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Turtles/RES Chipped Shell?


My RES has a small portion of their shell missing, the area beneath where the shell should be is white and pink. It feels a bit slimy and I'm worried that they might be hurt. Please answer ASAP I can't afford a vet bill unless it is 100% necessary to keep him alive.

Hi Kathryn,

Sorry to be slow in answering but I wasn't available over the holiday weekend. Can you possibly post a picture?  It sounds like there might be some shell rot going on, which is treatable. Can you tell me how you have your turtle set up--tank size, filter, lighting, diet, etc.?  Typically shell rot is caused by improper conditions, especially poor water quality, lack of enough basking time, and so forth.

If you can post back with a picture and more information we can decide how best to proceed. In the meantime, I suggest keeping your turtle out of the water and dry for at least a few hours a day. If possible, put him a box with a towel overnight before returning him to his tank.  Drying out will help.  


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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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