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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11506
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My male box turtles back legs seem to be stuck in his shell.

Customer Question

My male box turtle's back legs seem to be stuck in his shell. It looks like there is a lot of swelling in the area behind his cloaeca. he is eating. What could be wrong?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 8 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear that your turtle is having this problem. I suspect that the reason his legs are stuck is that they are swollen, as well. There are several possible causes of such swelling. Bacterial infections are one. Kidney disease can cause swelling of the back part of the body. A digestive problem, such as severe constipation or a blockage could also be responsible. These conditions can be serious. I recommend that you see a reptile vet today. If you don't have one, give me your city (nearest larger town if yours is a small one) and state, and I'll help you locate one. If you have more questions, or need help finding a vet, just click on REPLY. I hope your turtle will be fine.

Anna and 2 other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I was awake all night worried about Speedy. I guess I thought I would get a reply immediately when I asked the question, I was so anxious because I just love him so much. I ended up taking him to a reptile specialist this morning and your diagnoses was very similar to his.

By the time I got the little guy to the vet, he had popped his legs back out of his shell. The Vet said that he had edema which could indicate a kidney problem or possible gout. He ran a Reptile panel on him and I will find out on Monday what the results are. In the meantime, the Vet told me to start giving him a vitamin supplement in case he has a vitamin A deficiency. Lydia

Expert:  Anna replied 8 years ago.
Hi Lydia,

I'm sorry that you didn't get an answer right away, and that you worried all night. I'm a worrier about my animals, too, so I know how awful that is. Different experts come on at different times, and I saw your question when I came on this morning and answered it right away. Apparently there were no experts on at the time you posted who felt they could answer your question.

I'm glad you were able to get Speedy into a vet. I hope that the results on Monday will tell you that he has something that can be treated.

Please don't click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above.

If you want to update me after your hear from the vet, just click reply. I'll keep you and Speedy in my thoughts.