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Turtles/Does my turtle have RI ? PLEASE HELP


I have a baby 3 stripped muck turtle. She was living in a 50 gallon tank with a red ear slider and a yellow belly. She was found on the side walk about a year ago; I feed her once in the morning and once at night, she ate fine this morning (3 shrimps and 3 pellets. Shes about an 1 inch 1/2, water is giving from the faucet, I don't have a heater in the tank, I have moved her back in to a 10 gallon tank by herself so I can monitor her, and there has not been any shedding. When I first had her in the 10 gallon tank she would always swim at the bottom, and rarely bask on the dock, but after I moved her to the 50 gallon tank with her tank mates witch was a week ago she NEVER swam all the way down and she is was on the dock 90% of the time witch I found really weird, I started to get worried because she barely swims around now, and if she does shes on the surface of the water. She also floats now, and i don't know why. Please help! :( I don't want my turtle to die. could she have RI? or could it be something else? If so what should I do?

Most of you posing me questions don't seem to be getting the message. I have a specific set of instructions that are to be followed when submitting these sort of veterinary questions to me, and if you aren't willing to provide the background that I ask for, then do not ask me the question. I don't know how much more clear I can make it.

Most of the time, I would just reject your question right off for not following those directions. You are asking about diagnosis and treatment of illnesses via internet, where I can't see the patient, and which would normally require you to see a veterinarian to get the level of help I provide. I get bashed often enough by the veterinary industry for even doing this online. The least you can do is follow my instructions if you want that kind of help. I'm going to actually extend a little extra courtesy this time, and rather than reject this question, I will give you an opportunity to follow up with the information asked for in the instructions. It will be completely up to you to go back to find that, and then provide me with those required details. If that's too much trouble for you, then my advice is to see a veterinarian. I will not play guessing games because of an incomplete patient and husbandry history.



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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.

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