When the Worst Issue Happens: Missing Turtles
Red eared slider problems are part and parcel to owning a slider. Though most slider owners rarely, if ever, have problems sometimes you get sick turtles, turtles that can’t get along with their tank mates, or turtles with congenital issues. One of the worst things that can happen, though, is when a red eared slider goes missing.
The way that most turtles go missing is when they crawl out of their enclosure. Despite appearances, sliders are very good climbers. Don’t think of them as slow, plodding creatures that can barely get around—they wouldn’t have survived for this long if they weren’t able to get where they want to go! A slider that sees a way out his enclosure will find a way to get out if he wants to.
If you keep your pet turtle indoors in a tank, the biggest thing you should remember is to always keep his tank covered! There shouldn’t be enough water in the tank that he can swim to the top, but it has happened before to some owners. For whatever reason, maybe a pump mishap or something, the water level rose and the slider saw a way out and took it. If you have to, you can even put something heavy on top of the hood or cover to keep it in place. Basically, the sides of the red ear slider’s tank need to be about 3 times as tall as the slider to keep him inside. Another thing to consider is if you have dogs or cats—you definitely don’t want them getting to your slider, so keep him safe and secure!
If you keep slider outside in a pond, the same rule applies: the sides of the enclosure need to be 3 times his length. If you are keeping him in a below ground pond, then you are going to have to put a fence around the pond to keep him from exploring your yard in search of a mate and to keep out predators. Terrestrial predators such as raccoons would love to make a snack out of your turtle, so make it as difficult as possible for them. When putting in your fence, make sure you sink it into the ground about 6 inches so that he can’t dig or push his way under it. A slider determined to get out of its enclosure is capable of amazing things!
If your red eared slider pet does get out where should you look? If he is housed indoors, look in small, isolated places where he won’t be caught out in the open and exposed: under and behind furniture or otherwise dark places. If outdoors, look along your fence line. Chances are, by the time you figured out that he has gotten out your slider will have explored your entire yard and will be looking for a way around or through this new obstacle—your yard’s fence!
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