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Turtles/Choosing a Tank Mate for a Mississippi Mud Turtle

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Question
My mother in law recently "gifted" my husband and I with a hatchling turtle she found in her driveway in Waco, TX.  His name is Nathaniel and we have recently IDed him as a Mississippi Mud Turtle.  I have experience with keeping aquatic turtles (RES mostly), but my husband has none.  We decided to keep Nathaniel and he is doing very well, growing like a weed and eating like crazy.

We currently have him in a 15 gallon long tank with plans to upsize once he grows a little more (he's about the size of a half dollar now), but we'd like to get him another turtle as a tank mate.  I've read that Reeves turtles and spotted turtles stay relatively the same size (or just a little bigger) than Mississippi muds at maturity and are similar to muds in the fact that they are semi-aquatic/shallow water turtles, but I have no experience with either.

What I'd like to know is whether either or both of these types of turtles would make a good tank mate for a mud turtle (and which would be better if there's a preference or another you would suggest) as well as the size tank you would need for an adult of each species to share comfortably.

Any advice would be much appreciated and any additional details about the turtle you recommend would also be welcome.

Question #1 details: species: Mississippi Mud Turtle; habitat size: 15 gallon long aquarium; substrate: river rocks; humidity: unknown; bask temps: 85-90 degrees; lighting: unsure of brand and wattage, but we have a separate heat lamp sold for turtles and a UVB fluorescent in the hood; vet history: checked for possible respiratory infection after we found him, too small to inject, cleared on its own; food offered: reptomin hatchling pellets and freeze dried shrimp; feeding schedule: twice daily, morning and afternoon; supplements: turtle calcium block put in water every 2 weeks; last time ate: this morning; water given: n/a; last defecated: unknown; wild caught; shedding: n/a; other animals: shares tank with 2 snails, a cory catfish, 2 zebra danios, and 2 dalmatian mollies.

Answer
Sorry, but these are general and BASIC husbandry info questions, and if you don't already know this, then you shouldn't have the turtle and it's irresponsible to have the turtle when you don't know the basics of this. I'm also not in anyway supportive of what any of you have done. As far as I'm concerned, you're wildlife thieves. He was STOLEN from nature. This is a wild turtle. He should be released immediately and you should learn some respect for wildlife, and about the dangers to this poor turtle of capturing a wild reptile and forcing it into captivity to be your curio.

I guess you aren't very well studied on the issue of taking wild caught reptiles as pets...the stress and health effects, the captive stress induced parasite blooms, etc. The only thing I'm going to advise you on - is setting him FREE!

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Mick

Expertise

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, wikivet.net, lafebervet.com, 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.

Experience

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.

Organizations


Co-Founder & Director: Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue http://wichitafallsreptilerescue.webs.com http://facebook.com/reptilerescue

Founder: The Society for Horned Lizard Preservationhttp://facebook.com/hornedlizards



Publications
LafeberVet.com 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.

allexperts.com, and various reptile related forums and email lists under the handles "fireside3" and PhrynosomaTexas".

Education/Credentials
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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