I have a (3") red eared slider in an outdoor 50 gallon pond that seemed to be hibernating, I put in my pond heater that

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Customer: I have a young (3") red eared slider in an outdoor 50 gallon pond that seemed to be hibernating, I put in my pond heater that I use every year to keep it from freezing for the fish, now the turtle is moving at the surface, I am concerned that the water is too cold for the turtle to eat and maybe too warm for hibernation ( around 45 degrees), would it be better to just bring the turtle in for the winter?
Answered by Anna in 17 mins 9 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,038 satisfied customers

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

Hello,

You are exactly right with your suspicion about the water temperature. At 45*F, a turtle isn't likely to eat, and will not hibernate. The result is usually sickness and death. In addition, a 50 gallon pond probably doesn't have a mud bottom with decaying leaves on it. that's what turtles need to hibernate in. So, yes, it would certainly be best to bring the turtle inside.

To help you with getting set up to bring the turtle inside, I'm including a care sheet I've written for slider turtles at the end of this post. If you have more questions after reading it, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. There's no additional fee for follow-up questions.

Once you get the turtle inside, keep an eye on him/her for symptoms in case the turtle has already gotten sick. Lethargy, repeatedly opening the mouth, discharge from the eyes or nose, or swelling anywhere on the body call fro a vet visit. If you end up needing a vet, this link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist


I hope that won't be necessary, and that your turtle will be just fine.

Anna

SLIDER TURTLE CARE SHEET


Well-cared for sliders can live 30 years or more.

The Tank

It's recommended that a baby slider have at least a 15 gallon tank. By the time the turtle is 3-4 years old, it will need a 60 gallon tank, so it's best to get the biggest you can in the beginning. You can also use a large RubberMaid tote. That's not as pretty as a tank, but costs a lot less. Set up the tank so there's a land area and a water area. Put the basking light at one end so the whole tank doesn’t get too hot. You want the water to be about twice as deep as the turtle is long. If the turtle is two inches long, you'll want four inches of water.

Temperatures and Basking Area

Turtles need certain types of lighting and need to be warm. Air and water that are not warm enough can lead to fungal and respiratory infections and unhealthy shells. Turtles must have a basking area where they can get out of the water, dry off, and bask in very warm light. The ambient air temperature in the tank should be around 75 *F (24*C) , with the basking area warmer still. Over the basking area there should be some sort of lamp that will take a 40-60 watt incandescent bulb (or you can buy a ceramic light fixture made just for reptiles). If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a metal light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the basking light. Hardware stores sell similar fixtures as work lights. The basking area should be kept at 85-90*F (29 to 32*C). Use a digital probe thermometer to be sure. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the light fixture.The lights that come with the covers on aquariums are not suitable for turtles. You'll also need a submersible aquarium heater that will keep the water 78-82*F (26 to 28*C).

UVB Light

It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that does. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, sunGlo, UV, or UVA are not the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to your turtle's health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because your turtle won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death.UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out most of the rays turtles need to stay healthy. To prevent MBD, turtles also need calcium. The easiest way to provide it is to place a cuttlebone in the tank. Cuttlebones are sold in bird departments of pet stores.

Filtration

Turtles are very sensitive to water quality. Even if you change the water every day, it can still contain harmful chemicals. A good filtration system is essential. Water changes are also needed even with a filter. If the tank is too small, no filter can keep up with the amount of waste that turtles produce.

Feeding

Feeding is an area where pet stores often give out bad information. Commercial food should make up only 1/4 of the diet. Animal products (cooked meat, earthworms, canned cat food) should make up another 1/4. The remaining half should be plant foods (dark lettuce like romaine, bits of strawberry or melon, etc.). Hatchlings should be fed every day. Older turtles should be fed 3 times per week. Overfeeding can lead to gout and kidney failure.

For Further Reading

This is among the most reputable sites on turtles.


http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/caresheet-red_ear_slider.htm



Customer

When I bring him in tonight, should I start with a tank of colder water to allow to increase temperature slowly?

Yes, rapid temperature changes are dangerous. You can set the tank up with water at 45*F. When you turn on the basking light, it will gradually increase the water temperature. Once the water reaches room temperature, you can turn on the aquarium heater to gradually increase it to 78*F.

If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask.

Anna
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