The sudden death of your beloved red-eared slider is probably the worst thing that can happen to any turtle owner. You’ll feel bad about losing your pet. But at the same time, you’ll be asking yourself, “Why did my red-eared slider die?” Why did I do wrong?
Red-eared slider died suddenly: this is usually caused by a respiratory infection, unbalanced diet, overfeeding/underfeeding, stress, drowning, poor living conditions, or old age. Providing your turtle with a healthy living environment can help prevent sudden death.
Read the following guide for more in-depth information about the potential causes of your red-eared slider dying instantly. You’ll also discover additional helpful info, such as how to tell if your red-eared slider is dying, how to stop your turtle from dying suddenly, and more.
7 Possible reasons why your slider died suddenly
It can be heartbreaking for your red-eared slider turtle pet to die unexpectedly. However, you should know that this is a common issue among many other turtle owners.
And knowing the reasons why this happens will help you make the necessary adjustments to prevent your remaining turtles or future pets from meeting such a sudden death.
Here are the most common reasons why your red-eared slider died suddenly:
- Respiratory infection
- Unbalanced diet
- Poor living conditions
- Old age
Let’s get a closer look at each of these issues below:
1. Respiratory infections
This is one of the common culprits behind sudden death in red-eared sliders. Poor tank conditions are to blame for this bacterial illness. It attacks your turtle’s lungs—making breathing and other natural bodily functions difficult.
If this illness attacks a baby or older turtle whose immune systems are still developing or weakened over time (respectively), they’re likely to die in just days if they’re not treated!
You can save your turtle from dying due to respiratory illness by detecting it early. If you notice any symptoms or sudden behavior in your turtle, get to your vet asap.
2. Unbalanced diet
If you haven’t been feeding your red-eared slider a balanced diet, then this is another reason it may have met its sudden death.
For your slider to survive, it needs a diet containing plant and animal materials.
Juvenile sliders are more carnivorous, and their diet should contain more animal-based proteins, while the older turtles are more herbivores and eat more plant matter.
Lack of proper diet means your pet doesn’t get the essential nutrients it requires for survival. This result in malnutrition and death eventually strikes!
Feeding your turtle more food than recommended is another reason it’s likely to die instantly without a warning. Beginner turtle owners usually give their pets more food than recommended when they see them acting hungry or begging for more food.
Unknown to them, turtles are opportunistic eaters and will always beg for food, even when they’re full. You should feed your baby slider once every day and an adult slider every other day or 3-4 times a week.
Overfeeding will result in conditions like shell pyramiding which causes the shell to curve upward (this condition can turn fatal over time) as well as obesity which can also turn fatal with time.
Stress is known to have a negative effect on the turtle’s health and may even cause its instant death!
There are many causes for stress in your pet turtle, including being housed in a small tank, not getting out of its tank, too many people handling the turtle, loud food, the type of food you give your turtle, etc.
Due to their highly fragile nature, stress can take the better part of your pet and cause it to die.
5. Poor living conditions
You may have been housing your slider in a small tank with limited swimming space. This makes your pet unable to move around and exercise and may die suddenly due to obesity.
Also, did you provide your turtle with an easily accessible basking platform where it can completely get out of the water to dry off and absorb the UV rays?
If not, then your turtle will most likely start developing various health issues such as MBD (metabolic bone disease) and death will draw near!
Above all, if you don’t keep your pet’s tank clean and perform regular water changes, the tank will turn into a favorable breeding ground for harmful bacteria and other organisms.
These will lead to health issues in your turtles which, if untreated, will likely be the end of your slider.
Though red-eared sliders are generally excellent swimmers, cases of them drowning aren’t uncommon.
This could be caused by your turtle accidentally flipping over in the water, getting trapped and being unable to swim to the surface to breathe, or even when put in deep waters.
If your turtle drowns and you’re not around to save him, he’ll die quickly.
7. Old age
Red-eared slider turtles in captivity can live for up to over 20 years with good care. When your turtle goes past 20 years, it will grow tired and will even show signs of old age, and may even die a sudden, symptomless death.
In such a case, you should be proud of your pet for having reached such an old age. You should also be proud of yourself as not many turtle owners can take good care of their turtles, causing them to die early.
How can you stop your red-eared slider from dying suddenly?
The best way to prevent your red-eared slider from dying suddenly is to provide it with a healthy living environment and a balanced diet and keep an eye on it daily. Always take action if you notice any changes in its normal behavior.
For a healthy living environment, provide your turtle with a spacious tank, an adequate basking area, and access to UV light, and keep the temperatures optimal for water and basking areas. Install a strong filter to keep the tank clean and perform frequent water changes.
Why did your baby red-eared slider die suddenly?
Your baby red-eared slider may have died suddenly due to drowning (baby turtles are still learning to swim and can easily drown if put in deep waters), living in poor tank conditions, malnutrition, or overfeeding.
Untreated medical conditions such as respiratory infection or shell infection can also cause the sudden death of your slider turtle.
Remember, your baby slider’s immune system is still developing, making it highly vulnerable to various health issues which can cause it to die if not detected and treated early.
How do you know if your red-eared slider is dying?
The key signs of a dying red-eared slider to look out for include loss of appetite, trouble breathing, respiratory problems (inducing sneezing, wheezing, nasal discharge, etc.), turtle swimming sideways, nose or mouth foaming, and lethargy.
Shell infections and fecal problems (such as diarrhea or blood in stool) are additional signs to look out for.
If you spot any of these symptoms in your slider, take him to an experienced reptile vet immediately! Your turtle will get treated for underlying conditions and, hopefully, you’ll save him from dying!
How to tell if your red-eared slider is hibernating or dead
When your red-eared slider turtle is hibernating, it will show common signs such as decreased appetite, becoming less active, slower respiration, and movement.
However, if you notice any of the signs we’ve mentioned in the previous section or a sudden behavior change, then your turtle is dying and you should take it to an experienced vet ASAP!
Yes! Your turtle is a cold-blooded animal and its temperature depends on its surrounding temperatures. If you overheat its water or basking platform, then its body temperatures will get too high and it will easily die!
Red-eared sliders don’t die easily. If given proper care and attention, they can live for up to over 20 years. Just ensure you provide your pet turtle with a spacious tank with the right temperature settings and access to a balanced diet. Above all, take your turtle to the vet for regular checkups. If you do all this, your turtle will stay healthy for decades.
If your red-eared slider dies, we advise you to bury it so it can decompose properly. You can also check if your local vet provides turtle cremation services. Avoid throwing your turtle in the wild or placing it in any water system, as this could make other wildlife sick.
There’s nothing more heartbreaking than losing your pet. It gets even worse when your red-eared slider dies suddenly without showing any symptoms. As we’ve just discussed in the above guide, the most likely causes behind this sudden death include poor living conditions, an unbalanced diet, overfeeding, stress, respiratory infections, drowning, and even old age.
We’ve shared helpful tips in this article on how to keep your turtle healthy and keep him from sudden death, how to tell dying from hibernation, and how to deal with a dead turtle. We hope that this guide has offered you some satisfying answers on why your beloved pet may have met its sudden death and how you can prevent this from happening in the future.