4" Law – Refers to current U.S. federal law (Title 21, Section 1240.62) stating that the sale of viable eggs and pet turtles with shells less than 4" in length is illegal.
Abscess – Refer to ear abscess.
Acrylic Aquarium – An alternative to the more common glass aquarium. They are lighter than an equivalent glass aquarium but are prone to scratching.
Adult Red Ear Slider – Adult males range between 7-9 inches (17.8 cm - 22.8 cm) while adult females fall between 10-12 inches (25 cm - 30.5 cm). Size is not an indication of age. Also see sexual maturity.
Aggression – RES are considered to be more aggressive than other similar turtles. They can easily compete out other turtles and male RES may harass females.
Algae – A relatively simple nonflowering plant that grows in water, on the sides of tank, on decorations and on turtle shells. It is not considered to be harmful and can usually be wiped or brushed/scrubbed off.
Alkaline – A pH level greater than 7. It is often contrasted with acid and has a greater concentration of hydroxyl ions.
Ammonia – A colorless compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. It is corrosive, toxic and may have an unpleasant odor. Waste and proteins in discarded food are key contributors to the presence of ammonia in tank water and toxicity can build within your tank if these levels go unchecked.
Anapsid – A group of amniotes, a microphylum of tetrapod vertebrates that include Sauropsida. The only members still in existence are the Testudines - turtles, tortoises, and terrapins.
Bacteria – A group of microorganisms that are widely distributed in our environment and in the tissues of plants and animals. RES keepers should be aware of beneficial, harmful and infectious bacteria.
Bacteria Bloom – Also referred to as new tank syndrome. See nitrogen cycle.
Basking – An important procedure when a slider dries off and warms up. A RES will need an easily accessible area that is dry and approximately 10 degrees warmer than the water. This is beneficial as it helps prevent shell infections, allows the turtle to absorb UVA and UVB rays (if they are provided) and thermoregulate.
Baytril – An antibiotic for veterinary use and is commonly used to treat respiratory infections.
Beaks – Turtle mouths are beaks made of a sharp piece of keratin.
Beneficial Bacteria – A colonizing bacterium such as Nitrobacter that feed on oxygen and nitrites (which feed on ammonia) and producing relatively harmless nitrates. It is an essential aspect of the nitrogen cycle.
Biological Filtration – Refers to a form of inert media whose main function is to serve as a platform that encourages the build-up of beneficial nitrifying bacteria colonies.
Brassica Group (also called Cruciferae) – Collards and other plants from this family may inhibit iodine absorption, resulting in goiters. It is not clinically proven to do so in sliders.
Bridge – A section of shell between the fore and hind limbs that connects the carapace and the plastron.
Brumate – Refer to hibernate for context.
Bullied – Refer to aggression for context.
Calcium – A critical element for healthy shell and bone development. It can be found in various vegetables, pellets and prey. It can also be offered as an additional supplement.
Calcium, Phosphorous Ratio – A correlation between two elements that are combined as the essential constituent of the bones and shell. Calcium content should always be in greater quantity.
Canister Filter (External) –A type of water filter that resides outside of a tank and uses an intake hose and output hose. Various filter media can be used to provide mechanical, biological and chemical filtration.
Captive RES – Sliders who are no longer living in the wild or never have and are under human care.
Carapace (top shell) – The dorsal, convex section of the shell that is divided into plates known as scutes. It should be nicely rounded and smooth and has a black and yellow line pattern, while hatchlings start with a very bright green carapace that is slightly pliable.
The carapace has the following: nuchal scute, neural or vertebral or central scute, marginal scute and pygal or supracaudal scute.
Carnivore – The term for an animal that eats a diet consisting mainly of meat. Most RES have a preference for live prey and hatchlings may be only interested live prey.
Chelonia – The former term for Testudines, it can be used to refer to all turtles.
Chemical Contamination – Any type chemical used that might be harmful when ingested by your turtle or that can contaminate your water. For instance, lawn care pesticides can potentially contaminate a pond’s water.
Chemical Filtration – Filter media that can remove particular pollutants in water. This is usually highly adsorbent media and binds to the unwanted materials, thus removing them from the water. Chemical filtration is usually not a priority for those with healthy turtles and access to good quality water.
Chloramine (monochloramine) – A chemical element used in water purification in municipal water supplies. It can irritate a turtle’s eyes, respiratory system and membranes as well as prevent beneficial bacteria to develop. Chloramine does not evaporate and will require a water conditioner to neutralize it.
Chlorine – A chemical element used in water purification in municipal water supplies. It can irritate a turtle’s eyes, respiratory system and membranes as well as destroy beneficial bacteria. Chlorine does evaporate within 24-48 hours or can be treated with a water conditioner.
Chrysemys scripta elegans – The previous trinomial name (genus, species, subspecies) of the Red Ear Slider. RES are currently classified as Trachemys scripta elegans.
Claws (Nails) – RES have sharp claws to rip apart prey and vegetation. Long nails are a sexual characteristic of male sliders.
Cloaca – A posterior opening on the underside of the tail that is the only opening to serve intestinal, urinary and reproduction purposes. The cloaca on a female is closer to the shell whereas a male's is further away due to the longer and thicker tail.
Clutch – Refers to a collection of eggs produced by a turtle in a single nest at a single time. A healthy, full-grown female might lay 3 or 4 clutches in a season and each may contain over twenty eggs.
Constipation – A condition of the digestive system where there is difficulty passing solid waste. It may be extremely painful and may indicate a bowel obstruction. Constipation may be a symptom of impaction, in which a RES has swallowed gravel and cannot remove it from its body.
Cuttlebone – A white, lightweight, chalky material that is made from the internal skeleton of the cuttlefish. Its calcium carbonate is used as a dietary supplement. It is inexpensive, easy to find and normally floats. Remove the hard backing and offer your turtle small bite-sized pieces to chew.
Death Zone – Temperatures that are too cool are often called a “death zone” since they are not cold enough for actual hibernation but cold enough to inhibit their metabolism.
Diurnal – A way to describe animals that are active during the day and rest at night.
DIY – (Abbr. Do it yourself.) The practice of making or repairing things yourself. DIY projects can be very helpful when designing and making custom turtle habitats.
Drowning – A serious situation in which a turtle has inhaled water and may be dead or appear dead. Illnesses, injuries, low water levels, decorations and equipment can cause this situation. Please refer to this section.
Dystocia – A term for an abnormal or difficult childbirth or labor. Refer to Egg Binding.
Ear Abscess – An ear infection that is easily noticeable in the form of a lump on either one or both sides of the head. Veterinary care is required.
Eggs – Female RES will produce eggs regardless if there is a male present. It is necessary to provide a nesting area to prevent egg retention or having them laid in water. Please refer to this section.
Egg Binding (Egg Retention) – Occurs when eggs are abnormally held within the body. These eggs can decay, deteriorate or become calcified. They become brittle and can cause an internal injury, bacterial infection, peritonitis and death. A suitable nesting area is needed but does not always prevent egg binding because stress, poor diet, age, illnesses, abnormalities and personality can be a factor. Please refer to this section.
Egg Tooth – A small, sharp protuberance on the beak of a hatchling. Its only function is to assist in the breaking out of the eggshell, which is known as pipping.
Fanning – An event in which a male RES will expose his penis. It occurs underwater and should retract itself. It is possible for it to get injured or bitten by another turtle.
Feeder Fish – Any fish that is bred to be used as live prey. Guppies and minnows are preferred choices while goldfish are fatty and more prone to carry disease and parasites.
Fertilizer – Refer to chemical contamination.
Filtration (Water) – A device that removes debris and impurities from water by means of a physical barrier (mechanical), chemical processes or biological process. A good, reliable water filter is absolutely necessary to maintain water quality.
Fluorescent UVB Light – A special type of light bulb that is specially made to emit necessary UVB rays. The packaging must actually say that it emits 5-10% UVB. These lights typically need replacement every 6 months. Alternatives include direct sunlight and mercury vapor bulbs. Refer to the special lighting section for more in-depth information.
Flutter (Fluttering) – Fluttering is a behavior when a RES will extend its forearms and quickly shake its paws. Male and female RES will do this in a territorial dispute. Males will also to this as part of a courtship.
Freshwater – RES are freshwater turtles. Any equipment or water treatments should specify for freshwater aquarium use.
Full Spectrum – While sunlight is truly full spectrum, there are several different brands of lights described as “full spectrum” or “natural daylight” bulbs that you might want to avoid. Most of these bulbs may not produce any significant (or any) amount of UVA, UVB or heat at all.
Fungus – An organism that feeds on organic matter, fungi break down dead organic matter and are responsible for some types of infection and disease. Waste, leftover food and warm temperatures contribute to the growth fungus.
GFCI – A ground fault circuit interrupter. A residual-current device disconnects a circuit whenever the flow of current is not balanced.
GFI – A ground fault interrupter. Refer to GFCI.
Glass Aquarium – The indoor habitat of choice for most captive RES keepers. Glass tanks provide optimal viewing of a turtle and should last with proper maintenance. These are usually expensive in larger sizes.
Goitrogen – A substance found in certain foods that suppress the function of the thyroid gland, which can cause an enlargement of the thyroid.
Gout – A form of arthritis most likely caused by the use of a high-purine diet. Purine breakdown produces uric acid that is normally filtered out of the body but can accumulate. Generally shellfish and other foods such as mushrooms and anchovies also contain large amounts of purine and should be avoided.
Gravid – A term that represents a female RES carrying eggs. When a female is gravid, she will need an appropriate nesting area so she can lay her eggs properly. A female RES can be gravid without the presence of a male and the eggs will not be fertilized.
Gut-Loaded – The process by which prey is raised and fed nutritious foods and supplements with the intention of passing those benefits to the animal when the prey is eaten.
Indicates medical situation / Underlined words indicate that the term is listed
Handling – Refers to the careful way a RES should be held. RES are slippery, can bite, can kick and might release their bowels. They should have their feet supported and should not be held by children.
Hard Water – Water that has a high mineral content, usually calcium and magnesium. It is generally not harmful to RES, though they may develop mineral deposits on their shells and on your tank equipment. Refer to water softener for treatment options.
Hatchling – Refers to newborn turtles or any other animal that emerges from hard-shell eggs. After one year, hatchlings can be referred to as yearlings.
Herbicide – Refer to chemical contamination.
Herbivore – The term for an animal that eats a diet consisting mainly of plant matter. RES usually have a preference for live prey and hatchlings are primarily carnivorous. Older RES will readily take vegetables and aquatic plants though may be initially reluctant.
Herpetology – The branch of zoology that studies reptiles and amphibians. Reptiles and amphibians are sometimes referred to as a “herp”. When searching for veterinary care, make sure your provider is an experienced herp vet.
Hibernate* – A state of regulated hypothermia. Reptiles are said to technically brumate or undergo brumation. This is a period of inactivity and lower metabolic rate.
* It is not advised to hibernate RES for any particular reason or condition. Please read this section for further information.
Humidity – Since RES spend a lot time underwater and basking, humidity is often not considered in RES care. Humidity may play a role in the effectiveness of equipment such as wet/dry filters and also plays a role in egg incubation.
Hygiene – The practice of maintaining health and preventing disease through cleanliness. Proper hygiene is critical for preserving your health and your turtles. Refer to sanitize for related info.
Hyperthermia – A condition of having abnormally high body temperatures. This is a serious threat to the immediate health of a slider. Refer to POTZ for related info.
Hypothermia – A condition of having abnormally low body temperatures. This is a serious threat to the immediate health of a slider. Refer to POTZ for related info.
Hypocalcemia – A calcium deficiency in the bloodstream. This could lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD), also known as soft shell syndrome.
Impaction – A medical condition that occurs when a RES consumes something, usually gravel, that they cannot digest. Once it is ingested, it will block the digestive tract and can be fatal without immediate medical care.
Incandescent light bulb – A standard household light bulb, which can be used as a basking lamp, that provides enticing heat.
Internal Filter – A type of filter that is used inside a tank. They are inexpensive and only effective for small tanks.
Keratin - A fibrous protein that is the main structural element of a turtle’s shell and beak. In people, it is the main element in hair and fingernails.
Lethargy – A general lack of activity or energy. Lethargy is usually a symptom of illness or incorrect habitat settings.
Mechanical Filtration – The primary function of most water filters. This filter uses media, usually a foam pad, which is inert and aids in the removal of visible debris and matter.
Mercury Vapor Bulb (MVB) - A self-ballasted mercury vapor bulb; also known as a UVB heat lamp. It is the only bulb that can produce UVA, UVB and heat.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) – Also known as soft shell syndrome, it is a serious but preventable disease brought on by deficiencies of calcium and vitamin D3. Certain things can contribute to this situation. A diet that contains large amounts of oxalic acid and/or one that contains more phosphorus than calcium can be factors. A general lack of vitamin D3 or UVB rays are also contributing factors.
Mineral Deposits – A visible build up of minerals on your turtle's shell. Water that is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium - will lead to this whitish build up all over the shell. This is not a threatening condition but it should be addressed.
Molt – Refer to shedding (skin).
Mouth Rot (Stomatitis) – An inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth. It can be the result of a bacterial infection.
Nails - Refer to claws.
Neosporin – An antibiotic ointment that offers infection protection. It can be used on minor skin injuries and a turtle should be dry docked after application.
Nest – A female RES will carefully construct a nest where she can lay her eggs and shelter them. It will be perfectly concealed once she has completed her task. She must be allowed to make a proper nest or she could suffer from future medical problems.
New Tank Syndrome - Refer to nitrogen cycle for context.
Nitrate – A byproduct of the bacteria that break down nitrites. Nitrates should develop naturally once bacterial colonization is established.
Nitrite – A byproduct of the bacteria that break down ammonia. Nitrites should develop naturally once bacterial colonization is established.
Nitrogen Cycle (Nitrification Cycle) – The conversion of ammonia to nitrates. Bacteria such as Nitrosomonas convert ammonia to nitrites and bacteria such as Nitrobacter are responsible for the oxidation of the nitrites into nitrates. This cycle is responsible for the biological filtration aspect of your turtle’s water. New turtle setups have insufficient “beneficial bacteria” to compensate for the amount of ammonia that quickly builds up. While RES are fairly tolerant of harsh conditions, fish and more sensitive aquatic turtles may find the situation difficult. During this time, water may appear cloudy and have an unpleasant odor.
Nolvasan – A Chlorhexidine solution that is used as a disinfectant. It is reported to be useful against many different kinds of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses.
Omnivore – An animal that is capable of eating both meat and plants. RES are not required to eat both meat and plants but should have access to both for a balanced diet.
Osteoderm - Refer to scute.
Overfeed – A serious issue that causes dangerous health (physical and intestinal) issues. Excessively fast growth, premature sexuality, strain on internal organs and pyramiding.
Oxalic Acid – Oxalic acid and oxalates are nephrotoxic acids that are present in some plants, which are known to block calcium absorption. They can bind and inhibit calcium and these types of plants should absolutely be avoided.
Oxygenated Water – Well-oxygenated water is needed for the nitrogen cycle and for hibernating* turtles. Ways to oxygenate the water include adding live plants and using a good filter to agitate the water.
*It is not recommended to hibernate RES. Please read this section for further information.
Oxytocin – A hormone that is administered by a vet induce egg laying in gravid females.
Parasite – An organism that will negatively feed off your RES. Wild RES and RES kept in poor conditions are more likely to be carrying parasites. Live fish, particularly goldfish, and shellfish are common carriers of parasites. If you suspect your turtle has a parasitic infection, try to collect a fecal sample for a vet to examine because different infections will require different treatments.
Pedialyte – An oral electrolyte solution. Made to prevent dehydration for infants and children, it can be used for soaking RES for the same purposes.
Pesticide – Refer to chemical contamination.
Pet Trade – Refers to the industry that relentlessly breeds millions of slider hatchlings a year. This industry also attempts to lobby the U.S. government to lift important safety regulation regarding turtle eggs and hatchlings.
pH – A measure of acidity or alkalinity in the water. The measure of the activity of hydrogen ions in a solution indicates this acidity. Pure water is neutral and has a rating of 7; tap water might be slightly alkaline and have a rating of 8. Slightly acidic water may inhibit bacterial and fungal growth.
Phosphorous – An element that is critical to the regulation of metabolic processes and other biochemical reactions. It is combined with calcium as the important elements of the bones and shell. Excessive phosphorous can inhibit calcium absorption, therefore it should not exceed calcium intake.
Photoperiod – The length of daylight that should guide you to determine how long your turtle’s lights should be on. Mimicking your seasonal photoperiod is physiologically beneficial while using a timer will make it easier for you. Lighting should be on for around 12 hours a day, depending on the time of year. Too little or much light will disrupt your turtle’s activity and sleep cycles.
Plastic Storage Containers – This refers to the commonly available Rubbermaid and Sterlite plastic containers. They can be used as inexpensive and temporary housing solutions for small RES and as separate feeding containers.
Plastron (Bottom Shell) – The shell that forms the underside of a turtle. Like the carapace, it is made up of scutes but is nearly flat. These scutes are yellow in color with brown patches.
The plastron has the following scutes: epiplastron, entoplastron, hyoplastron and hypoplastron.
Pneumonia – A very serious and deadly type of respiratory infection. Lungs can become inflamed and flooded with fluid. There can be a number of causes, usually cold water and cold drafts can be suspected. Symptoms may include the presence of mucus, lethargy, lack of appetite and listing.
Pond Filter – A powerful filter that is intended to be used with ponds. They may come in a kit with various options. For indoor use, you should consider what is called an external filter. These are similar to canister filters and they offer multi-stage filtration but require a separate pump.
Pondscaping – Refers to the cultivation of floating and submerged aquatic plants. These are useful to a pond’s ecosystem and can provide privacy, shade and an additional food source for a turtle.
POTZ - (Abbr. Preferred optimal temperature zone.) The recommended water temperature for RES is between 75-78F (24-25.5C); basking temperatures should be 90F (32.2C). Having a correct POTZ will allow your turtle to thermoregulate. A POTZ is beneficial as it allows for proper digestion, growth, reproduction and metabolism. Temperatures that are too cool are often called a “death zone” since they are not cold enough for actual hibernation but cold enough to inhibit their metabolism.
Power Filter – A type of filter that hangs on the side of a tank. These overflow filters are good at mechanical filtration, easy to clean and easily accessible. These filters hang on the side of tank, so they might need extra bottom support if they are being used on a plastic container.
Predator Proof – The act of securing a habitat from potential predators. Indoor habitats have dogs as potential predators and outdoor ponds and habitats have large birds and raccoons as potential predators. A predator proof setup will also prevent a RES from escaping an enclosure.
Prefilter - As an attachment, a prefilter is an additional foam pad is added to a filter intake, providing additional mechanical filtration. A prefilter can also be used to add an extra layer of safety for small turtles placed with a powerful filter.
Preformed Pond – A type of readymade pond kit that is pre-molded. These can provide an attractive habitat for a turtle and could also be modified to work above ground and indoors.
Prey – Refers to any intentional and unintentional live food placed with your turtle. RES are natural predators and will instinctively go after live foods, even though they may show no initial interest.
Privacy – Sliders may need a certain amount of privacy to carry out certain activities, like basking and eating. Hatchlings and recent turtle additions may need a greater amount of privacy as they become accustomed to their new environment. Some privacy will help reduce the added stress of being confined to an enclosure.
Prolapse – A condition in which organs slip out of cloaca. Impaction is a common cause of intestinal prolapse. Males may expose their penises in what is called fanning, but should be able to retract them. If they cannot, then it is a penile prolapse. Any type of prolapse will require medical attention.
Purine – Refer to gout for context.
Pyramiding – A long-term and sometimes permanent shell disfiguration. The various causes can be excessive feeding, irregular feeding, inadequate diet, poor habitat conditions and genetics.
Quarantine – The process of isolating a new turtle prior to its introduction to an existing turtle community. This period can be used to detect illness, infections, parasites and disease. It is recommended to quarantine for as long as 3 months.
Indicates medical situation / Underlined words indicate that the term is listed
Re-Homing / Rescue Organization – An organization whose purpose is public education and finding new homes for unwanted captive turtles. The pet trade has made it very difficult to re-home RES because of their abundance and care requirements. Rescues should be able to help relocate wild turtles. Wild turtles should not be kept captive. Rescues may also have the ability to treat injured wild turtles.
Many of these organizations might initially refuse to take in a RES. We do not recommend a Humane Society because they are usually not prepared to deal with reptiles and have euthanasia policies.
RES – (Abbr. Red Ear Sliders.) The common shortcut for describing Trachemys Scripta Elegans. Many users incorrectly refer to this site as RES.COM
Respiratory Infection (RI) – A very serious and deadly type of infection that may be viral or bacterial in nature. There are varying degrees of severity and some cases may not even reveal any major symptoms. There can be a number of causes, including cold water and cold drafts. Untreated and serious cases can lead to Pneumonia. Please refer to Health: RI for more information.
Reverse-Osmosis (RO) – A water purification technique in which water travels through various semipermeable membranes.
RI – (Abbr. Respiratory Infection)
Salmonella – A bacterium that occurs mainly in the intestine and can be transmitted by turtles. It can be particularly infectious to children and the elderly. Salmonella should not be a danger to the turtle and problems are easily avoidable with proper hygiene.
Sanitize – To clean by disinfecting or sterilizing. It is recommended to properly clean anything you choose to use inside your tank. It is also recommended to keep your turtle and equipment away from food preparation areas and to thoroughly clean after anything that comes in contact with your setup.
SCL – (Abbr. Straight carapace length)
SCUD – (Abbr. Septicemic cutaneous ulcerative disease)
Scute (Osteoderm) – The bony external plates on the shell. The scutes in the carapace are as follows: nuchal scute, neural or vertebral or central scute, marginal scute and pygal or supracaudal scute.
The scutes of the plastron are the: epiplastron, entoplastron, hyoplastron and hypoplastron.
Septicemia – A very serious medical condition, resulting from the immune response to a severe bacterial infection in the bloodstream. It is essentially blood poisoning, a serious and life-threatening infection that requires immediate emergency care.
Septicemic Cutaneous Ulcerative Disease (SCUD, Shell Rot) – A shell ulceration can form when there is an injury to the shell in which the damaged area becomes infected. If left untreated or improperly cared for, this lesion could be penetrated and lead to a number of diseases such as fungal and bacterial infections and septicemia.
Sexual Maturity - It is mainly based on a sliders size, not age. Rough estimations for captive RES are: 2-4 years for males with a SCL of 4” and 3-5 years for females with a SCL of around 5”.
Shedding (Shell, Scute) – A normal and expected occurrence with RES. They will shed over a period of time. Their appearance begins to lighten or become a golden color (due to an air pocket) and will eventually lift up. Old and injured scutes are the most likely candidates for shedding.
Shedding (Skin) – Shedding or molting of the skin is a normal occurrence with RES. Excessive shedding may be an indication of high water temperatures or fungal infections.
Shell Rot – Refer to Septicemic cutaneous ulcerative disease.
Soft Shell – Refer to metabolic bone disease.
Stock Tank – A water storage container that is used to provide drinking water for animals such as cattle or horses. These can be useful as alternative and inexpenisve indoor or outdoor housing for RES. There are several manufacturers who produce plastic tanks at various sizes. Rubbermaid manufactures a line of plastic stock tanks that are 50, 70, 100 and 300 gallons and can be found at farm supply stores.
Stomatitis – Refer to mouth rot.
Straight Carapace Length (SCL) – A method of measuring your turtle. To obtain this measurement, you stretch a line between the front of the shell and the back, ignoring the curvature of the carapace. It is best to use a rigid ruler as opposed to a tape measure.
Stress – Refers to physical and mental condition that captive RES are in. Hatchlings and newly acquired turtles are likely under a great deal of stress. Do not to underestimate the impact that stress can have on a turtle's health.
Submersible Water Heater – An electrical device used to heat water to a certain temperature and maintain that temperature. A good quality heater should be fully submersible, unbreakable and have an adjustable thermostat.
Substrate – The loose material that is used at the bottom of a tank. It can affect water chemistry, filtration, and the well being of the aquarium's inhabitants.
Sunlight (UVA, UVB, Heat) – The best possible source of UV for your turtle - direct, unfiltered sunlight. Obviously the most natural source of needed UVA and UVB rays, sunlight is the total spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun.
Supplement – The reference of addressing deficiencies in a turtle’s diet with calcium and vitamins. A healthy and well-varied diet will require little supplementation.
Tail – A flexible appendage that contains the cloaca. A female tail is shorter than a male tail, which also houses his penis.
Tap Water – Water that is piped into homes and available on tap. Tap water may need to be treated for chlorine, chloramine, hardness and pH. Cold tap water is usually fine to be used with sliders, though it should be heated by a fully submersible water heater to the preferred temperature. Avoid using warm tap water because it has to travel through a hot water heater. Some pipes may be corroded or have lead soldering which the hot water will dissolve. Impurities and contaminants, including heavy metals and bacteria, also tend to collect and precipitate in the bottom of heaters. This is the same reason why you should not use warm/hot tap water for drinking or cooking.
Temperature – The degree of heat measured and expressed as hotness or coldness. The two widespread scales used are Fahrenheit and Celsius (Centigrade). Most of the references in this site are relative to the Fahrenheit scale. The recommended water temperature for RES is between 75-78F (24-25.5C); basking temperatures should be 90F (32.2C). Temperature measurement is extremely important in turtle care. Many inexperienced keepers unfortunately guess or use approximations. Thermometers are accurate, inexpensive and there is no reason not to have a few.
Terrapin – In general, a turtle that is semi-aquatic. RES are terrapins because they spend time on land and at basking areas. Different cultures may refer to all turtles as terrapins.
Terrarium - An enclosure simulating a relatively dry habitat. These may not be suited for RES habitats because they are not designed to hold large amounts of water.
Territorial – Confined in a small tank, RES can develop a protective and aggressive behavior within that space. They may flutter their paws or escalate a situation into biting. An increase in space does not guarantee less aggression, especially since a RES might feel the need to compete for food. While some RES spend a majority of their lives alone, they don’t always adjust well to new tank additions.
Textured – A reference to the surface of a basking area. A dry, textured area allows for the plastron to dry off.
Thermometer - A simple and inexpensive device that measures temperature or temperature gradient. There is no reason to guess or estimate water temperatures, especially since it cannot be done accurately or consistently. Many inexperienced keepers unfortunately guess or use approximations.
Thermoregulation - To regulate body temperature and keep it within certain boundaries. Refer to POTZ for related info. Abnormally warm temperatures above a POTZ is hyperthermia, abnormally cold temperatures below a POTZ is hypothermia.
Thiamin – Vitamin B1. Known to metabolize carbohydrates. Refer to thiaminase for context.
Thiaminase – An enzyme that destroys Vitamin B1 (thiamin). Vegetables and prey high thiaminase enzymes would break down thiamin, resulting in a Vitamin B1 deficiency.
Tortoise - In general, a turtle that is land based. RES are terrapins because they spend time on land and at basking areas but other cultures may refer to all turtles as tortoises.
Trachemys Scripta Elegans - The current trinomial name (genus, species, subspecies) of the Red Ear Slider. RES were previously classified as Chrysemys scripta elegans.
UVA – Invisible rays that promote normal behavior such as activity, feeding and mating. UVA rays have UV wavelengths of 380–315 nm. Sunlight, incandescent bulbs and florescent UVB lamps are sources of UVA rays. Refer to more extensive information in the lighting section.
UVB - Invisible rays that stimulate the natural production of the vitamin D3. This vitamin is required for the metabolization of dietary calcium and together with the calcium, plays a roll in the prevention of illnesses such as Metabolic Bone Disease. Sunlight, MVB and florescent UVB lamps are sources of UVB rays. UVB rays have UV wavelengths of 315–280 nm. Refer to more extensive information in the lighting section.
Veterinarian (Vet, Herp vet) – A person trained and qualified to treat diseased or injured animals. Most veterinarians are educated in cats and dogs – not “exotic” animals like reptiles. It is important to find a qualified and experienced vet who treats turtles. A specialist of this type would be referred to a herpetological veterinarian or a “herp vet”. Refer to this section about searching for a vet.
Vitamin A (Deficiency) – Hypovitaminosis A. This type of deficiency may cause a turtle's eyes to be closed or swollen. Vegetables such as carrots or a supplement such as cod liver oil contain vitamin A.
Vitamin D3 (Deficiency) – A lack of UVB rays or D3 as a dietary supplement. Vitamin D3 aids in calcium absorption and is needed to prevent calcium deficiency disorders such as metabolic bone disease and various organ dysfunctions.
Vitamin D3 – A critical vitamin that aids in the metabolization of calcium. Vitamin D3 is naturally produced with exposure to natural or artificial UVB rays. It can also be offered as a dietary supplement, however it should be done so carefully to RES who are D3 deficient and under the guidance of veterinary care.
Vitamin K (Deficiency) – A deficiency that can disrupt intestinal bacteria and cause bleeding in the mouth.
Warmth – Refer to basking for context.
Water Quality – A general reference to good, clean water conditions. A neutral pH and an absence of chlorine, chloramines, ammonia, nitrites, trace metals and other contaminants are aspects of good water quality.
Water Softener – Softening is a process that exchanges the ions of the hardness minerals. Other ways to soften water is to add distilled or RO water. Filter media options include peat moss or a water-softening pillow.
Wet/Dry Filter – A filter designs whose underlying principle is to promote maximum nitrification by having the bio media rotate between being in water and exposed to air, therefore introducing more oxygen to the biological media.
Wild RES – A slider that is not under captivity. It is never recommended to take wild turtles captive unless they need medical attention or need to be relocated.
Yearling – A description used for a RES after the first year of life.
Yolk Sac – The residual yolk that remains on a hatchling once it has hatched. It should gradually be absorbed providing nourishment. A hatchling may not be interested in eating during this time.
Indicates medical situation / Underlined words indicate that the term is listed