Maria asked in PetsReptiles · 8 months ago

What’s wrong with my turtle?

My mother was given a turtle yesterday with nothing other than a bowl and mealworms. I purchased a tank and food but am waiting on everything else (filter, uva/uvb lights, basking dock, water heater, etc.) since it was ordered online. She seems to not want to be in the water and hasn’t ate. I just checked her and she had her head out of her shell and was breathing slightly heavy almost panting but mouth was closed. Is this normal? I can’t find any answers or similar incidents anywhere. We’ve never had a turtle in the past so all this is new to me. Any advice or feedback is greatly appreciated!


Turtle is a yellow bellied slider 

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 months ago
    Favourite answer

    If it is breathing heavily, then it is normal if the room temperature is high. It may be just getting used to its new surroundings. Turtles can last for weeks without eating. So, take it easy and wait for your tank to arrive. Let it settle down and then try feeding it. Turtles will eat raw beef. Give it a try but make sure you cut it in small strips to help it digest the meat. Young turtles also need calcium, so you may want to feed it small fish, small enough for it to swallow or small enough for it to tear apart with its front claws. Right now it is approaching winter. Make sure it is warm enough (75-85 deg. F) to digest its food, or it will die if food rots inside the stomach.

  • odd
    Lv 7
    8 months ago

    Can't really answer the question because you don't say how big the turtle is, or what it's present set-up is, how cold the room is, etc. Turtles breathe with their mouths closed; you will see their throats puff in and out when they do it. If it's scared it will sit with its head and feet pulled inside the shell. if it's sick it may breathe with the mouth open, the head (if out of the shell) will be down, the eyes may be half-closed; it will "look" sick or punky-looking, might have watery eyes or mucus around the nose.

    Giving it the benefit of the doubt it may be getting used to its new home. It may take a few days or even a week or two to get used to things.

  • 8 months ago

    Waaaay too early to panic. One thing you want to check is the temperature. Aim for 80 degree (F) water and a 90 degree basking site. If you are off by a degree or two, no problem. You might want to jury-rig something until the water heater is delivered. Or not. If the temperatures are correct, the turtle should start eating once it gets used to its new surroundings. Forget the mealworms until the turtle is an adult. Their exoskeletons can clog up the turtle's intestinal tract. Better foods are earthworms (for calcium and protein), strips of liver (protein, vitamins, minerals, and helping the mealworm remains to pass through), and small fishes (protein and calcium).

    Good luck.

  • 8 months ago

    i would ask a vet or someone at the petstore about it

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  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    8 months ago

    i would ask a vet about it or someone at a petstore

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