Thursday, September 3, 2015

2984. A lady who cares for terrapins

Thursday Sep 3, 2015

Many of the younger generation of Singaporeans cared very much for their terrapins. Yesterday, a young man brought in a terrapin with two ear abscesses and today, a lady in red dress came in with one of her 2 terrapins with a right ear abscess. (Video).  One sibling was bigger than the other. The bigger one eats around 30 pellets a day while the smaller one eats 15.

"Usually he will eat around 15 pellets but the last two days, he hides under water and is not eating much," the lady noticed a right ear swelling and surfed the internet. "The other sibling terrapin is 25% bigger in size as he eats around 30 pellets a day. Both are fed 3-4 times a day. They eat only freshly sprinkled green pellets and no red pellets."

"Feeding the commercial pellets 4 times a day is not commonly practised by Singaporeans," I said.  The terrapins were also given direct sunlight. The shells are green, hard and of good colour compared to another terrapin with ear abscess.

"He used to have white spots on his shell, but now no more," the lady in red dress said. "I change water twice a day.".

With such good feeding, this lady's terrapin had grown to the expected size of 4 months. The length of the upper shell from neck to the back of the shell measured around 15 cm at 4 months of age. A poorly fed one as shown in the video measured around 7 cm.

What is the cause of this right ear abscess in the lady's terrapins. The possible causes are:
1. Dirty water inside the small tank with two bigger terrapins. Urine, faeces, left-over food inside the water for the past 3 months. The lady had just purchased a bigger tank with filters and she showed me the image in her smart phone. Appropriate filters must be used. 

2. Insufficient Vitamin A inside the formulated pellets? There were red pellets which the two terrapins disliked. Were they the ones with more Vitamin A?  Feeding dark green vegetables and carrots will supply Vit A but the terrapins had never liked vegetables.

3. A variety of food. Healthy live feeder fish, shrimps, fish and prawn food.
4. UVB light bulb for the young terrapins  if no time to give access to direct sunlight. UVA light is for warming. UVB light is to help the terrapin to absorb calcium from the food to form strong shells.

5. I advised feeding separately from the aquarium tanks and feeding twice a day. This may not be practical as the new tanks have filters and the lady is very busy in her property job. Despite changing water twice a day, the smaller terrapin still get ear abscess. This was surprising.  

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