If you’ve been following the post series on selecting a healthy reptile, you’ve reached the final list! With the holidays fast approaching, many parents will be looking at giving their kids pets as gifts and turtles are a very popular first pet. I hope this guide will help those out there as a guideline of what to look for when picking up a new reptile for the house.
So far, we’ve covered what to look for in the body of the reptile, in the head, eyes, ears, nose and mouth and the general appearance and movement of the reptile before purchasing. Lastly, we’ll look at things you should check related to the head, eyes, ears, nose and mouth of the reptile:
Welcome to Part III of a four-part post series on selecting a healthy reptile. With the holidays fast approaching, many parents will be looking at giving their kids pets as gifts and turtles are a very popular first pet. I hope this guide will help those out there as a guideline of what to look for when picking up a new reptile for the house.
So far, we’ve covered what to look for in the body of the reptile and in the head, eyes, ears, nose and mouth of the reptile before purchasing. This week we’ll start by looking at things you should check related to the head, eyes, ears, nose and mouth of the reptile:
Last week, we started a post series on selecting a healthy reptile. With the holidays fast approaching, many parents will be looking at giving their kids pets as gifts and turtles are a very popular first pet. I hope this guide will help those out there as a guideline of what to look for when picking up a new reptile for the house.
If you haven’t read the first part of the series, you can catch the list of what to look for in a reptile’s body before purchasing. This week we’ll start by looking at things you should check related to the head, eyes, ears, nose and mouth of the reptile:
Next week, we’ll look at general appearance, movement and other things related to selecting a healthy turtle or tortoise…
Normally on Mondays, I run the turtle or tortoise video posts. I thought we’d take a break for the month of November and bring back the Advice Column posts from way back when. With the holidays fast approaching, many parents will be looking at giving their kids pets as gifts. I hope this guide will help those out there as a guideline of what to look for when picking up a new reptile for the house.
If you’ve ever walked into a pet shop to purchase a turtle for educational purposes, they probably looked all the same. It’s hard picking a healthy pet when you don’t know what to look for. To make your job easier in picking a healthy, happy turtle, you should really take the time to inspect the turtle you want to take home.
Since the list of what you should look for can be fairly long, I’ve made this a four-part post. This week we’ll start by looking at things you should check related to the body of the reptile:
* Is a Turtle the Right pet for you?
* Common Turtle Profiles
* Getting Started with your Turtle
* Ongoing Care for your Turtle
* Breeding Turtles (something I have no idea about on this website)
* Looking After your Turtles Health
* Turtle Behaviour and Activity
* Training a Turtle
* Best Buys
* Turtle Quiz
* Useful Turtle Links
You learn lots of information about caring for turtles and tortoises and all it takes is 30 minutes of your time. Go get more information on the Turtle Guide Book!
One of our readers asked us last week:
“I have a baby red ear she is only about a year old and she had a really soft brittle shell for a awhile . I have since been treating her like the vets have said and it is getting better , but now her shell is growning very dark green moldy fuzz all over . Should i be worried? And what could I do different?”
If you asked us before, we would have said to cleaning the turtle’s shell with a soft toothbrush, but this video from Expert Village says you don’t even have to. Go figure.
Want your photos or videos to be included on the blog? Join our Flickr group, Turtletopia, for a chance to get added and to see more turtle and tortoise related photos & videos!
Question from Colleen:
My mother has a red eared slider who is about 8 months â€“ 1 yr old. She recently has become ill which makes it difficult for her to care for her turtle. My sister has a beautiful pond in her backyard. We live in Utica NY. Can Red Eared Sliders stay outside in our climate?
Red eared sliders can be kept outside. However, for the winter months that needs to be reconsidered carefully.
I’m not familiar with the seasonal climate of Utica, NY, but I suspect that a backyard pond would fully freeze, from top to bottom, during the winter months. Since red eared sliders that do hibernate (because it is actually not a requirement for a captive red eared slider to hibernate, nor is it recommended) would need a pond that has a thick, leafy and muddy bottom and is several feet deep in order to do so. I don’t believe your sisters pond would provide this, making it an uninhabitable place for the red eared slider. In general, you’ll find that most people bring their red eared sliders indoors during winter months.
My recommendation to you? Contact the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society to see if they have a program where they can take in captive turtles that can no longer be cared for by their owners. If they can’t help you, I’m sure they can at least point you in the right direction.
Question from Mr Turtle Head:
What do I do when a turtle sits outside in front of my door?
Mr Turtle Head,
As it turns out, that turtle is probably on its way to its nesting area and saw your doorstep as a nice safe basking spot at the exact moment he/she wanted to take a rest. (Take heart…it means your home is very welcoming!)
While in general, you can simply pick up a turtle by getting a firm grasp of their shell on both sides of their body and moving them to a safe area in the direction they were already pointing, you do need special instructions if the turtle happens to be a snapping turtle.
Snapping turtles come in two variations: Common Snapping Turtle and Alligator Snapping Turtle. They are equipped with extra long necks that allow them to reach around and to their sides as far back as the middle of their body, if not more. So it is *very* easy for you to lose a finger or get a really nasty cut if the snapping turtle is not treated with respect.
Here is a great video that can show you how to…somewhat safely…move a snapping turtle along.
(Notice how this turtle is already poised in attack mode with its mouth open…scary!)
Question from Luther:
I can see little white worms swimming in the tank. Do i need to treat the RES and the tank?
Sounds like you may have Planaria in your tank. Planaria are flatworms, related to flukes and tapeworms. They are quite small and hairlike. Take a good look at them and you may see a hammerhead shape on one end with eyes.
Bottom line, they are not harmful to turtles.
However… they are an indicator that the tank has a problem. Either you are feeding your turtle (You do have a turtle, right? Making an assumption here since you didn’t mention, but you are asking this question on a turtle website) too much, or you are not cleaning your tank enough.
I say this because Planaria require a food source, which means there must be excess food wastes in the tank to support them.
If you want to get rid of them, you should:
As I mentioned in a previous post, I said I would be starting an advice column on the first and third Friday of every month. Now, I know your thinking I’m stupid, because here it is a Monday and I’m getting ready to post my first advice question.
Well, as it goes, I decided that Friday’s were just too busy for me and have changed the date to Monday’s. I have an irregular work week and Monday’s happen to be a day off for me, so this works quite well.
After my announcement, two girls logged into the Georgia Public Library System thought they would be funny by sending me questions regarding how to make turtle soup and how to get rid of turtles with suggestions of shoving them up one’s butt. Don’t hold your breathe on my answering those questions, ladies.
That aside, here is the first question of the first column. Woohoo!
I have a red eared slider, approx. 10 years old.Â She has stopped eating.Â No matter what we try, pelletes for aquatic turtles or lean meat, even small fish. she refuses to eat.Â I’ve also noticed some small soft brown spots on her shell.Â Can you help?
If you still have your turtle and she hasn’t improved, I would recommend you take her to a veterinarian who is trained in reptiles immediately. While the lack of eating can be due to many things, the brown spots sound like the onset of shell rot. Shell rot is caused by organisms that penetrate the shell through scratches or abrasions. Once in, they start to eat away at the shell and eventually at the body of the turtle, leading to serious infections and potentially death.
As for the lack of eating, that maybe be related to the potential shell rot. Again, here it would also be good for you to get a fecal sample and have a veterinarian analyze it.
The easiest way to get a fecal sample is to put your turtle in a plastic container with breathing holes and a centimeter of water over night. If your turtle likes to roam, make sure you put a lid on the container otherwise you might be in for a game of turtle hide and seek in the morning. In the morning, you should have a fresh fecal sample to take to your veterinarian. (Fecal samples should not be older than 4 hours. You will want to keep them refrigerated as well.)
Now, to answer the actual question, here are several reasons your turtle might not be eating:
If eating doesn’t happen in two weeks and you think you’ve done everything right, definitely take them to a veterinarian. Something else might be going on that you can’t see.