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I inherited a red-eared slider about 3 months ago. She

I inherited a red-eared...

I inherited a red-eared slider about 3 months ago. She became constipated in the last few weeks, and I was getting more worried, until she pooped two days in a row. It's been about 5 days since then. I followed Anna's advice with another turtle, and didn't feed her for a day... soon after she pooped. I am trying that advice again. I am about to look for a vet who has experience with turtles now.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the slider?

She does not live in a tank, but on my floor. (She has a basin that I put her in with fresh water, each day.) I sometimes feed her thawed prawns; the prawns had the shell on -- I wonder if this is what caused the constipation. Thanks

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Answered in 24 minutes by:
3/7/2018
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,810
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Hello again. The shells on the prawns could be a factor in the constipation. However, I think a bigger factor is at work in the overall health of your turtle. Slider turtles are adapted to spending most of their time in water. Spending some time in a basin of water every day is not enough. A turtle under those conditions will be suffering from chronic low level dehydration. This is not enough to kill them, but it will result in problems like constipation. Over a period of years, it will result in kidney failure.Another factor is the temperature. Sliders do best with water at 78*F to 82* F, and a basking area at 85*F to 90*F. When temps are too low, the digestive system slows down, leading to constipation and possible appetite loss.Finally, a turtle allowed to wander around the house is never exposed to UVB light. Over a period of years that causes Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), which results in a slow painful death.The best thing you could do for your turtle is set her up with a proper tank, and keep her in it for at least 12 hours per day. Turtles almost never suffer from constipation when they live in an aquatic environment. I hope you’ll give this some serious consideration.
Let me know if you have other concerns about this.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you. I really appreciate this information - and the time you've spent composing this message.At first, I followed the recommendations from the previous owner. As I have done my own research, I found that his recommendations fell short. I looked into purchasing a tank - but the costs were out of my budget! (I am currently looking for reused ones from people getting rid of theirs.) I've also looked into turtle sanctuaries, so she can live in a pond somewhere. But RES are not being accepted at the sanctuaries near me.Again, thank you. I will do my best with her since she's a pretty awesome turtle-person.
Turtles do have awesome personalities. To provide a proper habitat you don’t have to buy an expensive tank. I know they can cost a lot, depending on size. You can use a large RubberMaid tote for the same purpose. For a basking light, farm stores and home stores sell clip on lights as warmers for baby chicks or to use as work lights. They run around $7 in most parts of the country. Then the only other things you need to buy are a thermometer and a UVB light. UVB lights cost less online than in a pet store. I’ll find a link for you. In the meantime, here is where you can find a vet:http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you! You're the BEST!
Here’s a reputable source for the Reptisun 10.0, which is what I recommend.https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-reptisun-100-uvb-compact/dp/126581You can probably provide this set up for around $30 total. Your idea of buying a used tank is also good, if you can find one.Rescues often don’t take sliders because they would be overwhelmed with them. They are an inexpensive turtle, and people buy them on impulse, then decide they don’t really want a turtle tgat’s Likely to live 25 to 30 years. Some local animal shelters will accept turtles, so you might try there. Sometimes reptile vets know of people who will take them as well. You could check the directory I have you and call a few to ask.As always, just let me know if you need anything else. I hope you’ll find a way to work things out for your turtle.Anna
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Target sells totes suitable for a small turtle for under $10. You can see a photo of one here, but they don’t ship, so you’d have to go to the store. Walmart would probably also have suitable ones on hand.https://www.target.com/p/sterilite-174-clearview-latch-storage-bin-clear-with-purple-latch-16-5gal/-/A-13794509?sid=2526S&ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Storage+Organization+Shopping_Brand&adgroup=SC_Storage+Organization&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=m&location=9018109&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4JqBuaLb2QIVELbACh1KUgXJEAQYAiABEgKb4_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
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You’re very welcome. I just hope everything will work out. Turtles are one of my favorite animals.
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,810
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Anna,
Thank you again for all your kind assistance and suggestions.
I purchased a few things from Chewy.com - a thermometer, the UVB light you recommended, and a dual light dome and a light stand... Those last two will round what I currently have for a basking area (in a corner of my living room!), which is a ceramic heat bulb and a full-spectrum bulb (currently in two separate stands, which has been working but could be better), over a dedicated turtle-towel.The rubbermaid tote will wait a little bit since I toggle between placing her in the basin I currently have (it's another rubbermaid product; it looks like a drawer insert) and the bathtub (well-cleaned and rinsed before and after, I assure you). The heat sources and stand I just ordered will make it more comfortable until I my finances will allow for either a tank - and all the accoutrements that entails, used or not - in addition to a visit to the vet.Questions:
- in your experience, how critical is it that she have turtle friends? Do turtles go crazy when they're in solitude for so long? (She is really social with me and will follow me around the apartment, hanging out by my feet for a couple of hours at a time, or "stacking" herself on top of my foot for a little bit when I'm standing still at the bathroom sink, and fluttering her fingers/ paws at my thumbs sometimes - whether in the water or on dry land.)- i wonder about adding a tiny amount of real sea salt to the water to mineralize it (eg, a couple of teaspoons when she's in the rubbermaid basin/ bin, dissolving it first, of course). Should I just leave her nutrition to the actual food she eats?
It sounds like you've made some good changes. She doesn't need any turtle friends. In the wild sliders will bask together, but are mostly solitary. They are quite territorial when in captivity. When two are kept together, there is often trouble when they reach sexual maturity, regardless of the sexes. Serious injuries often occur. Unless you can afford a 90 gallon tank, it is unlikely that two turtles will live in harmony.I wouldn't add salt to the water. Sliders are fresh water turtles.
As for food, it should be 1/2 commercial turtle food, 1/4 animal foods like cooked chicken, earthworms, high- quality canned cat food, etc. the remaining 1/4 shoukd be plant based foods like tomato, melon, greens, and strawberry.I don't remember if I gave you my slider turtle care sheet already. I'll send it along just in case.
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SLIDER TURTLE CARE SHEETWell-cared for sliders can live 30 years or more.The TankIt'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 AreaTurtles 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 LightIt'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.FiltrationTurtles 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.FeedingFeeding 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 ReadingThis is among the most reputable sites on turtles.http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/caresheet-red_ear_slider.htmhttp://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/cs-yellowbelly.htm
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Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Anna
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Hello Anna,
Thank you for checking in. I intended to reply sooner, but I've been very occupied the past few days. First, thank you for the care sheet and the additional links. Super-helpful.The evening that I ordered the additional products, which was a Wednesday, I left her in her water-basin with the ceramic heat bulb suspended over it (it's about 12 inches from the surface of the water; not very close, but it will keep the water from going fully to room temperature). By the next afternoon, she had pooped twice. I was ecstatic. Since then, however, she hasn't gone. But I'm still keeping her in warm water most of the day. I also alternated the days that I feed her - as you suggested in someone else's post. I also have an appointment with a vet nearby for Tuesday evening. I'm excited about that.I will certainly keep you posted.Thank you, again.
Rossana
Hi Rossana,I'm glad to hear you've gotten some improvements. I hope that continues. I'll watch for the results of your vet visit.Anna
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