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Turtles/Injured RFT


I have a Red Footed Tortoise (Charlie), appx 8 mo old. Somehow he cut himself on the side of his face, from the split of his mouth opening (beginning of the jaw) to under his eye. I have been using neosporin daily to keep the infection away, but he keeps re-opening the wound every time he eats and it seeps blood for an hour or so after he eats. I can't imagine that a vet could use sutures to close it because he is so small, the wound is thin, and they probably wouldn't hold as they would pull every time he eats. I thought to maybe try Liquid bandage. Would that be safe?

Hi Jacque,

Tortoises take a long time to heal, which can be a problem in cases like this.  The Neosporin is safe, but I wouldn't use anything else because it's so close to his mouth.  You didn't say how long he's had the injury, but if it's been more than a couple of weeks and it doesn't seem to be healing at all, I'd take him to the vet for an examination.  He may be developing an underlying infection, and there may be a better antibiotic ointment to use.  The other thing to try is skipping feedings in order to give the tissue a chance to heal.  Tortoises don't need to eat daily (although they like it), and it won't hurt him to eat less often for a couple of weeks, so try skipping a couple of days between feedings and see if that makes a difference.  


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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