Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Reptile & Amphibian Center

Ear Infections in Reptiles


Turtles, especially box turtles and aquatic species, are at risk for developing ear infections. Because a turtle’s eardrum is located on the outer surface of its head, infection is trapped underneath the membrane and forms an abscess.


Symptoms and Types


  • Swelling or bulging of the ear drum
  • Thick pus may be visible through the ear drum
  • Pain when the mouth is opened
  • Unwillingness to eat




The underlying causes of aural (or ear) abscesses are not completely understood, but some cases develop when turtles are forced to live in dirty environments, are exposed to improper temperature and humidity levels, and/or do not receive adequate amounts of vitamin A in their diets.




Veterinarians diagnose aural abscesses based on a turtle’s symptoms, a physical exam and medical history.