The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) is a semi-aquatic turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. The red stripe on each side of the head distinguishes the red-eared slider from all other North American species. The carapace (top shell) is oval and flattened, has a weak keel that is more pronounced in the young, and the rear marginal scutes are notched. The carapace usually consists of a dark green background with light and dark highly variable markings. The plastron (bottom shell) is yellow with dark paired irregular markings in the center of most scutes. The plastron is highly variable in pattern. The head, legs, and tail are green with fine yellow irregular lines.
Ten Facts about Red-eared Slider
- The female red-eared slider grows to be 25-33 cm (10-13 in) in length and males 20-25 cm (8-10 in).
- Red-eared sliders are omnivores and eat a variety of animal and plant materials in the wild including, but not limited to fish, crayfish, carrion, tadpoles, snails, crickets, wax worms, aquatic insects and numerous aquatic plant species.
- To prevent attempted brumation in an aquarium, lights should be on for 12-14 hours per day and the water temperature should be maintained between 24-27 °C (75-81 °F).
- Courtship and mating activities for red-eared sliders usually occur between March and July, and take place underwater.
- Mating begins in May and egg-laying occurs in May through early July.
- One female can lay up to five clutches in the same year and clutches are usually spaced twelve to thirty-six days apart.
- Eggs hatch sixty to ninety days after they have been laid.
- They can live more than 100 years in captivity.
- Red-eared Sliders are found in the United States from Virginia to Florida and west to Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.
- The "slider" part of their name comes from their ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly.