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Turtles/Tutle help


hi I have a painted turtle and his back legs are swollen and he wont use them hey just drag on the ground what's wrong with him??

Hi Rebecca,

In order to help you I need more information.  Please post back and give me as much detail as you can on the following:

1)  How big/old your turtle is and how long you've had him, and if he's been around any other turtles
2)  If you are sure of the sex (juveniles can't be sexed, so that may be a factor)
3)  How big his tank is, and what kind of filter you're using
4)  The exact water and basking temperatures
5)  What bulbs you're using for heat and UVB
6)  Complete diet
7)  Any other symptoms such as lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, any changes to skin or shell, etc.

What you're describing could be quite serious, and I suggest you take him to a vet as soon as you can.  It's really not something that can be diagnosed online, as it could be anything from egg binding to infection to kidney disease.  Lower the water level in his tank for now, to make sure he can't drown.  If you can post back with the information I asked for, I can help you to make sure you have him set up correctly, with enough room for his size, good water quality, proper heat and UVB, and a good diet.  Generally health issues stem from being kept improperly, so there may be some things that you need to change.


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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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