Tails Blog

Keeping Turtles

Steve Coppell - Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Common problems

Most common problems can be avoided if you keep your turtle warm, vary their diet, keep the water in their habitat clean, and use the correct lighting.
Soft shell
Soft shell is simply that, softening of the shell, (hatchling shells are quite soft anyway in their early months) and in adults the shell becomes very soft and spongy. This condition is caused  by a lack of calcium in the diet and a deficiency of full spectrum lighting. This condition is very easy to avoid. Make sure the staple diet contains the essecial calcium and vitamins
Also, turtles must have an area in their tank where they are able to leave the water in order to completly dry themselves off. U.V rays are provided by the sun and are absorbed by the turtles when they sunbath. U.V. light provided  by artificial lighting will assist their shell to grow and harden.

Swollen Eyes

99% of the time this condition result from not changing water regularly. A turtle swimming around in a tank filled with bacteria from food waste and excretions is bound to develop sore eyes. The eyes appear to be bulging out of its head and are swollen. Consult yor vet for medication if you experience this problem.

Shell rot

There is debate and conflicting views as to the cause of shell rot. The most popular reasons for shell rot are, over crowding, rough sunning areas, shell bites, and poor water. Small pink dots appear, mostly on the under shell, and if left, grow wider and deeper. The easiest cure is to carefully dig out the infected area and treat with an antibiotic ointment. If you suspect you have this problem a visit to the vet is strongly recommended.

Bacterial shell infection

This first appears on the top of the shell of the turtle as small white blotches along the edges of the scutes (a bony external plate or scale, as on the shell of a turtle) and quickly expands toward the middle of the scutes.It is thought that this occurs when the turtle is not able to completly dry itself due to high humidity in the air within the tank. Removing the lid of the turtles sunning area will remedy the humidity problem. There is no quick fix to the infection on the shell. The white blotches will remain until the turtle sheds the outer layer of the scutes. The new layer of the shell will be free of infection after a couple of sheddings if you keep the humidity low and provide a dry sunning area.

Turtles can easily catch a chill which quickly leads to pneumonia. Most chills arise from the following:
No lid on the turtles tank overnight during winter months resulting in cold air verses warm water.
Taking your turtle outside on a cold day.
Having your turtle out of its tank when your room is cold or your tank is not heated during the winter months.
Symptoms of this condition include:
The turtle spending excess time out of the water with its head drooped.
The turtle is lethargic and not eating
Swimming lope sided, with rasping sounding breath. Pneumonia is almost always fatal with turtles. When the symptoms start showing generally its too late.