General Care Discussion :: Spunk on his back...again!

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 8:38 am   Spunk on his back...again!


My little Spunky keeps getting on his back! Is this normal?
I always heard turtles on there back can't turn back over. Is this true?
Why does he keep doing this?
Thanks,
Lisa
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 8:56 am   

My turtle was forever it seemed falling onto his back. I find as long as there is more than enough water in the tank to completely cover him completely (plus a bit more), he'll have no problem flipping back over. Mine usually flip over when they fall off the dock but use the wall of the tank as an aid to get back over. If he's thrashing around for a few mins, I tend to help him out by putting him back the right way but more times than not, he's already flipped before I get there.
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:24 am   

What is your set-up like; tank size, amount of water, lighting etc? Also how big is Spunky (SCL)? If the tank is filled with the amount of water it should be (all full except enough room for him not to escape) he should be able to right himself with no problems. :D
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:33 pm   

He does this in the water? Have you even been able to notice what your turtle is doing to wind up upside down (trying to crawl up something, for example)? My painteds will fall on their backs sometimes when I'm cleaning and they're in a container waiting to be put back into the tank. They try to get out but usually fall back into the container on their backs. A healthy turtle should be able to quickly right herself if he tips over on land or in the water (as long as the water level is at least more than the width of the shell).
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marisa
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:49 am   Spunky....Sunbathing or what??

Thanks for your replies. I have had him for a few months....he is 1 & 1/2" long (shell). I have him in a 20 gallon tank filled with about 3 inche of water. On one end I have river rocks piled up to make a basking area with a 60w basking bulb about 10" above.
I have never actually seen him flip. The funny thing is a couple of times when I have found him on his back he is under the light all stretched out like he is sunbathing. The first time I seen him in this position my heart just sank...I thought he was dead!! I have also found him filpped in the water once and in his feeding bowl a couple of time. The feeding bowl may be from him trying to escape and falling backwards...but the sunbathing eposodes have me baffled.

Lisa
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:38 am   

RES are aquatic turtles needing much more water than you are supplying. Fill the tank up and buy a proper basking dock or look through the photo gallery for ideas on making one. The river rocks piled up is taking up a lot of valuable swimming space and they could dislodge while he climbs on them and hurt him. The size tank you have now is great if you had more water.

Along with the heat light do you have a UVB bulb? Turtles need both a UVB bulb and UVA bulb(heat). What is the basking temp and the water temp? Basking temp should be at least ten degrees more than water or 88-90. Water temp for a hatchling should be at 78.

By feeding bowl, are you meaning that you put the turtle in a separate container of water to feed him? Or that there is an actual bowl with his food in it in the tank? If it is the latter, all turtles food should be put into the water. RES have diminished saliva glands and a fixed tongue, they require food in water so that while they eat the water will help them push the food down their throat. If it's the first be sure there is more water than the turtles length to insure he can eat properly.

If you had higher water you probably wouldn't have to worry about him flipping and not being able to right himself.
~~~Sonja~~~
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:07 pm   

Could he be standing on the rocks and trying to climb up the side of the tank only to fall over into the water on his back? If his shell is 1.5 inches long, the width would normally be less, and with a water depth of 3 inches (although this is low), he should be able to right himself.

Is he in good health? My turts will immediately start trying to flip themselves over if they wind up on their backs. I have had a few turtles who were too weak to do this, though, and after a few feeble attempts to flip themselves would just lie there. If you were to take him out of the tank and put him on his back on land, does he try to flip over on his own?

I'm a little concerned about his just lying in the water if he can't right himself--it's very difficult for them to breathe in that position, and if a turtle were to remain in that position for a long time, it's possible the turtle could drown.
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marisa
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:27 pm   

Hm. My turtles are capable of flipping themselves over on their stomachs again.
Though, if this is in water that this is happening, I'd suggest you lower the water level until your turtle can right himself. Otherwise, he'll just drown.

May 28, 2006
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:45 pm   

To add and to clarify what I think PaperFeathers is saying, the water level must not be lower than the length of the turtle's shell. That is considered an absolute minimum. Though if I'm reading this topic right, the problem is not flipping in water but on the basking area.
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steve
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:53 pm   

Ok, just a few questions on this topic.. :)

A healthy turtle should be able to right themselves regardless if they are on land or in water? Does water being deeper help them to right themselves? Not that I have a problem with this, just curious.
Carol
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cam722
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:44 pm   

Yes, being able to right themselves is definitely a good sign. However if they have a problem with this in any water depth, then there is a serious problem.
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steve
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:12 pm   

They should be strong enough and alert enough to immediately try to right themselves. It's easier for a normal turt to do this if the water is at least a little more than the width of the shell--they just kind of lean and let the momentum turn them over without the shell having to strike the bottom. I did have a 2-legged turtle once who did better with the water shallower, though. He would put his head on the bottom and push much as if he was on land. And he wasn't always successful, he sometimes still needed help.
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:27 pm   

Ok and the same holds true for them if they aren't in water?? They should be able to right themselves too?
Carol
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cam722
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:32 pm   

Yes. They push with their heads.
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marisa
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:45 am   

He seems to be healthy to me. Very active. l placed him on his back outside the tank and he did right himself quickly. I will add some more water to his tank even though for his size I'm sure the amout I have him in is enough. He has to grab onto a plant or something to reach the top. He really likes getting on top of the filter where the water shoots out. As for the rocks that I have in one corner of the tank...they are rather large and don't move when he climbs on them. I do have two lights....one for heat and one for UVB. When I said feeding bowl..... I mean that I feed him in a smaller tank (with 4 to 5 inches of water) to help keep his living quarters cleaner.
If I ever see him doing this on the back sunbathing thing I will not panic and flip him over at least not until I get a picture.
Thanks guys for you advice I will keep y'all posted.

Lisa
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