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Behavioral Instincts

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Instinctively, Red Ear Sliders will always be wild animals. However, they have individual personalities that bring out individual behavior. Generally speaking, when compared to other terrapins, captive RES are more friendly and interactive to people. In most instances, you can feed your RES by hand. If you are bitten during feeding, you should not take it as a sign of aggression. It is possible for your RES to go after your fingers just by having your hand near the water.

Your RES should become accustomed to you and will recognize you. However, captive sliders' only reaction in general will be to beg for food or investigate something they find interesting. Wild RES will not hesitate to get away from unwanted attention.

They have been known to bite as they are handled when they do not wish to be. They may also open their mouth aggressively and hiss when they are uncomfortable and they can also withdraw into their shell if they are scared or threatened.

For more information on human interaction, click here for handling information.

Sensory Organs

Close Up Red Ear Sliders have well-developed senses, especially vision and smell. They can see in color, in and above water, look for nesting places and find mates. They easily see movement around them, whether it's a predator or prey. RES also have a keen sense of smell, which direct them to prey.

RES can hear although they lack any ear opening. Their tympanic membranes are covered in skin and allow them to sense low frequency sounds and vibrations. The shell is sensitive to touch by way of nerves running throughout the shell. In addition, they have some degree of taste and may prefer certain foods to others.


RES Compared to Other Turtles

Red ear sliders are a very hardy species of turtle. They are often a turtle keeper’s first turtle and they can be long lived. They are often purchased as hatchlings by inexperienced owners and therefore, have a high mortality rate. They are semi-aquatic and need to have basking areas, basking warmth and access to UVB rays. They spend a great deal of time in their water, so having clean, filtered water is a must. Water conditioning might be necessary with municipal water supplies.

RES are fast, strong and can be aggressive. They can easily bully and intimidate other turtles of similar size or each other. They are very skilled at competing for food sources. As an invasive pest, is not uncommon for them to out compete, threaten and eliminate a native turtle species.

While each turtle has their own personalities, RES are known to be more personable and sociable towards their keepers than other turtles. Yet their aggressive nature limits the ability for cohabitation with most other turtles and fish.

Related Topics: Cohabitation

RES Compared to Other Pets

Sliders can be very fascinating pets to keep. They make a good alternative as a pet since people are less likely to have reptile related allergies. However, they can pose a health risk to those who do not practice proper hygiene. Sliders can be very interactive and sociable, though not always. They have their own unique personalities and will differ from other turtles. They should not be handled excessively or by children. Children should not be caring for captive turtles at all and any parent and/or guardian is largely responsible for the turtle’s care and health. A turtle habitat needs regular cleaning and smaller habitats will eventually require upgrades. With proper care, a RES can live between 20-40 years.

Related Topics: Handling information / Salmonella
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This page updated: 2011/01/28 Copyright © 2005-2011 Red Ear Slider. All rights reserved.