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Turtles/weird noise


QUESTION: hello. we have a male res and he is very friendly and calm. two nights a go we heard a noise that sounded like a psst, like someone was whispering trying to get someone's attention subtly. we were freaking out thinking someone was outside our appt. we only heard it once. today we heard it again and discovered it was coming from our male res. he pulls his head in, opens his mouth and pssts. its very weird. he has a good appetite, very active, eyes and nose clear, no bubbles or anything. temps are normal, 80ish in and 85ish out. water is clear and clean due to filter. heater and heating lamps as well. 100 watt day and 100 watt UV. doesn't do it often, maybe once every couple of days. is this a cause for concern?

ANSWER: It's not "weird" at all. It's very will have to follow THE INSTRUCTIONS as my rules indicate and provide all information as directed or I will REJECT your question.

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

QUESTION: species- red eared slider turtle
habitat size- 30 gallon glass
substrate- none
humidity%- no idea
bask/ambient temps- water temp- 85-90 in water, close to 95 on basking area as directed by a vet
lighting: wattage- 100 watt day light and 100 watt UV by exoterra
brand, and type of UVB(tube, coil, spot/flood)- coil
vet history- none I am aware of only had for 1 month
all food offered- reptomin food pellets, plain cooked chicken, occasional strawberries, apples, corn, shrimp, blood worms, live aquatic plants such as hornwort.  
feeding schedule- once every other day
supplements and schedule- reptical powder- once a week
last time ate- Saturday, may 31st at 630 pm
when and how water is given- small bowl on basking area once a day
when last defecated- Friday may 30ith afternoonish
captive bred or wild caught- captive bred
shed recently- every day
other animals living in same terrarium?- yes, female red eared slider turtle

can you help me now???

Yes, assuming you drop the attitude??? I have directions for a reason. Lack of following them wastes my time and the animal's time.

Is your water temp monitored by thermometer?
You state you have a 100watt Exoterra UV lamp, but them you state you have a compact. No compact is 100watt, so can you clarify?
No vet history, but have you consulted with one, since you state basking area is as directed by a vet?

These symptoms are indicative of a respiratory illness, either infectious or non-infectious husbandry related origin.

The turtle should be isolated from the female into a dry dock condition with basking spot available, basking area temp of 100F and a cool side of approx 86F, and allowed only part time access to deep water once per day for 30min to no more than 2hrs. The existing tank should be emptied and cleaned with boiling water and/or vinegar and rinsed well, including any tank decor and accessories and filter systems, and changing of filter media. If you are not using a biologically active filter, I would recommend one, rated at 1.5 to 2x gph capacity of the tank being used to house the turtles.  

If the turtle's symptoms do not abate within a few days, the respiratory issue is likely infectious in nature, which will not self abate and will likely be fatal without a trip to a veterinarian and systemic treatment with a bactericidal.

Also, a 30 gallon tank is woefully inadequate for 2 Red Eared Sliders, unless these are hatchlings or yearlings at most.  


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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,,, 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.


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.


Co-Founder & Director: Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue

Founder: The Society for Horned Lizard Preservation

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

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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