Red-Eared Slider

Trachemys scripta elegans

Description: The Red-Eared Slider is a medium sized turtle, with carapace (top shell) length of about 6-13 inches. They are easily recognizable by the yellow, orange, or red lateral stripes on the side of the head. Bothe carapace and skin are olive brown with small patches of cream colored markings.

Range: The Red-Eared Slider, with all of the many subspecies, can be seen in virtually every part of the country. They can eve now be found in Minnesota because of pet owners releasing their animals in the wild.

Habitat: Nearly any permanent body of water serves as a suitable habitat for this species.

Diet:
Wild: Insects, fish, aquatic plants, and scavenged carrion
Zoo: Pelleted turtle diet

Reproduction: Courtship involves a unique dance where the male will approach the female from the front and vibrate his claws on the female’s head or neck. The female will continue to swim forward while the make does this until she is receptive, then she will sink to the bottom for mating. The females can produce up to three clutches a year, laying 4-19 eggs at a time in a shallow hole, 10 inches wide on shore.

Fun Fact: Red Eared Slider are the most popular turtles in the pet trade today. That being said, they have also become an environmental problem by invading and damaging natural ecosystems when their pet owners simply release them into the wild rather than relinquishing them to animal shelters or local herpetological societies.