I have two turtles in one tank. Two days ago, one of these turtles got red flesh coming out of its tail and the other one was pulling it out.

I removed the hurt turtle from the aquarium and put it in a tub. It's perhaps its penis coming out of its tail, I saw here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcp4dF-mhz0

Since turtle's penis got injuried, it has stopped eating and penis is also not going back. Also I'm not entirely sure if it is a penis.

I am so worried, what should I do?

Here are few pics, showing how it looks: enter image description here

enter image description here


It looks like a prolapse of some sort. It could be penile, cloacal, or intestinal. Do you know for sure he is a male? Females can also have cloacal prolapse as well as intestinal. If the tissue is not going back in when left alone, you need a qualified vet that treats reptiles.

The tip of the prolapsed tissue is grey, which is not a good sign as it indicates dead tissue. It could be from the bites inflicted by his tank mate. Everted tissue is often seen as a food item, possibly due to its resemblance to carrion or earthworms.

It is not advised to try to re-insert the tissue yourself, and avoid touching the area at all except for during the below emergency preparations prior to taking to the vet.

Run a faucet on low with cool water to gently rinse the area.

To keep the area moist, you can use KY Jelly. If you speak to a vet prior to coming in, they may suggest a past of sugar and water to reduce swelling, but this can irritate tissue.

You need to keep the turtle in a clean hospital enclosure, such as a Kritter Keeper if large enough or a plastic tub that he can't escape from, with no sharp edges. You can use this to transport to the vet. Use wet newsprint to cushion the bottom of the tub. You may need to immobilize the turtle to avoid further damage to the tissue.

Protect the area with a plastic wrap "diaper" over the prolapse only for the amount of time it takes to get to the vet, as this can cause bacterial growth.

Tips on home care of a prolapse prior to seeing a vet are available here: http://www.boxturtlefacts.org/When_The_End_Is_In_Sight.pdf http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/medinjuries.htm

Again, it is important to seek vet treatment for a prolapse that lasts more than a few hours.

  • 1
    Thanks a lot. Your comment is a great relief. I am sure its a female or male. But its less active among two, less stronger. Yes, there is gravel in aquarium. Comparing injured part of my turtle and video (given in my question) it looks like it is not its penis, so cant be penile prolapse.
    – paul
    May 19 '15 at 7:23

My slider managed to climb over his enclosure. He had the same bloody bulb hanging from his tail, there was so much blood but no visible cracks on his shell, which was strange.

Luckily, I had already taken those precautions, but it was horrifying. It made him cranky being out of his tank, but occasionally I splashed him with water. I didn't want to risk infections and figured he'd heal better out of it. He was back in his tank 3 days later, hyper as ever and eating again. I'm so relieved to have found this.

Good luck.

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