Your yellow belly slider hatchling has stopped eating the last 2 days and since we got her about a month ago, she barely

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Customer: Our yellow belly slider hatchling has stopped eating the last 2 days and since we got her about a month ago, she barely swims around just prefers her basking area. This morning she was super active swimming around her tank then we found her unresponsive on the bottom about 4 hours ago. I moved her to the basking area and she still hasn't moved. I'm worried she is dead, but I don't want to remove her if she is hibernating or something. Please help.
Answered by Anna in 24 mins 9 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,054 satisfied customers

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

Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this incident.

Shelly isn't hibernating, but, sadly, she may have drowned. Contrary to popular belief, turtles can drown. I'll give you something to try because sometimes they can be revived. Pick her up and hold her with her head down. Don't turn her on her back. Gently extend her head and open her mouth. Some water may come out. Next set her down and carefully extend her front legs forward, then push them back toward the shell. More water may come out. Be sure to be extremely gentle throughout this.

Go try this for a few minutes, then come back here, click on REPLY, and let me know what happens. You'll be prompted by JustAnswer to rate this answer, but don't do that until we're finished. I'll be waiting for your reply.

Anna

Customer

Thank you for your response, unfortunately I was anable to get her mouth open but I did tilt her head down and move her legs but got no response.


I have submersible filter that when she would venture towards, the current would be too strong and she would have a hard time swimming or just have to let her carry her out from it. Could this have caused her drowning?

I'm sorry to hear you got no response. A strong current could lead to drowning in a turtle that was ill or weak for some other reason. The fact that Shelly hasn't been eating for a few days makes me think she may have been sick. It's very possible that she didn't drown, but rather, died from some other cause, and just happened to be in the water.

I think she is probably dead, but it can be difficult to tell if a turtle is dead or alive since we can't see them breathing. Dead turtles usually have the head and all four legs outside the shell. They often appear limp, and feel limp when you touch them. Eyes may be sunken, but that can also be a sign of dehydration in a living turtle. The eyes in a dead turtle are usually open. The skin of a dead turtle may feel warm to the touch, rather than cold. If these signs are present, then Shelly has passed away. It can't hurt to leave her under the basking light for a few hours just in case. If there's still no sign of life then, you can be sure.

I'm so sorry to give you bad news. I was hoping we would have a better outcome. If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer
Her eyes are closed and her head is partially out of the shell and her front limbs are not straight out but pulled close her her without being tucked in, her rear limbs are tucked in and her tail is of course straight out. I have had her under the light for about 6 hours actually, I am thinking she has passed but I wanted to be sure of course. I got her only a month ago from a big box type store, looking back I am wondering if she was sick when I got her. Although she ate well she wasn't much of a swimmer and when she slept under the light she'd have a hard time opening her eyes when she woke and they looked a little puffy when closed. I got two small guppies as feeder fish and/ something to chase to get her active in water but she never really was one to swim unless she had to chase her pellet to eat.
The filter is for a 10 gal tank and I have it in a 20 gal tank with 3-4 gal of water...is that too strong? It is what was recommended at the pet store
The filter should have been fine. I suspect she was sick when you got her. So many pets tore reptiles are. The staff there seldom knows how to take care of them, and they are often sold too young. the result si that many turtles and lizards are sick before they are even sold. The signs are subtle, so new pet owners don't know it until it is too late.

Despite not having all the typical signs of death (every case isn't the same), it does sound like she is dead. I'm sorry.

I don't know if you plan to get another turtle, but just in case you are, I'm sending along a slider turtle care sheet I've written. That way, you won't have to be at the mercy of pet stores for information. If you ahve more questions after reading it, just let em know.

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


http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/cs-yellowbelly.htm


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