Red-Eared Slider Turtle
The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), also known as the red-eared terrapin, is a semiaquatic turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. It is a subspecies of the pond slider. It is the most popular pet turtle in the United States and is also popular as a pet in the rest of the world. It has, therefore, become the most commonly traded turtle in the world. It is native to the southern United States and northern Mexico, but has become established in other places because of pet releases, and has become an invasive species in many areas, where it outcompetes native species. The red-eared slider is included in the list of the world's 100 most invasive species published by the IUCN.
Red-eared sliders get their name from the small red stripe around their ears.. The "slider" in their name comes from their ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly. This species was previously known as Troost's turtle in honor of an American herpetologist; Trachemys scripta troostii is now the scientific name for another subspecies, the Cumberland slider. The red-eared slider belongs to the order Testudines, which contains about 250 turtle species. It is a subspecies of Trachemys scripta. They were previously classified under the name Chrysemys scripta elegans.
The species Trachemys scripta contains three subspecies: T. s. elegans (red-eared slider), T. s. scripta (yellow-bellied slider), and T. s. troostii (Cumberland slider).
The carapace of this species can reach more than 16 in in length, but the average length ranges from 6 to 8 in. The females of the species are usually larger than the males. They typically live between 20 and 30 years, although some individuals have lived for more than 40 years. Their life expectancy is shorter when they are kept in captivity. The quality of their living environment has a strong influence on their lifespans and well being.
These turtles are poikilotherms, meaning they are unable to regulate their body temperatures independently; they are completely dependent on the temperature of their environment. For this reason, they need to sunbathe frequently to warm themselves and maintain their body temperatures.
The red-eared slider originated from the area around the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, in warm climates in the southeastern United States. Their native areas range from the southeast of Colorado to Virginia and Florida. In nature, they inhabit areas with a source of still, warm water, such as ponds, lakes, swamps, creeks, streams, or slow-flowing rivers. They live in areas of calm water where they are able to leave the water easily by climbing onto rocks or tree trunks so they can warm up in the sun. Individuals are often found sunbathing in a group or even on top of each other. They also require abundant aquatic plants, as these are the adults' main food, although they are omnivores. Turtles in the wild always remain close to water unless they are searching for a new habitat or when females leave the water to lay their eggs.