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Reptiles/Some RES Questions?


So I'm in China and I can't find a herp vet but I bought a RES at a store not far from my school and I've tried to keep up with his/her health and I've spent hours online but there's such a variety of responses and just a huge range of answers that I'd like more specific help if possible? I just didn't realize how vastly under-prepared for this pet I was and now I'm panicking but taking him back would be worse because the conditions weren't good at all.

So my tortoise is just a little bit larger than a quarter so he can't be very old, he's definitely a Red Eared Slider, and I don't have a proper UV basking light (I know how bad this is, I'm trying to order one online!) I keep his tank dry and put him in water 5+ times a day to bathe, drink, potty, etc b/c I read online that doing it this way can help prevent fungal/bacterial infection? I also have a heated water-pillow that I try and keep him on.

So my question is about typical behavior of baby  RES; he has only eaten once in the 3 weeks I've had him (I dipped his turtle pallets in tuna and he ate about half of one, and I think he nibbled some of the grape that was near him). The first week and a half he wouldn't stop moving, but now he's mostly stationary. He doesn't open his eyes often but when he does I can see his eyes clearly and there is no mucus or cloudyness. Lately he's been stretching his legs completely out of his shell more or pulling them all the way in, when he's in and out of the water. And he's been 'clicking' a bit, is the best way I can describe it; he opens and closes his mouth and it makes a light clicking or popping noise but doesn't want to eat anything. I think he might squeak sometimes but I never know if it's him.

Sorry there's so much!!! Any answer at all would be so helpful!! I understand if you can't but I'm really out of my depth here and I don't want him to die :(

I wish I could give you a good answer, or a better prognosis. Turtles that size are illegal to sell in most countries because they are difficult to keep healthy in captivity. It doesn't sound like you have the correct equipment to care for a baby RES. The "clicking" you are hearing is likely pneumonia.

Water turtles do not make good pets for people who do not have experience with water reptiles. They are also not very friendly animals and they are prone to diseases.

I'm sorry for your situation. Honestly, you should not have been sold such a tiny turtle. It sounds like you did your best for him.

In the future I recommend doing many hours of research about the care of any animal you are considering getting as a pet. Each has specific housing, feeding, space, and enrichment requirements.



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Jennifer C Parnell


I can answer questions about health, diet, behavior, housing requirements, common illnesses, and general husbandry of most reptiles. My answers are not a substitute for veterinary care. If I don't feel confident about answering your question, I can generally point you to someone who can answer it, or advise you to seek veterinary help.


My father is a licensed veterinarian for 40+ years. He specialties include venomous American snakes, reptiles, rodents, primates, dogs, cats, goats, geese. I grew up assisting him and have always maintained rescued, injured, or unwanted reptiles. I'm familiar with snakes, most common lizards, turtles, terrapins and tortoises. I'm also familiar with Bearded Dragons and currently have several.

veterinary technician wildlife biology

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