My red ear slider wont eat, or get in the water, and is trying very hard to get out of the tank, i thought the living

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Customer: my red ear slider wont eat, or get in the water, and is trying very hard to get out of the tank, i thought the living area was to small but even after getting a larger tank actions remain the same, turtle is a female but is only 2 years old, so according to research not sexually mature...not sure what my next move is
Answered by Anna in 7 hours 12 years ago
30+ years of experience

17,040 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary


I'm sorry to see that no one has responded to your question earlier. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online and saw your question.

Turtles reach sexual maturity based more on size than age. A captive turtle in ideal conditions and well-fed can become mature at age two. with the behavior you're seeing, it would be best to assume your turtle is seeking a place to make a nest. Turtles retain eggs as long as possible while they seek an appropriate nesting site. This retention can cause infection, organ damage, and even death. Symptoms of a problem may include not laying eggs, laying only a few eggs, lethargy, pacing, lack of appetite, prolapse, digging motions, and kicking of the back legs.

You'll need to provide her with a nesting site. For a slider, that would be a 50/50 mix of sand and organic compost, about 12 inches deep. The bigger the area you can give her, the better. You may have to move her to a preformed pond or a child's wading pool to make room for everything she needs. Be sure that you continue to provide UVB light and a basking light no matter where you put her. This site has very detailed instructions for making nesting sites, including photos:

At this one, you can read more about egg-laying and egg retention:

If your turtle does not lay more eggs (she may have as many as twenty) after you provide a site, it would be best to consult a reptile vet. Your turtle may already have retained eggs, or they may be another condition causing her unusual behavior. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

This is a serious situation, so be sure to build a nesting site as soon as possible. If you have further questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY.

i took your advice and built a cage for my turtle, how long should i let her stay in her new cage, and should there be water in the cage?
I'm glad to hear you've provided her a nesting site. Yes, she certainly needs water in it. As I stated above, the bigger the area, the better. If you use a child's wading pool, you could make half of it water and half soil. Please take a look at the pictures on this site (scroll down):

The photos will give you a clearer idea of what i'm talking about.

Keep an eye on your turtle and watch for signs she has dug a hole. Look for eggs. After she lays her eggs, she can go back into her tank. If she continues to dig and scratch in the soil, but doesn't lay any eggs, you will need to see a vet.

There's no need to click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above.

I hope all will go smoothly from now on.

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