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Turtles/Strange discoloration on turtle's shell (freshly shed)



More discoloration.
More discoloration.  
My turtle has a strange light patch in the top of his shell it looks like it's on the same plane as his scoots, but also underneath. It's hard, not fuzzy, and my turtle's additude and spirited hasn't changed. He basks normally, and just short his scoots a week or so ago. Under the scoots was how I discovered it. He did take a tumble before the summer of this year (he escaped over his old basking spot and went over board...he looked and acted unharmed)- but besides that he has a healthy diet of fresh bugs, clean water, veggitation, and his basking lamps. I don't know what could be the problem! He has a 55 G long tank with the temp in the 70s

Hi Colleen,

It looks like shell rot, possibly old (healed) shell rot, but I see some pinkness that's a little concerning.  Is there any oozing, odor, or softness to the areas?

You may need to make some changes to the tank.  How big is your turtle?  A 55 gallon tank is appropriate for a turtle that's 5-6".  Make sure you have a very good filter; water quality is very important.  What kind of basking and UVB lights are you using?  The basking temperature (under the lamp on the basking surface, not air temperature) should be about 90 degrees, and the water 74-75 degrees.  If there's not enough difference between water and basking temps, the turtle may not bask enough to thoroughly dry out the shell, which can lead to rot.  Make sure your turtle is basking frequently--at least several hours a day.  

You can treat shell rot at home, but if it's old rot you don't need to treat.  If you can post back and answer my questions, then we can figure out what it is and go from there.  


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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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