Red-eared Slider

Pseudemys elegans

Red-eared slider range This is the little green turtle that so many of us had as disposable pets. Red-eared Sliders have a green carapace with a yellow stripe on each scute. The shell becomes darker and the stripes fade as the turtle ages. This turtle has greenish skin with yellow stripes plus an elongated red spot on each side of its head. Males grow to 8 inches while females can reach 11 inches.

Due to being released in many places, Sliders have established themselves in southern New England. Similar in habitat requirements to Painted Turtles, they prefer lakes and slow rivers with soft bottoms and numerous basking sites.

Red-eared sliders are omnivores, eating aquatic vegetation, invertebrates and carrion. They must be submerged to eat.

Red-eared Slider Similar in habits to our native Painted Turtles, Red-Eared Sliders' spend the day basking, feeding and basking. Nesting starts in June, with clutches ranging between 3 and 10 eggs.

Red-eared sliders are not threatened, but rather an invasive species that may threaten our native turtles. Due to its large size, Red-eareds can dominate limited basking sites, not giving Painted Turtles adequate basking opportunities. Clutch size tends to be larger, again giving Red-eareds the advantage.

Red-eared SliderDebate continues on whether to allow Red-eared Sliders to continue their spread or attempt eradication. Due to the "cute factor," it is unlikely that the public would embrace killing thousands of turtles (though that same public crushes thousands under their tires.)

For detailed information about this species, we recommend Turtles of the United States and Canada by Ernst, Lovich, Barbour.

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