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Species Introduction

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The Red Ear Slider is a semi-aquatic turtle (terrapin) that naturally resides in areas with a calm, fresh and warm water source. These can be ponds, lakes, marshes, creeks and streams. The area is usually quiet with a basking area, such a large flat rock or a log, which should also receive a good deal of sunlight. It is common for RES to bask together and even on top of each other. There should be abundant aquatic vegetation, which is the main component of an adult slider's diet. These reptiles are deceptively fast and excellent swimmers. Wild RES will stay close to a water source unless it is in search of a new one or if a female has a need to nest and lay eggs. It is also not uncommon for hatchlings and released captives to dangerously stray from these areas.

Slider by log Scientific classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Subphylum - Vertebrata
Class - Reptilia
Subclass - Anapsida
Order - Testudines
Family - Emydidae
Genus - Trachemys (formerly Chrysemys)
Species - T. scripta
Subspecies - elegans
Trinomial name - Trachemys scripta elegans
Note: All turtles may also be referred to as chelonians. RES were formerly classified as Chrysemys scripta elegans
More: Recommended reading

Native Habitat

The Red Ear Slider geographically originated from the area around the Mississippi River down to the Gulf of Mexico. They will thrive in warmer climates, particularly the Southeast quadrant of the United States. Such an area would be east of and below Colorado to Virginia down to Florida. The pet trade has expanded their range around the world, often at the expense of native terrapins. Therefore, it is not difficult to locate RES in some suitable habitat anywhere in the world.

Shell Diagram

The native environment will normally have a few requirements. They include a freshwater source, areas to bask, suitable vegetation and an area to nest. The water source, such as a pond or stream, should be warm, calm and quiet. There should also be logs or rock formations to provide a level basking area but anything above the surface that is stable and dry will usually do. Below the surface, a muddy or soft bottom is preferred.

Map Younger RES will feed on smaller prey like fish, snails and insects and gradually focus on plant material. The native habitat is primarily limited to the area in and around the water body. RES will likely not venture far from an established freshwater environment, although females will need to create a nest on dry land.
Note: Wild RES will usually stay close to a water source unless it is in search of a new one or if a female has a need to nest or if a lost hatchling strays away. Habitat destruction or reduction (e.g., draining, development) is a common occurrence worldwide.
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This page updated: 2011/01/28 Copyright © 2005-2011 Red Ear Slider. All rights reserved.