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Unconscious turtle underwater?

Discussion in 'Common Health Problems, Injuries and Treatments' started by Tegan12, Jun 11, 2011.

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  1. Tegan12

    Tegan12 Hatchling Turtle

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    I have 2 ELN, both spend most of their time outside in a huge pond (the water is heated for a constant cosy temp).

    However, yesterday, retrieving one of my turtles for a feed, I found him laying upside down on the bottom of the tank, what appeared to be dead. Lifting him out, his body was limp with eyes closed. I dipped him back into the water to see if he was dead or unconscious, this appeared to 'wake' him up and he was gasping for air.
    Since then, i have kept him out of the water, warm and damp. His behaviour has returned to normal and he seems fine.

    This happened once before, about a year ago. There never seemed to be any sickness that followed or behaviour change.
    I understand they can sleep underwater...but upside down?? Is he in danger of drowning?
    He isn't floating so that's a no for respiratory problems, I think.

    He has had a few health problems before, a injured shell which lead to shell rot, infection of some sort and a lengthy dose of antibiotics. When he was very little, there was another incident with attempting to climb into the pump and appeared to lose consciousness.
    Otherwise, he is a very friendly turtle. They have a great diet (turtle dinner, crickets, fish, shrimp, pellets).

    What should I do? Without a visible symptom, I can't very well take him to the vet. But I'm worried, finding a dead looking turtle in the tank is not pleasant!! :sorry:

    Some insight please!
     
  2. How old/big is he and how deep is the water? It sounds like he's a weak swimmer and the depth of the water may possibly need to be reduced?
     
  3. Craig

    Craig AFT Admin / Public Officer / Turtle Geek
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    That's one of the worst things you could be feeding your turtle!
     
  4. Brian Mercer

    Brian Mercer Adult Turtle

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    If the pellets are plant based use them as garden fertiliser.
     
  5. Nev

    Nev Sub-Adult Turtle

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    I have heard of this problem before with long necks many years ago, I would keep the turtle out of the pond for hibernation for the winter indoors under some grass clippings.

    I have asked vets and other turtle people about this problem before with no answers to why they do it? So over 30 years of keeping turtles I have had some experiences of my own do and do not do , one was to place /drop the turtle into the tank and watched what would happen if they landed on there carapace some species corrected them self others did not, eg like the long neck most could not turn over and without assistance I am sure they would drown/Die .

    I have also seen this with long necks that at feeding time they would try to climb the side of the pond/tank frantically in the water or to get out of deep or cold water then fall backwards onto their carapace sinking to the bottom and could not turn back over with out assistance. In my opinion the turtle will drown without help .I would also like more information on this if anyone knows?

    Regards, Nev
     
  6. trn2la

    trn2la Egg

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    I'm not pretending to be an expert on turtles, I don't know squat, but I'm finding (not so much in colder periods) Murray River turtles are found upside down on the highways all the time. They seem to have no ability to turn them selves over on the ground. Is it possible that they have trouble turning themselves over whilst under water too, not just on the ground? I understand their buoyancy is pretty good and can manoeuvre better underwater than on land, but just say the turtle was of the personality that meant it didn't panic, but did get slightly confused. So instead of flapping his legs wildly, he's kind of just said to himself "Oh well, I'll have a little nap and see if anything has changed when I wake up" :laugh: Again. I don't know much about amphibians but I do know other animals, and they can be real characters sometimes. If you got the money, you should get anything checked by the vet for any animal. However if your poor like 85% of us, they you'll need to be quite vigilant. I know I would hate to find any of my animals in a seemingly unconscious state and not know why. Hope you get to the bottom of it, don't forget to post your results, good or bad, so we can learn from it.

    The highway I am talking about is the Murray valley highway between Strathmerton and Nathalia, however you can see them on roads anywhere there are irrigation channels that run out of the Murray and then alongside the highways. I'd love to see turtle proof fencing, to stop them from going on to the highway, but who's going to pay for that? Certainly the cereal farmers can't and dairy's can't, the Government won't, so I guess keep an eye out when you're up that way.
     
  7. Jen

    Jen Adult Turtle

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    Turtles are reptiles.:p

    If the experts on the site are recommending a visit to the vet, there is nothing that would keep me from going.
     
  8. Quote of the week, hahahaha love it! :laugh:

    Also had a giggle when you referred to turtles as amphibians hehe :p
     
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