Red-eared Slider
Trachemys scripta elegans

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Chelonia
FAMILY: Emydidae

SIZE:
Females up to 12 inches; males up to 8 inches

RANGE:
Eastern United States, southward into Mexico

HABITAT:
Water areas with suitable basking areas; Found in virtually all freshwater habitats statewide; also enters brackish waters such as lake Pontchatrain and coastal marsh ponds.

DIET:
Wild - Worms, fish, meat, some vegetable matter
Zoo - Fish, meat, lettuce and other vegetable matter

DESCRIPTION:
Rounded snout, broad stripe behind the eye that is almost always bright red in both babies and typical adults, especially females. Males have long claws on front feet that are waved or vibrated in the face of the female before mating.

FACTS:

  • Basking turtle preferring lakes and slow moving waters.
  • Called "sliders" because of their habit of quickly sliding into water to avoid danger or predator.
  • Can stay under water for 2 - 3 hours before becoming stressed.
  • Flared back of shell helps protect hind legs.
  • Feeds when teperatures are above 50 degrees F.

YOUNG:
Expect up to 12 eggs

COMMENTS:
Red-eared sliders were thought to carry salmonella and turtle farming came to almost a standstill by 1975. Strict regulations today require proof that the turtle is not a carrier of salmonella.

STATUS:
Common; captive-farmed

REFERENCES:
"Cooters, Sliders, and Painted Turtles," Jerry G. Walls.