General Care Discussion :: Turtle no longer basking

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:19 pm   Turtle no longer basking

Hello everyone,

Sometime around March or April, I noticed my turtle stopped climbing up on her raft to bask, and I'm not sure why. Some background info:

- She'll be 29 years old in a few months
- She doesn't appear to be ill. Her appetite and begging are on point like always. While begging, she may even climb on her raft briefly to get my attention, but will scoot off quickly.
- She spends much of her day sleeping, but still has active periods.
- In February, she was displaying behaviour that indicated she has eggs. To my knowledge she didn't pass any. Somewhere between a few weeks and a month after she stopped displaying said behaviour, she stopped climbing on her raft.

The bulb in her lamp is a brand new UV bulb I got around Christmas. I actually tried switching back to her old light to see if that was the issue, but no. No other changes to her aquarium have been made.

The only other change in general, and I want to say this some months before hand, I changed the pellets she was eating from Koi Pellets to proper Turtle Pellets. I continue to feed her the same live food I always have.

I'm not worried about her being ill, I don't think that's it, nor am I in a panic about her behaviour, more curious since it's a-typical. The spring time is a prime period where she likes to sun herself, which she didn't do this year. In the summer, she doesn't go on her raft much normally, but she typically doesn't sleep as much as she currently is.

Could it just be she's getting older? I've heard red eared sliders can live anywhere in captivity from their early 30's all the way through their 80's, which is a big range! Perhaps she does have eggs and is hanging on to them (I know they can hold them for years) and the extra pressure inside has perhaps changed her behaviour.

Thoughts?
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:23 am   Re: Turtle no longer basking

I think it's just her getting older, perhaps a change to her routine. Was her raft easy to get on? What are the temperatures? I would try to find a way to get her to dry off and get some UVB (or vitamin D3).
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:22 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

steve wrote:I think it's just her getting older, perhaps a change to her routine. Was her raft easy to get on? What are the temperatures? I would try to find a way to get her to dry off and get some UVB (or vitamin D3).


Thanks for replying Steve. That's certainly possible.

Yes, she can easily climb onto her raft (and still does briefly from time to time to try and beg for food). Her aquarium temp is between 78'F to 79'F.
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 5:57 am   Re: Turtle no longer basking

what about the basking area temp?
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:26 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

steve wrote:what about the basking area temp?


That's whatever the ambient temp is, no heat lamp. It's always been that way.

However, I came home from the office on Wednesday and found white stuff that I believe to be egg whites in her aquarium. She eats her eggs the second she lays them, and I suspect this was the remains of one and that she laid one that day.

I noticed her behaviour picked up that evening and she climbed on her raft several times after feeding, but didn't stay on to bask. She didn't repeat yesterday, but was less skittish overall. So I suspect egg-behaviour-oddities here, and that she has a few more to lay.

Unless I'm mistaken and she passed something else. This stuff was pure bright white, little chunks and a few strands of it. Is there anything else turtles can pass that would be like that?

When I change her water out next week, it'll be interesting to see if I find any pieces of egg shell or egg shell lining, which is also common for me to find after she eats her eggs.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:42 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

It could be urates, but I don't see that happening with RES. Could also be mucous but that usually happens if the turtle is out of the water for long periods. Male RES might release semen, though that happens when they're younger.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:42 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

steve wrote:It could be urates, but I don't see that happening with RES. Could also be mucous but that usually happens if the turtle is out of the water for long periods. Male RES might release semen, though that happens when they're younger.


I've never heard of that (urates) happening in red eared sliders either. My turtle spends almost all her time in water these days, and of course she's female so no semen release for her.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:29 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

You're probably right that it was some sort of egg-production related waste and no longer an issue. Have you tried getting her to bask again?
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:53 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

steve wrote:You're probably right that it was some sort of egg-production related waste and no longer an issue. Have you tried getting her to bask again?


Sorry for the late reply.

Yeah, still no dice. She's still been more frantic after feeding too, wanting to escape her feeding aquarium (common behaviour for her when she has eggs). Last night was the first night in a month where she didn't try to get out.

In the past she usually lays eggs between Spring and August, but she has occasionally laid eggs between August and October before.

I'll see how her behaviour continues over the next month. Interestingly, I just found another odd white thing in her aquarium. Some kind of small, white ball, looks soft, and almost translucent. It's certainly not an egg, but perhaps something to do with her having eggs?
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:30 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

Not sure if it was mentioned, have you felt for eggs? Just to know if she is gravid as it could be her ovaries are very active.
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:40 am   Re: Turtle no longer basking

steve wrote:Not sure if it was mentioned, have you felt for eggs? Just to know if she is gravid as it could be her ovaries are very active.


I have not, as feeling for eggs with her is not easy and even my vet struggles to do so. He's informed me she's the most aggressive, defensive, and stubborn red eared slider he's ever treated. That's why her and I jive :D .

Ironically each time in the past that he has successfully felt for eggs, he's found nothing. And then two weeks later she started popping out eggs.


Since I replied last, her behaviour has changed a little. Almost every night now, she'll climb onto her raft, but only briefly (this excludes when she climbs on to try and get my attention to be fed). After about, oh, 30 seconds of being up there, she'll start "twitching " her head, fast jerks of it; maybe twitching her arms as well. She'll also scratch at her head or eyes. She'll do this for several seconds, maybe a bit longer, then slide back into the water.

The only time I've seen her do these motions before is when she's been on her raft for hours and has dried out, and thus gets itchy. I've never seen her do it so soon after climbing on though! I looked and can't see any skin or anything that would be hanging in and irritating her eyes, so I'm not sure what's up.

Again, her appetite is excellent, and she's active and a bit rambunctious in the evenings (normal behaviour for her in general), and she's still spending most of the day and afternoon sleeping.
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:41 am   Re: Turtle no longer basking

The easiest way you can do it is having her walk on the ground with you following right behind. At any moment she stops and her leg is out, go for a poke.

When was the last time you cleaned the tank and changed the water?
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 11:01 am   Re: Turtle no longer basking

steve wrote:The easiest way you can do it is having her walk on the ground with you following right behind. At any moment she stops and her leg is out, go for a poke.

When was the last time you cleaned the tank and changed the water?


Sadly, that doesn't work with her. The second I reach for her she, well, "turtles" up and starts hissing.

Two weeks ago. I clean her aquarium and do water changes every four weeks on average, sometimes three if she's being particularly dirty. I feed her in a separate aquarium to preserve the quality of the water in her actual aquarium longer.
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:20 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

And the behavior hasn’t changed? Most RES let their guard down a little around their keepers.
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Post Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:02 pm   Re: Turtle no longer basking

steve wrote:And the behavior hasn’t changed? Most RES let their guard down a little around their keepers.


She's always been that way, even around me. She doesn't like being touched, and certainly won't let anyone pull her legs.

She's definitely more easy going around me than others, and I know she recognizes me, but she's always been feisty and over the last several months, more skittish (thus why I've felt she has eggs).

Again, it's all just weird.

I mentioned originally I got her a new light at Christmas. It's this: https://www.bigalspets.com/ca/zoo-med-r ... ?sku=78151

Here's the bulb it came with: https://www.bigalspets.com/ca/zoo-med-r ... ?sku=26058

I believe my fixture and light are 30", but generally speaking, the same thing.

Prior, I was using an older fixture, and this was the kind of bulb: http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/re ... linear.php

I wonder if the difference in bulb has affected this change in her behaviour, though she's climbing on and off her raft as I type this.

I may try switching the fixture back for a month to see if there's any change. In truth I doubt it, but it could be worth a try.
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