You are here:

Turtles/paint behavior


My largest paint(Tripod) has become very inactive.  She lays around most of the day on a floating dock, not even on the basking rocks.  She rarely eats.  The young paint that I have, whom I believe is male (Chip), will frequently lay under the dock or hover partially on the dock with her.  When Tripod does come off the dock, Chip follows her very closely.  This has been going on for 4 days.  I am getting very concerned.  Do you think this is behavior caused by illness?  Could it be from getting ready to lay eggs or yet something else?  
***species - paint, habitat size - 150 gallon aquarium with 8 x 15 basking area, substrate - partialy flourite, partialy bare, humidity% - unknown, bask/ambient temps - unknown (50W light 8.5 inches from basking rock), whether you use thermometer or humidity gauge - do not use either, UVB lighting - yes both a daytime and night time light, type of UVB light (tube, coil, spot/flood) - spot, brand of UVB light - sunglo, vet history - none, all food offered - zoo med aquatic turtle food, dried shrimp, feeding schedule - morning and evening, supplements and schedule - none, last time ate - 3 days, when and how water is given - no additional water other than the tank (water is clear and filtered with a 4 stage canister filter), when last defecated - unknown, captive bred or wild caught - wild caught, was injured and missing a leg, she adjusted well and have had her now for 3 years, shed recently - no, other animals living in same terrarium - red ear slider, yellow belly slider, 2 paint hatchlings, 1 juvenile paint (believe to be male), some snails and a goldfish.  The paint in question, the 2 sliders and the fish have lived together for over 3 years.  The younger paint has been with them for a year.  The hatchlings have been with them from 2 months.
I appreciate any advice and insight you can give.  I have been unsuccessful in finding the information I am seeking anywhere else.  Thank you.

I'm unsure why you are using flourite here. Do you have live plants?

I need specifics on the UVB lamp. You stated under UVB lighting "yes both a daytime and night time light". Does this mean you are using a UVB light at night? "Daytime" lamp does not = UVB lamp. Under the question of basking/ambient temp you stated "50W light". I need all the lighting detailed in an orderly manner, from brand and model, to wattage and type. You also need a thermometer for the water, and one at the basking area. That's turtle keeping 101. Nobody is going to be able to tell you anything if you can't even give a temperature.

What is the construction of the basking area? Is it simply rocks?
How big is this turtle?

So, if I read this right, you have 6 turtles of varying species, in various stages of growth in the same aquarium...and all wild caught?  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




YOU WILL GET A REJECTION OF YOUR QUESTION IF YOU FAIL TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO QUESTIONER IN FULL!!. I am primarily here to assist with health concerns. I am here for the more difficult questions. Not for questions that you could research and easily find the answer yourself. I have stringent standards that you provide DETAILED and RELEVANT background history on your pet before you ask me ANY question about it other than GENDER or ID. The requested information is in the instructions to questioner. Failure to answer EACH of those questions to provide that background will result in your question being REJECTED. I can answer questions related reptile husbandry, identification (esp. in Texas and the SW), legal aspects, and intermediate-advanced level medical care. I am the director of Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue (TX), a wildlife rehabilitator specializing in reptiles, a founding member of The Society for Horned Lizard Preservation, a subscriber to the International Veterinary Information Service,,, and a Dept of State Health Services certified animal control instructor (CE) for reptile handling. I do most of my own veterinary care in-house. I am most experienced in Chelonia (turtles&torts) with box turtles and common smaller tortoises; and in Squamata (lizards & snakes) with everything from Anoles, Geckos, Beardies, and Monitors, to venomous snakes. I am most known for my expertise with horned lizards (Phrynosoma). With snakes, my primary expertise is in Crotalids (rattlesnakes), but I can answer a broad range of questions about various species. I am not aware of any reptile related question, in general, that I would not be able to provide some reasonable answer for. I have a direct style and may tell you something you did not want to hear; but the welfare of the animal comes first with me, and I will always reflect that position in my answer.


I am an amateur herpetologist, with 20+ years experience in reptiles. I am a reptile rescuer and subscriber to the International Veterinary Information Service. I have medical and scientific resources available, and have had to learn herp medical care over the years. I am not a vet, but I read from the same materials and have had to correct a few in the past, as it related to reptiles. My specific area of expertise is in Chelonians ( primary- Box Turtles ), Phrynosoma ( Horned Lizards ), and Crotalids ( primary- Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes ); though I have some knowledge and/or experience also with aquatic turtles ( primary- Red Eared Sliders ), tortoises ( primary-Sulcata and Horsfieldii ), monitors ( primary- Savannah ), many other smaller lizards, and with some colubrid snakes.

I am currently the caretaker of 5 Horned Lizards, 22 Box Turtles, 18 aquatic turtles, 7 fire Bellied Toads, 3 Green Iguanas, 1 Spiny Lizard, 1 Bullsnake, 5 Eastern Ratsnakes, 4 Great Plains x Eastern Ratsnakes, 1 Albino Great Plains Ratsnake, 1 Massasauga Rattlesnake, 1 Leopard Gecko, 7 Fox Squirrels, 2 Deer Mice, 2 Hispid Cotton Rats, 3 Merriam's Pocket Mice, 1 Cotton-Tail, 1 Former racing pigeon, and 1 Budgie. Previously: Leopard Geckos, Golden Gecko, African White-Spotted Wall Gecko, Mediterranean Geckos, Bahama Anoles, Ca. Kingsnake, Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes, Russian Tortoise, Savannah Monitor, and Eastern Cotton-tail rabbits.


Co-Founder & Director: Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue

Founder: The Society for Horned Lizard Preservation

Publications contributor. The Horned Lizard Husbandry Manual - self published 75 pages of care information on genus Phrynosoma.

Wikipedia entry "Horned Lizards" - contributed to a majority of the content., and various reptile related forums and email lists under the handles "fireside3" and PhrynosomaTexas".

My 20+ yrs of hands-on field, rehabilitation, and captive husbandry experience beats a PhD any day of the week. I am also a state accredited animal control instructor for reptile handling.

Past/Present Clients

I was requested to provide my care manual on the Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos), for the Montreal zoo. My manual is also used by several other zoological institutions in N. America. I also teach reptile education to summer camps, and instruct wildlife rehabilitators on live saving and rehab techniques with reptiles.

©2016 All rights reserved.