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Turtles/My 1yr old snapper is acting weird


Just recently (2 days ago) my 1yr old snapper started action weird. At 1st I noticed that he wasn't swimming up to the side of his tank for feedings, which he usually always does anytime I go by his tank. I let it go a day. Then yesterday I pick him up and he goes completely stiff for several seconds, then comes out of it and starts twitching, then goes limp. Then he snaps out of it and he's fine. He's NEVER done this before and its scaring me. He usually either tucks into his shell or wiggles when I pick him up. Please help! He still hasn't eaten.

Hi Katie,

Could you provide more information?  With as much detail as possible, I need to know:

1)  How long you've had your turtle, where you got it, and how big it is
2)  Size of tank, type of filter and lighting (basking/UVB)
3)  Basking and water temperature
4)  Diet
5)  Any other symptoms--skin or shell changes, wheezing, yawning/gaping, lethargy, changes in normal activity

If you can post a clear picture of him and/or the tank it would also help.  With more information, I can give you better advice.  Lack of appetite isn't necessarily a concern in and of itself, but with the symptoms you described it does sound like something is going on.  


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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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