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Red-Eared Slider Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common Name:Red-Eared Slider
Scientific Name:Trachemys scripta elegans
Life Span:20 to 30 years
Size:More than 40 cm in length
Habitat:Semi-aquatic, domesticated species
Country of Origin:The Southern United States and Northern Mexico

Physical Description

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The red-eared slider turtle is also known as the red-eared terrapin. It belongs to the family Emydidae and is the subspecies of the common pond slider. This is considered the most common and the most popular pet turtle in the U.S. It is also one of the most popular pets all over the world.

The name red-eared slider comes from the very noticeable small red area or stripe near its sears. It can slide quite quickly from rocks to the water and hence it is known as a slider. 

The upper section of the shell of the red-eared slider can grow up to more than 40 cm in length. The average length of the shell is from 15 to 20 cm. Just like most female animal species, female red-eared sliders are larger than their male counterparts.

This terrapin can live from 20 to 30 years but some pet owners reveal that their pets can live more than 40 years. Experts say that the life span of these turtles can be shorter when these are kept as pets. Their quality of life may also depend on the quality of their living conditions and environment.

The red-eared slider is a poikilotherm, which is a term for animals that are unable to regulate their own body temperatures. They need the help of the environment so they can properly adjust their temperature. And because of this, you will often find red-eared sliders sunbathing to warm their bodies. 

The shell of a red-eared slider has two sections: the dorsal or upper carapace and the lower or ventral carapace. The upper section has the vertebral scutes that form the elevated portion of the shell. The pleural scutes surround the vertebral scutes while the marginal scutes are the sections located at the edge of the shell. 

Looking at the rear of this terrapin, the marginal scutes are notched. Keratin is the primary component of this turtle’s scutes. The carapace has an oval shape and is flattened with a weak keel which is easily seen in young red-eared sliders.

The carapace changes color according to the age of the terrapin. Mostly it is dark-green with light and dark backgrounds. The markings are easily seen. The young and recently-hatched terrapins have leaf-green shells and this becomes darker as it becomes more mature.  

The plastron is the belly of the red-eared slider and is always yellow in color with dark-green symmetrical markings. The patterns are highly variable. The turtle’s legs, tail, and head are green with very fine, irregular, yellow-colored lines. These markings are all over the shell. Reptile experts say that the color is important in camouflaging in the wild.

Red-eared sliders have partially-webbed feet that make the animal very efficient in the water. The feet may be withdrawn in the carapace together with the tail and head. When it comes to the red stripe found on each side of the turtle’s head, this mark distinguishes this terrapin from other North American turtle species. The red stripes are where the external ears are located.

As the red-eared slider matures, this red color can fade and even disappear. Some terrapins also have a small red pattern located at the top of the head.    

Life Span 

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Red-eared sliders may live from 20 to 30 years. These reptiles may live longer when in the wild compared to living in captivity. Like other turtles, tortoises and terrapins, red-eared sliders lay eggs. Incubation takes from 59 to 112 days.

The three stages of growth of red-eared sliders are as follows:

Hatchling 

Expect hatchlings to come out of their eggs within 59 to 112 days but occasionally, there are late-season hatchlings. These may take their time hatching, usually taking till winter and starts to hatch when the climate is warmer in spring. 

Hatchlings have a structure called the egg tooth and this is what they use to break open the egg. This is the only purpose of this tooth and this usually falls off after a few minutes. The hatchlings may stay inside the egg despite the shell already open. 

When the hatchlings are ready, these will leave their eggs and nest to head to the water. It takes up to 21 days from the hatchling to move from the nest to the water. 

The gender of red-eared sliders depends on the incubation temperature as the embryos develop. Males will be produced when the eggs are hatched in a nest with temperatures from 22 to 27 degrees Celsius. Female terrapins will emerge from the eggs if the nest is in a cooler environment. A very cold environment can kill embryos. 

Young

Young terrapins are known to have a voracious appetite and will eat any kind of small aquatic animal or plant. Juvenile sliders are larger, heavier and have more pronounced colors and markings although the red mark found on each side of the head is still present. 

Mature

Mature red-eared sliders are larger and heavier with the red stripe barely visible. The color may be darker and the markings are more pronounced. As mentioned, adult females are larger than males but have a duller appearance. Meanwhile, males are slightly smaller than females and the color and patterns on the shell are brighter.

Courtship starts during March and ends in July and this takes place underwater where the terrapins are more agile and assertive. More on the mating and reproduction of red-eared sliders in the development and reproduction section of this article. 

Eating Habits

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Red-eared sliders are classified as omnivores which means these can eat animals and plants. When in the wild, these terrapins will eat anything smaller than their size. Terrapins are grown in captivity eat turtle pellets. These pellets are commercially-made and are known to provide all the nutritional needs of sliders as these mature.  

Red-eared sliders are freshwater turtles and these undergo a shift in their diet as these mature. During the juvenile stage, red-eared sliders are mostly carnivorous. These live in shallow, warm waters where small water invertebrates thrive. These small animals are good sources of calcium and protein that the sliders need to grow healthy and strong.

As the red-eared sliders mature, these are now able to move to deeper and cooler parts of the pond (usually at 5 to 6 degrees Centigrade lower). In this section of the pond, the organisms are more dispersed which is why the terrapins eat more plants. Plant species like duckweed and hydrilla are two of the most common plants eaten by sliders and these contain very little protein. 

What to feed newly hatched sliders? Baby sliders need protein and you can feed them chopped mealworms, earthworms or turtle pellets. Make sure that the pieces of food are very small so they won’t choke their food. If the hatchlings refuse to eat, give them finely chopped lean beef or ham. 

Sometimes hatchlings may refuse to eat solid food. You can use an eyedropper to feed them beef blood or turtle supplements. Whatever happens, don’t overdo it. You can wait for a little more until they go hungry and eat any food you give them.  

Sleeping Habits

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Red-eared sliders have a unique behavior when sleeping. These reptiles sleep outside the water as well as in and underwater. Because these can hold their breath for a very long time, they can sleep for a longer period in water. 

If a slider sleeps outside water, these can sleep in their shells or outside their shells. They also take advantage of this time basking under the sun to maintain their body temperature. Red-eared sliders close their eyes when they sleep and appear to be relaxed. Their legs are usually spread out while their head simply lay on the ground or on a rock, like a pillow. 

When these sleep underwater, they like to stay inside their shells. Whether in the wild or captivity, you may notice red-eared sliders sleeping next to each other sometimes even on top of each other. This is one way to conserve body heat which is very difficult to manage 

Owners of red-eared sliders notice that their pets may sleep in alternating positions. These may also prefer to stay near the tank’s light source or water pump where it’s warm. When these animals sleep inside the tank, these may remain in the water for a long time because this is where they feel less vulnerable.  

Water

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Terrapins like the red-eared slider can live in and out water. It prefers slightly warm water common in natural ponds. In the wild, it may stay for many hours in water because this can hold its breath for a long time. 

When in captivity, you must create a living environment that’s very similar to natural ponds. The water temperature should be slightly warm with the tank temperature between 75 to 80 degrees Celsius. It’s important to use a water thermometer to closely monitor the water temperature. If the temperature is too low, use a lamp or any kind of heating device to warm the water up.  

How much water do red-eared sliders need? In the wild, these terrapins can swim and thrive in deep waters so if you are getting one for a pet, you may need to create a tank with a deep and shallow portion. A section of the tank should be dry in case the turtle wants to bask on dry land. 

The deep end should allow the terrapin to swim freely. Natural plants must be present in this section to allow turtles to swim and eat just like what it does in the wild. The shallow area is also perfect for basking while remaining in the water.

Consider a larger and deeper tank and water when you have more than two turtles in captivity. This way, your sliders won’t have to compete for space. 

The water inside the tank should be changed at least once a week. The water could become breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms which could make your turtles sick. Also, you must wash your hands before and after holding your pet because of the increased risk of Salmonella infections. This is common in children putting the reptiles in their mouths.   

Use tap water or rainwater as tank water but be sure to test the water quality first. Too much or too fewer nutrients can affect the health of your sliders.  

Also, it’s a fact that sliders can be gross because these eat and defecate in the same tank water. You must have a filter that has two to three times the capacity to keep the tank water clean. The best types of water filters for turtles are canister filters and submersible filters. You should use a filter to avoid weekly water changes as well as testing.  

Distinguishing Between Males and Females

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Sexual dimorphism may exist in male and female red-eared sliders. Male and female sliders look the same which is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between the two. There are some differences to watch out for. 

The markings found under the shell in mature males are smaller compared to mature females. Male sliders are sexually mature when the shells measure 10 cm while females reach sexual maturity when their shells are up to 15 cm.  

Males have a smaller body than females. Males grow longer claws on the front feet compared to females. These long appendages allow them to hold on to females during the mating act. These claws are also used to court females. 

The males also develop thicker as well as longer tails. The cloaca of a female is under the rear end of the shell. In males, the opening is found beyond the edge of the shell. The plastron of the males is slightly-concave while females are flat. The structure of the male plastron also aids in its ability to grasp the female and stabilize his position during mating.

Males may change their appearance throughout his life. When males are still young, these may have a dark-olive green color with subdued marks and patterns. The red stripe on the head is not very clear and may even be absent. Meanwhile, females will have the same appearance all her life. 

Development and Reproduction

You can tell that a red-eared slider is mature when it is larger, heavier and have deeper/darker color, especially on the head. The red mark on its sides and at the top of its head is nearly gone. Nothing much has changed with the body structure except for the size of the shell. The shell is bigger when the terrapin has reached its adult size and therefore it can better hide its head, legs, and tail inside.

Male and female sliders reach their maturity at five to six years of age. Mating season happens between March and July and this happens underwater. Like most animals, red-eared sliders have a unique behavior during courtship and mating.

A male chooses a female and swims around her. He will try to communicate by vibrating the backside of his claws on her head and sometimes on her face. Experts say that this is an effort to direct the male turtle’s pheromones to the female. 

If the female acknowledges the male’s advances, she will swim towards the male. If the female does not want the male’s advances, she may become aggressive towards her suitor. This unique courtship behavior may last for 45 minutes and can go for days until the male finds a receptive female.

Mating happens in just 10 minutes. There may be times when you see the male dancing the courtship and mating dance to another male. When in captivity, a red-eared slider may also exhibit this behavior to other pets. Experts think that this may be a sign of dominance. This behavior may also be seen in between two males and mostly this can lead to a fight. Juvenile sliders may also exhibit this mating behavior before five years old but they will not be able to mate.

After a female mate, she will spend a lot of time under the sun to keep the eggs warm. Like pregnant female humans, she may switch her diet and eat specific foods. Sometimes, she might eat less. Female red-eared sliders can lay up to 30 eggs at a time. The number of eggs may depend on her body size, health, and other factors.

A single female can lay up to 5 clutches in a year. These are spaced about 12 to 36 days. Usually, the time it takes between mating and laying eggs could be from days to weeks. The fertilization happens during egg-laying which permits laying of fertile eggs the next season since sperm can be viable inside the female’s body. 

During the final days of gestation, the female may be seen more on dry land than in water. This is to prepare her body for laying eggs. When she feels that the eggs are ready to come out, she may scratch the ground. This behavior means she is searching for the best place to lay her eggs. She will use her hind legs to dig for a hole on the ground. When the hole is big enough and ready, she will now lay her eggs. 

Incubation is up to 112 days. The egg contains 50% turtle and 50% egg sac. After the hatchling cracks its eggs, it will decide to leave the egg and come back but it would take 21 days for the baby to completely leave its nest for the water. 

The yolk sac is very important because this provides food for the hatchling. Several days after hatching, the sac will be completely absorbed by the turtle’s belly. Compared to the umbilical cord of human babies, the sac does not fall off but will only be absorbed by the belly. The sac should also heal completely before the young slider can swim. 

Any damage to the egg yolk or any inordinate motion of the yolk can permit bubbles to enter the young turtle’s body and kill it. Experts who find red-eared slider turtle eggs mark the top part of the eggs in case these should be relocated. An upside-down egg can stop the growth of the embryo because this can smother the embryo.

If the egg reaches the term, the terrapin will turn the eggs with the yolk sac. This may allow the air to the body of the embryo and this can also lead to death. And if water gets into the body cavity before the absorption of the sac as the opening has not healed completely.

How to Breed

Breeding red-eared sliders take patience. It does not happen quickly as you may think. Also, you can’t just put a male and female together and expect eggs the next day! Breeding starts with choosing the best male and the best female.

The very first thing you need to do is to mimic its natural growing environment as closely as you can. When sliders mate in the wild; these will breed after hibernating for two weeks. The egg will be ready to hatch soon. 

Also, you need to prepare your turtle for hibernation. This will be discussed later. After successfully hibernating the red-eared slider, you may now place males and females together. It won’t take long for the males to perform their mating ritual dance. It’s a success if you see your turtles mounting each other and their tails entwine. 

It will take your sliders only 45 minutes to mate but if they don’t, separate them. Retry this after two days. Once the two has successfully mated, you will now need a larger 20-gallon tank as a gestation tank. Place 4 inches of loose soil; the soil must be loose so the female can easily dig around. Keep the female warm, maintain a tank temperature of 80 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Aside from the right amount of loose soil and warmth, you must also ensure that the tank is damp and quiet. She must never be disturbed as she lays her eggs. While laying eggs, the female may not eat or drink but this is natural so don’t be too alarmed. As long as you keep the tank in the ideal condition, the female slider will lay her eggs around two months. The hatchlings will need 85 days more to hatch.

Once the hatchlings have hatched, leave these in the tank and don’t disturb them. The hatchlings won’t get out of their cracked shells until they are sure that they are safe. Once they start to come out of their shells and start digging the tank, place these inside their own tank. Remember that a 20-gallon tank can house up to 12 hatchlings.

Use a full-spectrum light to mimic the sun’s natural light. Use heating equipment to apply proper heating inside the tank.

Common Health Problems

Red-eared sliders are essentially healthy but may occasionally suffer from health issues. For any health issues, consult a vet for prompt and effective treatment. Here are common health problems.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency happens when sliders are given an incorrect diet. A diet lacking vitamin A can cause changes in the skin. There is poor appetite, swelling of the eye and the lids, swelling of the ears, respiratory conditions and lethargy. Remember, a diet composed of crickets, fruits, vegetables are all insufficient. 

Respiratory Infections 

Red-eared sliders can suffer from respiratory conditions usually due to bacteria and due to vitamin A deficiency. Signs of respiratory infection due to bacteria include lethargy, open-mouth breathing, wheezing, poor appetite, and lethargy.

Shell Problems

Shell problems are common in turtles and terrapins and are usually due to bacterial or viral infections and also due to fungi. When these are overlooked, the shells can crack and fracture. 

Abscesses

Abscesses are seen as swelling, tumor-like on any part of the turtle’s body. The most common site for abscesses is the opening of the ear. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of abscesses in red-eared sliders. 

Parasites 

If your red-eared slider suddenly has bouts of diarrhea and noticeable weight loss, suspect parasites. Roundworms are the most common parasite in turtles and this should be treated right away. Usually, turtles don’t show any signs and symptoms only diarrhea and weight loss.

Other Turtle Accidents

Your red-eared sliders may find the confidence to move around your room or house and this makes it at risk for many types of accidents. Your turtle may try to go down a flight of stairs and fall. It may break its shell and may suffer from serious cuts and injuries. For this situation, take your pet to the vet immediately. 

If you notice any injury on the eyes, nose or the head and there are swelling and blood, visit the vet immediately. Any vomiting or loose stools for more than one episode in an hour can lead to dehydration and metabolic problems. Your pet needs to be taken to the vet right away for emergency treatment. 

If you see injuries to its head, shell or eyes, take it to the vet at once. Stop any bleeding with a cotton ball and never apply anything on the wound.  

Preventing Illness

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The best way to prevent illness in red-eared sliders is to maintain cleanliness inside its tank. Change the water inside the tank or use a powerful water filter to effectively and efficiently clean it. Remove the turtle from the tank when you clean it. 

Use a powerful disinfectant and warm water to clean the tank. Thorough general cleaning is a must. Change the water frequently to avoid bacteria growth inside the tank. Remove any food remnants inside the tank and feed your turtle only the right kind of food. 

Take your slider to the vet for regular checkups. Do this more frequently hatchlings. If you need help with turtle nutrition, consult your vet. Always maintain the right temperature inside the tank to prevent illness related to poor body temperature maintenance. 

Always make it a habit to monitor the temperature, humidity and water quality inside your pet’s tank.  

Salmonella

Reptiles such as red-eared sliders can transfer Salmonella and other bacteria to humans. Be aware of this risk and take appropriate measures to prevent this from happening. 

The sale of turtles that measure less than four inches is banned in the United States due to the potential spread of Salmonella. Children are most vulnerable because they may play with turtles and forget to clean or wash their hands after playing.

Wash your hands with warm water and anti-bacterial soap every after handling your pet slider. Wear gloves when handling its tank and when you’re maintaining the tank. 

Behavior

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To fully care for your red-eared slider, you must understand its common behaviors. Here are the three most common:

Claw Snapping

As mentioned earlier, claw snapping is a part of a slider’s mating ritual. It is a part of a dance that provokes the female to mate. However, sliders may also click or snap their claw to show dominance especially when there are other males present. It may also click its claw to other pets.

Sleepiness

Sleeping most of the day is normal for turtles and usually, first-time pet owners become alarmed thinking that their pets are sick. Turtles usually experience bouts of energy. Like humans, they may feel sleepy after a meal and may feel active in the morning. Keep a diary of your pet’s behavior and if it sleeps all day with accompanying poor appetite and weight loss then suspect that there’s something wrong.

Basking

Turtles like the red-eared slider can sit or stand still and just enjoy basking the tank light. Sometimes they would open their mouths, stick out their heads to get more light. Just let your turtle be and it will soon move about. 

Hibernation or brumation

Brumation is similar to hibernation since your pet will be inactive and sleeping more than usual. This happens during October when the outdoor temperatures fall 10 degrees Celsius. You can tell that a turtle is brumating when you spot poor eating, do not eat or defecate. 

Turtles in brumation appear motionless and breathing falls. Red-eared sliders bromate underwater but may also choose near the water bank, in hollow tree stumps, rocks, and other natural structures. Brumation is an adaptive mechanism of a turtle; to protect its body from the long harsh cold months.

Red-eared sliders can survive anaerobically for many weeks during brumation. It can drop its metabolic rate with its cardiac output dropping up to 80% to reduce energy requirements. Meanwhile, captive red-eared sliders living in an indoor tank should not hibernate or brumate. 

Turtles Can Drown

Turtles can live underwater for a very long time but are also susceptible to drowning. These creatures need to come up for air to breathe but if they cannot due to any circumstance, they can drown. 

If you suspect that your red-eared slider has drowned, do not turn it upside down. These may still have air left inside their lungs and doing this can reduce their chance to live. To revive a drowning turtle, set it on a flat surface and gently provide turtle CPR. 

Gently take hold of its two front legs and push these in and out the body or shell. If there is water inside the lungs, doing these actions can remove water out. Water may come out of its mouth and nose. Have someone call a vet or get ready to take your pet to the nearest vet. There is still a chance that your pet is alive because turtles can stay motionless for a long time. 

Habitat

In the wild, red-eared sliders are from an area near the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico as well as in the areas with warm climates in the United States. These turtles live in still and warm waters such as lakes, swamps, ponds, streams, creeks and even in slow-moving rivers. 

Red-eared sliders prefer to live in calm water so they can get out of the water and stand on rocks to bask. You may find a slider sunbathing alone or in groups often piled together at the bank of a calm body of water. The area must also have an abundant supply of aquatic plants which is an adult slider’s main food. 

Most of the time, wild turtles like the red-eared sliders remain near water unless these are looking for female sot mate or a new place to leave. Females may also leave the water for a long time to look for a place to lay her eggs. 

Sliders are very popular all over the world as pets but usually, these end up released in the wild when they mature. This species of turtle is declared one of the most invasive. There are now large feral turtle populations in Europe, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa and in many other countries and regions. 

In Australia, it is illegal to sell, trade, keep, release or import red-eared sliders because it is designated as an invasive species. In Japan, the ban of importing red-eared sliders has been announced and it may take up to 2020 to take effect. 

Red-eared sliders are considered dangerous to the ecosystem because these have an advantage over other creatures.  This kind of turtle has a lower age of maturity, larger body sizes and other characteristics that give them an advantage over other aquatic animals. This species may transmit diseases and this can affect the health of a community. 

In captivity, you must take care of your red-eared sliders and keep them from transmitting illnesses. The first thing to consider is their home. Place this in a  10-gallon tank. It can’t grow in a small plastic container. You need a larger tank for two or more turtles. 

Lighting 

Use a full-spectrum UV lamp plus a basking heating lamp. There are many types of lamps and heaters for pet tanks. Ideally, your lighting must be adjustable so you can fine-tune your efforts in caring for your slider. 

Most experienced growers have a spare battery-powered lamp in case of power interruptions. You should never overlook this since very low temperatures can kill turtles.

Temperature

Make sure that the tank is well heated. Use a reliable lamp to maintain the temperature inside the tank. Measure water temperature as a part of your tank monitoring. Keep the entire tank clean and at the right temperature especially during the cold winter season. 

Filtration

Use a reliable filter that will clean the tank water. The tank water can easily become dirty especially if you have more than one turtle inside the tank. Remember to have a backup filtration unit, one that’s battery operated in case of power outages. 

Tank Accessories

Keep the tank simple and clean. Avoid any décor that can only affect your pet’s health and safety. Your pet only needs water, soil, sand and possibly a few rocks where the turtle can bask on. Females with eggs need more loose soil inside the tank where it can lay her eggs safely. Avoid anything that can fall on your turtles or any décor that may cause electrocution. 

Sanitation

Keep the tank clean to prevent the spread of Salmonella. Clean the tank every week especially when you’re taking care of more than one turtle. Use a disinfectant to clean the tank well. Use warm water and rinse well. 

Availability – Where to Get One?

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Red-eared sliders are available in most pet shops. Being one of the most popular pets in the world, it can be found in most large pet shops in the city as well as online. If you know of someone who has newly-hatched red-eared sliders then you can adopt one. 

How to Care for a Red Eared Slider?

Here are some tips on how to care for a red-eared slider:

  • When handling red-eared sliders, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid the spread of Salmonella and other diseases. 
  • Sliders don’t mind being handled a lot just don’t drop them or place them in a cold environment. 
  • Sliders are happy just to remain inside their tanks but if you want to take your pet outdoors, us a small cage that may be carried anywhere. Bring a portable lamp, water, and food with you.
  • Always pay attention to the temperature of the room where you’re in. Keep your pet’s body temperature perfect by allowing it to bask daily. Use a bright lamp in case there’s no sunlight. 
  • Keep your sliders healthy by taking it to a vet at least two times a year. Do this most especially after hatching and when your pet is getting old. 
  • Always check for any problems such as breathing problems and skin/shell conditions. 
  • Feed your turtle the right kind of food to prevent deficiencies and infections. 

FAQ Section

How much do red-eared sliders cost?

A small red-eared slider can cost anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on where you will purchase it. Try local pet shops or online shops and compare prices. 

How do you get pet red-eared sliders to mate?

As with any other reptile species, red-eared sliders will mate with any female it sees. These are not very choosy animals and in fact, females may also mate readily with any male it sees.

Can red-eared sliders mate with yellow-belly sliders?

Red-eared sliders and yellow-belly sliders maybe both turtles but these are not compatible. The size alone of a yellow-belly slider is too large to mate with a red-eared slider.

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

Red-eared sliders do well in a tank with water. Young sliders need a tank that’s around 20 gallons while adults will do well in large 70-gallon tanks.

How often should you feed you red-eared sliders?

Red-eared sliders, as well as other aquatic turtles, maybe fed daily as juveniles but reduce the feeding to every other day when these mature. You can feed it every three days or in small frequent meals daily. 

How long can a red-eared slider survive without water?

Red-eared sliders can stay on land for a very long time, not swimming in water for days because these have lungs that allow them to live on land. But as much as possible, 2 to 4 days on land would be enough.

Do red-eared sliders become lonely?

Sometimes you’ll find red-eared sliders in the company of other sliders but according to experts, this species of turtles are solitary. The only time sliders do actively socialize is during mating and may venture away from the nest in search for a female.   

Will red-eared sliders bite? 

Yes, it can bite especially young turtles but usually the bite is a result of being mishandled. The bite may hurt especially to young children with very small fingers so take good care not to drop or mishandle a slider when holding it. 

How can you tell the age of a red-eared slider?

The age of a red-eared slider may be  counted through its scute. Count the rings within the scutes; these will alternate with the wider ring of a particular color and a narrow ring of color and this is an approximate age of a slider.

Can red-eared sliders recognize their owners?

Turtles like the red-eared slider can recognize the sight, sound, and smell of their owners. Some pet owners say that a turtle may come if his name is called by his owner.

How can you tell if a red-eared slider is a male or female?

Some distinguishing features will differentiate male and female red-eared sliders. First, male sliders have long and thick tails and their cloaca closer to the tail; females have short and thin tails and their cloaca close to the body. 

Can red-eared sliders feel pain or any sensation on their shells?

Turtles have nerve endings on their shells, this is not a mere piece of lifeless material. However, turtles don’t have nerve endings for pain over their shells and this is why shells protect red-eared sliders.

What type of fish can live with red-eared sliders?

Most freshwater fishes can live with red-eared sliders but the turtle may feed on these fishes. A red-eared slider may nip at the fins and may eat smaller fish so you must place very small, agile fishes that can swim faster away from these turtles. 

Can turtles like red-eared sliders drown?

The way red-eared sliders survive underwater is simple, they hold their breath and they can do so for a longer period. Turtles don’t have gills like fishes but have lungs just like ordinary land animals and this means they need to come up for air. 

Are turtles like red-eared sliders intelligent?

Many turtles display the impressive ability to learn when in captivity. Owners say that they learn quickly who feeds them and takes care of them and may follow them around; some may even know their names and may respond when called.

What animals can your turtle play with?

Turtles like red-eared sliders may also play in their tanks alongside shrimp, tadpoles, live feeder fishes, snails, etc. And aside from being suitable playmates, these can become worthwhile snack foods for red-eared sliders as well.

How do turtles like red-eared sliders communicate?

Turtles like the red-eared slider does not have vocal cords and hence they can’t talk. Some say that turtles are “deaf as a post” because these only have internal ears and may only communicate through movement.

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