Red Eared Slider Natural History
This turtle can reach lengths of 7 inches to 12 inches (17 cm to 30 cm) with males rarely getting longer than 9 inches.
Habitat and Distribution
Their original natural distribution was along the Mississippi river in the United States of America, however due to introduction in to the wild from pet keepers their distribution now also includes Japan, Guam, South Korea, Thailand, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Israel, Australia, and probably many more.
In the wild it is thought that these turtles rarely live longer than 20 years whilst captive specimens have been known to live to 40 years old.
As adults the bulk of their diet consists of pond weeds such as duck weed, algae and lilies but also includes many aquatic invertebrates. The diet of young turtles has been found to include a much higher proportion of invertebrate food items than the adult diet.
Groups and Breeding
These are non-aggressive animals which are often found in fairly large groups sharing small ponds, lakes and stretches of rivers where they will spend a lot of time basking on top of each other on banks, rocks and branches. After breeding the females will come to land where they dig deep nests in order to lay their 4 to 23 eggs, which are ready to hatch out after 60 to 75 days.
This turtle has a number of natural predators which includes alligators, various birds and even people hunt this turtle for food. However because there are bans in place to stop their trade between countries this turtle has very few major threats.
After the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films in the 80’s the sale of these terrapins rocketed in the pet trade, however when these baby pets outgrew their small fish tanks many of these turtles were sadly released in to the wild all over the world, leading to introduced populations of this species in a huge array of countries.
The Red Eared Slider During Your Day Out in Kent
The red eared sliders at Wingham Wildlife Park live in the ponds around the park and large lake situated in front of the lions, jaguars and pumas. They have free access to the majority of this lake and the banks surrounding it. They may be seen basking in the sun on land during the warmer months or alternatively swimming in the lake which they share with carp, ducks, geese, a black swan, storks and several other turtle species such as yellow bellied sliders and common snapping turtles.