Hi, our terrapin is really sick, he needs help urgently because he looks like his dieing. We have called vets and they want ridiculous amounts of money to even look at him which we can't afford, so we have turned to the internet for help. He hasn't eaten properly in about 3 or 4 weeks and even when we try hang food infront of him he won't take anything. His eyes have a white film overlaying them and he cannot open them. He hasn't moved from the spot he has been in since he started to become ill which was about a month ago. His skin is white and scaley and flakes off regularly. He keeps opening his mouth as if he is in a lot of pain and asking for help. We keep the tank extremely clean as well as the filter. We don't know what else to do or how to cure him. We are putting vitamin D into the tank which was reccommended by the reptile zoo in Biggin Hill. He has a diet of prawns and fish. If any advice could be given to us urgently we would be more than greateful. Please help. Thanks so much for your time and help. The Welling Family.
Hi Scarlett, sorry to hear that the terrapin is poorly
I'm no Terrapin expert but I know they are very dirty pets being poop machines and that they need fairly powerful filters to keep the water fresh and safe. Do you have any water tests you do like ammonia at all? Sitting in dirty water long term won't do his skin/scales any good and some toxins are clear do I wouldn't rely on clarity of water.
Terrapin Rescue had a good website and I noted this
Swollen Eyes: This condition often results from vitamin A deficiency and complications from bacterial disease. The immune defenses of the eye membranes often become weakened by vitamin A deficiency, making the eyes very susceptible to bacterial invasion. Treatment of this condition involves injections of vitamin A and an appropriate antibiotic. Prevention involves feeding a balanced diet
He does sound very poorly indeed and his diet seems a bit limited I'm afraid but I know one of our members here, Johan keeps Terrapins. I'll pm him now to see if he can offer some words of advice
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Might be a bit late for this advice (I hope not though if he does pull through) but
Suggested foods are:
sprats, whitebait, herring, snails, mussels, cockles, prawns, shrimps, Daphnia, earthworms, Tubifex worms, bloodworms, dandelion, watercress, lettuce, vegetables, fresh fruit, tomatoes, timed cat or dog food, dried cat or dog food, koi or trout pellets.
When feeding dried cat or dog food, koi or trout pellets, always soak them beforehand, and this provides an opportunity to introduce a soluble vitamin supplement such as "Abidec" by placing it into the water which is being soaked up.
Always feed fish whole with guts, liver, roe, skeleton etc. as it is essential that terrapins obtain the vitamins and minerals from these parts of the fish. Avoid feeding minced meat, chicken or slices of butcher's meat alone, because these are deficient in essential minerals and vitamins.
Some terrapins relish vegetables like lettuce, watercress and other greens occasionally. It is important to ensure that you feed a varied diet, since feeding the same food for too long can lead to a number of disorders.
A cuttlefish bone can be deposited in the main tank - when eaten, it will supply a source of calcium to the terrapins. "Turtle foods" comprising of dried river shrimps as sold in pet shops can be added as a source of roughage.
As with any young animal, small hatching terrapins should be fed daily. As they grow older and larger, they require feeding less often and as adults only 2 - 3 times a week.
Terrapins will only feed in water, not on land. To keep the tank clean, feed the terrapins in a separate container - this can be a plastic bowl. The water temperature in this container should be similar to that in the main tank. Once they have eaten, leave them in the feeding container for a further 10 minutes, during which time they often empty their bowels and bladder, thus avoiding contaminating their own tank.
Dispose of the water and food debris down a drain or toilet (never a sink) and then clean the feeding container as described for the tank. For various good reasons, keep this container exclusively for feeding your terrapins and label it as such. Terrapins in the wild feed on fish, frogs, tadpoles, worms, water snails, water insects, various larvae and water plants.
Good luck and fingers and toes crossed for him.
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Can he get out of the water? If not you need to take him out. Terrapins spend a lot of time out on dry land. Allowing him to stay in the water will only make him worse, he needs to bask in some kind of warm heat. He needs this to help his body generate vitamins and minerals he/she requires.
If looked after properly Terrapins should live 30 - 40 years and grow to the size of a dinner plate. Terrapins are better off in a heated pond not a small tank. If kept indoors a 200 litre tank with rocks sticking out of the water for him to climb out of the water onto is the minimum tank size.
Terrapins are omnivores and eat all types of plant and animal foods like fruits, vegetables, grasses, flowers, fishes, snails, worms, insects, etc. Although they are sold as pets for children they are far from that, they are very delicate creatures and need a lot of looking after and very precise care and management.
If your vet wants ridiculous amounts of money and you arent eligible for PDSA treatment (you need to be on means tested benefit like housing benefit) do phone round and try and find a cheaper vet. They dont all charge the same and if he does need antibiotics it will have to be a vet. Some vets do payment plans too where you can pay in instalments (I have seen a notice in my vets) but I dont know if this is just for operations for what.
Hi, sorry for a late reply. By the sounds of it your terrapin has a bacterial infection.
I am also a little bit concerned about the gravel in the tank as it is very possible that it may have swallowed some which will cause a blockage in its intestines. Either use sand or very fine gravel.
What lighting do you have in its tank and also are you coating the food in calcium powder? They also need a piece of cuttlebone (which they bite pieces out of) as an additional source of calcium. As for the lighting, I think it is UV-C (or UV-B)(can't remember which) which will stimulate the natural production of vitamin-D while they bask. There is also a commercial vitamin additive you can put in the water with each water change (which should be weekly).