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Turtles & Tortoises Discussion Forum This forum is for the purpose of discussing any topics concerning the turtles and tortoises of the world.

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Old 07-24-2019, 09:49 AM   #1
Shedding in Florida Snapping Turtles

Hello Everyone!

I have a question that I'm hoping someone can answer for me. I have had two baby Florida Snapping Turtles since early March. I'm currently keeping them in a 40 gal breeder but I have different tub/stock tanks ready for them when they are larger. The tank has a 511 Zoo Med external canister filter, an underwater heater that I keep between 76-80 F., and a 100 watt heat lamp + UV bulb dual lamp. Both turtles seem to be doing well; both eat well (though one seems to be much less shy and seems slightly bigger) on floating sticks, they have those vitamin/calcium block things. What is concerning me is that I've noticed both turtles with small, flakey pieces of skin coming off of their necks, legs, tails- basically any skin. It reminds me of when a snake or lizard sheds... I've owned many snakes and lizards over the past decade, but these two are my first turtles. I've googled it many times but I keep finding articles on the SHELL shedding (scutes) but not the skin.

Is this normal for a growing turtle or is this a bigger health or husbandry issue? Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated! These two are so cool, and I want to provide the best care possible.

Old 07-25-2019, 01:56 AM   #2
Aquatic turtles shedding small pieces of their skin is not uncommon, nor is shedding their scutes as they grow. However, it can be also be a response to avoid infection or a water quality issue.

Be sure they both have adequate climbing spots to get out of the water. They are not really "baskers" like other water turtles, so your heat lamp may be a bit too much. You have not provided the temps of your tank where the heat lamp is.

They also need a more diversified diet than just reptile sticks. These are snappers! You haven't said how old or large (in terms of inches in length) they are, but snappers are carnivorous .. even the young ones. Reptile sticks ain't gonna cut it, they need live food and they need protein.

I'm sure you are aware how large they grow and how long they can live. That is a big big commitment. Not trying to sound preachy, but I took in a "pet" common snapper that the owner no longer wanted as it got too large. Took me over a year to reacclimate it to the lake behind my house.

My only other encounter was when I found an adult common in my front yard years ago and thought what a great educational tool for my young boys. Put the snapper in a big, big tub and kept for a couple days, teaching my boys. Then I decided to take him out of the tub to release back to the lake. I held him under the front and back carapace, fully aware of his long neck and attitude, lol, and talking to my boys the whole time; the next thing I knew his back right leg nails ripped open my right arm under my wrist. I thought they could not do that if I held properly! 28 stitches later I was good and my boys were highly amused. Just be aware that there are better turtles to make pets. Best of luck to you and the turts
Old 07-25-2019, 07:23 AM   #3
Hi Laura,

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions! The length of their plastron is between 2.5"-3" for both. Their main diet is the floating repti-sticks, but I give them small mealworms and freeze-dried krill two days a week, though I've never seen them show any interest. They also get the floating Zilla chasers which them go crazy for.

Also, no worries, you didn't sound preachy, just doing your part to educate. While it's true these are my first turtles, I've kept very large reptiles in the past and read up a lot on keeping them long term before committing to them.

The water tends to evaporate fairly quickly and I have to replace roughly 1/3rd of it a week. I just did a complete tank cleaning and added extra logs half-under/ half out of the water. I will try without the heat lamp to see if that encourages them to bask more.

Thank you very much for the help! I greatly appreciate it!
Old 08-21-2019, 09:03 AM   #4
The phenomenon is typical in rapidly growing young Chelydra. Not to worry.
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