Red-Eared Slider Care Sheet

red-eared slider, RESThe scientific name for a red-eared slider (RES) is Trachemys script elegant. See below for the red-eared slider care sheet.



This page has information aboutThe scientific name for a red-eared slider (RES) is Trachemys script elegant.

The most popular turtle pet is the red-eared slider. If you take proper care of it, you can enjoy your RES for many years. But do read to the bottom of the page to be sure you know what you need to look after your RES. Lots of people buy one because they think it will stay small. It won't. Then, when it gets too big, people take the RES outside and let it go. That's not fair. Check first.

Also find the nearest vet who can care for a red-eared slider. Not all vets take on reptiles. If there is no vet available, find a different pet. Every new pet should have a visit to the vet right away to be sure it's healthy. After that, you may need yearly checks for worms or for nail clipping. And of course there could be many other reasons to visit a vet.

If you ever have an animal you can't take care of yourself, find a turtle or tortoise rescue center to take it.

What a red-eared slider looks like

The red-eared slider gets its name from the bright red oval spot behind its eyes. These aren't really its ears, but the spots are near where a turtle has its ears. And besides, people aren't always scientific when they name an animal.

When you buy an RES, it will probably be a baby with a smooth shell in the shape of a low dome. It's green color will fade and darken as it ages, sometimes going black. The yellow plastron has dark marks, usually one on each scute.

The yellow marks on the slider's head are outlined in black. It's eyes are green.

The webbed feet have long claws. The male's claws and tail are longer.

At one year, a healthy RES is about 3 inches (7.5 cm). Full grown males are about 7-9 inches (18-23 cm) long. Adult females will be 10-12 inches (25-30.5 cm) long.

Breeders sell albino red-eared sliders. They are a pale yellow. An albino RES cannot see very well and needs help finding food.

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A red-eared slider's natural habitat

Red-eared sliders live in quiet freshwater ponds with soft bottoms. A deep pond keeps them safe from predators like racoons. Sliders need a good basking area. Their natural habitat is the southern United States.

When an RES is young, it eats a carnivore diet (insects and worms). As it ages, it adds vegetation to its diet.

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A red-eared slider's "care sheet"

Indoors, a red-eared slider needs a freshwater aquarium. Until it's 8 inches (20 cm), it can make do with 20 gallons of water. A full grown male needs 75 gallons of water; a full grown female needs 125 gallons. Use non-chlorinated water in the tank.

The tank needs a strong filter. When you go to buy the filter, get the best one you can afford.

A submersible heater should keep the water temperature 72-76 degrees F (22-24degrees C).

The tank does not need anything on the bottom. If you do put something on the bottom, use stones that are too big to swallow.

The RES needs a basking area big enough to have a warm and a cool area. It must be easy for the RES to climb onto from the water.

The aquarium needs a lid both to keep the RES from escaping and to support the lights.

Provide both a UVA and a UVB light. The basking temperature should be 85-90 degrees F (24-32 degrees C). Air temperature should be 75-85 degrees F(20-24 degrees C).

If you live in an area that is warm enough, your RES can live outdoors. Provide a habitat like the natural habitat described above.

To 6 months of age, feed a carnivore diet daily. The carnivore diet can include small fish, mealworms, wax worms, crickets, and soaked high quality dry dog food. After 6 months, feed alternate days and introduce chopped or shredded vegetation. Romain (NOT iceberg) lettuce is a good choice. An RES does not eat fruit in the wild, so do not feed fruit.

The amount you feed will depend on your turtle. Watch for pyramiding. If you see any sign of it, reduce the amount of protein.

A red-eared slider will probably come to you for food. Any time you handle an RES or clean its habitat, wash thoroughly with antibacterial soap. Handling a turtle can make you very sick. Do not use the kitchen sink or any other equipment you use for preparing food to clean the aquarium.

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Keep it slow and steady.

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