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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 3583
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I have a red eared slider who is about 5 years old. s head

Customer Question

I have a red eared slider who is about 5 years old. His head is turning black on top! Otherwise he seems healthy. What can this mean? Thank you.
Submitted: 12 months ago via TotallyTortoise.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 12 months ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. Some additional information will be useful. Is the skin on his head peeling or is anything oozing from it? Does the black look like his skin is changing colors, or is it more like something is growing on it? What brand and size of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb? What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and in the water? Thank you.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Hello again. He has a basking light and UVB light but I'm insure of the brand. They are both relatively new. Basking light is 75w. He has a water heater in as well. It seems like his skin in changing colors and not anything growing on him. His colors in general don't seem as bright as they used to be but maybe this is because he's older. His shell is peeling a little on top, seems fine on bottom. He is eating and appears healthy Otherwise. Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Anna replied 12 months ago.

Thank you for getting back to me. Let me explain why I asked for the information above. Many turtles do become darker as they age, but such changes can also be a sign of fungal infections. Color changes can also be the result of insufficient UVB light. Pet stores often sell people lights, calling them UVB, when they really aren't. That's why I asked the brand. It should be printed on the bulb itself. Also, UVB bulbs don't last very long, even though they can continue to give off visible light for years. Temperature is also a factor in color changes, which is why I asked about that.

The information you gave me about the color change and peeling of the shell is helpful, but I'll be able to give you better information if you can give me the temperatures under the basking light and in the water, and also the brand of the UVB light. Thank you.