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FAQs About Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles 2

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

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

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

YBS question, fdg. mostly    4/12/11
Hello Crew!
<Salve, Ronda!>
I have written to you before and always been so pleased with your great advice, counsel, and quips (!), so here I am again! I have a yellow bellied slider 8" long, 6" wide approx, who lives in my outdoor pond in Charleston SC. She overwinters in it also.
<Fair enough. Since they're likely native to this area, your local climate should suit your turtle well.>
About 3 weeks ago she "woke up" and has been out daily, basking, swimming and because our temps now (last 10 days or so) are in the 80's day and 50-60's overnight mostly, she is now active all the time.
What I am not sure about is how much to feed her. She literally begs for food all the time.
<As is their wont.>
I have been feeding her ReptoMin sticks, "Mins" as we call them for her, to the tune of 1/2-3/4 tablespoon 2x day--and I know that is too much, but have been afraid that she may need to build up or consume more calories....is that possible or true?
<These are high-protein, low-fibre food -- in other words much like us eating steak rather than salad. Net result, yes, your turtle may well be getting the calories it needs, but doesn't feel full, just as we don't feel full if we don't eat fibre-rich plants and whole grains.>
I don't remember her being like this last spring, but the winter was particularly cold this past year. Also, she is not eating her carrots, kale, lettuce, etc--just the mins. Do I have a tricky turtle on my hands who is trying to retrain her owner to feed her only what she wants??
<Well, yes, animals can/do learn to train humans. We often congratulate ourselves for "training" our cats and dogs to do certain things, without realising those animals have also "trained" us to reciprocate. So yes, your turtle likely knows if it holds out, you'll hand over the protein-rich yummies it likes so much.>
Or does she need extra calories right now?
<Yes, immediately after winter turtles need to put right the fat they used up over winter; that's standard for most any animal that overwinters outdoors.>
I gave her some calcium supplement the other day, but I am not sure she did anything with it other than sink it.
<Try some unshelled shrimp and even better, whole fish (frozen lancefish are sold in aquarium shops, but whitebait sold for humans will do, too).
The shells and bones are a good calcium source. Use these as treats though.
If you have a few bunches of Elodea or whatever in the pool, your turtle will get all the calories he/she needs.>
She does not have "fat bulges" at her legs and arms and otherwise looks quite healthy. What do you recommend I do?
<Do switch to Koi Pellets -- they're more fibre-rich, but just as palatable, so should make an excellent staple.
Many thanks in advance for your advice!
<Do read Darrel's article, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/RESCareBarton.htm
Cheers, Neale>

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

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 slider, sys.,    3/6/11
Hello Crew
<Hiya! Darrel here>
I have a question about a 2" female yellow bellied slider. I recently set up a turtle tank on the advice of pet store personnel who seemed to have extensive knowledge on turtles. First I will tell you of my set up, I have a 55 gal. tank with a Exo turtle island Lg, Exo turtle cliff filter and rock Lg, Hair Grass, Gravel cleaner, MOSS BALL, 26W UVB lamp, river bed sand, a dissolving calcium thing, and a Day Glo Basking lamp 100 W.
<Sounds basically good. I have no idea what a moss ball is, but it sounds fun. The dissolving calcium thing is the only thing that's a waste of time & money. Turtles don't eat them and they don't absorb calcium through the skin. To concentrate enough calcium in the water to get any via drinking, it would be a thick soup. So when that one dissolves, don't bother replacing it>
In the tank are two 4" Red eared sliders and two 2" yellow bellied sliders, the one female has been very lethargic and has not eaten in a week (how long I've had the tank) she has gone swimming twice but mostly just sits under the UVB light with her eyes closed (she is still alive as I check to make sure every day.). when we bought her she was swimming and seemed full of life at the pet store.
<That tank is none too big for that many turtles. When the Yellow Bellies grow few inches you'll be a bit crowded.>
She has no visible external injuries and the pet store said she needs a few days to adjust but beyond that have no answers, and I am extremely worried that she wont make it another week. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
<It may simply be stress. At the moment there aren't enough symptoms to go on. So here's what I suggest you do. Even though the process itself is stressful, take her OUT of the tank and keep her separated. Someplace warm and dry. (Don't go loading yourself up with expensive stuff - this can be as simply as a plastic storage container from the building supply store and a cheap heating pad from a drug store - if you can find one without that evil 'auto-off' feature.) Give her a week alone, being placed in water for just 15 minutes daily - a shallow bowl with water just up to her shoulders. Let her drink, poop and maybe eat (offer her just one of two Repto-min sticks or Koi pellets) and then back in her box. Read here for more detail

yellow bellied sliders, sexing   2/4/11
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've Googled every combination of words that I can think of
<My personal favorite is to type the following into Google: FRENCH MILITARY VICTORIES
And then, instead of clicking "search" click "I'm feeling lucky">
to find the answer that I'm looking for and then stumbled onto y'all, so I'm hoping you can help me out.
<We're glad to be able to "catch" your letter>
<Get it??? You stumbled in? And we "caught" you?
First, my 2 yellow bellied sliders are healthy and appear to be happy. I've had them since the end of May 2010 and they are really flourishing. So my question is not so much an emergency/life or death question, just a curiosity one.
<Did you know that the term "Y'all" is actually singular?>
I have been on a relentless search trying to figure out what gender my turtles are. One (Shelly) is quite a bit larger than the other, Harry. However, she tends to be something of a food hog too.
<Yep, you say "Y'all" when you are talking to one person>
Their nails are not radically different in length, nor are their tails. I have noticed Harry doing the little nail flutter thing in Shelly's face, but sometimes Shelly does it back to him when he's doing it, but not always.
<As in - when you're talking to one person, you say "Y'all be careful">
It doesn't seem like Harry is laying claim to his territory as when she swims away from him, he follows her to continue fluttering. It's usually only then that she does it back to him.
<When you're addressing more than one person '¦ it's "ALL Y'ALL"!!!>
<[Editor's not: Man, you're weirder than usual today.]>
I'm DYING, yes dying, to know if I might have a boy and a girl, as I have several family members who have become infatuated with my turtles, wanting one of their own. Got any ideas?
<You're not saying how big they are, Lisa. If you got them as hatchlings in 2010 you likely have about 4 years before any significant sexual characteristics develop. And that 4 year number is based on "average" growth because turtles mature according to size, not age and we need to see them get to be about 5 inches long before the males start maturing and the females keep growing.>
<What you may have at the moment is merely one dominant animal that gets a bit more food and thrives just a bit more and grows just a bit faster.>

Turtles, sys., holiday feeding  12/24/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just got two baby yellow bellied sliders. I've had some before, and I have all the necessary equipment e.g. Filter, heater, dock, lights and gravel.
<No heater please. Water temp should be regular room temp and the basking area 88-93 degrees. We want them to have choices in warm or cool>
The man at the store told me that I shouldn't feed them for 2 or 3 days so they can get use to their new surroundings first, is this true?
<Not a HUGE deal - they eat when they're hungry and not when they aren't -- BUT a healthy baby turtle can go 5-8 days without food (adults as long as 3 months) ****IF they are healthy and normally well fed****>
Also I am going away and I have someone to look after them but should I tell them that they shouldn't feed them? I will be gone for about two days will they be ok unfed?
<For two days, I'd rather you not feed them than have someone feed them too much and foul your water>
<Yer welcome>

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turtle only eating Chicken!   7/24/10
Hi there,
I have female yellow bellied slider (? Missippi mud Cooter) that's ~ 5 yrs old. I keep her inside during the winter months and move her outside during the summer. She's in a 40 gallon tank with all the required accessories and seems to be doing very well overall. Enjoys basking and has a good appetite.
The problem - I was trying to vary her diet a bit about a year ago and cooked some chicken to give to her. Now, that's all she will eat. That's it!
<Made a rod for your own back there'¦>
She refuses all pellets.
<Let her starve then.>
I've even tried not feeding her to see if eventually she would go back to pellets. I've tried sticking pellets inside the chicken. I've tried soaking the pellets in chicken broth and also tried feeding her pellets with a dropper. Nothing works. I know her diet is unbalanced and that they move more toward a vegetarian diet as they get older, so am very concerned'¦
<As you should be.>
She doesn't seem sick, and her shell is growing as normal, but she is strictly on a protein diet which cannot be good!
<Indeed not.>
She will eat sulfa blocks too, so further evidence she needs something else.
The past week, she has been violently thrashing about the tank like she is trying to tell me something. She normally thrashes when she is hungry and she moves her mouth a bit. She is doing this, but is now refusing chicken. This has happened in the past she'll stop eating for a few days and then will start again, only wanting chicken.
<She has you very well trained.>
So, a few questions:
1) Right now, do you think its possible she could be constipated and that's why she is not eating, but appears hungry? I tried to give her a bit of mineral oil last night to help with this, as suggested by the vet. She is otherwise acting ok, and is right now basking in the sun. She doesn't seem to be basking longer than usual either.
<I doubt constipation is the thing, though it might be. I'd be more worried about vitamin deficiency. Plus, mammal meat contains fats that congeal in the bodies of cold-blooded animals. In warm-blooded animals they melt into oils. In reptiles not adapted to eating much mammal meat -- i.e., turtles as opposed to snakes -- there's some possibility of those fats causing health problems.>
2) How can I wean her off chicken without starving her? Is there hope?
<Yes. Let her sit in her tank with a clump of Canadian Pondweed. Feed her nothing else. She'll eat. If you must give her something meaty, go for earthworms as these have plenty of plant matter in their guts.>
Thank you - Fantastic website!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Turtle only eating Chicken!
Thanks! Enjoy your sense of humor.
Although I must admit, after reading more on your website, I am also wondering about the possibility that her thrashing behavior & trying to get out of the tank is independent of food and related to the fact that she is gravid!
<It can be. One thing about high-protein diets is they "condition" animals quickly, i.e., bring them into breeding condition sooner than otherwise.>
I saw something a few weeks ago in the tank that looked like an egg - but honestly I didn't realize they would lay eggs in the absence of a male until I just read it!
<Oh yes.>
I take back my comment about the basking - she does seem to be doing it a little bit more, and sometimes at night, which is odd.
<Depends on the air temperature.>
I am going to prep a nesting area today and we'll see.
<Good idea.>
Will take your advice about the Canadian pondweed. Is this available normally at pet stores in the aquarium section?
<Yes, or the pond section. It's the el-cheapo goldfish weed. Actually, it's more often Lagarosiphon major, what is commonly called Elodea densa, rather than Egeria canadensis. But they all taste the same.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Turtle only eating Chicken!   7/24/10
Good point about air temp. I'm in Virginia. Its almost 100 here, and her tank is getting up there, but not quite in the unsafe zone. Should I be bringing her inside during these hot months, or is she ok to bask as she is?
Thanks for your time!
<Carolyn, the water shouldn't be much above 25C/77F; the idea is that the turtle warms up under the sun lamp and cools down in the water. That's how these animals thermoregulate. If the water is much hotter than this, make
sure there's enough shade, and if there isn't, use something like a pergola to make a shady portion the turtle can use for cover. If you're in the same part of the world that these turtles come from, the real risk isn't very great, but you should always bear in mind the mortality rate tolerable for a population of wild turtles is much higher than we accept for pets. So just because the species survives in your area it doesn't mean all turtles have a 100% chance of surviving the vagaries of your local climate every year. Some of them surely die each year from heat or cold. In other words, try and buffer against the extremes of your local climate so that there's minimal stress on the turtle. Cheers, Neale.>

My Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles   7/24/10
Hi <Hiya - Darrel here>
We have had our turtles (Terri and Torres) since March last year, we got them for our daughter for her birthday. As I have never known anything about them we went to a Pet shop to enquire about them before we would take one on. The man in the shop told us it is pretty straight forward and with a tank, a few stones and a heat lamp we were good to go. So she ended up picking two!!
<So far, so good. You need a bit more, but I'll cover that later>
We took them home and set up the tank like the man in the shop said, stones along the bottom and a basking area under the heat lamp. He sold us frozen fish and said to feed them that once a day.
<No. and No.>
To start with they seemed shy and didn't eat but we thought they just needed to settle in but after nearly two weeks of them still eating very little I got worried so had a nosy online to look for tips on how to help them settle......to my horror I realized we needed to be doing a lot more for them (the pet shop had a tiny tank with about 30 small turtles in with no uvb or filter!!!!!) so after an evening of research we headed off the next day to get what we needed. By that evening they had a filter set up in the water and uvb lighting beside their heat bulb, we also added a few fake plants for them to hide around as I had read they like this. We stopped feeding them just the fish and started giving them dried food and fruit too. They did start to eat more and seemed to be happy and were getting more and more used to us and their new home. So at this point we were all happy that everything was as it should be!!
<I'm liking this better now. Good work on reading and adapting!>
Until about 6 months ago I noticed on FB a friend posted pics of her turtle Yoda which is around the same age as our two (she got hers a few months after us) and it was sooooo much bigger. By this stage ours had barely grown from when we got them (ours were about 1 and 1/2 inch long and hers was about 2 and 1/2 inch long) and until I saw that pic I did not realize they should have been growing more. I spoke to her and she said she has no lighting or filter and just feeds it dried food twice a day!?!?!?!?! At this point I thought I should visit a vet for advice but the vets in my area just have no clue and could not advise me so I did some more online research. I ended up even more confused with so much conflicting advise out there. We came to the conclusion that they needed to be eating more/better!! For about a month we tried a few different things recommended by people/websites and nothing we offered them seemed to tempt them to eat any more so we tried a few things to change their tank to see if that helped their 'mood' to see if that would encourage them to eat more. We tried cuttlefish in the tank for them to nibble(they never went near it), live plants (they never ate them and they just got in the way of them swimming about), I can't think of anything else off the top of my head that we tried but basically we tried anything we read might help!!! In the end we read about ReptoMin and we changed them to getting only that, I give them it every evening and they get the odd piece of fruit or fish about once a fortnight for a treat. They started to grow and each week we could see them getting that wee bit bigger so again we were happy that we had finally everything sorted for them.
<Good work>
BUT recently I again saw a pic of Yoda and it is bigger than your hand and Terri and Torres are only about 2 and 1/2 inch long now!!!! So this has me worried again!!!
<Stop worrying!! That right there will help everyone involved>
I would like to ask you what I can do or what I am doing wrong. Why have my turtles not grown this much and why is hers thriving when she has no lighting etc for it?
<You're not really doing anything "wrong" at this point. Terri and Tores are possibly a bit behind the curve, but they can live over 50 years '¦ they is plenty of time for them to grow. You signs are
(1) are they active
(2) Do they alternate between swimming and basking
(3) Are they eating
(4) Are their eyes, nose and skin clear
If you answered yes to all these, Sit back, relax and enjoy them>
Here is a rundown on how we keep/care for them:
-They live in a plastic 'tank' (it is actually an indoor rabbit bed/hutch with a solid bottom/sides and a cage like top with a door to let you reach in, it is hard to explain but it works well), it is about 3 feet long and 1 and 1/2 feet wide and the water is about 7 inch deep. We do not have a water heater as when we tried one they stopped swimming and I think because we keep our house warm the water stays at a nice temp for them anyway.
<Turtles don't need nor should they ever have a water heater unless you live north of the Arctic Circle. They get cool water and a warm basing area and then they get to choose what they need at the moment>
They have a terracotta plant plate turned upside down for their basking area, which is held up by a plant pot turned upside down again maybe not the norm but it is nice and steady and it works well and because the plate is a few inch wider than the pot holding it up there is an area below they can 'hide' in when they want to.
<Visual privacy is a plus '¦ just make ABSOLUTELY sure there's no place they could get into and get stuck!>
There is a uv bulb and a heat bulb that we have on a timer to be on 12 hours a day. They have a few smooth pebbles built up as steps to the basking area and we also gave them a few pebbles in a corner of the tank which are just below the water level as they seem to like to be half in and half out of the water sometimes.
<Very nice touch>
There is also a fake rock with fake plants on that they like to climb/cling to. There are no places they can get stuck the basking area is in the middle of the tank and has plenty of room all round for them to get on and off etc. All pebbles are smooth and sturdy so won't move or hurt them.
<So far, so good>
- there is a filter and we top up the water level about once a week (tap water) and change the water and clean the tank out about once every 3 weeks, we used to do this less but it needs it more now as it gets dirty quicker now they are eating a bit more.
<Also good>
-they get fed in the tank as although it causes more mess than a separate feeding area they seem to prefer this and although they eat most of the pellets straight away the odd one left over they will nibble on later...I assume they are getting enough as if they weren't full they would not be leaving some ( there are always one or two pellets left when I go to feed them the next evening)
<Constantly taking them out of their tank to be fed separately is something I've always thought of as stressful, so I don't do it either. I feed mine all the Koi pellets they can eat in 5 minutes around 3 times a week or every 3rd day.>
- we lift them out about once a week to 'pet' them, they like to get their chins rubbed and always put their head up waiting for us to do it
<Yes they do>
-they swim about often and bask with their feet curled up, their eyes are clean and there shells are hard, we sometimes clean their shell with a cotton bud if they get a little green
-they do like to hide away sometimes under the basking plate but we just leave them in peace assuming they just want peace and quiet. They come to the side of the tank when they hear us and put their head out of the water as if to say hi :) They seem to like activity and noise around them as once we moved them to a quiet room thinking they might prefer quiet and they stopped swimming etc, when we moved them back to the hallway where there is always noise etc they went back to normal!!!
<I agree they seem to like interaction with their environment>
I think this is everything, one of them is definitely more shy and hides away more and if their routine changes any (like we go on holiday and someone else is caring for them or we are out a lot for a few days) it seems to be affected more i.e. it will not be so active for a few days and will hide away more!! They both seem to get 'down' with any change but once things go back to normal within a few days they are back to normal too. This sounds silly but they seem to miss us and then not feel like swimming etc!!! Like I say one is more shy and takes longer to get over change than the other but I think this is just it's personality. I think they are both happy and healthy but why aren't they growing more?? Could it be something to do with bad care when they were in the pet shop? I read without uv they can go blind and their shell soften so I have always worried that with them being in the pet shop without uv it could have done some damage, but their shell is hard and they can def see. I do not know how many weeks old they were when we got them as we never thought to ask at the time so I am not exactly sure of their age but we have had them 1 year and 4 months.
<Doesn't really matter, does it?>
Sorry for the epic e mail and thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
<No problem - happy to read a HAPPY story, Emma - we don't get as many of those as you think>
<I think you're being a great Turtle Mom. I understand you're a bit confused by it all -- that's a cycle we all go through. When my son and I were starting out in the Marine Tropical Fish hobby, we sought out so much advice that our heads were spinning like Linda Blair in The Exorcist '¦ and this is the really weird part '¦ our success with the hobby started about the time we STOPPED taking advice from everyone and their brother!! There are often a dozen ways to accomplish any task, but that doesn't mean that attempting all 12 ways will accomplish the task. So we decided on "our" regimen for Quarantine and "our" regimen for feeding and "our" regimen for water changes, etc. and almost as if by magic, the problems started to subside. This isn't to say that we just made stuff up '¦ but we decided that Sara knows best how to start out on a budget, Steven Pro knows more about Ick and quarantine than we ever need to know '¦ Bob Fenner knows more about systems and filtration (and just about everything else, too) than we could ever learn '¦ so we follow their advice and life gets real simple!>
<For turtles, I wrote the following care sheet
It covers just the basics from a starting out point of view, covers everything you need to know and in every case it offers what is known in the industry as the "right" or "correct" way to do things.>
<Read it, measure your standards of care against what is written, adjust anything that is sub-standard (but my guess is you won't find anything sub-standard in your care!!) and then '¦.

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:-)

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

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

questions re-my yellow bellied slider. Fdg., sys.  5/6/10
I came about upon your page and found the information quite helpful but I still have a few questions:
<Fire away.>
First, about my yellow bellied: - Jude (not sure if male or female) is still a baby,
<Males have longer claws and longer tails, relative to body size.
Furthermore, the vent, or "cloaca", will be about one-third the distance along the tail from the base in the case of females, whereas on males the vent will be about two-thirds of the way from the base of the tail.>
got her about 2 weeks ago so my guess is that she is about 6 or 8 weeks old. - She is 1-3/4" shell length - For what I can tell; healthy and happy, for now she is in a small tank (about 6 gallons) with basking area, a plant friend she hangs around often, a mother of all filters and UV light.
<Good. Do read though to make sure you've covered all the bases:
Questions: - First of all re-feeding, we have been giving her the Repto-min floating baby food (smaller than the adult version) we started the first week with about 5 pellets, but she seems hungrier each day, today I gave her 9 in the morning and she gobbled them in less than 5 minutes.
<Do augment this with much plant material, or else something for herbivorous fish; Koi pellets appear to work well. The fibre will make the turtle feel more "full". Pellets alone tend to be nutritional in terms of
vitamins and minerals, but lacking fibre, and do seem related to constipation and other problems. Feeding these turtles isn't really difficult, and needn't be expensive either, since much greenery in your salad bowl is good for them. Cheap aquarium plants such as Elodea are also good.
Fed this way, leave pellets for use a couple times a week.>
In the late afternoon we give her a second feeding but much smaller, perhaps 3 pellets. Is this too much food?
<See above, and linked article/s.>
she seems hungry, the first week she would shy away from our fingers but now she stares at them and even yesterday bit our fingers a couple of times. - Second, I read in your page to not give yellow bellied sliders chicken,
<Correct. Never, ever give a pet reptile meat from "warm blooded" animals unless you know such food forms part of its natural diet. Pythons for example can, do eat mice, and have evolved the enzymes to deal with the fats in warm blooded animals. Your terrapin naturally eats mostly plant
material and small invertebrates, and cannot digest fats from warm blooded animals. End result is the fats that are oils when warm inside a chicken or whatever become congealed in the colder bodies of your pet terrapin. Obviously, that's bad.>
I have a couple of days given her instead of pellets in the afternoon, 2 or 3 tiny pieces of kielbasa sausage about the same size of the pellets, is this not good for her either?
<Very, very bad. I'm sure he/she will eat all sorts of stuff, but mammal/bird meat is bad to begin with, and the spices, additives and who-knows-what they add to processed foods will make things even worse.
Want to give your turtle a treat? Add a clump of Elodea/Canadian Pond Weed.
Don't feed him for a few days, and let him graze away healthily at that.
Alternatively, small morsels of seafood or white fish fillet would be good, since these don't contain the sorts of fats that would set solid inside a reptile. Humans eat all sorts of garbage, which is why we in Europe and the US tend to be fat and suffering from diabetes and all kinds of other problems caused by bad diet. Pet animals can't make sensible choices, they eat what's in front of them, so you have to be much more disciplined about feeding them than you might be with yourself.>
I did it more as a treat than as actual food, in the morning I give her nothing but the pellets and she has not refused to receive those. - At the pet shop they sold us a calcium stone that is meant to dissolve slowly into the water, but reading your site I found that it is not good to add those, does that apply to yellow bellied sliders as well?
<Correct; calcium isn't taken up through the water, and needs to be part of the turtle's diet. Something called metabolic bone disease (MBD) is very common when these reptiles don't get enough calcium in their diet. If you give them a balanced diet, including a good quality calcium-enriched turtle pellets such as ReptoMin, this shouldn't be a problem. By all means break off a bite size piece of calcium-rich cuttlebone and let it float about the tank: the turtles will crunch on this if they feel the need.>
or was that specific to that other turtle? should I remove the calcium stone?
<It is pointless, doing no harm or good, so do what you want.>
- Is my tank the appropriate size? it is about 16" long x 8" deep x 10" high, my guess is about 6 gallons or so, she is small and has swimming room but when should I get a new tank? or do I have to do that immediately?
<Will need a bigger tank within a year, most likely; do read above linked articles.>
- Lastly, she was quite bitey yesterday, snapped 2 or 3 times at our fingers even stared and chased them as if they were preys, I thought maybe because I had added the kielbasa sausage to the diet? :( will their behavior change upon a diet change? what "meat" food other than the processed stuff is safe to feed her?
<All terrapins can become "snappy", but there is some variation between them. Regular, gentle handling can minimise this, but this needs to be done carefully so the turtle feels secure. If it's flailing its arms and legs about, it's not feeling secure! Handle for short periods initially. Reward the turtle afterwards with food. Understand that stressed turtles common defecate when handled, and all turtles -- indeed, all reptiles -- can carry Salmonella so appropriate washing/hygiene is essential.>
Thank you very much in advance LaVRA
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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!>

Turtle identification  8/18/09
I'm Lotoya
<I'm not! -- I'm Darrel>
I'm just trying to identify the type of turtle that I have. Based on the receipt I received from the pet shop, it states that its a red ear slider.
However, based on photos that I have found on the internet, it looks more like a yellow bellied slider, So I am just trying to confirm this with you guys.
<Based on the lack of a bright red patch on the side of the head, generally around where we'd expect ears to be (hence the name Red "Eared" Slider as opposed to Red "Necked" Slider), this is indeed a one of any number of subspecies of Trachemys Scripta scripta, or Yellow Bellied Slider.>
<Of course, if he sits around the house all day chewing tobacco, has a broke down pickup truck in his front lawn and a refrigerator on his front porch .... HE JUST MIGHT BE a REDNECK Yellow Bellied Slider!!!!!!>
PS I have attached two photographs.
<Larry is handsome>
Thanks in advance for your help.
<Here's some more help: a Complete Guide to caring for Larry:

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.

Question About Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles. Fdg. +   7/14/2009
Hello.! I'm Nadine.
<Hiya right back! Darrel here>
I have 2 Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles which I bought at xmas 2007 when they were babies. I have several questions and I hope you can help because no one else seems to know.
<I hope I can answer them too!>
First things first - Feeding - At the moment I'm feeding them once in the morning and once in the evening, I know as they get older your only supposed to feed them once every 2 days but how do you know when you start doing that?
<You can start doing that right now. After a year they will do just fine feeding once a day during the summer and once every three days during the winter>
Also I am feeding them chicken and prawns at the moment because they are refusing to eat they're pellets or anything else. I heard your supposed to feed them fruit and veg as well?
<Not 'as well'. Try "Instead of." None of the Emydid turtles (Sliders, cooters, map turtles and even - irony here - the Chicken turtles) eat chicken OR prawns. Neither are part of their natural diet and neither are
good for them. So STOP! Right now.>
But they wont... how can I get them to eat different things?
I've tried cooking veg with the chicken but its not worked.
<here's what do: First. Stop feeding them for a week. Seven days. NO food. Then, each day, put them in a shallow bowl of luke warm water with just two or three Repto-min food sticks or 6 or 7 standard Koi Pellets. If they ignore the food or don't eat after 15 minutes, take them out and put them back in their regular tank. Each day, new fresh water in the shallow bowl with a very few pieces of food. Eventually .. somewhere between 3 days and two months .. they'll eat.>
<Are you listening?>
<Pay attention to this:>
<DO NOT GIVE IN. Don't feel sorry for them, don't feel like they're starving, don't feel like 'just a tiny bit' of chicken won't hurt ..... DO NOT GIVE IN OR GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!>
<The one who hold out the longest is the one in charge of this relationship -- and that's supposed to be YOU, OK?>
Also I always believed they were male and female due the fact 'she' is larger and longer claws, they also shake each others claws in each others faces (which I've heard is the mating ritual) and many times I've seen them mating with his penis out. Tonight though I looked over and he was chasing and biting what looked like 'her' penis?!! I know it was definitely her because they both do look different. I am so confused?!
<Well if one of the females has a penis .. you're not the ONLY one confused .. think how confused SHE is!!!>
<The males have long claws and the females do not. Males also have much thicker tails at the base where it connects to the shell, while the females' tails are much more slender. Sliders reach sexual maturity with
size, not age but males become mature, generally, around 4 years and females at 6 years (assuming normal growth)>
Last thing is how do you know they are happy?
<Turtles have much simpler lives than people do, Nadine. They show their happiness by being healthy and active. By thriving. If they're active and eating, basking and swimming, growing and maturing, if their environment is clean and big enough, if their shells are hard and their eyes are clear ... then it's a sure bet that they're happy!>
Sorry for the long winded email just wanted to make sure im doing everything right.
<Long winded??? Not even close!! It was a nice letter and I hope I helped!>
Thanks x

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!>

Please help us! 5/16/09
<Hiya, Darrel here>
We have two small turtles. They are about the size of a half dollar and have yellow belly's with beautiful markings.
<Regardless of the species, they sound like water turtles of the family Emydidae (most of the hard shelled water turtles) of which the most common is the Red Eared Slider. Do a web search on "red eared slider" and "yellow belly turtle" and see what images pop up.>
One of them keeps throwing him/her self on it's back. Then when I turn it over the right way he/she sticks it's head out of the water and opens it's mouth really wide. Then it climbs back on the side of the rocks..and pushes it's self back onto it's back and looks like it's dead but it's not... The second turtle seems to be scared or something as it swims around back and forth in the tank...I have no clue of what's going on. Could you please help me?
<It sounds like they don't have quite the right environment, Teresa. I'm getting the idea that he's in water shallow enough that he can press his head against the bottom and flip over while in the water. If that's the
case, that's too shallow. At the same time I'm going to guess that they don't have a basking areas that is dry enough and warm enough. I'm enclosing a link on the basic care of this kind of turtle and it's important to know that they don't need very much, but they do NEED what they need. Please give it a solid read and compare your keeping to the instructions in the guide -- then do what you need to do to correct things.>
<Meanwhile, There is a possibility that I'm just not understanding you very well. It's been said that I have a mind like a steel trap ...>
[Editor's note: He does actually have a mind like a Steel Trap: everything that goes in, comes out mangled]
<.... but sometimes my mind picture isn't what you really meant, so please don't hesitate to write back with more explanation. In the mean time, fix things up for them and let's see what happens next.>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >

Baby Turtle Identification -- 01/22/09 Hello Crew, <Hiya Brittany, Darrel here tonight> I live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and I found a baby turtle inside the automotive shop where I work. I took the cute little thing home with me and it has done incredibly well thus far. I want to be sure I'm giving it the proper care though, and I haven't been able to figure out exactly what type of turtle it is. <That's a nice picture, Brittany. If you'll select Google Images and put in "Pseudemys" in the search bar, you'll come up with many pictures of the family -- of which the Red Eared Slider (P. scripta elegans) is only one group. Many of the Cooters and Plain turtles are native to South Carolina as well.> I'd also like to know if it is male or female. <There are no visual difference at that size, Brittany, Turtles attain sexual maturity with SIZE, not age, so until Fabian gets larger none of the sexual differences will be visible. The GOOD news is that they don't seem to care, either. I have a female Florida Cooter named Albert and she seems to be just fine with that name.> I've had it in a tank with water and a place where it can climb up and a light, etc. Generally, he stays at the bottom unless he is eating and he likes to dig in his rocks and when I take him out of his tank to clean it he generally winds up burrowing himself in the folds of a towel. From what I can find on the Internet, he looks a lot like a red eared slider by his shell, but does not have red ears at all, so I'm confused. If you could help me determine what type of turtle I have and offer some tips on the best care and feeding it would be greatly appreciated. I've grown rather attached to the little guy. Welcome to my world, Brittany! They're fun and personable animals that, trust me, will grow on you and become a part of your family. Here are some pics of my family:> < http://www.xupstart.com/wwm> I've attached the only photo I have of him at the moment, please let me know if you need more/better photos. <Do the research Brittany, and after you make a more specific identification, write back with a pic of the two of you!> <As for care, it's Identical to the Red Eared Slider and here is THE BEST care sheet you'll ever need> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm> Thanks! Brittany <You're welcome!>

Yellow Bellied slider not eating   11/28/08 Dear Wet Web Media, We are writing to you to ask for some advice. We have previously written to you and you were fantastic in your response. We have now had our yellow bellied slider turtles for almost a year. One has grown significantly larger than the other but from what I can gather this could be due to gender difference which we can not yet judge. However this is not the concern. The smaller of the two turtles (approx 8cm long shell) has in the last 5 days or so completely stopped eating. We feed them daily on a dried pellet and shrimp turtle mix once a day. In order to feed them we remove them to a feeding tank (their living tank is 11 gallon tank (14 US gallons) with 15w UVB lamp, basking dock and filter, the water is kept at room temperature with no heater). When the feeding tank is presented to them both of the turtles become excited and swim frantically at the glass of the tank in anticipation of feeding. The smaller one has stopped this behaviour and instead is hiding himself away in the far corner of the tank and digging into the gravel and hardly ever coming out of the water to the dock to bask. To summarise, he's not eating, digging and has reduced his movement. We have considered that these may be traits of hibernation but are finding it hard to find information on this. It is winter here and our house; therefore their tank is colder. We are planning on buying a water heater in order to maintain a constant temperature for them. However, we are seriously concerned by his lack of eating. Please can you advise what may be inducing this behaviour and what we can do to help him -- if he needs it. Awaiting your response, many thanks Emma <Emma, when reptiles go "off" their good, there's usually one of four things going on. Firstly, and most commonly, they're too cold. Reptiles need warm conditions, and in the U.K for example, while summers are warm enough for freshwater turtles, the winters are not. While Sliders do come from a warm temperate to subtropical environment, they should not be exposed to prolonged cold spells. Minimum water temperature should be about 18 degrees C. Yes, feral Sliders have become established in the UK, implying a certain degree of tolerance of cold, but what reptile keepers should understand is that for every turtle that survives the winter, another one (at least) doesn't. That's a level of mortality we just can't accept with a pet. So it's time to warm up the tank, I suspect. Use an external heater, otherwise these clumsy reptiles will destroy it! I like the heaters that you install into a break cut into the outgoing pipe from the external canister filter. Sliders do not hibernate as such; in the wild they may become torpid for short periods but that is quite a different thing to hibernation. In any case, "resting" freshwater turtles through the winter is widely recommended against by vets and experienced reptile keepers. Most folks who try to hibernate their Sliders end up with dead Sliders. One common problem is the rotting of undigested food in the gut, leading to bacterial infections. (It's the same reason you don't feed pond fish during the weeks prior to the first frost.) The other reasons reptiles go off their food are boredom (being offered the same foods over and over); disease (loss of appetite is a key symptom); and stress (bullied or egg-bound females are likely to stop eating). Hope this helps, Neale.>

Yellow Bellied Slider, sys, fdg.   10/6/08
Hi Crew,
<Hiya Cherie, Darrel here this afternoon>
I have a young (5 months) yellow bellied slider that I house indoors, in a 15 gal. tank. Recently he has been acting very restless. He has always been an active little guy, he loves to climb anything as high as he can, and because of this I made him a long ladder/hill with a basking site on top, so that he can see out the window that his tank sits next too. I have been searching online for possible reasons for his sudden restless behavior (scratching at the tank, pacing back and forth), and have found that if turtles are not getting enough UV light, they sometimes try to go looking for it. I don't have a lot of money, (although I am willing to spend whatever I can to make sure my turtle is healthy), and when I was buying supplies for him I was told by the pet store owner that a plant light from home depot would provide the right amount of UV light, and is a lot cheaper than the expensive lights sold at places like Petco. So, I bought the plant light, and have been using it for 3 months, do turtles require more intense UV light as they are growing?
<Not higher intensity as they grow. Remember UV A & B comes naturally from the sun and (hopefully) the sun doesn't get more intense as they grow. What's important is that they need the right kind of UV and most Plant-Gro bulbs don't have the right spectrum. While I appreciate the Pet Store guy's logic .. and yes I'm going to say this -- It's better than NO UV light, it's not optimum for him and I urge you to save up if you have to and buy a more specific light for him. Normally I don't endorse products by brand in this column because there are many good products out there, Google is your friend, and I want people to do their research and learn. That said I'll tell you that back when I started, I used Vita-Lite by Duro Test because they were the only UV Bulb supplier that actually published their scientific research rather than just "trust me it's a reptile bulb." I did a quick search online and found an 18" Vita-lite fluorescent for around $15 that fit's in a $9 fixture from Home Depot or Lowes.>
I have been feeding him Gammarus (aquatic shrimp), along with water plants, and lettuce, and he has been eating more, but I assume that is because he is growing. I try feeding him when he is restless, but it only calms him down about 1/2 the time. I also tried giving him toys, but he doesn't show much interest in them. Is he sick, bored, or other? Does a plant light really supply enough UVB light?
<If he's eating and active ... swims and basks, we'll assume he's not sick. Please read the attached link and check your care against the article.>
<The next thing is diet. The pet store will have Repto-Min sticks. They're good but a bit expensive. HOWEVER ... on the same shelf at the bottom will be commercial Koi pellets that contain the exact same food for mush less money. Plants are good, lettuce & shrimp ... no. Actually ... NO! Switch him to the Koi pellets as the staple and a weekly or every other week treat of an night crawler earthworm (also available at the pet store.)>
Thanks so much for your help!
<Make these changes over the next month and then please write back, OK?>

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