The Red Eared Slider Turtle: A Turtle Species Perfect for a Pet!

Some the most popular choices of turtles to keep as pets are the Red Eared Slider Turtle, the Spur Thighed Tortoise, and the Russian Tortoise. The Red Ear Slider (scientific name “Trachemy Scripta Elegans”) belongs to the aquatic family, and lives in the south-eastern United States. Its name, Red Ear Slider, describes some of its striking physical coloring, (it has red marks on the sides of its head around its ears) as well as its ability to slide quickly into the water when it senses danger nearby. 
See it’s photo 

Red Eared Slider Turtle

Red Eared Slider Turtle

Aside from its fast swimming capacity, this turtle is known to be rather tame. However, you should still be very careful when approaching or handling this turtle, as it may bite!

Red eared sliders are quite easily identifiable because of their distinct green skin and brightly yellow stripes. The red coloration found behind each of its eyes on the sides of its head is the reason why this species got its name “red-eared.” The hatchlings are easily spotted, as they have the same colors as the adults-dark green shells with various hues of yellow and lighter greens. Their breeding period is from March to June, and unlike other species which are close to extinction, the red ear slider population is growing.

This turtle prefers a habitat with quiet, muddy water with lots of surrounding vegetation. You will hardly ever see these turtles in moving bodies of water. They also spend a lot of time basking in the sun. Keep this in mind when placing logs or other similar material in your indoor turtle tank. It is best to have a large turtle tank, or even an outdoor pond if possible for their housing, since their shells can grow up to 12 inches in length. A good formula to keep in mind to assure the correct amount of space for your turtle is: 1 inch in the length of your pet red ear slider = 10 gallons in your tank’s size. So, for example, a 4” turtle requires at least a 40 gallon tank. This type of turtle is considered a messy eater, therefore you must see to it that you have regular and proper filtration done to clean and maintain the water quality of their tanks. Good water quality is necessary, essential to ensuring the health of your red ear slider turtle, and all other species of turtles as well.

Another essential requirement for all turtles is proper feeding.  For your red eared sliders, ensure that you give them the proper kinds of food in the right amounts. The young turtles must be fed daily, while the grownups are fed once every two or three days. This feeding schedule should be strictly followed. This species is known as omnivorous, which means that  they eat both vegetables and plants, as well as animal protein. Commercial foods such as pellets, trout chow, and sticks must be provided, and should not exceed 25% of its total diet. Not more than 25% of the turtle’s diet should be in the form of animal protein, such as earthworms, live feeder fish, chopped chicken and raw, lean beef. The remaining 50% must be composed of nutritious plants and vegetables.

Although you can purchase a red ear slider in a pet store, it is recommended that you adopt your pet turtle from agencies such as animal rescue centers. This is to ensure the health and safety of your pet. In pet stores, most turtles are housed in one overcrowded tank, which allows for rapid transmission of diseases that may not be easily noticed prior to purchase. Bear in mind that any types of turtles are potential carriers of salmonella. Hence, wash your hands before and immediately after touching your pet. Keep the turtles away from young children. Red eared sliders have a lifespan similar to that of the desert tortoise, ranging from 50 to 70 years.


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