Are you considering keeping a Red Ear Slider Turtle as a pet? If so, you’re going to need to know everything about the Red Eared Turtle before taking one on. You’ll also need to know about turtle care in general and the expenses involved. So let’s get straight to it and take a closer look at these turtles and their history.
Red Eared Turtles – Background
The red ear slider turtle can be found throughout America, particularly east of the Rockies and although they can be found in the wild they are also commonly sold in pet stores.
These turtles spend most of their time in warm water and while they are competent swimmers, they prefer to spend the warmer hours of the day basking on logs or rocks. They love to bask in the sun, or in captivity under their tank’s UV lights.
The Red Eared Slider Turtle is an omnivore meaning they eat both vegetable and plant matter as well as animal protein. Younger turtles need as much as 40% of their diet to be made up of protein sources while adult sliders will feed more on vegetation.
One of the most essential red eared slider turtle facts to be aware of is that just like any wild-caught reptile found in a pet shop, they can get a little stressed until they become properly acquainted with their new environment. A consequence of this stress can lead the turtle to suffer from bacterial infections and protozoan. Salmonella is another important factor to be cautious of as it can be transmitted to youngsters really easily.
Dehydration is another sign to look out for if the turtles have been held for a period of time without water or food or in a cool environment. The red ear slider turtle can have a fickle appetite and won’t eat when it’s stressed.
Feeding Your Slider
A varied diet will ensure that your turtle is strong, healthy and lives a long time. Younger turtles need to be fed every day whereas adults can eat every two or three days. Be careful of feeding your turtle more than it can eat as the leftover food will rot the water.
Your Red Ear Slider Turtle and Health
Signs of illness in a slider include closed, swollen or cloudy eyes, open mouth breathing, swollen cheeks, runny stools, loss of appetite, bubbly mucous around the mouth or nose, spots on the bottom shell, listlessness, soft shell and excessive shedding.
If your turtle falls ill, be sure to take it to a veterinarian who will help you keep your slider healthy and help sick turtles get better. A lot of people grimace at the thought of spending more on a visit to the vet than what they actually paid for the turtle. So do consider such expenses carefully before buying one as a pet.
When you and your family handle the red ear slider turtle, make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands afterwards – and vigorously so. Remember to scrub between your fingers and under and around the fingernails. You can also decrease the risk of infection by washing with a liquid soap in a pump bottle so that not everyone is handling the same bar of soap. Use disposable paper towels to dry your hands with.
Handling and Acclimatizing Your Red Eared Slider
When you bring your red eared turtle home, place him or her in an already-established tank and leave it to get used to its new home for a couple of days. The first few days might see your new turtle closed tightly in its shell or withdrawing really quickly when it sees you approaching the closure or staring in at it.
During the acclimatization period, place fresh food in the turtle’s water every day and ensure that the water is always clean and warm. Once it’s ready, the turtle will gain the confidence to explore its tank and logs and may begin to watch what goes on around it.
If you have to pick up your turtle, always make sure that you use both hands and support its body. They feel a lot more secure when they can feel something underneath their feet and find “swimming mid-air” pretty stressful. Make sure that they can feel your hands or fingers under their feet and not just under the bottom of their shell. Using two hands to support and carry your red ear slider turtle will help to make sure that they won’t fall and suffer crippling injuries.
The red ear slider turtle isn’t the best of pets for young children to care for without supervision, as the daily maintenance of the tank, the apparatus and the feeding schedule tends to get boring for kids. They must learn that they can’t just stick the turtle in the tank and toss them a few leaves of lettuce now and again.
Scientists have been said to believe that cold-blooded animals and in particular the red eared turtle can live a very long time since they tend not to display signs of aging. They eventually die from being attacked by a natural predator (in the wild), from poisoning or even from the destruction of their habitat. Another big factor regarding the longevity of the red ear slider turtle is improper care when in captivity.
The information in this article should be thorough enough to help you to decide whether or not a red ear slider is quite the right pet for you and your family. They can be great fun to keep but you should remember to read up on how to create the right environment for your turtle as well as breeding and other relevant behaviors.