My red eared slider lay two eggs in the tank one week apart. We keep bringing her to the sand and she just walks around

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Customer: My red eared slider lay two eggs in the tank one week apart. We keep bringing her to the sand and she just walks around and doesn't dig. How long should it take before she builds a nest and lays her eggs. I waited for 2 hours yesterday- she started digging and gave up- and so far have been here an hour today
Answered by Anna in 12 mins 7 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,020 satisfied customers

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

Hello and welcome. Thank you for requesting me. I would like to help you tonight. I am concerned that Skipper might be retaining eggs. This retention can cause infection, organ damage, and even death. Symptoms of a problem may include not laying eggs, laying only a few eggs, laying eggs in water, lethargy, pacing, lack of appetite, prolapse, digging motions, and kicking of the back legs.

We usually leave a turtle in the nesting site for lengthy amounts of time - for example a whole day. 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:

http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/Nestsites.htm


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

http://www.redearslider.com/physical_conditions.html


If your turtle does not lay more eggs, and develops any of the signs I listed above, that is an indication that she needs help. You'll need to take her to a reptile vet. X-rays will help determine the nature of the problem. The vet will decide whether it's appropriate to try an injection of a hormone that will induce egg-laying, or if surgery is necessary. If you end up needing a vet, these sites have directories:

http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Info/state_resources.htm

http://www.nytts.org/nytts/helpnet.htm


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.

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 only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer
She just started digging in the sand. How long should it take to lay eggs so I know if she is having a problem. Since it was two weeks between the eggs in the water is it more likely she is retaining eggs?
Customer
I was just told they are opening my question up to all reptile experts. Why?
I don't know why they told you that. It is not open to all experts. I'm still helping you. I would give her overnight in the nesting box. If she doesn't lay eggs by morning, she probably needs help. There is a good chance she is retaining eggs, but since she is digging it is possible she will lay them.
Customer
Thanks! Last question. We are in a park with sand so I have to bring her home and make a beating site and get the materials. Can it wait until morning? How long can she remain out of the water? I didn't think all night. Though I obviously don't know.
She's waited a long time already, so I don't suppose it will hurt to wait until morning. They can stay out of water for a long time, but you do need to put them back in for 30 minutes twice a day. That's enough to prevent dehydration. So, yes, all night would be OK, as long as she got back in the water first thing in the morning.
Customer
Thank you so much for all your help. I really appreciate it. I guess if she doesn't lay eggs by Friday morning I will find a reptile vet. I just not sure how I'm going to build a nesting area but I'll figure it out.
You're welcome. Just take a small child's plastic wading pool or a big RubberMaid tote, fill it with a mix of half sand and half soil (like the 40 lb. bags sold in home stores and garden centers. Mix them together. Put a basking light and a UVB light over it, and it should be good. The soil/sand mix needs to be about 12 inches deep.

I hope she'll lay her eggs for you.

Anna
Customer
I made a make shift box with sand and soil. All she is doing is trying to climb out of it. She might need bigger but this is all I could do for now with what I had at home- it does have sand and soil. IfnI couldnattach a picture I would. Should I leave her there and hopes she stops trying to escape and lays her eggs or take her out. This is so stressful!!!
I agree that it is a stressful situation. If there's any hope of her laying her eggs in the box, she needs to stay in there for a few hours. Is there any way you can make a makeshift lid so she can't get out? That would be one solution.
The other option is to take her to a vet for an x-ray to find out exactly what is going on inside. If she has eggs, they gave to be passed one way or another, or she will be in n a lot of trouble.
Customer
She can't get out which is good. It is actually one of those large plastic storage boxes and it came with a lid but I don't want to trap her in there. I guess I can lay it on without closing it. Maybe if she stops trying to escape she will lay her eggs. She just keeps trying to climb out. She fell on her back trying and couldn't turn over. I've called everywhere and can't find a reptile vet near me. I only found one far away and I left him a message. I found him on Google so at least Inhope he is a reptile vet. It is 1pm now. I put her in around 11:30am. I will wait until 4pm and if she hasn't lay her eggs, hopefully I will have found a get by then. Please let me know if that is too long to leave her out. After she fell on her back, about an hour ago,
She had sand all over face so I dunked her in the water. Thank you again.
That isn't too long to leave her in there, but she will need to be watched. If they stay on their back too long, internal organ damage can occur. Check her about every 15 minutes. Setting the kid on loosely is a good idea. It will let in air, but may discourage her escape attempts.
If you'll give me your zip code, I have another directory I can check for vets.
Customer
91604. Thank you so much for all your help.
You're welcome. These are all recommended by other reptile owners:

Studio City Animal Hospital
Marianna Savransky, DVM
11800 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Telephone:(###) ###-####br/>

Dr. Shipp's Animal Hospital
Geoff Stein, DVM
351 Foothill Rd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Telephone:(###) ###-####br/>
Mobile Vet (house calls)
Chris Cauble, DVM
820 Thompson Ave. #2
Glendale, CA 91201
Telephone:(###) ###-####br/>
Animal Surgical & Emergency Center
Chris Cauble, DVM
1535 South Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Telephone:(###) ###-####br/>Emergency:(###) ###-####br/>

This one also sees reptiles:

VCA Wilshire Animal Hospital
Michelle Jack, DVM
2421 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Telephone:(###) ###-####
Customer
None of these came up on google . Thanks. Calling now
Good luck. Let me know what happens.
You're welcome!
I'll be back in a few minutes with any results I find.
Customer
I have an appt for Sat. Soonest I can be seen. They actually told me to put her back in water for now Nd see if eats. They said it can wait until Sat since she just released an egg on Sunday. According to them it matters the last day they released an egg. I'll let you know what happens and please let me know if you think this is inaccurate.
I have never heard it said that what matters is when they last laid an egg. Turtles usually lay all their eggs at once - they don't stagger it out like some birds do. But maybe in that vet's experience, it has made a difference. At any rate, it isn't that far until Sat. You had her in the next box for several hours with no results, so I agree that putting her back in the water is a good idea at this point.
I know it's hard, but try not to worry too much. Just take your usual good care of her, and wIt for the vet visit.
Customer

Thanks and I'll let you know what happens.

Customer

FYI, both turtles are just staying in separate corners of the "pond" and not moving. It is almost like they are in hibernation. It has been cold (for L.A.) the past couple of days and the water maybe cold for them. I don't know but just thought I would tell you because very strange cause it is both of them. Neither of them are eating so of course I now need to worry about her starving to death. It is doesn't end:)

If you rely on the room temperature to be warm enough, then cool weather can definitely have an effect. Temperatures in the 50's through the lower 70's can cause turtles to become lethargic and stop eating. They are not hibernating, and this is a risky state for them to be in. They often become ill when even a little bit chilly. The water should have submersible aquarium heater in it which will maintain a temperature around 78*F. The basking area should be 85*F to 90*F.

To help you check to make sure everything is right, I'm sending along a slider care sheet I've written. You can use it as a checklist.

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
Customer

You are great. Thanks for everything.

You're very welcome.
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