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Turtles/turtle butting another turtles dick.

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Question
Hello. I have two different turtles one a red eared slider and the other is a Mississippi map turtle. we have them together in one tank. so today the map turtles dick was out and the red eared slider bit it. after when we seen her bite the turtles dick we took her out and put her into another tank. the map turtle his dick went back in a couple hours later. right now they are still sperated but we're not sure if the red eared slider is pregnant or not.

so I'm wondering on how you can tell if the turtle is pregnant and also why she bit the map turtles dick?

Answer
Hi Caitlin,

The appropriate term would be "penis."  The biting is something that can happen if a turtle is flashing his penis, but it's not something you want to continue because it can cause enough damage to require surgical amputation--it doesn't bother the turtle, but it would be a costly vet bill.  If the turtles are overcrowded (for two mature turtles of those species, they should be in a 100+ gallon tank), it's more likely to occur.  So you should either separate them or make sure they're in a large tank with plenty of sight breaks and cover.  

As to whether the RES is gravid, assuming the two turtles are correctly sexed, you really can't tell for sure without an x-ray.  They will become very restless when about to lay, but you won't know beforehand.  The eggs would not be viable laid in a tank anyway; it would require a nest box.  Turtles lay on land and not in the water.

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Jeannie

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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