Red-Eared Slider

Red-Eared Slider           Trachemys elegans

Type of Animal:

Still/slow-flowing water: ponds, lakes, rivers, swamps, creeks, streams, marshes, mud holes

Native to areas around Mississippi River & Gulf of Mexico: extreme SE Colorado & E New Mexico to Virginia & Florida, as well as Rio Grande region of NE Mexico. Introduced populations all over continental U.S, as well as S Ontario, Kauai & Oahu in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Guam, N Marianas, Trinidad, France, Germany, Spain, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Israel, Bahrain, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, SE Asia, E China, & Korea.

Noticeable red stripe on both sides of head, females larger than males, young turtles have leaf green carapace (top shell), becomes darker green w/ age, then turns brown/olive green, plastron (bottom shell) light yellow w/ dark markings, head/legs/tail green w/yellow lines, partially webbed feet, males have longer/bigger claws on front feet than females, male has thicker/longer tail, male plastron slightly concave while female plastron completely flat

Greens, leaves, shrimp, krill, insects, worms, fish, baby mice, snails, insect larvae, fruit, vegetables, berries, crayfish, tadpoles, aquatic plants, carrion

Status in Wild:

Invasive species in many areas due to competing w/ other turtles, passing diseases/parasites to native turtles, & hybridization w/ native turtles. Oftentimes these turtles were former pets who were too hard to care for.

Found in groups of 6-40 turtles

Additional Info:


Male-1 lb
Female-4 lbs

2 months 

Life Span:
30 years in wild, up to 50-70 years in captivity

Body Length:
Male-6-8 in
Female-8-10 in
Young-2-3.5 in

Tail Length:
Male-2 in
Female-1 in

Main predators of adults are crocodilians, bobcats, raptors, snakes, large lizards, foxes, raccoons, otters, corvids, mink, badgers, pike, dogs, rats, storks, & wading birds. Young preyed on by skunks, woodchucks/groundhogs, ground squirrels, grey squirrels, chipmunks, & opossums.

Sexually mature at 5-6 years.

Females born at warmer temperatures, males born at cooler temperatures.

They communicate w/ touch & vibrations.

Fun Fact(s):
While these turtles can make excellent pets, they require strong amount of commitment since they can live 30 years in good conditions & sometimes 50-70 years.

These turtles had huge surge in popularity when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were revealed to be this species. This caused parents buying their children these turtles & often when they realized they were too much to take care of, they were released. This has led to these turtles being one of the top 100 invasive species on earth.
Red-Eared Slider, Peggy Notebeart Nature Museum, taken by me

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