Red-eared sliders can live up to 20 years in captivity and more then 50 years in nature, which means they’re a serious commitment.
If you get one of these quarter-sized babies, it may look easy at first, but as they grow, they will need a big tank and a lot of constant care.
It’s more than just a bowl with a little bit of water and a rock. Aquatic turtles, including red eared sliders,
will need special lighting, animal- and plant-based foods, and continuous cleaning and maintenance.
About Red Eared Sliders
Red eared sliders require more work than many people think. They also get much larger and need more room than is often implied by pet stores and other vendors.
A large tank, special reptile lighting (UVA UVB LIGHT), and an appropriate diet are just a few things you will want to make sure you provide to your red eared slider.
Housing Your Red Eared Slider
Small aquariums are good for young turtles but as red eared sliders mature they will require a tank that can hold well over 100 gallons of water.
Creative turtle owners use all sorts of novel housing ideas to meet the roomy requirements of their red eared sliders using things like pre-formed
plastic pond liners to make homes more like indoor ponds. And, if you have an outdoor pond, and a securely fenced yard to keep your turtle in and predators out,
you might consider putting your turtle outdoors for at least part of the year.
Water quality must be maintained no matter where you house your turtle and both supplemental heat and UVB lighting and basking area should be provided.
Setting all of this up is the hardest part but once your tank or pond is established the maintenance isn’t all that bad.
Feeding Your Red Eared Slider
Though red eared slider’s tastes tend to change as they mature, (shifting to a more herbivorous diet as they get older) turtles of all ages should be offered
a wide variety of both animal and plant based items. Commercial turtle pellets can make up a good base for the diet but they should be supplemented
with a variety of other items.
There are a few basic things you can do to ensure easy cleanup and a healthy turtle. They eat turtle food, dry shrimp, carrot Feeding your turtle outside of their home is a bit more work for you at
feeding time but it will make it easier to keep the tank clean and the overall water quality good in the long run (which is best for your turtle to avoid ear
infections, shell problems, etc.). Also, avoid overfeeding your turtle to prevent obesity and excessive waste matter.
Red Eared Slider Behavior
Whether it is making sure red eared sliders are free to perform behaviors that are necessary for their well-being (such as basking and swimming)
or just trying to figure out what your turtle is doing, understanding normal red eared slider behavior can help you provide optimal care for your turtle.
Claw fluttering and not wanting to bask outside of the water are just two behaviors that may mean your turtle is trying to tell you something.
Red Eared Slider Health
Improper environmental conditions and diet are among the most common culprits when it comes to health problems in red eared sliders.
Diseases such as metabolic bone disease (MBD) and vitamin A deficiency are seen in many kinds of reptiles including red eared sliders. They need Calcium and vitamin A