I have a male eastern painted turtle who has a strange tendency to bite himself. He appears to have either hurt himself by doing so or, has been biting himself because of, a lesion on his limb. I have not seen any blood. The limb does seem to be impacted, as he keeps in tucked often and prefers his other arm. Otherwise totally happy and healthy. Could you please tell me the best course of action in addressing this wound and getting him healthy. Thanks!
Pet's Gender: Male
Pet's Age: >12
Name of Animal: Herman Leicester
Nothing beyond observation.
Can you tell me about the set up you have for the turtles?
Do you have UVB lighting?
Do you have a basking light?
Do the turtles get any supplements?
What type of diet are they on?
Could you please tell me more about the leg? Is the wound deep? Is the area swollen? Is he just biting at the one area?
Any further information will be greatly appreciated so I can give you the best service.
Hello, Yes we have a basking light, we don't use any additional ambient lighting but I believe the basking light is a uvb. The turtle does not get any supplements. He is lab reared and has a primary diet of Reptomin pellets with ocassionally juvenile trout. I work at the lab where he was raised and there are many types of freshwater fish fry available. Hence the pellet/carnivorous diet. I've offered him vegetables since he's been in my care but has no interest. As to the wound, it is a little swollen and one area does seem deep. It is a pinkish white color. This is the only area which he is biting. It is disconerting, he is 17ish years old, diet and environment has been (essentially) the same for many years. I have had him for 2 years and he has seemed healthy/happy up until this. One change between, his setup now and prior to now is the amount of water in the tank. He has a nice large floating basking area and about 18" of water to swim in, historically he's only had 6" or so (to my knowledge). His tank has aquarium gravel for substrate and some larger rocks for aesthetic (picture attached). With the exception of the biting his behavior is normal. Please let me know if I can answer anything else, thanks.
The picture did not post, but I will give you some information based on what you have given me.
The Regular lights bulbs do not supply UVB. The UVB is a specialized bulb that emits UVB rays to help metabolize calcium in the body. Without a UVB bulb, the turtle is left open for Metabolic Bone Disease. This can manifest itself in the form of swollen joints, weakened immun system, softening of the shell, jaw problems and other issues. The UVB bulb should be a min of a Reptisun 8.0 and the turtle also needs calcium to work with the UVB bulb to prevent MBD. The UVB bulb looses potency after 6 months of usage. It should be run 12-14 hours a day to supply the optimum UVB rays. For calcium we usually offer cuttle bones into the habitat.
What I suspect is the turtle is having pain in the area where he is biting the leg. This is very common when a turtle has pain for them to bite at the area. At this point you can clean the area with some Diluted Betadine and water and let dry. Next apply a thin layer of Neosporin to the sore.
I do suggest a Herp Vet look at the leg to see if this is something that needs pain medication, or an Antibiotic to treat the area.
This is a good care sheet for the Eastern Painted turtle: http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/caresheet-eastern_painted.htm
If you need a Herp Vet, I would be happy to locate some withing your State. If you would like me to locate somefor you please supply a State.
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I have been doing Reptile Rescues for 15+ Years
Hi Kirk,I'm just following up on our conversation about Herman Leicester. How is everything going?Joan
Hi Joan, Things are going well, thank you again for the advice. We immediatley purchased a uvb bulb/hood and are running it with a slightly longer photoperiod than his basking light. We've flushed the wound with Betadyne and applied neosporine. I have not seen him bite himself in the last few days but we will continue to observe him and clean the area in question. If, by this Sunday, there is no noticable differnce in the affected area then we will contact a Herp Vet. Thank you and take care. -Kirk
Glad to hear things are looking up! I hope it does not come down to having to take him into the Herp Vet, but I am concerned and hope the changes help.