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Red-eared Slider

Red-eared Slider

Red-eared Slider

(Trachemys scripta elegans)

Tags: Aquatic

Identification and Reproduction


  • The Red-eared Slider is a freshwater terrapin that is native to the Mississippi River Basin of North America. 
  • This species gets its name from the red stripe behind its eye, and its habit of sliding off rocks or logs into the water when it is startled. 

Red-Eared Slider — Invasive Species Initiative

  • The rest of the head and legs are dark with yellow stripes, and the shell is greenish brown.
  • Red-eared Sliders can grow up to 20 cm (8 inches) long.


  • Courtship is highly stereotyped, with males fluttering their long fore claws on and around the face and head of females. 
  • Nests are excavated in friable sand or soil; sometimes considerable distances from water. 
  • Clutch size can vary from 2-19 eggs, depending upon the size of the female, but typically averages 7-13.

Habitat & Ecology

  • Red-eared sliders preferring quiet water with a soft, muddy bottom, abundant vegetation, and suitable basking sites. 
  • Individuals can frequently be seen basking on rocks, logs, vegetation masses, and on the banks adjacent to the water
  • This species is highly adaptable, and even tolerates the slightly salty (brackish) conditions.
  • Like all reptiles, Red-eared Sliders are cold blooded, so they must pull themselves out of the ponds and bask in the sun to warm up their bodies so they can properly digest their food.


  • Red-eared Sliders have devastating impacts on pond ecosystems because they eat almost anything including water plants, molluscs, insects and small fish.
  • They compete for basking locations and crowd out our native species, specifically the Western Painted Turtles which are endangered.


  • These turtles are commonly found in the pet trade. If you have a pet turtle that you no longer want - Please do not release into our natural environment.