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Reptiles/possible shell rot baby turtle


I suspect my turtle has shell rot. She is a baby female yellow belly slider. She has a dark "U" shaped mark around one of her scales. It seems to fallow the color pattern but it's darker. I only just bought the turtle from a pet shop and i do not know the conditions she was kept in. I think she is very young and her shell in not particularly hard yet. There are no white marks and no obvious signs of injury. She has no other signs of illness, she's active and she easily accommodated, and she began eating pretty fast.
I took photos of the condition:

Hi Baias,

I can definitely see the area you are referring to in the photo. Aquatic turtles are not my strong area of knowledge other then basic care. You may want to also direct this question to the "turtle" section of this site. It is a sub-division of "exotic pets".

The edges of the scutes look like they are turning brown and thin which I  would also suspect to be an early sign of shell rot. Those areas look like they could break or chip away easily which is typical of infected areas.

The conditions that turtles are kept in during shipment and then at the wholesaler and finally the pet store are often not hygienic and usually involves over-crowding which is the perfect combination for shell problems.

It sounds like you have her set up properly now and she is showing no other symptoms which is a positive sign that it has not advanced.

Mild cases of shell rot can be treated with Povidone Iodine or chlorhexidine. If those are not available to you in Romania then any topical antiseptic can be used.

Treatment involves painting the affected areas with the treatment and "dry docking"  the turtle for a couple hours ie. putting them in a completely dry temporary container.

This allows the medication to be absorbed. Turtles hate being out of the water but it does not harm them. You may have to repeat the treatment for a few days and may not notice a change until those scutes are shed off.

This site has info for treating mild cases of shell rot.  


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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