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Red-eared Sliders

Red-eared Sliders "Deep Water Turtles" 

General & Health Information 
General Care Sheet

Natural Range:  North America

Natural Diet:  Minnows, dark leafy greens by the waters edge, and algae

Captive Diet:  Feeder guppies, minnows, worms, crickets, dark leafy greens, berries, and turtle pellets.

Average Size:  Males: 7-9 inches  Females: 9-14 inches

Lighting: UV lighting is needed for this animal

Heating:  Basking Lamp or Cermaic Heat Emittor and Aquarium Water Heater are needed for this animal.

Temperature:  Ambient: 80F   Basking: 85F   Water: 78-85F

Humidity: 50%

Minimum Tank Size: 10 Gallons Per 1 inch of shell


Laws and Regulations

The U.S. laws prohibiting the sale of viable eggs and pet turtles with shells less than 4" in length are directly associated to the rise of salmonella infections. It was incorrectly believed those over 4" survived the disease or were less likely to carry it. These laws introduced in 1975 have been amended several times and have been effective in reducing infections and are still in effect. Despite recent claims and articles, salmonella can still be carried and transmitted by turtles. Although it is easy to avoid transmission, it is still a potential health hazard.

There are laws regarding the release of turtles - millions of hatchlings have been farmed, collected and exported to where some have established themselves in non-native habitats. As a result, they displace native terrapins and overpopulate or do not survive.

In some regions, local laws allow for the capture and captivity of wild turtles. This obviously puts them at greater risk for capture and sale for profit.

*** I do not encourage anyone to take wild turtles or tortoises from their natural habitat, unless it is strictly for the safety and well being of the animal. The animal should then be brought to an appropriate organization and/or be administered the correct veterinary care, then released if possible.***

Habitat loss and nesting activity increases the chances you might meet a wild RES. There are possible scenarios in which you may encounter a wild RES and wish to take action. Any action is optional. For instance, it is up to you if you want to help a nest survive since most wild nests do not. The RES is not an endangered or threatened species and you may decide to let nature decide what happens. I do recommend helping an injured turtle since there are options to offer care. Do be careful when handling wild animals. There is no reason to expect them to be hospitable and they may be even more dangerous if injured. Please think ahead and take every measure to be careful.

Local laws vary and it may be illegal for you to remove it from the wild. If you have captured a wild RES, you should release it immediately. Wild animals do not adapt well to captivity despite your intentions. Captive RES are readily available.

A captive RES will be more susceptible to predators, starvation and disease. They are not conditioned for a harsher environment and are dependent on people for their food and safety. A released captive must compete against a native turtle population, could disrupt an ecosystem and may possibly introduce new diseases. Released captives may dangerously stray from their area of abandonment. They will be vulnerable to predators out of water, to people and to vehicular traffic. They may not be prepared for harsh weather conditions or seasonal changes.

Releasing a previously captive turtle is not an acceptable or humane decision. If you can no longer keep your turtle, you should search for a nearby turtle keeper, rescue operation or re-homing organization. A local veterinarian may have resource information if you require it.

In all respects, it is not a good idea to remove a healthy animal from the wild or to release a captive animal into the wild. This site does not endorse the capture of wild RES or other turtles regardless of the laws in your area. (

Diet Chart

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