Red Eared Slider Shell Rot : (10 Clear Solutions)

Petting a turtle is a unique experience. Many people like petting turtles because they are low maintenance and they are silent. However, sometimes people don’t understand that turtles also need as much care as any other pets. Which ends up with the owner not taking proper care of turtles and creating a bad environment for turtles that deteriorates the turtle’s health.

One of the most dangerous and terrifying diseases is red eared slider shell rot. It is a fungal or bacterial infection that causes rot and stinks on the shell of a turtle. The owner should immediately contact the local vet and get their turtle treated. All turtles can get shell rot and it is often too painful.

Red eared slider shell rot
Red eared slider shell rot


Is Red Eared Slider Shell Rot Contagious?

Yes, shell rot is very contagious and can give a lot of pain to the turtle. Shell rot can even take the life of the turtle. This is the reason why red eared slider turtle shell rot treatment is very important.


Do Baby Red Eared Slider Shell Rot?

Yes, baby turtles can get shell rot. This fungal infection red eared slider turtle shell rot is very dangerous. When the owner observes the symptoms of shell rot they should immediately contact the local vet and get it treated.


How Do You Treat A Red Eared Slider Shell Rot?

When a red-eared slider turtle’s shell rot or in case of any other turtle shell rot, the owner has many options to repair it. However, the best an owner can do is take assistance from a professional vet because, even though an owner can provide for their pet, shell rot is different from turtle to turtle. A vet can apply antibiotics or provide other treatments after gauging how worse is the condition of the turtle’s shell.

How to treat red eared slider shell rot at home? If an owner is unable to have access to a vet, they can still perform red eared slider turtle shell rot treatment but they have to be extremely careful.

How to treat shell rot at home? The list below are some items that the owner needs to have to fix the shell rot: 

  • UV lamp (to provide proper heat to the turtle)
  • A soft bristles toothbrush 
  • Towel cloth or paper towel
  • Gloves
  • Lukewarm water
  • Anti-bacterial medication
  • Antiseptic
  • A scalp (if required)


How Do You Fix Turtle Shell Rot?

Red eared slider shell rot treatment includes the following procedure

  • First, the owner should wear gloves and put some warm water on the shell of the turtle. 
  • Now take the soft-bristled toothbrush and scrub it over the turtle shell. The owner should rub the whole shell, even the area that is not rotten, circular motion of brush on shell is recommended with gentle hands, so to prevent abrasion. 
  • After scrubbing the brush, the owner should rinse the shell with warm water again. 
  • When handling the turtle, the owner should hold the turtle gently, as sometimes turtles may try to escape. 
  • If the condition of shell rot is worse the owner should use a plucker or scraper to remove some of the dead shell areas. This process is called debridement and it should not be done by the owner if the owner doesn’t know how to do it. This process should be done by the vet only. 
  • After properly cleaning the shell of the turtle, the owner should dry out the turtle and make sure that the shell is completely clean and dry. 
  • Now the owner should gently apply antibiotics on the shell rot. The vet can be consulted to discuss which antibiotic would be effective for the specific needs of a particular turtle. After applying the antibiotic, now the owner should let the turtle stay in a dry place. So that the antibiotics should be absorbed properly. The same procedure should be followed for 2-4 days on the recommendation of the vet. 
  • Turtles can be deprived of water tanks for longer hours to ensure a quick recovery. Put some water to drink in a dry place. Only add turtles in the tank when feeding food. Turtles can be added to water for an hour or two every day for a week. Furthermore, the owner should also provide proper UV lighting and make sure they get proper heat. 
  • Additionally, the owner should increase the intake of protein in the diet of turtles to fasten the healing process. The owner can also get vitamin and mineral supplement recommendations from the vets. 
  • The owner should separate the infected turtle from the rest of the turtles, in case the owner has more than one turtle. Furthermore, the tank should be thoroughly cleaned after detecting the shell rot among a turtle to prevent other turtles from getting shell rot.


How To Prevent Red Eared Slider Shell Rot?

Shell rot in turtles is found when turtles are kept in poor conditions. One of the best ways to prevent the turtle from getting shell rot is by keeping the tank of the turtle and the water quality of the tank utterly hygienic and safe for the turtles.

The environment in which a turtle is kept should be free from dirt, infections, and any sharp objects that have the potential to harm the turtles. The tank should not include sharp toys, structures, chips, on the contrary, there should be elements present in the tank that are smooth and free from sharp edges.

Only keeping the tank free from sharp objects won’t help in the turtle’s not get the shell rot. When provided with the proper facilities including temperature, water quality, proper lightning, heat would help the turtle to thrive.

Furthermore, the tank should also have a dedicated area that is completely dry for the basking process for the turtles with proper lighting. Additionally, the tank should be cleaned regularly by the owner to avoid getting shell rot and the owner should also observe the shell of the turtle regularly to check any symptoms of shell rot.


When To See A Vet For Red Eared Slider Shell Rot?

Many times after understanding how to fix red eared slider shell rot? Owners try to do it by themselves but owners should know when to see a vet.  Even though some minor shell rots can be treated at home, they are not recommended at all.

The owner may want to treat it at home and they can do it but it is not recommended. The owner should consult a vet when the condition of shell rot is not treatable at home.

When the large shell area has been rotten, when there are too many lesions, when basic home treatment is not effective, if the shell is releasing a foul smell, lack of appetite due to shell rot, lethargy all these are symptoms that the owner should seriously seek the vet help.

Treating shell rot needs consistent and efficient treatment that includes providing antibiotics, regular cleaning, even supplements. So if the owner is unable to provide these requirements then the owner should certainly consult the vet. This can be a very serious issue and can cause a lot of pain to turtles so they should be given treatment immediately.


How Do You Know If A Turtle Has Shell Rot?

Red eared slider shell rot symptoms start with discoloration and these symptoms are usually unnoticeable to the naked eye. The color of the turtle shell can change in white or yellow, looking very dry like dead skin. Shell rot can also be green with bumps on the shell. Different turtles may have different symptoms. Some also may have spots, appearing everywhere on the shell.

Red eared slider shell rot
Red eared slider shell rot – Red eared slider shell rot as pets – Red eared slider shell rot health care – how to fix red eared slider shell rot


What Does Shell Rot Look Like On A Red Eared Slider?

The symptoms include discoloration, the appearance of red fluids under the shell, slimy layer, shell softening, or cracking or flaking. In addition, it may have a very bad odor and looks chapped. Sometimes it can also have spots or blotches and sometimes, white, yellow, or cream color may appear on the shell.


Red Eared Slider Shell Problems

In turtles, shell rot is softening of the turtle shell. It is one of the most common problems related to the turtles’ shell rot. This is a very serious problem that can cause a lot of stress among the turtles and even take their life in the worst cases. What causes shell rot? Being exposed to water for so much tile is the main reason why the turtles get shell rot.


Red Eared Slider Shell Rot Vs Shedding

Many times owners get confused if their red eared slider shell rot or shedding. So, to mitigate the confusion below is the table of differences between shedding and routing in turtles.

Shell RotShell Shedding
Development of Red, white fluid types under the scutes of the turtleA thin and white-colored fluid observed under the scutes of the turtle is shedding. 
There is a presence of pits and some of its parts may fall. In worst cases, plates also fall off exposing the cavities and bones of turtles. Scutes also fall off in the shedding process but new plates will be already developed beneath. 
Bad smell comes from the open sounds and rotten areas. No presence of odors is there when a turtle is shedding. 


Symptoms Of Shell Rot In Red Eared Slider

Many owners don’t understand if their turtle has shell rot and may ask How can you tell if a red eared slider has shell rot.

The following are the symptoms

  • Swollen and soft patches on the shell
  • Dry spots that are soft 
  • Cracks, scratches, punctures. 
  • With the uneven shape of the turtle shell, sometimes pits may also fall off. 
  • White or red fluid-like under the shell
  • Bad smell on the shell. 
  • Shell plates may fall and bones may get exposed.
  • Slime-like structure arising on the shell.


Red Eared Slider Shell Shedding Symptoms

  • Scutes coming off completely as a whole and properly but not in parts. 
  • Scutes come holistically, not in parts. It comes from top, bottom, edges, sides.
  • The turtle will get rid of the pain by itself. 
  • The shed scute is thin and translucent, it will look like a cover of the shell. 
  • Turtles may eat the shed peel. (Though it is normal, the owner shouldn’t let turtles have it because these peel offs are sharp and they can damage the turtle’s throat or internal organs)


How To Fix Red Eared Slider Shell Pyramiding?

The owner should first contact a vet and ask for his advice as the treatment can vary from turtle to turtle. In addition, the owner should provide proper humidity levels and also provide healthy food to their turtles.


Final Verdict- Red Eared Slider Shell Rot

Turtles are one of the most favorite pets especially red-eared turtles but problems arise when red-eared slider shell rot appears. Shell rot is very painful and should be treated immediately by a professional. It makes the shell of the turtle stink and makes it difficult for the turtle to survive if not treated well.

Red eared slider shell rot
Red eared slider shell rot – Red eared slider shell rot in captivity – Red eared slider shell rot in the wild

The owners should look for symptoms and confirm if the turtle has shell rot or if the turtle is just going through the process of shedding. After understanding the situation of the turtle, the owner should take the required steps.

As a pet lover, make sure to learn about pet more and give your pet turtle a good and comfortable life!

Post Disclaimer


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, food recommendation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or for pet food related questions.

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