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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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My 5 month old sulcata tortoise had mucus in s bowl and some

Customer Question

My 5 month old sulcata tortoise had mucus in his bowl and some cloudiness in his urine. What can this be due to?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear your tortoise is having some difficulties.

The cloudy urine is not a problem. Tortoise don't normally urinate like other animals. Instead they produce something called urates. Urates are thick and white. If instead, you are seeing very liquid urine, it can indicate the tortoise is getting a lot of watery vegetables in the diet. The base of the diet should be grass hay, rather than greens and vegetables. Greens are good, too, but without hay, the urine will be watery instead of thick and white urates. I've attached a photo of normal urates.

The mucus is another story. Before we can know what it is due to, we have to know where it came from. It it was from his nose or mouth, it may indicate a respiratory infection. Watch his nose, mouth, and eyes for any discharge at all. If you see anything, you are probably dealing with an infection and will need to see a reptile vet.

If it's coming from his vent (rectum), that can mean parasites or a bacterial infection of the digestive system. Either condition will require a vet's help.

The best thing to do would be to schedule a vet appointment. Take along some of the mucus in a clean plastic bag. The vet should be able to figure out what is wrong by examining your tortoise. This link will take you to a directory of vets:

In the meantime, make sure your tortoise is warm enough. The gradient in the enclosure should be 75*F to 85*F, with the basking area warmer yet, at 95*F. Night temperatures can go down to 70* to 75*F. Proper temperature is extremely important.

Pet stores often give out incorrect information on care, so you may want to read the following sites:

If you have more questions after reading, just let me know in a REPLY. I hope Touch'e will be fine.


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