Obesity in red-eared sliders is a serious issue. Excessive fat accumulation in reptiles is known to cause diminished quality of life and puts strain on their organs, causing problems like fatty liver disease, kidney failure, and heart disease. This often leads to a shortened lifespan.


  • Hanging skin
  • Bulges when tucking legs in
  • Unable to tuck limbs into shell all the way
  • Turtleneck (fat around neck)
  • Unable to walk on land


  • Enclosure too small
  • Inadequate exercise
  • Overfeeding
  • Too many treats
  • Too much high-fat food


Prevention is the best treatment for obesity, as getting a reptile to lose weight is a difficult and slow process.

If your turtle is overweight, make sure to consult an experienced reptile veterinarian to help you encourage weight loss in a safe way. Increasing the size of the aquarium to at least 10 gallons of water per inch of shell length can help, as well as enrichment activities like offering live fish for your turtle to chase.

Weigh the turtle once a month to track its progress.


Hess, L. (2016, January 15). Most Common Obese Exotic Pets: No. 5 Turtles. Vetstreet. http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/most-common-obese-exotic-pets-no-5-turtles

More red-eared slider health topics: