Red-Eared Slider Turtle: Breed Profile

Red-Eared Slider Turtle

Red-eared sliders can be interesting pets. They have attractive yellow and green patterns on their shells and skin, as well as prominent red spots behind their eyes, and are often very social with their owners. 

What is a Red-eared slider turtle?

Red-eared sliders are a species of turtle native to North America. These active swimmers are known for their distinctive red markings and ability to glide quickly through their native pond and are often kept as pets.

The cute little turtles you see for sale will grow into large, durable, and somewhat messy aquatic turtles. Be prepared for them to need a lot of space and cleaning. Like most other reptiles, the Red-eared sliders Turtle is a variable heat animal that cannot regulate its temperature. For this reason, pet owners must ensure that the proper conditions are in place with heat lamps to ensure their well-being.

Species overview

COMMON NAME: Red-eared slider, Red-eared slider, Red-eared slider, Water slider

FURTHER NAME: Trachemys Scripta Elegans

ADULT SIZE: about 12 inches long

LIFETIME: 20 to 30 years

Behavior and temperament of the Red-eared sliders turtle

Red-eared sliders turtle are active pets that enjoy swimming and diving. Captive-born Red-eared slider turtles are generally friendlier and more open-minded than animals born in the wild. Wild turtles disappear into their shells or underwater when they see something or someone approaching them, while captive-bred animals swim toward you in anticipation of a treat. Avoid buying wild turtles that end up in the pet trade, as the stress of changing their lifestyle can lead to serious health problems and even premature death.

While it is possible to find a red-tempered turtle that will be happy to take care of you when you pick it up, it is more likely that your pet will become skittish and either retreat to its shell or bite. In general, it’s best to respect your turtle’s freedom and simply observe it rather than touch it.

Housing the Red-eared Slider

Providing a suitable habitat for a red-eared slider is not cheap, so you should expect to spend a few hundred dollars on suitable habitat. No matter what a pet store clerk says, your young turtle will not thrive in a small plastic container. Get an aquarium, even for the smallest of young animals. Start, if you must, with a 10-gallon aquarium (although a 20-gallon aquarium is preferable), but be aware that your turtle will grow and will need a larger tank fairly quickly.

You will also need full spectrum UV lighting, a heat lamp for sunning, and a dry docking area. The docking area should include an easily accessible ramp out of the water and a stable area where the turtle can sunbathe in the light to absorb heat and UV rays.

In addition, Red-eared slider turtles can be quite messy as they feed and produce waste in their aquatic habitat. To ensure optimal cleanliness, a filter designed for two to three times the volume of water in your pond should be installed. Both canister and underwater filters are used for aquatic turtles. If you don’t have a filter, you have to do a partial water change every week and check the water quality, which is both time-consuming and messy. However, if you let the water stay dirty, your turtle can develop a variety of health problems.

Some Red-eared slider turtles can live year-round in an outdoor tank in warm climates. However, it is important to create a healthy pond environment and protect your turtle from predators, cold snaps, and pesticides.


Turtle health can suffer if it’s not warm enough. Therefore, the environment must be warm, between 75 and 80 degrees Celsius. The area where the turtle lies down should be between 85 and 95 degrees Celsius. Use a water thermometer to keep an eye on the water temperature. If it is too low, add a heat lamp or other heating device.


Full spectrum UV lighting is required above your turtle’s aquarium to mimic the benefits your turtle would receive from natural sunlight. Leave the light on for 10 to 12 hours each day.


The substrate is the material used on the bottom of your turtle’s aquarium. Not only does it have an aesthetic factor, often mimicking the animal’s natural environment, but it can also give your animal something to burrow into. You can leave the bottom of your aquarium bare if you want to make it easier to clean the water. However, if you want to use a substrate, choose gravel or rocks that are too large for the turtle to swallow to line the bottom of the tank.

Food and water

Red-eared slider turtles eat both animal protein and vegetables, including green leafy vegetables, dried shrimp, krill, and crickets. You can give your pet a commercial brand of turtle food, most of which are specially formulated for a complete diet. Follow your veterinarian’s feeding recommendations to maintain a healthy weight for your turtle’s size. It is not necessary to provide water in addition to what is in the aquarium.

Many owners choose to feed their red-eared slider turtles in a water tank located outside of their normal aquarium. In addition to providing good filtration, this practice can also help keep the water clean.

Common health and behavior problems.

Turtles and many other animals, such as hedgehogs, are common carriers of salmonella and other pathogens that can be transmitted to humans. This should not necessarily prevent you from getting a turtle (except perhaps if you have small children or immunocompromised individuals at home), but you should be aware of the risks and take proper hygiene measures. Be sure to wash your hands before and after touching the turtle or its habitat.

Also, watch for gastrointestinal parasites in your red-eared slider turtle. Symptoms include loss of appetite and abnormal bowel movements. These turtles are also prone to respiratory infections, especially if their habitat is too cold. Signs of infection include open-mouth breathing, sneezing, and excessive mucus production. They can also suffer from shell rot or ulcers, like many other turtles. This often occurs due to unsanitary habitats or inadequate nutrition and is manifested by abnormal or foul-smelling stains on their shells.

In terms of behavior, these turtles are usually friendly once they are comfortable in their environment. However, if you must handle them, do so slowly and gently to reduce their stress and minimize the risk of aggressive behavior, such as biting.

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