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.
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%
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
: 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.
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).
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...