Painted Turtle vs Red Eared Slider

The painted turtle and red-eared slider are two of the most popular turtle species available for pets. Both of the turtles arrive at almost the same size and appearance. So, amongst painted turtle vs red-eared slider, which is more suitable for petting? Keep reading the write-up to find out different information about both species of the turtle.

Painted Turtle vs Red Eared Slider

Painted Turtle vs Red Eared Slider

About Painted Turtle:

The name of the painted turtles come from its ornate shell marking. The turtle is also known as the eastern painted turtle, southern painted turtle, midland painted turtle, and chrisoms painted turtle. People love the turtle as a pet because of its small size and impressive appearance. However, they require special attention and cares when held in captive.  

Size, Weight, and Lifespan

The average size of the painted turtle is around four to ten inches long. Typically, the male painted turtle is smaller than the female varieties. The female painted turtle can be about 500 g when the male painted turtle can get up to 300 g in weight. The average lifespan of the painted turtle is around 50 years, and they usually live in the small lakes, ponds, and such other surfaces. They require basking under the sun to dry the skin.

The painted turtle is an aquatic animal and hibernates during the cold season. It may not be suitable for petting in houses with smaller children.  That is because they can contain salmonella and other parasites, which can contaminate human when it comes in contact. You must watch the hand after handling the painted turtle.


Like most varieties of the aquatic turtle, painted turtle spends most of its time swimming in the water. They also require basking or resting in a dry space under the sun for a while. They usually require a bigger tank like the pet fish. You will also need to offer them a dry dock to basking. A full-grown turtle requires around 100 gallons of the container.

You may use a big, smooth stone or gravel built up to resemble the turtle’s basking area. You may also use a pond liner, kiddie pool, and such other things for keeping the turtle instead of the usual aquarium tank.


You must maintain a proper temperature in the tank for the well-being of the turtle. The turtles are usually more active and playful in an adequately heated environment. More so, they will eat less, become inactive, and may go to hibernate in temperature less than 70 degrees. If you are petting the turtle in an outdoor facility, then you may not worry much about the temperature. However, you must provide appropriate heat and UVB light to resemble its outdoor environment.

Read Also:  How to Take Care of a Baby Turtle

You can offer the heat using ceramic heat emitters or the heat lights. Besides, you can use the UVB light around 12 hours above the basking area. The part of the turtle tank will be hotter than the other parts. The UVB light needs to be replaced within six months.


The ideal food for the painted turtle is the pellets available for the aquatic turtle. However, you should also offer vegetables regularly to ensure a healthy diet. Some of the vegetables that you can offer include dark leafy green plants, parsley, dandelion, romaine, etc. You may also provide chopped fish, fruit, meats, etc. on particular occasions. If possible, you can also include incest like worms, cricket, guppy, etc. to the turtle.

The painted turtles eat food while swimming. So, it is better to offer the vegetables and other meals in clipped sin the corner of the tank using a suction cup. You can leave the pellets on the water as these will float. Like the other aquatic turtles, the water must be clean in the turtle tank. Use an appropriate water filter to keep the water fresh. You will also need to replace the water once in a while.

Red Eared Slider

The red-eared sliders are one of the most prevalent pet turtles nowadays. Peoples love them because of the playful nature, active lifestyle, and begging of the food. Some other impressions of the turtle are they can stay tiny, survive in harsh environments, and have a long lifespan.

Size, Weight, and Lifespan

Though the red-eared slider is another smaller variety of the aquatic turtle, they are bigger than the painted turtle. The size of the turtle can vary from around 6 to 8 inches. Like the painted turtles, the male varieties are smaller than female species.  The female can reach up to 12 to 13 inches in size. You can quickly identify a young red-eared slider with the bright green-yellow marking and red strips in its body.

They get the name from the small red stripes in the body which cover the ears and the capability of sliding quickly in the rocks. They can usually live for around 20 years to 30 years. Besides, the weight of the turtle is about 240 g. The lifespan of the turtle is profoundly affected by the environment. They usually live longer in a better situation with appropriate foods.

Read Also:  What Do Baby Red Eared Slider Turtles Eat


You can keep the hatchling or young red-eared sliders in the small tanks. However, they will require a bigger tank as they become adults. Tanks around 100 gallons or bigger are recommended for the adult turtles. You may also produce an outdoor facility for the turtle. They also require sunbathing like the other aquatic turtles. You can prefer a basking area for the turtle using the gravel built up and stones with appropriate lighting to create the basking area.


The red-eared sliders cannot maintain their body temperature. That means they depend on the external sources for controlling the body’s warmth. You will require to maintain a water temperature between 78 to 80 degrees for the species. A submersible aquarium heater can be the best way to keep the water temperature.

The temperature of the basking area should be around 84 to 94 degrees. You can use the UVB lights to maintain the temperature in the basking area. The UVB lights are crucial for the turtles as they are prone to MBD or metabolic bone diseases.


The red-eared sliders are omnivores, and they want a lot of food. Typically, Juvenile turtles require a higher amount of animal protein when the adult needs a plant-based diet. You can offer aquatic turtle pellets to the young turtles for animal protein. They can also consume a variety of dark leafy green vegetables such as mustard, collard, dandelion greens, etc. Make sure to chop the vegetable before offering.

The pellets make only 25% to 50% of the animal protein. You can offer commercial trout, sticks, feeder fish, cooked chicken, earthworms, etc. Besides, you may give them fruit like melon, berries, apple, cantaloupe, etc. on special occasions in a limited amount. The adult turtles require feeding once in two or three days when the juveniles need every day. It is recommended to feed them in a separate container.

Painted Turtle vs Red-Eared Slider: Which to Choose as a Pet?

Painted turtles are smaller than the red-eared sliders. They require a smaller tank and considerably easier to maintain. More so, they are not that messy like the red-eared sliders. The painted turtles are easier to take care of, considering the facts. They also live longer, which means they can be a life long companion of the owner.

However, red-eared sliders are more playful and active. Both of the turtles make a great pet. So, now it is up to you to select the preferred species of the turtle.

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