Monday, August 18, 2008

A Tutorial for Cleaning Your Turtle

Since ALRO asked me "How do you wash a turtle?" I have decided to share my knowledge in a blog post!

First you must remove the turtles from their tank and clean everything in it in bleach water. I scrub the basking rock, run all of the gravel through the water with a collander to keep the gravel in, and let the particles out. Because, let's face it, those particles are poop. Poop and shell flakes. I even scrub the tank with bleach water in the bath tub and rinse it before putting all of the now clean items back inside.

The turtles, meanwhile are placed in a small tub with water and Betadine to kill the germs. They swim around dislodging algae, particles, germs. It is important that they swim so the water mixture can get into the crevices they won't otherwise expose for you.
Here, the Betadine has had time to dissipate into the water. You should put in enough to make the water tea colored. Then let them swim until they've mixed it all up and it dissolves.

You can see the scratches on my turtle's shell from the dog's teeth. She has been shedding the darker colored layer of her shell revealing the lighter underneath.

Once she developed a soft spot and hole in her shell from a fungus, and these Betadine washes became more frequent for two weeks. :)

Next I lift them up and check for new discolored places, algae that hangs on their legs, and take a soft baby toothbrush and gently scrub their shells. Especially inside beside their legs, which they pull in in fright. The baby turtle tries to run, while the big one hisses at me, but they have to be cleaned. Hopefully with more handling, they will become tamer.

The Betadine makes the bristles of the toothbrush yellow, so I rinse it out when finished. It's a good indicator that it's clean. Besides, Betadine is an antisceptic. I just wouldn't brush your teeth with it!

Next you see me dumping five gallons of water back into the tank. We get our water from the dispenser in our local supermarket at the Kiosk. five gallons is heavy! About 40 pounds of dead weight. It's a lot more difficult than lifting my 43 pound son who's skeleton provides a distribution of the weight!


Lastly I put some reptile conditioner in the water to make it a little slimy. I also clean the filter and put a new filter in it.

And now I have happy turtles! They are relieved to be back in their home, clean, and not being touched!
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