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Diamondback Terrapin baby floating

Suit

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Jun 5, 2018
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Hello there,

About a week ago I found a baby Diamondback Terrapin stuck in my sewer outside. Right across the street from me is marshland, but I always wanted a turtle so I took this as a sign that I should keep her. I did a lot of research and have created a nice habitat for her. She eats, basks and is very active, but when she swims it seems like her shell is buoyant. She can swim to the bottom, but it is difficult, and then when she stops swimming, she quickly ascends. It has been like that since I found her. I have been keeping the tank around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but just turned it up to 84 since I saw online this can help against respiratory infections, which I think she may have, but there are no other symptoms. Is this normal for a baby DBT or should I be concerned? Has anyone seen this from a baby DBT before? thanks
 

Toddrickfl1

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Sounds like a respiratory infection. I'm not sure what you can do but @Markw84 can probably give you some advice.
 

Yvonne G

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I don't know the laws in your state, but most states have restrictions about taking turtles and tortoises from the wild.

Sometimes a turtle that has been out of water for a long time has a hard time getting hydrated again. Takes a while.

But markw84 is our go to water turtle guy.
 

Suit

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Okay thanks for you inputs, I will see what Mark says. She has not been out of the water for a long time that I know of. I found her in my sewer that was filled with water.
 

Markw84

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This does sound like a respiratory infection. A turtle should have no problem adjusting their boyancy and one that floats as you describe is a classic sign of an infection. As Yvonne mentions, it can be dehydrated, but if that were the case it should be OK within 24 hours or so. WIth a hatchling, about all you can do is keep it warm = 80° min and a basking spot of 90°+ Antibiotics are in order, but with a hatchling it often can do more harm than good. Give it plenty of hiding spots - fake plants to hide in are best. They need to feel secure. A hatchling is never out in the open if it has a choice.

Diamondback terrapins are brackish water animals. Their body chemistry is more salty than other turtles. One kept in fresh water will have a tendency to absorb too much water through osmosis and becomes bloated looking. Also they are very prone to fungus infections in fresh water. Add some salt to the water and create a brackish water for best health. Look up brackish tanks online for best tips on how much salt is needed.
 

Suit

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Thank you for your quick reply Mark! I currently have the water at 84 degrees and a hot basking spot as you said. I think I need to give her more hiding spots though. At first she was very shy and would hide in her shell whenever I came by. Within a couple days she would kind of run away and hide when I came by. Now she is pretty comfortable and just looks at me and sits there. I'm not sure if she is sick or if she has just gotten more comfortable with me around. Right now she has the spot in the back of her basking area where she can hide. Originally I had bought a turtle lamp for her tank, but yesterday I realized that it did not have UVB, so I bought her a dual heat/UVB Light yesterday and today she has been basking pretty much the whole day in it and hasn't done much swimming. She just ate a meal worm I fed her, so she seems okay. I hope she can start to swim regularly soon.

Yes I read about the whole brackish water for DBTs and saw much debate on it online. I decided it would be best to provide her with brackish water since that is what is naturally found in their habitat and probably best for their health. So I have added Instant ocean sea salt and have a hydrometer to measure salinity. Any other tips are much appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Toddrickfl1

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That looks like a coil uvb bulb, I would ditch it. They are known to cause eye problems. Good luck with your DBT though.
 

Suit

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Hi Guys, it's been a few weeks since I asked the question and she appears to be all better now. She is diving all the way to the bottom and swimming down their fine. Thanks for all your inputs.
 

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