the Veterinarian is out of the question, is to look for a turtle and tortoise club in your area. See if you can find an experienced member to can look at him directly>
Isabel Li

Yellow Bellied Slider turtles       5/10/17
I need some advice on my two yellow bellied slider turtles.
<Sure! Seems like this message has been "maturing" awhile in somebody's inbox, but let's see if I can help...>
I purchased these two almost 3 yrs ago as a birthday gift for my daughter.
<Hmm... the usual reminder to other folks: pets make poor presents unless the recipient has specifically asked for them, and is able/willing to provide the necessary long-term care, which in the case of Sliders is something around 20+ years.>
She has decided to not keep them any longer at her father's house and I have moved them back to my place today.
<Thank you for taking them back. Shelters are overwhelmed with unwanted Sliders and other freshwater turtles.>
I noticed that the smaller of the two seems to be favoring the back right leg and the tail.
<May be injured, but "metabolic bone disease" (MBD) is more likely. Lack of UV-B lighting and insufficient calcium in their diet is a MAJOR cause of such problems in pet reptiles. Can be improved through better diet and
calcium supplements, though the actual damage might never heal 100%. So do review their (previous) behaviour and diet, and look to see if there are signs of physical trauma (a bite or bruise, for example) or else if everything looks okay from the outside, but the limbs aren't working properly. If the latter, then MBD is fairly likely. A vet can help, as can some reading, here:
Check the UV-B lamp is working/no more than 12 months old (they wear out within 6-12 months, after which point they might be "on" but not pushing out enough invisible UV-B to be useful. Revise diet as needed, adding a
calcium source to their usual feed.>
I have observed the larger of the two attacking the smaller one. I have tried to look for details as to whether the smaller one is a male and the larger one is a female, as I had requested two females when I purchased them as babies.
<Males smaller, but have longer claws on their 'hands'.>
However, I am concerned about why the one is tucking his/her leg and tail inside it's body. I see some scales hanging onto the leg. I am going to separate them for tonight by putting the smaller one in a plastic bin and
keeping it inside the main tank. However, I need to know if I should 1.
seek vet care for the smaller one or if this will repair itself
<Visiting a vet is always a good idea, funds allowing. Some animal rescue charities can help too, providing low-cost or free vet services.>
and 2. should I remove the turtle from the tank so that it can heal?
<If there's no obvious wound, then no need to remove from the water. If they're fighting, then separation will be useful, but if they're not fighting, then no need to separate them. Do bear in mind turtles aren't social, and they both need access to the UV-B lamp for some of the time each day. Sometimes creating two separate basking spots helps. Perhaps one under the heat lamp, one under the UV-B lamp. Even better to use two combo heat-UV-B lamps, but whatever works best for you.>
I read an article where if a turtle is injured that water only keeps it infected due to the bacteria in the water.
<If there's an open wound, then yes, "docking" is a good idea. But if there isn't a wound, there's no particular advantage to this.>
However, I am concerned about whether an aquatic turtle can survive outside of water.
<Yes, indefinitely, if bathed in water for 30-60 minutes a day for feeding and drinking (they can't do either on land, really) but will otherwise be fine kept dry.>
Please give me advice, otherwise, if my boyfriend has his way, he'll turn them into turtle soup (just kidding).
<Sorry if this is late, but hope of use! Have cc'ed our turtle expert just in case I've missed something. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider turtles       5/10/17

Thank you for your response.
Since emailing you, things have gotten better between the two. Bigger one has longer claws than smaller one.
<Likely the male.>
Smaller one is NOW fighting back whenever bigger one is aggressive. It will push it's claws into other's face and shove it away. Or it will tuck its back legs/tail and swim away. It will put its back away from the bigger one.
Leg looks better, no scales flaking off. So it seems that they are getting along better. I have a 75 gallon tank, so plenty of room to swim for both.
I have two docks under lights for both to rest on.
<Good. Just be careful with the UV-B; it's crucial, but often overlooked, and saves a lot of money in the long run.>
Their diet is 65% plant matter and 35% protein (consisting of crickets, super worms). Plant matter is organic kale, romaine, shredded carrots. As the greens come into season, I will add them to the mix.
<All sounds ideal. But again, do think about calcium. While there's some in leafy plants, there's not a lot, and very little in insects. What you really want to do is dust small bits of meaty food, like earthworms or tiny bits of fish, with calcium powder (easily found in reptile stores, or simply grind up some cuttlebone). This will dump lots of calcium into the turtle, and if you do this once or twice a week, you'll be fine. Some turtles will actually eat cuttlebone directly, so try putting a small bit in their tank and letting them have a nibble. I've seen terrestrial turtles
(tortoises) go for cooked bones from the barbecue, but this probably isn't as healthy.>
As for asking for turtles, my daughter had asked for them. I had consulted with the ex-husband to ensure that he would assist in the care of them.
However, they both decided to half-ass the care. So, they are back with me and doing well.
<Thank you for doing this. They're nice pets, but like reptiles generally, you have to do a fair amount up front to keep them healthy. Compared to cats and dogs, they're a lot less hassle over their lifespan, but it's the up front expense that often causes problems for less than perfect pet-owners.>
As for social, I had researched and asked the company that I bought them from about whether I should have two or just one. They said that two would be fine, so that is why I requested both females.
<Hmm... kind of sort of. The flip side to females is egg-binding; do read on WWM re: this topic. It's not common, but not unheard of either, even when females are kept singly. A single male is actually probably the easiest way to keep turtles.>
I realize that at the size they were when babies, you can't tell, so it is possible that they are 1. both males or 2. one male/one female.
Again, thanks for the response.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

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?>

Possible Shell Rot Identification       7/10/16
Hello, My name is Donatello,
<Hiya – I’m Darrel>
and my human thinks I’m a Yellow Slider.
<That’s WAY better than your human thinking you were a 4 slice toaster>
He found me in the driveway when I was smaller than a blueberry! Anywho, he keeps picking me up and looking at my shell, he says he’s worried about Shell Rot, after reading some concerning posts on your very informative site! So, in efforts to calm my human so I can go back to eating my ghost shrimps, can you please let us know if these spots on my shell are anything to worry about?
<Tell him to stop feeding you ghost shrimp before you get a fatty liver and get sick>
Silly humans.. I told mine I feel fine, and eat plenty! They have a nice basking light and sunnin’spot, and they made a house for me, and the water in my 55 gal tank is heated with a nice turtle heater. I like to eat red leaf lettuce, turtle sticks, and of course, lots and lots of ghost shrimps! Thank you for all your help !
<Red leaf lettuce is the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of the plant world. Yes, it tastes like Nature’s Perfect Food … but it’s not nutrition.>
<The picture doesn’t look like shell rot to me. Shell rot makes for a SOFT shell (as opposed to just flexible) and at the heart of it is a fungus. Have the human scrape a section with a toothpick and smell the scraping. Fungus has a strong odor.>
<Have your human read this, Don: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>  

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

yellow belly slider with a few red looking spot       5/12/16
I got a yellow belly slider hatching 5 days ago, she has not eaten since then. my yellow belly slider has a little red looking spot on her neck and a little bit on her feet and behind the fore arm her belly has started to look a little brown as well I got her 5 days ago and she hasn't eaten since then and I am not sure how to help her. she always goes to her basking spot and doesn't like to move much and recently she has been keeping her eyes closed for most of the times. I saw a little red dot looking thing on her neck like something is popping from the inside and same behind her leg and the arm. I take her out in the sunlight everyday. I make her run around a little on a clean towel but she doesn't seem to be that active anymore. I
am so scared for her i keep checking if she is okay every few min.s. please help me
<She sounds like she was sick before you got her. Many times the hatchlings that people first obtain are not kept in proper conditions and they develop infections. The problem is, sadly, that by the time they lose their appetite and don't want to move they have been sick for a while and the illness has progressed. Without taking her to a veterinarian my suggestion is to keep her warm and dry with only a shallow bath for a few minutes every day - make SURE she has access to natural sunlight (not through glass) or a UV-B light. It's possible that with a week of quiet and calm she maybe begin to heal. Read here on how to treat her:
<and now read HERE on proper conditions for her:
Re: yellow belly slider with a few red looking spot      5/23/16

I gave her the vitamin A eye drops that i found at the pet store she was opening her eyes right after i put the eye drops like 2 days ago but now it seems to take longer for her to open eyes and also I put iodine solution on her red looking spots which looks like fungus or bacterial infection to me. I also noticed the little bubbles from her nose when i put her in the water, usually i put iodine on her at night and keep her dry for the most past, only one or two baths a day for 5 min.s. And a lot of natural sunlight without any glass.
I don't have the money to go to a vet but I am willing to do whatever it takes, even if its releasing her back into the swamp, which i think isn't that great because she cant even see properly yet please help me im trying to help this poor little baby turtle, and also i recently looked up I don't think this is a yellow belly slider but instead a baby peninsula Cooter turtle.
Thank you so much
<The treatment for all these conditions includes keeping her warm and dry - for a few weeks at the very least. Vitamin A drops are useful, but the best thing you can do, if she's eating at all, is to offer her very small pieces of chicken or beef liver. It's very high in vitamins and minerals and beneficial in every way. Do NOT release her into the wild!! In the
best case she would fall prey to some other animal and at worst she could survive and spread the infection she has to others. This condition is not hard to treat - it's all in the article I linked to you - if the treatment comes in time>

I need help with our turtle     1/15/16
<Hiya - Darrel here>
this is noonans
<Nice to meet you>
and our southern yellow belly Cooter is five years old and she wont eat since Sept 2015 we are worried about her and we did rescue her from a friend that had her in a ten gallon tank and now she is in 30 gallon tank and have a place to get out of the water
<Thank you for rescuing her. I don't have nearly enough information to be able to advise you, T&K. It's normal for turtles to slow down this time of year and perhaps not eat at all. If the turtle is indoors and the water is at room temperature and the basking area is around 88 to 93 degrees (under a heat lamp) then I'd expect that she'd eat at least once a week. Even three degrees colder and she might barely eat once a month.>
<The most important thing is whether she is alert and otherwise active. If she swims and basks and is otherwise healthy she can easily go until mid spring without any food. Remember, less food is better.>

Yellow belly slider; sore on shell      1/8/16
<Hiya – Darrel here>
I really need some advice, I have a yellow belly slider who is about 5 months old I think. I noticed the other day that she has a sore on the underneath of her shell I'm assuming she might of caught it due to the fact she is very active. I'm very worried about this developing into an infection. Since I first got her I noticed her shell started to shred and has improved a lot over the last few months. I have never seen her basking and I'm worried that she isn't getting enough vitamin d which has made her shell sore.
<that’s possible>
She is eating loads and is still very active. Is there any way I can help treat the sore other than making sure her water is clean and to make her bask more? Could really use some advice!
<Thanks for noticing, Sophie. Many people wait until it’s too late to notice odd behavior and a small problem becomes a big problem>
<If Mongo isn’t basking (IF her name is Mongo) there could be a reason or there could be no reason. The first question to ask -- is she afraid to come out of the water? Is there something in the area that would be frightening to someone the size of a silver dollar? A common mistake people make is arranging a filter outlet to be a waterfall. Turtles in general prefer still water. Is there an air conditioner nearby? Something that would make vibrations Mongo would feel? Look at things from her perspective and knowing that you like calm … still … quiet … alone – then look for things that aren’t likely to make you feel that way. Sometimes rearranging the tank helps. Make home a different home and see what she does after a few days>
<In the mean time, if she’s active, eating and her shell is firm-to-hard then Mongo’s not in any immediate danger>

Yellow bellied slider       10/30/15
Hi there,
I have a yellow bellied slider, he is approx. 1.5 years old. He has not eaten in 2MONTHS!!!
<Scary but not lethal. Is the turtle otherwise active? Swimming? Basking?
If he is, then we can probably fix this. But if he's lethargic, doesn't move about much, that's much less promising. Reptiles have a slow metabolism and die slowly. You can literally be killing them for weeks, even months, without realising it.>
The turtle is set up in a 20 gallon tank, with a 40 gallon filtration system. He has river rock on the bottom. Two different rocks to pick from out of the water. One is a basking area with a UVB bulb and a heating bulb.
The other rock does not have any bulbs over it. Clean tank every 3-4 weeks.
Temperature in water ranges from 74-80F.
<No need to warm the water, so I'd take the heater out, if there is one.
These turtles warm up on the riverbank, then dip into the cold water to feed. So room temperature water is absolutely fine, so long as they've got a nice warm basking spot.>
For the past 2 months my turtle will not eat. He does not want to move around either.
<Not good.>
I took him to the vet about a month ago and vet suggested to change up his habitat, take him out side for some unfiltered Vit D, and in till he eats Gatorade/Pedi lite-water ratio bath.
<Not sure Gatorade would help unless he was a 'gator, which he's not!>
I have tried all suggestions and nothing has worked. I don't know have the money to take turtle back to vet. Is their any suggestion? home remedies?
<Let's start with the basics. What foods are you offering him? Any fresh greens? Bunches of plain vanilla goldfish pond weed is a good start.
Trivial cost, but readily eaten by most turtles. Also try things like earthworms as meaty treats. They don't need many of these, but as occasional treats they're easy to find (but obviously avoid anywhere recently sprayed with pesticides) and very nutritious. I'd also review the environment. For example, when was the last time you changed the UV-B and heating lamps? Most of these have 6-12 month lifespans, and beyond these points UV-B lamps especially won't produce enough "good" light to keep your pet healthy. Review, and act accordingly. I've cc'ed our turtle guru Darrel in case I've missed something, and would also encourage to do some reading:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow bellied slider       10/30/15

He is not really active. Some days he will be, but over all no. He stays on his rock and does not move.
<Very bad sign.>
There is no heater in the actual water, but I do have a heat bulb on the top angling into the water. The vet I took him to stated he need to have a hot side and a cold side. So I have the heat bulb shining on one side to heat of one side of the tank/water.
<Fair enough.>
I have never heard of the Gatorade or Pedi lite either but was another vet suggestion. She stated that mixing half water/ half Gatorade or Pedi lite in a shallow bowl for 30min to a 1 hr would help get nutrients/vitamins into his system.
<Not really how this works. Turtles may well drink water they're sitting in, but hardly enough to compensate for lack of nutrition, surely?>
I have tried feeding him everything from dried shrimp, dried mealworms, dried anchovies, to turtle pellets ( different kinds, shapes and brands).
But no plants or living things. What is the best place to get some of these items you have listed at?
<I get earthworms out of my garden. I'd buy pond weed from a garden centre.
Nothing terribly complicated in either, I'd assume.>
I changed over the UVB a month ago, right after seeing the vet. She stated that all bulbs expire and should try to change every 6 months. So I went out and changed all bulbs.
<Wise move. Let's wait until Darrel chimes in. I'm at a loss to explain specifically what's wrong, except the very general advice that reptiles in the right conditions eat well, but in the wrong conditions will go on hunger strike. Unlike mammals, which run out of energy very quickly, a few days with small mammals, reptiles can "fast" for weeks or months at a time,
which can make a serious problem look like something trivial because nothing seems to be happening. Force feeding is possible with reptiles, but you do need help from an expert reptile-keeper or vet. Don't try it unless you have appropriate advice close to hand. If you dislocate the jaw, then the animal WILL starve to death, end of story. My guess would be that the turtle is either too cold or chronically short of vitamins, and that's why it's inactive and consequently not feeding. Get the animal active and its appetite should return (note the order in which these happen, you aren't feeding him to get him active). Consulting with a reptile-friendly vet could be a major step in the right direction, not least of all through a vitamin shot (which often helps with reptiles, jump starting everything else). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow bellied slider       10/30/15

Thank you for all your help.
Not sure exactly to what extent this would help, just trying out every suggestion I have gotten to see if anything works.
Is earthworms from somewhere like PetCo ok?
<I suppose so. Not mealworms. Earthworms; terrestrial Oligochaetes.
Sometimes called "nightcrawlers" in the Colonies.>
But just plain ol goldfish will be fine in the tank and ok for him to eat?
<Not Goldfish! NOT a safe food for turtles.>
Is there a specific type or any fine? What exactly Is pond weed? I looked up on Google and was confused on what is considered pond weed.
<Pondweed is things like Elodea and Egeria species. Dark green stems with short, curly leaves.>
That the main problem I am running into is I am short on the money and can not afford to take to the vet. I can afford the smaller changes, but the vet bill and all test I can not afford. So any suggestions you have I will try, otherwise we will wait and see.
<Sadly animals (and illness) do not respect financial situations. This animal needs a proper medical check-up. If finances prohibit, there are animal welfare charities out there that can help. In the UK, the PDSA for example; in your part of the world, may be others. DO find a national or local reptile/exotic pet club or forum, DO ask questions from those folks
as to who might offer veterinarian assistance. DO NOT expect things to magically get better by themselves. If he's not eaten for two months, then seriously, he's very, VERY stressed and/or sick indeed, and needs prompt attention. At minimum, a vitamin shot and antibiotics, I'd have thought.>
I forgot to also mention that I think he is shedding. The vet said that was possible do to the light pink color on his belly.
<Light pink is not a good colour on turtle shells. Can be a sign of bacterial or fungal infection. Sniff, and check for bad smells or suspiciously soft/friable material.>
With that being said on the outer rim of his shell, top, and belly there are almost clear like pieces that are wanting to come off. This is my first turtle so im not sure if that exactly what that is.
<Probably moulting. Normal.>
Could that keep him from not eating. Thanks again for all your help. I have also read all the info in the links you provided.
<Let's see what Darrel has to say. Cheers, Neale.>
Yellow bellied slider         <Darrel's input>       10/31/15

Hi there,
I have a yellow bellied slider, he is approx. 1.5 years old. He has not eaten in 2MONTHS!!!
<<While they can go on huger strikes, this is unusual and as stated, not a good sign>>
The turtle is set up in a 20 gallon tank, with a 40 gallon filtration
system. He has river rock on the bottom. Two different rocks to pick from out of the water. One is a basking area with a UVB bulb and a heating bulb. The other rock does not have any bulbs over it. Clean tank every 3-4 weeks. Temperature in water ranges from 74-80F.
<<That water is a bit warm, but if that is the room temperature there isn’t much you can do about that. Ideally we want the water cool and the air warm and let the little guy decide which is right for him at any moment>>
For the past 2 months my turtle will not eat. He does not want to move
around either. I took him to the vet about a month ago and vet suggested to change up his habitat, take him out side for some unfiltered Vit D, and in till he eats Gatorade/Pedi lite-water ratio bath.
<<That’s an interesting idea, but it doesn’t really work like that. If the little guy is not eating he’s probably not drinking and even if he was drinking, the amount of Pedialite he’d get from the water is minimal. That said, it can’t hurt!>>
I have tried all suggestions and nothing has worked. I don't know have the money to take turtle back to vet. Is their any suggestion? home remedies?
<<I understand. What I would have suggested is that the vet give him a general purpose multi-vitamin injection and a Calcium Gluconate injection>>
He is not really active. Some days he will be, but over all no. He stays on his rock and does not move.
<Very bad sign.>
<<Not a GOOD sign certainly, but if there are days he’s active, that works in our favor>>
There is no heater in the actual water, but I do have a heat bulb on the top angling into the water. The vet I took him to stated he need to have a hot side and a cold side. So I have the heat bulb shining on one side to heat of one side of the tank/water.
<Fair enough.>
<<Again, that’s not going to help you here, so read on>>
I have never heard of the Gatorade or Pedi lite either but was another vet suggestion. She stated that mixing half water/ half Gatorade or Pedi lite in a shallow bowl for 30min to a 1 hr would help get nutrients/vitamins into his system.
<Not really how this works. Turtles may well drink water they're sitting in, but hardly enough to compensate for lack of nutrition, surely?>
I have tried feeding him everything from dried shrimp, dried mealworms,
dried anchovies, to turtle pellets ( different kinds, shapes and brands). But no plants or living things. What is the best place to get some of these items you have listed at?
<I get earthworms out of my garden. I'd buy pond weed from a garden centre. Nothing terribly complicated in either, I'd assume.>
I changed over the UVB a month ago, right after seeing the vet. She stated that all bulbs expire and should try to change every 6 months. So I went out and changed all bulbs.
<<Assuming we’re dealing with a sick turtle, let’s treat him that way. First step is to dry-dock him. Take him out of his normal environment and give one that is warm and dry. This will ease, if only a tiny bit, his metabolism and perhaps help him fight off whatever is causing his malaise. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  I would treat him as if he had a respiratory infection and follow those rules>>
<<Now when it comes time to bathe him (if you read, he gets a daily bath) try offering him a tiny piece of beef or chicken liver. Start with his bath, and just when it’s time to put him back in dry dock, put a piece no bigger than the size of your pinky finger nail in the water. Not in front of him, but near his front half. The liver will immediately fill the water with it’s oil and if he’s connected at all to his senses he’ll smell & taste it. If he doesn’t eat in 5 minutes, put him back in dry dock, toss out the liver and the water and repeat again the next day.>>
<<When you catch him on an active day the liver is the best thing to spur his appetite and it has the advantage of having more essential nutrients in each bite that just about any other food he could have>>

Yellow-Bellied Slider need help please!      8/5/15
<Hiya - Darrel here>
This is my yellow belly baby and he was beginning to shed and after awhile the other two yellow bellied babies of mine decided to attack him and they did draw blood from him (picture 1) I hurried and switched him from that tank to his own and I have been keeping the water clean and applying medicine to the water (it's a medicine for fish but the lady said it would work for turtles as well) and after a few weeks of that, it has healed, but sadly there's now a big bump on the back of his neck :( do you have any idea on what this could be and what I should do? Any type of medication I should apply to it?
<He's not healed yet - not by a long shot. Read everything about treating wounds here:
Keep him warm AND DRY (we call it dry docking) until all the wounds have scarred over. Treat with Betadine -- which is all in that article -- so read it completely and follow it diligently>
<As far as the bump, that could be many things none of which I can see or diagnose from here. I would certainly see if I could find a veterinarian willing to excise the wound>

Yellow Bellied Slider      7/26/15
Dear Crew,
Hi! I am emailing with concern about one of my turtles, Bowser, a yellow bellied slider. He (not positive about gender but pretty sure it's a boy) is about 4 inches long, not sure how old but probably about 2 years. I got him a couple weeks ago. Originally I had him in my big tank with my other turtles, but he is slightly bigger and I noticed him bullying them, but only when there was food. So I separated him and put him in a different tank.
<Turtles aren't social. How big is this "big tank"? This will be a factor.
Furthermore, having multiple basking islands under multiple heat and UV-B sources makes aggression much less of a problem. Turtles (and reptiles generally) squabble over access to heat and UV-B, and while they can take
turns to some degree, if there are multiple basking areas, then there'll be less fighting.>
It's kept at the right temp., has a filter and basking docks and lights.
Now onto the issue. For a couple days I noticed him making a funny noise when his head was out of the water. It's something like a squeezing or squishing noise (don't know if that makes sense) and also there are bubbles around his mouth area (again only when his head is out of the water).
<Could be two things. Normal, nothing to worry about water in the windpipe.
Happens frequently, and turtles sort themselves out quite quickly. If it's normal, then other aspects of their health should be normal too. Feeding normally, eyes nice and open, no weird sounds (such as rattling) and no evidence of lethargy. The alternate is a Respiratory Tract Infection. The symptoms for this are a lot like Flu: lethargy, wheezing, mucous production from the nose and mouth, puffy eyes. Pretty distinctive really. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/turtrespart.htm
Have a read, and act accordingly.>
Other than that he seems perfectly healthy. He eats very well, he basks (not as often as my other turtles), he poops, and he is very active. So I can't figure out if this is an early on RI? He doesn't sneeze or have swollen eyes or anything like that but I wanted to contact you to make sure.
Is he sick? If so, what do I do to make him better?
Please email back ASAP.

Yellow bellied slider... hlth.       4/13/15
Dear Crew
<Hiya Darrel here>
Last week while in FL for the week, we purchased my daughter a small yellow bellied slider (maybe 1 1/2in).
<When I was 8 my parents came home from Florida with a baby alligator.>
It was in a small plastic cage with about 1/4 in of water & we were told it was very low maintenance and it would stay small depending on environment.
Since we returned home and I did my research, I have found that information to be totally incorrect.
<Yes and no. They are low maintenance but they grow to their natural size regardless -- but then that's not all that large anyway>
I have since purchased a large tank, basking platform, water conditioner, light & filter. We followed directions on everything I could find regarding temp, water levels, food choices, etc.
Mertle (choice spelling of daughter) is not eating. We have tried three kinds of turtle food, strawberries, lettuce, cantaloupe, shrimp.
<OK -- your research contained some incorrect information.>
She seemed truly excited when we put her in the big tank and was swimming everywhere! (This was Tuesday) Since then, one of her eyes has become swollen. She swats at it and keeps it closed. She spends almost all of her time basking and when she does get in the water, she doesn't dive like she did first day. Kinda floats around. Currently, I am noticing her head bobbing a little bit. No open mouth breathing yet. Does this sound like a RI to u!? My daughter will be devastated (as will I).
<It indicates that the little guy was likely already ill when you got her.
Welcome to the world of impulse purchases.>
We purchased this baby for $20 & have since spent easily over $100 for her necessities. There is a turtle vet in town but he is known for being most expensive vet here. Not sure what to do next.
Thanks in advance!
Kind regards,
<Well, Jill, let's see what we can do. First read here on treating common illnesses. We want to keep Mertle warm and dry and treat for swollen A with sunlight and Vitamin A. If the case is not too advanced no vet will be needed.
Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm
If we can get her to eat - then small pieces of beef liver will deliver lots of vitamins easily. Getting her to eat is a bit harder, but the intent is to warm her up. As she warms she will increase her metabolism and encourage her eating. A luke-warm to warm bath every day may stimulate her appetite. As an aside - never EVER feed beef or chicken liver in the main tank: That is a mistake everyone only makes once (the liver oil gets everywhere and contaminates everything)>
<No after the infection is under control, we turn to what caused it and you'll see from the first article I linked - it was improper nutrition and conditions. She probably was not fed properly before you got her but now - it's up to you. Strawberries, lettuce, cantaloupe, shrimp are not only NOT part of her diet, but don't exist in the places she lives. The GOOD news is that nutrition is easy and inexpensive ONCE we get her hungry again.>
<Read here on all the basics you need to know: If you need to know, it's in here -- and more importantly if it's not in here don't worry about it and if you read different information - that different information is WRONG>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
<As a final note, the one thing you might do - until she gets well again - is turn off the filter. Sliders don't normally live near waterfalls and the noise and turbulence may be stressing her. Once he's fit and active again she will easily get use to it ... but for now while she's fighting the infection lets go for quiet and calm>

Yellow bellied sliders. Hlth concern       3/28/15
I have been the owner of 2 yellow bellied sliders since July. I adopted them from a family friend who had them 1-2 years. I am teacher, so they are our class pet. They both live in a 45-50 gallon tank, about 40% full.
They have 2 basking floating logs and their water filter is a rock that they can bask on. I have both types of lights needed, and they are next to the window for natural light. The lights are on a timer from 8:45 am to 7pm. (kids come from 9am-4pm)
Big T (bigger turtle) has always been "fearless" and basks openly throughout the day. Little T has been skittish and rarely caught basking while kids are in school.
Today while feeding them, I noticed Little T had what looks like peeling skin, but since it is in the water, it floats near his body. It's on the skin of his neck and one back foot. His she'll is also darker than usual, where I can't see his design very well.
Attached are pictures.
<that looks like normal, shedding skin to me. Here's the check: Take "t" out of the water and try to capture a piece of that skin with a swab (such as a Q-Tip brand Cotton swab - accept no substitutes!). If you can get a piece, give it about 10 minutes to dry a little bit and then smell it. A fungal patch will have the unmistakable odor or Athlete's Foot. If not it's just shedding skin>

Baby yellow belly sick      3/21/15
Hi i am writing because i have a new hatchling and its sick. I have had the hatchling for only 10 days and by the third day i noticed its eyes were closed. By the 5 day i took my baby to the vet. It has been given two antibiotic shots and no improvement. We took the hatchling to the vet today and it was given a vitamin a shot. It hasn't eaten since we got it. I have mealworms, blood worm, hatchling pellets and purchased critical care flakes to try and feed via dropper with no luck. We also were prescribed eye drops. It just doesn't seem to be improving. It lives in a 10gallon tank with basking lamp and UVB light and filter with floating dock. I have purchased water conditioner and have been cleaning tank every couple days.
I am at a loss as to why my hatchling isn't doing better and i don't know what else i can do. Do you have any additional suggestions?
<If a turtle doesn't eat, then it won't put on weight, so your problem seems to be getting your turtle to eat. Let's review. Turtles, like all reptiles, have appetites dependent on metabolism which is in turn dependent on ambient temperature. They won't feed much below 18 C/64 F, and it's significant that baby turtles emerge from their eggs in time for late spring and summer rather than the middle of winter. So check the temperature of your vivarium. If the turtle spends most of its time basking and very little time in the water, the water may be too cold. Check its temperature. While it isn't standard practise, you can put a regular aquarium heater in a turtle tank to warm the water, up to 18-20 C, and that will be quite helpful in "intensive care" situations. Do remember turtles mostly feed in the water, so if they're staying on land all the time, they
won't get much to eat. Next, review the range of foods on offer. Some floating aquarium plants are a good "buffet" meal for any turtle, so grab some of those to start with. Also review the range of meaty foods.
Earthworms are like crack cocaine to most small predators, so if you can find some, try offering these. Since you're already getting help from a vet, then your turtle is getting the best possible support already, but as described above, there are some ways to entice starving turtles to eat.
Force feeding is possible but extremely risky. If you force food into the turtle, there's a good chance it'll go down the wrong pipe and suffocate the poor thing. So while your vet might be able to do this, I would never recommend it to pet owners. On the other hand, using a toothpick to place a very small morsel of food inside an open mouth is doable, particularly if you have a turtle that likes to "snap" when picked up. A tiny piece of prawn or a smear of tropical fish flakes would do the trick nicely. Don't try and force its mouth open though; again, the risk of doing more harm than good is a very real one. I've cc'ed Darrel, our turtle expert, in case he has anything to add. Cheers, Neale.>
Fw: Baby yellow belly sick /Darrel      3/21/15

<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am writing because I have a new hatchling and it's sick. I have had the hatchling for only 10 days and by the third day I noticed its eyes were closed. By the 5 day I took my baby to the vet. It has been given two antibiotic shots and no improvement. We took the hatchling to the vet today and it was given a vitamin a shot. It hasn't eaten since we got it. I have mealworms, blood worm, hatchling pellets and purchased critical care flakes to try and feed via dropper with no luck. We also were prescribed eye drops. It just doesn't seem to be improving. It lives in a 10gallon tank with basking lamp and UVB light and filter with floating dock. I have purchased water conditioner and have been cleaning tank every couple days. I am at a loss as to why my hatchling isn't doing better and I don't know what else I can do. Do you have any additional suggestions?
<My immediate concern, Heather, is to get him out of the water. Although they are normally aquatic, when a turtle is sick the warm wet environment works to help the bacteria or fungus or whatever is ailing him. We have a treatment that has become affectionately known as "dry-docking" which means to take him out of the water and keep him warm and dry while he heals and/or recovers. You can read all about it here:
<As far as his underlying sickness, the loss of appetite and the closed eyes all point to a vitamin deficiency, which in turn is part of a dietary deficiency, which Neale already covered.>
<You've given him the vitamin shot already. If you dry-dock him it will help him rest and recover - then it's a question of if we caught it in time. For what it's worth, if you've only had him 10 days, he was malnourished and vitamin depleted before you got him.>
Re: Fw: Baby yellow belly sick
Darrel I will remove the hatchling immediately from the tank with water. I was thinking the same thing as far as it already being sick when i got the hatchling. i just really hope we can save him or her at this point so i want to make sure i do everything possible. We also have a older red ear slider in a 20 gallon tank which he "Soup" yes we named him soup started out as joke but stuck. He is about 5 inches across his shell and have had him for a year. He is very active and friendly. I noticed last night his stool is soft like he has diarrhea. He eats feeder fish, pellets and meal worms. Should i be concerned or do you think i should first add more greens since we really haven't been giving him much? Sent from my Boost phone.

Re: Fw: Baby yellow belly sick       3/28/15
Hi all just an update on are hatchling. After a couple antibiotic shots and a dose of vitamin A her eyes healed and she is active. She started eating today for the first time and looks great. Thanks for all your suggestions.
Dry docking was a great idea and she perked up after we did that.
<thanks for the feedback, Heather. The lesson learned here is that with fish and reptiles it's MUCH easier and HUNDREDS of dollars cheaper to keep them healthy than to nurse a sick one to health. In your case you inherited a sick one and many thanks for your efforts!!>

Constipated Yellow Bellied Sliders    9/27/14
I have 2 yellow bellied sliders and I haven't seen ANY poop in their tank for a week. This has not happened before. They are very active though and have a great appetite so I don't know what to think. I left them with my mom for 3 days (I haven't seen poop since) and she may have fed them more than I do, but other than that, nothing changed in their routine. What is happening and what should I do? Please answer asap. Thank you!
<How much and what sort of fresh green foods do you offer them? Turtle pellets aren't a good staple, despite the advertising. Stop feeding them entirely, if used, and only offer your turtles fresh greens. Pond weed sold for Goldfish tanks works great. Dump it in their tank, and when they're hungry (which may take many days if they've been spoiled with high protein foods) they'll eat them. More fibre means more faeces, and that's what you're after. Once things back to normal, bias their diet with green foods, using pellets sparingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Constipated Yellow Bellied Sliders     9/28/14

Thank you! But it turns out that they do poop, but one of them eats it..which is very strange. I am not sure what that means, but I don't think it is healthy.
<Indeed not.>
But thank you for the diet tips, I did not know that pellets are not enough. I will make sure to include greens in their diet. Do you know what I could do about him eating the poop?
<Nothing directly, but if given enough bulky green foods, as well as unshelled krill and similar crunchy morsels, they should feel less "hungry". Much like humans; the more fibre we eat, the less crap/junk we
snack on!>
Thank you again :)
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Duncan the 1 and a half year Yellow Belly Slider   9/5/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
First off I really appreciate all the help you give out on your site!
<Thank you! We try!>
So I have a pet yellow belly slider (male) called Duncan whose around a year and 7 months old. Up until around 2 months ago I'd never had any problems but recently in the last month or so he showed some signs of shell rot so I took him to the vet and have been treating him for that (not really what the question is based on) the vet said that it seems external so gave me some iodine and oral Baytril and told me dry dock him twice a day for 1 hour sittings each, the top of his shell seems to have improved but his plastron is getting a little worse so I've got some Neosporin I've used the last few days as well (specifically for his belly).
<Well, if it is typical shell rot, it's a fungus not a bacteria, so Baytril and even Neosporin would not be my choice of treatment. Dry dock for a week (or two) with Lotrimin or other athlete's foot treatment would be my choice:
The problem however is that a couple of days I took him down south with me (from Leeds to London) to my new house and upon getting there his new tank cracked and is irreplaceable. In the meantime (3 days) he's been in a fairly large plastic box (obviously too small for a long amount of time but seemed OK in the meantime) but the problem is over the last day he seems to have gotten some red marks underneath his mouth where I think he's banging his head on the curved corner of the box? I'm a little worried it could be something worse. Let me know if you'd like any pictures of anything! I'll attach some of the box set up, his face and his plastron.
<In this case let's cut through the middle steps. Keep him warm and DRY except for a daily bath & feeding ritual for a couple weeks. Place some shredded newspaper or wadded up cloth towels in the bottom of the plastic box so that he has a place to burrow - that will often correct the behavior of constantly scratching, clawing or banging in a corner. Make sure he gets a good amount of UV-B lighting during his dry-docking and by the time his new quarters are ready he'll be a new man!>
Thanks a lot!
(His plastron seems very 'peely' when it becomes dry after dry docking')
(you can just see the reddish tint around his mouth?)

Yellow Bellied Sliders Parasites?      6/22/14
Hell Crew!
<Dang Jake!>
My name is Jake.
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have 2 baby yellow bellied sliders and one common snapper. I have had the snapper for around a year and the yellow bellies for about 3 months. When I first got the yellow bellies, I noticed these little white worms about 3mm long that float near the surface or cling to the glass of the tank. I totally freaked out and cleaned everything in the tank including the tank itself (including the turtles). I sprayed everything down with water, and did this for around 2 hours (I used no soap or anything). I also got new tank gravel. I then put everything back into the tank including the turtles. This was about 3 months ago. Today, while watching my turtles eat, I noticed about 30 of the worms floating around. I also noticed that there were none visibly on the turtles, or in the floating pellets. There WAS worms in the turtle's poop that was lying on the ground of the tank. I figured out that many of the smaller worms were coming from under the
gravel. I thought this was strange and researched for about an hour on the subject. I read this article- Very small worms in turtle tank?(PICS)? - Yahoo Answers (link) and figured out that these were some type for "harmless" worms that might be living inside of my turtles. I found out that the person that had the problem just sprayed down the tank with warm water and that was what I'm thinking about doing.
<Sterilize the tank w/bleach.
Basic sterilization technique:
First find a temporary home for the living things {that you care about} in the tank then fill their tank an extra inch higher than normal and add 1/2 cup of bleach for every 5 gallons of actual water (not tank size, but actual water volume).
Next, remove your filter media and throw it away but keep your filters running during this sterilization -- assume that the worms or their eggs are everywhere the water touched or went.
Now, run the entire setup for 24 hours (make sure you have ventilation - chlorine fumes are bad news) and then drain, refill with clean tap water (1 inch higher than normal) and then run for 4 hours
Finally, now you can break down the setup, rinse the rocks, ramps, stones & hoses under running water from the sink … and then -- refill with tap water, run the setup and then reintroduce the pets.
The best thing about chlorine bleach is that it dissipates naturally, so if there is any residual chlorine at all, it will go away on it’s own.>
What I REALLY need help about is how to get the worms out of my turtles. This is seriously bothering me that my turtles may have worms inside of them. Info you may need: This problem never occurred when it was just the snapper in my tank. The turtles have a basking area about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide that I keep around 90* Fahrenheit. The turtles have been eating the same, and act the same. I have a filter in the tank which works well. The turtles interact with each other, but don't hurt one another. None of the turtles have ever had any medical problems since I've had them. I change the filter cartridge regularly. Also note: One of the turtles is very lazy and basks more then half the day. The other turtles are extremely active. Also the turtles do not try to eat the worms and do not even notice them. PLEASE HELP ME!!! -Jake
<No worries, Jake. You do not need to de-worm the turtles as you would a mammal. Once you break the egg/larvae cycle, the worms will not be a problem. It make take two or three cycles to rid the system of the worms, but eventually your attention to cleanliness will pay off.>

Yellow Bellied Slider Fungus or Shedding?    6/1/14
.after this third time he has been strange. Firstly, he started not opening his left eye. I looked it up on the internet and found that it may be caused by lack of vitamin A, which makes sense, because I hadn't been feeding him properly (I've been using Gammarus, made by Tetra). I found that I could use drops as a supplement, and also as medicine for the eye. Therefore, I applied Vita-Plus, the only drops I found in the pet stores here in Romania(on the bottle it says it contains vitamin A, D3 and E). He started opening his eye, but it still seems a bit swollen to me.
<What you DO have in Romania is liver. Beef liver or Chicken liver. Some meat cutters consider it waste, since not so many people eat it.>
<Put her in a shallow bowl or pan with water just to the top of her shoulders. Give her a few minutes to calm down, and then put a small piece of liver in front of her. Giver her a few minutes to notice it and then she'll probably eat it all up. You can feed her more as soon as she's done and continue until she doesn't want any more. Do this once a day for a week and her vitamin A deficiency will be cleared up and her eyes will start to recover>
<Also - after the first time you see what the liver does to the water, you'll see why you never put liver into her actual environment>
Secondly, he had been shedding skin (I am certain it was shedding then), and I thought it was normal. Then he stopped, he looked well, clean, but then he started again. And now it looks slimy and his belly looks constantly dirty from some green stuff. I try to clean him daily with a q-tip, and the stuff that comes out is dark green.
<Sounds like the environment needs a good scrubbing>
Third of all, he hasn't been basking for a while, at least not that I've seen it. I must admit that I don't have a UV light, which I will get as soon as possible, because I now realize how important it is.
<yes, it very much is. Fortunately the new CFL Repti-sun bulbs from Zoo Med are not very expensive and require no special fixtures>
Fourth of all, a few days ago I brought home another YBS, the same size (and same age, I think). When I put them together, I realized that there is something wrong with my old one (his name is Barrack), because, compared to the new one, who was curious and energic and who looks very clean, I might add, he seemed lazy and sleepy and unhealthy and dirty. I am very concerned. I tried to do as much research as I could, and I asked some vets but they did not know what to tell me(turtles are not so common here). And the more I read on the Internet, the more concerned I am, because with every article comes a new possible diagnosis. I want to add that I tried to feed him ReptoMin made by Tetra, but he didn't seem to like it. Also, I used to feed him 2-3 times a day, until I realised that it is not okay. Now I feed him once a day. If you have suggestions please tell me, I want to give him the best care possible.
Please contact me ASAP.
Thank you!
<Cristina - here is all the basic care information you need for Barrack and Bingo: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm note that a basic diet for them can be found in plain, old, inexpensive Koi Pellets. Sometimes they fixate on one food or another and won't try something new. In your case, because Barrack may be fighting infection and is being fed liver… feed them both liver for a week and then when you return to a normal diet you can start the Koi Pellets or the ReptoMin. They may not accept the new food at first, but that's OK. When you have fed them beef or chicken liver for a week, you know they're well fed and can go a week being picky. Then, after a while, when they get hungry, they'll eat the koi pellets or ReptoMin.>

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!>

3 baby turtles, ID, sys./fdg., hlth.      4/3/13
Dear Crew
<Hiya Taylor - Darrel here>
I was given 3 baby turtles this past Christmas and was told that they are red eared sliders but they do not have their red ears yet.
<That's not entirely accurate.  They are born with the red patch on each side, so they are most likely not Red Eared Sliders.>
<The genus' Pseudemys & Trachemys comprise a wide variety of turtles including the painted turtles, the sliders, the Cooters, and others - and for our intents and purposes as pet keepers, they are all the same - they have the same requirements.>
<So, assuming that they look in every other respect just like a Red Eared Slider, then they are probably Trachemys scripta scripta - the yellow bellied turtle.>
I put the three small turtles in a 10 gallon tank and they have almost quadrupled in size. I will soon be getting them a much larger tank. What I was wondering though is how am I suppose to regulate the amount of food that each of them receive?
<Feed them all they can eat in 5 minutes about 5 times a week.   Reduce that to 3 times a week once they are about the size of your fist>
I feel as though two of them are bullying the other one so that one is not getting as much food as it needs.
<That happens all the time.  Take the little guy out, put him in a shallow bowl of water (enough that he can stand it and put his head out.  Give him perhaps 10 minutes to calm down from the change - and then feed him separately.    If you do this at least twice a week, you'll know for certain that he is getting nutrition>
Also they "beg" for food every time I walk by and I am never sure when they are actually hungry and I do not want to over feed my turtles.
<Taylor - overfeeding is the single biggest health problem in our pets.  Because WE feel good when we eat and because we want our pets to feel good - we feed them.  Too much and too often.>
One more thing, how do I tell when they get stressed out?
<The first thing you'll notice (unless you see a physical injury) is a change in behavior.  A turtle that swims like crazy against the glass when you walk into the room - now sits on his rock and just watches.  Or a turtle that swims when you ever the room now swims ALL the time … like he can't stop.  Changes in their normal behavior.   Now, a change doesn't always mean a problem, so once in a while it's OK.  Like ONE day he just doesn't jump in the water to see you … should make you notice and wonder.  TWO days and now it's time to see if anything is wrong.>
<Here is the best guide on the planet.  Read, learn, understand and DO everything it says - and your little guys will be fine!  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Yellow-bellied Slider; post-surgery, not feeding     11/27/12
My 1 1/2 year old ybs  had surgery one week ago.  My dog got a hold of it while I was cleaning out the pond :(  .  I can't submerge it in water until another week.  My concern is he is not eating.  The vet said to try to open mouth and give a veggie based baby food.  I can't get it to open his mouth.  He seems fine, is walking around in just enough water to cover his feet,
and is pooping.  I have tried romaine, meal worms, and pellets.... all his favorites, but no luck.  I am concerned he will live another week before I can put him back under water.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
<Reptiles can go weeks without food, so don't worry at all if he's been off his food since the surgery. For now, concentrate on getting him to heal. The vet presumably gave you instructions on how best to care for him during this important stage in his recovery. He shouldn't go back into the water until his scars are healed over. If he isn't eating, say, 3-4 weeks after
surgery, that's a whole other thing, and we can talk some more if needs be.
But he should start feeding once he's settled back into his regular aquarium with water for swimming and such (do remember aquatic turtles rarely feed on land, and they rely on the water to soften their food while they're chewing). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow-bellied Slider; post-surgery, not feeding
thank you so very much! I am relieved to hear he won't starve!
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick yellow belly turtle    11/17/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I was hoping to get some help and hopefully answers for my yellow belly turtle.
<That's a tall gamble considering its me … but what the heck, I'll give it a try>
I have 2 yellow bellies that I got at the same time, when I got them they were the same size. They are now almost a year old and one is about 6inches long and the other never really grew much and is only almost 2inches long.
<That happens very often.  In nature and in captivity: in spite of everything being the same, one simply doesn't thrive as well as the others>
Well any way I've recently noticed a change in the little ones behavior. He has become very lazy you could say. Over the past 2 week he seems to only want to be on the dock in the basking light, he rarely goes in the water even when there is food so he hasn't been eating. Last night he was in the water for a short time and when he got out he started blowing bubbles, this is when I became very worried.
<He's probably been developing an upper respiratory infection>
I am getting another tank for him today to hope maybe if he has some alone time he will do better and start eating because maybe the bigger one won't let him eat as much, also I don't want the other one to get sick because it seems to be doing really well.
<The larger animal is likely a stress factor and separation may help.  But the little one is actually sick and needs to be treated.  Read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
I am not 100% if they are male or female we originally though the little one was male and the big one was female but now think the big one could be male because it was wiggling its claws in front of the little ones face.
<That's a sign, yes.  And at his size - which is quite large for a male - he's sexually mature, as well>
My son was the one who first noticed this and though it was "casting a spell " on the little one but I have read that the male will do that when trying to mate with a female I don't know if this could of had any thing to do with the change in behavior of the small one because after this happened was when the changes started.
<If the little one is female, she won’t be sexually mature until she's MUCH larger, perhaps 6 or 7 inches>
I have also notice that when the little one is in the water he is normally just sitting on the bottom and when he dose swim he dose not really use his back legs. Also last night after blowing bubble he was only using the front legs to move on land as well. I'm not sure what this could be I'm trying to add things together and come up with possibilities I don't know if he is sick or maybe has a growth problem and that's why he didn't get bigger and isn't using he's back legs now. Thank you for your time it means a lot I really hope I can get answers and help him.
<Put the little one in warm, dry isolation … heat and UV light is the key to raising the temperature so his body can better fight off the infection (it's all covered in the article) an IM injection of diluted Baytril would help him a great deal if you have a veterinarian in your area that has reptile experience.> 

Aquatic Turtle help, gen.     11/11/12
Hey WetWebMedia,
<Hi Katie, Sue here!>
I've been looking online for some helpful advice regarding my yellow belly slider. I noticed your website and you guys seem like the best people to go to with my questions.
<Thanks for the kind words!  Hopefully I wont ruin your good impression! :) >
I bought my turtle back in April if  I'm correct. Shea's grown pretty fast. I feed her ReptoMin pellets and she lives in a 55 gallon tank with a API Filstar X3 since I was told its best to have a filter that's suited for a tank 3 times the size of the one you have because of how messy turtles are. i recently bought more filter media because the filter itself only came with the bare basics.
<That's pretty common. Just a question though a you say you're just buying more filter media now?  What kind of media are you using? Some media like carbon should be changed every other week or as often as necessary.>
Lately I've noticed that Lulu (that's my turtles name) is on the basking area a lot more than usual and doesn't eat as much (although by what I've been seeing on your website, I feed her a lot more frequently than suggested).
<Thanks for done some reading on our site before writing in! Yes, you need to determine WHY she's not eating and the only way you can do this is to make sure you're not over-feeding her.  Only feed her every 2-3 days, and only as much as she can eat in about 5 minutes; discard any remaining food that's uneaten. >
<Once you've done this, if you see she's still not eating then it could very well be that she's not feeling well. >
She is usually scared of people and when they approach her tank shed usually run off her basking area into the water but she just stays put now.
<Very normal behavior.>
When she does go off of her basking area she kind of sinks. She lets herself fall to the bottom of the tank and she pushes of decorations and stuff to get back to the top. Eventually she swims okay but it seems like she is swimming a bit lopsided. I looked and she doesn't look like she's physically hurt or anything.
<These symptoms can be signs of a respiratory illness. Read here for more information:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm >
When people pick her up she makes an odd sound. I guess the best way to describe it would be a hissing sound.
<The hissing sound needs to be distinguished from wheezing or signs of a respiratory illness. The way you describe it sounds more like the noise turtles make when they're afraid a which often happens when people pick them up. >
But that's only ever when someone picks her up and it's not something new like her odd swimming.
<Then it's almost certainly the noise turtles normally make when they're afraid.>
I haven't noticed much of anything else wrong with her but I'm a rather paranoid person so I wanted to get someone's opinion on the matter. I'd greatly appreciate any advice. 
<I'll give it a shot! After you read the link above about respiratory illnesses in turtles, if you suspect that this may in fact be what's going on, the first thing you need to do is remove her from her watery environment and do what's called a Dry-docking. Even if she's NOT sick, this will cause her no harm and in fact will even help to give a boost to her immune system.  Look for the section in the article called 'Isolation and Dry-Dock', and follow all the instructions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<And if she IS exhibiting other respiratory symptoms mentioned in the 1st link I gave you above, then a trip to the vet is in order (preferably a herp or reptile vet, or at least an avian vet) to see if antibiotics are warranted. >
<Finally, read this next link completely a it's a link to our basic care guide. Compare what's written here to what you're providing and make whatever changes are necessary:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<After reading through these links, please don't hesitate to write us back if you have any further questions or concerns!  ~ Sue >

my yellow bellied slider; sys., dis. f' - 10/27/2012
<Hi Jan, Sue here with you.>
I have two yellow bellied sliders- they are about 6 inches- boy and girl...Jaws and Bubbles.
<What a coincidence; one of our turtles is named Jaws!! (though in reality he’s actually a big scaredy-cat!)>
They are in an 80 gallon tank outside on a porch in the shade.
<Wouldn't do this. The problem is that turtles need a certain amount of UVB/sunlight AND heat (in the range of 88-90 degrees) while they're out of the water basking, in order to properly digest their food. But to accomplish this outside, you risk overheating the water/air in tank, and baking the turtle. Also, unless you have a screen (with min. ¼- ½ inch holes) over the tank, they’re at risk from getting scooped up by predators. However, adding a screen top in addition to the added heat and sunlight they need will only serve to seal in more heat which you don’t want to do. Bottom line – would not recommend keeping them outside in a tank.>
The girl looks to have a white color on her skin next to her shell in the front. She seems less active than usual but is eating, kind of hanging by the filter. I just gave her some antibiotics, any ideas? Jan
<Why antibiotics? Did a vet confirm she has a bacterial infection and prescribe them? Unless she has a confirmed bacterial infection, I wouldn't use antibiotics. Because antibiotic resistance is becoming such a growing concern, they should be used only when absolutely necessary. From your description, if anything it sounds like she might have a fungal infection. If that in fact is what she has, antibiotics won’t help.>
<If she does have a fungal infection on her skin, it may be that she hasn't been out of the water drying off and basking enough during the day, or that she isn't getting enough heat/light when she is out. Unfortunately if this is the case, you have a "Catch-22" - you can't fix this situation at the same time that you're keeping her in an outdoor tank.>
<Also, since you’re noticing her behavior seems more sluggish than normal in addition to noticing some white spots, I’m going to give you a link to our Common Illness article. Any time you think your turtles might be ill, the best thing to do is remove them from their water environment and “dry-dock” them. This article describes how to go about doing that. There’s also a section in this article that deals with fungal infections and tells you how you can determine whether or not she has a fungus, and if so, what you can do to treat it --
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<I’m also going to give you a link to our care guide. Read this over carefully and make sure you’re giving her/them what they need to stay healthy – proper diet, clean water, proper temperatures (water and basking), proper lighting (heat and UVB-specific), large enough dry basking spot under those lights, etc. -
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm  >
<Hope this helps! Write back if any more concerns pop up. ~ Sue

my new turtle 9/22/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Yesterday I bought a new turtle.  You can see it there in the attached files. I really couldn't know what type it is.
<It looks like a Yellow Bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta)>
From yesterday it didn't went in the water I thought it is a normal thing because it is new or because it is afraid of my other turtle (she is a red eared slider)
<That's usually the case.>
but yesterday night when I went to take them to the other tank so they can have their dinner I noticed something weird in it's nose so I took a closer look on it's nose it only have one ..... Circle open  (I really don't know what it's called)
<It's called a nostril>
The other one I really couldn't see it so I took it back to the big tank and I put it in the water and some bubbles start going out from its noise and it tried to itch its noise by its hand
<Not unusual>
So I don't know what can I do?
<nothing yet>
Is it a serious problem?
<I can't tell from the photos.  Is the nostril blocked with skin?  I mean - is that a birth defect?  Or is it covered with mucous? - That would indicate an infection>
Please I need a fast reply.
<If you think it is an infection or illness of any kind, then you need to treat him.  Read here: 
<You're welcome>

Turtle Shell turned white     8/5/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Our yellow bellied slider is approximately two years old and female.  About a month ago her shell turned almost completely white (like it's bleached).
Other than that, she is acting completely normal and eats well (mostly pellets with occasional fish and greens).  This seemed to happen not long after we had to separate her from another yellow bellied slider because she was eating the other ones legs (that turtle is amazingly doing fantastic - thriving and eating).  Is this something I should be worried about and is there something I can and/or should do?
<This is an uncommon occurrence, Robin.  White PATCHES on the shell can be one of three things:  Fungus, Bacteria or mineral deposits.   A complete loss of color indicates something else, but WHAT it indicates … that's tough.  The worst case is that the living material under the scutes has simply died … but I've never heard or seen of that - EVER - happening uniformly and suddenly.>
<You have several simple options.  1- Try to rub or scrape a small portion off.  See if it comes off, see if what comes off smells and see what the color is underneath.  2 - Try a small amount of vinegar on a Q-tip and rub a spot, see the reaction.  Even a small amount (2-3 drops) of chlorine bleach on a Q-tip and then rub an out scute on the side and see what, if anything, changes.  3 - A trip to the Vet for a quick exam.  The problem here, Robin, is that while your explanation is very clear, this is one that has to be physically seen to render an opinion>
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
<One last thought - look on the internet for a Turtle & Tortoise Club in your area.  Maybe you can find an experienced "old hand" that could take a look in person>

Rot or Shedding?      6/3/12
Hello, Marjorie here! 
<Hi, Marjorie! Sue here with you.>
I have a question in regards to a Yellow-Belly Slider that I received as a gift six months ago.  She had not shed any scutes during the duration of the past six months, but I've noticed that she has begun to shed the ones on her plastron.
<They don’t always shed evenly at the same time. >
Since shedding those, I've noticed that a couple of the scutes on her carapace are beginning to lighten.  It is not severe, but it IS noticeable. Could she possibly have shell rot?
<Unless you’ve noticed the shell has some soft spots, foul odor, or the actual plates coming off and exposing tissue below, it’s unlikely your turtle has shell rot. The new shell growth will often look a bit lighter in color (before the old shell comes off it often gets a darker color to it). As long as the new shell you’re seeing is hard and looks healthy, you shouldn’t worry.>
As far as my setup goes, I have her in a 20-gallon tank, with a floating dock and UVB/UVA bulb.  The water stays around 75 degrees F, and her basking area is around 90. 
<This all sounds perfect so far!>
I have no filter, but am going to get one soon, and the tank is scrubbed and filled with fresh water every other day; it also is never filled more than half full.
<Sounds like you’re taking good care of her!>
As far as the baby herself, she has an insatiable appetite, and eats ReptoMin Floating Mini-Sticks,
<Very good. Just watch that you don’t give in to her 'insatiable appetite'! Overfeeding is the most common mistake people make with turtles. You didn’t mention her size but if her carapace is under 4” in length, just feed her every other day -  no more – and only as much as she can eat in 5 minutes or so – no more!>
and the occasional threat of a mini-krill or baby shrimp. 
<Would eliminate both; they have no nutritional value.>
She also gets an occasional mealworm (cut in half to allow easier digestion). 
<Good except I’d substitute earthworms for mealworms; they’re a more nutritious snack.>
She has had no past health problems, and is very energetic when she isn't basking.
<All good signs!>
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to offer, but practical advice would be helpful.
<Marjorie, it sounds like you’ve done your research and have all the basics down. Just make sure not to over-feed her. I’ll also give you this link to our basic care article to make sure you have all the bases covered:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email, and have a nice day!
<You’re welcome, Marjorie; hope it helped. You’re doing a great job so far!>

Yellow belly slider with skin/shell issues.     4/30/12
I have a yellow belly slider, measuring about 4-5 inches.
Lilly, I'm not sure of her gender specifically, has been quite a happy and healthy turtle since I've had her. She was a baby when I got her. I've never noticed much of a problem until recently, when I got concerned about her skin "shedding". I've tried to do extensive research and have so many mixed thoughts. I have a difficult time making a confident decision after going through pages of information on your website, as well as others.
<That's one of the downsides of the web:  TOO MUCH information, often conflicting directives and subtle shading between situations make two cases that "seem" the same to be in fact quite different>
When I started researching the skin shedding, I found it can be normal but should not be in excess. Shedding can be caused by poor water conditions so I thoroughly cleaned her tank. I was hoping the cleaning would help, but she's still shedding. I re-designed her basking spot and she enjoys it, but is still shedding. I've been trying to figure out the shedding issue and came across shell rot and fungal infections.
<Shedding is ONE symptom of those … if they're at the bottom of this, there will be other symptoms as well>
I never thought Lilly looked sick and just figured she was healthy.
<She probably is healthy and you're being a good Turtle Mom by worrying about her.>
With water conditions been a thought about her shedding, when I cleaned her tank and refilled it I using gallons of store bought water. I live in an area with hard water (I didn't know this until researching) which I had been using for her tank.
<Perfectly OK for her.   Any tap water you'd consider drinking is fine for Lily.  If anything, I'd rather you use tap water and change it more frequently rather than store water changed even slightly less>
I was thinking that maybe she had developed mineral deposits caused by the water. We scrubbed her shell yesterday with a tooth brush and diluted vinegar, which definitely helped her shell. Grime was coming off, but I didn't want to be excessive with the scrubbing.
<I can't tell you the number of people that have come to me with what they thought was a sick turtle because of a couple white spots on the shell … only to find them to be water spots.>
She has been incredibly active, swimming, eating and basking every day.
<BINGO!   Stop the presses.   This is the beginning of the good news:   If a turtle is alert, active, swimming, basking and eating … the likelihood is that it's fine.>
Today she seems a little lazy, laying in the sun with her head kinda of down (off and on).
<I was that way all day yesterday>
She ate this morning and has clear eyes. I feel incredibly awful because I don't know what is wrong with her.
<Nothing is wrong with her>
Some information about her tank: 30x13x12 in size. There is a filter. Her water temperature is usually around 75 or 76 degrees, and her basking spot is around 85-90 degrees.
Her tank is close to a window. She has a UVB lamp as well as heat. Her lights are on 12 hours a day
She eats every morning Reptomin sticks, but also eats feeder fish frequently.
<I'd rather you not give her those.  Believe it or not, fish are not a major part of Lily's natural diet -- and feeder fish are notorious for carrying parasites.  In normal conditions these parasites won't hurt Lily (as long as she's healthy and the water is good, etc.) but a case of a tank full of worms … is not an attractive thing to deal with.   Give her an occasional earthworm instead.  Pet stores carry worms and Night Crawlers (bigger worms) by the dozen.  Buy a dozen, give Lily two - then turn the rest loose in your garden)
Additionally, she hasn't shed her scutes in a while, I'm now noticing after some research.
<As she grows and matures, she sheds them less often>
I've read about feeding her blueberries, but also a combination of soaks and ointments to help. I'd love an opinion on what I should do.
<You Should Stop Worrying.   How's that for an opinion?>
Lilly is my baby and I want to see her healthy and happy! I also have a small outdoor deck pond at home (I'm in college in an apartment) and let Lilly "vacation" in there when I'm home for breaks.
<Make sure that she can't get out - they can climb like cat burglars!  And remember - the sun can heat a small pond quickly - make sure she has some shade to crawl under>
I feel like her tank may be too small for her, but also want to make sure she is healthy before putting her in an outdoor pond. She is the only turtle in her tank. I'm attaching some pictures, hopefully they're decent quality (iPhone), but if not I'd be happy to take some more.
<Well, Lily looks a bit grumpy.  I don't think she'd approve of that photo shoot and ask you to do it over, possibly with a better makeup artist and softer lighting.   Also, and this would be hard for Lily to understand … but in all professional turtle-layouts they airbrush the photos like crazy anyway.>
Thanks again for any help,
<Kara - in all seriousness, I think you're doing fine.  Wait, let me correct that - Lily is doing fine - YOU are a nervous wreck.  You're over thinking and over worrying.>
<Yes, in hard water areas you will tend to get a less shiny shell and combined with mineral buildup the shell tends to look mottled after a while.   This is, in nature the shiny shells turn dull anyway as it helps them camouflage themselves.>
<She's bright, alert, active, eating, swimming and basking.   Which is another way of saying that she is busily engaged in doing all the things that turtles do -- I'm not sure we can ask for more than that!>
<Now, to get back to your original premise:  If the skin shedding becomes excessive, it will be excessive for LONG periods of time and she'll become sensitive in her new skin, trying to scratch it and rub it all the time.  Fungal infections come with a distinctive smell that I'll bet you're not smelling - and if you DO smell it, it's not from Lily but from that pile of laundry over there by the closet that you were SUPPOSED to have done last Thursday.>
<You can continue to clean the shell if you want.  I alternately use vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and sometimes even a tiny bit of Comet Cleanser on a tooth brush.  Just make sure you hold Lily and rinse her at an angle so the run-off drains back, not into her eyes>
<You should change the feeders to earth worms.  Twice a year or so, you can give her a piece of beef or chicken liver -- but feed it to her in a separate container because the oils mess up the water quickly.>
<As long as Lily has access to a warm backing area with a UV-B bulb and she USES that area frequently, the chances of a skin condition from a bacterial or fungal disease are next to nil.   One last note on that - the effectiveness of UV bulbs drops off quickly, research the brand you have and calculate how many useful hours are left.  What I mean is, the UV lamp will burn for many hours AFTER it's no longer giving off beneficial wavelengths>
<Next,  Relax.  You're making Lily all nervous.>
<Finally, do NOT … under ANY circumstances … let Lily anywhere near your wallet, checkbook or credit cards.  The entire emydid turtle family have absolutely NO sense of financial responsibility at all.>

Yellow bellied slider with green marks -- 12/29/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have been reading your website all morning and have not found my answer yet.
<Thanks for trying>
(But I have found lots of other useful information!) I have a Yellow Bellied Slider (Tank) about 3 years old. He seems to be in good health and is very active, but my son noticed this morning that he has green in the creases of his underbelly. Is this anything we should be concerned about?
<Your son should not have green creases on his underbelly. He clearly has some hygiene issues.>
<Oh '¦ wait '¦ you mean The Turtle Named Tank, right?   Now this question makes WAY more sense!>
<A certain amount of that is natural.  Take a tooth brush or a Q-Tip (Q-Tip Brand Cotton Swab on a Stick! Accept no substitutes!) dipped in some hydrogen peroxide and scrub the creases.   If the stuff turns white and comes off, it was just a little algae and nothing to worry about.>
<But then - if it doesn't turn white and doesn't come off, it's natural pigmentation and still nothing to worry about>

My turtles need help. Hlth., sys.    11/18/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I started out with 4 musk turtles, 2 babies and a medium one and a fully grown one, also 11 yellow bellied sliders, all babies except one medium one in a long 75 gallon.
<That's a lot of turtles for a single tank, Mackenzie>
Four days ago I found a baby yellow bellied slider dead and looked like it died of starvation.
<One of the problems of having so many in one place is that you can't really observe them individually. It's hard to tell if any particular turtle is eating enough or basking properly>
Today I found another baby yellow bellied slider dead, but it didn't look like it died from starvation but lately it had just been laying on the basking area, not really moving much.
<That was a sign that it wasn't well>
I don't know what I'm doing wrong, I clean the tank once a week and it has a basking area and light and even a filter. Please help before anymore die.
<OK - we'll try. First thing is to separate the turtles by size. Baby sliders and medium to full grown musk turtles is a disaster waiting to happen. Musk turtles are carnivorous by nature and baby turtles often look like food. Even adult sliders will take a bite out of baby sliders sometimes, although not as often. In any case, the first thing to do is to separate the larger turtles from the babies. You could even put in a separator into the existing tank.>
<Next, go over the basics. You have basking area with a light: Is that a heat lamp or a UV-B lamp? Or do you have both? (You need both). No heater in the water, correct? (There shouldn't be). Read here and make sure that you cover ALL the requirements:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Now '¦ for the babies, take a permanent marker like a Sharpie Fine Point and make a distinctive mark on each baby. What I do with my breeding clutches is this:
Looking at the turtle from above, with his head facing forward, the first scute just to the right of center is called #1. Put a dot there and call that baby #1. For the next turtle, put a dot on the SECOND scute from center and call him #2. Go around clockwise until each baby has a unique mark. Now you can tell them apart.>
<Feed them every other day - BUT -- Twice a week, take three babies (#1,2 & 3) out and place them in a shallow bowl of room temperature water. Give them a few minutes to get used to it, then drop in 3 or 4 food pellets and watch them eat. With only three turtles, you'll be able to actually observe that they all ate something. Then remove them and put in #4,5 &6, etc. and repeat until you have seen all the babies eat.>
<If you find one that doesn't eat or one that seems sluggish all the time, you'll know which one it is and we can treat it separately!>
<Weekly, take ALL the babies and put them in a box or dry container and place that container in the sunlight (not filtered through glass or window screen) or under your UV-B lamp so that we know they are all getting at least some UV exposure>
<I know this seems like a lot of work, but that's what it takes to raise such a large brood. Once they all get some nutrition, some sunlight and some growth under their belts, you'll be more confident about what is happening and you can slack off on the intensive care>

Found Baby Yellow Belly   9/16/11
<Hiya Darrel here>
Yesterday evening I found a baby yellow belly turtle and located your website for some useful information. Just have a couple of questions though...
<How cool!>
We live near a pond and hatchlings are common however the water level is extremely low and this little guy's eyes are closed so I did not want to release him as he for sure would have been eaten by the birds.
<Most are>
He doesn't move around and just lays on his rock. This evening I will remove him to a dry container with the UVB lamp for recovery.
It was mentioned on your site that he doesn't need to be wet or have access to water during this recovery stage. Also mentioned is to put him luke warm water for 5 minutes a day in order to bathe, drink and eat. I bought the Tetra ReptoMin baby pellets but he shows no interest in eating yet.
<Usually it's weeks before they eat. He's probably still absorbing the traces of the yolk sac he was born with>
I have a UVB lamp for heat and have also purchased the Zoo Med Repti Turtle Eye Drops. He also has full/direct sun exposure several times a day for short periods of time.
Question 1: How long should he stay in the "dry recovery stage" - until his eyes open?
<In your case, yes. Until he starts being active and alert. At the risk of being a gloomy Gus (or depressing Darrel) -- There is a possibility that it may not happen to him. It's rare, but once in a while you get a hatchling that is just too weak to survive. Probably NOT in this case '¦ and in any case we always hope '¦ but his recovery may be slow.>
Question 2: When put in the 5 minute water bath - should I offer the pellets even though his eyes are closed? Assuming he will not eat while the eyes are closed.
<No, not yet. In his case, just BARELY a layer of water. In other words, not up to his nose. Just enough for him to feel the water, hydrate his skin and see if that "sense" spurs him into action>
Questions 3: When I put the eye drops on his eyes should he continue to stay dry or place in the 5 minute water bath?
<Place the drops in his eyes and then wait an hour before putting him in the water. Sine the water is shallow it will be below his eye level anyway>
Thank you for your time in advance. I have raised many yellow belly babies for release but not one in such poor shape before. Please help :)
<I hope we have, Karin '¦ and thank you SO MUCH for reading and then asking pointed questions ABOUT what you've read. It means a lot to us.>

Yellow Bellied Slider care/treatment after he almost drowned   8/9/11
Hi crew,
<Hiya Darrel here>
This is Melinda (a former WWM member in the fish dept -- definitely not terrapins!) and I now have a question about caring for my Yellow Bellied Slider after he almost drowned. Pearson, our YBS, is still a little guy, probably only three months old. Almost a week ago, I found Pearson under a log and pulled him out to feed him (I say "Him," though his carapace is only about two inches long, and so I cannot yet judge sex. I've researched needs should "he" turn out to be a "she" and am ready to provide). In any case, his limbs were completely extended, as was his neck. I thought he was dead, but he began to move slightly. I took him out of the water and he stayed in a tank on a towel for about half an hour to forty five minutes, until I found an emergency vet who would see him. The vet said that due to the lack of bubbles coming out his nostrils and the placement of his head (at this point, he had begun to withdraw his limbs and neck), he likely had little to no water in his lungs.
<First Aid for turtles is to place them in a head down position and the water simply drains out of the lungs>
He gave Pearson an antibiotic shot to ward off pneumonia, in case he did have any water in his lungs. He also gave him sucrose because I told the vet he was probably exhausted from trying to get out from under the log. The last time Pearson was seen acting normally was four hours prior to when I found him, so I have no idea how long he'd been under there. Pearson recovered (I am still amazed at what he's capable of) and we placed him in his new pond the next day (I say "new" because we put all new basking areas in that are impossible to get stuck under, along with long fake floating plants to give him a place to rest if he's tired). However, he's not exactly like his old self. He doesn't eat as well as he used to. We feed ReptoMin Pellets and he always has Elodea/Anacharis to much on. He always loved the pellets before; now, he only eats a couple of pellets. He'd eat eight to ten a day before (they're the "baby" ones). Could he be brain-damaged from lack of oxygen?
<Very unlikely. Even small guys can stay submerged for many hours. But more to the point, how could we ever tell? Slurred speech? Uncoordinated movements? Inexplicable switch in political parties? Buying a PT Cruiser? All signs of Brain Damage, to be sure, but not only can't we diagnose, we also can't treat.>
Should we try a different food? Does he really just need more time? He's dealing with a near-death experience, plus a new setup, so I'm not sure that he would bounce back so soon.
<I think time is your best bet. If it was ME, I'd dry-dock him for a few days, let him stay evenly warm day & night and let things settle. Here is the link that I use to suggest treatment for various illnesses and it explains how to keep him warm and dry for a while:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
I want him to eat like he ate before; that was "normal" to me for a growing turtle, and now he is showing very little interest in food. I don't want him to physically suffer because he's not eating enough, but I'm not sure what to do.
<The most important thing you can do for him is to relax. Turtles endure TREMENDOUS hardships and bounce back. I have an adult female [turtle] who lost BOTH front arms to raccoon '¦ and she not only gets along fine, she swims around and has laid eggs.>
His habitat (for now) is a fifty gallon Rubbermaid stock tank with a 360-gallon-per hour Marineland canister filter, no substrate. UVB and heat lamps are on his basking spot, plus he has another area to get out of the water where it's not hot. Water temperature is 75 degrees (not heated), the water level is about three inches (so really only 15-20 gallons of water). We plan on building something for him as he ages (thinking cinderblocks and pond liner, the whole bit) but he obviously won't grow correctly if he's not eating. Water quality is zero Ammonia and Nitrite, 15 Nitrate. He's been growing so well and now I'm just worried. Please advise on how I can get him back to where he was before the accident.
<1- relax and give him time>
<2- a week or so of drying out wouldn't hurt (at least, that's what my AA sponsor says)>
<3- Natural sunlight (walks in the afternoon or early evenings, perhaps)
<4- #1 again>
Thanks to all of y'all,
<You're doing fine, Melinda and you're doing all the right things. Give Pearson time and he'll return to his old self - or a newer, better self. In the mean time, keep in mind that we feed our pets too much anyway. You should feed him no more that he can eat in 5 minutes, 4 times a week, then reduce to 3 times a week when he exceeds 3 inches.>
<SO '¦..>
<Why'd ya quit? Did another web site make you a better offer? Did you go out and get one on those '¦. Um .. what do they call 'em '¦ ah .. real life or something?>
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider care/treatment after he almost drowned   8/15/11

Hi Darrel,
Thanks so much for your reply.
<No charge!>
I will take your advice and move him to a dry tub, along with his lights, for a while. I think I was previously overfeeding him, so I'll cut back on that, too, though it's difficult when he's got such a surly turtle face. ("No food today, huh? I should have known...")
<It's one of the #1 health problems with our pets. Too much or wrong foods.>
I'll also sit with him in the yard for a little while each day. Hopefully, he'll continue to do as well as he was before the accident. Thanks again for your help and reassurance. As for why I was no longer able to continue at WWM, I have found that no matter how long one tries avoid a real life, it always shows up eventually. A shame, really!
<My oldest kid is 28, owns a Pizza Restaurant franchise '¦ and has STILL managed to avoid Real Life '¦ so '¦ never give up the struggle!!>

did I kill my Yellow Belly Sliders   7/25/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have been on vacation for 2 weeks & have had our neighbor feeding our baby Yellow Belly Sliders. They are now about 1 1/2" both found on our doorstep about a month + ago. After returning home we went back to our routine of setting them in the direct sun for 30 min to dry their shells & get some Vit D but today they are non responsive. Maybe outside 20-25 min. thought they might be sleeping when we saw them like that - brought them back in after & dunked them in & they both just float. No movement.
<That doesn't sound good>
I have searched everywhere on the web & saw a post that "they sometimes zombie-out.
<In times of stress they can become less responsive>
Leave them in the water & wait.
<No, leave them some place shaded at ambient temperature>
They could stay like this for days.
<Not days. Not in water>
I'm not sure if this is a real answer or some 13 yr old sounding like they know what they are talking about.
<Sadly there's a lot of that going around>
I now have them perched on their log 1/2 in & 1/2 out of the water but fear that I am propping up dead turtles. :(
<I share you're ï but what you're doing is exactly what I do as well. Once we fear the worst has already happened, there is nothing to lose by being patient. I once had a Red Belly Turtle that got stuck in a pump intake for 36 hours. We turned him on his head, water drained out of his lungs, we laid him flat in a warm (but not hot) room for 6 hours and when we came back in he was walking around.>
<The fact that both are (possibly) passed is unusual. The only thing I can imagine is that they got overheated in their 25 minutes of sun and succumbed to the heat.>
<I sincerely hope that I'm wrong>

Ill turtle   7/11/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We have a female red/yellow belly slider about 11yrs old, Chomper. The last few days we have noticed that she has not eaten and as not been moving around much (and she hasn't pooped since we brought her in). We have a 1,000gl pond outside that she lives in with 11 other turtles and 6 Koi. I noticed Chomper went to swim across the pond but could not submerge. I took her out of the pond placed her in a plastic tub and placed a heat lamp on her. Her eyes and hears are normal. She is sitting on a brick on a towel that is about 1.5inch thick and about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Not often but every now and then she will stick her nose in the water for a few minutes. Can you tell me what else I can do for her? Would she get like this after she laid eggs? About a month ago she was digging and her backside look fairly bigger, not sure though if she actually laid or not.
<One possibility is that she's egg-bound. Usually, if a turtle can't lay eggs for some reason, they'll reabsorb the eggs. If the eggs have already shelled inside her (formed the harder external shells) then they'll just expel them in the water or land or wherever. Must less often they can get egg bound - the eggs are formed and, for whatever reason, can't be expelled. This can cause loss of appetite, lethargy and odd swimming characteristics.>
<The solution is easy: Take Chomper to a vet and have her hind quarters X-rayed. Eggs in the oviduct will show up on the graph. If they are there, the vet can administer Oxytocin in the hind leg to induce labor.>
<warm bath/soakings of the hind quarter '¦ say '¦ 15 minutes of warm water twice daily might also free up the eggs or any intestinal impaction>
We've had ill turtles in the past and we have been able to help them but I'm at a loss with Chomper.
Thanks for any guidance you can give us.
<Hope it helps - D>

HELP! Yellow Bellied Slider Turtle 7/3/2011
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a full grown male yellow bellied slider turtle in a 55 gallon fish tank with a couple of med. sized goldfish.
<Did the goldfish start out as feeders that the turtle never ate? And now they're additional pets to worry about & care for?>
I put some driftwood I bought from the fish section at Petco into the tank about a week ago. Ever since then I've been having to do small water changes every couple days cause the water would turn a light caramel color. Well I noticed both today and yesterday my turtle wasn't eating and had red streaks in the bottom of his shell. He has also been basking out of the water a lot. At the times he IS in the water, he sometimes has his legs spread out and acts as if he's going to throw up. I ended up taking the wood out this morning, and it smelled bad and had white moldy spots on it (the wood not the turtle). I threw it away, cleaned out the filter, did a big water change, like 40%.. and put the turtle out to bask in the sun for a good 45 minutes. He's acting a bit better but still not good. What's wrong with him and how can I help??
<He may simply improve with time. At the very least do another water change, but what I'd REALLY recommend doing is to sterilize the entire setup. Put the goldfish in a temporary tank, take the turtle out and put him somewhere warm and dry for the. Fill the water to the regular "full" level and maybe even an inch more. Add 1 cup of chlorine bleach per approximate gallon of water. Even a bit more is OK as long as you can ventilate the room so no one breathes the fumes. It's important that you leave the filters on and running during this process. What we want to do is kill the mold & fungus everywhere -- inside the tubes, down in the impeller -- all the places you'd never reach with even the most thorough cleaning. After 2 or 3 hours, you can drain the water, break the system down and clean everything. Rinse, use soap and water, rinse again & then set it back up.>

Re: Identify turtle type and am I doing this right?   6/21/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya- Darrel here>
I might have really screwed up!
On Sunday morning I noticed some filmy white stuff around Rocko the yellow bellied slider's head, arms and feet. I was really worried that it was fungal or something, but then after reading more on your site decided it was probably just shedding. It looked like a peeling sunburn would.
I decided to do a 100% water change because I noticed some algae growing in the corner of the tank 20g tank he's in as well as on the side of his basking rock.
<A nice thing about turtles is that you can take them out and scrub their world with soap & water if you want... then a quick rinse and they're back: No biological eco-system to rebalance>
I put Rocko in a plastic shoe box (no lid) on the front porch in the shade with no water as I figured if I was wrong and it was fungal, at least he'd have an hour or so to dry off.
<Good idea>
When I finished cleaning the tank (scrubbed with just water and a scrubby pad thing) I changed the carbon cartridge in the filter, added water and water conditioner and let it sit for about 30 min or so.
<The conditioner wasn't necessary. Unlike fish, it's not critical to turtles. I'm not saying it's a BAD thing, of course, just that on balance, there are other ways to spend that same money>
This all took about 1 hour. When I went to get Rocko inside, he was scrabbling to get up the side of the shoe box as he normally would. However, I noticed that he seemed very warm (he wasn't in direct sun but it was about 95+ degrees outside).
<I probably wouldn't have left him out there THAT long '¦ maybe a half hour max '¦ BUT if he was in the shade it shouldn't have been a problem>
When I put him on his rock, he immediately got in the water and just sort of floated there, immobile, with his eyes shut. The peeling skin stuff was still all over, but now it looked like his eyes had a thick film over them.
<The film just dried>
I was worried he had heat stroke but didn't know what to do so I just let him float about, and every once in a while he'd swim down to the bottom then float back up to the top. He started scratching at the film on his eye and one eye ended up with a little dot of blood. His other eye seems fine.
He is eating now with the same gusto as usual, but seems to be having a harder time than normal finding the food. I have Vit A drops and put them in no more than once/week.
<A vitamin A deficiency should be treated with daily drops and adding beef or chicken liver to Rocko's daily diet for a week or so. VERY small pieces - the trick with feeding liver or raw meat is to be sure to feed him in a separate bowl - that stuff fouls the water quickly>
I have added today a "fungus treatment fizz tab" that was recommended to me for my pond Koi by a reputable vet here in Houston. The tabs say they contain Allantoin, Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate, Methylene blue and Acriflavine. They claim to "treat a variety of fungus and bacteria related conditions and protects against secondary infections."
<I have used those same chemicals on my Koi pond, just never had them in a fizz tab before>
The turtle's eyes are clear today, but seem a bit swollen still and there's still the drop of blood in one eye. The "peeling skin" seems to have disappeared.
<Seems to be healing>
Should I be doing something different?
<Have you thought of being a choreographer?>
<Oh, Wait. You meant something different about Rocko, didn't you?>
<Sounds like all the right things, at least generally. Glad you searched the site and decided it was likely shedding rather than fungal. Fungal usually starts out as a localized patch - or in one of two places.>
<On the other hand, a normal shedding produces small pieces of skin, usually not even big enough to be visible. A large shedding indicates something not quite right in the environmental aspect. Cleaning the tank was a good choice. Now let's monitor what goes into the tank for a while. Vitamin drops go in his eyes BEFORE placing him in the shoebox to dry for 15 minutes (but keep the box inside the house). Then fill the box with an inch of water (maybe from his tank) and place the bits of liver (or Koi pellets that had been dipped in Cod Liver Oil) in the water and let Rocko eat all he can eat in 5 minutes. Then a quick rinse (just drizzle a bit more tank water over him) then back in his regular tank. -- THEN --- replace the water you dipped from his tank with plain-old tap water>
<This not only stops Contaminating Rocko's tank but actually gives a partial daily water change>
<After he's fully healed - about 4 more weeks, you can go back to feeding him (sparingly) in his tank again>
Thanks for any info you can give!
<Yer welcome>

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>

Yellow belly female 15 months old... hlth., sys...    3/23/11
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two female yellow belly which I have had for around 15months. Both are kept in a large tank with uv lamp heater etc and have regular water changes. There on a mixed diet of fish, meal worms and peas.
<Right here we have some problems - but I'll talk about them later>
One of my terrapins had a growth spout around a month ago and almost doubled in size then two weeks ago started to refuse to eat.
I have taken both of them to the vets and he can see any problem with either of them. But l have treated them with antibiotics which has made no difference.
<You should never treat with antibiotics unless a specific bacteria has been confirmed.> My vet also told me to put the temp up by degrees and put the tank in the window as sunlight is a different type of uv, to my uv lamp which I have also done.
<OK - let's stop right here and discuss a few things.>
<First, a turtle tank doesn't need a heater. If the tank is indoors, the water should be no higher than room temperature!! What we're trying to do is offer the turtle nice, cool water to swim in and a nice hot basking area to warm up in. If the water is warm enough the turtle will not choose to bask very often and without the basking, they don't dry off and they don't get exposed to the UV. So -- no heater please. Water temp should be 68-73(f) and the basking area should be 88-93(f)>
<Second - Fish is, believe it or not, not part of a turtle's typical diet and meal worms are the junk food of the feeding world - very little nutrition. So right here, you have nutritional problems. Start with Repto-min food sticks or a quality brand of Koi pellets (which is exactly the same thing for less money) and then supplement with an occasional earthworm. Like perhaps one worm one or two worms per month per turtle.>
<Third - UV light does not pass thru ordinary glass. In fact, even WINDOW SCREEN can filter out certain beneficial wave lengths. The UV from the sun must reach the shell directly. UV-B from a bulb doesn't travel very far, so the bulb must be of the right type AND usually no more than 6 inches above the basking area. Sometimes it's quite a fight to get the basking (for heat) lamp shining on the same spot as the UV-B lamp. So first, forget the window or through glass. All that will do is heat up the entire tank, including the water, which is a bad idea. Then make sure the UV is the proper kind. UV-B for reptiles, not a plant-Gro or aquarium bulb>
<Please read this article that covers the basics of turtle care and make sure that you understand it and that you measure everything in your setup against the instructions and correct anything that needs improvement http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
I asked the vet for a calcium injection but he said they don't do this as its not very effective but l have noticed the terrapin that is refusing to eat is starting to get a soft shell.
<A calcium injection can be some help if the turtle is able to metabolize the calcium.>
It doesn't matter what l try and tempt her with she still wont eat.
<NOW let's talk about treatment>
<For openers, since both turtles are subject to the same care, let's treat them both. What we're going to do is beneficial for them anyway>
<Try to get them some actual sunshine. Take them outside for 15 minutes twice a day if you can. Place them outside on the grass and let them wander - if you can watch them non-stop (don't leave them alone even for a second). If not, place them in a container - like an ordinary cardboard box - make sure there's plenty of direct sunlight but also some shade too.
Direct sun can cook them if they can't cool down. Natural sunlight is the best source of Vitamin-D which is necessary for them to metabolize the calcium>
<For the next two weeks, keep them warm and dry. When a turtle is sick or debilitated, the wet, warm natural environment that is good for them becomes their enemy. Here is an article that explains basic care and describes the warm, dry isolation:
<While in this new, warm & dry environment, you should take the UV bulb from your tank setup and arrange it so that it shines on them in this new setup.>
<As part of this new arrangement, you soak them for just a few minutes each day (it's all in the article) and as part of that you offer them a tiny bit of food. After a few days even the most stubborn turtle will at least
take a nibble or two>
<Zoe - read BOTH the articles completely and you'll find the resources you need to treat them, stimulate their appetites, correct their diets and their environment>

yellow bellied water turtle (poppy eyes)  9/12/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Can you help?
<I don't know - I'm not very good>
My two turtles shared a 4ft tank until the big one bit the little ones foot off.
<I hate when that happens. Sliders, Cooters and red/yellow bellies can get along so well for long times and them suddenly something like that happens. It can be because of an isolated incident and it doesn't repeat, or it can be because one just turns mean for no apparent reason - and there's no way to tell>
I separated them at once and what's left of his foot is now a stump.
<The good news is that they live happy & healthy lives even with all kinds of disabilities like that.>
We also thought the big one had injured the little ones eye but a couple of weeks on and the other eye is the same so there has to be another explanation as he is alone in the tank. Both eyes look poppy out like a frogs. He is not eating and also spends most of his time on the rock out of the water.
<He's sick all right. Most likely a vitamin deficiency, although it could be something more severe like an infection from the wound.>
<The first thing I'm going to recommend is a visit to a qualified veterinarian. Here is a link to a list of veterinarians that are known to be qualified. http://www.anapsid.org/vets/#vetlist >
<There is no substitute for experienced and trained eyes, so that's always my first suggestion. If that's not in the budget or otherwise not possible, here is a link to an article about treating common problems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<The biggest challenge will be to get him to eat, because the vitamins and nutrition he lacks are most easily given in food. The dryness and warmth of the treatment may spark his appetite>
The big turtle in other tank is fine.
<That's usually how it goes -- the big guy got more food, more light and more -everything- all along the way. THAT SAID '¦ make sure that his conditions are in-line as well, because often the bigger/older ones just "hold out" longer before getting sick>
BOTH ARE YELLOW BELLIED. The aquatic shop I bought them from sells them but don't seem to have much knowledge on them.
<Not unusual - they just sell 'em>
Please can you help?
<You bet. Check your care and conditions against this basic guide and see if there's anything to improve: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
cheers Donna ( 9/9/10)

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>

Yellow Bellied Slider Carapace Issue 5/26/2010
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've recently become a first time new owner of a Yellow Bellied Slider
<Does that mean you're a first time owner?>
<Or does it mean that the turtle is brand new and never been owned before?>
'¦ and I've noticed over the past few weeks that it has developed what appears to be an increasing sized crack between the marginal and costal scutes which almost goes around the entire shell. I haven't seen the turtle shed yet but from owning other reptiles and seeing photos on the web it doesn't appear to be shedding. The cracks are not bleeding currently but I certainly hope it doesn't come to this.
< I doubt that as well. I think what you have is some accelerated/excessive natural growth>
A little short history about this turtle, it's previous owner
<Now we have it. You're the first time owner of a used Slider!!>
'¦ said that she found him on a road and that she had kept him for 3 years in a 10 gallon tank with a tiny pond and UVB lamp. The turtle seems small for being 3 years old and approximately 1.5 inches in diameter but I'm not sure if this is relevant. The turtle seemed to eat regularly and appeared healthy upon me adopting it but this daily inspection is becoming and increasing concern.
<I'm not concerned yet>
Along with the crack in the shell, I've noticed that its been spending an increasing amount of time hiding under some moss that I've place in its tank and not so much time in the water and basking light. Its tank is 50 gallons filtered and the there is adequate water to swim in and adequate dry land with a basking area and a couple of hiding spots. All temps in and out of water seem to be in good ranges but I'm just not sure what the heck is going on! Maybe it's because I haven't named it yet?!
<She has a name. It's just that YOU don't know it yet>
It seems to eat only Repto Min pellets, (I think that's what they're called), but it only eats every few days from what I can tell.
<That's GREAT food and you shouldn't offer anything else. When she gets bigger, you can switch to Koi Pellets which are (A) Identical for ReptoMin (B) a perfectly balanced diet and (C) less costly.>
From every where I've searched, this sight seems to be the most informative.
<That's a sad commentary on the Internet '¦ when *I* become the voice of experience and wisdom'¦. {sigh}>
Can you help me?
<Sure. First, proper diet and proper environment are 90% of the way to raise them happy & healthy. You have diet covered, so let's talk environment. I don't know what YOU mean by "temperatures seem to have good ranges" so read this link and compare every part of your care against the article:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Next thing. The Red & Yellow bellies are not fans of fast moving water, they like it slow and quiet, so make sure you're not 'over-pumping' the water. >
<another thing is to judge just how MUCH time she spends hiding. DOES SHE bask, swim and eat? If so '¦ let's sit back and give her some space '¦ for all we know she's just shy.>
<At 1.5 inches, she's small for being 3 years old and that leads to the presumption that her previous care was less than stellar. Changing her conditions as you have and providing better care which you seem to be doing, is likely to cause a {relative} growth spurt and this would explain what sounds like an annular gap.>
Thank you so very much for your help.
<Hope it helps!>
<Bottom line: relax, sounds like you and she are doing fine>
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider Carapace Issue   5/27/10

Hello again!
<Hiya - Darrel here again>
Thank you so very much for your response. It is great to get a little feed back on the situation. So, I wanted to answer some of your questions and provide a couple pictures of what I'm seeing. Hopefully you can see that
there is what appears to be a separation scutes and this is what I'm talking about. Also, I've reviewed your link a few times over the past couple of days since I've been doing extensive research and this is what my current tank set up is.
<She looks fine to me!>
Temps fluctuate with day and night cycle obviously but are generally; water = 74, ambient air = 78, and basking temp = 90.
My filter is a Penguin power sponge filter - 170 gph model 660R. The water flow does not seem to be fast flowing since I have the flow nozzle positioned toward some rocks but there is still some water movement. The filter is rather quiet to my ear but I'm not sure how the turtle reacts to it. Good news is that she is eating and basking and still entering the water. Maybe I am just an overly concerned parent:-)
<Yes - welcome to the club.>
I hope the pictures say what I couldn't since I'm relying on YOUR voice of wisdom and experience on slider turtles:-)
<The pictures look great, Gabby seems like she's doing well. The ONLY thing I'd suggest is that you go over the tank setup and makes sure, sure, SURE that there's no place she could get trapped under water. - Beyond
that, let's give her some space and let her settle in and see how she does over the next months>
Thank you,
PS: Her name is Gabby:-)

Yellow Bellied Slider Spots -- 01/30/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have 2 yellow bellied slider turtles. My father bought them for my family in Florida in August of 2009 and brought them to my children (6, 4, & 2) in MA for a souvenir.
<Dad's heart is in the right place, but he should know that animals don't make good gifts. Let's just be thankful Dad didn't go to Africa!!!!!>
The turtles WERE very small...about 1/2 dollar size. Needless to say I am the care taker of the turtles (and actually have become very fond of them). Not knowing a thing about turtles, I am doing my best with help from the Internet and pet stores (although I now realize the staff of some of the chain pet stores are not as experienced with some pets as I had thought...one staff person told me to feed my sliders on the dock in a dish so the water would not get as dirty.) They have been doing well. They are now about 3 inches, one being slightly bigger than the other...but always has been. They have been fed mainly ReptoMin food sticks and a few other types of store bought pellet food. I have not yet introduced any vegetables.
<Not a problem. I raise them from hatchlings to breeders on Repto-min, Koi pellets and an occasional earthworm. If you think about it, they don't get Collards, Romaine, Carrots or squash in their natural environment anyway.>
For most of their lives, about the first for months that I had them, they had been in a 10 gallon tank, about a third full with a dock and a basking light. The light I had used was one that I had used in a chick brooder...with a 120 watt bulb. They seemed to thrive although after reading more and more, I recently changed their light to a reptile UV A light especially made for basking...75 Watts. (I keep nothing on the bottom of the tank, which helps in keeping them clean and use a Power Filter for a 40 gallon tank.)
<Sounds really good so far. UV-A is close to the "black light" effect we're used to from the seedy bars and nightclubs we hang out in ('¦ er '¦ ah '¦ so I hear anyway!) and that light is beneficial to reptiles, but UV-B is CRITICAL to their welfare. You get that from direct, unfiltered sunlight or a dedicated UV-B bulb.>
I have noticed that the turtles are not basking as much as they used to (although they are basking). They spend more time under the dock in the water...a reaction I would expect if I increased the wattage of the bulb. It is mid winter and I wonder if they just want more time with the light off? It had been on 12-14 hours a day...I am trying to make sure I shut it off earlier now (12 hours max.). They do not have a heater for the night. I was advised that I would not need one if I had not used one all along. We keep our home at around 70-72 degrees in the winter.
<Water temp is great. A 75 watt basking light should be warm enough assuming it's close enough. Besides, when the lamp is too cold, they bask LONGER, not less>
Is this normal winter behavior?
<As far as winter versus summer cycles, that would have a lot to do with the bigger picture. If they're housed in a room that gets a lot of natural lighting (say - the living room) and therefore they are exposed to the shorter-day light cycles from outside, then they will tend to cycle as well. So far '¦ as long as they ARE basking, eating and active and their shells are nice & hard '¦ I'm hearing only good things. (go buy a UV-B bulb)>
Their markings have changed as well. On their (yellow) plastron one only had two dark (blackish-green) marks near the neck while the other had several all along the out line of the plastron (yellow side). My son had noticed that the turtle with several markings has "lost some spots" which I read is normal...but the other turtle has "gained" two, smaller, lighter brown spots above the two it already had. The markings are very symmetrical. They are not raised and don't look to be troubling...but is this normal?
That same turtle also has 4 new tiny silver marks (iridescent like) on the top part of it's shell, spread out evenly at the edge of it's shell head side (very symmetrical as well). They are recent by a week or so...if that. Is this normal?
<Sounds like he's ready to shed those scutes. So far -- normal>
The markings do not resemble anything that I have read about on the Internet that have to do with fungus, bacteria, or shell rot.
<so far -- all good>
Should I go back to the light that I thought was "too bright and hot". They seemed happier in some way.
<There's nothing wrong with trying it. One of the things that I've learned is that we go with whatever works! Try it, so how things change>
I know I need a UVB light, but have to wait for tax returns (they are expensive).
<Not really. My old "standby" was a $12 Vita-Lite bulb in an $8 florescent fixture from my local building supply store. Vita-Lite now make full spectrum CFL bulbs that screw in a standard socket for around that same price. They're not AS well suited to raising turtles as the more expensive bulbs like Zoo-Med but when I was a starving student and it was what I could afford '¦ it got the job done.>
What is the best and easiest light to get...a combo of UV A/UV B/ basking? Any recommendations?
<Right now, I'd place the 75w basking/UV-A lamp (or the chick brooder bulb) side by side with a $13-$18 Duro-Test brand Vita-Lite Compact Florescent.>
I get a different answer from every pet store employee that I ask.
<I understand that. MY answers are also known in the industry as the "right"¢" or "Correct"¢" answers!>
I don't think this situation calls for a vet, but I don't know for sure. I hope to keep them happy and healthy without a Vet visit. Money is an issue, but I would do what it takes to keep them healthy.
<You sound like you're doing very well!>
I am concerned about the markings and would like to stop a bad situation if one has begun. Thank You In advance,
<Meg - here's a link to an incredibly well-written article on the care and keeping of Red Eared Sliders, which are identical in need as far as care is concerned. It sounds like you're already doing everything right!>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Hello Again Team... Cooter, resp. inf.  -- 01/03/10
<Hiya -- Darrel here>
I have 2 yellow bellied Cooter turtles we believe that the one may have RI but every thing we have read says its not hard to identify.
<You're correct, Scott. Whether RI means Rhode Island or Respiratory Infection, it's usually easy to find. If you have a map. Or a vet license.>
The turtle seems out of sorts and as been sleeping at the bottom of the tank constantly only to come up for air or to eat occasionally. This turtle very much enjoyed basking until last week and has not gone up on the dock at all this week.
<Not a good sign, to be sure>
His eyes mouth and nose seem to be fine there maybe a little bit of puffiness in the eyes but not enough to be able to tell for sure there is no mucus or sneezing or any of the other signs of R I Other than lack of mobility and that it is always sleeping.
<The first symptom of just about any reptile disease is general debilitation and lack of normal behavior>
Also we have a heater in the tank ( 75 gallon tank) and large basking light so temperatures should be ideal. So I was wondering what your input is - do you believe that the turtle has RI Or is something else going on with our turtle.
<Yes, I believe he either has a respiratory infection or something else going on. My guess at the moment, based solely on swollen eyes is that he may have a vitamin deficiency .. with a respiratory or other opportunistic infection on it's way. My suggestion is that you remove the water heater. Room temperature water is just fine for turtles (unless you live north of the Arctic Circle) and once in a while, water that's a bit TOO warm can cause a disruption in the basking/swimming cycle.>
<Now down to treatment. I'm enclosing a link that covers isolating a turtle in a warm & dry state. The reason is that once a turtle begins to become ill, the wet & cool environment actually works against him. If he's not basking, the water is just taxing his ability to thrive, upsetting his digestion, which further debilitates him. Follow the instructions for swollen eyes (because the general care will also help fight a respiratory infection) and during this time, make SURE your housing and husbandry are up to spec (second link enclosed called 'care'>
<treatment: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis% 20DarrelB.htm>
<care: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm>
Thanks so much for your input we look forward to some answers
<More answers? Sure!>
<Not until pay day>
<About 350 degrees for 15 minutes>
<I would>
<Answer unclear -- ask again later>
<If I COULD walk that way, I wouldn't need the Talcum Powder!>

Healing Turtle -- 7/18/09
Dear WWM
<Hiya, Kelly -- Darrel here>
I have been treating my turtle (female yellow belly slider) with the peroxide/Povidone treatment that you suggested due to a possible fungal infection. The reddish brown spots look like they are healing. The front and back legs still foam up a lot when I put on the peroxide.
I have had my turtle out of the water for five days. She gets her daily bath for approximately five minutes to eat, which she is still doing.
However she has not pooped in those five days. Is that concern? Is there something I can do for constipation in case it is that? Keep in mind she will not eat any type of lettuce or greens. She wouldn't even eat them when she wasn't sick. She will only eat ReptoMin.
<Which is fine Kelly, it's the only diet she needs. Identical to Koi pellets, just more expensive.>
<As far as the constipation, raise the temperature of her soaking water by a few degrees and leaver he in it longer than the 5 minutes. Say .. 15. This should help get things moving again>
Next, her front legs are very limp and she can not brace herself on them or use them to swim. When I put her in water to test it she just floated there and looked like she wanted to move them put couldn't use them very well. She is smaller than my other female but her front legs look larger like they might be swollen. Is this due to the possible fungal infection or is there something else going on? When she is out of the water she is unable to move at all as she can not propel herself. Her front legs are curled in like she is resting on her knuckles. Please advise.
<This one's hard to call without a physical exam. Unless they are atrophied from lack of use due to long term infection, the first thing that springs to mind is MBD (Metabolic bone disease) but the ReptoMin is a balanced diet. So at the moment .. all I have for you is a 'Hmmmm ....' and an arched eyebrow. Let's keep treating for another two weeks and then talk again.>
Finally, I have a Repti Glo 5.0 UVB light and a 75 W exo-terra swamp Glo basking light. Do I need both of these? I am having difficulty getting both to shine on the basking spot at the same time. If I need both how much time per day do they need each light and does the UVB light need to shine directly on the basking spot?
<The basking lamp is primarily for heat, Kelly. The UVB is providing the "sunlight" necessary for Vitamin D and Calcium absorption (Hmmmm again?).
It is far more critical that the UVB reach her because that MUST be direct, unfiltered by any glass or even screen, to be effective. While I applaud you spending the extra money for "proper(tm)" equipment, the Exo-terra is essentially JUST a light bulb. You can take a 100 W GE soft white and suspend it further out of the way to let the UVB have priority and yet let the heat hit the basking spot.>
Re: Healing Turtle 7/22/09

I have still been treating my turtle for possible fungal infection.
However today I have been spending more time than usual observing her and I have noticed mucus/bubbles coming from her nose.
<Bad news>
Also, one of her eyes has discharge coming from it so I have been treating her eyes with turtle eye drops (Zoo Med Repti Turtle Eye Drops).
<More bad news>
I put her in the tank the today because she has been struggling to move her legs around like she wants to walk but can't, so I thought I would see what would happen. She was in there for less than 5 minutes and she just floated there, still listing to one side, and kept opening her mouth (like she was yelling under water). She would try to push of something with her back legs, but did not have control moving around with her front legs. They still appear weak and she still has not walked yet, but can push herself in circles by using her back legs. I have noticed that she does try to push herself up on her front legs, she just doesn't seem to have the strength to walk. Maybe this will improve. What do you think? Do you think she might have a respiratory infection after all?
<At this point I'd say that yes, She has a respiratory infection -- it was either the underlying cause of her problems or was opportunistic due to her weakness. The Last Thing we want to do is put her in water deep enough to let her nose go under.>
<Her biggest problem by now is simply her weakness. Keep her warm and dry and let's find a vet for her>
Please advise. If you think she needs to see a herp vet, can you tell me how to go about finding a good one?
<That's harder than it ought to be. The best of the best is in Marathon, Florida but you might find one closer to you through this link
http://www.herpvetconnection.com On the bright side, treating these basic symptoms aren't that challenging even to a Vet that hasn't had a lot of herpetological exposure. If the Vet is experienced, he or she will know what to do. If not, suggest Fortaz (ceftazidime) dosed at 20 mg per kg subQ/IM for 7 days (the vet will understand that) or possibly Baytril (Enrofloxacin) 7.5-10 mg per kg diluted with normal saline Subq/IM. At the same time, ask about a one time vitamin & calcium injection.>
Thanks again for your help.
<Best of luck, Kelly>
P.S. Her shell does look better and there did appear to be some fungus, but that appears to be all gone. There are still some red spots on her shell underneath by her legs, but they appear to be healing somewhat.

Turtle AND husband in some hot water? 07/13/09
Dear Crew,
<Hiya Kelly -- Darrel here>
I have a yellow belly slider that is not doing well. It is a female in a 65 gallon tank with another female yellow belly slider. Its shell is about the size of a small woman's palm. I was gone for two weeks while my husband watched them.
<uh oh - make him pay for that!>
The water got pretty dirty so I emptied all the water out, cleaned the entire cage, including the filters and added new water.
<That's a good idea. Also, you should sterilize the entire setup as well.
Here's a link I've written in the past:
The temp is currently set at 82 degrees.
<WAAAAAAAAAY too hot!>
<WAY too hot>
<The water temp should be between 65 and 73 -- usually it will take on the temp of the room it's in, but we NEVER heat a turtles water! The whole idea is they choose between the heat of their basking area and the cool of their water. Do whatever you need to do to get that temperature down>
They have a large basking spot with turtle lighting.
<that would be both a heat generating lamp making the basking area 85-93 degrees and also a UV lamp?>
I have two in tank filters and an under gravel filter. Since changing the entire water it seems as if the tank might be recycling so I added some stress zyme. The parameters are all zero (nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia),
with the pH being 6.6 to 6.8. Normally the pH of my tap water is 7.6 so that is why I am thinking it is recycling.
<In normal circumstances it's not really possible for a turtle tank to reach a balanced biological filter cycle like a fish-type tank. There is simply too much waste and too RAW a waste for any reasonable biocycle to
achieve stability. Rather than additives and Ph tests, etc. you're far better off to invest your energy in frequent water changes and your money in activated carbon for your filters. The Ph, chlorine and ammonia/chloramines from any normal tap water is well within their tolerance and it's really not worth your time and money to try to correct something that is already just fine for them>
Anyway, to the turtle. She is not swimming and when I put her in the water she is leaning towards one side. When she is basking she is putting her front legs turned in like she is resting on her knuckles (if that makes sense). She has some reddish brown spots under her shell by her back legs and a little bit by her head. She is very lethargic and won't go in the water to eat, but if I put her in a bucket with some ReptoMin she goes after it right away and eats it. She has trouble getting all the way out of the water to bask but if I lift her up and set her down to bask she will stay there. She does seem to move her front legs when in the water but obviously with the leaning she is having trouble controlling her movement.
My other turtle seems fine as she is very active and alert.
<I agree she's sick and likely has a skin fungus. It's good that she's eating well>
What do you suggest I do? If you think she needs to go to a vet, can you suggest the best way for me to find a qualified one? I live in Racine WI which is in the southeast of WI.
<We're not there yet, we can treat this at home>
Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
<Here it comes>
<I recently wrote someone with essentially the same problems and gave them the same advice. So I'm enclosing a link to what I wrote. NATURALLY you should hang on my EVERY word from EVERY letter I answer, but the first letter in this link contains all the advice I would be giving to you here if I weren't too lazy to copy & paste the entire letter rather than just the link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/resdisf4.htm>
<Now that's the advice for treating the turtle. By the way, take them BOTH out and treat them BOTH for the possible fungus. Meanwhile, here's a link to a BRILLIANT article that covers all the basics of their regular housing and care should be. Check your care against these standards and correct whatever is not in line.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
Re: Turtle and husband in hot water? 07/13/09

Thanks for answering
<Happy to do it!>
My main concern was that she was listing to one side when swimming and very lethargic to the point of barely moving (and sitting with her front legs curled so her knuckles are towards the ground, if that makes sense). The only time I see her move is when the other turtle knocks her off the basking area or if she is going for food. She still has an appetite, so that is a positive. The person I talked to said that based on the listing and lethargy it is probably a respiratory infection. Do you agree that this could be the case?
<Not necessarily. Lethargy comes from almost any kind of illness that is debilitating and respiratory infections are usually accompanied by bubbles from the nose AND loss of appetite. So far I'm betting fungal based on the reddish brown spots>
If so is there anything else I should be doing?
<read below>
I haven't noticed any sneezing or coughing or discharge from her nose.
<A contra-indication of respiratory infection>
Interestingly enough I received some advice and already started a similar regimen. I have her in a spare tank with a basking lamp on her 24/7. I also treated the reddish brown areas with Povidone/iodine and it already looks better after two treatments.
<Again. Get her out of the water and keep her out except for feeding & drinking time -- just like in the link I sent you. What we're trying to do here is give her a break ... make her life EASY, no swimming, no hauling out, no WARM, MOIST ENVIRONMENT THAT FAVORS FUNGAL GROWTH, ETC... Whatever she has ... will heal better if you follow my advice and keep her warm and DRY for the next two months while her immune system kicks this>
Every person I talked to at a pet store and everything I have read on the internet said the tank should be heated.
<Unless you live in the Arctic circle ... everything you read on the Internet or heard in the pet stores is wrong. Period. The turtle will enjoy room temperature water -- any room temperature that YOU would feel comfortable in ... and then CHOOSE the warmth of the basking lamp when SHE decides to warm up.>
I normally have it at 75 degrees but turned it up when she got sick. I have since turned it back down to 70 degrees.
<You have to HEAT the tank water to 70 degrees? In Wisconsin in July??????>
Do you think I should take the heater out all together?
<YES!!! Unlike fish, turtles have a habit of accidentally breaking heaters (assuming it's a glass heater) and then cutting themselves on the shards of glass (or biting the electrical wires). They don't need it, it's not good for them, so yes, please remove it>
Also, ever since I totally cleaned out the tank (siphoned all the water out, cleaned the filters, cleaned the inside of the glass, and added more water the water kind of smells (sort of like my fish tank did when it was recycling). Is this normal?
<No it's not normal. But fungus is very often smelly ... so there ya go>
<Please sterilize the tank & equipment as I described in the first link, keep BOTH the turtles warm and dry (watered & fed once daily) for a minimum of two weeks before you put the asymptomatic one back in her normal tank ... and the one with the known problem ..... around 6-8 weeks: AT LEAST 3 weeks after you see NO skin discoloration, NO lethargy and NO other symptoms. At least.>
Re: Turtle and husband in hot water?  7/14/2009

A couple of questions regarding the treatment regimen:
On your link you posted the following, "After her daily bath, let her dry completely and then clean the affected area(s) with hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab, then soak or dribble some Povidone (any kind of iodine) on the affected area. Do this for a week and note the healing." After I dribble the Povidone on the area do I rinse it off or let it dry on there? When I have been doing it I have been leaving it on for a few minutes then rinsing the turtle. Please advise.
<Nah -- let it stay on and dry. The thin film covering the affected area helps it just a tiny bit>
Also, with the healthy turtle there aren't any affected areas so where should I put the Povidone?
<The healthier turtle doesn't need to have the peroxide/Povodine treatment ... just to be out of the warm/moist world for a few weeks to nip any fungus or infection before it has a chance to catch hold>
With the sick turtle she has some reddish brown spots under her shell by her head. How do I treat with hydrogen peroxide and Povidone without getting it on her face or in her eyes?
<A Q-tip swab might help. Hold her upright and let a drop fall off the end of a spoon. I always keep a box of insulin syringes around to be able to specifically place drops in tight places.>
Finally, the sick turtle's front legs are very limp. When I lifted one to try and straighten it out (very gently) I noticed some yellowish spots. I am assuming some kind of fungi like you suspected. I am going to treat
these spots along with the reddish brown spots directly. Is this correct?
Thanks again for your help. I hope she gets better and doesn't die!
<We hope so, too!>

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 >

Yellow Bellied Sliders with fungus 1/23/08 Hi there, <Hiya right back! Darrel here tonight> We are new turtle owners. We bought two baby yellow bellied sliders 5 days ago. We bought them with a full starter kit, 11 gallon tank (14 US gallons), 15w UVB lamp, basking dock and filter, the water is kept at room temperature. They are about 2.5' long. They appear to have a good appetite, we have fed them on some carrot, a few blood worms and some dried complete food. <Hint #1 -- save yourself time & money -- feed them small Koi pellets or ReptoMin (basically the same thing, just more costly. Read a bit more in the link enclosed> On the second day of having them we noticed some spots of white on their feet, one more pronounced than the other. These seem white and fluffy when in water, like cotton wool. When on the basking dock it seems smooth and shiny. One also had some markings on the shell. These are around the edges of the shell segments. Please see attached photos. The marks on the shell seem rusty metallic in appearance when in the water. The markings have become more apparent in the last few days. From reading around I think this could be shell shedding but am unsure and worried. Is this likely to be the case, possibly due to growth? <That's what it appears from here. Great pics by the way -- the shells look nice and healthy as long as they are firm to the touch> From reading I also think that the white marks are a fungus due to the stress of change of conditions. I understand that this is quite common in younger turtles, especially when re-homed. We have since re-cleaned the whole tank and based on the advice we can find on the internet/in books we have been giving them a 20 minute a day warm salt bath with 1 teaspoon of salt per litre of water. Is this the appropriate course of action? Is there anything else we can do? We are anxious to do the right thing and that from reading are aware that this could lead on to septicemia. With information so hard to come by we are hoping you can help. <Yep .. you got yourself a first class case of fungus there! First, let me congratulate you on having done all the right things and investing the time, money and research in an attempt to be responsible pet keepers.> <Now as far as the fungus is concerned, here's what I'd do: Take them out of the water and keep them in a warm DRY place for the next three weeks. Put them in a shallow dish of room temperature water for 10-15 minutes a day in order to hydrate, poop and eat. Feed them sparingly. After they come out of the water and have dried off, coat all affected areas with a commercial athlete's foot treatment (like Lotrimin or Triconazole -- generics are fine). As long as you keep clear of the mouth, nose and eyes, you can coat the rest of the shell and skin if you wish. This is a more aggressive treatment than the salt water dip but faster and more certain. Keep in mind that the warm, wet world they like to live in and that you want to provide for them is also the perfect environment for fungus. By keeping them dry, you put the fungus at a disadvantage and the turtles themselves don't really mind.> <Once they've appeared "clean" for a week, you can put them back in their home. Room temperature water is great and make sure that their basking area is 88 to 95 degrees -- not being able to dry thoroughly is a prime cause for fungus growth.> Many thanks, we look forward to your response. <well, there is my response. Below is a link for more general purpose reference, too.> <Please write back and keep us posted as to their progress!> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm

Re: Yellow Bellied Sliders with fungus  1/31/08 Darrel, thanks so much for your speedy and thoughtful response. <Glad I can help> There are just a couple of questions that I have from your response. You say to leave them out in dry warm conditions for 3 weeks. By this do you mean for 3 weeks solid without ever being by water (apart from the 10 min.s a day for feeding etc). Is this 10 min.s a day enough to keep them hydrated over this period? <Yes, it is. Not that you have to be a strict clock watcher -- 15 minutes is OK, too and yes, as long as they can drink (that will be the first thing they do) they could be away from a water-based tank for months!> As for the housing we were thinking of keeping them in a clear plastic storage box and placing the UVA/B lamp over the top. Do you think this will adequate for them or is there anything else we can give them for 3 weeks as this seems like a long time to be in such bleak conditions! <Perfect. Remember, it may be bleak to YOU ... but offer them a choice: stay in the box for three weeks or get out & go to school or work, earn a living, clean their room and do dishes -- heck I'll jump in that box myself for three weeks!!!!> In addition, if they are simply in a warm box how will they manage to regulate their body temperature? <Very good question. In this case you're regulating it for them. Remember, as long as they can't get too cold ... or too hot, then regulation isn't life threatening for them. Warm 76-82 degrees will suit them just fine while the fungus is being treated.> I assume the athletes foot treatment you refer to are the sort you can simply buy at a pharmacy? <Yep, any of the generics for Tinactin or Lotrimin will work just fine!> Once again, thank you for your reassurance and great advice. <You're welcome!! Every time you think of fungus, think of me!!>

Dead yellow bellied Cooter.  9/27/07 Hello, <Hello back. Darrel here> I have/had a baby yellow belly and a red eared slider, both about three inches long. This morning I got home from class and the yellow belly was dead. There was no indication it was sick as it was active and eating just fine. Is it possible it was ill and Just didn't know it? * <On behalf of Bob, Neale and everyone here at Wet Web, we are truly sorry for your loss, Jeremy> * <Yes, it's possible. Reptiles are very stoic animals, Jeremy. That is to say that they appear to be well almost until the end ... and it usually means that by the time they clearly appear to be ill, they are almost gone -- or at least well into the hundreds of dollars of Vet bills.> They were both in the same 55 gallon tank with plenty of filtration and I just did a water change. The temperature in the tank stays around 80 and I have appropriate lighting and a large basking area. It didn't look like it had any injuries but I guess it could have been killed by one of the tank mates. There are two crayfish two or three inches long and a Pacu that's no bigger than the turtles. <If that's the tank water temperature, I'd say it's on the high side and if that's the AIR temperature, a bit on the low side. If the coolest your little friend could ever get is 80 degrees (f) and his basking temperature was even higher, then it's just barely possible that his metabolism was too high for the amount of food you'd give him and he "could" have starved ... but that's a big stretch for me to say that. It's just something to consider.> What do you think happened and should I be worried about the remaining slider? <There's no way to be sure without a necropsy, Jeremy and even then the results are often inconclusive. In one of the many ways that I am fortunate, I get to count Dr. Douglas Mader as a personal friend and he's a world-class reptile veterinarian who has literally "written the book" on reptile medicine. He and I have necropsied a lot of animals (sadly, many of them my own animals) and in most cases we see an animal that was 100% healthy right up until it passed.> <All we can do, Jeremy, is what we know to be right. Assess the care and environment looking for the smallest thing ... and then do it again. And then carry on. Let's hope that the slider is healthy and stays that way. Check your standard of care against the link below and other documents here on Wet Web.> <I sincerely wish we could be of more help, Jeremy. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any other questions.> Thanks, Jeremy <You're most welcome> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm

Yellow Bellied Slider With Mumps  - 08/25/06 Hi there, I have inherited a yellow bellied slider about 7 months ago. He was in a small plastic tank and he was small. Since then, he is about 3-4 inches and has grown quite a bit. I have him in a bigger plastic tank and I make sure he gets natural sunlight daily.  Since his growth spurt, he has some round lumps  around his neck. It  looks like if his glands are swollen. I don't know what they are and am really concerned. He is still eating, and he is still going to the bathroom.  I originally thought is had to do with his growth spurt, but I don't think so. He has a two gal. tank with a log and some rocks. I clean it  weakly.    I don't think he can fit his head into his shell  anymore. He can sink it back but the skin fold doesn't cover the cheeks  any longer. Please help me. He doesn't have a filter or a fluorescent light. Please give me some advise.   I want Harley to live a long life. Thank you, JR < Time to upgrade your turtle's environment. Get a bigger tank add a basking spot with a heat lamp that gets the basking site up to at least 85 F. Change the diet to include more green leafy vegetables. Add a vitamin supplement to the turtle food. Add a filter or get another tank and feed him in the smaller tank so the main tank won't get so messy and have to be cleaned more often. Your turtles condition is probably dietary. Cut back on the protein and increase the vegetable matter in his diet. if you don't see an improvement in about six weeks then you may need to take him to a vet for further diagnoses.-Chuck> Yellow Slider With Mumps II  - 08/25/06 Hi there again, I just emailed you about Harley's puffy cheeks.  Well, I was reading  some of the other emailers problems and I have noticed that Harley has been out sunning on his log more often and with he limbs spread out fully. Also, when he was breathing this morning on his log, I noticed he was blowing bubbles out of his right nostril. I am just trying to give you as much info as possible. Thanks again, JR < Your turtle has a respiratory infection. The basking site will really help but antibiotics may be needed if things don't improve soon.-Chuck>

Little Turtle With Big History  - 06/07/2006 Good Day to the Crew, I have a yellow bellied slider approximately 4 years old (by the vet's estimation). My question relates to an odd condition with his shell but I should give you a brief overview of his history so you have all the facts.... My children brought this turtle (I named Myrtle before I knew he was a boy) to me a year ago telling me that "a lady was putting him in the creek because she didn't want him anymore." I have never owned a turtle before so I immediately went to the local pet store and bought the necessary gear....ill advised by the PetSmart staff. We found out the hard way that every bit of advise they gave us was wrong. The tank was not being effectively filtered, the water not deep enough or changed often enough, no UVB was recommended, the pebble substrate held too much bacteria and fecal debris and the recommended diet was incomplete. Myrtle was never a great eater but stopped eating altogether later in December of 2005. He was also spending all of his time under his basking light, his shell was peeling and his plastron was reddish, and if it's possible, he looked skinny to me.  I finally located a veterinarian who would treat reptiles at the end of January. Her diagnosis was that Myrtle was septic because of the poor filtration in his tank and his general care was not up to par. Myrtle was put on a Baytril regimen and his living conditions were altered significantly.  He is still housed in a 20 gallon long aquarium but now it's 2/3 full, has a suspended basking bridge (instead of one supported with stones which hold debris) a heat lamp and separate UVA & B light (no additional heat). Basking area temp is 85 degrees and water temp is 76 degrees. Filtration is provided by a Fluval 104 canister filter plus an additional 20 gallon submersible filter. The substrate is large polished stones. I do a 75% water change at least once a week and treat his water with Stress Coat. To keep the amount of debris in the tank to a minimum, I feed Myrtle in a separate plastic tub and wait for him to defecate before I return him to his aquarium. I completely disassemble the tank and filters, scrub the basking bridge, climbing structure and substrate stones with hot, hot, hot water every other week. Myrtle's diet of floating Repto sticks has been supplemented with shrimp, rosy reds, guppies and calcium powder...he still does not like vegetation yet but I keep trying periodically.  To make a long story even longer, after 4 rounds of Baytril, 9 trips to the vet, and about $500 in money that I don't have to spare... he was doing really well. His weight went from 103 grams in January to 118 grams in April. I was very relieved because I have grown to love this little guy! Now, you have the old history. Let me tell you the current events.... Several weeks ago, I noticed that his skin was shedding. Shedding to the point that he looked almost furry! There were skin patches floating all over the tank and everything. I researched it on the internet and figured it could be all the Baytril or the amount of fish he was eating. I cut down on the amount of Rosies and guppies that he got per week and waited to see what would happen. His appetite was still ravenous and activity level was still high so I was not really worried yet. I asked the vet about it and told her that we had a water softener for our well water and she recommended that we add Stress Coat to the water because it might still be too hard for Myrtle to tolerate. That seemed to stop the profuse shedding after a while. However, I had also noticed that in our goldfish aquarium, guppy aquarium and Myrtle's aquarium, the algae was no longer green but had changed to kind of a reddish brown color. Couple this with the fact that my own skin and hair felt really dry. I called our water softener company with the question and they recommended that we change our softener salt to one that did not include the "Iron Out" because it may be too harsh. We did that a month ago and most of the algae has gone back to green except for the goldfish tank and my own hair and skin are softer. But I am wondering if that Iron Out could have damaged Myrtle's shell. This is where my real question begins.. After the bout of sepsis, Myrtle's shell peeling was slowing down but not before one of the marginal scutes had come off completely to the bone. The vet said to not worry too much about it because it would grow back with time. Then, within the last month or 6 weeks, it looks like there are air bubbles within or between the keratin of the scutes. I can't feel them, they don't peel off and they don't feel squishy. When he is under water, these bubbles look almost luminous. Like he has tiny lights in his shell. When he is out of the water and completely dry, they look dull and sort of obscure the patterns on the scutes underneath. I scrub his shell gently with a soft toothbrush and an iodine solution, remove really loose scutes and apply shell conditioner about once a week or so. More often if his shell is looking bad, less often if he is looking good. Have you ever heard of anything like this? I have a call in to his vet but she is out of town for a while and I just don't want to take any chances. I wish I had a digital camera so you could see what I am talking about. If I can find one, I'll send pics. I thank you so much for your time. I know I have been long winded with this explanation and I apologize for that. I hope you can help because I really want to provide the best care for my little buddy so I can have his company for many years to come. I look forward to hearing from you, Sincerely, Julie Parker < As the turtle sheds its skin the lose material is attacked by aquatic fungus and mold. It really does the turtle no harm. It just looks bad. Get your water for the turtle from the garden hose before it goes into your house and before the water softener has a chance to treat it. Water softeners replace much needed calcium with sodium and potassium. If your turtle does not get enough calcium then they develop shell problems. Add a Dr Turtle to the tank and do a Repti Turtle Sulpha Dip. Watch the areas closely. The gases under the shell are caused by bacteria. It may be shell rot. This is a bacterial infection in which each area needs to be surgically cleaned out and antibiotics applied.-Chuck>

Sick Yellow Bellied Turtle  - 06/07/2006 Hello, I have searched but cannot find any information on what I'm looking for.  I bought 2 baby red eared sliders and 2 baby yellow bellied sliders 9 months ago and they have been doing fine.  About a week ago, I noticed that the shell on 1 of the yellow bellied sliders has started to get a brown tint to it.  It is more noticeable when it is wet - it looks almost normal when it is dry and basking.  At first we thought maybe it was basking too much.  Is this possible?  In the last couple days he also has been keeping his eyes shut (only opening them a few times) and is hardly eating.  I also tried putting shell conditioner on it.  If you pick him up, he barely moves.  What can I do for him?  Please give me any suggestions you may have.  Thank you!! <Check the temp of the basking site. It should be about 85F+. Get Repti Turtle Eye Drops and apply them as per the directions. He could be basking too long in an attempt to heat his body to a much higher temp but can't get it high enough because the heat source is too weak or too far away. Place him in the water. If he floats then he has fluid in his lungs and needs to see a vet for antibiotics.-Chuck>

Baby Turtle With Puffy Eyes  5/11/06 Hi, I've been having some problems with my baby yellow-bellied slider. He's about the size of a quarter, and has been doing great until about the past two or three weeks. He's having trouble opening his eyes (there seems to be some kind of film over them), wasn't eating, and spends most of his day sleeping on the dock. He also does this unusual movement with his neck (it's seems like he's moving it in and out of his shell). I've taken him out of his normal tank last night (there is also a red-eared slider in there) and placed him separately with a stronger heat lamp. As soon as he was placed in there, he ate, jumped in the water and started swimming for about an hour, and soon went back to sleep. Since then, he's only been in the water once today, and I'm pretty sure he hasn't eaten. The vet said that there is nothing wrong with him, but I still have a feeling something is going on. Would it be possible for someone to help me solve this problem? Thank you, < Clean the tank and treat the eyes with Repti Turtle Eye Drops by Zoo Med. The extra heat was a very good idea. Between the drops and the heat your little turtle should be fine in no time.-Chuck>

Water Turtle With Swollen Eyes - 03/18/2006 My turtle {Florida yellow bellied turtle} has sore swollen eyes with over a week, she's not eating. I have put water freshener into the water but it is doing no good. What will I do. I have no vet in my area. < Change 50% of the water, vacuum the gravel, and clean the filter. Add a ZooMed Dr Turtle Sulfa Block to the water. Get ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops for the eyes. Check the temperature of the basking site. Should be 85 to 90 F. If it is a smaller turtle then get ZooMed Aquatic turtle food for hatchlings. If is a larger turtle then get the adult formula. They are different. Adults need more vitamins, minerals and a more vegetarian diet than younger turtles. A vitamin deficiency has caused the eye problems. After the eyes have cleared then your turtle should start eating again.-Chuck>

WOW! Turtle Knows How To Type   2/7/06 Hello, My name is Terra and I am a 4 year old female yellow bellied slider.  Recently some pink patches have appeared on my skin around my neck and shoulders.  Although I feel healthy I would like to know what this is and how to get rid of it.  My friend Tim, who lives in the same tank with me seems to be ok.  Any ideas? Best regards, Terra < You are suffering with a bacterial infection. Get your owner to clean the tank and the filter. Have them treat the affected areas with ZooMed's Repti Turtle Sulfa Dip and place a Dr. Turtle Sulfa Block in the water.-Chuck>

Keeping Yellow Bellied Turtle Alive  12/03/05 Hello, I own two yellow bellied sliders ( one of whom died in the past week ). They were purchased this May and were doing fine until 5/6 weeks ago when their eyes became swollen and covered with a grey mucous. They were both blind and stopped eating. I tried various eye creams ( I live in a very small town with no pet store or reptile vet. and thus have no contact with anyone who knows anything about turtles.) I have downloaded everything I can find but cannot solve the problem by myself. The local vet is helping where possible but my surviving slider is going into his fifth week of not eating. The eye problem seems to have improved and he is no longer blind. The vet has given him injections of antibiotics, has tried to get vitamin A drops into his mouth, is giving some sort of liquids in an injection form to stop him dehydrating but he still refuses to eat.  Will he starve to death ? He spends all day on the basking rock and rarely gets into the water - he has always been like this. He seems to be immobile for most of the day. I keep the temp. in the water at around 84 degrees. What am I doing wrong ? I can't get a heat lamp as they don't sell them here. Can someone please help me as I really don't know what to do anymore. < Turn the water temp down to 70 F. The air is very humid and contributing to the respiratory infection. Get a thermometer and check the basking spot. If it does not get at least up to 90 F then increase the wattage or move the source closer. Vitamins and antibiotics are very helpful but the change in temps should really help. Go to Drsfostersmith.com and order the thing you need. Go to ZooMed.com for direct info on their products.-Chuck> 

Turtle Problems 8/14/05 Hi, I'm W. Pentony, owner of SHeZ inc.. I'm thirteen and I have two yellow belly turtles, Norbert and Scuttles. Scuttles, who is a bit bigger than Norbert, has been sleeping 24-7 for the past couple of weeks. I haven't been able to feed him since. He is still alive though, but when I wake him he won't open his eye's to let me feed him. Norbert on the other hand is the complete opposite of Scuttles, so I don't worry about him. What's wrong with Scuttles, and what could I do? < Separate the turtles into different containers. The sick one may spread a disease to the healthy one. Make sure both have full spectrum basking light over each one. The basking spot should be able to get up to 100 F. If it is not then move the source closer or get a bigger wattage light. When turtles or most herps get sick they need heat to raise their body temp like when you get sick and get a fever. Turtles cannot raise their own body temp so they rely on an external source like the sun. When turtles lack vitamin A in their diet they are prone to eye problems.  Get some ZooMed Turtle Eye Drops and use as directed. If not any better after a few days then you should consult a vet. -Chuck>

I have a yellow belly slider  which I think is a year old or so (he is about 2 1/2 inches by 2 inches). I feed him 4 pellets of food and dried shrimp fish treats. The bottom of his shell has pinkish areas that his previous owner said was from the owner before her not taking care of his water. They look to me like they are slowly going away. I wondered if this was possible? < Turtles may suffer from vitamin deficiencies or poor sanitation. These problems reflect on the turtle's shell. In many cases the shell can show signs of improvement when conditions are favorable for the turtle.> Also his shell is constantly peeling not badly but a little here and there. Is that normal? < The shell should shed in stages over a few weeks. If you turtle is growing fast then it could happen fairly quickly and seem like it is continuously molting.> Today I noticed his skin on his front legs and neck was peeling a lot but it didn't seem to bother him. So I cleaned his tank which was already clean but I did it anyway just in case. I put him in a dry area under a lamp because he was acting very strange. He is starting to act normal its been an hour or so and he is getting back to himself. Do you know what caused this ? < This shedding is probably caused by the turtle's rapid growth. This is to be somewhat expected in a young turtle.> I bought a shell conditioner that I put on him once a week is that good for him? < Probably can't hurt as long as you follow the directions on the package.> I just wanted to say that my turtle is the best friend. I never knew they could have such personality! I take him to work with me he  has a small one gallon tank on my desk. He has started to like going and swims happily all day. He lets me know if he wants less water and to bask in the light by scratching on the  tank wall. he is so sweet and loves to be petted. I want to make sure he's happy and healthy. please email me back as soon as you can . thanks again-Nikki < With proper care your turtle should live for many years.-Chuck>

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