Sep 24, 2015
The 11-year-old boy was responsible for the upkeep and health care of the adopted terrapin. For the past 2 months, the terrapin had lost appetite. He was very thin. So the father took him and the terrapin to consult me after checking out the Youtube.
"Any stools muddying the water in the tank?" I asked since the boy said the terrapin did eat around 3 pellets.
"Quite clean," he said. "His left eye is swollen. He closes his eyes when he is under water."
"How long has this situation been occurring?" I asked.
"Past 2 months."
Lethargy. No appetite for 2 months.
Severe weight loss - no fatty bulge under armpit and thigh area.
"Any basking area to dry out?" I asked as the owner had adopted the terrapin, tank and a mouldy wooden block from another person.
"The wooden block is small than him," the father said. "I threw it away as it was mouldy."
"So the terrapin had been submerged in water for the past year. How often do you change the water?"
"Once in every 3 days."
The terrapin had a good appetite after adoption, eating many dried shrimps and disliked the pellets. He was fed fresh prawns twice only in the past months. The father bought from the pet shop a bottle of medicine to eliminate flat worms, tapeworks and flukes in fish and poured into the tank. No improvement in appetite.
As the boy was not permitted internet surfing to prevent addiction, I asked if he had loaned terrapin books from the public library.
"None available," he said.
Actually, there was none available for loan when I asked again.
Terrapins are a popular niche pet and the library books would probably be borrowed or the boy had no time to persevere and does not know how to make a reservation.
"Usually it is the owner who is at fault when the pet is sick," the father said to me. "Same as for misbehaving children." This is a rare parent who stopped his 11-year-old son from surfing to prevent internet addiction and deprivation of sleep gaming till 4 am every night. This is what happens to some young Singapore men even at the age of 30 years.