There are several different species of slider turtles, but the most kept as pets are Red Eared Slider Turtles. These are the turtles you often see piled up in small tanks in pet stores. Slider turtles make excellent pets, and they require the same amount of care as all the other turtles. One thing to keep in mind is that slider turtles can grow up to 11 inches in length, so that small tank you bought along with your 4-inch turtle may not be adequate as they continue to grow.
Make sure you keep the water clean, as most turtles tend to foul it up quickly. Provide both space for swimming and a space for resting. The bottom of your tank should contain plenty of small rocks, so that your turtle can dig, as it is something they seem to enjoy doing. In nature, sliders usually live in swampy areas where there is a lot of mud and vegetation, such as shallow ponds and lakesides In addition to swimming and digging in rocks and mud, sliders love the warmth of the sun, and can lazily lay there for hours, before returning to the water for a swim.
Sliders are also omnivorous, although they tend to eat less meat as they grow older. Captive sliders can be fed live goldfish, dried tubifex worm cubes and special food sticks. You can also feed your slider lettuce and other vegetables. Keep a close watch on your turtle’s behavior, it should speak volumes about its current state of health. A healthy slider will have alert eyes, and sharp coloring, whereas a sick one can be easily spotted by its lethargic behavior and dull looking skin color.
6 Fun Facts About Red Eared Slider Turtles
They are excellent swimmers, but spend a good deal of their time basking in the sun on logs, rocks, etc.
They have poor hearing but good vision and are very sensitive to vibrations. When startled or threatened, they will quickly slide off rocks/logs back into the water (hence the name).
Their diet consists of aquatic plants, small fish, animal matter, and vegetables.
Red Eared Sliders will live up to 40 years in the wild and between 50 and 70 years in captivity.
Their habitats include ponds, lakes, marshes, creeks, and streams. They are native to the southeastern United States, but they are now found throughout the United States
They are very common and widespread, and, in some areas, they are considered pests and invaders because they are aggressive and out-compete native species for food and space.