Red Eared Sliders


Old Timer
Apr 6, 2006
Both species in nature are primary carnivores feeding off of worms, insects, snails, small fish, and crayfish. They are very opportunistic however, and will also consume carrion and some vegetation. In captivity, they will readily feed on commercial diets such as Tetra ReptoMin along with occasional treats of earthworms, insects or feeder/bait fish. Easier, cheaper and safer than live food treats are Tetra's line of ReptoTreat foods including sun-dried whole Gammarus shrimps, Delica Bloodworms, and krill-enriched Suprema food sticks. Hamburger, hotdogs and other human foods should be avoided as they are typically high in fat and poorly digested. One key note to their feeding - both species can only swallow underwater as is needed to "wash" the food down the throat. They may occasionally take food on dry land, but immediately retreat to the water to consume it. It is therefore very important that they be kept in water deep enough to completely submerge themselves.

Although RedEar and Painted turtles are commonly referred to as "aquatic" a better term would be basking or semi-aquatic as these turtles spend much of their time out of the water basking in the sun. In captivity they will require a set up that allows them the same. The most common housing consists of a traditional aquarium, although some unique houses have been built out of wading pools, water troughs, old bathtubs or any other container capable of holding water. The size of the housing should not be smaller than 30" x 12" at the base in order to create adequate land and water sections. The water section should be at least 4" deep. For hygiene it is highly recommended to use a filter and various options exist, but since turtles create a fairly high waste load, a power filter is recommended over undergravel or sponge type units. The easiest to service and maintain is a power filter that hangs on the side of the aquarium, as the cartridges can be exchanged easily and without dismantling the entire unit. A submersible aquarium heater is also recommended. To prevent or minimize damage potential to a glass tube heater, a sleeve of slotted plastic tubing can be fitted over the heater body - it is important though to maintain water flow and thermal venting. Wire mesh can also be used. A dry or basking area needs to be provided which will allow the turtle to completely exit the water. The easiest solution is a natural rock pile (slate works very well) although crevices in the rock allow detritus to accumulate and this will require periodic cleaning. A natural log piece also works, but will become saturated and sink over time and bark will soften and clog filters if not removed prior to usage. Probably the best option is a ceramic or poly-resin ornament designed for aquarium or terrarium usage. They are easy to clean and are nearly indestructible. Depending on the height of the housing walls a lid or screen may not be necessary are turtles are very poor climbers, but these devices also serve to keep other pets out of the cage and often have built in lighting. Turtles require full spectrum lighting with UV-B wavelengths to properly utilize calcium a critical element to proper shell and bone development. Fluorescent bulbs for this use are available in many sizes and different fixtures at your local pet shop. All turtle enclosures should be cleaned weekly by draining out 100% of the water, partially refilling and scrubbing the decorations and sides, draining again and refilling. Always thoroughly wash hands and cleaning utensils afterwards.

General Comments:
Both Painted Turtles and RedEar Sliders are easy to care for pets. In some climates they can be kept outdoors in the summer but caution needs to be exercised that shade is available especially in glass enclosures. Although age of wild caught specimens can not be readily determined, it is not unusual for captive specimens to live over 10 yrs.
by tetra by tetra by tetra by tetra by tetra


Old Timer
Jun 8, 2006
just please please make certain you're willing to care for an adult of this species. I have so many people who have just bought a little three inch baby come in to the pet store I work at. They're always shocked when I tell them how big they get.


Old Timer
May 7, 2006
Redears also become vegans when they mature so bear this in mind. There adult diet should be mainly plant matter and some animal matter but only occasionally.