Red-Eared Slider Caresheet - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-25-2004, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,156
    
Red-Eared Slider Caresheet

Common Red-Eared Slider Care

By Elfomatic

Scientific Name: Trachemys scripta elegans

Origin and Range: North America -- East of the Rockies.

Relative Size: Full grown, 12-16 inches in carapace (top of the shell) length. DON'T BELIEVE WHAT THE PET STORE TELLS YOU -- THIS IS NOT A SMALL TURTLE.

Average Lifespan: 20+ years; some individuals have been known to live over 40 years.

Description and Identification:

This is an aquatic species that is most easily identified by the red bands on the sides of its head -- hence its name. These bands are bright when the turtle is a hatchling but will fade darker with time.

The top half of the shell (carapace) is characterized by a greenish color that varies from light green to olive green. It is often covered with darker bands that will fade with age. The shell will also darken with age after about 1-2 years.

The bottom half of the shell (plastron) is usually yellow and characterized by a darker spot pattern. This pattern varies greatly in intensity.

Skin color is alternating bands of light green and dark olive.

History:

Red Eared Sliders are easily the most common turtle in the pet trade. However, many individuals invest in these turtles without properly checking on their care requirements. As a consequence, over 90% of Red-Eared Sliders die within the first year of their purchase.

In the wild, these turtles can commonly be found near ponds and rivers during the warm months. They spend much of their day hauled out on rocks and logs to warm and bask in the sun.

In the 1970's it was made illegal for any pet store to sell pet turtles unless their carapace length was over 4 inches. This was due to several incidents which involved young children placing small turtles in their mouths and contracting salmonella.

Today, this species is still quite prevalent in the pet trade industry.

Sexing:

This species cannot be sexed until they are somewhere between 2-4 years old. Males are characterized by longer, fatter tales and long fingernails which are used in their mating ritual. Males will also be smaller than females.

Housing:

Tank: A tank size of at least 20 gallons is required for hatchlings and small RES.

Larger turtles will need larger setups. It is recommended that you buy the biggest setup that you can afford at the time: you will save money in the long run by not having to upgrade every 6 months.

Larger turtles housed indoors are housed in large tanks (150 gallons or better), large Rubbermaid containers, and kiddy pools.

The best option for larger RES is an outdoor pond that is enclosed and protected from predators.

Water: Water temperature should be somewhere between 75-80 degrees. A submersible water heater can be used to attain this. Also invest in an underwater thermometer. Don't count on your underwater heater's temperature regulator to be accurate.

Water depth for hatchlings should never be more than double the length of their shell: they are not great swimmers and can, on occasion, drown.

For older turtles, it is generally accepted that the water should be deep enough so that the turtle should not be able stand on the bottom of its tank and reach the surface.

Basking Rock and Lamp: A basking rock is necessary. This area should be completely dry and underneath the basking lamp. This is important because your turtle needs to dry off completely to prevent bacterial and fungal infections.

Basking temperatures underneath the lamp should be between 80-85 degrees. Make sure there is enough variation between the water temperature and the basking temperature to promote them using the basking rock.


Other Equipment:

UVB: A UVB source is extremely important for your turtle. Without UVB, your turtle will develop Metabolic Bone Disease because they won't be able to properly synthesize their vitamin D3 intake. A florescent UVB light or natural sunlight are your choices. Note that UVB lights tubes are only effective for 6 months to a year -- after that they may continue to put out light but the UVB wave will not be strong enough to help your turtle.

Filters: A filter should be used to improve water quality and cut down on maintenance and cleaning.

Even with a filter, 50% water changes should be done weekly. Filters may cut down on solid waste in the tank but it can do nothing for turtle urine. Water will still be dirty even if the filter makes it look clean.

Substrate: Substrate is optional but many choose to use it because RES enjoy sifting though it. Gravel should never be used because they tend to ingest it. Many people use aquarium rocks but river rocks from your local home improvement store are much cheaper.

Diet:

RES are omnivorous. In the wild, hatchling and younger RES are primarily carnivorous and become more herbivorous with age.

Turtle pellets are commonly the first thing that a new turtle owner turns to. However, pellets should make up no more than 25% of their diet.

Animal protein should make up another 25%. RES thrive off live feeder fish, earthworms and crickets (feed only from a pet store source to reduce the risk of pesticides and parasites), cooked chicken, and tuna. They also enjoy snails, which are a good source of calcium.

Plant Matter should make up the other 50% of their diet. Feed dark, broad-leafed plants such as collard, mustard, red leaf. Shredded carrots and sweet potato are good choices because they contain a lot of vitamin A. Squash and zucchini are good choices, as well. There are many safe aquarium plants that your RES will also like to chew on.

Supplements:

Calcium supplements should be used regularly. You can buy the little calcium turtles from your pet store or cuttlebone (commonly used for birds). Do not be shocked if your turtle bites off large chunks of it at a time. This will not harm it.

Health:

Signs of poor health include but are not limited to: apathy, swollen eyes, constant sleeping, floating, vomiting, decreased appetite, mucus coming from nose or mouth, white areas on shell (a sign of shell rot), softness in the shell, and excessive shedding.

Newly acquired turtles should always see a veterinarian to have an examination and a fecal sample performed. The veterinarian should check carefully for parasites. It is recommended that you only see a veterinarian that has experience with reptiles.

New turtles should also be kept in quarantine for at least a month prior to being introduced to other turtles. There are many diseases that are easily spread from reptile to reptile and newly acquired turtles may not display symptoms immediately.

Shell Rot is a common problem for pet aquatic turtles. It is characterized by white patches on the shell. It is caused by a bacterial and/or fungal infection due to poor husbandry habits. It is treated in its initial stages by increasing water changes and soaking the turtle twice daily in a weak betadine solution. Apply Neosporin afterwards and drydock your turtle for at least 2 hours. More advanced stages require the attention of a herp vet. Failure to seek treatment may risk the infection spreading internally.

Handling and Acclimation:

Remember that newly acquired turtles are often going to be extremely stressed after being introduced to a new home. It is not recommended that you handle your turtle within the first week of bringing it home.

At first, your turtle will probably be afraid of you if you approach its tank. It will take time for them to get used to you. Eventually, they will probably start to associate you with food and will bob up and down and beg for food when you approach.

It is okay for you to handle your turtle daily to keep it used to you. But handling excessively may cause your turtle to become overly stressed.

Breeding:

RES generally reach sexual maturity when they reach 5-7 inches in length or are 3 years old. Breeding season is generally between March and July.

RES engage in an elaborate courtship ritual that involves the male positioning himself directly in front of the female and caressing her face with his forenails. This can go on for over an hour and the majority of that time will be spent with the male trying to find the perfect position in front of the female. You may also see two young RES of the same sex practicing this if they have been housed together for a long time.

Female RES can lay between 3-4 clutches of eggs a year. Each clutch will contain about 20-25 eggs. She will probably become restless prior to laying her eggs.

In order to successfully breed your RES she will have to be provided with a dry area where she can dig a hole to lay her eggs in. Eggs usually hatch about 65-75 days after being laid. If it is late in the year they will winter in the nest.

Other:

Because of the risk of salmonella to both you and your turtle it is recommended that you wash your hands both before and after you handle your turtle.

Generally, turtles do not make good pets for children. Before buying a turtle for your child you should make sure they are old enough to learn the proper way to handle and carry the turtle and the proper way to wash their hands when around turtles.

Additionally, keep in mind that these animals can be a lifetime commitment when cared for properly. Children generally do not have the long-term interest level to maintain a pet for such an extended period of time. Also, the turtle may not fit into their life plans once they reach college age. So, do not get a turtle for a child unless you are fully prepared to take over responsibility for its care at any time.

Last edited by elfomatic; 03-25-2004 at 02:59 AM.
elfomatic is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-25-2004, 08:48 AM
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 825
 
Great information. Thank you for contrbuting this.
Lizgirl is offline  
post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-02-2005, 03:27 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,168
 
You seem to know a lot about turtles.
I have 6 turtles. 2 map turtles.
Do you know much about map turtles?
They are so cute. We got them at the same time but 1 is a lot smaller than the other one.
ninja_smurtles is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-03-2005, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,156
    
Maps are great turtles. I don't have one personally but I believe their care is quite similar to most sliders.

It is okay if one of your turtles is smaller than the other. This is quite common and not necessarily a bad reflection on your care of them. Turtles grow at drastically different rates even under good care. As long as the turtle eats properly and behaves in a healthy manner than don't worry.
elfomatic is offline  
post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 08:53 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,168
 
I think they are beautiful turtles but very shy.
They love to bask.
Can maps breed with sliders cause they are both boys and I would not know where to get a girl for them coz I got them from Englan´d and so far in Sweden I have only seen yellow-bellied sliders in the shops?
ninja_smurtles is offline  
post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2005, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,156
    
No, they cannot breed together. They are two different species.
elfomatic is offline  
post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2005, 08:13 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,168
 
That is a shame cause she really likes them she does the vibrating thing with her feet on their faces but they just ignore her that is why I got her some of her own species.

Have you bred any turtles before?
ninja_smurtles is offline  
post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 08:58 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,264
  
Great caresheet
candyraver is offline  
post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-01-2008, 10:25 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 18
 
I have a red eared slider it is shy. When first got him he tried to bite me. I also have a painted turtle which got lost.
red eared is offline  
post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 11:14 PM
Newborn Pup
 
kittykat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Zealand
Age: 32
Posts: 26
 
lol the other day when cleaning my turtle out i had just put her down when the cat come up to have a sniff well u woudnt gess wat happened then shelby turned her head around and open her mouth then latched on to the side of my cats face he got the biggest fright and he started draging the turtle around the floor by this stage was crying and i was screaming at both of them coz i couldnt figure out how to break them apart i carmed down afta 10mins

lol the cat has never been back to the turtle since lol
kittykat is offline  
post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2009, 12:14 PM
Newborn Pup
 
Alireza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Iran,Tehran
Posts: 25
 
RES are really great.I have one.she is really fantastic.thanks for the care sheet.
Alireza is offline  
post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-24-2009, 06:55 AM
kz1
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5
 
thx for the info...
kz1 is offline  
post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2009, 12:52 AM
Amateur Zookeeper
 
CrWoodyspets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Earth
Posts: 3,572
 
Great info!! (:


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Purr more, Hiss less

Proud Owner to:
2 girl rats~Marlie and Lola
2 male cats~Scout and Oscar
1 girl dog~Kusa


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Always in my heart, my baby girls
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Rest in Peace Cleo, Lucy, Snickers, Maya, and Maggie

CrWoodyspets is offline  
post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 04:39 AM
Playful Pup
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: lahore
Posts: 30
 
I have a pair of Red-Eared Slider.its a great info almost all guidelines mentioned
kaif0346 is offline  
post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-12-2011, 05:04 PM
Resident Zoologist
 
Toirtis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 262
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elfomatic View Post
C

Average Lifespan: 20+ years; some individuals have been known to live over 40 years.
Up to 56 years, even...35-40 is very common....it is a long commitment.


Quote:
However, many individuals invest in these turtles without properly checking on their care requirements. As a consequence, over 90% of Red-Eared Sliders die within the first year of their purchase.
Hear hear...I would say as many as 95%

Quote:
In the 1970's it was made illegal for any pet store to sell pet turtles unless their carapace length was over 4 inches.
It still is illegal...no turtle may be sold as a pet in the USA that has an SCL of under 4".

Quote:
This was due to several incidents which involved young children placing small turtles in their mouths and contracting salmonella.
Actually, only one or two incidents, but people became unnecessarily concerned, and demanded the ban. If we used this logic elsewhere, pretty much all pets would be banned.

Quote:
Today, this species is still quite prevalent in the pet trade industry.
Curiously, as the stores must sell them as 'research' animals, not pets...a ridiculous loophole that has been exploited forever. Farms in the Southern US produce tens of millions of RES hatchlings each year.

Quote:
Water: Water temperature should be somewhere between 75-80 degrees. A submersible water heater can be used to attain this. Also invest in an underwater thermometer. Don't count on your underwater heater's temperature regulator to be accurate.
Also invest in good protective covers for your heater and thermometer, or buy unbreakable ones, as sliders are notorious for shattering glass heaters and thermometers.

Quote:
UVB: A UVB source is extremely important for your turtle. Without UVB, your turtle will develop Metabolic Bone Disease because they won't be able to properly synthesize their vitamin D3 intake. A florescent UVB light or natural sunlight are your choices.
Since this original post, you now have the choice of shatter-resistant mercury-vapour UV lights that produce both light and heat...better quality UV that has better distance-penetration.

Quote:
Note that UVB lights tubes are only effective for 6 months to a year -- after that they may continue to put out light but the UVB wave will not be strong enough to help your turtle.
Fluorescent tube are good for 2000 hours usage...so six months based on 12 hours per day....mercury-vapour bulbs last twice as long.

[quote]Filters: A filter should be used to improve water quality and cut down on maintenance and cleaning.

Even with a filter, 50% water changes should be done weekly. Filters may cut down on solid waste in the tank but it can do nothing for turtle urine. Water will still be dirty even if the filter makes it look clean.[quote]

I suggest a canister pond filter with a built-in UV steriliser, and an external pond pump that is designed for handling larger solids...aquarium filters were never designed to handle turtle waste. These are not inexpensive, but worth every penny...especially in the summer months.

Quote:
Because of the risk of salmonella to both you and your turtle it is recommended that you wash your hands both before and after you handle your turtle.
Ironically, the risk is low, but you should make a strict habit of washing after handling ANY pet...the number of zoonoses out there are large, and there are a plethora of things that you can catch from a cat or dog that are far more nasty than salmonellosis (but include salmonellosis).

Quote:
Also, the turtle may not fit into their life plans once they reach college age. So, do not get a turtle for a child unless you are fully prepared to take over responsibility for its care at any time.
Think about this for yourself, as well....that baby turtle that you get when you are thirty could well still be around when you are 80...

G. A. Christian Bilou, Herpetologist
Aquarist since 1971
Director, Reptile Rescue Alberta (Est. 1994)

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Past-president, Calgary Aquarium Society (Est. 1951)

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Toirtis is offline  
Reply

Tags
breeding season, eared slider, eared sliders, metabolic bone disease, pet store, pet trade, red eared slider, red eared sliders


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome