OT: Turtle trouble! Fostering Red Ear Sliders - HELP!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Alyndra, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    Alright guys, I'm a little out of my comfort zone on this one!

    As it's come up in previous conversations, I contribute to a bird rescue program and have birds in and out of my house at any given time.

    However.. Someone felt the urge to dump 2 Red Ear Slider turtles on my doorstep.

    Prior to this I can honestly say I had never even handled a turtle. Now, being the holidays with limited resources - I'm stuck caring for 2 of them!!

    I've checked online for basic necessities, but I'm running into alot of road blocks on this one.

    Seeing as I definately didn't have access to a tank, I've been keeping them in a large rubbermaid moving container - I'd say the equivalent to a 50 gallon tank. I was able to get a 50 watt heater, but it isn't doing much good. The heater is set at 80F but the water never goes above 72, & I'm not in a spot financialy to buy a stronger one. I do have a heat lamp on the container, which is directly above a floating basking area I was able to get my hands on. They're dirty little buggers, and I don't have a filter; so I've been changing their water twice a day - which has been a HUGE pain in the..! It helps to keep them warm, though.

    According to the info I've gotten from the net they can eat vegetables, certain meats, feeder fish and freeze dried shrimp.

    I've tried all of the above, and they won't eat ANY of it.

    I've taken them out and handled them and let them run around every day since they landed here (do turtles even need handling?!?!) but I'm getting a bit fed up with trying to keep the water warm, trying to find a food that they will eat - and trying to find someone who will take them from me!!!

    All the time I've been spending trying to trouble shoot this turtle problem is taking away from the daily maintenance of my birds! I tried speaking with the person who runs the local reptile rescue, but they say they just don't have the room for more turtles. The 2 I have are about 12 cm in diameter (fullgrown I'm hoping!) and I just don't know what to do for them. The Humane Society here won't take them either.

    Unless these turtles sprout feathers, wings and beaks - I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO! They're literally driving me insane, but releasing them into the wild just isn't an option. If they need a water heater I'm SURE they wouldn't survive a Canadian winter.

    I'm just at the end of my rope when it comes to turtles, so I'm hoping someone out there can help me out on this one! So many of us here have so many different interests I'm hoping someone here has turtles somewhere on their list of specialties!!

    ~Amanda
  2. damyank

    damyank New Member

    My son has acquired a mud turtle about 9 years ago and the previous owner had it for about 15 years I being the sucker that I am purchased a yellow slider which is very similar to the red one.I have a 29 gallon tank and a turtle filter,I reccomend feeding them in seperate containers waiting for them to handle their business then place them back with a filter I can go 1 time a month without about 2 to3 days.If they are not swimming a whole lot in the deep water I would give them just enough to pop there heads out.As for food I have tried veggies,crickets,fish didn't work use a shrimp pellet for turles and they love it.They do hibernate in winter by not eating as much so limit amount to what they are eating.Hope this helps some.

    Mike
  3. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    hi alyndra
    ive a friend who is a reptile expert ~ our rspca dont even touch them they just call colin.
    i will see if i can find him online or some sort of contact to him.
    love smiffy.

    all i can conmtribute is watch your fingers :(
  4. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    I got desperate last night trying to find something they would eat, because they haven't voluntarily eaten anything in about 3 days now and they were dancing around the top of the water whenever I walked by them. So I took just about 1 of everything from the kitchen (including the floating turtle sticks I got) and watched to see what they would eat.

    The buggers love peas!! Now, I have a freshly opened bag of mixed vegetables that is completely pea-less.

    Will peas work, though? Everywhere says leafy greens.. and well, they may be green but they definately aren't leafy.

    I've taken the bin off of the stand I had it on and put it over the heat vent to help with the water temp. Last night it was hovering around 66.

    As far as them biting? I got a pretty good chomp this morning picking one of them up, but luckily it wasn't anywhere near the parrot bites I'm used to.

    Today has been the first day the birds in my house have been allowed to see the turtles, and it's quite funny to watch the two turtles sit infornt of my two parrots; with all four of them sitting with mouths open and ready to attack. That's always as far as it goes, though.

    I'm still trying to find someone who can take them, but my healthy half is insisting we name them. (once they have names, they'll be here for good!)

    If they stay I'm going to have to buy stock in peas...

    ~Amanda

  5. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    Amanda,
    You are wonderful to try to help these little guys. I had them when I was a kid, but I didn't know what I was doing and they ended up dying. I did feed them liver shavings from chicken liver that was kept frozen.

    I did have a snapping turtle for about 3 years and she at only earthworms cut up with scissors. My mother did the cutting up and I got the earthworms from a guy next door that raised them. He would always give them to me free.

    I wish I could help you with this. My fibro fog is bad and I gave up on turtles when I was a girl because it just seemed to be too difficult for me.
    I didn't know what to do.

    Could looking up info on the Internet help you any? I guess you have tried that one.

    There is a wild box turtle who lives in the woods and I've seen him come here and eat dry cat food. Of course different turtles would eat different things, I would imagine.

    Looks like you had better go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of bags of frozen peas. lol

    Best of luck to you. :) You are an angel for helping these guys. :)

    Hugs,
    Faye
  6. MrHappyGoLucky12

    MrHappyGoLucky12 New Member

    Alyndra,

    Check out http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Articles/newhatchling.htm .

    MrHappyGoLucky12
  7. Dee50

    Dee50 New Member

    If you really don't want the turtles, you should be able to give them to a small pet shop.

    I've had red-ears for years. Mine live outside in our pond and nowdays 4 of them are sleeping in a box in the garage. I couldn't find the rest of them.

    My daughter has a huge (red ear) one that she lets run around the house and only places her in water to feed her (goldfish) or big fish pellets. They are big time meat eaters. :)

    Have fun,
    Dee50
  8. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    not pet shops! very few pet shop owners are knowledgable in their animals and levels of care are usually low.
    only just enough to get the pets by until sold.

    with alyndra they are getting the best care.
    alyndra try google groups and type in reptiles,double check with them on the peas. with what you said about the beaks open ready to attack,my mothers adopted cockatiel does that.she took him on after his owner evicted him because he broke his mates wing.
  9. Dee50

    Dee50 New Member

    Sorry Smiffy79 I feel you are wrong. My husband has run a small pet shop for over 10 years and believe me he knows what he is doing! People came to see him from 3 states for his nohow. He matches his customers with his animals and will not sell one to a customer that doesn't know what the deal (care wise, size ect) is.

    He carries salt water and fresh water fish. Snakes, turtles, dragons ect.. He always takes animals back from customers if for what even reason they don't want them any more. The key word here is small pet shop ran by someone that knows what they are doing!lol There are some very high quaility shops around in the US.

    I personal have a bearded dragon that I've keeped for 10 years. He eats peas and other stuff. The oldest one I've seen on line is 9 years old.

    The biggest problem that I see with turtles is that they need to be out in the sun when it's warm enough and they are big fish eaters so they do not belong in a fish tank with your favorite fish, yea they will eat them sooner or later.

    We built this shop from nothing and believe me it is very hard work. Our animals get the best of care the animals that customers return sometimes are in very bad shape and it is sometimes because the people don't want them any more. That is so sad and we have dealt with this for years. My husband is the one nursing them back to health. All I'm saying is it's a two sided road. We are big time animal loves and have saved many over the years.

    My first love is boxers that people don't want for what ever stupid reason and I've hear some wild reasons over the years.

    Take care,
    Dee50
  10. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    sorry to offend.
    in my area you will get no sence or reason from a pet shop owner and i know of one who professes to be an expert in everything and so help me have i been near to slapping him!

    im also basing my experience on my working life where i worked for a man ~ in a small pet shop ~ who would order in anything remotly exotic and it would sit on the shelf and rot. he would stare at anyone who walked through the door,even me when i stopped working for the wierd fool.

    i can not recommend a single pet shop anywhere in my area ~ nor country come to think of it where alyndra would be given sensible help and advice.

    you as the opposite are rare and i hope your shop and reputation continue to grow.
    love and hugs smiffy (i am rather passionate when it comes to animals)
  11. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    I've called all the people I know who are fully devoted to animals & reptiles... nothing.

    I've called all the local specialty shops around here who don't consider their animals "stock"... nothing.

    I've pleaded with the humane society... nothing.

    It's still not my intention to keep them, but keeping them is right now the only other option to releasing them; which during a Canadian winter would just be killing them.

    I've borrowed another submersable heater from a friend, so with the 2 heaters running the water stays a constant 78-80. They're eating the turtle pellets finally, and my boyfriend sucked it up and spent $80 on a half decent filter which still seems pretty useless.

    The two of them have both started shedding, and I don't know if this is normal for them - but since they started shedding everything has become SOOO slimey. We still give them fresh water everyday, because the slightest bit of smell makes me naseaus - it just never seems to be enough!

    I thought things would get better once they had good heat, light, and food - but now 1 of them is constantly vomiting. The guy at the pet store suggested the sick one be put in a tank of his own, but yeah right. I just managed to scrounge up the stuff for 1 tank; nevermind another.

    Now it seems they're going to be staying awhile, because no one wants adult turtles; nevermind ones that are sick, too.

    Their shells are slighty bigger then the size of a CD right now, and they're both male... If they do end up staying, I'm HOPING this is fullgrown for them.

    I can honestly say though that for an animal who only swims and eats; they're a HUGE pain in the butt to maintain. Not even babysitting a 6' python is this bad!

    So really, anybody want some turtles? The only guy that's offered to take them has suggested making soup out of them.

    Thanks to everybody for all their input!

    ~Amanda

  12. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    i dont know what else to suggest. we see it in dog rescue when its considered a 'problem dog' the big rescues dont want to know thats why we handle so many deaf dogs.

    i would seek to rehome them to a knowledgable home and home check the new home. draw a contract up stating that if the new home dont wnat them for any reason they are to be returned to you.

  13. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    rosies a cute name,my tortoise was timmy. not very imaginative :)
  14. damz68

    damz68 New Member

    Are you sure its a red ear? If so they are found from Texas to Illinois east to Alabama.

    The water does not need to be 80. The ponds they frequant in Texas summer heat rarely get 80. Another thing is they dont even have to live in water is a matter of fact they would be better off in a dry tank if they are showing signs of illness.

    If they dont eat dont let it upset you, I once cared for a yellow belly slider that got hit by a car. This turtle did not eat for three months, the whole winter, before I returned it to its pond.

    If you do keep them tn water they need half the tank dry, preferably rocks or something sturdy. If they stay wet they will get a bacterial infection. The only freshwatter turtle that can stay wet for extended periods is the softshell turtles.

    Got to go
  15. damz68

    damz68 New Member

    What I would do is put them in the tank with a shallow tuperware type dish with rocks aranged where they can climb in and out but also where it can be removed easily for fresh water(once a day). The water would be no more than one inch deep, really only used for feeding as some turtles will eat much better in the water, kinda like a feeding response. They eat all sorts of stuff from lettuce and other greens to insects and earthworms, I had a red ear that ate banannas! Keep trying stuff and if they dont eat no big deal, they can go without for months. Keep a light on one side of cage for warmth and leave a cool down side. Turn off lights at night.

    Wash your hands after handling, pet water turtle carry a host of bacteria including salmonella, all the more reason to keep them out of water. They could be ill, might be the reason they were droped at your door. If they look listless, puffy eyes, mucus arond nose or blowing bubbles out there nose let me know.

    Whatever you do dont release them, I know it sucks to have to be responsible for some idiots problem. They could not survive in Canada and if they did they could kill or sicken wild populations if they are ill or carrying some bacteria.

    Turtles are very easy to care for and can live for years if cared for properly. I am sure if you put an add in the paper someone would take them off your hands.
  16. dreamharp

    dreamharp New Member

    Years ago I bought my son box turtles. Finding a food they
    liked was difficult at first. They became very happy eating
    dog food and greens. They lived for many many years!

    I think if you put an ad in the paper and write about their
    personalities in a positive note-the phone may be ringing
    off the hook! Also, perhaps a science teacher at a school
    might take them in and use them in a postive way to teach
    children how to care for them etc. I know the school my
    kids went to always had some pet in the class room and
    the teacher(s) took good care of the classroom pet.
    Just some thoughts.

    Dreamharp[This Message was Edited on 12/30/2005]
  17. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    Bumping for any more replies for Amanda. I love turtles. Had a pet snapping turtle named Shirley, but I let her walk in the yard and lost her. :( I was just a small kid then, 6 years old or so. Had baby red ears too, but I never knew how to properly take care of them and they died. :(

    I'm sticking with cats now. Amanda how is Qwanto doing?

    Hugs,
    Faye
  18. damz68

    damz68 New Member

    those cute little turtles rarely make it to an adult because people think that aquatic turtles spend there entire life in the water. Wild turtles spend most of the day basking. The sun and breezes keep harmfull bacteria in check. In the aquerium full of water without natural sunlight or wind bacteria grows out of control.

    The pet stores that sell them dont even know how to keep them healthy. Most people think that they dont live long, in the wild they live 30 years easy. In captivity, if cared for properly, aqatic turtles can live 40 years.

    I caught a snaping turtle a couple years back that weighed 83 pounds! It is hard to believe they start life so tiny and grow into giants.
  19. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    Me and my healthy half ran into an old friend at a new years party who has always been very dedicated to animals; reptiles especially. I told him the situation, and how I ended up with the little buggers - and without hesitation he said that if we could keep them till Friday; he'd take them.

    Luckily he doesn't believe in commercial foods for animals, so the turtles will be in a natural habitat setting. The tank he will be using for them is about 200 gallons, and it will pretty much have it's own little eco system specific to their species needs.

    At this point I'm very happy that the Humane Society refused them, and that a reptile rescue wouldn't take them - because I know they would never have ended up in such a good place.

    You guys have all been such a great help during their stay, I'm sure they're just as thankful as I am! Deep down inside I have to admit there's a little part of me that will be sad to see them go.

    As for Qwanto - she's been doing wonderful with her new medications! She's FULL of feathers, and she's alot more docile towards the other birds now, too.

    All in all, while this past little while has been very hectic - it's been an overall good experience.

    Thanks to everybody for all the help!

    ~Amanda
  20. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    Sorry I missed this post. I am so happy you found a home for the turtles. Sounds like a great setup. Is the best thing for them.

    Also happy to hear how little Qwanto is doing on the med. When you get a chance could you post up to date photos of Qwanto?

    I wish I was able to be here more often. I do think of you often.

    Hugs,
    Faye