General Care Discussion :: Eating Droppings

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:16 am   Eating Droppings

Hey all,

Been a while since I posted. I have a 25 year old female red-eared slider who is quite healthy and doing just fine; passing eggs in season every year or so as well.

About a year ago I noticed she started aggressively eating her own droppings. Turtles do eat their droppings I know, but I mean now she'll basically turn around and chow down the second she passes it.

I'm not worried about her doing this health-wise, more about how much faster breaking her droppings apart fowls up the water. Is there any way to help prevent a turtle from doing this? I'm assuming not, but thought I'd ask.

Of course if I see her passing a poop I have a net to scoop it out, but the problem is she eats them too fast!

Thanks!
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:47 am   Re: Eating Droppings

Raised her from a baby or got as an adult ? My old guys ate there own poo , that is once in a while , lots animals do it , normal and just organic matter. Gross yes ! Never had one do it for a year. Would not hurt to fine tune her diet for that of a 25 year old.
The mess , try changing up you media in filter that will help. Or if you are lucky and its time for an filter upgrade keep her age in mind.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:59 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

litefoot wrote:Raised her from a baby or got as an adult ? My old guys ate there own poo , that is once in a while , lots animals do it , normal and just organic matter. Gross yes ! Never had one do it for a year. Would not hurt to fine tune her diet for that of a 25 year old.
The mess , try changing up you media in filter that will help. Or if you are lucky and its time for an filter upgrade keep her age in mind.


Hi litefoot!

I've raised her from a baby and had here the entire 25 years. The diet I'm feeding her is vet recommended: trout pellets, live feeder goldfish and live earthworms. I tried upping the intake to see if that would make a difference and no. She doesn't bother with any veggies I've tried giving her.

I also change the filter media out every time I clean her aquarium.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:21 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

That's Great , like having a 25 yr. old kid ! My oldest boy is only 18 RES.
Sometimes he / they just get into goofie moods ... for whatever reason unknown to us.
As far as media I was thinking like : course / medium / fine / polishing ? If use course go to fine See if any difference ?
I also use goldfish for years all good and breed them & rosy reds to. But some out there say goldfish to fatty , then that's there call.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:44 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

litefoot wrote:That's Great , like having a 25 yr. old kid ! My oldest boy is only 18 RES.
Sometimes he / they just get into goofie moods ... for whatever reason unknown to us.
As far as media I was thinking like : course / medium / fine / polishing ? If use course go to fine See if any difference ?
I also use goldfish for years all good and breed them & rosy reds to. But some out there say goldfish to fatty , then that's there call.


18 is nothing to be ashamed of either!

I have a Fluval U3, I believe, and right now I have the filtration pads as well as the carbon/fine pads in there. The pads are doing their job as they get crazy dirty (which is good).
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:21 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

For that filter you must have 20 gallons of water in the tank. That would require a turtle rating of 2x's for only max of 20 gallons. Fluval rates that filter for a max of 40 fish gallons. Rated gallons on filters are for fish not turtle gallons. Example just say you do only have 20 gallons of water in your setup. For turtle gallons you need 2x's to 3x's rating. Just saying now , for that 20 g of water you need for a turtle one that rated for 40 gallons minimum and that would be for a small turtle. And if you want crystal clear water on that 20 g you need one rated 3x's rated for 60 gallon of water! We are talking about turtle gallons not fish gallons !
A 25 year old RES and you say "her" should be around around 11" (+ or -) How many gallons of water do you have not tank size ? For turtles it's 10 gallons of water [not tank] for every (1) inch of shell. Yes turtles get big and require big setup!
If you do have MORE than 20 gallons water for her it's time for an upgrade. That filter will be / is under sized ! Note will be easier if you had a filter rated for turtle gallons ( 2x's - 3x's fish gallons) and larger water volume is also easier to control ! So filter way under sized if more than 20 gallons of water or tank and filter way under sized for 25 year old female RES. Hope you do have more than 20 g's then it's only your filter to upgrade that will save you so money. Bottom line that filter is very small , under rated , for a 25 year old female RES in any water level. Yes time for an upgrade !
Can you post some pictures that will help!
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:19 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

The only thing you can do it to anticipate when she goes. It works better with some RES than others, but I've the same problem with my female RES.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:42 am   Re: Eating Droppings

Another thought here. If an upgrade not in any budget now how about the dollar store , get a tote , a plastic container feed her in that with a little water. Most turtles poo when they eat or a little after. This will take the strain off your main tank and filter , less maintenance for you. Will not have that fowl water from her breaking up her poop as stated in your first post.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:29 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

@litefoot Thanks. I do have a 50 Gallon with about 30 Gallons of water in it. I think you're over-complicating though as I've been using a Fluval U3 for years now and this has only become an issue since she started aggressively eating her droppings.

I also feed her in a separate aquarium for just the purpose you suggest and have for most of her life. Sadly, she rarely poops in it.

@Steve Yeah, she doesn't seem to be on a set "schedule." For your female then, I take it that also fowls up the water significantly faster, even filtered?
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:26 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

The adult males I had always poops in under 10 minutes , sometime taking a bite not eating it just testing it ? Now the females I had never had a poop schedule , it just happened when ever and have eaten it ! Hurricane Katrina took my last adult female. As I get old find male RES's are easier than females , that's just me !
Poo eating we may find one day down the road that it's connected with egg production? No one today really has an answer.
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:11 am   Re: Eating Droppings

@Juxtapose13 - They will poop when stressed, so being in a feeding container might encourage it. As for my female, sometimes she'll go twice a day, sometimes I don't see anything for a couple of weeks. Hard to know, but I will try to scoop it up as soon as I can. I also try to check late night/early morning before the lights go on and sometimes I'll get to it before she does.

@litefoot - My male RES also poops quickly and doesn't really dig into it either.
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:13 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

Thanks for the replies all, and @litefoot, sorry about loosing your female to Hurricane Kat.

In terms of a relation between egg laying and eating poop, I've actually wondered that. My turtle started passing eggs a few years ago, and if she passes one she'll immediately turn around and devour it; no waiting. This is exactly what she does with her poop now, and her aggressive poop eating behaviour started after her egg laying/eating.
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Juxtapose13

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Post Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:34 pm   Re: Eating Droppings

When I raised rabbits to feed my snakes the females when pregnant produced in her droppings a tear drop poo not many , all others round. Dug into just ate the tear drop ones. Vet said had a special substance in them for the developing babies. Who really knows? She was the vet not me. May be same for turtles? Some people are not observant and don't see poo eating.
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