Red-Eared Slider Pink Skin – 5 Things to Do!

What is the age of your turtle? Is it young, middle-aged or old?

If the red-eared turtle is young, then the pink skin could be caused by the growth of your turtle.

During their growth, the skin around the new growth may become too thin and soft. So, you can see the blood vessels are there. This causes the pinkish appearance you now see.

But, as time passes on, the skin hardens and the pinkish appearance will disappear and it will become yellow again.

When unsure, check to see if your turtle is healthy and is not suffering from any illness type. If it is healthy, then there is no need to worry. If it is not, then that reddish-pink color may be an indication of septicemia (infection of the blood) in which case he’ll need antibiotics as soon as possible. You should take it to a herp vet as soon as possible.

red eared slider pink skin

Why Does My Turtle Have Pink Skin?

Seeing pink or red coming through the plastron or going along the scutes of the carapace, is a typical sign of Septicemia, but not always. It is normal for younger turtles to have a slight faded rust-colored or pinkish appearance on the plastron. This eventually goes away in time and is of no health concern. Also, check the temperature of your habitat’s water and basking areas.

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A pink or red tint on a turtle’s skin can sometimes be a valid sign of Septicemia, but not always. Plus, check the temperature of your habitat’s water and basking areas.

Lots of turtles get the pink (sometimes; a very dark pink) skin thing. As soon as they begin to swim or run around a lot, the pink can fade. Sometimes it might last for some days.

Turtles are very lazy creatures and will just sit and sit for long periods without doing anything. It is common knowledge that they have very bad circulation.

The areas that are usually pink are the soft skin near the armpits and where the legs go into the shell (soft skin between leg & shell) & around the tail.

ALSO SEE: Do Turtles Eat Flies?

why does my turtle have pink skin

Why Is My Turtle Turning Pink?

A turtle turning reddish/pinkish might not be healthy. It could be blood poisoning. Let’s hope not as the prognosis for septicemia is not good.

However, the pink/reddish color could also be from the foods you have been feeding your pet tortoise. Have you been feeding foods with a reddish or orange color? Then it might be a result of the foods.

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Do you have a UVB bulb in there? Is it more than 6 months? UVB bulbs will lose their effectiveness after six months.

Check the tank, is it way too small? The tank size can also affect water quality since there won’t be enough filtration for all the waste, which can cause all kinds of illnesses. Not a matter of if the turtle will get sick, but when she will. So consider moving her to a larger tank ASAP!!!

Also, here is a list of recommended foods:


  • Omega One Aquatic Turtle Sticks
  • Omega One Shrimp Pellets
  • Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Pellets
  • JurassiDiet
  • Sake-Hikari Turtle Sticks
  • Mazuri Platinum Koi pellets with wheat germ

I recommend feeding one pellet type per day, the next kind the next day, and so forth. This rotation delivers a great variety of vitamins and minerals to your turtle.

You can do wheat germ pellets feeding once a week too. It really helps with scute shedding.

How to Feed Juveniles/hatchlings/baby turtles

You should feed what would fit inside their head, minus the neck, once a day. Or you can split the amount for a half-meal in the morning and night.

ZooMed makes a great hatchling pellet that has more protein. You can supplement the pellets with steamed chicken or fish (cooled), small crickets, and cut-up earthworms/nightcrawlers.

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How to Feed Adult turtles

You should feed what would fit inside the turtle’s head, minus the neck, every OTHER day. Too much intake of food, especially protein, can lead to a condition called shell pyramiding, not a good thing.

Float a piece of romaine lettuce 24/7. Be sure to keep it fresh. You can get a clip at the pet store to keep the lettuce from getting into the filter. Also, floating chunks of cuttlebone 24/7 as a great source of calcium. BE SURE to remove the clear, sharp, edge from the cuttlebone. Be careful as it is very sharp. It can cut a turtle and also cause them to choke.

They may or may not eat the cuttlebone but it is there for them to munch on if they want to.

Why Is My Turtle’s Skin Red?

Sometimes as the turtle gets bigger, especially females, they will have some issues with circulation when basking, the skin will turn red or pink under the lights but should return to normal after being back in the water awhile. It mostly happens to more fatty areas.

If it’s all over, and/or is not going away. A vet appointment will be needed as there might be a septic infection.

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