The red-eared slider is one of the more frequently recognized turtles due to the distinctive red marks behind their eyes.
Coloration of the shell ranges from greenish yellow, gray, brown and black with large yellow lines, transitioning to a yellow with black markings
Carapace (upper portion of the shell) is oval in shape, rough with random indentations and sharp edges
Plastron (bottom portion of the shell) is flat and smooth
Skin is dark green and brown, with red markings behind the eye and yellow and black markings on their legs
These turtles are social and tend to be found in big groups, especially when basking in the sun. Red eared sliders do not burrow for warmth and instead rely solely on basking to increase their body temperature.
Hatchling sliders exhibit two unique traits. Upon hatching, the young will remain in the nest for up to ten months, building their strength and energy. They are also able to supercool their body fluids, allowing them to survive temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degreed Celsius).
A popular pet in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, red-eared sliders have been introduced to nearly every continent as a direct result of the release of unwanted pets. These turtles require a long-term commitment, as they can live 30 to 40 years.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the red-eared slider population as Least Concern due to the widespread distribution of this species, ability to live within a wide range of habitats, and large population. Least Concern populations are those that are unlikely to become extinct in the near future.
4 to 11 inches (10 to 29 centimeters)
Insects, larvae, spiders, crayfish, tadpoles, fishes, clams, freshwater sponges, small amphibians and other reptiles as juveniles and will also eat aquatic vegetation as they age
Southern U.S. from Alabama to northern Mexico