Red-eared sliders are popular turtle pets because they are so hardy. They have long life spans; they are resilient and they can be a hardy pet for beginner and experienced red-eared slider owners. However, there may be times when you notice something is not right with your red-eared slider’s health and their poop is the easiest and fastest way to identify a problem. Get to know your pet’s habits, so you can quickly identify a problem as it happens.
What Does Red-eared Slider Poop Look Like
Turtles as with other reptiles urinate and defecate in order to get rid of waste. The overall shape, color, and consistency of the poop are determined by what they have eaten. While some red-eared sliders are consistent in their poop routines, others may not be as regular, which can cause concern.
Healthy poop is usually a log shape, with the size determined by the size of your turtle. It will have varying consistencies, it may be tacky or dry, it may be slightly green or brown in color, though healthy feces should have some brown shades and be relatively solid.
There are a number of times where you may see abnormal poop in the tank and be concerned. Some of these abnormal poops include:
White poop is normal in red-eared sliders, as they excrete urates, which are made from ions and salts from uric acid. This is nothing to worry about and is completely normal.
Red-eared sliders will excrete urates and dry masses, rather than soft poop. They are excreted from the bladder, making them more of urine than feces.
While white poop is relatively common with these pets, there are times where you need to be concerned.
It could be a sign your pet has eaten something it should not have eaten, such as fabric or plastic. Your pet will not be able to digest this and it should hopefully come out in the feces. If it is white material, the poop may also be white.
Sadly, your red-eared slider may not be able to excrete all the foreign objects it eats, which can cause a blockage.
Sharp objects can cause serious internal damage, even if excreted in the feces. Internal bleeding can cause your pet’s poop to turn black, along with red flecks of blood. If the damage is on the cloaca, then there could also be red blood in the poop.
If you see this, then it's recommended to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible.
You will know when your red-eared slider has diarrhea, as it is liquid and soft, rather than solid and form. There are a number of causes of diarrhea, though the first is poor diet. A poor diet means your pet isn't getting the nutrition that it needs, developing into digestive problems.
Parasites are another cause of diarrhea. You should be able to see them in your pet’s stool. Severe infestations can result in diarrhea, softened shell, lethargy, and lack of color.
Diarrhea can also be caused by an underlying infection. Fungal infections are common with red-eared sliders and can cause serious problems.
When your pet has diarrhea, it's advisable to take it to the vet with a poop sample, which can be analyzed and the problem identified and treated.
Why Is My Red-eared Slider Eating Poop
If you are horrified after seeing your red-eared slider eating its poop, then get ready to see it more and more. These turtles will not only eat their own poop, but they will also eat the feces of other red-eared sliders to enjoy the beneficial and healthy bacteria found in the poop. The red-eared slider will eat its feces once or twice to ensure it gets all the nutrients from the meal.
How Often Does A Red-Eared Slider Poop
An adult red-eared slider should be fed three times a week and should poop around the same. Most of these turtles’ poop around every two to three days. They do not have fast digestion, so it may take a day or two for the food to digest before they poop.
Why Is My Red-eared Slider Pooping A Lot
If your red-eared slider is pooping more than every second or third day, then there could be a problem. The most common reasons why these turtles poop more than they should include:
New pet owners often find that they overfeed their red-eared slider because they feel guilty feeding them only three times per week.
An adult will only need three meals per week. They should have a healthy diet of vegetables three times a week with protein offered once or twice a week, their protein intake can be reduced as they get older.
Internal parasites such as roundworms are very common in red-eared sliders. In most cases, these parasites do not cause too much trouble, but in severe cases, they can cause diarrhea, your turtle will poop more than normal and lose weight in the process.
Why Is My Red-eared Slider Not Pooping
As with pooping too much, you may see that your pet isn't pooping at all. This can be very worrying. The main causes are:
Eating its Own Poop
Due to the fact these pets are known to eat their own poop, it is possible you haven't seen your pet poop and therefore you are concerned that there is nothing to clean. If your pet remains active, alert, and healthy, then there is probably nothing to worry about.
Red-eared sliders can get constipation when they are lacking fiber in their diets. This can also happen when they are housed in a tank that is too small.
Constipation can be treated by giving your pet a warm water bath, covering the lower shell, while making necessary dietary changes.
Your turtle relies on its environment to regulate its body temperature. When temperatures are too low your pet will struggle to digest its food properly, which means it may not poop. Water temperatures for red-eared sliders should be:
75ºF - 78ºF
89ºF - 92ºF
If your temperatures are not at optimum, it can cause a lack of pooping due to problems with digestion.
It’s recommended you purchase a digital thermometer with a waterproof remote probe that you can use to monitor your temperatures and ensure they remain at optimum to keep your pet healthy and strong.
Impaction can be very severe and must not be ignored. Impaction occurs when your constipated pet doesn't pass the stool and it becomes impacted or your pet accidentally eats some fake plants, stones, or pebbles from its enclosure.
Impaction needs urgent veterinary treatment with a scan to identify if it is impaction and treatment. Provide your pet with a warm water bath, as you would with constipation, while you wait for your veterinary appointment.
Don't use artificial plants
Fake plants are not good for red-eared slider turtles as they will try to eat these plants. Live plants are edible and help in improving water quality. Check out the best aquatic plants for red-eared sliders.
Owning a red-eared slider can be fun and rewarding. Getting to know your pet and its habits can give you the information you need to identify when there is a problem.
Your turtle should be pooping every second to third day. If you notice a sudden change, consider the above and try to make the necessary adjustments.
If this fails, make an appointment with your vet for further examination and diagnosis.