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A Healthy Turtle Ckecklist

The following article is devoted to A Healthy Turtle Ckecklist. The following checklist should only be used as a guide as to what to look for in a healthy turtle. If you’re in doubt about any health issues your pet turtle might have you should always check with your veterinarian.

A Healthy Turtle Ckecklist

The Shell

Young turtles which are about the ⅓ of the size of an adult turtle their Shell should be firm and elastic, like a human fingernail.

For adult turtles the shell is hard and firm, all plates (scutes) should be firm and in place. The underside of your turtle should also be checked for firmness. Some algae growth on an adult turtle shell is acceptable but will need to be kept in check so it does not hide any injuries on the shell.


A turtles eyes should be bright, clear and wide open. The eyes themselves should not be clouded or swollen; the lids should be free of any mucus or crust. The obvious cause for some of these symptoms would be an injury or some type of foreign object in the eye.  In Aquatic turtles a lack of vitamin A can cause an excess of cells to clump in the eyelids causing them to bulge like a frogs.


Apart from the scales on the legs and neck area of some turtles the skin should have an elastic, leathery texture and be soft to the touch. Depending on the turtle the skin should not be dry and cracked.  Turtles should not have any parasites like mites or ticks on their skin. Skin ailments can be contributed to the lack of proper diet, fungus or bacterial infections either way the problem will need to be addressed by you or your veterinarian.

Nose and Respiratory tract

The nose should be clear of bubbles or mucus. No wheezing, rasping or snoring noise should be heard when your turtle breathes. When your turtle cranes its neck while basking the mouth should be kept close unless it is a water turtle in which case it is normal. Causes can vary from gas in the stomach to lung infection and even constipation.


When a turtle swims it should not tilt to one side or the other, if this happens it could indicate lung damage or disease. On land a turtle should use all legs in forward movement not dragging its rear legs or any legs for that matter.


In general when a turtle is picked up they move frantically in defense or they pull into their shell. When a healthy turtle is placed on its shell it will be able to right them self back onto the legs.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post this healthy turtle checklist should be used as a general guide in determining your turtles overall health. You can always check out my resource page for books, ebooks, videos and web pages that I recommend that can provide you with a wealth of information.

One last thing if you have anything that you would include or even would not of included in this checklist I would like to hear from you, I’m always interested in hearing what others have learned about turtle care and how they keep their pet turtle(s) healthy.

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