General Care Discussion :: A Few Questions(now, with picture)

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:22 pm   A Few Questions(now, with picture)

Hi,

short: 2 RES, male(5 inches)/female(7-8 inches); 125 gallon tank

I'm new at keeping RES, so I have a lot of questions, but I didn't feel like starting a million new topics so I thought I would umbrella them under one.

I'll start with the less important one:

#1 Lovesick Turtle

My male does the mating dance (termed 'boogie woogie' by my friend) to the female constantly. She doesn't seem to mind, but doesn't really seem interested either. He keeps following her around and brushing her cheeks with the fingernails whenever he can, but she just swims right by. I feel sorry for him, though I have no desire for turtle babies. This may be a silly question, but is this going to upset him? Is there anything I can do for him? Should I even be worried about it?

#2 Weird Shell

These are actually turtles I am watching at my house for a friend for a few months. So I don't know their history exactly. The oldest is the female, whom he has had for at least 10 years. When he got her, her shell had an indent in it, as opposed to beig nicely rounded like other turtles. She still grew, but her shill is concave instead of convex. It doesn't seem to affect her health: she is active, basks, and eats normally. She loves to chase after feeder guppies, but she's a terrible swimmer. She splashes more than she moves. She still gets around, but has developed her own, very clumsy, way of propelling herself. Again, this doesn't stop her from going wherever she wants, she just displaces a lot of water to do it. On land she moves around pretty well. I'm guessing that the shell has something to do with this. Is this a problem, and should I be watching for anything? Does she have any special needs I should be aware of?

Thanks,
Pi
Last edited by Pi on Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:09 pm   

Hi.

1. I don't think it's going to give him some kind of complex, if that's what you mean. If his ardor increases and he becomes more persistent to the point of aggression, you may have to separate them.

2. Where exactly is this indent? Is it affecting the mobility of her legs? Can you post a pic of the shell?
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 6:23 pm   

Thanks for responding. : )

They have been together for some time(a few years), without him getting aggressive. I just feel bad for him, really.

As for the shell, I don't have a picture (am at work right now). I do have a digital camera, but it could be a few days before I can get a picture up. I'll try to describe it:

Her shell doesn't curve up into a dome- at all. It's basically flat, and even a little bit concave. It doesn't seem to affect her mobility on land very much, and all of her appendages appear similar in shape to the other turtle's. She just has a hard time swimming forward, though she can swim up. It takes her longer to turn. It doesn't seem to bother her, she just lacks-shall I say, subtlety...in her aquatic movements. As I said, I have no idea what caused it, as she was that way when my friend received her, and then me.

In most other respects she seems like a normal turtle (though I'll admit I'm guessing based on reading and observing the other one). She likes to bask, eat, and chase the goldfish in her tank (both are nearly as long as she is, so I don't know what she's trying to accomplish). But I'm anxious by nature, so I wonder if there is something I can do for her this late in her development.

I'll post a picture as soon as I can. That will probably help a lot...because I'm having a hard time describing it.

Pi
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:06 pm   

A pic would definitely help. :)
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." -Antoine de Saint Exupery-
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:03 pm   

Image

^clickable thumbnail.

It's kind of a bad pic, but it shows the shape of his shell pretty well.
I should add that I examined him and (probably much to his dismay) felt up his shell, but couldn't find any soft spots or the like.

I have another picture of the top becuase his shell has a weird texture on the top as well- very bumpy as opposed to smooth plates that fit together like the other turtle. Said picture is massive however, so I shall shrink it before posting (this one is pretty big too).

thanks,
Pi
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:32 pm   

I have to say that was very disturbing to look at. What is her setup like? What were their instructions to you as far as what to feed, etc?

I have to wonder if this was a birth defect (was she normal as a hatchling?) or if it is the result of really really poor care. If it's the latter, I'm really surprised she's still alive. Maybe you could find out how she looked when she was a baby, then give them some care tips. If I were you, I'd take her to a vet just to make sure everything is functioning as it should.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:32 pm   

Wow. She has pretty eyes, but what happened to that poor shell? An accident? Inadequate diet/ living conditions?

Sorry, I've forgotten if you said this previously, but did your friend have her since she was a hatchling? What is she being fed?

You said other than being clumsy, she acts pretty normal, so it doesn't sound like she really has special needs (other than perhaps making things easier for her if, for example, she has trouble getting on the basking area.) I'd be careful of her diet and make sure she doesn't get fat-- she doesn't have much room inside for her organs as is and added weight could really cause problems. What are you feeding her? Does she have correct lighting to bask under?
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." -Antoine de Saint Exupery-
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:27 am   

I know. It's pretty awful. The set-up is a 125 gallon with one other turtle- a 5 inch male. So they do have enough room. I've got a UVA light right now, but the pet store I went to didn't have any UVB lighting, so I'm making a trip to a few other stores this weekend. She is fed a mixture of reptomin sticks, romaine lettuce, assorted veggies (carrots etc.), feeder guppies, and tuna(as a treat). They also have cuttle bone to chew on, which she really likes. I feed every other day (I never thought that would be so much of a challenge! But they really do beg. Nevertheless, I'm pretty good about keeping feeding time spaced out).

Truth is, we don't know what her early life was like. She came that way to my friend. He doesn't recall exactly how many inches she was then, but she was fairly young. She just continued to develop that way. So I don't know if it was a birth defect or not. I know he's always kept her in a tank with adequate room (he put her in a 55 when he first got her, and progressed into larger tanks).

I have another picture, this one is of her top. You can see the shell is pretty weird on the top as well. I've never seen anything like it (in my albeit limited experience). The top is just...well...really off. It's totally different from the other turtle, who looks like all of the other red ear sliders I've seen.

Image

It doesn't seem to bother the male, he still does that mating dance thing- must be the pretty eyes. He also has figured out that it's really comfy to sit in the indent of her shell, which is often how I see them stacked up. It's really kind of cute. I've seen them both sleeping that way.

Anyway, thanks again for your prompt responses. I really appreciate having knowlegeable people around.

Pi
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:41 am   

my male res has a bit of an indent on his back. he's still young so i'm hopeful it will eventually round out :?
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:42 am   

I'd have to guess it's lack of uvb. Obviously it wont get better, but get that uvb because without it, the cuttlebone is pretty much useless. Oh, and when your friend comes back, send him home with the uvb light.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:42 am   Care

Looks very much like a birth defect or there was a injury to the carapace when it was small and the ribs and backbone were broken and healed that way. Otherwise, she's a beautiful turtle and has been taken care of very well. I'm amazed that she likes cuttlefish bone so much. That's wonderful! I look at her and am reminded of a Scuba dive I took at St. Thomas. We were kneeling on the bottom, feeding these Sargent Major fish, when a large school of Remora swam up to be fed and one of them had, what looked like, a broken back and the body was twisted to one side. It was the same size as the rest of the fish, about 20" and other than a kind of sideways swimming motion, it wasn't handycapped at all. I got a real close look at it as it came to me to be fed. They have regular mouths and the sucker disc on their heads are for attaching to larger fish, such as Sharks or Manta Rays and and staying with them when they feed. They scavange the food that's dropped as the bigger fish are eating. It's rather doubtful that the lack of UVB could have caused that type of shell defomity on the turt. George :D :D
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:43 pm   

Just curious, but does your friend happen to know if she was wild caught?
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:11 pm   

Thanks for the replies everyone.

She is a beautiful turtle, and he is very attached to her (I'm starting to see why myself...). She has the most personality of the two, it's always fun to watch. Because of the indent, a little bit of water stays in her shell when she comes up to bask, so sometimes for the first minute or two she backs up against the glass to put herself at a tilt so it will drain, then she goes back to basking. It's just the funniest thing.

I haven't asked him if she was wild caught, next time I talk to him I will.

Pi
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 7:44 pm   

I have to agree with OldTurtle.. That was a shell injury.. It is amazing that she survived the injury.. Shows you just how strong of a constitution turtles really do have!
Scooter (10") & B.C.(11") both female.
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