Turtle shell soft? The turtle’s shell protects its sensitive body from the elements. Strong shells are essential for a healthy turtle, whether it lives in a tank or in the wild. If you find your turtle’s shell is soft, he or she is most certainly sick and need immediate medical attention.
Your turtle’s shell is most likely soft due to metabolic bone disease. Bad food or poor lighting, both of which impede the turtle from effectively absorbing calcium in the blood, are common causes of metabolic bone disease. Turtles with low calcium levels have metabolic bone disease, which results in a fragile shell.
It’s also possible that a bacterial infection is at blame.
Continue reading to learn more about why your turtle’s shell is soft and what you can do about it. We covered everything from the five most prevalent causes of a soft turtle shell to metabolic bone disease and more in this post. Let’s get this party started.
What Is Metabolic Bone Disease?
Metabolic bone disease is the most prevalent cause of a soft shell in a turtle, as we learned before. But what exactly is this ailment?
A calcium and phosphorus imbalance weakens the turtle’s skeletal structure, carapace, and plastron, resulting in metabolic bone disease. Many animals, but especially turtles, require a lot of calcium. It functions as a biochemical messenger that travels across a variety of channels and transmits information.
Your turtle’s shell and skeletal system will be mushy if it doesn’t get enough calcium. Additionally, the turtle’s muscles, especially those in the heart, may have difficulties contracting. Turtles will be unable to build blood clots as well.
Metabolic bone disease can affect a variety of animals, including turtles. Almost all reptiles are prone to contracting this condition and require extra calcium to be healthy.
5 Reasons Your Turtle’s Shell Is Soft
It’s a baby, after all.
Many turtles are born with a rather soft shell. This is perfectly natural, but while handling a juvenile turtle, you must exercise considerable caution. The shell of most turtles does not fully grow until they have been alive for months, if not years.
There is nothing wrong with your turtle if it is a baby or very young and has a fragile shell. Continue to care for your turtle as you have been, ensuring that it has enough diet, light, and a clean habitat to continue forming a hard shell.
Once a turtle’s hard shell has fully formed, it should remain that way until the turtle dies. If you find that the shell of your adult turtle is growing soft, this indicates that something is wrong with your turtle’s health. Your turtle is most likely deficient in calcium, which could develop to metabolic bone disease.
Lack of materials, particularly calcium, in your turtle’s bloodstream is a common cause of metabolic bone disease. Even if you give calcium-fortified turtle pellets, your turtle may not be getting enough calcium. You can increase the amount of calcium in your turtle’s diet to ensure that it gets enough to keep its hard shell.
The tank has poor lighting.
Lighting has a significant impact on the health of your turtle. Turtles in the wild are exposed to a lot of UVB rays. When turtles are maintained indoors, they must be exposed to UVB light in order for their shells to remain strong and healthy. If the turtle’s soft shell is accompanied by a white residue, it’s most likely due to a lack of UVB lighting.
You must also provide basking areas for your turtle. Turtles can dry and absorb D3 under basking lights. As we’ve already discovered, without a basking place, your turtle may suffer from nutritional deficits, which can lead to metabolic bone disease.
The temperature of the water is too cold
The temperature of the water has a significant impact on the health of your turtle. The temperature of the water in the turtle tank should be between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the air should be roughly 10 degrees warmer. Keep a thermostat inside the tank to keep an eye on the temperature.
There’s an infection on it.
Finally, your turtle’s delicate shell could indicate that it is suffering from an infection. Untreated bacterial infections can weaken and damage your turtle’s shell, as well as wreak havoc on other parts of its body.
What To Do If Your Turtle’s Shell Is Soft
Because your turtle needs a hard shell to stay happy and healthy, you must act promptly if you discover its shell is going soft. If your turtle’s shell is soft, you should do the following:
Find the Root of the Problem
If your turtle’s shell is soft, the first step is to figure out what’s causing it. If your turtle is a baby, this is most certainly the case, and you shouldn’t be concerned. Check the lighting system and temperature for an adult. Address either of those issues if they are out of balance or unsuitable for turtles.
Increase calcium intake.
If your turtle’s soft shell isn’t due to lighting or temperature, it’s most likely due to a nutritional deficiency. Increase the amount of calcium in your turtle’s diet. Even if the temperature or light in the tank is to fault, adding more calcium to your turtle’s diet will help him get back on track faster. Even after the shell has mended, you may want to continue feeding your turtle extra calcium.
Antibiotics are available.
Although metabolic bone disease is the most common cause of a soft shell, we discovered that bacterial infections can also induce one. If the soft shell is accompanied by irregularly colored patterns and there are no other indicators of metabolic bone disease, consult your veterinarian for medications to treat the bacterial infection.
When Should You See a Vet?
If your turtle has a fragile shell and adjusting the tank and supplementing more calcium does not work after a few days, call your vet. Take your turtle to the veterinarian right once if the soft shell is causing rapid weight loss.
If you find your turtle has a soft shell, you should be concerned unless it is a baby. As a result of a bad nutrition, inadequate lighting, or poor temperature, your turtle is most likely suffering from metabolic bone disease. A bacterial infection could potentially be the reason of the fragile shell.
In each of these situations, you must provide extra care for your turtle. If your turtle needs to be seen by a veterinarian, add calcium to its diet. If you don’t respond quickly, the damage could be permanent or even fatal.
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