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 Post subject: Turtle Help?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:08 pm 
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Back story:

I just recently moved in with my boyfriend and his two roommates.

Roommate #1 (Ash) is never home (ie. she has mail from nearly a month ago that she has yet to come and pick up...) Due to this, Roommate #2 (Liz) was taking care of Ash's turtles. I did not even know that there were turtles in the house until Liz asked me to look after them so she could go visit some of her out-of-state friends this week.

So, I went into Ash's room to feed them today. Their tank is tiny, there is no heat lamp or water heater, and no filter (though Liz mentioned that Ash had gotten a filter for Christmas, but just has yet to bring it to the apartment.) It was also way beyond dirty; there was a layer of filmy stuff floating at the top of the tank. My guess is that it is always like this since there has long been a funky/gross smell in the apartment that I could never find the source of. All I could think of upon finding this was "poor babies!"

In Ash's defense, she has a lot of mental health problems and life crises that she's trying to find her way through right now, and she's really got her heart in the right place. For Liz... I don't know how she could not notice that this was not okay for the turtles.

But regardless, the turtles can't live like this and I'm going to take them into my care...


I looked up some info on basic turtle care and such (diet, ideal temperature/lighting/habitat, etc.) but can't seem to figure out one thing... Liz told me that the larger of the two turtles is mean, and so I'm not sure how to handle him when I transfer him into a spare container when I clean their tank. I just don't want to get one of my fingers snapped off! I am a complete turtle newb, and could use whatever help and advice I can find.


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 Post subject: Re: Turtle Help?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:31 pm 
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Not NOT A Furry
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do you know what kind of turtles they are?


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 Post subject: Re: Turtle Help?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:34 pm 
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I know that they're some sort of aquatic turtles, and from what I can tell they have some black and red stripes on their heads, but that's it...


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 Post subject: Re: Turtle Help?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:46 pm 
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Not NOT A Furry
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Location: Indiana
i wouldn't worry about the mean one biting you. it's pretty easy to hold them so their mouth can't reach you. i'd look out for their claws. i don't have much experience with pet turtles except for the ones my step-sister had but they were tiny.

good for you, though, for taking care of them!


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 Post subject: Re: Turtle Help?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:26 am 
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i bet some thick rubber dishwashing gloves would give you enough protection. but yea, pick the biggun up by his shell near the back so he can't reach around to snap you. and the glove should protect you from any claw action. have fun, turtles are neat. also, wash your hands really well after handling them, turtles may carry salmonella --it's actually illegal to sell them in some states.

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 Post subject: Re: Turtle Help?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:28 pm 
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Sounds like a Red Eared Slider. I had one (Beetle Bailey - he's still alive - he lives in my Dad's greenhouse). How big are they? I believe the minimum for a moderate sized RES is 30 gallons, (50 gallons full grown), and you need twice it for two turtles, so I wouldn't start with less than a 50 gallon. The tank has to be FULL too so the turtles can swim -- not just a puddle on the bottom. That said, it needs to be low enough from the top of the tank that the turtles can't escape (Beetle Bailey took some liberties when his tank was overfull), and you need a "basking area" so the turtles can get out and dry off or they'll get shell rot. They make floating islands for this purpose. You'll want a submersible filter for the tank -- Fluval makes some good ones that work well for turtle poo. You'll want to keep the water temp between 75 and 80, so you'll need to buy a heater. They need a broad spectrum light source too with light/dark cycles. RES can't swallow outside of the water so you have to feed 'em in the water. Beetle Bailey likes Reptomin and also gets supplemented with worms, slugs, other bugs my dad catches in the garden, the occasional small garter snake, grapes, greens, and other veggies. He's not too keen on veggies. My dad also keeps goldfish in the greenhouse and when they don't look so well he puts them in the turtle tank and they become lunch. They're supposed to like them more as they get older.... Beetle Bailey is about 12 1/2 now and he has his moods where he likes them, but always loves a good slug.

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 Post subject: Re: Turtle Help?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:18 pm 
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I looked it up, and they are red eared sliders. I also managed to clean their tank without getting maimed, which is awesome.

I went out to buy them some things for their tank this week, and they are so much happier and more active! I got in touch with Ash and was able to get the filter from her, and I also got a heater, thermometer, island, hidey log, fake plant, and basking lamp. They've been loving the island and basking lamp. Whenever I come home, the two of them are snuggling on the island under the lamp (until the smaller one sees me and scurries away...) I don't have the money for a big tank yet, but once I get my next student loan payment, I'll start nosing around on Craigslist for one.

Turtles are much more interesting companion animals than I initially thought. They both have such distinct personalities, which I noticed right away. The big one isn't really mean, just grumpy and he likes to be left alone. The little one is just very skittish and doesn't like it when he sees any movement outside of the tank. They're both sweeties, and I'm so loving seeing them and their silly antics. At first I just thought they kind of sat there, occasionally poking their heads out of the water (since that's all they did when I first found them in their cold-ish, dirty tank...) but they're actually pretty rad.


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 Post subject: Re: Turtle Help?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:23 pm 
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rabidchild wrote:
Sounds like a Red Eared Slider. I had one (Beetle Bailey - he's still alive - he lives in my Dad's greenhouse). How big are they? I believe the minimum for a moderate sized RES is 30 gallons, (50 gallons full grown), and you need twice it for two turtles, so I wouldn't start with less than a 50 gallon.


The larger one is about 9", and the smaller one is around 5". I'll definitely need to get a 100+ gallon tank for them.

In the meanwhile, are there any acceptable, cheaper alternatives? I was thinking that a large plastic storage bin may work, provided I replaced the lid with window screening. It wouldn't be the 100 gallons they need, but it would definitely be bigger than their current tank and would work as a temporary home. I'd have to see how the heater would react to the plastic though...


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