> I have 2 sliders and on occasions have noticed the larger of the
> two demonstrating an odd behaviour. The larger female extends her front
> legs straight forward, extends her neck out as far as she can, and tries
> to head butt/bite the other female's head. When shed get right in line
> and close enough, the female vibrates her extended limbs and will
> occasionally nip at the other females.
> Meanwhile the victim of this behaviour tries to back up or swim
> away and sometimes she'll extent her own legs out in front. Regardless
> she never seems to run far or get up on to land to get away, hence she's
> disturbed but still hangs around.
Answer: It's all about love an power!
Usually, the males display this kind of behavior towards each other or
towards a female in which they are interested.
An uninterested female or a weaker male will turn away from the
turtle waiving its legs or trying to bite, exposing the side of
its shell, or it will flee.
This behavior gets worse in spring and summer, during mating
season, with mature turtles, and in crowded conditions, without
As long as there are no injuries, you don't have to worry about this.
If the turtles bite and injure each other, you can put them in a larger
enclosure, offer hiding places (plants, caves); or, in the worst case,
you will have to separate the turtles.
Refer to the page on Fighting and Biting for
> They are trying to "scratch" their shell when they touch a rock
> or the other's shell, by moving sideways the carapace while
> pushing up with the back legs (I could't find the exact word
> for this). I suspect this should be normal, maybe they're
> trying to remove whatever they think would be sticking to
> their carapace (algae?).
They are just giving themselves a nice, good scratch.
If you want to please your turtles, scratch their shells with your
fingernails! I have a box turtle that goes totally nutso when I
do this; he will do this little dance and encourage me to just keep
going and going and going, as if I was the Energizer Bunny.
I think they do it, because it feels good. It also gets rid of
algae and other stuff that may settle on their shell. Maybe the
turtles are itching? That's hard to tell, though.