home Article Soft Turtle Shell What To Do

Soft Turtle Shell What To Do

4 why: symptoms and causes of a soft shell in a turtle

Since the tortoise shell is an integral and inseparable part of the body from the body, a change in structure and a violation of hardness first of all speaks of rickets. The onset of the disease is the wrong conditions for keeping and feeding the pet. In particular:

  • Rickets can occur due to improper diet. Deficiency of vitamin D3, minerals and calcium, in which the pet loses the norm of bone tissue.
  • Lack of natural and additional lighting with an ultraviolet lamp.
  • Feeding foods from the prohibited list, provoking the leaching of calcium substances from the body.
  • Lack of bone care.

In the initial stage, the disease is easily diagnosed by palpation and external examination. The carapace of a sick reptile crumples when pressed, the shields change shape and grow.

At the middle stage of the development of the disease, the distance between the lower and upper cover increases, the bone becomes porous.

In a neglected form, limb fractures and cloaca prolapse are observed, due to weakness, the turtle moves on its front legs. The shape of the beak changes, the pet is not able to absorb roughage. In the last stage, the turtle dies from heart failure or pulmonary edema.

Soft shell: causes and treatment

Let’s figure out what to do if the pet’s shell has become soft ?! Watching the turtle, the imagination involuntarily flashes up an association with a kind of mini-tank, which slowly but surely reaches its goal, bypassing the obstacles that stood in the way.

The main role in comparison with an armored car is played by a strong and reliable shell, which serves as armor to protect the delicate body. But what to do if the bone cover began to deform and soften?


This turtle has a rounded shell with a yellow-brown color. With a violation of the calcium balance in some places there is a softening of the bone cover. Over time, tubercles and scutes appear. When trying to hide, the pet feels discomfort. With the progression of the disease, uncharacteristic spots and peeling appear on the shell. The pet’s activity decreases, appetite decreases. The bones of the skeleton and the lower jaw soften, the shell changes shape.


Rickets is a rather insidious disease. Slowly proceeding, the disease gradually destroys the bones of the animal and the body as a whole, which causes unbearable suffering to the pet. Lack of timely treatment leads to the death of the turtle. For therapy, medications are prescribed. The dosage depends on the degree of damage:

See your doctor first. At stages 1-2 of rickets, a 10% solution of calcium gluconate is injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly, 15 ml per kilogram of the pet’s weight daily for two weeks.

1 ml of Panangin is orally soldered every other day for 10 days. Mineral dressing is added to the diet. Obligatory daily exposure to UV lamp 10 hours.

For the treatment of stage 3-4, it is recommended to consult a doctor for inpatient observation. Independent actions are unacceptable due to the risk of incorrectly selected dosage, which leads to the death of the pet.


A healthy turtle of this species has a smooth, tear-shaped brown shell. If the rules of keeping the pet are violated, soft spots are observed on the lower and upper bone cover. The temperature is high, the eyes are swollen. With deformation of the shell, the turtle has difficulty trying to descend into a body of water. With the development of the disease, the work of the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract is gradually disrupted. Due to refusal of food, the pet becomes inactive.

Since reptiles have a slow metabolism, the disease is often asymptomatic. Regular examination of the pet will help to identify the disease at an early stage and prevent drug treatment.

Young animals are characterized by a slightly soft shell. It is important to remember that soft shells and partial fragility are considered normal in young turtles less than one year old after birth.

With growing up and a properly selected diet, protective armor hardens, and its strength serves as an indicator of the pet’s health.

Due to the characteristics of the body, the symptoms of rickets often coincide with other diseases, such as dysfunction of the digestive tract, dysfunction of the thyroid gland and renal failure.

What if the turtle has a soft shell? Read on.

Why does a red-eared turtle have a soft shell?

The outer edges of the shell are curved. A healthy red-eared turtle has a bright green shell, hard to the touch, without visible tubercles. With the development of the disease, the individual experiences reddening of the mucous membrane of the eyes, and the body temperature rises. Gradually, the outer edges of the shell bend upward, causing pain when moving.

The reptile loses appetite, bowel and kidney function is disrupted. Detachment of the bone is possible. The disease often occurs in turtles older than one year. The restoration of the shell is impossible without treatment.

We prevent illness

To avoid debilitating treatment, it is recommended to follow the rules of feeding and maintenance from the first days of meeting the pet. They are quite simple:

  • The diet is selected quality, appropriate for the reptile. Food for cats and dogs is absolutely not suitable. Meals should include vitamin and mineral supplements, crushed eggshells or bone meal.
  • The terrarium is selected spacious, not restricting movement.
  • A filter is connected to purify water.
  • In addition to natural light, an ultraviolet lamp is installed to maintain the temperature.
  • Bathing and rubbing with olive oil is used to care for the shell.

By the way, in natural conditions, turtles are practically not susceptible to rickets. In other words, the pet’s discomfort often arises from a lack of attention from the owner. Take care of your pet a little more, and he will always be healthy.

Taking care of your turtle during molting

Usually molting does not need treatment. this is not a pathology. But suddenly it seems to you that the pet feels uncomfortable at the same time, then you can try to make it easier for her.

The daily routine of the tortilla day does not need to be changed. First of all, you should revise the diet. At the time of molting, the amphibian needs a much larger amount of various vitamins, as well as calcium.

Add vitamins to your diet. The turtle’s menu can be enriched with fish fry or small crustaceans. they contain calcium.

You can increase the necessary vitamins using special vitamin complexes. So, the vitamin complex “Eleovit” has proven itself well.

It is administered in the form of injections: two injections, with two weeks between them. You can repeat no earlier than six months later.

The second important point is the sanitary condition of the aquarium where the amphibian lives. It is clear that during molting, the aquarium water is contaminated with many small dead skin and shell particles, and these “little things” tend to rot, which should not be allowed: the water must always remain clean.

Peeling. It happens that tortoise owners are trying to help the pet clean the exfoliated tissue from the shell.

This can be done only when it is clearly noticeable that the scales do not fall off on their own and the pet feels discomfort from this.

Then the dead tissue should be carefully cleaned with a toothbrush. in order to avoid complications, because. An amphibian, trying to shed shedding scales, is able to scratch its skin to ulcers.

It is recommended to bathe land turtles in warm water, adding a teaspoon of baking soda to 1 liter. And you should not get carried away with this either: it is enough two times for the entire molting time.

What will the detachment of the shell tell about?

Starting this reptile as a family pet, one must imagine some of the features of their turtle physiology, for example, the fact that this animal can molt! It is molting that is the primary reason for the detachment of the shell. Why does a red-eared turtle peel off the shell??

soft, turtle, shell

Moulting in turtles is gradual. In some areas of the shell, as it wears out, the old layer of the epidermis is replaced by a new one, which is formed under the old.

Molting. In red-eared turtles, as, indeed, in other species. yellow-eared, decorated, geographic. regular flaking of large scales, accompanying molting of the shell, continues throughout the life of the reptile and is considered quite normal.

The frequency of molting is influenced by the age of the animal, its growth rate, the conditions in which it is kept, the composition and purity of the water. Young turtle can undergo molt up to two times during the month. Then both the upper layers of the shell and the skin will flake off more often. You shouldn’t be afraid of this: it’s just that a young turtle is actively growing.

Molting can slow down / be disturbed if the amphibian is improperly kept, when it lives for a long time outside the aquatic environment, not in an aquaterrarium, but crawls freely on the flooring of the apartment: the turtle is not able to get wet and dry normally, which seriously affects the course of molting.

If the veterinarian is out of reach.

Noticing that the turtle has begun to molt, the owner must examine it, carefully observe it. If, in addition to detachment, other deviations from the norm are not identified, the animal behaves actively, there is no reason for excitement.

Having found out that the carapace peels off very strongly and even crumbles, one should resort to special treatment, which is prescribed based on the diagnosis. (The symptoms of various “shell troubles” were discussed above).

Fungus. Pharmacies sell antifungal drugs Nizoral or Lamisil. They need to lubricate damaged areas of the shell for two weeks at night, after very carefully cleaning off the peeled tissue.

The fungus can cause irreversible degeneration in the tissues of the turtle’s “armor”. Such tissues must be carefully cleaned off, and BetaisodonaR ointment should be applied to the ulcerated area.

In the case of a fungal disease, an amphibian is recommended “therapeutic baths”. bathing in chamomile broth, a weak solution of potassium permanganate or malachite greens. The latter, by the way, is used to disinfect aquarium water.

READ  Hamster Escaped The Apartment What To Do

Disease in an untreated stage is treated quite successfully. If the fungus has reached the internal organs, this can cause the death of the animal.

As for rickets, which, as we found out, is the result of a deficiency of vitamin D and calcium, here we are most likely to talk not so much about the treatment of the disease as about its prevention.

So, in the warm season, the aquaterrarium with a turtle is recommended to be taken out into the fresh air, while protecting the reptile from direct rays of the daylight.

Turn on the UV lamp during autumn and winter. In the autumn-winter period, a dwelling with an amphibian must be placed under a UV lamp three times a week. literally for five minutes.

Before the procedure, it is recommended to cover the turtle’s eyes with a plaster so as not to harm the lens and retina.

To replenish the level of calcium in the body of a reptile, shrimp rich in this element will not be superfluous in its menu. Since this pleasure is not cheap, instead of them you can treat your pet with fish along with bones. Bone meal, crushed egg shells, chalk are very useful.

If the disease is advanced, the veterinarian, as already mentioned, will prescribe vitamin injections.

The shell peels off: why and what to do

Is the shell peeling? Let’s figure it out together. Since childhood, the image of a turtle has been associated with two cutest representatives of this species of reptiles. Tortilla with her golden key and the Turtle, who in the famous cartoon sang a duet with Leo a song about “I lie in the sun.”

Perhaps that is why these exotic animals are willingly taken as pets. Their children are especially fond of. The temper of turtles is extremely calm, livable, and their appearance is quite attractive. They don’t need special care.

However, like any living creature, problems may arise that will cause panic among the owners of “tortilok”. In particular, they can be associated with the shell so much that they tell a lot about the health of the reptile.

And if not molt, then what?

However, the symptom of flaking of the tortoise shell may indicate other, more serious, reasons that are not associated with molting:

  • Deformation of the shell with rickets. Vitamin A imbalance,
  • Fungal diseases,
  • Rickets.

The first malaise is characterized by the formation of ulcers, very severe peeling or flaking of the skin. The shields peel off the shell (this does not apply to decorated turtles), even rather large pieces are separated.

Prolonged molting can become an indicator of a fungal disease, dermatitis. In an amphibian, the shields are not completely removed, and areas and sores with a pinkish tint are formed under them or on the skin of the animal. White spots appear on the shell of a sick animal. In the folds, the skin exfoliates and exfoliates, swelling and acne appear. The turtle suffers from severe itching.

Keep your aquarium clean. The main reason for this misfortune lies in the violation of the conditions of detention, in the quality of water: its temperature and the quality of purification may be too low. Therefore, first you need to thoroughly clean the aquarium, change the water.

Noticing white spots on the turtle shell, accompanied by exfoliation, it is worth showing it to a specialist who will advise effective medications.

Rickets in turtles can cause not only detachment of shell particles, but also its curvature. This is evidence of a lack of vitamin D3 and calcium in the body, which is fraught with other serious symptoms:

  • Not only the “bulletproof vest” is deformed, but also the paws;
  • Bones are characterized by increased fragility;
  • The cloaca falls out;
  • The turtle loses the ability to rise on its feet;
  • The mucous membrane of the eye turns red;
  • Digestive functions are impaired;
  • The bite changes.

If you are confused by prolonged shedding, see your doctor. These are signs that are life-threatening to the turtle. In order not to bring to a sad outcome, it is necessary to start treatment in a timely manner.

Having found a soft shell in a turtle is a sign of rickets, be sure to revise its diet. It is necessary to introduce into the diet mixtures containing more calcium, vitamins.

It’s easier to warn.

And a few more “preventive” tips.

Proper feeding is in many ways a guarantee of a snail’s health. This reptile should have both animal and plant food on the “dinner table”. Exclusively meat products on the menu can provoke the occurrence of vitamin A deficiency and rickets. The turtle’s diet should be varied: vegetables and fish, fruits and berries.

Spots on the shell. Stains on the turtle shell can appear due to excessively hard water, therefore, before pouring it into the aquarium, the liquid must be thoroughly filtered.

In addition, water from the mains is often disinfected with chlorine, which can also cause a number of diseases. The water in the aquarium should only be changed after daily settling. During this time, the gas will evaporate.

Silent house turtles are not able to tell their owners about their poor health. The only way to determine what is unhealthy for them is their appearance and changes in behavior. One of the important clues about the pet’s health is the appearance and condition of its shell. Any responsible owner of a cute reptile should be aware of what the “turtle armor” can tell about.

How to cure a pet?

If your turtle has these symptoms, you can try to take some measures yourself. In summer and warm spring, the pet can be taken out in the aquarium to the balcony or outside and put in the sun. At the same time, it is important that direct sunlight does not fall directly on the animal, but well illuminate the aquarium.

In a cloudy season, in autumn and winter, the aquarium with a turtle should be placed under an ultraviolet lamp for a while, after having covered the turtle’s eyes with a plaster. This must be done so that radiation and bright light do not damage the organs of vision.

The turtle’s diet should be revised: you can add multivitamin complexes containing vitamin D and calcium to it. Shrimp can be a natural source of calcium for the turtle. Hard-shell shellfish or minced fish with bones should be added to the animal’s diet.

But if the disease is in an advanced form or the measures taken did not bring the desired result, then the amphibian should be referred to the veterinarian. The doctor will conduct a course of injections with vitamin complexes and the condition, the appearance of the red-eared turtle will significantly improve.

Why does the red-eared turtle have a soft shell??

Red-eared turtles are aquarium animals that, despite their unpretentiousness, sometimes get sick. A sign that a turtle is unwell is a soft shell. A similar symptom most often indicates rickets, to which this species of amphibians is especially susceptible.

Soft shell. a symptom of calcium and vitamin D3 deficiency

Often, the presence of a softened shell in an amphibian is accompanied by some other symptoms: redness of the eyes, the appearance of small bumps and swelling on the protective shell, increased body temperature, bends of the edges of the shell.

The above symptoms can be a consequence of many diseases, namely abnormal thyroid function, intestinal dysfunction. The hardness of the turtle shell is directly affected by the amount of calcium that circulates in the animal’s body. It is with a lack of this element that deformation of the shell and other symptoms occur. A turtle in such a state cannot be left untreated, otherwise, over time, its skull bones will become deformed, and the animal will not be able to eat normally.

Calcium deficiency can be caused by a malfunction of the intestines or kidneys, as a result of which the rate of calcium absorption in the amphibian’s body is significantly reduced. Lack of ultraviolet radiation and, as a consequence, vitamin D deficiency can also lead to softening of the pet’s shell.

When a soft shell is normal in a red-eared turtle?

But the soft shell is not always an alarming symptom. In small turtles under 1 year old, it should be like this. These animals are born with a soft shell that hardens over time. By the 12th month of life, their “armor” becomes quite strong and solid.

Preventive measures

The best way to prevent the development of the disease is to prevent it. To prevent softening of the shell of the red-eared turtle, it is necessary to sunbathe the animal several times a week. A good way to prevent calcium deficiency is to add crushed eggshells to your turtle’s daily food several times a week. In winter, when the days outside the window are cloudy, the turtle must be given a solution of vitamin D-3. 3 drops of vitamin D for an adult turtle 2 times a month will completely prevent the development of rickets. The vitamin injection can be made into lumps of food or injected into the mouth of the animal using a medical syringe.

Following the above guidelines is an easy way to keep your turtle healthy. However, if the softening of the shell has already begun, the necessary measures should be taken. After all, rickets, softening of the shell can lead to the death of the animal.

Why does a turtle have a softened shell??

Protective turtle “armor” is a strong bone formation, covered from above with symmetrical horny shields. The dorsal shield or carapace is formed of 38 shields, the abdominal part of the carapace or plastron accounts for 16. The inner part of the carapace is formed by bony plates connected to the skeleton and tendon ligaments.

The shape of the carapace speaks of the pet’s lifestyle. Land or Central Asian turtles have a high domed shell; red-eared turtles are characterized by a flat dorsal shield. With age, terrestrial scutes develop tuberosity, their aquatic relatives have a smooth shell.

All types of turtles should be whole and firm, without dips or spots. Soft protective shields are an age feature of juveniles until they reach 12 months of age. It is after a year that calcium salts are deposited into the bone plates, which form a protective “armor”, and their hardening. Therefore, if a reptile older than a year has a softening of the shell, an urgent need to consult a doctor.

The main causes of soft shells in turtles are the following:

  • Rickets;
  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • Insufficiency of the thyroid gland;
  • Kidney pathology.

The listed diseases lead to impaired absorption of calcium salts by the reptile’s body, which in the early stages is manifested by softening and deformation of the shell.

Why red-eared land turtles have soft shells

If a pet’s shell has become soft, this is an alarming symptom of various diseases of an exotic animal, which can significantly shorten the life of a turtle or cause its death. Owners of land and aquatic reptiles need to know in which cases a soft shell is a physiological norm or pathology, how to help an animal when the hardness of the back shield changes, and how to treat a small pet.

The soft shell of the red-eared turtle

The bending of the dorsal plates of a reptile when pressed is the reason for contacting a specialist. Most often, red-eared turtles older than 12 months are diagnosed with rickets. a metabolic disorder against the background of a lack of calcium and vitamin salts. The early symptoms of pathology are manifested in softening and deformation of the shell, the corneous plates begin to crack, the edge shields are bent.

As the disease progresses, the reptile has limb fractures, edema, eye swelling, cloaca prolapse, beak deformity, and shallow breathing. The red-eared turtle cannot independently get out on land due to the failure of the hind limbs. In advanced cases, in the absence of treatment, systemic complications develop, leading to extensive bleeding, heart failure, pulmonary edema and death of the animal.

READ  How to understand if a kitten wants to eat

The main reasons for changes in the density of the dorsal shield in aquatic turtles are unbalanced nutrition, lack of calcium in the diet and lack of source of ultraviolet light. Vitamin D, which is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium by the body of an exotic animal, is produced when ultraviolet rays hit the pet’s skin. The lack of direct sunlight or an ultraviolet lamp in turtles, even with a balanced diet, invariably leads to the development of rickets.

What to do if the shell of a red-eared turtle becomes soft? You can strengthen the shell of an aquatic turtle by doing the following:

  • Review the pet’s diet, the animal should eat raw sea fish, liver, herbs, vegetables, shellfish and snails with shells;
  • Establish source of ultraviolet radiation;
  • Add calcium sources. crushed shells, sepia or calcium-containing preparations;
  • Introduce supplements with vitamins A, D, E into the diet, or drip an oil solution of vitamin D into the animal after clarifying the dosage with a specialist. An overdose of this vitamin is fraught with the death of the aquatic turtle.

Soft shell of the land turtle

Land turtles require more vitamins for normal growth and functioning than aquatic relatives. With proper feeding and the presence of source of ultraviolet irradiation, red-eared turtles practically do not develop rickets, since the pet receives vital trace elements from food. Owners of Central Asian turtles, as a rule, feed only on plant foods, which, if vitamin D is lacking, inevitably leads to rickets.

Rickets in land turtles is manifested by softening and deformation of the dorsal shield, the shell can take on a saddle or domed shape, the bone plates begin to overlap, bulge and bend up.

Protective “armor” noticeably brightens up to white.

When pressed on the carapace, clear dents remain, the horny shields to the touch resemble soft plastic. The animal moves only with the help of its front paws and sleeps a lot.

The progression of the pathology leads to severe swelling of the neck, limbs and eyes, the pet cannot draw its paws and head into the shell. Refusal to feed due to deformation of the upper jaw, which becomes like a beak.

Lack of treatment leads to limb fractures, kidney and digestive tract pathologies, pulmonary edema and death of the animal.

What to do if the shell of a land turtle has softened? The situation can be corrected only at the initial stages of the disease by the following measures:

  • Installation of an ultraviolet lamp for reptiles, which should shine for at least 12 hours;
  • Adding calcium-containing premixes, feed chalk, cuttlefish bone or shells to the diet;
  • By administering oral vitamin D oil.

If, in addition to deformation of the shell in land and aquatic turtles, swelling of the neck, changes in the eyes, failure of the hind limbs and shortness of breath, the animal does not eat and sleeps a lot, it is necessary to urgently contact a specialist, otherwise the pet may die.

To treat a severe course of rickets, the animal will need injections of calcium-containing, antibacterial, vitamin and immunomodulating drugs. Experts prescribe an exotic patient daily irradiation with an ultraviolet lamp and anti-inflammatory baths in a decoction of medicinal herbs. An important component of rickets therapy is balanced feeding of the pet.

Rickets is treated for a long time, from 2 weeks to six months, in advanced cases it is not possible to save the animal. If from a young age the turtle is kept in optimal comfortable conditions with proper nutrition, it most often does not have health problems and changes in the shell.

Healing activities

If symptoms of the disease appear, you should seek help from a specialist. Only he must conduct an examination, prescribe treatment. You can take the following measures yourself:

Softening the tortoise shell

The red-eared turtle belongs to the species of marine reptiles. She has quite good health, but the red-eared turtle, like all living things, can have various diseases. In a turtle, a soft shell can be an indicator that the animal is sick. Although there are a number of conditions under which this condition is the norm, namely:

  • The turtle is up to twelve months old;
  • A type of soft-shelled turtles such as Trionix Chinese.

At birth, the red-eared turtle has very soft armor, it does not have horny plates. On palpation, the skin is soft, easily squeezed. Gradually, during the first year of life, the process of formation of the lower and upper shield takes place. Which acquire their permanent appearance and structure.

Disease symptoms

In the red-eared turtle, an elevation of the bone plates appears, they look like a hump. When pressed on the plates, they are easily pressed through, gradually returning to the previous place on the owl. If you do not consult a specialist in time and start treatment, the disease will progress. Changes are happening to the head. There is a softening of the lower jaw from such a state that it can fall off. And the upper one turns into a beak in appearance. In this case, the animal suffers from malnutrition, since chewing causes pain.

All these symptoms can only indicate the presence of pathology. It is not possible to make the correct diagnosis on your own. This can only be done by a veterinarian. He must also prescribe treatment.

The reasons

Why does the shell soften? In the red-eared turtle, most often the softening of the bone plates causes a disease such as rickets.

Rickets is a disease associated with a lack of vitamin D from food or produced by exposure to sunlight. In summer, you need to take your animal for walks so that it is in the sun. In winter, you need to equip source of ultraviolet radiation, but take care of your turtle’s eyes, as radiation can cause blindness. Monotonous food in the animal’s diet helps to soften the shields. Disorders of the thyroid gland. Disorders in the gastrointestinal tract, insufficient absorption of calcium and its supply to the bones. Kidney problems.

Preventive actions

In order not to have to resort to medical measures, you need to engage in prevention in time. Be sure to take the animal out into the sun once a week. Eggshells added to food are a good source of calcium. In winter, it is imperative to give vitamin D as directed by a veterinarian, the dosage is selected individually.

All of the above measures will help prevent the development of softening of the shell. If for any reason this happened, then treatment should be started immediately. After consulting with a specialist.

How to treat shell injuries in turtles

If the crack is small and not dirty, fix the cracks with an elastic self-adhesive bandage or roll-on tape. Gauze bandages or cloths are not suitable because they actively absorb moisture from the body and can lead to dehydration, and pathogenic bacteria develop more actively under such a bandage. After that, you need to find a herpetologist and bring the “patient” to his appointment. Remember: dehydration can kill your turtle faster than a seemingly minor wound.

If the area of ​​damage is significant, surgical intervention will be required. After the X-ray, the doctor will assess the turtle’s general condition and extent of damage. It will be necessary to match and secure the debris, rinse the wound with an antiseptic and fix it with polymer or plaster. For 1-2 weeks, the site of injury is closed with fibrin, while the mesh remains until the bone structures of the shell are fused. A course of antibiotics (ceftazidime, baytril and others), droppers, calcium supplements, multivitamins, sometimes hormones and regeneration agents (actovegin, solcoseryl) and so on are prescribed.


Inflammatory processes that form in places where the skin has been damaged. These are small pustules that must be opened, the doctor removes dead tissue, dirt and pus, and then treats it with an antiseptic. Within 5-7 days, the wound will need to be regularly lubricated with ointments, and if the infection is strong, a course of antibiotics will be prescribed.

Wounds and scratches

They heal well, it is recommended to clean them with peroxide and treat them with a liquid antiseptic (for example, povidone-iodine), salt baths (10% solution), baths with trypoflavin are also useful. If the wounds are lacerated (this happens if the turtle was bitten by a dog, or it ran into a sharp object), you need to show the pet to the veterinarian: it is likely that you will have to stitch.

Turtle shell injuries

Most often, turtles receive shell injuries: contrary to popular belief, this is not at all such a reliable armor. The shell of a turtle can crack because:

  • The turtle fell from a height (from a sofa, table, balcony. it doesn’t matter, the result will be injury);
  • If someone stepped on it;
  • Dropped a child;
  • Crushed by the leg of a chair, table, wheel of a stroller, pinched by the door.
  • Bitten by a cat, a dog.

The best prevention of such injuries is to adhere to basic standards of maintenance:

  • The turtle is kept in a terrarium from which it cannot get out on its own and which the dog cannot reach;
  • You cannot let your pet go for a walk on the floor and forget about it: the turtle will either catch a cold, or someone will step on it;
  • Do not leave your turtle unattended on a balcony or open window (many birds of prey show considerable interest in such pets);
  • Only individuals of the same species and age can be kept together: conflicting turtles can cause serious injury to each other;
  • The diet should be complete: a lack of vitamins and minerals (in particular, calcium and vitamin D) makes the shell and bones more fragile, therefore, the risk of fractures increases.


Most often, the turtle gets burns due to faulty heaters in the terrarium or a nearby lamp. In case of heatstroke, the animal must be placed in the shade, doused with cool water. In case of a 2-3 degree burn, the affected skin is carefully cut off, and then treated with an aqueous solution of tannin (5%) and a solution of silver nitrate (10%). If the lesion is extensive, a course of antibiotics, immunomodulators, drugs to accelerate regeneration is prescribed.

The best option is taking precautions, then your pet will be alive and well, and you will not have to deal with labor-intensive treatment.

What is carapace

The shell is the hard shell of the tortoise’s body, which is similar to bone armor. This part consists of many small scales with a dense base. The structure of the carapace resembles the hair or nail plates in humans.

This important body part consists of two parts:

  • Plastron. abdominal part;
  • Carapax. back part.

Both the plastron and the carapace have a coating of strong horny scales on top. It is due to the presence of this coating that the reptile can withstand loads that are 200 times more than the weight of the turtle itself.

So why does a turtle need a shell? What is this body part for? Due to the presence of durable armor, the following important conditions are provided:

  • Protecting the body and skin of a reptile from negative weather conditions;
  • A durable shell protects the animal from the attacks of predatory animals;
  • This part protects the body of the turtle during falls, strong blows;
  • By the appearance of the shell, it can reveal the presence of a disease in an animal.

This is an integral part of the body, which is of great importance for this amphibian animal. Many processes are supported by it. It is closely connected with the body, it is literally spliced ​​with the spine. For this reason, it is possible to unequivocally answer the question. can the animal get out of the shell, no, it cannot do this. And the fact that some cartoons show how an animal takes off its shell is a myth.

READ  At What Age To Feed The Puppy Dry Food


Usually, the softness of the shell is accompanied by other signs:

  • An increase in temperature;
  • Redness of the eyes;
  • Deformation of the shell and bending of its edges;
  • The appearance of bumps on the shell;
  • Curvature of the limbs;
  • Flat or light carapace;
  • Failure of the carapace in the back dorsal part;
  • An increase in the distance between the upper and lower parts of the shell, which gives the reptile a spherical shape;
  • Changes in bite due to the acquisition of a “duck” beak;
  • The bifurcation of the beak and the falling off of its parts;
  • Frequent bleeding;
  • Spontaneous limb fractures;
  • Loss of cloaca;
  • Discharge of mucus from the oral cavity;
  • Paresis of the hind limbs, which leads to a change in gait (the reptile moves on its front legs, and the hind legs drag);
  • The inability to climb out of the water onto the raft;
  • Shortness of breath, breathing problems.

If you do not take urgent measures, then pulmonary edema or heart failure may develop, which will lead to the death of the pet.


Diagnosing rickets in a turtle is fairly easy. If you press on her shell with your finger, then a hole will appear. Additional symptoms are bending of the edges of the carapace, the formation of tubercles on the shell, hyperemia of the mucous membranes of the eye, fever, tremor of the limbs. In advanced cases, the shell bends, taking the shape of a dome or saddle, the head is deformed, the upper jaw becomes like a beak, and then delaminates, and the lower becomes flexible. Bones become soft and elastic, which provokes frequent fractures.

A turtle has a soft shell. what to do? Signs of disease

The soft shell of the turtle may indicate that the animal lacks calcium and vitamin D3. In this case, other unpleasant symptoms may appear:

  • Deformation of the limbs and shell;
  • Increased fragility of bones;
  • Loss of cloaca;
  • The reptile cannot rise normally on its paws;
  • Redness of the mucous membranes of the eyes is noted;
  • Disruption of the digestive system;
  • Change in bite.

All of these signs pose a serious threat to the turtle’s life. If you do not start treatment at the time, then serious consequences can occur, including death.

So what if a turtle has a soft shell? It is advisable to reconsider the diet at home, to include feed mixtures with a high level of calcium, as well as other vitamins. In addition, you need to contact a veterinarian.

How to properly care during molting

If you notice that the pet’s shell is stratifying on the surface, then this is a clear sign that it is molting. But in order for the reptile to feel comfortable at this time, it is required to observe some measures for caring for it:

  • Particular attention should be paid to nutrition. It should contain components with increased calcium and other useful substances. This will strengthen the flaking shell;
  • Fish and crustaceans should be included in the pet’s diet. This food contains all the necessary elements to strengthen bone tissue. Just this will be needed to increase the strength of the exfoliating shell;
  • It is recommended to carefully monitor the cleanliness of the amphibian’s home. The fact is that at this time there is strong peeling, and dying particles can strongly clog the water. And polluted water is an ideal breeding ground for various harmful bacteria. It is advisable to regularly change the water, and it is also necessary to install a filter;
  • To speed up the process, some owners begin to tear off layers by layers themselves, but this is not worth doing. The reptile can easily cope on its own, because the surface layer is easily detachable. You can resort to this help only when the process is delayed, and the turtle cannot throw off the flaking particles by itself;
  • It is imperative that you bathe your pet regularly, this will help remove residual dirt and prevent rotting. A small container with low sides is used for bathing. Warm water is drawn into it and baking soda is added. 1 tea spoon per 1 liter of water. Further, a reptile descends into it, that its head was at the same time on the surface of the water. Bathing is required within 20 minutes.


In sick animals, bone mass decreases and its density decreases.

There are 3 types of osteopenia: osteoporosis, osteomalacia, fibrocystic osteitis.

Bone tissue is not mineralized enough, which causes bones to lose strength and become soft, which leads to frequent fractures.

  • Fibrocystic osteitis, or hyperparathyroidism

The basic substance of the bone is washed out and replaced by fibrous tissue. As a result, the bone is deformed and enlarged.

How often does molting happen

If the shell of an adult turtle peels off, then this may indicate the presence of a pathological process in the reptile’s body. But what kind of disease and its causes can only be determined by a complete examination of the animal.

What is molting and how does it happen

Every turtle has a natural phenomenon. molt. It is usually observed during the period of active body growth, when the upper layers of the skin and shell simply do not keep up with this natural process. As a result, the layers die off and peel off.

Note! Despite the fact that molting is a natural reaction of the body and does not cause severe harm to the health of the reptile. Each owner should keep in mind that during this period, the pet will need help and special care.

  • Molting occurs only during the period of active growth of the reptile, the older the individual is, the less active this process;
  • At the initial stage, the entire unbreakable film (layer by layer), which includes the shell and the skin, is peeled off;
  • As they grow older, only certain areas of the skin and shell can flake off;
  • After the growth stops, the molting process stops.

A land turtle has a soft shell. what to do?

Problems with the shell can also be in terrestrial reptiles. Even if you feed your pet correctly, there may be problems with the absorption of calcium. In order to determine the development of pathology in the initial stages, you must constantly take the pet in your hands and check the density of the shell. When changing the shape, even the slightest, it is necessary to treat the terrarium with a UV lamp for at least 12 hours a day. Be sure to include calcium supplements in the diet.

You should consult your doctor about the dosage. It can be bone meal or thoroughly grated eggshells. It is recommended to give them at every meal until the condition of the carapace improves. Do not forget about vitamin D. It is drawn into a syringe and poured into the mouth in 3 drops. The pet should take it once a day for 14 days. The main thing is to remember that not only a lack of it is dangerous for the life of a reptile, but also an excess.

The red-eared turtle has a soft shell. what to do?

This type of turtle is most susceptible to rickets. In the risk group, young individuals who are already 12-13 months old. Veterinarians believe that the most common cause of pathology is a lack of sunlight in the terrarium. Each owner can determine rickets independently. It is enough just to lightly press on the shell with your finger. If he began to bend, even very slightly, then it’s time to worry about the pet. His health and life are at stake.

If measures are not taken in time to save the turtle, then its head will change. In this case, the upper jaw is strongly bent, the shape is similar to a beak, and the lower jaw becomes flexible. This leads to the reptile not eating.

What to do if your turtle has a soft shell?

  • Review the diet. Add raw fish with bones, only small.
  • Be sure to drink calcium and D3.
  • Irradiate the carapace with an ultraviolet lamp regularly.

Soft shell in sea turtles

This type of reptile is characterized by a teardrop-shaped shell. This shape allows the pet to swim quickly. If he suddenly becomes pliable and soft, then the owner has violated the conditions of detention. The reasons for the development of rickets are the same as in the red-eared species.

What to do if a turtle has a soft shell? Feed your pet correctly. Purchase food with special additives and vitamins. In the terrarium, change the water regularly and be sure to install a quality filter. If there is no ultraviolet lamp, then find a place for the turtle that is well lit by sunlight.

The reasons

The carapace should be firm with a flat surface. In a healthy turtle, it has no bumps and dips. To keep reptiles at home, you need to create special conditions. Be sure to provide sufficient UV light or, if possible, natural sunlight. Its deficiency causes a deficiency of vitamin D in the turtle’s body. Malnutrition can also cause rickets. If the diet is unbalanced, monotonous, then this will lead to calcium deficiency. Accordingly, it will make the shell soft. Its surface will become pliable, at the slightest pressure dips will appear, the edge shields will begin to bend up.

The progression of rickets can cause serious complications, so every owner should definitely know what to do if the turtle has a soft shell. If you do not take urgent measures, you may experience:

  • Bleeding;
  • Limb fractures;
  • Restriction of movement;
  • Redness of the eyes;
  • Violation of the digestive system, kidneys;
  • Loss of cloaca;
  • Irreversible bite changes.

At the last stage, death is inevitable, as pulmonary edema, heart failure and diffuse bleeding begin.

What to do if a turtle has a soft shell? Causes, treatment, prevention

Not sure what to do if your turtle has a soft shell? First you need to figure out why such a pathology occurs. The soft shell is a symptom of a rather unpleasant and even serious disease called rickets. Its danger lies in the fact that at an advanced stage it is practically not treatable and can lead to the death of a pet. But if you start to fight rickets at the very beginning of development, then there are great chances of recovery. The soft shell of young turtles shouldn’t be a concern. The fact is that during the first year of life, he gradually becomes horny. And only then it becomes a real impregnable defense.

Treatment for rickets

If a turtle has a soft shell. what to do? The main thing is not to delay treatment. At the initial stage, the doctor prescribes injections of 10% calcium gluconate intramuscularly. The dosage is calculated depending on the weight. 1.5 ml / kg. The duration of the course is up to two weeks. Injections must be given strictly every 24 hours. To replenish magnesium and potassium in the body, it is recommended to give your pet a drink with Panalgin. It should be taken 10 days at 1 mg / kg in 24 hours. This drug promotes the absorption of calcium. In an advanced case, treatment is prescribed by a veterinarian after examination. The reptile must be constantly under his supervision.