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Turtles/Growth on Tortoise Face


My Russian tortoise has a growth like object on the side of her face, near the jawline and mouth. It appeared out of nowhere. It was dry looking at first and about 18 hours later there is a pus like substance coming out when I touch it (trying to cleanse the area with a swab) and it has a red pigment near and on it. She is still eating and is very active. Not sure what is wrong? I have another tortoise who lives beside her in the same enclosed area. Should I separate them for now?

Hi Cynthia,

Sounds like it's most likely an abscess (very common).  You need to take your tortoise to a herp vet for treatment and antibiotics; it's not something you can treat at home. You don't have to separate them as long as she's acting normally.  Recovery should go just fine.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


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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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