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Eating and Digestive Behavior

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As a general guideline, RES under a year old are usually fed pellets daily and ones over a year old are fed every other day. The amount is estimated to be the number of pellets that would fit inside its head. Vegetables should be offered daily while treats and live prey should be offered once or twice a month (or even less frequent). It's not often a RES will pass the opportunity to eat, but changes in eating habits may be an indication of a serious illness.

Related Infomation
Nutrition Index

Blood From Cloaca

In any situation, the presence of blood in feces or from the cloaca should cause concern. A vet visit is required to help determine the affliction and the treatment, if any. Blood can also be the result of a bite or injury and even impaction. Try to obtain a sample for proper analysis.

Throwing Up

Ejecting material through coughing or throwing up should not be taken lightly. It may occur normally during feeding but is not normal in other instances. If the vomit contains anything that was not previously food, collect a sample and bring it to a vet for analysis. If it is happening frequently, it could be a possible symptom of a serious respiratory infection. Take basic measures and seek the services of a veterinarian.

Constipation and Impaction

If a RES is not producing waste, then you may need to examine what and how often you are feeding your turtle. Placing your turtle in warm water for 30 minutes and increasing fiber in the diet may resolve the situation.

If you keep gravel, small rocks or even sand in the tank, you should suspect an impaction. Simply, impaction occurs when your turtle ingests or swallows rocks and cannot pass them. If this condition does not change, you should ask a veterinarian to check for blockages by taking an x-ray. Anything inside a tank has the potential to be eaten; anything that would fit inside your turtle's mouth should be removed.

Impaction is a real and serious problem with smaller RES and gravel. You may not see it occur but it does happen often and gravel should be immediately removed from any habitat you keep a RES in.


The presence of anything unusual in the stool may be a sign of a parasitic infection. They can often appear as stringy or worm like in the feces. Other symptoms may be present and a sample could be taken to a vet for examination, identification and treatment. A turtle may also harbor parasites in wounds. Those areas need to be carefully checked to see that they are healing properly. Inspect your turtle's housing and check the water quality. Parasites usually come from other infected turtles and fish. Parasites are unique, so it is important to correctly identify the type before any treatment.

Additional Article
Reptile Parasites and Wormers - anapsid.org/parasites1.html

Refusal To Eat

There are numerous reasons why a RES may not eat. A recently hatched RES may not eat for several days while they are sustained through their yoke sac. Cold temperatures may discourage RES from eating as their metabolism slows down. Water should be a constant 75-78 degrees F. Illness and infection may suppress appetites and if other symptoms are present, they should be thoroughly investigated. RES can occasionally become tired of the foods they are receiving and may be just looking for a change. A mature female RES may refuse to eat if she is preparing to lay eggs. Finally, stress may discourage a RES from eating; this may especially be true if this is a newly acquired turtle.

Lighting and temperatures should be carefully checked. Try offering treats and live foods to entice eating. Smelly foods or ones that are brightly colored may appear more appetizing. Boiled chicken or pellets soaked in canned tuna water may be useful. If you are feeding your RES in a separate container, they may feel more comfortable in their regular tank. If you are feeding by hand, they may be reluctant to take it. Most hatchling and new RES need time and space to adjust. Once your RES begins to eat, you should attempt to slowly switch it to a more appropriate diet.

Stool Inconsistency

The feces a RES produces should be dark (greenish-brownish) and firm. If it becomes abnormal, the diet content and frequency should be reviewed. The regular or frequent occurrence of blood or anything unusual should be of concern.
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This page updated: 2011/01/28 Copyright © 2005-2011 Red Ear Slider. All rights reserved.