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Why Is My Freshwater Turtle Not Eating and Struggling to Open Its Eyes?


Dear VetBabble: Why is My Freshwater Turtle not Eating and Unable to Open His Eyes?

It’s concerning when our pets suddenly stop eating and exhibit odd behaviors. In this case, a pet turtle not eating for a week and being unable to open its eyes for 3 days is definitely a cause for concern! As a responsible pet owner, you want to know the possible reasons behind this behavior and how to take care of your beloved turtle. In this article, we’ll address the underlying issues and provide possible solutions to help your turtle get back to living its best life.

Possible Causes and Solutions

There could be several factors contributing to your turtle’s condition, including improper tank temperatures, Vitamin A deficiency, and a lack of a balanced diet.

Proper Tank Temperatures

First, let’s discuss the importance of maintaining proper water and basking temperatures in your turtle’s habitat. Low temperatures can significantly impact your turtle’s appetite and overall activity, which can then result in health issues. Checking the tank’s thermometer readings is essential to ensure your turtle’s health. Keep in mind that freshwater turtles require warm water, UVB lighting, and a basking spot out of the water with a heat source above. If you’re unsure about the specific temperature requirements for your turtle’s species, you can refer to our article on “How do I care for a freshwater turtle?” for in-depth information on proper turtle care.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Swollen eyes are a common symptom of Vitamin A deficiency in reptiles, which could be the reason why your turtle is unable to open its eyes. To address this problem, we recommend soaking your turtle in a warm 50/50 solution of water and an unflavored electrolyte replacement beverage for 30 minutes daily. This will help with hydration and overall health. Additionally, you can also try using ZooMed Repti-Turtle Eye Drops, which are available at your local pet store or online. Remember to follow the label directions carefully to ensure proper usage and dosage.

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is crucial for your turtle’s well-being. It should consist of protein sources (such as feeder fish and earthworms), fresh greens and vegetables, and a commercial turtle diet. Providing clean water for swimming is also important, and the water depth should be no more than twice the length of the turtle’s shell.

Additional Reptile Care Resources

Besides the freshwater turtle care guide mentioned earlier, we also have care guides for other reptiles and amphibians, such as snakes, iguanas, and frogs. Feel free to explore our articles on “How do I Care for a Snake?“, “How do I Care for an Iguana?“, and “How do I Care for a Frog?“. Educating yourself on proper care and health is essential for your reptilian or amphibian friend’s well-being, and we’re here to help!

In conclusion, it’s essential to maintain proper tank temperatures, address any nutritional deficiencies, and ensure your turtle has a balanced diet to keep it healthy and happy. If you continue to see issues with your turtle’s appetite or eye health, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian specializing in reptiles for further assistance. Remember, a healthy and well-cared-for turtle is a happy turtle!

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