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Species: Red Eared Slider – Turtle Guide


There are many things that one needs to consider in order to get a good red eared slider turtle’s habitat. There is lighting, water, area heating, and tank size. The average red eared slider turtle can live to be anywhere from 50 to 70 years old. A captive red eared slider turtle can live to be 20 to 30 years old if properly cared for.

Many red eared slider turtles only make it to be a couple of years old due to ignorance on the owner’s part. This no longer needs to be the case there are plenty of resources out there that can help give a red eared slider turtle a healthy and happy life.

red eared sliderThe first part of the red eared slider turtles habitat would be the size of the tank. The general assessment would be that one would need to have ten gallons of tank per inch of turtle. This is one thing that needs to be addressed regularly if one chooses to go with a smaller tank and upgrade as needed. The red eared slider turtle tend to grow quickly at first and get to be anywhere from 10-12 inches big that would indicate one would need a 120 gallon tank at full size of the red eared slider turtle.

After get a tank that best suits your needs the next thing one would need for a red eared turtles habitat would be the lighting that a red eared slider turtle needs to have for basking and heating purposes. The area that is set up for a red eared slider turtle to bask should between 90-95 degree Fahrenheit and the lighting should be well secured to avoid any electrical problems that may occur. One needs to make sure that when they are setting up the red eared slider turtle that they do not place to much lighting near the water because the water area should be between 70-75 degree Fahrenheit.

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red eared slider image

The water would be the next biggest part of the red eared slider turtles habitat. The tank should be set up with a basking area with dry non-organic materials and a water area where the red eared slider turtle is able to drink and cool off. When one looks at ways to maintain the red eared slider turtles water habitat they need to remember that there are filtration systems that can be installed. Feeding the red eared slider turtle in a different container with water is one way to help keep the water clean.

There are many different ways that people can set up a red eared slider turtles habitat. There are some people that set up habitats in their back yard with ponds and landscape while there are others out there that have exquisite tanks set up while there are others that have a basic set up for a red eared slider turtle. Making sure that a red eared slider turtles habitat is as close to their natural habitat will assist in making the red eared slider turtle a healthy and happy life.

What Does Red Eared Slider Eat?

If you are considering owning a red eared slider turtle, then sooner or later, you will find yourself asking: What do red eared slider turtles eat? The answer is both simple and complex. When it comes to feeding red eared slider turtles, one of the key concepts to keep in mind is variety. The red eared slider diet is a mixed diet of leafy greens, worms, fish, insects, and nutritional supplements such as standard turtle pellets.

While you are deciding on who to feed red eared slider turtles, you should know that whatever you feed them must be given to them in the water. This is important, because red eared slider turtles—like other turtles—have no saliva glands, so they need the water in their habitats to help them begin digesting their food. The wide selection of food for red eared slider turtles is paramount to their healthy, balanced diet. If you try to feed the red eared slider the same food all the time, time after time, they will grow disinterested in eating, even depressed. It could lead to poor health for the turtle.

red eared sliderWhen trying to figure out what do red eared slider turtles eat, you need to know what sort of leafy greens and plants to feed them. There are non-toxic aquarium plants and there are also toxic ones. You surely don’t want to put toxic plants into your red eared slider’s tank, causing them to fall ill or even die. Like taking care of any living creature, you must educate yourself about your red eared slider. It is just about what do red eared slider turtles eat. It is about why they eat what they eat and how they eat what they eat.

The red eared slider turtle’s diet is integral to their health. Owners must be aware of any change in dietary habits. If the turtle has a loss of appetite or starts reacting badly to its food, this could be early signs of an illness. At the same time, if the turtle starts eating too much, there could also be a problem. Keeping an eye on not just what to feed your red eared slider turtle, but also how they are eating what they are being given is important.

Overall, the main diet for red eared slider turtles includes the non-toxic aquarium plants and other leafy greens such as romaine. Beyond that, red eared slider turtles eat a variety of worms including earthworms, meal worms, and blood worms. They also like to eat small fish such as goldfish and guppies. These should be cut into small pieces for smaller red eared slider turtles. The red eared sliders will also need the nutritional supplements available in standard turtle food pellets. For treats, you can feed the red slider turtles insects such as crickets. This variety in their diet is part of what defines the red slider turtles and insures their health.

Red Eared Slider Diet

The red eared slider diet is a multi-varied diet, with numerous choices to stock up on. The red eared slider needs multiple sources for nutrition. It is much like humans in this way. If offered only one type of food repeatedly, over a long period of time, the red eared slider’s diet will suffer. They will grow listless as they become less enthused about the lack of choices they have in food. This will cause them to eat less and then fall into pour health. The red eared slider diet is a key component in taking good care of the turtle, so it can experience the long lifespan it is known for.

What kind of things round out the red eared slider diet? Well, a core staple in caring for your red eared slider will be the traditional turtle food pellets available at most pest stores that deal in exotic pets. The same place you purchased your red eared slider from should have plenty of this in stock, so that will be easy. The next part of the red eared slider diet is non-toxic aquarium plants. These would include such things as anachris or water lettuce. Dark leafy vegetables are also suitable. You can feed a red eared slider romaine, radicchio, or endive.

The red eared slider diet will also require some more protein rich elements. This can include earthworms, meal worms, silk worms, wax worms, blood worms, and aquatic snails. Aside from that, the red eared slider is known to eat small fish such as goldfish, minnows, and guppies. People often provide insects to their red eared sliders as treats as well such as crickets.

By mixing it up, and providing the red eared slider a variety in its diet, the turtle will be both happier and healthier. You should always be sure you’re feeding your red eared slider healthy, clean food, though. If live food is sick, or other contaminants enter into the supply, the red eared slider will most likely also suffer. A healthy diet makes for a healthy pet. Be sure to change it up now and again. Unlike other pets, the red eared slider enjoys change in its diet.

red eared turtle

Other pets may become finicky or even ill from changes in its diet, but the red eared slider is different in that respect. At the same time, as you try different foods for your red eared slider, you will be able to tell what they like better, helping to increase their happiness. Happier red eared sliders live longer. So, by finding the right mix for your red eared slider diet, you will be keeping them healthier for longer.

Red Eared Slider Food

There are many products out there that are commercially made that can be given to a red eared slider as food. These commercially made products should not be more than 25% of the red eared sliders food supply though. The red eared slider is an omnivore and very close to a carnivore when they are first born. As the red eared slider matures it will requires less meat and more vegetation. Making sure that a red eared slider has a variation of food.

Meat items that a red eared slider would eat as part of a regular diet would be earthworms, wax worms, silkworm, blood worm, meal worm aquatic snails, crickets, krill, daphnia, shrimp, apple snail, pond snail, rosy red minnows, guppies, and mosquito larvae. For younger red eared slider one may need to cut up the food so they are able to eat it. Remember that red eared sliders eat in the water, if you do place the red eared slider in a different container to eat make sure that there is enough water in there that the red eared slider is able to eat.

Vegetation items that a red eared slider would eat as part of a regular diet would include red leaf lettuce, kale, dandelion greens, water hyacinth, duckweed, azolla, water lettuce, water lilies, elodea, carrots, amazon swords, water fern, anacharis, hornwort, and frog bit. A red eared slider will “beg” for food but do not be fooled over feeding a red eared slider can be just as dangerous as not feeding a red eared.

There are a number of items that need to be remembered when feeding a red eared slider. Make sure that there are no pesticides on the food that one is giving a red eared slider. There are many foods that people bring into their home and do not realize that they have pesticides. These pesticides can cause health problems for a red eared slider. This would include insects or other feeder items caught in the wild as well as plants that are brought in from outside.

The next item that one would want to remember is that red eared slider will not be able to handle all vegetables and fruit that are out there do some research and figure out what is best for the red eared slider. There are some people out there that will say that you can feed the red eared slider one item or another and then the next page you look at someone else will be saying that those items are not good for the red eared slider. One of the best ways to determine what to feed a red eared slider is to look at what it eats and how it responds to the food you are giving it.

There are a number of supplements that one can get for a red eared slider; food is one of the best ways to disperse the vitamin. Make sure that you know how much vitamins and minerals are needed so that you are not giving a red eared slider too much of a certain kind of vitamin that may cause the red eared slider more harm than good.

Red Eared Slider Tank

There are many ways one can set a habitat for a red eared slider. There are those out there that set up a pond area in their back yard while others set up an aquarium. The one thing to remember when looking at the size of your red eared slider and for every inch you should have 10 gallons to have enough space for a red eared slider. The other thing to remember when you get a red eared slider and are determining the size of the aquarium that you will need is that they grow quickly and if one decides to get a smaller tank to start with it will need to be expanded within a few months.

Red Eared Slider Size

You should keep in mind the red eared slider size averages, if you are looking at purchasing one. While the red eared slider is not one of the largest turtles out there, it does get large enough that you will either start out with an oversized tank, or go through several tanks as the turtle ages. You need to know the standard red eared slider size, so you know if you are going to have enough room to properly house one.

The information varies, but the average size for a red eared slider is said to be between six inches and twelve inches. To further break it down, the average red eared slider male is known to get between 8 and 10 inches long. The average female red eared slider turtle is known to get to be somewhere between 10 and 12 inches. Now, that may not seem like that much of problem, if the red eared slider size is usually going to be a foot or less in length, but it is something to think about.

turtle slider

It is considered best to have about ten gallons of water for each inch of turtle. So, your average red eared slider sized between ten and twelve inches would mean you’d need a tank of one hundred gallons or more. About seventy-five percent of that tank is going to be water. The rest will be land, made up of rocks rather than wood chips, where fungus is known to grow, and causes issues.

So, that red eared slider you are thinking about bringing home—measuring maybe an inch or two as a baby—you’re going to need to invest in at least a 20 gallon tank right away. That’s a sizable environment. By not properly considering and preparing for the total size of the red eared slider, you will run into problems. The red eared slider size considerations are actually a reason they do not make good pets for a lot of people. Not everyone has the room or means to care for a 100 gallon tank. This causes increased bills when dealing with cleaning, filling, filtering, and heating the tank. Think about the difference in time between fully cleaning a ten gallon versus a hundred gallon tank, too.

So, when looking at whether you want to make the investment in a red eared slider you definitely want to consider the red eared slider size and what that means for you.

Red Eared Slider Lifespan

The red eared slider lifespan, if properly cared for, has been known to stretch into multiple decades. It is a saddening fact regarding most pets—whichever kind we make a part of our family—that we humans will outlive most of them. This is definitely certain for more common pets such as cats and dogs, although there are birds that have been known to be passed down through the generations. In reality, the red eared slider lifespan depends on how you care for your red eared slider. If properly cared for, the red eared slider lifespan is known to range between 20 and 50 years.

Now, some might have a pet red eared slider that has lasted only a few months or years before reaching the end of its lifespan. This can certainly be due to not taking good care of the red eared slider. If the turtle’s tank is not cleaned regularly to encourage hygienic conditions, it is more likely the red eared slider’s lifespan will be cut short, for example.

Another thing to keep in mind if trying to lengthen a red eared slider’s lifespan is to keep an eye on the turtle’s overall health. If the turtle seems listless or lethargic, this is usually a sign of declining health. If the turtle’s shell becomes soft or develops lesions, or the red eared slider’s skin develops sores, discoloration of the shell or skin, or discharge from the nose or mouth, these are all signs that you should seek a veterinarian’s help for the health of your red eared slider. Failure to heed these warning signs could surely shorten the lifespan of a red eared slider.

Mainly, the threats to a red eared slider’s lifespan are centered on a handful of various infections, which lead to illness and death if not addressed. A respiratory infection for a red eared slider is often characterized by nose and/or mouth discharge and open mouthed breathing.

The symptoms sometimes include poor appetite and listlessness as well. This can be caused by the red eared slider’s habitat being too cold. Often, correcting the habitat conditions and a run of medications from an exotic animal veterinarian can correct the issue, if it is caught soon enough. Red eared sliders also suffer from what is known as shell rot or shell ulcers. These will show up as discolored, pitted, often foul smelling spots on the red eared slider’s shell. These spots can become infected. The two primary causes for shell rot are an improper diet or an unclean habitat. These infections can be deadly, thus limiting the red eared slider’s lifespan. Red eared sliders are also known to suffer from eye infections, typically caused by a Vitamin A deficiency. This is usually noticed as swollen eyes at first and can be easily treated with a vitamin supplement from the veterinarian.

The red eared sliders can live for a long time, if properly cared for. Many people are never aware of the lifespan of the red eared slider when they first look at buying one, especially as a low maintenance pet for their children. By properly taking care of the red eared slider, however, their natural lifespan can easily make it a lifelong pet.

Red Eared Slider Gender

Determining the gender of a red eared slider can be difficult luckily there are a number of different ways to tell the red eared slider gender. There are four basic ways that one can determine the gender of a red eared slider. There are certain attributes that help determine the gender of a red eared slider. Please remember these gender determining methods are best used on red eared sliders that are four inches or longer in size.

One of the first ways that one can determine the gender of a red eared slider is by its tail. This may seem like an unusual way to determine the gender of a red eared slider. The male red eared slider has a thicker tail than the female red eared slider. This would mean that if one was to turn a red eared slider around and see a thick tail it is more likely that the red eared slider is a male.

The next way one would be able to determine the gender of a red eared slider is to look at the size of the red eared slider. The female red eared slider is generally bigger than the male red eared slider. The female red eared slider will get between 10 to 12 inches big. The male red eared slider will get between 8 to 10 inches big. This would mean to tell the gender of a red eared slider one would look for a bigger red eared slider for the female and a smaller one for the male.

The third way one can determine the gender of a red eared slider would be the coloring of the streak around where the ears should be. A red eared slider that has a red streak is more likely to be a male red eared slider. The female red eared slider has a paler marking that is sometimes orange.

The fourth way that one can use to determine the gender of a red eared slider would be the front nails of a slider. The male red eared slider has longer front claws than the female red eared slider has. The male red eared slider has long pronounced claws where the female red eared slider has short almost nonexistence nails.

The final way one can determine the gender of a red eared slider would be look at where the Cloaca is located. The female cloaca is located closer the shell. The male red eared slider cloaca is located closer to the tip of the tail.

Determining the gender of a red eared slider can be hard and then again it can be very easy. There are other ways that one can determine the gender of a red eared slider. One would want to make sure they are aware if they have a male or a female red eared slider to know if one needs to be set up a different habitat. The gender of a red eared slider is also important for those out there that would like to bread the red eared slider.

Red Eared Slider Breeding

breeding slider turtles

Red eared slider breeding can be more than just putting two red eared sliders in the same tank and letting nature takes its course. There are a number of things that need to be done to help with the breeding process. The first step would be to make sure that the red eared slider is of breeding age. Generally the red eared slider is able to start breeding at about 5 years of age or when the female is about 6 inches or 15 cms.

Once you have determined that the female red eared slider is ready for breeding it would be a good idea to get a separate tank at first for breeding and if the breeding goes successfully you should be able to adjust this tank for the babies later. The mating tank should be about 30 gallons big and fill it with room temperature water high enough that the red eared slider could mate but not deep enough that the female will be able to breathe. This should be roughly about six inches of water. The actual mating takes around fifteen minutes.

The red eared sliders have a mating dance that will determine if the female red eared slider is receptive to the mating.  The male red eared slider will swim toward the female red eared slider and start to touch her face with his long front claws. The male red eared slider may also take the time to swim around the female red eared slider before they start breeding. The male red eared slider may also lightly tap the females shell with his claws. If the female is receptive then she will accept the male red eared slider and they will start mating. By chance if the female red eared slider is not receptive you will need to remove the male before they start fighting and then you can try the breeding process over again in a couple of days.

When you have had a successful breeding session it is advised to remove the female red eared slider to a tank that is properly set up for her. Make sure that the water is extremely clean during this period and that the female red eared slider has a good heating area for basking. During this part of the breeding process the female red eared slider may start eating less and this is normal. The female red eared slider may eat certain foods only.

The average gestation time for the red eared slider is two months. During the last two weeks of gestation the female red eared slider may start spending more time on land digging trying to find a good place to lay her eggs. When breeding a red eared slider it is important to have an area that the female red eared slider can lay her eggs. The female red eared slider will hold in the eggs if there is not a good nesting area. When breeding the red eared slider it is important to understand they may lay anywhere from 2 to 20 eggs.

Article Source: redearedsliderturtlefacts.com (404 link error)


 

Have Anything to Add?


Posted by Nate U:
I’ve been planning in buying a pet turtle now for a couple of weeks. I’ve decided in a Red Eared Slider and need to know what kind of cage I should get or what size it should be? I want the turtle to live a happy life and I may even want to plan on putting 2 turtles in one tank. Need some guidance here on red eared sliders.


Reply from Jenny D:
The rule of thumb for red eared sliders and most other turtles is 10 gallons per inch of turtle. This means that when your red eared slider is full grown at 12 inches, that would mean for that turtle to have 120 gallons of water to live in. These are minimums and even though they sound like huge figures to you and I.. you have to remember the turtles live in these cages and are suppose to live in natural habitat.

It does take turtles a little bit of time to grow so you could always start smaller and move to bigger when that day comes but… people always procrastinate and the turtles never end up getting larger tanks.. The easiest route to go with is a plastic pond liner that holds a lot of water because fish aquariums can be very expensive. A fish aquarium at 100 gallons is going to cost a couple hundred dollars. Do it yourself habitats are always cheaper but maybe won’t look the best.

Your going to have to choose the beautiful brand new aquarium or a do it yourself pond liner that may look kind of funny sitting in your house.. Or wait! You could also search on craigslist for used aquariums too. If your willing to do some dirty cleaning, you could score a good deal on a used tank. I would aim for a 75 gallon at minimum since you said you planned on maybe getting two tanks. That’s big but will still be considered crowded and too small.


Reply from Vicky N:
It kind of makes me sad when you take a look at the size of aquariums of these turtles have to live in. It’s basically a way of life for them though because it’s almost impossible to give them large enough habitats for them to living inside of our households. We not only have to make sure that their habitat is as clean as possible but it also has to be as large as possible and that makes for more expensive components to keep the things cleaner. I have a tough enough time trying to keep my 75 gallon aquarium with clean water with running three filtration systems at once.


Reply from Chris W:
If you utilize your aquarium more properly and actually create a land habitat outside of the aquarium on top of that was one of those kits you can utilize more space. Actually have these small kids that go on top of your aquarium and the turtle walks outside of it on the small steppingstone and then it’s outside of the aquarium which is completely water and that just makes a lot of sense. What it does is it sits on top of your aquarium and there’s a little steppingstone for the turtle to be able to get out of the tank and you can use that as the land portion of your aquarium. This way you your aquarium is totally 100% aquatic and water. Did you know they sell these little kids on Amazon and it just sits nicely on top of your 55 gallon aquarium and they are a little different for different sizes but they do have a generic 55 gallon sized.


 

Posted by Christy:
I just got a new pet turtle with a 55 gallon aquarium. I got a Red Eared Slider and don’t know what to feed him. I know the pet store employee gave me some pellets but they look like.. composite crap. I want my turtle to live a good life with good natural foods. What should I be feeding him for the most ideal and natural like nutrition? Help me ASAP.


Reply from Nicky P:
turtle red earedYou should feed your Red Eared Slider pellet food 25% of the time. This type of food is very boring for the turtle but makes sure they are receiving all their needed vitamins for their skin, shell, and all other organs. As far as the rest of their diet, you need to compare it to what they would eat in natural habitat of the outdoors. And yes it is more work to feed them this stuff but it really adds to their health and is the best way to do it.

Earthworms, crickets, snails, minnows and small live fish, bugs, insects in general, shrimp, possible vegetation they would eat in freshwater. It is really quite easy to feed them this stuff if you plan it out accordingly. Pet stores will sell almost all of this stuff. Crickets are super cheap and easy because of the reptile crowd that needs them on a daily basis. Feeder fish the size of minnows are easy to get as well because of the fish aquarium crowd. Having the proper nutrition makes sure their shell is very healthy. My fish personally enjoy minnows and insects the most and I’m guessing yours will too. It’s important to give them the boring pellets though remember. Those have needed vitamins in them. Hopefully that’s simple enough to get the point across.


Reply from Nicholas H:
When feeding my turtles I was trying to stick to a 40% rule of using pellet food because this make sure that they get the needed nutritional value in their diet. The pellet food for turtles is basically stacked with nutrients that the turtles need further elements for their skin and shell so it’s almost a vital need and necessity. People will argue that using natural foods all of the time is better but I disagree because they’re not necessarily getting some of the nutritional value and vitamins they need from that food. Because there’s little scenarios that you cannot replicate inside of your cage or habitat that they would obtain out the natural living world.


Reply from Andria T:
I think it also depends on what kind of pellet food you’re using to because their brands that are a lot better than others. What is that they sell at Walmart are just super cheap and they don’t have a really good organic touch to them in the turtles absolutely hate them. Your couple of years of feeding them to your Turle they just cannot stand them compared to live mentals are just juicy insects. Have a hard time getting my turtles even eat that stuff so what I did was I looked up a lot of different brands and some of them were a lot better than others. Do a little research and switch up for brands and the organic value to this stuff because there are a lot of differences when it comes to this pellet food.


Reply fromRyan Z:
I would advise buying your turtle food from Drs. Foster and Smith. You will spend a little more money on the food of course but I think in the long run it will pay off or your turtles because they will actually consume more of it and enjoy it and there’s just more of a benefit to all the vitamins and nutrients in it. I also agree that some of these foods are just a heck of a lot better than the others. The other woman stated she can get her turtles to eat the pellet food from Walmart and cheaper’s substances so I also looked forth for some new and better quality food.


 

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