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Turtles/My RES in pond


QUESTION: Ok I have spoke to you about a week ago took turtle out of pond he was making a awful crying sound again he went into the bathtub seemed to be doing great he ate his pellets some greens he went to bathroom well today I am going out of town this morning woke up to him crying I have looked everywhere and have not seen anything about this crying sound I took him out side and he kept going straight to pond area I let him in he swam across pond to deep end and got out he is normally always in water I tried to feed him this morning didn't seem to want to eat little bubbles coming out of mouth last night , he has been out of pond now almost an hour

ANSWER: Hi Lisa,

Turtles don't vocalize to speak of.  They can make a hissing sound when they pull into their shells, and male tortoises will making squeaking noises when mating (I've never heard a water turtle do this), but not normally a crying type sound.  That's why I asked about other symptoms--it's hard to say what a sound is without hearing it.  However, the bubbles and reluctance to swim are worrisome.  When turtles develop respiratory problems (pneumonia), they often avoid swimming because they have difficulty remaining stable and will swim tilted/lopsided.  Try listening to his breathing again, to see if there is any wheezing, gurgling, whistling, etc.  You can also try putting him in a tub of water to see if he can swim normally.  If he can't keep himself level in the water, something is going on and he should see a vet.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes I recorded the sound and the guys at pet store thought I was crazy they said in all their years of working with them have never heard anything like this our dog lays by bathroom tub I think she thinks there is a baby puppy in there thank God I have video but I am unable to post it on here. Going to vet in morning I'm thinking early stages of RI thanks for your assistance

Hi Lisa,

Pet stores aren't the best places for turtle information.  Most of the time they really don't know much.  It sounds like your turtle is starting to make this sound frequently.  If so, I think a vet visit is the best thing to do.  Sounds like a definite RI to me; at the very least something is going on and needs to be checked out.  Please post when you get a chance and let me know what's up.  Thanks!


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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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