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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-14-2004, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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sliders

I was wonderin if there was a way to tell what sex sliders are when they are still young. I have two and one is alot bigger than the other one, but they are both healthy and eat the same amount of food. I'm fixin to get them a bigger tank too. If one is a female, what age do they start producing eggs? I've heard of turtles getting "egg bound". Is this a bad problem? My cousin found them in his backyard and gave them to me. I've had them for about 6 months and have grown really attached to them. They have their own personalities and they know me. I've contemplated letting them go, but I don't know if I should since I've been feeding them so long. I know I should have let them go to begin with, but my cousin (he's a kid) begged me to keep them. I love these guys and want the best for them...
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-15-2004, 02:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovesmepets
I was wonderin if there was a way to tell what sex sliders are when they are still young.
Sliders (I'm assuming Red Eared?) cannot be sexed accurately until they are around 2-4 inches in length. The reason for the 2 inches of uncertainty is because you sometimes cannot tell if an apparent female is really just a late bloomer male in disguise. Females will be naturally bigger full-grown. Males will have very long nails on their front legs and a larger, longer tail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovesmepets
I have two and one is alot bigger than the other one, but they are both healthy and eat the same amount of food.
This is not at all uncommon. Even sliders born from the same clutch and raised under the same conditions will grow at dramatically different rates. As long as they are both eating and active don't worry about size differences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovesmepets
I'm fixin to get them a bigger tank too.
What size?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovesmepets
If one is a female, what age do they start producing eggs?
They start producing eggs not long after they reach sexual maturity ... which depends on their size more so than their age. It is important to note that your female (if you have one) will produce eggs irregardless of whether or not she has a mate to fertilize them. You have to be prepared to provide her with a nesting site or she could have problems such egg binding, which you mentioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovesmepets
I've heard of turtles getting "egg bound". Is this a bad problem?
Yes, it can be deadly to your turtle. Egg binding (called dystocia in reptiles) occurs for a number of reasons. First, it may just be that you have a first time breeder that is having trouble passing eggs ...
They may not be aligned right on the way out ...or there may be an obstruction ...

Other causes are rooted in poor husbandry. Lack of proper humidity, dehydration in the female, lack of a proper nesting site, egg retention due to being kept in improper conditions, temps, diet, and calcium intake are all factors. Conditions really do have to be monitored closely if you have a pregnant turtle to make sure all goes well and you don't have problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovesmepets
I've contemplated letting them go, but I don't know if I should since I've been feeding them so long. I know I should have let them go to begin with, but my cousin (he's a kid) begged me to keep them. I love these guys and want the best for them...
Why, exactly do you want to let them go? Is it because you don't have the resources to take care of them or because you feel guilty? There are an abundance of RES in the wild so don't feel guilty about taking them from the general population any more than you would for any other exotic pet. Of course, you should always try to buy captive bred turtles but keeping your two RES isn't going to be detrimental.

As to letting them go ... if you have had them for under a year than they should be able to have as much chance for survival in the wild as their peers since they haven't had too long to depend on you for food. However, there is the issue of winter coming ... your turtles haven't had time to build up fat stores for hibernation so if you release them they might not make it. If you do decide to go through with it wait until Spring ...

Last edited by elfomatic; 10-15-2004 at 02:49 AM.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply. These guys aren't red eared sliders. I'm thinkin they are cumberland sliders, but could be yellow bellied sliders. They don't have the ear mark like the yellow bellied sliders, it looks different. One reason I might want to let them go is because when they get larger, they will need a much bigger tank. One is pushing 4 inches and the other one is a little smaller. They are in a 29 gallon tank right now. It seems plenty big enough and the water depth is good. But, on all the websites I've visited, they suggest 50 gallon tanks. They are eating reptomin and have a basking light, but I'm really concerned about them getting the proper UVA and UVB levels. I'm saving to get them a light fixture that emits UVs. Also, I'm afraid they are not getting the proper nutrition. Should I be feeding live food to them? The guy at the pet store sold me some feeder guppies and they ate those and had a blast catching them. What kinds of food should they get? I figure reptomin is not enough. If I do decide to let them go, I'll take your advice and wait till spring. But, if at all possible, I'd like to keep them. Then theres the whole thing about females needing to lay eggs. How hard is it to provide a place for her to lay eggs? When do turtles mature? I know I could get this info off a website, but I prefer talking to actual people about it. They like to try to bite me...is this normal? I think they think my hand is food. I actually found a larger older version of them in my yard. He was missing a leg. It was weird. It was completely healed. I figure it got bit off by a bigger turtle or snapper when it was a baby. I dubbed him Tres and took him to the pond and let him go. Back to my turtles. I would feel really bad if they died because I'm not caring for them properly. Please help. Any info would be appreciated.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-25-2004, 12:16 AM
 
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Any way you could post a pic of them? Might be easier to tell for sure what they are if you have someone else's opinion.

When they get full grown you will need to get a bigger tank. There is no question about that but the good thing is that you will have plenty of time before that happens. If you plan well and save your money specifically for a tank change-over you should have no trouble keeping them if it is indeed what you desire. And, if all else fails, turtles are often kept in 50 gal. Rubbermaid containers (with heater, filter, etc.) until a tank or a pond can be provided for them. There really is nothing wrong with a setup like this except for how it might look in your house ... but it is much cheaper in a pinch than buying a tank.

As for the UVB light they are able to go a little while without it as long as you can supplement as much as possible with natural sunlight ... if you can find some time when it is warm enough outside they can get sunlight that way until you can afford the UVB fixture. If you are saving money for the light+fixture you could save a little by getting a UVB coil which can screw right into a regular light socket. This should cost you about $25-30 depending on your source.

You are right about them needing a more varied diet. Reptomin is about the best aquatic commercial food that you can get for turtles but it isn't enough nutritionally. Also, it has a high protein content which can be bad for the turtles if it is fed in excess. Feeder guppies and rosy reds are great -- I recommend you get a small 10 gal. (or a Rubbermaid, again ) and breed them yourself. It isn't hard at all and they breed incredibly fast so it is much cheaper than buying them from the petshop all the time. Sometimes fish are really inconvenient so there are a number of other good choices as far as meats go as well: crickets, mealworms, etc, brine shrimp, etc. In a pinch you can also offer cooked chicken and tuna. Sliders also appreciate greens. Dark leafy lettuces can be offered. Aquatic plants are the best choice -- anachris, duckweed, etc. are good. Variety is the key.

Sexual maturity is more dependent on the size of the turtle rather than age ... you will have to provide a nesting site for a female irregardless of whether or not she mates as she will produce eggs no matter what. It isn't hard in a tank, although a natural setting would be preferred, of course. The easiest method involves you putting a Rubbermaid in the tank with a substrate mixture for her to lay them in. You just simply lower the water level to the brim of the Rubbermaid for the duration of her need. You should be able to tell when she is ready for this because her behavior will change -- she will become frantic, she'll try to escape the enclosure, she'll suffer a loss of appetite ... There's more to it than that but no point in going into it right now.

It's completely normal for them to try to bite you ... aquatics aren't known to be very nice.

Listen, the bottom line is to keep asking questions when you need to. Don't feel bad -- keeping turtles is complicated and especially difficult in the beginning. You are doing great already by asking the right questions and being concerned about their well being! It's tough and there is always something new to learn! But it is extremely rewarding and I encourage you to stick with it. I think you are going to do fine.

Last edited by elfomatic; 10-25-2004 at 12:19 AM.
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bigger tank, brine shrimp, captive bred, eared slider, eared sliders, lay eggs, pet store, red eared slider, red eared sliders


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