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FAQs About Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles 1

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

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

Home for 2 turtles -- 06/29/08 We purchased 2 yellow-bellied turtles last summer in Hilton Head. Female is now about 5" and male 7". It's more work than I thought and would like to find a home for them. TY, sw <Greetings. Wet Web Media can't provide personal services of this type. For one thing, I have no idea at all where Hilton Head is! Certainly isn't anywhere near me here in Hertfordshire, England. You essentially have two options. The first is to contact an animal rescue in your locality. Do bear in mind that they are literally inundated with pet turtles "donated" by people who bought them before doing any research. So you might not get much help from them; at least, not without making a more useful donation alongside the turtles in the form of money they can use to help the animals in their care. The second option you have is to contact local pet stores. There is a market (albeit a small one) for large rather than small pet turtles. Telephone around. The one option YOU DO NOT have is to let them loose in the backyard or a stream near your house. While this is almost certainly breaking some sort of law, it is also cruel on your animals that now have no idea of how to feed themselves, defend themselves from predators, or find shelter from the elements. Hope this helps, Neale.>

What Kind of Turtle Is This? -- 5/3/08 I found this terrapin (or turtle) in my garage. He was literally hitting the door. When I first looked out I didn't see anyone but the next time I went out the front door and into the garage and this is what I found. Please identify. What does he eat. I plan to let him go. He's got inch long finger nails and the back feet are kinda webbed. Mary in Arkansas <Hello Mary. It's difficult to ID this beast without seeing the head more clearly, but I'm fairly sure that it is either the Yellow Bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) or the Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans). As their names suggest, the difference between them is that one has red flashes on the sides of the head, and the other doesn't. Basic care is identical. Nice pets, but if you're not up to homing the terrapin in question, then get in touch with your local Fish & Wildlife department or Humane Society for information. Red eared Sliders are at least native to your state, in which case the Fish & Wildlife department may be able to tell you where to safely release the animal back into the wild (if that's the species in question). The Arkansas Herpetological Society may also be able to help. http://www.snakesofarkansas.com/Main/Turtle Cheers, Neale.> Re: What Kind of Turtle Is This? -- 5/3/08 Thanks Neale, I just wanted to be sure this wasn't an endangered species. I live out in the country and will probably just let it go in my woods. There is a creek about 200 yards away. Maybe I can get a better picture of the head. I'm anxious to let him go. It's probably ready to catch some bugs, or whatever it eats. Mary in AR <Hi Mary. Please confirm with your Fish & Wildlife department before releasing the animal. While it may be a wild animal, it could equally easily be an escaped pet from a nearby home. Pet animals can carry diseases that seriously harm wildlife, and they can also cause problems by disrupting natural ecosystems. Pet animals may be less adept at finding food and escaping from predators, so that's another issue. Putting the turtle in a box with a shallow bowl of water for drinking is really all it needs for a few days. Starvation isn't an issue, so don't worry about that. (It eats mostly plants, as it happens, rather than bugs.) While I'm fairly sure your beastie is merely a wild animal that took a wrong turn on its travels, you can't be too careful, so check before letting it go. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: What Kind of Turtle Is This? -- 5/3/08 Thanks Neale, I have sent pictures to the address you sent - http://www.snakesofarkansas.com/Main/Turtle Waiting for a reply. Mary in AR <Cool. Good luck, Neale.>

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

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

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

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

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

Hey... turtle... fdg...    12/31/07 Hi, I got a Yellow Belly turtle yesterday. I got him and I set up his tank and put him in the tank at about 1:25 - 1:30. At maybe 4:45 - 5:00 o clock in the afternoon I feed him some of the food I got him at the store. On the turtle food container it says it is called floating turtle Gammarus pellets. <Hmm... inadequate diet. These turtles are basically similar to Red-ears, so have a read of this article and expand its diet: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm Dried foods cause problems in the long term, and these turtles need to have substantial (50%+) amounts of greens.> But when I feed him at 4:45 - 5:00 o clock in the afternoon he took a nibble of the food. when I came back in my room the food was dissolved so at 7:30 at night I feed him he took a nibble of that food this morning I got up and that food was goon so I feed him agene. <Take care not to overfeed.> But I know that I did not feed him to much because when I first I feed him I only feed him one peace of food and then a night I gave him two peaces and this morning I feed him tow peaces agiene. But when I feed him this morning he did not eat at all well I don't know if he dose not like his food or what? <Indeed, likely bored with this food. Not good for him anyway, so don't use more than once or twice per week unless you want a sick, dead turtle. Do also remember turtles will only be hungry if they are healthy: this means they MUST HAVE good water quality, swimming space (30 gallon tank, at least), Ultraviolet-B light for basking, and warmth. Sadly, too many people buy turtles without giving any thought to their needs, and end up condemning their turtles to a slow, painful death. It's really very depressing, as these are fun animals when cared for properly.> hope you can help -Madison <Cheers, Neale.>

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

Yellow bellied scum does not HAVE to be fightin' words! Turtle... sys.  9/13/07 Hi, <Hi Lois! -- There's a joke there for those of us that are very old> My daughters each have a yellow bellied slider, about 2 years old. They seem to be doing fine. Last summer we got a baby pool and started putting them out there filled with well water (sulfa water). They seem to enjoy being together and more swimming room. Recently I noticed their shells have green on them. I scrubbed them with tooth brushes to get it off but it doesn't seem to get it all. Their tanks are kept clean and there are no green algae in them. How do I get the green off of their shells and will it hurt them? <It's algae. While the turtle shell looks smooth to you and I .. it has lots of micro pores that certain filament-algae can really sink their roots into. It's not harmful too them at all, Lois and the solution, beyond simply keeping the tank clean and the water cool -- is to increase their basking time. The more they can haul out & dry off in the warm UV rays ... the more that pesky stuff will just fade away. But if it stays, it's merely a nuisance.> Thank you <You're welcome -- Darrel> < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Yellow bellied turtle, UK... Sys.  -- 07/26/07 Hi <Hi right back! -- Darrel here> We have 2 yellow bellied turtles and they have started to get white patches on the top of their shell. The water temp is 27 degrees and the basking light temp when on is 30 degrees. <Well, it's a good thing that your email address tells us that you're across the pond (as we say) in Britain, otherwise you'd be having frozen turtles.> <Come to think of it, Across THE POND is a pretty good pun for a fish & water web site, huh?> <For us yanks, as they call us, who don't read Celsius, their water temp is 80.6 and their air/basking temp is 86 degrees> We also have 2 fluorescent strip lights which we keep on all the time, we feed them in a different tank to keep the water clean in the main tank, we have a floating basking area we have a Fluval 2 plus water filter in the tank, we feed them on dry shrimp and occasionally blood worms and live worms as a treat. Could you tell me why and how they are getting these white patches and what we can do to prevent this happening? <For one thing, you're certainly making a good effort! Feeding in a separate tank is a neat way, but very laborious one .. so congratulations on your efforts. The white patches sound like fungus and my guess would be that with the water being HOT (should be around 73f) and the air being COOL (should be around 92f) you've accidentally set up a perfect growing environment for shell fungus. Not to worry, easy to fix! Search this web site (see the search bar below on the main page and put in "Darrel" and "fungus") and you can see what I've written before. www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtlefdgfaqs.htm www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtshelrotfaq2.htm www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rescompfaqs.htm There are just three -- and there's more. In fact, I'm now a bit depressed that I talk about fungus as much as I apparently do.> Could you also tell me anything else we can do to keep them happy, and how long should we keep the basking light on for and how long can we keep the UVA and UVB fluorescent strip lights on for? <Sounds like you're doing very well. I'd have both lights on for around 12 hours a day, but turtles are VERY forgiving about that: If the light sources are shorter, they'll just bask more during the "on" hours. The only thing I'd do is increase the temperature difference between water and land.> They both feed ok and swim about without any probs. <Here's a link with all MY basics: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm Other than THAT .... I think you're doing GREAT!> thanks tink <Hmm, yesterday I was called Putzakitty .. and today Tink. Hmmmm>

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

Turtle won't eat -- 7/3/07 Dear Crew, <Good morning - Darrel here> I just got two yellow bellied slider hatchlings and they are about a month and about the size of a half dollar. The bigger of the two seems to eat every once in awhile although not as much as some of the sites say it should, it only eats a couple of blood worms and only eats maybe once a day. <Nothing wrong with that -- I don't even feed my hatchlings every day, usually every other day. I don't think blood worms is the best diet for them, however. Small Koi pellets or Repto-min (by Tetra) make very good basic diets> With the other smaller turtle, we have never seen it eat and we have had them for about 5 days. All the smaller one does is sit on the rock under the heat lamp for long periods of time and doesn't seem to have any energy. I am really concerned that it is sick and I don't know what else to do. <Maybe not SICK exactly ... smaller turtles from a group hatch often exhibit what I call "runt syndrome" where they simply don't thrive as well as the others. Mostly it just takes them time to get started, but once in a while they go downhill and simply don't make it. But let's not jump off that bridge just yet> Would it be a good idea to put it in a separate tank to eat, maybe a smaller tank? <Not really, not unless he's was REALLY sick. You say he's basking most of the time and that implies that he does swim on his own as well? Try a change in the diet first and see if he's just more interested in other foods. Also, I'm enclosing a link at the end of the response that has information and suggestions. Please read it and match the environment you've given them against the suggestions in the article. Heat/light/water quality are all issues you should look at carefully.> Another question I have is, there are snails at the bottom of the tank and there are some empty snail shells that the bigger turtle like to try and eat, do you think getting some dried snails would be a good idea for the bigger turtle or is that something they can't have? <They certainly CAN have them, although most dried foods you can get in pets stores are very low in any real nutrients. I raise my hatchlings to adulthood and parenthood almost exclusively on Koi pellets and occasional night crawlers (earthworms). Making yourself crazy trying to find just the right exotic foods doesn't seem like the best use of your time -- if you HAVE extra time, use it to check, double check and triple check their environment. They'll be glad you did> Thanks so much for your time, hope to hear from you soon! Stephanie <Yer most welcome!> <Try this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Our yellow-belly slider keeps eating his poo :-(  Feeding a Turtle   5/11/07 Hello, We have a yellow belly slider that's one year old who is eating his poo, right after he poos and after finding it in the gravel. We fee him once a day in the evening around 7pm of 35 pellets of  Raffy food, 30 of mixed content and 5 of mineral content. When we got him as a baby the guy in the shop said 5 pellets and as he grow we increased it. But now we're not sure if 35 is enough, then how much is, so that he wont have to eat his poo any more :-(  I read online fed for 5-10 min.s as much as he can consume is this right?  How would we know when he is satisfied? Thank you in advance Oliver < I would recommend feeding him until his appetite slows down. At first they always act starved and then as they fill up they slow down. Try adding vegetables like kale and spinach to the diet and switch pellet foods. The manufacturers have added flavor enhancers that pass through the turtle's guts undigested. So his fecal matter still is attractive to him as a food item.-Chuck.

Basking Light For Turtle  - 4/8/07 Hi, I have a 1 and a half inch long yellow bellied slider. We have a 60 watt basking spot lamp. I don't know if it's UVA or UVB. Anyway, how long do I keep it on?  How does he sleep if it's on all night?  Please get back to me ASAP. Thank-you,    Emily < You should have a lamp for heat. It should heat the basking site up to at least 85 F. The other lamp should provide both UVB and UVA. Check the writing on the lamp and look it up on the internet to see what you got. They should both be on during normal daylight hours, about 10-12 hours every day.-Chuck>

Baby Turtle not Eating  3/17/07 Hi, <Hi Emily, Pufferpunk here> I just got a baby yellow bellied slider turtle. I've had him for about 4 days now and he still won't eat anything. I've been feeding him ZOO MED'S AQUATIC HATCHLING TURTLE FOOD and a little ZOO MED'S TURTLE TREATS. What should I feed him to get him to eat? And how long does it usually take for a baby turtle to start eating? I was wondering if I could feed him raw meat, since he won't eat anything else. What do you think?   <Baby animals need to eat a lot of food.  Try small pieces of fish, worms, freeze-dried plankton.  Make sure his water is very clean & keep the temp around 78-80 degrees.  ~PP> Thanks,  Emily,  CT
Baby Turtle Won't Eat  - 03/20/07  
Hi, My turtle still won't eat, I've tried feeding hatchling aquatic turtle food, and some Jurassic-pet meal worms. It might be because his water is too cold. We've gone to every pet store and none of them had heaters that worked. Since the water is too cold, we put him in a big bowl filled with enough warm water that it covers his shell, but all he does is swim around. All the websites that I've been on said to try meal worms. I put them in the bowl and the turtle just lays there. How long can he go without eating? He's only a hatchling. Please HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!Emily,         CT <Your little turtle will eat when he is hungry. Offer the food when he is active and starts to move around. Don't offer any food for a couple of days. offer one mealworm or washed earthworm. If he starts to eat, then only offer enough food until his feeding slows down. He is getting full. Little turtles that eat too much food at one time can die. The food displaces internal organs and cuts down on the turtle's internal circulation. They have little room to expand in their shell. Check the temp. of the basking site. It should be at least 85 F.-Chuck>

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

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

Treats For Turtles    11/27/06 I have a juvenile yellow-bellied slider turtle and I would like to know what kinds of snacks I could feed him......would apples be okay?......carrots? I have been feeding him 1-2 flakes of goldfish food once a week for added protein because I mainly just feed him turtle pellets. I just want to create more of a selection for him. Any added advice would be greatly appreciated. :) <Small turtles are largely carnivorous. As they grow older they become more vegetarian. Offer leafy greens like spinach and kale. Young turtles like chopped up earthworms and insects too.-Chuck>

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

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

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

New Yellow Bellied Slider Turtle  - 08/12/06 Hi. I found a turtle in my front yard the other day and I have some questions. I read the FAQ's and found a lot of useful info, but I need to know if I put Reptisafe in along with the little turtle-shape blocks? Or just one at a time? < The Reptisafe is a water conditioner that removes chlorine and some harmful minerals. The Dr Turtle Sulpha Block adds sulfur to the water to inhibit bacteria and acidify the water.> <<Can be mixed. RMF>> Also, she swims and swims against the glass. Is this normal? Is she freaking out? She was in a pond at one time as there is algae on her shell. I only have a 10 gal tank for now. < Your new turtle is accustomed to being out in the open with lots of swimming room. Now he is confined to a little 10 gallon tank and needs time to slowly get use to his smaller tank.> Thanks for the help and I do enjoy your site. Are you guys veterinarians or just have a lot of experience?  Sara < I am a long time amateur aquarist/herpetologist with some experience and lots of good books to look things up.-Chuck>

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping Yellow Bellied Sliders  4/6/06 Hi Bob, < Chuck, this time.> Recently I bought 2 yellow belly sliders and at the moment they are approx. 1 1/4 in long, I have them in a 27 litre tank with a floating island and they seem to be happy enough. My only fear is that I am feeding them dry shrimp and I'm afraid to give them any fruits or small vegetables because am not too sure whether or not they are too young for this type of food. Also do I need to give them any additional nutritional pellets or vitamins? If you could tell me what age is ok to be feeding them different types of food I would greatly appreciate it. I'm not too sure of the sex yet because they are still quite young but just in case will I need to prepare for breeding or incubation? Thanking you Tommy < Young turtles are more meat eaters. When they get three or four inches then they start to eat more vegetable matter. Veggies can be offered at any time and won't hurt them. Try spinach and kale. Zoo Med makes a commercial aquatic turtle food that can be supplemented with insects and worms. Proper lighting with UVA and UVB, will provide the turtles with the means to produce their own vitamins. females get bigger than males and males have longer tails.-Chuck>

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

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

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

Useful turtle care info. A personal odyssey  11/21/05 Dear Bob,     I wanted to comment on the request you had on your website for help with the pond slider. <Thank you for this>     A few years ago, my husband spotted a newly hatched Peninsular slider crossing the road. It was only about the size of a silver dollar. It had likely come from a clutch of eggs deposited in the soft mud in a ditch months before when we had experienced torrential rains. The little thing would have had to travel at least 1/2 mile before finding any water so we took it home. I didn't intend to keep it but for just long enough to make sure it was healthy and eating.     I had a 5 gal. aquarium that I set up for it. I put some nice flat rocks in one end and water deep enough for him to swim about in. I used a small wattage light bulb in a clamp-on reflector over the rocks. I tested the amount of heat generated by the lamp with my hand on the rocks to make sure I didn't have it too hot. I wasn't sure what to feed him and at the time we didn't have a computer (the window to all information). But I figured that in the wild he would likely eat green plants, snails and small fish. So I chose the next best thing, tuna. I took canned tuna, rinsed it and drained it. I took him out of the tank and placed him in a small dishpan filled with water. I pinched off small pieces of tuna and hand fed him. He ate vigorously. He also ate bits of raw spinach, lettuce, green beans and grapes.     After a few days I figured he was doing well. But in the mean time I had found several books on turtle keeping and one of them said that once a wild turtle is handled it should never be released in the wild. He would be contaminated with bacteria that if he was released in the lake down the street, might compromise the health of other turtles in the lake. It sounds rational to me so my husband & I decided to keep "Cooter".     We continued with the same care, the only draw back to such a small tank was the fact that even though I fed him in a separate container (every other day).  I had to change the water in the tank every other day as well.     So I built a large tank, designed with a "Cooter" in mind. Wide and long and fairly deep. I also constructed a filtration system. Using a large plastic jar that I perforated around the bottom with rows of holes about halfway up the sides of the jar. I filled it with activated charcoal and filter material. I drilled a hole in the lid and took the end of a hose from a small water pump located at the other end of the tank and stuck thru the hole. I had to add more holes in the sides of the jar to make sure that the water filtered thru and out the holes as fast as it went it but once I had accomplished that it worked extremely well.  (Only once did Cooter in his active swimming dislodge the hose and shoot water out of the tank onto the floor!! LOL)  At one year old he was nearly 6" in length.  Here is a photo of him at about 1 year. <Outstanding. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner> 

Sexing Yellow Bellied Sliders 10/22/05 I got two yellow bellied sliders about a year ago. One is larger than the other and has longer nails. Which one is male or female? < Usually the female is larger with shorter nails and a shorter tail.> Also the smaller has seemed to be sleeping a lot is there an explanation for that? < Could be sick. The larger turtle is dominating the tank and the smaller one is not getting the nutrition and care it needs.> And last how can you tell if a yellow bellied slider is pregnant? < Females are large, fat and have an incredible appetite. Especially in the spring time when things warm up. Though this is not always certain, adult pairs will usually produce eggs.-Chuck>

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

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

Aquatic Turtle Housing 7.21.05 I have a baby yellow-bellied slider turtle. I was just hoping that you'd be able to tell me if my turtle's tank setup is adequate. Well, his shell is about 2 1/2 inches long. I've had him since late last July. He has a 10 gallon tank. I've been told that that size tank is good for a baby turtle. <Yes> When should I consider buying him a larger tank and how many gallons? <The sooner the better, a nice size for another  year or so would be a 20gallon long, they make them for turtles with a cutaway on the side to hang a filter on, not the biggest tank, but a good option for a while.> I bought a Whisper 10i filter.  Will I have to get a larger one when I get a larger tank? <Probably, as your turtle grows it will get messier.> I bought aquarium pebbles for the bottom of the tank and for the land area. I put a brick inside the tank and piled rocks up on it so it would be easier for him to climb up on and bask. <Good, make sure it is under the light bulb.> The size of the land area is 3 in. by 7 in. Is that a big enough area for him to bask? <So long as he can fit on it comfortably without falling off.> The rest of the tank is filled with water. He has no hiding places. When he gets frightened he tends to hide by the filter and face the other side of the tank. So I figure he doesn't need any hiding places such as plants, because I'm afraid they would take up too much of his swimming room. <I would not do live plants, maybe some fake ones.  You could also build a cave type of thing with bricks, rock, slate, etc.  I've found animals that have places to retreat when they are scared are much better off.> The basking bulb is 50watts and it's the ZooMed brand. <You might also look into getting some full spectrum lighting.> The air temp in the tank is 75 degrees and the water temp is 77 degrees. Should the temps be higher or lower or are they fine the way they are? <That is within the correct range, no need to adjust it.> I turn the lamp on about 10am and turn it off about 11pm. <That is a long day, I might cut the light cycle down by an hour or 2, but its up to you.> I change the filter cartridge and clean the tank once a month. <Good, this may need to be changed more often as the turtle gets larger.> Everyday the water depth seems to go down, so I add more water. <Evaporation.> I have well water, so I don't treat the water, because it doesn't have chlorine or any type of chemicals in it. I'm so sorry about all of the questions, but I just want my turtle to have a long and healthy life. I included a picture of a turtle that looks like mine. <Sounds good, I would eventually look into getting the turtle into a 55gallon tank, but for now a 20gallon long would be good.  BTW, you did not mention what he eats?  Turtle pellets are good, the occasional treat of earth worms is always good.  Best Regards, Gage  In case we left anything out here's a link to an aquatic turtle article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm>

Ammonia Problems in a Turtle Tank 7/16/05 I have a yellow belly slider. We have had it for about 1 1/2 years. About six weeks ago we cleaned the filters and the water all in one day. since then  we have had trouble with the water. It has too much ammonia. We are doing 10% water changes daily. We have 2 canister filters in a 90 gallon tank. I also have put some Zeolite granules in the filter that I have been changing weekly. The water is mucky and a dirty brown. The water did have a smell to it but that is gone. We tested the water and it just shows that it has to much ammonia. Today I notice the area around the turtles mouth was yellow and his shell looked a little yellow. Any suggestions? < When you cleaned everything you removed the good bacteria that breaks down the waste from ammonia to nitrites and then nitrates. The ammonia is the worst. It gives off the smell and odor. Bio-Spira from Marineland will put it all back together in no time at all. To prevent this in the future I would recommend a 50% weekly water change and change each one of the filters every month two weeks apart. So clean one filter on the first of the month and the other on the 15th. Try this and see how it works out.-Chuck>

Turtle Food 1/11/04 WWM Crew. <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Please can you tell me the best food for my turtles I have 1 painted (2 months) old and 2 yellow bellies (3 months). I live in the UK and food seems to be frozen bloodworms, frozen daphnia and frozen turtle food. I would like to give them a good diet. <I have an African Sideneck, Asian map & soft-shell turtle (in addition to 6 box turtles).  They eat cut-up pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, turtle & cichlid pellets, earthworms & crickets.  Make sure to use reptile vitamins w/calcium on their food, at least 1x/week.>   Thank you for your time.  Damon <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

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

Turtles and Plants Hello! I just wanted to ask you if you knew what kind of plants I could put in my turtles tank. <None, turtles enjoy eating or otherwise wrecking everything. I have two Yellow Bellied Sliders and have resorted to leaving their tank bare bottom.> I wanted to put bamboo in but my Mom said to ask someone who knew first. And I wanted to ask you something else, if I could put some of the fishes that keep clean the tanks the ones that are always sucking in everything. <It is better for the turtles if you just keep the tank clean with regular water changes versus trying to use fish. Turtles are known to eat fish, so anything you put in there may become lunch. I have my turtle tank located near the laundry room so I can drain the tank water using a Python water changer into the floor drain and so I can fill it right back up using the faucet on the laundry tub. It works extremely well and keeps the tank clean and smelling fresh.> Hope you answer me fast. <I hope this was fast enough.> California P.S. I know a lot about turtles but I don't know what plants I can put in their tank that are not toxic for them. They are only hatchlings, and they are red-eared sliders. I am 13 years old so I am not an expert that's why I am asking you. <We have archived a bunch of other turtle Q&A's. These may be of interest to you. They can be found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtlefaqs.htm> Thank you! <You are welcome, my young friend. -Steven Pro>

Aquatic Turtle Care I have 2 yellow bellied sliders.  I am contemplating putting them in an outdoor pond.  We live near the Virginia coast and I wonder How to set up this pond (supplies, plants, etc.).   Also, can they stay out there year around? <I do not keep my turtle outside because of the predators, but outdoors is definitely best for them if you can meet all of their requirements.  The link below is to an article on ponds for turtles, it should be a good place to start. http://www.tortoise.org/general/pondmak.html> What kind of plants do I have to have in order to make a outside pen for them? <most pond plants should be fine> And what kind of foods do they eat beside night crawlers and lettuces? And where do I find powder vitamins and calcium's to sprinkle on their foods? <Here is a good article on feeding aquatic turtles http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/aquaticdiet.htm If you have a local reptile shop you can get the vitamins from them, or from an etailer like our wonderful sponsor http://www.drsfostersmith.com/ Best Regards, Gage>   Thanks  Julia Rk

Turtle Feeding Hi, I just got a pair of hatchling yellow bellied sliders about a week and a half ago.  They are about 1 and 1/2 inch in length.  I am feeding them Zoo Med's Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food about once a day and they don't seem to be eating.  This is what the man I bought them from suggested I feed them.  On the first day I got them I fed them and they seemed to eat a little bit but now I don't ever see them eat the food.  I have tried removing them from their habitat and putting them in their own separate containers with the food for about an hour an still nothing.  Do you think it is just me or do I have a problem?  Please let me know.   Thanks! ~ Jenn <Hi Jenn, I would give them a chance to adjust to their new surroundings and offer a variety of foods, make sure their temperature is warm. Check out the link below, for similar issues, I am sure they will come around.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/sliderfaqs.htm >

Turtle Hunger Strike My public library children's area recently received a pair of yellow-bellied slider turtles.  They're about three years old.  The family that donated them kept them in a ten gallon tank with only about two inches of water and some gravel -- no light, no space to swim, nothing.  Their diet -- apparently the only thing that worked for them -- consisted of Tetrafauna ReptoMin pellet food.  According to the family, they ate well and always got excited about their food. We immediately filled the tank more than half full, set up a heat lamp, provided them with a dry perch, etc.    The turtles seem to love their new space and take periodic laps around the tank.  They did lots of exploring the first day, and now have picked their favorite spot on a partially submerged rock.  But after a week here, they still have not touched their food.  We're planning to introduce meat, earthworms, etc., into the their diet, and hope that will help.  But if it doesn't, what's up?  are they just traumatized by their recent move?  Again, they reportedly ate very well before.  Please advise.  Thanks! Catherine E. Threadgill Children's Services Charleston County Public Library 68 Calhoun Street Charleston, SC  29401 >>>Hello Catherine, It's likely that you're just witnessing the effects of acclimation. Give them a few more days, and I'm sure they'll begin eating. Try to avoid disturbing them during this time if possible, as the added anxiety will prolong the fast. Good luck Jim<<<

Turtle Habitat and Pool <Hi, Mike D here>    I was wondering if I could bring my yellow bellied slider in the pool which has chlorine in it.<If you're asking if you can take it into your swimming pool with you, occasionally, for short periods probably wouldn't do any harm, but long term exposure to higher amounts of chlorine will eventually do eye damage and possibly cause intestinal problems as well.> I was also wondering if it was ok to have the fish rocks that are at the bottom of the fish tank in the cage with the turtle and I have one last question will my turtle be ok without having another turtle in the cage with it- can it be alone??<Regular aquarium gravel would probably be alright, with sand being a better choice, and as to keeping it alone, that often the best way for the animal to stay the healthiest, as it can't fight with other turtles over food.> Thanks!! please reply soon!!!! and how am I going to get your reply can you email it back to me thanks so much !!! PS. How deep should the water be and what should I feed him?<The depth of the water isn't overly important as long as there is a good basking space where it can easily get out to sun itself. You'll also need to invest in a good broad spectrum reptile light, aimed at the basking area only> I found him in lake Travis-- is it ok to feed him store bought food<Yes and no...there are some commercial turtle foods that are satisfactory, with the old fashioned dried insect type completely useless. Adding occasional pieces of lean fish or chicken will help, and even better, try to dust it with a good reptile calcium supplement.> and how big does the tank need to be?<That depends upon the size of the turtle. A small juvenile can be housed in a 2-5 gal. tank, with an adult animal needing an enclosure large enough to allow plenty of movement.>  Is it ok for the tank to be bare with just gravel and water or does it need something else? If using a regular aquarium, it will need a float or piece of wood large enough to allow it to get completely out of the water, thus the basking light. Keep in mind as well that reptiles need to be kept warm, with a minimum of 72 degrees f and never allowed to exceed the high 80's.> please please reply soooonnnn!!!!!! thanks soo much <Michaela>

Turtle Questions Hi, My name is Ben I am 12 years old and I have some questions that I would please like you to help me with. I got two yellow bellied turtles for Christmas. They are now nearly 5 months old and already are showing signs of mating. The male is maneuvering in front of the female and flapping his front legs franticly. No biting occurred so maybe they were just playing. I don't know. Could you please help me? < Five months is pretty early for mating behavior in turtle. If they are really older and you have had them for only five months then it could be a mating behavior. Females are usually larger and have shorted tails. Males are usually smaller and have longer claws and a much longer tail.> Also I have a large enough tank to last them a while but when they grow I know you're supposed to move them out side into a pond (which I have the resources for) but I live in cold and wet Ireland and even in the summer it's not great so what should I do when the problem arises? < There a number of things you could do. For long term housing you could get a very big aquarium, large plastic tub or any other large clean vessel that would hold water. You then need to set up and area where they can get out of the water to bask themselves. This could be a log a pile of bricks or anything else. Over the basking spot you need to give them a light source that provides heat, UVA and UVB light for up to 12 hours a day. The water can be heated to 65 degrees F using a titanium submersible aquarium heater. You really should go with the metal heater so the turtles don't break like they would a glass one. A large siphon hose could be used to change the water in the tub. Look at pond filters to keep the water clean. Basically you are making an indoor pond. Natural sunlight through a window will help but I would still recommend these other things to be sure.-Chuck> Yours sincerely Ben P.S. I think your site

Turtle Feeding Hi, It's Ben again. I hope you got my last e-mail. I forgot to ask you one of the most important questions of all. As I have said I have two 5 month old yellow bellied turtles and I feed them about 100 1/4inch sticks between the two of them once every second night. Is this enough because I have my doubts. Yours sincerely Ben Thanks for your time < I would rather see you feed them 50 pellets every day instead. Little turtles always act hungry so their behavior is not that unusual. Mix in some fresh food every one in a while like crickets, mealworms and earthworms too.-Chuck>

Breeding Turtles Hi there.. Quite a few years ago I was young and decided I wanted 2 pet turtles, so my dad brought home 2 baby yellow belly sliders, and I'm guessing about a year ago [I was living with dad, the turtles were with mom] one of them laid eggs. We're not sure which one we still don't know if ones female, ones male, or they're both female or what], mom tried to incubate them following a book she had, but they died, it didn't work. Just tonight I noticed they were acting funny so I walk over and there's a single egg there, being messed with by one of the turtles, pretty much torn apart. Frankly, We don't know how to deal with this, and I have some questions. Their habitat is a large tank not sure how many gallons], full of water, with a big rock in the middle they can climb on to bask and regular fish-take rocks on the bottom. There's also a heat lamp over the tank. I believe I remember being told that sand would get in their shells and irritate them, is that true? <No.> Don't they lay eggs in sand/dirt? < Sand is needed for the turtles to deposit their eggs. If there is no sand then they have not place to deposit the eggs.> How exactly can you tell when a turtle is preparing to lay eggs? < Usually the female will excavate a pit in a sandy beach along the river or stream bank. once the eggs are laid the female buries them and takes off.> I've seen this on some sites but they're all different, and I wonder if there's any other way of predicting it? < Not really. If your turtles are in good shape then you can pretty much expect this sort of thing every spring.> Do they lay eggs once a year or.. is there any usual schedule or is it just random? What does it depend on? < Usually in the spring when the weather starts to warm up.> If we found eggs ..not torn apart and battered around =/] in our tank, what do we do? < If you have a pair of turtles with one being a male with longer front claws and a longer tail , then you could set up a sandy area for the female to deposit her eggs. If you have two females then the eggs are infertile and should be thrown away.> Take them out, and what exactly do we need to set up an 'incubator' for the eggs? What sort of dirt/container/whatever do you recommend? How will we know if they are fertile? What are your personal thoughts/opinions on this? Any tips? ANY Help on this would be very much appreciated! -Chelsea. < Turtle eggs can be moved in the first day and placed in a sandy type medium. They should remain moist so they don't dry out and maintained between 75 and 80 degrees. In 8 to 10 weeks the eggs should hatch. I would recommend you do a Google search for breeding turtles to get some specific facts on breeding your specific species of turtle.-Chuck>

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