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Turtles/My baby snapping turtle


Today i put my baby snapping turtle in some hot water because it was freezing out thinking she may like it, but as soon as i put her in the water she started withering and swimming upside down so. Took her out and put her on the rock in her tank and she keeps opening and costing her mouth and stretching her neck up high and she won't eat, im worried about her. What do i do?

How hot was the water?  If it felt hot to your hand, it was MUCH too hot for your turtle.  The tank should have a basking light and water heater if the water is too cold, although temperatures outside don't matter if the turtle is inside anyway.

There is not a whole lot you can do except wait and see if she survives.  If the water was really hot, she may die, but the damage is already done at this point.  I would remove her from the tank for now and put her in a box or plastic bin with a folded towel, so she doesn't drown if she falls into the water.  Put the box in a dark place that's about 70 degrees (NOT HOT) and check on her every few hours.  If she's recovering, you'll know it.

NEVER put a turtle in hot water!  If it feels hot to your hand, it's already too hot for them.  The tank water only needs to be about 75-78 degrees, which would feel cool to our hand, and there should be a basking area of about 90 degrees (on the basking surface, not air temperature).  It's extremely important to have your turtle set up correctly.  Snapping turtles get large and need a large tank with excellent water quality.  If you can tell me how you have her set up--tank size, filter, brand of basking and UVB bulbs, diet, etc., I can help you to make sure you have her in the right conditions.

Let me know how she's doing.  If she's going to make it, she should be much better within a day.


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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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