You are here:

Turtles/Female RES acting quiet


QUESTION: Hello Tina, I have a question.  I was given a male & female RES, male has shell 6", female just over 5 1/4" shell.  I kept them together in a large aquarium until my other one was finishing cycling.  After only a week together, I saw them mating.  I was a little disturbed at 1st as I wasn't sure what was going on.  She was dragging him along behind her but they were definitely locked together back there LOL.

Before the mating last week, for the 2 wks. I've had them, she was always grabbing food, swimming around, hardly ever basking whereas the male always would.

Since mating last week, I've separated them because she would go up to the basking area in their tank & stay there almost indefinitely.  She wouldn't even care about eating.  She has eaten some food I think, whereas the male is voracious.

I separated them yesterday but her behaviour hasn't changed.  She'll sit & sit & sit up on her basking site.  I've looked her over and can't 'see' anything wrong with her.  She notices me.  She did/does have a few peeling scutes? from her plastron area.

Do you know what's wrong?  Could it be from shedding or could the male have hurt her internally some way with the mating?

BTW, water temp is about 74 degrees & basking about 85 degrees.


ANSWER: Paula, Your habitat is fine. Your heat ranges are great. After a female mates she tends to get a bit less active and will bask more to keep her eggs warm. She may change her diet and only eat certain things or may go off feed all together. Not uncommon so don't worry. I do not think there was any damage done in fact I think they did everything right and now you are going to have a hatchling's...congratulations. Then she will become more calm and unusually close to laying goes off feed. She will carry the eggs for about 60 days or a bit less. You can sometimes tell if she is gravid by gently applying pressure in front of her back legs under her carapace ....If you can not already see the bulging. You need to make her a nesting box as soon as possible. Especially if she is showing signs of trying to nest. Hanging at the bottom trying to move things or restless. The easiest way to do this is since they are already separated let her make the nest and lay before she becomes egg-bound. This is not to hard. You will need some sterile potting soil and sand. Make it 3-6 inches deep and a 50/50 mix. When she lays I would recommend an extra clip on light shining directly on the nest  if you can't keep temp at 85 degrees on them.

      If all goes well in about in about sixty to ninety days you will have hatchling's. The hatchling's can be kept in their own tank for a few months until you find homes or have many If they are fertile and they make it. They are omnivorous when they are young so stick with fruit and veggie's. Always a pellet supplement. Because you keep your tanks so well they will not follow the normal breeding patterns as a wild RES. They may do this a few times or more a year. The peeling scutes are probably from him in the mating process. If you have any other questions please ask.I Will get right back to you. Good Luck, Tina

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Tina and thank you so much for the warm reply!

I knew about making a nesting tub/box with 50/50 medium BUT I need to please understand about the setting up of it as soon as possible?  I was just a little confused about her "carrying the eggs for about 60 days or a bit less".  Does that mean I don't have to set up the nesting box until 60 days has passed & she'll 'then' lay them?  Or...will she lay them within a couple of weeks after the actual mating happened?  

Thanks, I've read so many conflicting articles on this.  Some people say a few weeks after mating, some say right after mating, etc. etc. Whew! Please set me straight LOL.

I want to do what's best for her & before it's too late.  I don't want her egg bound.  It's been about 1 1/2 wks., maybe little more since the actual 'act' took place lol.


ANSWER: Paula, Because this is her first pregnancy I would set it up about 3  weeks before she lays. Keep your water temp in the home tank about 80-85. Leave her with the male its ok. The less you handle her the better. Pros and cons to in water and an incubation box. I like it natural and this is why. In the boxes you can't keep as good an eye on them. Sometimes the hatchling's can't dig themselves out and the worst case scenario would be if one dies in the egg and gets covered with fungus and it spreads to the other eggs and sometimes this is hard to notice. So in my opinion put her back let her go through her basking and picky eating moods and since you have a good time idea of when she became gravid. At about 2 weeks before laying or a bit sooner she will spend a lot of time at the bottom and do  a lot of digging motions looking for place to lay. This when you move her to the other tank. This should be filled with your 50/50 mix to about 5 to 6 inches. Until she lays make sure her basking area is there and at least 10 inches of water. After she lays you can return her home. Lower your water level to about 5-6 inches. You still make sure their water is about 85 degrees and your home tank can go back to their regular ambient and water temperatures. Make sure that the tanks stay very clean right now and through out her pregnancy and the hatchling tank clean without disturbing the eggs. Remember it can take a week or more for her to lay all her eggs. Usually between 2-20.

     When your babies' are born they are going to escape their shell with what they call an egg tooth. This will fall off in a few hours or less so don't worry that is normal. They will also have a yolk sac attached to them. Do not remove it let it fall off on its own. They will heal. Make sure they have a basking area set up for them. Remember this usually takes around 90 days. So keep an eye on your calendar through all of this. It makes it much easier. If there is anything else please ask. There are no stupid questions except the ones you don't ask. Please let me know how many and how they did. Good Luck, Tina

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Tina, I realize you must be very busy but I was wondering is there any photos on the internet of the kind of set up you described about the tank with 5-6" of 50/50 mix plus her basking area & 10 inches of water?  May sound dopey but the only tank I'd have to let her lay eggs if it's going to be an aquarium, is a 29 gallon aquarium.  How would I fit all of this into a 30" long tank?

One other thing is so many say separate the female from the male once mating has happened which is why I did so.  People say the male will constantly harass a female & that in nature females are never this constantly close to a male at all times (in ANY aquarium type situation) compared to a pond/lake, etc. If I had to keep her temperature in the water at 80 or so, that would mean the male would also have to put up with that temperature.

Sorry to bug you once again but appreciate if you could let me know about these two points.  Thanks!!


Paula, If he won't stop bothering her or picking on her definitely separate them gently. The problem with the 29 gallon is you wont be able to give her enough space to have your egg laying area. I should have been more specific I am sorry. She won't lay for awhile but, she will need her nesting area soon so she can get comfortable with it so she don't retain her eggs. So I would recommend getting at least a need the length. This is what you need to do exactly. You need to get a divider for your tank. On half put your nesting material.On the other side keep your water about ten inches. Approximately. Make sure they are ramps in and out. The soil must stay most preferably more moist under a little extra sand on top to dig in on top. I use a turkey baster I know but, it works to keep the nesting area perfect. Definitely put a clip light over the nesting area about 85 degrees. Keep the temp in the water about the same. She will bask a lot to keep her eggs warm. A lot of people like to remove the eggs and incubate themselves. Like I said natural is better. When they hatch lower your water to about four inches keeping the nesting area and your ramps. If you look up nesting boxes for slider there are a lot of video's Most of them are not natural incubation. There are a couple. A lot of them are on doing it yourself and there are a lot of things that can go wrong as I said. Please check them out. Good Luck Paula, Tina


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Tina Beatty-Quiao


I can answer all questions on care feeding of these amazing creatures.What is the best way to keep your turtle.....identification and some tricks for keeping cleaner aquarium for water turtles. Familiar with disease and medications care for shellrot to fostering the eggs if necessary.


I have worked in the petcare industry for about 20 yrs. Managed petshop for yrs and have and a red footed tortoise of my own and a chinese box. I am familiar with most. Dealt with tons over the yrs.

I was an expert here before and, would like now that I have abit of free time, to help people take proper care of theses misunderstood and extremely delicate creatures.

I have learned alot from our preservation society. I have had a course in fostering of sea turtle eggs in Costa Rica. I have alot of yrs experience and work withthem on regular basis.

Past/Present Clients
I am in the petcare industry so I deal with them on a regular basis. If you are looking for an answer maybe I have previously answered you may find them under my reptile questions under Tina Quiao.

©2016 All rights reserved.