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Red Eared Slider Turtle Care Guide

Updated: Jul 8


Red Eared Slider Turtle for Sale

Red-Eared Slider Turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) are among the most popular pet turtles, known for their distinctive red streak on each side of their head. Native to the southeastern United States, these aquatic turtles thrive in warm, slow-moving waters, rich in vegetation and basking spots. Adult sliders can reach a size of up to 12 inches in length and have a lifespan of 20-30 years, with proper care. They exhibit fascinating behaviors such as basking in groups and performing intricate mating dances.

In this care guide, we’ll explore the details of providing a healthy and enriching environment for your Red-Eared Slider Turtle, ensuring they lead a long and happy life under your care.

Red Eared Slider Turtle Enclosure

A proper enclosure for a Red-Eared Slider Turtle includes a spacious tank, tub, or pond to accommodate their active swimming and basking needs. For a single adult slider, a minimum of a 75-gallon tank is recommended, but larger is always better to mimic their natural habitat. The substrate should be non-abrasive and easy to clean, with river rock or large pebbles being ideal choices to prevent accidental ingestion.

The tank should include a basking area with easy access, where temperatures reach 85-90°F, while the water temperature should be kept around 75-80°F. UVB lighting is crucial for their health, mimicking sunlight for Vitamin D3 synthesis, which is essential for calcium metabolism. Red-Eared Sliders are diurnal, active during the day, which should be reflected in their lighting schedule.

For decorations, include non-toxic aquatic plants, hiding spots, and basking platforms. Make sure all hiding spots are safe and that your turtle is not capable of getting stuck and drowning. Ensure the tank has a powerful filter to keep the water clean, as sliders are messy eaters.

Diet and Hydration

Red-Eared Sliders are omnivores, requiring a balanced diet of animal protein, vegetables, and pellets designed for aquatic turtles. Young sliders tend to eat more protein, while adults should have a diet with more vegetation. Weekly, offer a variety of foods such as leafy greens, carrots, squash, crickets, mealworms, and specially formulated turtle pellets. Be mindful of overfeeding, as obesity is a common issue in captive sliders. Proper hydration is achieved through their aquatic environment, but ensure the water is clean at all times.


Red Eared Slider Turtle Care

Handling a slider turtle requires understanding and patience, as excessive handling can lead to stress. It's important to always support their body fully when picking them up, avoiding sudden movements that could startle them. Familiarize your turtle with handling gradually, allowing them to become comfortable with your presence. Tips for handling include washing your hands before and after to prevent the spread of salmonella, a common concern with reptiles. Slider turtles can become accustomed to their caregivers and may even show signs of recognition, but it's crucial to monitor their stress levels and minimize handling to keep them healthy and happy.

This care guide provides a foundation for creating a nurturing environment for your slider turtle, covering their basic needs from enclosure setup to diet, hydration, and handling. With proper care and attention, your slider turtle can thrive and bring joy for many years to come.

Red Eared Slider for Sale


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These care guides that I write are used daily and followed as law here at Shadow’s reptiles.

 I am constantly working on improving them which in turn improves the quality of care for my animals and for my customers and their animals. I appreciate any and all feedback more than anything. In trade for your corrections, questions, and comments I promise to keep all care guides updated with the best possible care tips I can offer linked with updated YouTube videos and the products that I use for my animals.

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Meet the author

I have always been passionate about animals and their care. As the founder of Shadow's Reptiles (An online pet store), I feel responsible to share my knowledge through my educational animal shows, blogs and videos. I have dedicated part of my life to educating others on the unique needs of reptiles and animals in general. I aggressively research all animals that are coming into my care and I write these care guides as proof to myself that I am knowledgeable enough to care for said animal. I don't know everything but I do however know that I go above

and beyond with my animals' care and if I am confident enough to post a care guide for you to read I swear that it is the best possible way to care for your animals on the internet. Why? Because I am constantly updating and testing new methods, I follow these care guides every single day with hundred of animals that I love more than life itself. Unfortunately I can not do it alone, I will need your support!


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