Features and Characteristics of a Red-Eared Slider

Red-eared Sliders, which is scientifically known as Trachemys scripta elegans, are also called Pond Slider or Trachemys scripta. These docile creatures got their name from its exclusive red markings around their ears. The “slider” in their name comes from these turtles’ ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly when they are startled. This freshwater terrapin is native to the Mississippi River Basin of North America.

Red-eared Sliders

Features and Characteristics of a Red-Eared Slider

The red-eared slider has features that make it look like a painted turtle. Both are almost of the same size and about the same carapace (top shell) color. However, the carapace of the Red-eared Slider is higher domed than the Western Painted Turtle and is also weakly keeled. Though they do have poor hearing, they are quite sensitive to vibrations. This makes them very easy to know when a threat is nearby, so they would just slide off from where they are and into the water.

Characteristics that most obviously differentiate the Slider from the other are the yellow marginal scutes, a yellow plastron that is covered in dark, blotchy markings, as well as the red earmark located just behind its eyes. This earmark is not always visible in older turtles, however. Its head, neck, and legs are greenish with yellowish stripes. Its olive or brown carapace usually has yellow and black continuous bands and stripes. The plastron or the bottom shell of the slider is yellow with a dark, rounded blotch in each of its scutes.

Both of these turtle species have males that are slightly smaller than their female counterparts. The males also have longer claws on the forefeet. Old specimens, however, may become very dark, with black coloration that may conceal the striped pattern on their skins and shells, especially the males. Mature carapace grows up to a length of 5 to 11 inches or 12.5 to 27.9 cms.

The Red-Eared Slider is one of an Animal Enthusiasts Favorites

Many animal lovers have come to love this unusual creature called the red-eared slider. They have treated the slider as more than just another animal that they can take photos of and admire the rare beauty that it has. Many animal enthusiasts and hobbyists have considered this rare amphibian as their pet mainly for its amicable and docile characteristics. The red-eared slider is a very convenient animal to manage and breed. Many find them easily adaptable to a new environment. Like any other animal, a slider has specific requirements that should be met. If all these needs are provided for the turtle as how it requires, it may even outlive its owner. These sliders can live for decades. One of the oldest of this turtles, Moses, was even reported to be gone missing from a kiddie pool in the yard of an 83-year-old Maryland resident.

Water & Filter For Red-Eared Tank


Fresh-water turtles such as the red-eared turtle love water. You need to make sure that the water provided for your turtle must be at least 1.5 to 2 times your turtle’s total length. There should also be extra inches of air space between the surface of the water to the top edge of the tank to prevent your turtle from climbing off its enclosure and escaping. The tank length should be at least 4-5 times its carapace length (CL). The front-to-back width should be at least 2-3 times its CL. You need to make sure that you will be providing your pet with enough space where it can go from water to land. Because of this, you may need an enclosure larger than a 10-20 gallon (38-76 liter) tank even for the smallest turtle (about 4 inches).

Water Filter

An appropriate water filtering system is crucial to keep the water inside your pet’s tank fairly fresh between weekly changes. You will need to replace the water with warm water. You will also need an automated siphon for partial changes of water between the overall heavy-duty changes and cleaning.

Here are some options that you may consider when buying a best filter for red eared slider tank:

  1. Tetra 25905 Decorative Reptile Filter for Aquariums up to 55 Gallons. This innovative technology and design combine a filtration system and a decoration for your pet’s enclosure. This will add as a beautiful waterfall and a basking area for your turtle. It comes with an integrated three-stage Whisper filtration, which uses easily replaceable Bio Bags, and keeps water inside the tank clear and odor-free.
  2. JackSuper Aquarium Waterfall Reptiles Turtle Internal Filter. This low water filter can be used as a beautiful waterfall in any aquarium up to 28 gallons. Its dense dual-sided mesh catches debris and waste. It is also filled with ultra-activated carbon which absorbs odors and discoloration in the water to keep it clean and clear.
  3. Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Canister Filter. This can be used as an external canister filter for turtle tanks up to 60 gallons. It comes with an easy-to-open filter head. This filter is a space-saving device that comes with calibrated anti-vibration bushings.
  4. Zoo Med Turtle Clean 15 External Canister Filter. This small, convenient filter fits outside the tank of your turtle. The canister contains biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration that keep tanks, vivariums, box turtle pools, and aquariums up to 15 gallons clean. It comes with a clear viewing case that allows one to see when the filter media already needs to be replaced. It also comes with a 1-year warranty.
  5. Zoo Med Turtle Clean 318 Submersible Filter. This submersible filter can be used for aquatic turtle tanks (up to 30 gallons) or in filtering box turtle ponds” as well as aquatic amphibian tanks. It comes with dual intake ports that will prevent clogging as well as with activated carbon and biological filter sponges.

Water Heater

Take note that the appropriate water temperature in your pet’s tank should be maintained between 75-86 degrees F (23.8-30 C). A temperature that is just too cold for your turtle will keep it from eating. If it’s too hot, then you might just get your turtle cooked. To help you monitor regularly the temperature in the enclosure, you will need to have a good quality aquarium thermometer.

Area HeatingIf your turtle’s area temperature is kept at over 75 F (23.8 C), then you will only need to heat up a basking area, rather than heating up the room, too. You may use an incandescent light or spotlight to allow the area near the light source to reach 85-88 F (29.4-31 C).

Make sure that the lighting fixtures are securely attached and that there is absolutely no way for the turtle to come into direct contact with the bulb. The light will also heat up the water to a certain degree so you have to make sure to monitor the water temperature regularly as well.

Juvenile sliders, as well as any sick turtle, has to be kept warmer (temperatures between 82-85 F) than the average healthy adult. Low temperatures that are between 65-72 F or 18.3-22.2 C will cause your turtle to stop feeding and may trigger respiratory infections in your turtle.

You may also need to use a secondary source of heat to provide additional warmth to your pet in addition to the basking light already installed. Ceramic heat elements (CHE) may be screwed into regular incandescent sockets and may be used for this purpose. They come in a variety of watts and also last for some time. Install CHEs into porcelain light sockets as these heat sources can easily melt plastic sockets.