Red Eared Slider
Scientific Name: trachemys scripta elegans
Common Names: Red Eared Slider, Red Eared Terrapin
Native Habitat: Southern United States, Northern Mexico
Lifespan: 20-50 years
Size: Typically 6-12", fully grown females can reach larger sizes.
Temperament: docile, shy
Ease of handling: Manageable size, docile temperament, and quite hardy. They are naturally quite shy and skittish but growing up around humans leads to a rewarding and interactive relationship.
Skill level: Beginner
Activity level: Diurnal, active during the day and asleep at night.
For every inch of shell length, you should provide 10 gallons of water. A fully grown adult should be in 100-120 gallons.
The enclosure must be aquatic with an out-of-water basking area such as a dock or ledge. They absolutely need UVB lighting.
A water heater and water filter will be required, as well as weekly water changes.
Temperature: Basking area should be between 29-32°C. Water temperature should be between 21-31°C.
Lighting: UVB must be provided otherwise they will develop metabolic bone disease and not have a healthy life.
A large basking area must be provided.
Artificial or real plants can be added for both human and turtle enrichment.
Stones and river rock work well as substrate and can encourage foraging for food and keep your turtle entertained. Ensure the substrate is large enough that it cannot be ingested.
Aquatic decorations can be provided, just ensure that the turtle cannot become trapped and suffocate.
They are omnivores and will eat almost anything. Commercially available turtle pellets can be provided as a staple food although it is highly recommended to vary their diet. They also enjoy frozen shrimp and the occasional feeder fish. They can be provided leafy greens, krill, crickets, worms, minnows, and even pinky mice. Turtles tend to over-eat so be careful not to over-feed them.
A foster-based rescue in Southern Ontario