General Care Discussion :: Turtle fanning

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2021 7:10 pm   Turtle fanning

Hi guys, I really hope someone could offer me some advice on whether this is normal.

So I recently just upgraded my RES to a mansion, he went from a small plastic container (yes im ashamed, i have honestly been so uneducated about RES care) to about a 100 gallon, with a proper basking platform and everything. I have been researching a lot to do better for my RES (i rescued him when I was 7 in school when a classmate at the time wanted to bin him, I’ve had him ever since I’m 28 now).

This is the first time my turtle has ever had anything like this, so while he was on his basking platform, I noticed a black purple thing come out of his tail, this is the first time I’ve seen him do this, it was so shocking to me. I realise that’s them
“Fanning” but do they do it while basking? It goes go back in on its own, but the second time I saw him, he was still basking, and it didn’t really retract as easily, and he was running around on his basking platform, so he basically dragged it along, so I just placed him back in water, and it retracted fine. Is this normal? Is he just so excited since it’s the first time he’s ever been exposed to such an environment?

He did seem like he was enjoying the fake bushes on the basking platform, he was rubbing his shell and face all around them. I was worried he might take a bite out of the fake plants, but he seems very uninterested which is good.

Sorry to have dragged this on this much! Just very worried about him! Thanks!
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:37 am   Re: Turtle fanning

Its unusual to just fan while basking. It might just be a new experience for him or as you mention, excited. As long as it can go back in, it should be fine but I would make sure nothing on the platform can potentially hurt it.
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:27 pm   Re: Turtle fanning

Honestly everything on the basking platform could 100% hurt it which is why it was even more shocking to me. His basking platform is a basket with grids, sort of like a medium sized square mesh that I had closed all the gaps with different materials(rocks, etc), and he was fanning from the top through a small empty place in the basket that was clear from any substrate.
He’s about 25 years old, I’ve never seen him fan at all, but yet again I must admit his aquarium before was no where near as nice as it is now.

Is it normal for him to have had his first fanning at 25 years of age?
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:38 pm   Re: Turtle fanning

It would not be normal, but most likely you or the previous owner did not see it happen in the previous times. It should only make an appearance during mating, or when he's stressed out. How long has this new behavior been going on?
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:59 am   Re: Turtle fanning

This is the first time I’ve seen it, but this also the first time he’s ever had an aquarium
this large, and a basking area this nice. I’m not sure if it’s stress? He did open his mouth a few times when he started basking, but then he started to explore and started to rub his shell in the corner of the basking spot that has some fake plants, I left him to enjoy and explore, 10-15 mins later I checked on him and saw the fanning dangling under the basket, he retracted fine the first time, the second time it appeared like he could have been struggling a bit, too dry maybe? So I put him back in the water. - I since closed that little gap in the basking area, could it be that he didn’t know better and some green plastic plants represented a female or something? lol
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:08 pm   Re: Turtle fanning

They do have their quirks. He's probably not as stressed as before... when I mentioned stressed, it was in the context of excessive handling or aggression. Hopefully he's had his fun with it and will start enjoying his tank :)
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 7:11 pm   Re: Turtle fanning

Oh I see! I thought you meant in stress as in it was such a drastic change, and they need time to adapt. But no excessive handling or aggression from my part! Although he definitely doesn’t like being held much, like I said I’ve him for about 25 years now, since he was dime sized so I’d like to think he recognises me fine, but boy does he kickkk when he’s held.

I’ve actually always wondered how red ear sliders generally act, how do they show aggression to their human? Or trust them? For example, most of the times I am able to touch and pet his head completely fine, it would also generally always be all the way out of his shell if I’m around or handling him.
I haven’t been able to find much info about it or anything that’s too relevant I think because really my little guy and I grew up together and from all the reading I’ve been doing mine is quiteeeeeeeeeeee quirky. I feel quite lucky to have never experienced major problems with his health or anything especially as he's gotten bigger over the years, his living conditions became worse and worse :oops: , I’m embarrassed to even say some things out loud, but I’m doing right by him now! :msgreen: (It’s actually turned into a new hobby)
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:55 pm   Re: Turtle fanning

Compared to most other terrapins, RES are more gregarious but of course that might vary based on their own personality. Plus, when they are in water they might be more aggressive towards you since they might associate that time to being fed. Overall my male RES is a bit more laid back than my female RES. Both will kick after a minute of being held... my male has sharper nails, while the female is very strong (those feet can easily dig a large nest). My female RES will bite almost anything in front of her, while my male RES will take a sniff first but usually doesn't bite unless its food or it's something that is bothering him.

As for past living conditions, we've all made mistakes. It happens but learn from it and move on. Sounds like you two are doing great together.
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