Red Eared Slider - Trachemys scripta elegans - Red Eared Slider Turtles
The Trachemys scripta elegans or the Red Eared Slider turtle is undoubtedly the most popular turtle for hobbyists in America and the world. It is one of the four subspecies of the species slider. They are endemic to south central and south eastern states of America. They have an oval carapace flattened at the top. Hatchlings and juveniles have a prominent keel that fades and subsides as they grow up and mature. The scutes at the rear end are notched. The shell is usually dark green in color with lighter green and black patterns and markings. The slightly serrated carapace of the re eared slider has a distinctive fingerprint pattern on the lateral side. The plastron is yellow and irregular dark coloration is spread across every scute. The patterns on the plastron are different in every turtle. The head, limbs, tail and the rest of the body are green with yellow irregular stripes all over. The Red Eared Slider turtle gets its name from the distinguishing red patch behind the ears. They are called sliders because they ïslideÍ into water on the slightest hint of danger. The female Trachemys scripta elegans are longer than the females and can reach a carapace length of 13 inches. The males can grow only up to 10 inches in carapace length. They have thicker and longer tails. Male often tend to have a melanistic, dark greyish green coloration as they grow up. The red Eared Slider Turtle Habitat The Red Eared Slider is found almost throughout Texas, Easter Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois and Missouri. Some population is also found in Tennessee and Alabama. They prefer slow moving or still water bodies with profusion of aquatic plants and insect activity. They usually avoid water bodies with strong currents. The Trachemys scripta elegans are very fond of basking and are very alert while basking. They prefer to bask on flood debris and fallen trees that protrude out of the water and on the slightest hint of danger they retreat into the depths of water. These turtles use water as a cover from predators and are very sensitive to movements. A 75 gallon water tank is recommended for a male and 125 gallons for a female Red Eared Slider. The water should be clean, nonchlorinated and should be filtered at regular intervals. Plenty of under- water fittings, and artificial plants are recommended. As they prefer to bask on a mounted platform surrounded by water in their natural habitat a similar attempt should be made in captivity. You can also pile up sand, gravels and rock as basking area. A heating lamp is recommended to keep the basking temperature around 85-95degrees Fahrenheit. A UVB light would help the turtles synthesize vitamin D and strengthen their bones. The Red Eared Slider Turtle Diet The Red Eared Slider turtles are omnivores and there diet comprises a vast range of plants as well as flesh content. The young Trachemys scripta elegansare more carnivores to sustain their daily protein requirement. They are fond of crayfish, snails, fishes, earthworm, bloodworms, tadpoles, crickets and an assortment of other aquatic insects. In captivity you can also feed them lettuce, hyacinth and other aquatic plants. Remember to mix powdered calcium and vitamins to their meal once in a while.