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Red-eared sliders can live up to 20 years in captivity, which means they’re a serious commitment. If you get one of these quarter-sized babies, it may look easy at first, but as they grow, they will need a giant tank and a lot of constant care. It’s more than just a bowl with a little bit of water and a rock. Aquatic turtles, including red eared sliders, will need special lighting, animal- and plant-based foods, and continuous cleaning and maintenance.

Aquatic turtles , including red eared sliders , will need special lighting, animal- and plant-based foods, and continuous cleaning and maintenance. A large tank, special reptile lighting, and an appropriate diet are just a few things you’ll want to make sure you provide to your red eared slider. Small aquariums are good for young turtles but as red eared sliders mature they will require a tank that can hold well over 100 gallons of water. Water quality must be maintained no matter where you house your turtle and both supplemental heat and UVB lighting should be provided. Though red eared slider’s tastes tend to change as they mature, (shifting to a more herbivorous diet as they get older) turtles of all ages should be offered a wide variety of both animal and plant based items. Commercial turtle pellets can make up a good base for the diet but they should be supplemented with a variety of other items. Improper environmental conditions and diet are among the most common culprits when it comes to health problems in red eared sliders. Casual breeding of ​red eared sliders isn’t recommended but it is important to provide a nesting area for egg-laying females. Many kinds of pets (including all reptiles, amphibians, hedgehogs, and more) carry salmonella and most people should have little reason to worry about contracting the bacteria.

Why is it illegal to have a red eared slider?

Since 1975, however, selling baby turtles that are less than 4 inches long has been illegal in the U.S., because some reptiles—red-eared sliders included—can harbor salmonella on their skin.

Is a red eared slider a good pet?

Summary. Red-eared sliders can make good pets, but keeping them healthy will require time and expense. The turtle, itself, may not be expensive, but remember that properly equipping the habitat, supplying quality food, and providing veterinary care will cost money.

Do red eared slider turtles like to be held?

In general, red-eared sliders do not like to be held. However, this is not always the case. … If you want to hold your red-eared slider, make sure you approach them slowly and in front of their eyes where they can see you. You want to make sure not to startle or scare your turtle.

Do red-eared sliders need to be in water all the time?

Red-eared sliders are aquatic turtles, or to be more precise semi-aquatic turtles. It means that they spend most of their lives both in the water and on the land. To answer the question above, no, they don’t need to be in the water all the time.

Their small size, unique patterns and docile personality make them a great choice. It is almost impossible to find a turtle as interesting and affordable. Red-Ears are also some of the most active and interesting turtles. They can be a great addition to any home willing to put in the effort.

By 1950 farming operations had opened to support the increasing demand for these turtles as pets. Populations have been discovered in a variety of new states, European countries, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Central America. Its presence in non-native areas causes significant problems for other wild turtle populations, as they can easily outcompete native species for resources. Heat and UVB are also essential, so fixtures and thermostats are needed to create a suitable habitat. Depending on your experience level, these turtles can be difficult to care for.Red-Eared Sliders need lots of space and many live for well over 20 years. In general, you will need to provide specialized heating, UVB lights, décor, clean water, proper nutrition and both swimming and basking areas. This means that setting up and maintaining the enclosure is not only expensive, but can also be time consuming for the average person. They need water to swim in, logs and perches to bask on and a UVB bulb to provide artificial sunlight. It is also important to choose the best décor and substrates to promote natural behaviors and prevent boredom. Red-Eared Slider turtles are most commonly kept in glass or acrylic aquariums, although they can also be housed in stock tanks, or outdoor ponds. If you use a metal stock tank, you will need a pond liner to prevent chemical leakage into the water. It is important to make sure that the logs and perches are placed within the high effectivity distance of the bulb. For the basking spot, you should use a material that your turtle can easily climb onto without scratching itself, such as cork or a smooth rock. If the ambient room temperature is at or above 75℉, a UVB lamp over the basking spot is sufficient for heating. However, it will make cleaning more difficult, so many keepers choose to avoid substrate in turtle tanks. Between food waste and fecal matter, these tanks can become dirty quickly and lead to health issues. It is quite common for Sliders to get sick because of husbandry related issues like shell rot, skin ulcers, respiratory problems, conjunctivitis and metabolic bone disease. Many reptile veterinarians treat Red-Eared Sliders with illnesses that could easily have been prevented with proper care. Shell rot and skin ulcers are typically caused by poor enclosure maintenance or a lack of heat. Without regular water changes and cleaning, these turtles are at an increased risk of developing smelly, rotting sores on their shells and skin. Like most other pet reptiles , Red-Ears require Ultraviolet B (UVB) lighting along with their calcium supplements to grow and develop properly. Finally, if a Red-Eared Slider is not able to bask and reach a proper body temperature, they can have digestion issues and lose their appetite. In the wild these little turtles spend most of their time eating aquatic vegetation, invertebrates, tadpoles and fish. Sliders have a sharp, ridged beak to help them tear up vegetation and use their highly developed vision to find prey. Frozen fish can sometimes build up toxic levels of enzymes, and any wild prey can carry parasites. It is important to research your local wildlife laws to determine if you can legally purchase one in your state. If you are struggling to find a breeder, consider adopting a Red-Eared Slider from a rescue or facility that collects invasives. Make sure the eyes aren’t cloudy at all and examine the shell and skin for any sores or growths. The plastron, or “bottom shell”, is a bright yellow with a single dark, round blotch on each belly scute. They are barely larger than a quarter, which makes it even more incredible to learn that the average adult is 5 to 12 inches across the shell. Females reach sexual maturity at between 6 to 8 inches in shell length and 5 to 7 years in age. When picking up your turtle, place your hand behind them and grip the top and bottom of their shell directly in line with the tail. If your Slider is still scratching you, place them back in the enclosure and try handling again after your turtle has calmed down. Keepers love these turtles for their high activity levels and beautiful yellow, green and red colors. The widespread popularity of these turtles has led to them being released into the wild, putting pressure on ecosystems around the world.

About Red-Eared Sliders

Red-Eared Sliders (The most attractive feature of this turtle is its appearance. These Sliders are known for theirThis turtle is perfect for beginners because they are cheap, easy to breed, and small in size. If this was not enough, in 2018, Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, was officially confirmed to be a Red-Eared Slider. This increased their popularity among children.Unfortunately, their popularity with inexperienced keepers has caused many to be released in the wild.These turtles are native to the Mississippi Basin and the surrounding area of the south-central United States. Wild Sliders were first collected and sold in the United States in the 1900s. By 1950 farming operations had opened to support the increasing demand for these turtles as pets.However, many have since been released outside of their native range, either as abandoned pets or as part of rituals. As a result, the Red-Eared Slider has become one of the most invasive species and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Populations have been discovered in a variety of new states, European countries, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Central America.Its presence in non-native areas causes significant problems for other wild turtle populations, as they can easily outcompete native species for resources. Because of this, in areas such as Oregon, you need a permit to keep one.You should understand the care any Slider needs before adopting one.Like most aquatic turtles, they need an aquarium with plenty of space, décor and perches. Heat and UVB are also essential, so fixtures and thermostats are needed to create a suitable habitat. It can be difficult for first time keepers to set up and maintain a proper tank for these turtles.These small, beautiful and active turtles can be very rewarding. However, consistent care is important to maintaining their health.

Red-Eared Slider Habitat

Red-Eared Sliders can be

How Long Do Red-Eared Sliders Live?

Red-Eared Slider turtles are most commonly kept in glass or acrylic aquariums, although they can also be housed in stock tanks, or outdoor ponds. If you use a metal stock tank, you will need a pond liner to prevent chemical leakage into the water.These turtles require lots of space to live and swim.An average-sized adult needsHeating and lighting are equally as important to the health of your slider.Indoor sliders will need a UVB lamp over their basking spot. To avoid health complications, your turtle needs access to a tube-style, full-spectrum 10.0 UVB bulb. It is important to make sure that the logs and perches are placed within the high effectivity distance of the bulb. This light should be on 12 to 14 hours per day.For the basking spot, you should use a material that your turtle can easily climb onto without scratching itself, such as cork or a smooth rock. Your basking spot should be at the water level.You should set theIf the ambient room temperature is at or above 75℉, a UVB lamp over the basking spot is sufficient for heating. If not you can use a ceramic heat emitter or infrared heat bulb with a wattage that is appropriate for your tank.Generally, the water temperature should be between 74 and 78℉If the temperature is below 74℉, you will need a submersible water heater. You should use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the water and not rely on your heater’s settings.Substrate at the bottom of the tank is not necessary, but it can make your aquarium look nicer. However, it will make cleaning more difficult, so many keepers choose to avoid substrate in turtle tanks.If you would like to include substrate, the best option is river pebbles. Just make sure that they are not small enough to be swallowed, as this can harm your slider.With décor, less is more. You want your turtle to have plenty of room to exercise freely. Live plants can be used, but your turtle might eat them or uproot them. Large rocks or driftwood pieces can be used to create a dynamic swimming environment. If you use large river rocks, make sure that they are smooth and won’t injure your slider. You can secure rocks into your enclosure with a nontoxic aquarium sealant.Finally, remember to install a filter capable of cleaning the aquarium. Between food waste and fecal matter, these tanks can become dirty quickly and lead to health issues.Purchasing an aquarium, UVB light and fixture, heat lamp and fixture, thermometers and thermostats, water heater, décor and a high quality filtration system will cost $400 to $700. This may seem expensive, but these items are essential to your turtle’s health.

Red-Eared Slider Turtle Facts

Red-Eared Sliders are omnivores with a wide variety of food preferences.In the wild these little turtles spend most of their time eating aquatic vegetation, invertebrates, tadpoles and fish. Sliders have a sharp, ridged beak to help them tear up vegetation and use their highly developed vision to find prey.Juvenile turtles eat a mostly carnivorous diet, butAim to feed your juvenile a diet of 70% protein five days a week. Make sure to also offer greens for them to graze on. Adults should be fed a diet of 20% protein by only feeding prey twice a week. Greens should be offered every day.Some good foods include:However, you should not feed your slider the following:If you want to feed fish, then avoid fatty species like goldfish and always feed them fresh, captive bred fish. Frozen fish can sometimes build up toxic levels of enzymes, and any wild prey can carry parasites.Be cautious with fruits and only use them as treats since they can cause diarrhea in reptiles.You should supplement their diet with a multivitamin to ensure your turtle is getting a well-rounded diet. A multivitamin with calcium and vitamin D3 can be added to meals twice a week. You can also offer high quality nutritional pellets, but this should not exceed 25% of their diet.

Buying Guide

Red-Eared Sliders are invasive in most parts of the world. It is important toYou can get a Slider from a pet store, breeder, large-scale dealer or rescue organization. Generally, breeders will be the most knowledgeable of their turtles’ histories. If someone is trying to sell you hatchlings less than four inches long, you should not purchase from them. The sale of turtles less than four inches is illegal in the U.S.If you are struggling to find a breeder, consider adopting a Red-Eared Slider from a rescue or facility that collects invasives.When choosing your turtle, look for signs that they are healthy. The Slider should be active and have quick reflexes when approached or prodded. If you pull at one of their legs (gently), you should receive a strong response. If they are approached, they should slide into the water.The shell should be smooth, hard, and not have any dark or light spots. The shell should also not have any scratches or other damage.Make sure the eyes aren’t cloudy at all and examine the shell and skin for any sores or growths. If the turtle is active, healthy and clean, then bring it home!

Appearance

Sliders are beautifully patterned pond turtles. Unlike any other pond turtle species, Red-Eared Sliders have a definingRed-Eared Sliders have olive green-brown carapaces, or “top shells”, that are divided into plate-like sections called “scutes.” As they age, the shell may turn darker, becoming almost black. The scutes along the edge of the shell are outlined in a bright yellow. The plastron, or “bottom shell”, is a bright yellow with a single dark, round blotch on each belly scute. Their shells are also more dome-shaped than other flat-shelled turtles.Their legs, head, and tail are a dark green color with yellow stripes.Some turtles can come in pastel and albino morphs, although these colorings are not usually seen in the wild.The pastel variety has similar markings to the Red-Eared Slider but is paler in color. The albino variety can appear almost entirely yellowish-white, except for the red stripes behind the eyes.

Size

Hatchling Red-Eared Sliders are absolutely adorable. They are barely larger than a quarter, which makes it even more incredible to learn that the average adult is 5 to 12 inches across the shell.When they first emerge from their eggs, hatchlings are extremely small, at about one inch in length. Females will grow to be around 10 to 12 inches in length, andFemales reach sexual maturity at between 6 to 8 inches in shell length and 5 to 7 years in age. Males reach sexual maturity at between 3 to 4 inches in length and 3 to 5 years in age.Males and females are also easily distinguished by appearance. Males have a longer, thinner tail and much longer fingernails on the front legs. Females have much shorter nails for nest digging.Adult Red-Eared Sliders can be sexed primarily by the difference in size between the full grown male and female. Hatchlings are not easily sexed.

Normal Behavior

Red-Eared Sliders are active turtles that spend most of their timeWhen basking, these turtles look out for predators and can dive into the water at a moment’s notice. If they happen to be on land, they can pull in their arms and legs to protect themselves too.Wild Sliders are aggressive and competitive, especially when feeding. They compete both within their own species and with other turtle species. If two turtles attempt to eat the same food, they will use gaping gestures, bite and push. Open-mouth or gaping gestures, especially if they are aimed at other turtles, are a sign of aggression. However, pet turtles tend to be more passive.As a pet, they will spend much of the daytime basking on a perch directly beneath the basking heat source. If you notice that your turtle is avoiding the heat, that could be a sign of issues.Aside from basking, they will also dive into the water to explore frequently. Healthy Sliders tend to be alert, curious, and inquisitive.

Handling A Red-Eared Slider

Red-Eared Sliders can be handled safely, butIf they feel threatened they may retreat into their shells and bite at you. If your turtle reacts in this way, it is best to reduce handling. However, some Sliders may feel comfortable being handled.When picking up your turtle, place your hand behind them and grip the top and bottom of their shell directly in line with the tail. Hold them as you would a hamburger. If your Slider is still scratching you, place them back in the enclosure and try handling again after your turtle has calmed down.Before and after handling you should consider your own health.Red-Eared Sliders are known to be carriers of salmonella, so hand-washing before and after holding is necessary to prevent spreading disease.