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Turtles/Shell Mold


My turtles shell
My turtles shell  
I think that my turtle has shell mold (the white stuff) and I was wondering if there is a way of getting rid of it myself instead of bringing her to the vet, or should I just bring her to the vet?

Hi Anna,

I assume you mean shell rot?  I really can't see anything in the picture, sorry.  Here is a page that has some good information on home treatment of shell rot:  If you think the rot is mild, treating it at home is possible; however, the #1 most important thing is to address the cause.  

Shell rot is nearly always caused by improper housing, especially poor water quality.  Make sure your turtle has a large tank adequate for its size--based on the picture, that's probably a 75-100 gallon tank--with excellent filtration (external cannister sized for 2-3 times the tank's capacity).  Having a large enough tank with good filtration will make a huge difference.  Also check your temperatures and make sure the basking temp is adequate and the water not too warm for the species.  Generally this means about a 90 degree basking temp (not air, but suface temp under the basking bulb) and about 75 degree water, but can vary somewhat depending on species.  If the basking temp is too low or water too warm, the turtle won't spend enough time basking and won't dry out properly.

If you have more questions, please ask.  And if you're not sure about treating the shell rot, it's a good idea to visit the vet for treatment.


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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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