how to fix a hole in a turtle shell

How To Fix a Hole in a Turtle Shell?

Your turtle might have a hole in its shell due to an accident or injury. In most cases, a hole in a turtle shell can be easily fixed at home. But sometimes, you might have to take your turtle to the vet because of an extensive injury.

Your turtle might have a hole in its shell due to an accident or injury. In most cases, a hole in a turtle shell can be easily fixed at home. But sometimes, you might have to take your turtle to the vet because of an extensive injury.

If you ever need to fix a hole in your turtle shell, you must know the proper steps. Go through the article to understand the right steps for a DIY hole repair in a turtle shell. But before that, understand some common reasons that can result in a hole in your pet turtle’s shell.

An Overview Of Turtle Shell Damages

Type of Shell Damage Symptoms Potential Causes Repair Methods Preventative Measures Post-Repair Care Tips
Small Cracks Minor visible lines Minor injuries, lack of calcium Epoxy resin, fiberglass patch Calcium-rich diet, safe habitat Monitor for infection, maintain proper diet
Large Fractures Visible large gaps or cracks Major trauma, falls Professional veterinary care Avoid high places, handle carefully Restricted movement, special habitat considerations
Holes Large, penetrating openings Predation, severe accidents Surgical intervention, medical adhesives Protective enclosure, avoid predators Antibiotics, regular vet check-ups, wound cleaning
Shell Rot Discoloration, soft spots Fungal/bacterial infection, poor hygiene Antifungal/antibacterial creams, vet care Clean habitat, proper water quality Hygiene maintenance, regular habitat cleaning

Steps To Fix Holes in a Turtle Shell

Heal a Broken Turtle Shell

Some steps to follow during the DIY repair of a turtle shell with holes are as follows:

Step 1: Clean the Shell

You will have to clean the turtle shell thoroughly to get rid of dirt and blood. Diluted iodine or chlorhexidine solution is great for cleaning wounds on your turtle. Continue the cleaning process for a week before removing all the dirt and debris.

Cleaning the wounds makes the healing process faster. It also prevents shell rot and other infections.

Step 2: Keep Your Pet Turtle Dry

If your turtle lives in water, keep it dry until the shell heals completely. Since turtles eat and excrete in the same tank, the water might be dirty. Bacteria and dirt debris in the water might enter through the holes and cause infection.

Step 3: Give Antibiotics to Your Turtle

If the turtle shell has large holes or infections, you must treat it with antibiotics. Vets often prescribe Baytril or ceftazidime to treat holes in a turtle shell. You will have to administer antibiotics for at least one week.

Infections might still be present when the holes start closing. The trapped infection will make your turtle sicker. Therefore, an antibiotic course for the right duration is necessary.

Step 4: Fix Large Cracks

You should take your pet turtle to a vet if it has large holes or cracks. A vet can choose the hole using different methods. The chosen method will usually depend on the location and size of the holes.

Sometimes the holes are mended using wires. Sometimes, a few zip-ties that stick on the top of the shell are enough. It will ensure that the shell can hold the pieces in place.

Step 5: Use a Fiberglass Patch

A fiberglass patch is used to cover cracks or holes in the shell. The patch is stuck on the shell using glue. You might have to apply a few coats of glue on the fiberglass patch to make it stick to the shell.

Your job isn’t done after attaching the fiberglass. You will have to ensure that the fiberglass patch is in a safe area. No other object should stick to the glue on the fiberglass.

Keep the turtle on a clean surface like a plastic container. Keep them on a clean surface as long as they are not sticky to the touch.

Step 6: Appy Resin

After drying the shell for a few days, you should apply resin to the shell. It will ensure that water does not enter the holes or cracks.

Applying resin to prevent water from entering is crucial for aquatic turtles. Keeping the turtle on a clean surface for a few hours would be best. It will help the shell become dry.

Turtle broken Shell

Step 7: Let the Turtle Dry Completely

Before placing your pet turtle inside its cage or tank, let it dry completely. Please don’t allow your turtle to get wet or leave them in the wild before the shell dries completely. The shell will usually be 100% dry after one week of applying the resin.

Step 8: Place Your Pet Turtle Back into the Cage or Tank

Once your turtle’s shell has dried up completely, could you put it back in the cage or tank? You must reapply the fiberglass patch and resin if your turtle is young. They usually outgrow the layer quite easily within a few months.

It would help if you kept tracking when you should reapply the fiberglass patch and resin on your turtle. Never let epoxy or other materials enter the wound while putting a patch on your turtle. You also need to ensure that you aren’t sealing off any infection under the fiberglass patch.

Common Causes of Holes in a Turtle Shell

Holes in a Turtle Shell

If you know the common reasons holes appear in a turtle’s shell, you can take the necessary steps to prevent them. Common reasons why holes appear in a turtle’s shell are as follows:

Attacked By a Dog

If you have a dog and a turtle, keep them from each other. Your dog might consider your turtle a new chew toy. They might attack the turtle and break its shell.

The shell of a turtle is quite hard. But dogs have enough power in their teeth to break them.

Some dog breeds, like Doberman, can break bones. Therefore, it isn’t odd that dogs can also break turtle shells.

Fight Between Each Other

You should know that turtles are solitary creatures. They don’t have strong ties with each other. The sexually mature male turtles, in particular, don’t know how to co-exist.

Sometimes turtles can be quite aggressive toward one another. They might push each other leading to damage to the shell. Therefore, think twice about keeping two turtles in the same enclosure or tank.

Escaping from the Enclosure

Turtles are quite efficient at escaping from closed spaces. Sometimes turtles might injure themselves while escaping. For instance, they can fall from a high altitude and break their shells.

Being Hit By a Car

Turtle Hit By a Car

It’s not difficult to comprehend that turtles are no match for a moving car. Sometimes drivers might overlook a turtle while it’s trying to cross roads. A turtle might get accidentally hit and break its shell.

In some cases, a turtle might have huge fractures on its shell after getting hit by a car. At other times, tiny holes might appear on the sides of its shell.

Dropped Accidentally

People try to be careful when they are moving a turtle. However, you never know when you are going to drop it accidentally.

Turtles tend to wiggle when you are moving them. It might tickle the carrier and cause them to drop the turtle.

Children might try to pick up a turtle out of curiosity. However, they might not be aware that turtles are heavy. If they don’t have the arm strength to pick up a turtle, they might drop it and break its shell.

Handling a turtle with high caution is necessary to prevent holes and cracks in its shell. If you have children at home, restrict them from picking up the turtles.

How Long Does It Take for a Turtle to Fully Recover from a Hole in its Shell?

The shell of a turtle grows at an extremely slow pace. It often takes months or even months for shell cracks to heal completely.

Injuries on the soft tissue take around 2 to 3 weeks to heal. But the shell fractures often take around 4 to 18 months to become completely stable.

Ending Note

Fix a Hole in a Turtle Shell

Sometimes a turtle might inflict damage on itself. Sometimes, a dog or loved one can accidentally damage a turtle’s shell. Irrespective of the reason, you must use the right steps to fix holes and cracks in your turtle’s shell.

You can save their life with little care when the injury isn’t too severe and hasn’t damaged their organs. Clean the wound and use fiberglass and resin to patch up the holes.

If the damage is too severe, don’t delay taking your turtle to the vet. With patience and love, you will be able to help your turtle heal and stay healthy.

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