This week has seen me filled with turtle-related worries and anxieties.
Its been a month now since we got our pet turtle – a red eared slider. It’s about 5-6 months old and I don’t know yet if it’s a male or a female. My 11 yr old calls it Turbo, in any case. But almost 3 weeks ago it stopped eating. Any food I leave it to eat goes untouched. Like the tiny shrimp in the picture which is so close to its mouth. But never gets eaten.
We’re new to seriously taking care of a pet and I had not realized that a small, quiet thing like a turtle involved so much work. I’m ashamed of myself for treating it lightly and not doing enough to ensure it is happy, healthy and safe.
But I had read that turtles can go for several weeks without food. So I thought that must be the case here. Until I realized it hadn’t been opening its eyes either for quite a while. And the eyes sort of looked swollen. That’s when I started taking this seriously. And began researching on what turtles need. And from the looks of it, the swollen eyes indicate a lack of Vitamin A.
The main thing it needs is sunlight for a couple of hours daily to bask under (our apartment has no possibility for natural light). Poor little Turbo has been without sunlight for a month now which seems to have led to the beginnings of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). It’s also got tiny white patches on its shell.
The only thing I seemed to have done right in all of this is cleaning its water. I do that everyday.
So 3 days ago we visited a really nice pet store called Petzone. Got a UV lamp and Basking Light by Zoo Med. Installed that and kept it on most of the time. The UV lamp provides UVB rays that reptiles need for Vitamin-D production and Calcium Metabolism. And it also states that it can help to reverse the MBD. So counting on it to do its job of reviving the little fellow.
I also read that vitamin and calcium injections might be needed too, since it hasn’t eaten for so long. Yesterday I checked on veterinary hospitals and found 3. But apparently only 1 – The Royal Veterinary Hospital treats exotic pets like our turtle. So we’re going to try that out today and see if they can help..
I’m so hoping Turbo recovers. I don’t think I want to lose him/her (will find that out too today).