Sunday, 7 October 2012

Care of Red Eared Slider Turtles

Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans):

 Baby Red eared slider

  These are the mot common ones sold as "Singapore turtle" or "American turtle" in India (most common name). They have a distinctive red mark around their ears and are overall green in color.   The top shell(carapace) is flat and oval in shape and has a keel which is more pronounced in young ,it is dark green in color with dark color markings all over it. The bottom shell (plastron) is yellow in color with dark colored lines. Female grows to about 10-13 inches and male grows to 9-11 inches. tail of male is much longer and thicker than female along with longer claws than female.


 1.Space requirement:-
Mature red eared needs water up to 70-80 gallon or around 240-250 ltr of water, baby may need up to 30 ltrs. of water, so its a good idea to keep them in a large aquarium from start  as this will fulfill their space requirement for a long time giving you time to plan for its future home. around 4 feet length will do the work for about 4 years.

2-Temp range-
 They prefer warm water in range of 26-30 degree so make sure to add a thermostat in the setup to maintain it during winters; may not be needed in warmer parts of India and in during summers.

3- Basking-
 They like to bask, that is they like to come out of water and dry them completely under a heat source be it sun or artificial source of light, so make sure to provide a light source for them in their indoor tank which can be done by a 30-40 watt bulb fitted inside a lamp and fixed above the basking platform in the tank.
It is very important for them for their shell growth, so keep them outside for 2-3 hr daily if possible if not then they should be kept in sun once every 2-3 India sunlight is ample so we can take them outdoors in a tub and keep them in sun for 2-3 hrs comfortably. I personally use a different tub to bring them outdoors and then transfer them in a separate tank indoors.

Pair of Red Eared Sliders
 Red eared slider basking in the Sun 

 This is a Question of preference, if you want you can keep substrate in their tank but make sure that it is not too small ( it can be eaten by them causing their death) or too big and rough which can injure them, I personally don't prefer substrate because i feel that it is more convenient  to clean the tank without substrate.

 A good filtration is very much essential for a turtle tank since turtles are very messy eaters and produce a large amount of waste, so provide a good filtration system to their tank. In my opinion an external filtration system is best for them in which the canister is kept outside the tank, in this you can add filter media in many layer along with chemical filtration systems like charcoal, it has given very good results in my tank with very less dirt and algae.

7. basking platform-
Make sure to provide your turtle a basking platform inside a light source on which it can climb and bask, if possible provide a UV light near basking platform, although they are hard to get in India.

 8. Dietary habits-

  Red eared slider have a variety of diet, when they are baby they eat mostly non veg diet like live fish, earthworm(frozen or live), frozen or live tubifex worms, frozen or live shrimp, tadpoles, snails etc, as they grow older they eat vegetable food also like tomato,carrot, aquatic plant etc. they especially enjoy live food like feeder fish, earthworm etc.they can also be given commercially available turtle foods available at shops from companies like aquafin, taiyo , toto etc. i personally have found aquafin to be good, taiyo made water more dirty; check before buying that it is turtle food only not tortoise food as they both have different compositions and different tastes but they look similar so many shopkeepers confuse them with each other.   but also keep in mind that they should not be kept completely on them and should be fed variety of food.

9. Breeding of Red Eared Sliders:

It usually starts during March-July. The male swims toward female during  courtship and flutter his long claws over her head if female is receptive  then mating may start if she is not receptive then a fight may issue, mating lasts for 10-15 mins. after the female is pregnant she will spend more time basking to keep fer eggs warm.she may also have change of diet eating certain food while not eating other. egg laying occur around may to July  eggs hatch  60-90 day after being laid.

 By: Dr. Siddharth Mishra

 Disclaimer: The medicines/ treatment and methods of taking care of the turtle/tortoise described here are in no way perfect on their own and patented by the author, they are the result of collective experiences of the author and his readings and by his associations to other keepers and should not be used as an alternative to Professional Vetrinarian advice, Readers should use their discretion when using the medicines and/or care sheet described here, the authors can't be held responsible for any damage, loss, side effect or death of any animal / pet due to negligence of the keeper or the caretaker using any of the above methodologies and treatments.
The images displayed from other sources are the property of their owners and the author no way claims ownership over images from other sources, Original images are the work of author and should be treated as author's property when using for reference or any other miscellaneous use