Three Turtle Questions

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Noah M
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Three Turtle Questions

Post by Noah M » March 30th, 2014, 4:58 pm

1. I know my local pond had yellow-bellied sliders, at least one red-eared slider, and a bunch of Florida softshells. Sometimes its fun to feed them bread, and when they get close, scoop them up for a closer inspection. And that is what I did here. But this one has a more orange colored plastron. Is this still just a yellow-bellied, or is this something different.

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2. One of the softshells had a white colored head, and a few others had white spots by their necks. Is this a fungal issue, or do softshells just turn white?

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3. I was going back over my records and found these. I'm not sure what they are. Anybody wanna venture a guess?

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JakeScott
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Re: Two Turtle Questions

Post by JakeScott » March 30th, 2014, 6:10 pm

Certainly an old male Trachemys. Their plastron often becomes stained from tannins. The ones in the pond behind me are also reddish.

I don't have a clue about the softy. I've seen really old individuals without a white head. I've seen smaller ones with white pigment. Don't know.

-Jake

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Noah M
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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by Noah M » March 30th, 2014, 7:49 pm

Thanks Jake. I was sure it was a slider, but it was not the bright yellow like many of the others in the pond. I wonder if the different shades could be used as ways of telling how long it has been in that pond.

The softshells don't seem to be bothered by the white. I just hope it isn't something detrimental to their health. I like the softshells we have around.

JoeDANG
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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by JoeDANG » March 31st, 2014, 5:47 am

3. are they river cooters? i can't tell the diff between cooters and YB's without seeing the plastron...

Carl D. May
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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by Carl D. May » April 1st, 2014, 3:01 am

Jake is right on the ID of the Trachemys. But I too am a bit stumped on the white-headed ferox. It is not a fungal issue.

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Noah M
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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by Noah M » April 1st, 2014, 3:04 pm

Thanks. Any guesses for question #3? They don't look like sliders to me, but were apparently in the pond last year.

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by Berkeley Boone » April 2nd, 2014, 2:22 am

The answer to question number three is 'redears'.

I've seen the white on Florida softshells as well (in GA and SC too, as well as captives). I always attributed it to an artifact of old age, kind of like the Gulf Coast box turtles that develop white heads. I cannot verify that, but it does not appear to be a fungal issue.

--Berkeley

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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by Carl D. May » April 2nd, 2014, 3:13 am

captainjack0000 wrote:Thanks. Any guesses for question #3? They don't look like sliders to me, but were apparently in the pond last year.

Red-eared sliders.

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Noah M
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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by Noah M » April 2nd, 2014, 3:09 pm

I've seen the white on Florida softshells as well (in GA and SC too, as well as captives). I always attributed it to an artifact of old age, kind of like the Gulf Coast box turtles that develop white heads. I cannot verify that, but it does not appear to be a fungal issue.
I'm happy to know it isn't fungal. I wouldn't want our turtles to have athletes (foot) head. They're pretty tame, so I can get a good close look. If anybody needs to mark one off as a lifer, PM me and you can come over. :)

Thanks for the red-eared too. I know there is at least one in the pond, perhaps there once were two because the one I see around now doesn't look like the one pictured.

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by mtratcliffe » April 5th, 2014, 8:35 am

I'm glad you were able to get your IDs, but I feel that I must caution you against feeding the softshells bread. I asked a ranger at a nature preserve about it once and they were adamant that it's bad for them. Softshells are carnivorous and apparently have trouble digesting starches. The other turtles are probably fine with eating bread.

The reason I asked the ranger about it is that there's a lady who feeds bread to a group of softshells near me several times a week from a pedestrian bridge. It used to be that every time I crossed that bridge, I would see at least 4-5 softshells swimming around. Lately I've hardly seen them at all, so I hope something didn't happen to them because of all the bread they were fed. The lone river cooter in that stretch of the canal is still there though, so obviously he hasn't been affected.

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Noah M
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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by Noah M » April 5th, 2014, 8:53 am

They've been here since I have been here (~3yrs) and I know I'm not the only one who feeds them.

A ranger might tell you not to feed turtles because you shouldn't in parks and preserves. The starch thing I could see making sense. I was concerned about it at first too, but a little roughage in their diet hasn't seem to hurt them yet.

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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by mtratcliffe » April 5th, 2014, 4:08 pm

I'm glad to hear that they are doing fine. I went by the spot I mentioned today and saw one large softshell, though I'm still concerned about the others not being present as in the past they were hanging out under the bridge in plain view every time, without fail.

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Re: Three Turtle Questions

Post by Mike VanValen » April 10th, 2014, 12:29 pm

I've seen other turtle species with white heads, shells, feet, etc. Usually these come from small, dirty, urban ponds. I once grabbed a stinkpot from one of these ponds that had a white film on it's head and carapace. I think it's some kind of silt or other pollutant that covers them.

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