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turtle mouth open

Turtle Mouth Open

When you have a pet turtle, it is always best to monitor any changes in behavior. The sooner you spot something is off with your turtle, the healthier your turtle will be. In today’s article we will explain everything you need to know about why your turtle has their mouth open.

Why is my turtle’s mouth open?

There are many reasons why your turtle could have their mouth open. Some of the most common reasons include eating, uncomfortable living conditions, hunger, aggression, and respiratory infection.

Eating or just playing around: If your turtle only keeps its mouth open for a couple seconds and closes it, most likely your turtle is completely fine. Your turtle might just stretching or even yawning. There is also the possibility that your turtle is drinking or eating some food. It is important to remember that turtles are very opportunistic eaters. They might even try to eat something that is so small your naked eye cannot see it. They might also stare at you and beg for food even if they are full.

To learn more about turtle eating habits, check out my article on how often do turtles eat?

Respiratory Infection: If your turtle has an open mouth, there is a chance they are having trouble breathing because they are suffering from a respiratory infection. A respiratory infection can be very serious for a turtle. If you don’t treat it quickly, it could lead to death. The key to spotting a respiratory infection in a turtle is spotting the symptoms early. Below is a video of a turtle with a respiratory infection.

If you suspect your turtle as a respiratory or bacterial infection you should check out turtle fix.

Aside from an open mouth and trouble breathing, a turtle with a respiratory infection will likely have discharge coming from their eyes or nose. They might also develop white residue along their neck. Additionally, turtles that are suffering from a respiratory infection usually have a change in appetite.

Uncomfortable living conditions: Another reason your turtle will open their mouth is if they are irritated or uncomfortable with their environment. This could stem from a variety of issues related to their living conditions. It might be the water temperature, inadequate light, or even because the tank is too small. It is important to remember that your turtle’s tank should have at least 10 gallons for each inch of your turtles shell. If you suspect your water might be dirty, I suggest you check out one of the products below:

Eco Clean All Natural Waste Remover

    Price: ~$7

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Cloudy Aquarium Cleaner

    Price: ~$8

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API Turtle Sludge Destroyer

    Price: ~$17

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Your turtle is hungry: As I mentioned earlier, turtles are very opportunistic eaters. They will do whatever it takes to get food. Turtles are smarter than you think, and there is a chance your turtle recognizes that you are the provider of their food. Therefore, when they see you passing by, they may open their mouth as a way for begging for food. If this is the case, your turtle might make a sound similar to a clicking noise.

You should also make sure you feed your turtle a balanced diet. Below are my favorite options for turtle food:

Tetra Tetrafauna Pro Turtle Food

    Price: ~$10 Nutrition: High Protein and Vitamin D3

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Aquatic Turtle Medley Food - Freeze Dried Shrimp & Mealworms for Aquatic Turtle

    Price: ~$15 Nutrition: High Protein and Fiber

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Fluker’s Buffet Blend Turtle Food

    Price: ~$8 Nutrition: High Protein and Vitamin A

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Warning sign: Most of the time, turtles are not aggressive animals. However, they might be opening their mouth to send you a warning sign not to mess with them. This is probably the case if your turtle also makes a hissing sound. This is a natural behavior that turtles use in the wild to intimidate potential predators.

If you think your turtle is opening their mouth to scare you, the best thing to do is to leave him/her alone for a while. If you have other reptiles or fish in the tank, your turtle might also be trying to mark their territory.

What to do if your turtle is breathing hard?

If you suspect that your turtle is having trouble breathing, the best thing to do is to put them on land or on their basking dock. Make sure they have access to adequate light. If you think your turtle has a respiratory infection, you should put this Antibacterial Turtle Remedy into the water. It can help repair any tissue wounds in your turtle, and also helps clear harmful bacteria from the tank’s water. You can click on the photo below for more info.

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