Turtle Shedding White Skin – Causes

A dangling white skin does look scary to most owners. Depending on the type of turtle, it is understandable to be alarmed because peeled white skin does present some concern.

One of the primary concerns would be the potential spread of infection to other turtles or animals in the same habitat. Another concern would be the health of the turtle seen with the peeled white skin.

Turtle shedding white skin why

Turtles can be experiencing health issues, and the only way to express it is through their body language.

Why Do Turtles Shed White Skin?

1. Growth

Turtles do shed both their skin and their shell. Similar to other reptiles, turtles need to shed as they grow. Turtles do not have skin that expands; their skin is covered with plate-like scales.

The new skin or shell grows underneath, and the old one peels off as time goes on. The shedding of old skin also helps get rid of algae and other infections.

A turtle sheds in different stages. They do not shed all of the old skin at once; they shed in pieces and different regions.

The peeling of tissues that look white or transparent can also be referred to as molting. The peeled white skin should look light, not thick.

2. Infection

Thick white peeled skin could indicate a fungal or bacterial infection. The peeled white skin may appear around the turtles’ neck, limbs, or tail.

Turtles also shed their shell as they grow. The peeled-off shell should like thin plate-like scales.

The peeled-off shell can be transparent, or it can look like the color of its shell. However, the peeled skin around the neck, flippers, or tail can appear flaky.

There is no need to worry if the turtle isn’t shedding thick white skin; the turtle is perfectly fine. However, here are some things that will help the turtle shed healthy:

  • Do not remove the old skin from the turtle. Shedding takes time; let the process play out. It is because the new skin underneath can get damaged while trying to remove the old skin.
  • Take the turtle out in the sun. The radiation from the sun can help with the shedding process. 20 to 30 minutes a couple of times a week is enough. It also helps prevent shell rot because spending too much time in water can cause the shell can rot. Remember not to leave the turtle outside without supervision. Accidents can easily occur without close supervision.
  • The reason why turtles shed is that they are growing. Suppose they are given lots of food they might tend to shed frequently. Reduce the amount of food given to the turtle.

In this case, the aim is to reduce the quantity and increase the quality of food. The quantity of food can be the size of the turtles’ heads.

The food quality can change to products with more Vitamin E. It can help with the shedding process.

  • The old peeled skin can leave the pond messy. If they are left unattended, the turtle can eat up the old skin. It is not healthy for turtles because the peeled-off skin can block the digestive tracts.

Why Is My Turtle Constantly Shedding?

The turtles’ skin also needs to be checked for damage, injuries, odor, or any other thing that seems out of the ordinary.

If these steps are taken, but there seems to be no result. Perhaps the turtle sheds frequently, or it does not seem like the shedding stopped. The turtle might be affected by the following:

My Turtle is shedding white skin

Bacterial Infection

Turtles can get infected by bacterial in the form of salmonella. Salmonella is a bacterial infection that can affect the intestines.

This disease can appear in turtle droppings, and it can spread in a number of ways. Either by digestion, or it can spread by contact to the outer skin and the surface of the turtles’ shell.

Fungal Infection

Fungal infections are common in turtles. Fungi can quickly grow in the turtles’ habitat if the surroundings are not adequately taken care of.

Fungi can grow and adapt in water, soil, air, and plants. If care is not properly taken, the infection can easily be contracted by getting in touch with the contaminated area.


Turtles can be easily infected by parasites when there are other turtles in the surrounding habitat. If a turtle is infected, the feces may contain small eggs of the parasite.

Another turtle living in the same habitat can eat those feces and digest those eggs.  As time goes, on the eggs will grow and develop in the healthy turtle.

The parasites could be nematodes, tapeworms, or fluke.

Bad Environment

The environment has a great impact on turtles. They could shed excessively as a result of the following:


If the turtles’ habitat is too hot, it can increase the rate at which the turtle sheds. The recommended temperature of the turtle’s water should be between 75°F and 85°F.

The temperature of the basking area should be 10°F or 12°F above the temperature of the water.

This means the temperature of the basking area should be between 95°F to 97°F. Remember to reduce the temperature during the night at least 5°F below the temperature during the day.

Excess Ammonia

Ammonia levels can increase in the turtles’ tank, especially if the water is unfiltered. High ammonia levels can cause a turtle to shed to increase, not at an average rate.


Although a small number of algae may not be harmful, on the other hand, lots of them can be harmful. Some turtles do eat algae; however, it is not advisable to encourage this behavior.


As discussed earlier, excess food will boost growth in turtles. However, little food is not exactly advisable either. Fruits and vegetables like carrot tops can be offered. Avoid sugary and salty foods.

What To Do?

  • If the turtle is shedding white skin around the neck, flippers, or butt, it is best to let the shedding process play out.
  • If the skin looks light and flaky, there is nothing to worry about. However, if the skin looks like large thick pieces, it is likely a sign of infection.
  • Make sure to clean the water periodically, especially during the shedding period. It is because the presence of the old skin could introduce bacteria or fungi to the turtles’ environment. The turtle could also feed on the peeled skin, which is not advisable.
  • The new water should be filtered to reduce the level of ammonia.


A turtle that spends lots of time in water does not just shed the shell; it can also shed the rest of its body.

Shedding white skin on their neck, flippers, and butt is likely a sign the turtle is growing. As long the shredded white skin does not look big and lumpy.

A quick fix would be to reduce the amount of food given and provide a convenient basking area.

If there are some concerns present about the size of shredded skin, veterinarian assistance would be required. The vet would provide treatment procedures for lumpy peeled skin, if any, on the turtle.