General Care Discussion :: Cumberland Sliders – Male or Female, Just Started Fighting

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:30 am   Cumberland Sliders – Male or Female, Just Started Fighting

Cumberland Sliders – Male or Female, Just Started Fighting

Hello All,

We have had our 2 Cumberland Sliders, ‘Crush’ and ‘Squirt’, for 11 years, since they were the size of a silver-dollar. (I say Cumberland, not Red-Eared, because there’s no red in their cheek stripes.)

While Crush has all the characteristics of the ‘male’, I am not sure if Squirt is a he or a she. My understanding of the steps to determine ‘male or female’ is:
The underside (the plastron) is concave or flat on the male, but is convex or flat on the female. Both of ours are flat (so no help);
The male has very long front claws (Crush), while the female has short front claws (Squirt). OK so far.
The female is approx twice the size of the male…Uh-Oh! ours are, and have always been, exactly the same size (currently 8” shell length) and they are the same age.

In other words, I don’t know if we have a male and a very small female, or if we have 2 males and 1 has girly front claws. Any thoughts or experience on this will be appreciated, but a trip to the turtle-vet to find out is Not in the budget.

Then, several weeks ago, we noticed Squirt (the turtle with short front claws) was spending most of it’s time up on the basking platform, which is unusual. Then we noticed that when Squirt was in the water, Crush ( the turtle with very long front claws) was constantly harassing it, including biting moves. So, Squirt is ‘escaping’ from Crush by staying up on the basking platform.

I checked several turtle web sites and read that the breed is particularly aggressive and territorial with other turtles, including other Cumberland Sliders “once they reach (sexual) maturity”, which is based on shell length (5 inches male and 7 inches female) rather than age.

But that also doesn’t make sense. They have co-existed, floated and frolicked peacefully for 11 years. Crush would often run his long claws along each side of Squirt’s head, very slowly and casually; I understand this is a Slider mating ritual. What suddenly caused Crush to become biting-aggressive? They’re both 8” long, so should have reached “maturity” a couple of years/inches ago; i.e. No “change” there. (?)

Just today, we noted that Crush has bitten some skin off Squirt’s neck. This seems intense for another mating move. The on-line “consensus”, from what I have read, is that the turtles must be separated, possibly indefinitely. They say that a single Cumberland Slider has no problem living alone, but I find it hard to believe that after 11 years they would not miss each other's company.

Is there a chance that Crush’s aggressive behavior will just STOP as suddenly as it started? That appears to be our only hope of keeping both of Our Turtles.

Thank You All
Mike
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:00 am   Re: Cumberland Sliders – Male or Female, Just Started Fight

The underside of the plastron doesn't apply as much to sliders. Can you post any pictures of Squirt? Sounds like a female though.

Aggression can occur at anytime, it does not matter if they have been peaceful before. It's more likely... I'd even say inevitable, that fighting occurs when male sliders are involved. I'd also say the separation needs to be permanent.
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steve
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Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:07 pm   Re: Cumberland Sliders – Male or Female, Just Started Fight

Hi Steve, I have tried uploading a picture of Squirt, but kept having technical difficulties. Nonetheless, I looked at Crush & Squirt on their platform and Squirt definitely has a domed shell (vs Crush's). So, I'm going with "Female" for Squirt. Butt....it's a moot point now because we had to re-home Crush. Very Sad. :( I hope he doesn't miss me.
Now I have another concern: while Squirt is no longer being harassed by Crush, will she become lonely? They had Always been together. I can't tell if she looks lonely, or just peaceful.
Can I find a "turtle toy" to keep her 'occupied' ?
Thanks so much for your help.
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Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:36 pm   Re: Cumberland Sliders – Male or Female, Just Started Fight

They're fine alone. People have tried different toys, but mine never seemed to like it. Just a large space for them to zip around.
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steve
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