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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
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This page updated: 2011/01/28 Copyright © 2005-2011 Red Ear Slider. All rights reserved.