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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11544
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I found my baby box turtle upside down this morning. It's eyes

Customer Question

I found my baby box turtle upside down this morning. It's eyes are closed, but when I righted it, it would extend its legs and head, but not open his eyes. Should I be concerned?
Submitted: 2 years ago via TotallyTortoise.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this incident.
I'm afraid that you do need to be concerned. It's very dangerous for a turtle or tortoise to be upside down.There is no set amount of time for which they can survive upside down. The kinds of damage that can occur vary. When on its back, some of the internal organs press into the lung and air cavity space, making breathing difficult. That can result in suffocation almost immediately. The position can cause regurgitation of the stomach contents and choking can occur. If these events don't occur, the pressure on organs can damage them. Depending on the nature of the damage, the turtle might survive for a few hours to a few days. Even if no damage occurs, dehydration will cause death in a few days. Now, if she wasn't on her back for very long, it may be that no damage occurred.
As a first aid measure, you should give her a nice long soak (about 30 minutes) in a bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). then make a follow-up appointment with a reptile vet to find out if any damage has occurred that should be treated. These sites have directories of vets:
If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your turtle will be fine.
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