Red-eared slider turtles
Red-eared sliders are turtles that are commonly kept at homes as pets. They are semi-aquatic by nature, meaning that they prefer to spend a lot of the mid-morning hours out of the water, under the sun. Red-eared sliders are usually found in the warm waters east of the Rockies in the U.S. These fresh water turtles are strong underwater swimmers. The red-eared sliders are basically omnivores in their natural habitat, and eat both plant matter as well as animal protein. The younger turtles are more dependent on animal protein, while the adults lean towards a vegetarian diet. Tiny fish, amphibian larva and water snails form the diet of the red-eared sliders in their natural habitat.
The red-eared sliders are often misunderstood when they are sold in pet shops. They look quite small when they are young. In reality, a fully-grown red-eared slider can reach up to 12 inches in length. The males are a little smaller in size than the females, but they have sharp claws on the front legs. Their tails are also longer than those of the females. So, distinguishing the 2 sexes becomes quite easy as the turtles mature. In the U.S. sale of red-eared sliders smaller than 4 inches is banned. The male reaches it sexual maturity between 2-4 years, and the female usually takes up to 3-4 years to mature.
A great risk faced by pet owners that keep the red-eared slider is that they may be silent carriers of Salmonella, which is very contagious especially if there are young children in the house. Red-eared sliders are also found to carry protozoan and bacterial infections with them. Additionally, most turtles that are sold in stores will be dehydrated, emaciated or stressed. The re-eared slider loves to be kept in warm waters, and will usually forego food if it is too cold or stressed. One method of ensuring the good health of your pet is to take the turtle and a specimen of its feaces to a vet as soon as it reaches your home. The vet will check the turtle for any of the above infections, for any signs of malnutrition, beak overgrowth or for any respiratory or eye infections.
The best environment for the red-eared slider is lot of warm water and a sunny or warm dry area where it can languish during the morning hours. Care must be taken to keep the water fresh and clean. Uneaten pieces of food can easily mix with the waste matter and thus poison the water. Red-eared sliders are usually messy eaters. They also defecate in their water. This can mix together and make the water a breeding ground for undesirable elements. So, changing the water everyday is a must.
The tank that you buy must be at least 30-50 gallons in size. One of the most common mistakes made by turtle owners is that they do not provide a tank big enough and deep enough for the turtles. Red-eared sliders that are properly taken care of will grow very quickly in size and will soon grow out of small enclosures. If you plan to keep the red-eared slider happy by providing company, then the enclosure must be big enough to accommodate them. The water temperature must be maintained between 75-85 degreed F. Remember that if the water is too cool, the red-eared slider will not eat food. If the water is too warm, the turtle might get cooked. But if your slider is sick, it should be kept in a slightly warmer temperature.
Red-eared sliders are omnivores. The young turtles should be fed everyday, but the adult will be healthy if it is fed every 2-3 days. A mixture of commercial and prepared food can be fed to the red-eared slider. But it is better to split the food provided, so that 25% of the food comes from such food, another 25% from animal protein, and 60% of the adult's diet should come from fresh greens, vegetables and fruits.
Didn't find the info you were looking for? Register for free and ask your question in our Aquarium forum !
Our knowledgeable staff usually responds to any question within 24 hours
African Dwarf Frog - A basic article about African Dwarf Frogs
Claw Frog - A basic article about Claw Frogs
Turtle aquarium - A guide on how to setup a suitable turtle aquarium