Do you have pets at home? Are you looking for a pet that will be quiet and easy to handle?
Or, do you already have dogs, and now you are looking for something different? The question is, what is it going to be? You want something unusual but not scary like a snake or a crocodile!!
What if we told you that another option is available to you? Red Eared Sliders are among the most popular pet turtles, and there are many reasons why! If you are ready to give these gentle creatures a chance, then read on to find in detail about them.
Red Eared Sliders or red-eared terrapins belong to the pond turtle family. It is a medium-sized freshwater turtle and is originally from Southeastern USA. It has a long history in the pet business. Earlier it was readily available and very cheaply as well.
Unfortunately, this resulted in death for many of them as owners lacked the requisite knowledge. It is due to the red mark on both sides, which resembles ears that we know it as a red-eared slider.
People should be aware that it is not a small pet. These are medium to large-sized reptiles, and they need adequate housing. A mature red-eared slider can grow to 12 inches in length.
The females are larger than males. In some rare cases, the red eared sliders have grown more significant than 12 inches.
These turtles can live up to 30 years. Some have even lived for 60 years!! These are very hardy animals and with proper care will spend many years with you. Once you get a red-eared turtle, you should be ready to care for it for 25 to 30 years and spend many years with it.
They like to hide under their shells till they start recognizing you. They are friendly and harmless. However, if they feel any threat, they may bite, like any other pet!
These turtles may look strong, but you must handle them gently. When you lift them, make sure that you support their body and legs with your hands. If they fall, they can get hurt and break their shells. Be careful and hold them securely.
Do not allow small children to hold the turtles. In rare cases, they may bite or scratch. Always wash hands thoroughly with disinfectants after handling red-eared sliders or any animal for that matter.
The most common color is green with yellow stripes. There is a patch of red behind the eyes, which gives it the name reared slider. They have webbed feet, and their claws are strong. As the turtles’ age, the color keeps changing and slowly becomes uniformly olive or brown.
Breeders have made some more color options by adding different strains. The albino one is very much in demand because of its uniqueness. The colors are an attraction only when the turtles are young. As they grow old, the colors and designs on the shells fade away.
These turtles eat everything, and in the wild, they feed on the vegetation in water bodies, small fish, and even dead fishes and frogs! They generally eat everything. Give them only good quality commercial turtle food so that they grow and thrive. You can offer them leafy greens, worms, insects, and mice.
You should not rely fully on tinned food and add some healthy options. There should be a good balance of meat proteins and greens. The little ones need daily feeding while the adults manage with alternate day feedings. They make a lot of mess, so it is better to take them out for mealtimes. This way, you don’t have to clean the tank every time. The right proportion for their diet could be something like this:
- Commercial diet: about 25%
- Animal protein: about 25 %
- Greens & vegetables: 50%
Adding supplements is important. You can add calcium and mineral supplement to their food. They need high calcium levels for the shell to remain strong and healthy.
Housing for Red-Eared Slider
When choosing an enclosure for your red-eared slider, remember this thumb rule: you should provide10 gallons of water for every inch of shell on a red-eared slider. So, if the shell is 6 inches in length, then the enclosure should be able to contain 60 gallons of water. The babies or hatchlings are adorable, but their small size is deceptive. They need a lot of space and water to swim around. You can keep them in tubs, tanks, or aquariums.
You need a good water filtration system in the tank. It is good to get a powerful filter because these turtles are messy feeders. They also produce a lot of waste. You need to change the water very often, and you should stick to a routine depending on how messy your turtle is.
You should also invest in the right water heater for the winter months. The ideal water temperature to maintain would be between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Turtles love to bask, and there should be an area designated for them to relax. If the weather is bad or there is no sun for long periods, then a basking lamp will help.
Red-eared sliders are easily available and are not expensive. It is possible to get them for 20 dollars at any pet store. The prices can go up to a thousand dollars if the specimen is unique!! There is also illegal trading going on with high prices for unique turtles having different colors and patterns.
There is something special about having a pet to call your own!! Even if it is a turtle! Red Eared sliders make for a great pet and a good companion. Remember that keeping them is not very easy. They need your time effort. You need to provide the right food, environment, and veterinary care for them to live well and thrive.
Some so many people get these turtles without understanding fully. It is better to take your time when making this decision. Read as much as you can. Talk and seek advice from people who already own red eared sliders. The more you learn about them, the more you will realize that all the effort and money is worth owning a unique pet like the red-eared slider!! Happy petting!