What Do Red Ear Slider Turtles Look Like?

When it comes to turtles, the red eared slider turtle is one of the most popular and recognizable species. With its bright red patches, striking markings, and unique behaviors, it’s easy to understand why these turtles have become so popular. But what do these turtles actually look like? Here, we’ll break down the physical features of red eared slider turtles, so you can recognize them in the wild or in an aquarium.

What Do Red Ear Slider Turtles Look Like?

What Do Red Ear Slider Turtles Look Like?

Red ear slider turtles are a common species of aquatic turtles that are native to North America. They are popularly kept as pets and are easily recognizable by their bright red markings on the sides of their heads. They are semi-aquatic, meaning they live both in and out of the water, and they can reach up to 8-12 inches in length.


Red ear slider turtles have a long, oval-shaped carapace (upper shell) that is usually olive or dark green in color. Their carapace is usually patterned with yellow or orange stripes. The plastron (lower shell) is usually yellow or orange in color, and the scutes (plates) may also be patterned with yellow or orange. The head, neck and legs of the turtle are usually a dark green or black in color with bright red markings on the sides of their heads. These red markings are what give the turtle its name.

Red ear slider turtles also have a long tail and webbed feet, which help them swim. They have long, pointed claws, which they use for digging and climbing.


Red ear slider turtles are native to North America and are typically found in slow-moving rivers, ponds, streams, lakes, and marshes. They prefer shallow, warm waters with plenty of vegetation and hiding spots. They are also commonly found in man-made ponds and aquariums.


Red ear slider turtles are omnivores, meaning they will eat both plant and animal matter. In the wild, they feed on aquatic plants, insects, fish, snails, worms, and crustaceans. They also eat some fruits and vegetables. In captivity, they can be fed commercially available turtle pellets, as well as fresh vegetables, fruits, and live or frozen fish.


Red ear slider turtles are solitary creatures and usually prefer to be alone. They can become aggressive if kept with other turtles, so it’s best to keep them in separate tanks. During the day, they are often seen basking in the sun on logs or rocks, and in the evening they will return to the water to sleep.

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Life Span

Red ear slider turtles can live for up to 40 years in captivity, with some living even longer. If kept in a healthy environment with proper diet and care, they can live for many years.


Red ear slider turtles reach sexual maturity at around 4-6 years of age. They usually breed during the spring and summer months, and the females will lay eggs in sandy or muddy areas near the water. The eggs will incubate for 60-90 days, and the baby turtles will hatch in the late summer or early fall.

Conservation Status

Red ear slider turtles are not considered threatened or endangered, however they are listed as a species of “least concern” by the IUCN. They are often collected for the pet trade, and their populations are declining in some areas due to habitat destruction and pollution.

Care in Captivity

Red ear slider turtles can make great pets, but they require proper care and a large enough habitat to thrive. They need a tank that is at least 40 gallons, with a habitat that includes both land and water. The water should be kept clean and filtered, and the habitat should also include places to bask in the sun and hide. They should be fed a balanced diet of commercially available turtle pellets, fresh vegetables, fruits, and live or frozen fish.

Health Issues

Red ear slider turtles can be prone to shell and skin infections, as well as respiratory infections. They should be monitored closely for any signs of illness, and should be taken to a vet if any health issues arise. They should also be kept in a clean and safe environment to help prevent any health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Color Is a Red Ear Slider Turtle?

A Red Ear Slider Turtle is primarily a greenish color, with yellow stripes running down the sides of their head and neck. The most distinctive feature on a Red Ear Slider Turtle is a red patch behind each eye, which is how they got their name.

They also have a somewhat rough, spiked carapace, which is usually a dark olive green with hints of brown or black. The carapace is usually marked with yellow or orange spots, and the underside is a yellowish-cream color.

How Big Do Red Ear Slider Turtles Get?

Red Ear Slider Turtles are considered medium-sized turtles, growing to a carapace length of 8-10 inches. They can weigh anywhere from 1-5 pounds depending on their diet, health, and size. As they age, their carapace may become more domed and their colors may become more vibrant.

In the wild, Red Ear Slider Turtles can grow to even larger sizes, with carapace lengths of up to 14 inches. They can also live for up to 20-30 years in captivity, and up to 40-50 years in the wild.

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Do Red Ear Slider Turtles Live in Water or Land?

Red Ear Slider Turtles are semi-aquatic, meaning they spend a significant amount of their time in the water. They need access to shallow, warm water to be able to swim and feed, as well as basking spots on land to raise their body temperature.

In the wild, Red Ear Slider Turtles can be found in slow-moving streams, ponds, lakes, and marshes. In captivity, they can live in tanks, ponds, or outdoor enclosures as long as they have easy access to both water and land.

Are Red Ear Slider Turtles Aggressive?

Red Ear Slider Turtles are generally peaceful creatures and are not known to be aggressive. They may become territorial with other turtles in their enclosure, but this is usually a sign that the enclosure is too small and that the turtles are not getting enough space.

However, if they are startled or feel threatened, they may hiss or bite as a defensive mechanism. It is important to remember to always handle turtles with care, and to never pull them out of the water or grab them from behind.

What Do Red Ear Slider Turtles Eat?

In the wild, Red Ear Slider Turtles are omnivores and feed on a variety of aquatic plants, insects, and fish. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of commercial turtle foods, such as pellets or sticks, as well as dark leafy greens, fruits, and insects.

It is important to provide a balanced diet and to avoid overfeeding. An overabundance of protein and fat can lead to health issues such as shell rot and obesity. It is also important to provide calcium supplements and a UVB light to ensure proper shell and bone development.

What Do Red Ear Slider Turtles Look Like? 2

Red Eared Slider Turtle – AMAZING FACTS – You Probably didn’t know

Red Ear Slider Turtles are a beautiful species of turtle that have become popular pet choices. They are easily recognizable with their smooth shells and vibrant coloring. They have a unique pattern of red, yellow, orange, and black stripes that make them stand out from other types of turtles. These turtles can also grow to be quite large, making them a good choice for those looking for a long-term pet. With proper care, these turtles can live a long and happy life with their owners. So if you’re looking for a unique and interesting pet, then the Red Ear Slider Turtle is definitely worth considering!

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