Tag Archives: red eared slider

Thinking outside the tank

16 Jan

My water turtles spend the winter indoors in a 100-gallon horse trough. Let’s call it a turtle trough instead.

This year I acquired two more adult sliders A female Red-ear and a female Yellow Belly.

The basking spot I had was an upside-down bucket with a smooth rock on the top. There was not enough room for 4 turtles to bask.

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One day, a teeny little light bulb went off in my teeny little brain. I went to the garage and cut a few 2″x4″ boards. I drilled them into the studs along the wall behind the turtle trough. Then I added a piece of plywood. The plywood is very important. It keeps the turtles inside their habitat, rather than falling off the logs and onto the floor.

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I added 4 random pieces of wood. I drilled the first piece through the plywood and into a 2″x4″.

Then I added the other pieces of wood. I just played around with them and made them fit together so the turtles could climb up under the basking light. They are all screwed together with 3 1/2″ wood screws.

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A big benefit is that I can now fill the turtle trough almost completely to the top. They gained at least 20 gallons of water and now have a big natural basking platform.

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Eventually , I will finish this project. I’ll paint the plywood board in a solid, natural color like green or brown. Then, I’ll drill maybe a dozen holes into the board. Why, you ask? What is this madness?  I’ll tell you!  I’ll push ARTIFICIAL plants into the holes, creating a solid wall of fake greenery and flowers. When I do that I’ll post some pictures so you can see how it turns out.

No turtle babies for 2014

2 Jan

I’ll get right to the fact that no turtle eggs hatched for me in 2014. I realize now what I did wrong so let’s skim over my stupidity as quickly as possible and move on to other topics that showcase my brilliance.

CAM03109This looks pretty good, right? The eggs are in the shoebox-sized plastic tub covered by Coir (coconut-fiber), and vermiculite. Under that is a bed of sand. Under the little tub is another bed of sand, maybe 3 inches (8 cm) deep. Under the bigger tub is a heating pad, the kind you would use if you were sick or cold. I set the pad on the lowest setting. I wanted even distribution of the heat on to the eggs so they would incubate at 80-85F. (27-30 C).

I then placed the plastic cover that came with the big tub over the whole thing. I didn’t fit it on tight. I left it a bit loose so there would be some circulation of fresh air to avoid mold.

Every few days I would open the lid and spray water over the eggs and sand.

The only glitch along the way was the time we had a power outage and the heater kicked off. I didn’t realize it for nearly a week. The temperature went below 70F (21C). I don’t think that caused a problem, though. It seems to me that in the wild turtle eggs could easily get colder than that and still hatch as long as the temperature eventually heated up. The incubation would just last longer.

When the time to hatch was getting near I checked the eggs. They were shriveled and dry. I was shocked. I thought I had kept them hydrated but then I realized that I had too much sand draining the moisture away. Even though the eggs were covered by Coir and vermiculite, they actually were sitting on sand that pulled moisture away.

This happened to two clutches of eggs. The mother turtle laid two sets of eggs in a very short time, only weeks apart, so both clutches were in the incubator together.

Here are the parent turtles (Red-eared sliders) in the pond.

Here are the parent turtles (Red-eared sliders) in the pond.

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After a hard rain it’s a good time to watch for the female turtle emerging from the pond to lay her eggs.

I carefully dug the eggs out of the wet ground. If you don;t see the turtle lay her eggs you will never find the nest, I promise.

I carefully dug the eggs out of the wet ground. If you don’t see the turtle lay her eggs you will never find the nest, I promise.

This is the second clutch of the summer. There were 7 eggs in the first nest and six in this one.

This is the second clutch of the summer. There were 7 eggs in the first nest and six in this one.

If you’ve gotten this far you must be a turtle lover! Here are a few other turtle pictures just for fun.

Here's old Peggy, a Central American Wood Turtle, finding a worm in her salad. I've had her almost 25 years!

Here’s old Peggy, a Central American Wood Turtle, finding a worm in her salad. I’ve had her almost 25 years!

Does this look like turtle food?

Does this look like turtle food?

After the Hibiscus flower begins to wilt my Red-foot Tortoise gets a treat.

After the Hibiscus flower begins to wilt my Red-foot Tortoise gets a treat.

I picked up this Western Painted turtle while at a local park.

I picked up this Western Painted turtle while at a local park. I released her quickly, but not quick enough.

I never had this happen before. She peed. A lot.

I never had this happen before. She peed.                    A  lot.

 

 

 

 

Turtle egg report for Summer 2013

3 Dec

This past Spring, on May 1 to be exact, I reported that the momma Red-eared Slider (also known as  Banana) was outdoors digging a nest. When the sun went down that night it quickly became VERY cold, under 30 degrees F.  So I put the mother into a dry tub for the evening, where I hoped she would rest until the next day. But instead of resting, she laid her eggs in the tub. Then the eggs got jostled and stepped on. I still hoped they might survive. I put them in my homemade incubator but none developed. All of the eggs, 5 of them as I recall, quickly shriveled and/or fungussed.

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Two months later, in July, the momma was out wandering again and this time I saw her on three consecutive days. That can mean only one thing. She was looking to nest, but I never saw her digging. I searched hard for the nest, hoping to rescue the eggs, as my past experience of leaving eggs underground did not go well. Last year, a nest left to develop naturally was destroyed by several types of worms and grubs. So it’s possible there was a nest of turtles but with the drought conditions here I doubt the eggs ever developed or that the babies could even dig out. And if they dug out what would happen? Would they crawl to the pond only to be eaten by their parents?

During the entire month of August we had one measurable rain and it was only a few tenths of an inch.

Rain was so rare that I ran out and took a picture of the pond.

Rain was so rare that I ran out and took a picture of the pond.

One day in September I came home from work and Banana the Turtle was on land, hiding in the shade under some plants. The ground was very hard. I turned on a sprinkle of water, raining down gently over her, but within a minute or so she scampered (yes, turtles can scamper) back into the pond.

And that’s it for 2013. No eggs to be found.

I decided to construct a sand nesting area that the turtles can use next year.

I dug a hole...

I dug a hole…

...and filled it with exactly 100 pounds, or 45 kilos, of sand.

…and filled it with exactly 100 pounds, or 45 kilos, of sand.

A turtle beach!

She’s indoors now for the Winter, and I have a 55 gallon aquarium ready for her of she acts like she needs to lay eggs. I have about 6 inches of mulch in the bottom of the aquarium. I think I’ll just take her out of her water habitat every week or two and put her in the dry aquarium.

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Sometimes a pregnant turtle will lay their eggs in the water, where the eggs quickly die. Or the mother turtle may hold the eggs in and become egg-bound. That is not a good thing. An adult aquatic female turtle  needs a place to lay eggs. If you see a major behavioral change in your water turtle, and you suspect her to be pregnant, put her on dry land for a few days.

The behavior change you notice may be that she gets extremely active, trying to escape the tank she is in, or just the opposite, sitting on the bottom of the tank , fat and miserable, like Americans on Thanksgiving.

Random thoughts, a post for those of us with no attention span whatsoever

1 May
My son gave me some candy called a Swedish Fish. Yummy! Are they made in Sweden?

My son gave me some candy called a Swedish Fish. Yummy! In America the Swedish Fish are made in Canada 😦

Treat your fish once in awhile. Here's a bowl of peas, brine shrimp and cocktail shrimp.

Treat your fish once in awhile. Here’s a bowl of peas, brine shrimp and cocktail shrimp.

Her'es an extra piece of pond liner that I gave to a friend who might make a pond this year...or next.

Here’s an extra piece of pond liner that I gave to a friend who might make a pond this year…or next.

My wife and i lined this planter with strips of pond liner. The planter dries out too fast. Water can drain out between the strips but hopefully not too fast.

My wife and I lined this planter with strips of pond liner. The planter always dries out too fast. Now, water can drain between the strips but hopefully not too fast.

All done, waiting for Spring!

All done, waiting for Spring!

A few weeks ago, the last bit of snow in the yard.

A few weeks ago, the last bit of snow in the yard.

Spring comes, then it snows again.

Spring comes, then it snows again.

...so feed the birds!!

…so feed the birds!!

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Finally the rains came, and the ponds filled with worms!! i have netted hundreds of worms form the pond. Great fish food, especially for Catfish and Cichlids. If you poison your yard, don't feed the worms to your fish.

Finally the rains came, and the ponds filled with worms!! I have netted hundreds of worms from the pond. Great fish food, especially for Catfish and Cichlids. If you poison your yard, don’t feed the worms to your fish.

Our Golden Retriever hears someone has just gotten home.

Our Golden Retriever hears someone outside.

A few warm days and we think Spring is finally here. We have been fooled 4 or 5 times so far.

A few warm days and we think Spring is finally here. We have been fooled 4 or 5 times.

The Chinese Curly Willow has made it through Winter!!

The Chinese Curly Willow has made it through Winter!!

Too much Caulerpa in the Saltwater tank.

Too much Caulerpa in the Saltwater tank.

I took some to a fish auction.

I took some to a fish auction.

I bought afish tank at the auction, and some plants but my favorite purchase was astack of this magazine from 1969 to 1971. Practical Fishkeeping!!

I bought a fish tank at the auction, and some plants, but my favorite purchase was a stack of this magazine from 1969 to 1971. Practical Fishkeeping!!

Winter is returning tonight , for the fifth time this Spring. My brother sent me this pic of the turtles in Missouri. But it will be cold down there, too. A strange year so far.

Winter is returning tonight, for the fifth time this Spring. My brother sent me this pic of the turtles in Missouri. But it’s getting  cold down there, too. A strange year so far.

A view of Red Swordtails and young Angelfish from above.

A view of Red Swordtails and young Angelfish from above.

A Spring salad today and the snow is coming again.

A Spring salad today and the snow is coming again.

This old girl, who I've had for 23 years , enjoyed the day as well.

This old girl, who I’ve had for 23 years , enjoyed the day as well.

Why Momma turtle was acting funny

1 May
The turtles have spent a long Winter in the basement.

The turtles have spent a long Winter in the basement.

One warm day i oput the turtles outside and within hours the female dug a nest.

One warm day I put the turtles outside and within hours the female dug a nest.

The female works her back legs in alternating fashion until she creates a nest that is shaped like this, but underground.

The female works her back legs in alternating fashion until she creates a nest that is shaped like this, but underground.

She laid 5 eggs, and it got teribly cold that night. I brought the eggs indoors and 3 or 4 are looking good.

She laid 5 eggs, and it got terribly cold that night. I brought the eggs (and turtles) indoors and 3 or 4 are looking good.

Cleaning the ponds is nasty no matter what

1 May
The turtle pond is a stinky mess in the Spring.

The turtle pond is a stinky mess in the Spring.

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During Winter I float plastic jugs weighted slightly with sand. I don’t think this is necessary in a rubber-lined pond but I do it anyway. I don’t know why.

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The little pond is full of leaves and even newspaper.

The turtle are anxious to get outdoors. The female was acting strange, prowling slowly at the bottom of the tank.

The turtles are anxious to get outdoors. The female was acting strange, prowling slowly at the bottom of the tank.

I hoped that draining the pond at 40F ( 4degrees C) would make it less smelly. It was still disgusting.

I hoped that draining the pond at Forty degrees F ( 4 degrees C) would make it less smelly. It was still disgusting.

The land plants need work, too.

The land plants need work, too.

A little frog survived the Winter in the 30 gallon pond.

A little frog survived the Winter in the 30 gallon pond.

I brought nthe frog indoors for two days and fattened him up on earthworms.

I brought the frog indoors for two days and fattened him up on earthworms.

My loyal assistant.

My loyal assistant.

Re-filling the big pond.

Re-filling the big pond.

And another frog, this one as big as your hand. An American Bullfrog.

And another frog, this one as big as your hand.
An American Bullfrog.

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Still too cold for fish. I want to put some Platies and Swordtails in this one.

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Good luck, little froggie.

Baby Turtle and Jack Dempseys

2 Jan

While I was selling the Angelfish, VERY cheap I might add, I was giving away young Green Swordtails and Zebra Danios. I also have a group of small Jack Dempseys that I tried to give away but no one had a place for them.

I recalled that I once had a tank of Convict Cichlids and Tinfoil Barbs and also a Map Turtle. The Map Turtle would actually display mating behavior with the Convict Cichlids. Maybe the Jack Dempseys could live with my little Red-eared Slider?

The little Red-ear that hatched so late this year has gotten stronger and stronger and I just moved him into a 20 gallon tank. The water is about 8 or 9 inches deep. He has a basking platform, of course. The bottom is bare glass for easy cleaning. I stacked a few flat rocks on the bottom for the Jack Dempseys to swim amongst. I think they are all doing fine so far.

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