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Turtles/Red eared slider


QUESTION: Hello and thanks for taking the time to read this. I have two baby red eared sliders. But when I take them out to a container filled with water to feed them, they will fight for food. If one of them has the food, the other one will bite the other's front leg. I'm  afraid that they will lose their limbs. Is there a way to solve this problem?

ANSWER: Hi Nicole,

I would feed them separately.  This is a good idea anyway, because it often happens that one will hog most of the food, and you don't always realize it until it becomes obvious when one hatchling is much bigger than the other.

I don't know what you were told about caring for your turtles, but it's important to know that RES require a lot of room.  This is even more true if you keeping two of them together.  For two hatchlings, you should have at least a 30-40 gallon tank, but they will outgrow it rapidly, so be prepared to get something bigger.  Two adult RES need about a 200 gallon tank--with a filter that can handle twice that capacity, large basking area, UVB, etc.

Here's some additional information on care of RES that should be helpful:

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QUESTION: Thank you for answering my last question. I was told at the pet store that they can live in a small plastic tank. They currently live in a bigger glass bowl and I'm currently searching for a bigger tank for them. Can natural sunlight work for them? I currently don't have a UVB for them.

You can figure roughly 10 gallons of tank for every inch of turtle.  So if you have two 2" hatchlings, you need a 40 gallon tank--but remember that they grow pretty quickly, so it's better to get a bigger tank that you can use for a few years.  And you absolutely need a good filter.  Poor water quality accounts for many of the health problems with shell and skin.

Natural sunlight is very good for them, but it can't be filtered through a window.  If they can go outside a few hours a day, that would provide them with sufficient UVB.  However, do not put them outside in a small tank or bowl in direct sunlight, because they will overheat very quickly and likely die.  They should be in something big enough to provide both shade and sun, so they can choose where they want to be in order to regulate their temperature.


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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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