Related FAQs: Turtles, Turtles
2, Sliders, Turtle Identification, Turtle Behavior, Turtle Compatibility, Turtle Selection, Turtle Systems, Turtle Systems 2, Turtle Feeding, Turtle Disease, Turtle Disease 2, Turtle Disease 3, Turtle Reproduction, & by Species:
Musk/Mud Turtles, Other
Sliders/Emydids (Pond, Painted...), Softshells, Snapping Turtles, Mata Matas, Tortoises, & FAQs on Red Ear Sliders:
Sliders, Sliders 2, Red Eared
Slider Identification, RES
Behavior, RES Compatibility,
RES Selection, RES Systems, RES
Feeding, RES Disease, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Reproduction, & Other Reptiles, Amphibians,
Related Articles: Red Eared Slider Care by Darrel
Barton, So your turtle has the Flu? Recognising and
treating respiratory infections in pet turtles by Neale
Turtles: ID/Physical Attributes
(i.e., Species ID, Aging, Sexing)
To: Part 2,
|by Sue Garrett
Red Eared Sliders
Yellow Bellied Sliders
Red Bellied Turtles
Side/Snake Neck Turtles
Mata Mata Turtles
Refer to individual species links for specific physical
Shell colors and patterns are typically more vivid in young
turtles; often fade/dull as turtles age
Size is not a reliable indicator of age as many factors (diet,
temperature, environment) can affect a turtles growth
Size, not age, determines when turtles reach different
stages of maturity, including sexual maturity
With few exceptions, females of almost all turtle species tend to
be larger in size than males (and therefore typically reach
sexual maturity later than males as both sexes grow at about the
As a rule, males tend to have longer claws, longer and thicker
tails than females, and their cloaca (opening in tail) is farther
away from the shell than females
Note: Some of the above points
are stated in context and elaborated on in the FAQs below.
Any key information relevant to this topic is highlighted in blue
within each FAQ to make them easier to find.
Carapace is dark olive
green to brown/black with thin yellow or lighter colored
Â· Plastron is yellow with a
dark mark on center of each scute
Â· Head, legs and tails are
olive green with fine yellow lines
Â· A reddish stripe on each
side of head (ear patch)
Â· Adults grow to be approx.
8-12 in shell length
Â· Females larger in size
but males have longer claws, longer and thicker tails and their
cloaca is farther from shell
Clarifying species name; determining sex
(Original heading: I need help!!!! RES care,
I have two baby mud slider turtles. in my backyard
<Those are called Red Eared Sliders, Jessica. Mud turtles are
We have a huge pond full of turtles.
we found a baby turtle in our pool swimming around about a week
<That happens to many of us from time to time. No matter how
well we fence, block and separate some of those little guys
manage to get out and all around the neighborhood. Our local pool
service people routinely find hatchlings in various pools>
We decided to get a tank & everything to put it in.( the sex
is still unknown) but today we found another baby turtle(both a
little bigger than a quarter)and we decided to put it in the tank
also. The first turtle was fine(swimming. eating, basking, etc.)
but the other one is just basking & wont eat and nit seems to
freak out when it goes swimming.
it also ignores the other turtle(why?).
<My guess would be stress, Jessica. That turtle was probably
outside a lot longer than the first one .. no proper heat, food,
etc. and it may take him longer to become accustomed to his new
I would really like to know the gender of both turtles but
surprisingly they don't show any aggression towards each
other, rather even looks @ each other. the first one(Mr. t) tries
to go up to the second one(Boo) but it either turns around or
moves away from mr. t(just assuming he's a boy).
<You won't be able to tell their sex until they're at
least 3 inches long. The male will start to grow more slowly and
develop longer front claws, like fingernails) while the females
will continue to grow faster and larger -- but that's at
least 3-4 years in the future>
I am attaching pics of my tank so you can see what it looks like
the one swimming is mr. t and the one on the floating dock is
<The pictures aren't really focused well enough to see
Please help me because I really love my turtles and I don't
want to have to let them go!!!!!!!
<Here's a link that will tell you everything you need to
know -- just remember, turtles don't need much .. but they
absolutely MUST HAVE what little they need>
thanks so much!!!!!
Approximate age at 2 inches long?
(Original heading: Re: Slider not
eating pellets 1/26/10)
<Hiya dear reader!>
Just an update on Edward. He just started eating his ReptoMin floating
sticks today! But it was in the tank instead of a bowl. I was doing the
bowl but he freaked out or just sat there. Since he's eating now,
I'll put him in the bowl again.
<The bowl is mainly to help keep the water clean. Let's not
freak Edward out right now. If he eats in his tank that's fine --
as long as he eats all you give him. One or two sticks at a time and
then you scoop out what he doesn't eat>
Just out of curiosity how old is he when he's about 2 inches? I
couldn't get a good measurement on him because he is sleeping at
<12 to 18 months maybe>
Oh yeah.. How long can I keep him out of water, let's say on the
floor when the dog isn't around? I can't take him outside in my
complex, there is no grass anywhere and there are cats running around.
The one time I did take him out, he peed on me and almost pooped on
<As long as you are RIGHT THERE to watch him. I'm not kidding as
long as you don't let him out of your immediate sight, he can be
outside as long as you'd like to be there with him>
Thank you so much for the help!
<happy to help!>
Sexing a red eared slider
(Original heading: Is my red eared
slider's behavior normal? 11/13/09)
Hi. I have a couple of questions about my turtles.
I have three red eared sliders. I am not exactly sure of how old they
are, but I can tell you that I got two of them in August of 2008 and
they were about 1.5-2 inches.
<Less than a year old at that point.>
Today the female is a little over 6 inches (I call her "Big
Mama") while the male is a little less than 5 inches.
<See how fast they grow!>
I wanted to know if their growth rate is normal knowing that I've
had them for just a little over a year and they were both the same size
when I got them.
<Is indeed normal. Much better to view it as this: people
*underestimate* how fast these animals grow when they buy them,
assuming they stay small and cute.>
The third turtle was given to me in September/October of 2008 and she
was smaller than my two turtles. I'd say she was no more than 1.5
inches. Today she's about 5.5-6 inches.
<Again, good growth rate.>
I currently have a Fluval 405 Canister Filter and have a 20 gallon tank
(Yes I know, it's very small! I am going to be getting them a 100
gallon reptile tank very very soon.)
<Small tank, yes, but I'm impressed with your choice of a
I also have a dock, a basking lamp, and a water heater.
<All sounds wonderful. Does the lamp provide UV-B? That's a very
useful, arguably essential, addition to any turtle habitat. Indeed,
it's probably more useful than the water heater. There's a case
to made for letting the turtles warm up on land and cool down in the
water. That's what they'd do in the wild.>
I've been feeding them Zoo Med aquatic turtle food ever since I got
<I'd add some plant material to this. In fact, you can feed
turtles very cheaply using all sorts of green foods you'd have left
over from your own cooking. Green and red lettuce, endive, peas, melon
among other things all work well.>
I have fed them live fish a couple of times, but, after reading some of
your answers regarding that, I'm probably not going to anymore.
<Good. It's cruel, it's unnecessary, and it's
Anyways, about a month and a half ago, one of my turtles (the one that
was given to me in October of 2008) started making (or at least
that's when I started noticing) this wheezing/squeaking/chirping
sound (especially at night). You can hear the wheezing for a couple of
seconds and then it stops for a bit before starting again. I researched
it and learned that there was a possibility of it being a respiratory
<Yes: this is certainly a possibility. Turtles can sneeze for no
particular reason, and if they're fat, they certainly do wheeze
when moving about. But if this is happening a lot, then yes, an RI is
definitely a possibility.>
Only problem is that, she doesn't have any other respiratory
infection symptoms. She eats, is active, swims normally, doesn't
have mucous, doesn't blow bubbles, doesn't keep her mouth
<All good things... but the safe approach would be to assume the
worst, and have a vet take a quick look. Much better a vet catches an
RI early on and cures it cheaply and easily. Best case, there's
nothing wrong, and the vet doesn't have to do anything.>
I was wondering if there could be any other reasons for her making
these noises with her nostrils, or is this still probably a Respiratory
<Occasionally turtles sneeze. Males may wheeze a bit when mating or
fighting. Fat turtles apparently do wheeze when moving about. But
otherwise no, like most reptiles, turtles are essentially
My third question is that this same turtle that has the wheezing
problem tends to act like a male. I'm pretty sure she's a
female due to her short claws, short tail, and big size (or am I
<Size is neither here nor there. But males do usually have much
longer claws, though of course these can be abraded by rough rocks or
might not even grow properly if the diet is limited somehow. The tail
is the 100% reliable thing though. If the cloaca is nearer the shell
than the tip of the tail, it's a female; if the cloaca is closer to
the tip of the tail than the shell, it's a male.>
What she tends to do is compete with my male slider by wiggling her
claws in front of my biggest female slider ("Big Mama").
<That's a very male behaviour.>
I know male sliders do this to show off and mate, but why would a
female slider do that to another female slider?
<Likely just a hierarchical thing. These aren't social animals
in the wild, so to a degree, keeping them in groups is bound to throw
up some odd behaviours now and again.>
Thank you soo much for taking the time to read and answer my
<Happy to do so. Good luck, Neale.>
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I found a Red Eared Slider the day it hatched, still
had the tooth. It was on its back in a hole and not moving. I thought
it was dead. We were having a birthday party for kids and did not want
the boys to terrorize the girls with a dead turtle. I picked it up and
kept it hid in my hands until I could throw it in the bushes. After a
few minutes it started moving. I am now the proud Mama of a Red Eared
She is 6 months old. She is now at 2-1/2 inches. Of course she is the
most beautiful Slider in the whole world.
My question is at what point is a hatchling not considered a
<They're really easy about that. Around 6 to 10 months we call
them babies, then juveniles until adulthood>
Everything I have read says to keep her water 80f or higher for a
hatchling. Then when I visit your site I get confused.
<We're hoping to avoid confusion, please tell us how to
She does not bask as much as she should.
<Of course not. If the water is already 80 degrees, why haul out to
warm up? The water should be room temperature. Unless you live in an
Igloo, Sliders do fine in any temp you'll do fine in. The idea is
to offer her a choice - cool water or warm rock?>
I do take her out of the water everyday for a good bit. I have made her
a little pull down blind for the side of the aquarium for basking
privacy. I turned her heater down and it is now 77 in the water. She is
not a happy camper though.
<Finding the right relationship between warm and cool is an
adventure -- keep trying. Meanwhile, make sure that she has UV light as
well. I'll include a link below that covers the basics flawlessly.
Check all your care against the suggestions in the article and correct
Does size or age determine sexual
(Original heading: Red Ear Slider
My name is Char.
I have 2 red ear sliders that I got last December when they were about
the size of a quarter and was told they were about 2 months old. So, I
believe them now to be 8 months in age and one is 4'' long and
3.5'' wide and the other is 3.5'' long and
3.25'' wide. I noticed last night that the smaller of the 2 was
"fanning" himself and now today the other has also done
My question being: in males does size or age play a role in their
<Appears to be both, with males needing to be a certain size and a
certain age. But, as with most animals, males are probably more
"flexible" in this regard than females. In any case, males
will be at least 2 years old before they are sexually mature, at which
point they should be a good 10 cm or so in shell length.>
I know that females need to be at least 6'', but I can't
seem to be able to find anything pertaining to males. I've started
to wonder if the smaller of the 2 is looking for a female companion as
he also tried to mount
himself onto the larger male.
<As with male animals generally, sexual behaviour tends to appear
from quite an early age, even if the male animal in question
wouldn't be big enough to attract (or fight for) a sexually mature
behaviours will certainly be exhibited, as will aggression, long before
the male animal will be able to secure access to a mate, or, where
relevant, protect the nesting site or offspring. What your Red-ear
Slider is doing
falls comfortably into the range of normal behaviours exhibited by the
species. Nothing to worry about. Keeping two males won't cause any
problems if the habitat is big enough, though as you'd expect,
sexually mature males are aggression and will fight if overcrowded.
Most people find keeping singletons best. They certainly don't need
Male vs. female characteristics
(Original heading: Red Ear Slider
unable to grab food 6/1/2009)
I have a red ear slider who is about 6 years old.
I am not sure on sex.
Based on size I would say female but we may have seen it's male
<The urogenital systems of turtles are largely internal, and the
penis won't be visible unless the turtle is actually mating.
Instead, look firstly at the claws: if they're long, it's
probably a male. Secondly, look
at the length of the tail. Males have longer tails, with the cloaca
(the combined anal/urogenital opening) nearer the tip than the base of
the tail, whereas on females the cloaca is nearer the base of the tail
The issue is he wants to eat but has trouble grabbing the food. He is a
bit lethargic and is no longer aggressive during eating time.
<If a turtle is clumsy when trying to feed, as yours is, that's
a fairly reliable sign of poor health. Review environmental conditions.
Check that the water is adequately heated, that the turtle has access
to UV-B light, and that the water is changed at least once a week.
There's a good summary here:
Also check that the turtle isn't wheezing and that it's eyes
are clear and bright, not groggy-looking or swollen
These are both very common problems caused by improper diet, lack of
warmth, etc. Since turtles should live 15+ years, that you lost one
that was only 6 years old is a bit worrying. Some problems, such as the
lack of UV-B light or the lack of vitamins can take months, even years,
to cause death.>
We had another res which passed a few months ago I believe the temp got
to low we since have added a heater to the tank.
<Would be careful here; turtles can, will destroy glass heaters. Put
a plastic mesh called a "heater guard" around the heater.
Some heaters come with these anyway (or at least, they do here in the
UK) but aquarium shops sell them for use with cichlids, catfish,
It appears he sees the food but just can't quite grasp the food I
have tried meal worms, brine shrimp, romaine lettuce, pellets nothing
<Check his eyes!>
We were able to hold the food with a fork until he grabbed on but that
does not seem to work lately. I am afraid he will die if he does not
<Hope this helps.>
Confusion regarding sex of turtle
(Original heading: I followed all
your steps but still need turtle help. 4/29/09)
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hiya! Darrel here today>
I have followed the steps you suggested before resorting to sending
this e-mail, but after much reading and searching have not really found
an answer to my situation on your website or others.
<On behalf of all of us, we really appreciate your searching first
and asking second! Thanks for trying!>
Background information: 11 months ago my fiancÃ© and I got 2 baby red
eared sliders. They are currently residing in a 10 gallon tank (we are
in the process of up grading to a larger one now) with heat lamp/UV
etc., water heater, proper food and filtration etc. When we first got
them their shell size was about 1.5 inches, and the slightly larger one
was not always very nice to the slightly smaller one but they
eventually got along well as they now do. The large one is a little
over 4.5 inches and the smaller one is about 4 inches. About three
weeks ago we noticed them doing the fanning with their claws- the
little one to the big one- which we now know is their courtship.
<Again, thanks for researching!>
Then we noticed the little one attempting to mount the big one- again
we now know they are trying to mate. I know that the males are usually
smaller than the females and grow more slowly- which is consistent with
our turtles up until now.
<Males don't exactly grow more slowly. As turtles mature, their
rate of growth slows and since males mature sooner than females it can
just SEEM that they grow slower. That isn't YOUR case,
<Let's read on>
The problem: The cloaca on the bigger one is not very close to its
shell at all making me think that she may be a he, the big one is also
now approaching the small one and fans him with her claws, they both
have the same size claws; so I am really confused about their sex.
<The important thing here is that THEY aren't confused about
While the smaller one is behind the big one and they are doing their
mating stuff the big one who is on the bottom is pushing its
"stuff" out under its own belly and stroking it. Everything I
have read says that the males will push their penis out and do
The questions: If the big one is a female than why is she pushing her
<She's not female - that's why>
It is possible for females to push their stuff out?
<Not and ever get it back, no. Besides, once a female turtle puts
her stuff out, she gets a bad reputation>
It does not seem to hurt or cause any stress at all. Does this mean
that the big one- who pushes its stuff out- is a male?
If the big one is a male than why is the small one trying to be the
male? Does that mean they are both male?
If so why is the big one pushing its stuff out but going to the bottom
position and letting the little one get up behind it before putting its
stuff out? Is it bad for him to push his stuff out without mating?
<It's just what they do, Nicole. Don't worry about it. Many
animals will exhibit this behavior in a single sex environment and,
while it's goofy, it's nothing to concern yourself
Is there anything I can do to stop it? Anything I can do to discourage
mating if they are a boy and girl? I dont want babies or stressed/sick
turtles, please help.
<The fact that they're both males pretty much takes care of the
eggs/babies aspect and as far as sick and diseased, that's not
really an issue, so again ... don't stress YOURSELF over it>
Thank you so much for reading all that, I am sorry it is so long but I
dont know what information is important for you.
<It wasn't long at all Nicole -- you have NO IDEA how much some
people can write and yet still manage to not give us enough information
for help. You did well -- and once AGAIN ... thank you for doing the
research before writing. It makes our job easier!>
Thank you again.
Differentiating male vs. female
(Original heading: Red Ear Slider
-bottom heavy 9/21/08)
We have 3 turtles. The one in ? is seven months
old, 5"x3.5 (approx). The king/queen of the tank. This evening at
feeding (pellets) the turtle was lagging. As though bottom heavy, have
difficulty getting up on the larger out of water level rocks. We have
had pea size gravel in tank - now removed. The turtle is still
interested in food. Back legs seem to work labored, signs of difficulty
holding stance to put face above water. The smaller turtles seem to be
helping - boost up - (if you will) their mate. What can be causing
this??? The shell looks fine, and all looks good as far as I can see -
But TurTy is still running bottom heavy??? What can I do??? Will this
pass if he ate stones???
Thanks for your time and attention.
<Greetings. Swallowing stones is not normally a problem. But if she
has done this, and can't pass them, then you will need to see a
vet. A simple x-ray will confirm the problem. However, I do wonder if
this particular terrapin is a female, which is easily checked. Males
have much longer FRONT claws than the females. If the claws are smaller
than the flipper, it's a girl; if the claws are longer than the
flipper, it's a boy. Furthermore, females have smaller tails than
males, and the cloaca (the combined anal-genital opening) is much
closer to the shell than the tip of the tail. There are some nice
Now, the reason I'm concentrating on sex is because females are
prone to becoming egg-bound if they have the wrong diet and/or no place
to lay their eggs. That would account of her heaviness and clumsiness.
This is a fatal condition, and MUST be fixed quickly. If you suspect
this to be the case, your terrapin is in much pain and distress, and
needs help. Egg-bound females begin by frantically trying to get out of
the tank: they're looking for somewhere sandy to put the eggs. A
shallow dish of sand will do the trick, but if you miss the window of
opportunity, the eggs can get stuck, and a vet will need to fix the
problem, either surgically or by administering a hormone. Either way,
YOU CAN'T FIX THIS YOURSELF.
It's a very common problem with terrapins kept indoors, and likely
accounts for much (gruesome) mortality. In any case, a trip to the vet
is in order, sooner rather than later. Cheers,
Question about sexing
(Original heading: Red ear slider
turtles, gen. and esp. fdg.
I have 2 red ear sliders--they are both about 4 inches, in length (this
is shell length, and shells are thick). We got them in April of 2007,
and they were quarter size, at that time. They are best friends, we
have no problems.
<No jobs, school, property taxes OR alligators trying to eat them (I
have all the above) -- they have easy lives!>
My question is I think I have one female, and one male? One has longer
tail, the other has shorter, stubbier tail. Claws look to be about the
same size. They won't cooperate long enough for me to check under
tails. They have started to do the "mating dance" (I think).
They get nose to nose and one will start fanning the face. Just for a
few minutes, and then they continue on their way. They are only in a 10
gallon aquarium with the lighting, the basking rocks, and gravel, etc.
We live in Buffalo, and on nice warm days, I fill up the baby pool
outside with driftwood, and let them hang there for a few hours. With
supervision, due to cats and kids in the neighborhood.
<I was born in Niagara Falls. Nice summers!>
Since they are only about 1 1/2 yrs old, isn't it too soon for them
<It's not the age, it's the size. Although 1 1/2 years is
early, 4 inches is barely about the size that males start to mature, so
while it's not likely, it's POSSIBLE ... and the fanning
behavior is typical male slider courting behavior ... so if you're
not there yet, you're getting close>
How old are red ear sliders before they breed, and do I have a male and
female, since too, they are about the same size? We bought them
together in Myrtle Beach. Maybe female isn't mature in size
<That is correct. The male matures at a smaller size while the
female keeps growing and gets bigger before she's mature. The male
will get the nice, long nails (a girl I know sites that as one more
reason that life just isn't fair). Once the male starts courting
behavior this just "bugs" the female for a few more years
because she's not interested yet,>
They are extremely happy all the time, love to eat, people and kid
friendly, love to greet people as soon as anyone walks into the
<Really? That Warner Brother's Dancing Michigan J Frog comes to
They'll come a running to side of the tank, when they spot anyone.
Oh, one thing I noticed (from having turtles when we were kids), is
they LOVE raw hamburger, and RAW turkey burger. We feed them that off
our fingers, (so they are not being overfed, and leaving raw burger in
they're tank), but every so often they grab the finger and
<You deserve to hurt for that. No. NO.... NOOOOOOOOOOOO! No
Hamburger!! No Turkey!! No Hotdogs, chicken, pot pies, pork chops,
steak, Cheese Doodles or ANY other people food. PERIOD!! And no wine or
cocktails either (they have no self control!)>
<Diet --- bad diet and overfeeding are the #1 health problems in
turtles and most pets -- and what you're feeding them isn't
good for them, OK? Koi Pellets, Repto-min food sticks (exactly the same
as the koi pellets only more expensive) and a rare and occasional
They pinch and pinch hard.
<Another reason not to do that. It won't be long before that
pinch becomes a skin break and then it's tetanus shots and
antibacterial ... for them -- humans can be infectious to
Need too know, though, if I should start a nesting area, or anything.
All we are seeing at this time is we think the "mating
dance". Could you let me know?
<She needs to be around 5 inches minimum straight carapace length
before she's even remotely ready ... so.... not yet.>
<BUT FIX THE DIET IMMEDIATELY PLEASE!!!!>
Characteristics of male turtles
(Original heading: RES turtle question...
beh./repro. mostly, plus keen insight into the human
Hi - I hope you can answer my questions, as I
don't know how to do it on your website.
<Quite simple. Start on the Freshwater page, go to Livestock, and
then browse the Turtle articles and FAQs. Failing that, there's a
Google search box.
I have two sliders, about 11 years old, probably from the same
"litter" (is that the correct word?) and very, very friendly.
They are great pets, very responsive, eat out of our hands and we love
watching them. They live in a 10 gal. turtle tank,
<Whoa... 10 gallons? That's WAY too small for them. At 11 years
old, these things should be the size of dinner plates. Do see here:
have a nice big floating rock on one end, and love to stand up on their
hind legs on the rock and hang on the sticks that support the rock with
their front legs. They both learned this trick on their own.
<Hmm... suspect they learned this more from necessity than any sense
of fun. This habitat is just too small for them.>
They get along really well, and the only time there's competition
is when they eat. One is bigger and dominant, but they never fight.
Last year they started this fluttering thing, and reading your website
I see it's courtship behavior. It seems to be mutual, no one turtle
chasing the other, and both seem to have the same length of nails. My
husband wonders if they are gay -- well, OK, maybe, but maybe they are
of different genders and I can't tell.
<Trachemys scripta elegans is easy to sex. Males have much longer
claws on their front flippers than females. Males also have longer,
thicker tails with the cloaca (the combined anal/genital opening) near
the tip rather than close to the shell.>
So, if they aren't the same sex, what should I do? There is no sand
in the tank (it's a water tank, so sand never occurred to me).
Should I try sand, and what kind of sand?
<Do see here:
I see no evidence of sex organs or even mating behavior. The fluttering
is lovely to watch -- so gentle and sweet. We feel it's
communication on a level we can't quite understand, and are not
meant to understand. Sometimes they do it twice or three times a day,
and sometimes not at all. Today and yesterday I saw it again.
<Glad it's providing entertainment! Yes, it is quite a strange
thing to see...>
However, if I should be doing something for them, can you let me
<If nothing else, a bigger habitat.>
Their names are Yin and Yang and I have them since they were very very
It's interesting how you can get to really like turtles -- never
thought it would be possible, but they really have fun
<It is certainly possible to become fond of any pet animal, even one
with such limited intelligence as a terrapin. I always thought they
have very pretty faces, especially eyes.>
Thanks for any advice you can give --
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Female turtle is really a male
(Original heading: What is she doing? RES
<Hiya Mom -- Darrel here>
My son and I have a female Red Eared Slider and she has been doing some
<I have a son and HE is doing some odd things -- but he's 15 so
I just ignore it>
First she will often (if you put your finger pad against the glass) put
her head down and tuck it in a bit then she will frame her face with
her claws and vibrate them.
<Interesting, that sounds like a male courting behavior. You
haven't said how big the turtle is (turtles reach sexual maturity
with SIZE, not age) or how we know it's a female. Is the shell
about 3 inches long or more? Are the front claws elongated? (See Figure
1 in the link below) If so, you have a male not a female>
The second odd thing she has done is (when I had her outside yesterday
in the sun) that as I held her she peed 2 times and then looked like
she was about to poop but then something black with a yellow center
came out of her poop hole instead, she pushed it out and pulled it back
in 2 times.
<The evidence is piling up .....>
When I took her back inside she did not do it again. I am concerned- is
this normal or was that her bowels?
<That was his .. um .... reproductive organ and as long as he can
pull it back in, then it's normal -- although I'd caution your
son that it's ok normal for a TURTLE to do that, not for a human
(boy was THAT ever an expensive lesson!!!!!>
or was that her womb that she was thinking needed to be out to be
<Not really, everything is fine>
What do these two behaviors mean?
<They mean that your little turtle has grown up. There's nothing
you have to do about it, either. Sliders are colonial animals, which is
to say that in the wild they tend to congregate, but they don't
seem to suffer at all being housed singularly.>
<Hope that helps!>
Normal changes in shell color as turtle
(Original heading: Young Slider with
shell color changes 2/13/08)
Thanks for being here and having such a great site.
<Thank you, too. We like being here!>
I couldn't quite find what I was looking for with the search engine
because I'm not too familiar with the terminology and the structure
of turtle's shells. I have a very young Red Eared Slider turtle
(slightly bigger than a 50 cent piece). I've been taking care of it
since November and things have been going pretty good. I have a 20
gallon tank, a hang-on filter (I know they're not very good, but I
can't afford a canister right now)
<Actually, hold up there. It's just fine for a tank that size,
it's easier to clean than a canister and for that reason you'll
do it more often -- if it's working for you, don't change
A UVB/UVA bulb directly overhead, an ample basking area, and I feed the
turtle a diet of ReptoMin pellets and occasionally a krill as a treat
(maybe three times a week). I also completely clean out the tank every
Friday unless I'm especially busy.
<Sounds good so far. Better than good. Great actually.>
Lately I've been noticing the colors of his shell changing. The
area between the sections (I suppose they're called scutes?)
<They are called scutes and the area between the scutes are called
margins ... but mainly called ..... The Area Between Scutes>
of the carapace has been becoming darker and darker, until now it's
almost black. Although the turtle is still acting normally and very
energetic (constantly tries to bite me during feeding), this has me
very worried. What are the possible causes of this and what should I
<That's normal as the grow, SB. As he/she ages they bright green
is replaced by a duller green and then a darker color that helps them
blend in to their surroundings and the margins become dark & then
black. SO ...... IN OTHER WORDS ... the cause for this is that your
Slider is growing and thriving because you're being such a good
Thanks in advance for your help.
<Once again, you do the work ..... and I take the thanks. I LOVE
THIS JOB!!!!!!!! -- Darrel>
Slider or not slider?
I'm full of questions.
<We've got answers! In fact, on the subject of information one
of my colleagues recently told me that I'm full of it!>
I've been searching and can't find my answer. I bought two
turtles in Florida on vacation this past summer. I was told they were
Red Eared Sliders but I'm not so sure. They do not have any red on
them at all. I thought maybe that came as they grew (they were about
the diameter of a golf ball). They are mostly shades of dark green and
<Red Eared Sliders come out of the shell with a small red patch on
each side of their heads, approximately where their ears would be.
Red Eared Sliders have green and yellow stripes while a close relative
called a Cooter has black and yellow. Map turtles can sometimes be
green and yellow and they lack the red patches. I'm going to list a
few names for you to Google under "images" and see what rings
They have ornate patterns on their skin and shells with a raised hump
down the center. The underside of the shell is lined with green spots
around the edges, outlined in yellow. Bellies are yellow with a few
dark green spots.
<Have a cell phone with a camera? Take some candid shots and send
'em to us!>
Is there anyway to tell the sex?
<Not as juveniles, no. All their visual sexual characteristics
become apparent when they start to mature, which is by size and not
I've read that the thin film that they appear to be shedding is how
they grow, but I also read it means fungus.
<Lets go with fungus. They don't she a "film" as they
grow, but thin layers of the shell do shed as hard plates.>
Is there any way to be sure?
<In this case, we'll treat for it and if it goes away then we
were right and if it doesn't we're no worse for wear. Search
this site for the keywords "Darrel" and "fungus"
and you'll get some simple home treatments that will be very
effective for a low grade/initial fungal problem.>
<For general purpose reading on regular care, start here:
They are growing a lot, very active, have a very clean tank with plenty
of water and basking area and love to eat.
<All sounds well, Rachel. Having said that, please read the
referenced link (above) regarding general care and check, double check
and re-check your care against the advice given. We can beat a simple
case of fungus without problem, but the trick of keeping any fish or
reptile healthy is a single word: PREVENTION!>
They don't seem "sick."
<You sound like you're doing a great job and that you're
Sorry for so many questions.
<I hope you enjoyed the answers as much as I did enjoy the
Thank you for any help you can provide!
<Worth every penny you paid for it -- the Google Bar at the bottom
of our (WetWebMedia) home page is your friend!>
<Regards -- Darrel>
Average growth rate and determining sex
(Original heading: Red Eared Slider
<Hiya Christopher -- Darrel here with you tonight>
I wanted to know how to take care of an Red Eared Slider in the winter.
For example, how much should I feed him, how often should I change the
water and should I still give it sunlight or UVB lighting.
<These are very good questions, but the answers are a bit muddy
& not very concrete.>
<Let's keep it simple. Sliders will respond to the TEMPERATURE
CHANGES of winter much more strongly than the subtleties of altered
photoperiods (shorter days) and all that science-type stuff. So as long
as the Temperature holds, it's not really "winter" as far
as the turtle is concerned. If your turtle is inside the house in an
aquarium and there is a normal basking light (there should not be a
water heater) then for your turtle, it's just another day in the
swamp ... No winter to speak of. If it's outside, in a pond ....
it's way too small to BE in a pond ... so set up a tank indoors
like I described above and -- presto -- no winter. Now ... if it gets a
LITTLE bit chilly where you have her, then cut back the feeding just to
be sure. It never hurts for them to be just a little bit
My turtle is 2 inches and is a female.
<A bit of a disagreement here, Chris. If it's only two inches
and assuming you haven't probed it, she's too small to
determine the sex yet. Notice I didn't say too "young"
because for turtles, like most reptiles, sexual maturity (and with that
the visual differences between the boys & girls) comes with SIZE,
Also, do you know the average growth rate of an RES. Just the
<That is SO totally dependant of heat, food and environment that
anything I say could be wrong (and at the same time right for someone
else) -- 3/4 to an inch each year for the first year to year & a
half and then slower after that .... but if it's warm enough and
she's fed enough, it could almost be double that>
Last, do turtles in fact hibernate or not?
<Sliders do, depending on where they are. In some Northern states
wild sliders have been known to over-winter at the bottom of a pond
that's frozen solid at the top. Now ... to anyone reading this who
has sliders that can be subject to winter conditions ... PLEASE keep in
mind that while they do hibernate and CAN survive a cold winter ....
MANY wild turtles do not survive. Some perish outright and many are so
damaged that they barely survive the next year. Mother Nature sees that
1,000 hatch so that ONE can live to lay another set of eggs. The odds
do NOT favor a turtle wild ... so please don't try it -- as
responsible pet keepers it's our job to improve Nature's odds,
not duplicate them.>
Thanks for all your help.
Turtle Age 4/23/07
Hey there. A coworker found a RES at work. I think it is a
male turtle. We are curious as to how old he is. His shell
measures about 4" in length. Also, his back legs seem to be
shedding or peeling. Is this normal, or could he have some type
of skin condition? Thanks for a response. Pam
< RES's are normally found wild in many parts of the country.
Assuming that the turtle you found is wild and is a male it could be
from three to five years old. Turtles in the north grow slower than
turtles in the south because the have a shorter warm season to eat and
How fast do RES grow; How big do they
(Original heading: Turtle
Hello, My name is Cindy and I have two pet turtles,
Todd and Chelsy, but I don't know if there a boy or girl and on
most websites they say that turtles at that age are too
young. So my question is, do they grow fast?
< Most young turtles seem to grow quickly when they are young. As
they get older their diet changes from a meaty high protein diet to
more of a vegetarian diet with less protein. At first they should grow
and inch or two a year up until they get around four inches, then it
may be around a inch or less. >
How big do they grow to? 7 inches?
< You did not mention the species of the turtles, so I am forced to
guess that you have red eared sliders, the most common turtle in the
trade. Males are smaller than females and can probably get up to 7
inches over many years. Females sometimes get up to 12 inches.>
I'm curios, and I love them, please tell me the best way to make it
love me like I love them. thank you!!!!!!!!
< Turtles really don't form an affection for people like a puppy
dog. What they will do instead is identify with the person that feeds
them. Every time you walk by they will follow you around begging for
food. Your biggest challenge will be not to over feed them. If they eat
too much they can die. Turtle's stomachs can't can't expand
because of the shell restricting them. The food will displace and
squeeze their internal organs and cause
Turtle Growth Rates 8/8/06
read various articles on the internet about red ear sliders (RES) and I
know that they grow quickly, but I haven't been able to find out
quickly. I understand that it depends somewhat on their
care. I am looking into getting a RES for the first time and
I would like to know how quickly I
should expect them to grow. I am looking at getting a 40 or
60 gal. aquarium to start, but I would like some idea about how long
will be big enough. I am looking to start with a turtle that
is about 4 inches. Thanks, Troy
< Turtle growth rates as you know depend on a few factors. Males
stay smaller than females. A very large old female may get up to 12
inches over many years. Males may get up to 8 inches but that would be
pretty rare. When turtles are small they eat a lot of meat. This
protein promotes an very quick growth rate. Older turtles like yours
actually change their diet to a more vegetarian one. Vegetables have
less protein than meat so they don't grow as fast. Turtles kept
outside in the southern portion of the U.S. are growing year round
while others kept outside in the north hibernates in the winter and
don't grow at all during that time. A 40 to 60 gallon
tank would probably keep your turtle going until it got to
be about 8 inches. Under normal conditions this would probably take
another 5 to 10 years if it is a female.-Chuck>
20 gallon tank please answer Red Eared Slider
Ok, I have sent about 4 e-mails and
they have not been answered yet. I am very upset one was sent over 2
months ago. All I want to know is how large will a red ear slider grow
in a twenty gallon tank and how long will it take? I am very
disappointed that none of my e-mails have been answered.
<Don't know why your questions have not been answered. I usually
answer all my questions in 24 hours unless I am out of town. Anyway,
the size of the tank has nothing to do with the size or growth rate of
your turtle. It is based on temperature and diet. When turtles are
little they seem to grow fairly quickly and then slow down after they
reach 4 inches or so. In a twenty gallon aquarium I would look to get a
bigger tank when the turtle reaches 4 inches or so. An adult can be
kept in an aquarium that is at least 4 feet long.-Chuck>
<<A note to readers: we do sometimes not receive emails
that are sent to us. If you fear that has happened, please do
re-send. Also, emails with no subject line may be deleted
accidentally. Furthermore, we are an all-volunteer crew, and we
DO strive to answer all queries within a 24 hour time period, but it
does occasionally take longer. -SCF>>
Turtle Age And Spawning Green
Hi crew. Thanks for the earlier
help. I have recently purchased a red year slider turtle.1)!
wanted to know how can I calculate its age. Its about
< It is probably a hatchling that was hatched about a year ago last
2)My green terrors are not spawning. What can I do to
stimulate them to spawn.
any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanking
< Feed them heavily with good food like live washed earthworms. The
n do big 50% water changes while vacuuming the gravel. Raise the water
temp to 82 F.-Chuck>
How to tell their age and
(Original heading: Red Eared Slider
I just got my Red Ear Slider on the 30th of Oct. I
don't know how to tell their age or sex and I would really like to
< Females get larger than the males. Males have longer front claws
and a longer tail. They grow pretty fast until they get around 6
to 8 inches and then slow down a bit.>
I named him Tom, but I don't know if that is right. He is currently
living in a five gallon tank w/ a UV ray light and a basking light. He
has a turtle dock to get out of the water and bask, he has a bubble
maker and other decorations. I feed him Zoo Meds Hatchling aquatic
turtle food. I also put in Reptisafe in the water to get rid of the bad
stuff. The water is about 3/4 of an inch above his shell.
I have a picture of a turtle sitting up facing his tank. He loves to
sit on the rock and look at the turtle.. too cute! I am thinking about
getting another RES, how many and what sex should I get?
< I would recommend not adding another turtle.>
Is there anything else that I can feed him to make him feel better?
< He will appreciate live foods such as washed earthworms, mealworms
I think he may be constipated. What color is normal for turtle feces
< The color is a reflection of the items he has been eating.>
I have not seen any in the tank so I'm thinking he may be
constipated. How do you know and if he is what do I do?
< A small turtle fecal material may be small and caught up in a
He is shedding and I want to know if it's ok to be shedding this
young, he is still a hatchling. Thank you, M. L.
< A young turtle should be shedding. It is a sign that he is
Appropriate size to determine sex
(Original heading: Red Eared Sliders Not
I have two baby RES. One female and one male.
< You cannot tell the sex on baby red eared sliders until they are
around 4 inches in length. At this size I wouldn't really call them
The female seems to be more aggressive then the male. But that's
not the problem. The problem
is that the turtles have not yet eaten yet. I've had them for 3
now and they haven't eaten. I've tried baby floating pellets
of raw ham. Is this normal for them? And the male seems to spend
of his time under water. He goes up when he's under the light
Is that also normal?
< If you are truly referring to baby red eared sliders then the are
pretty small at around one inch. Look at the belly and see if they
still have an egg spot on the bottom of the shell. If they are really
this small then they just got done absorbing their egg sac and really
shouldn't have been sold yet. We have gotten letters from people
impulse buying baby turtles at swap meets and then trying to figure out
how to take care of them after they get them home. Keep the water clean
and give them a basking spot out of the water where they can heat up
under a plant light or some natural direct light. Try feeding them
small washed earthworms. That will usually get them
Red Eared Slider? 2/24/04
I have a turtle and I don't know what kind it is.
<1st of all, I must insist you write in sentences & use capital
letters when necessary. All the questions sent to us are
posted on our website & I have to take a lot of time to correct
this, before I can send it on to the site. This takes time
away from answering other questions.>
I need to find out because I have a project that I have to do.
<What kind of project?>
It is about the size of a half dollar and it has kind of diamond shapes
in the middle of its shell. It has like brownish red by its ears. It is
green and yellow do you know what kind it is?
<It sounds like a red-eared slider. Is this your turtle?
I could really use some help!
<I'm surprised you were able to purchase this turtle at that
size. It is illegal to purchase aquatic turtles under
5", due to their carrying salmonella bacteria. Good
luck with your project. I hope it is not harmful to the
turtle in any way. These turtles need clean filtered
water. They need a lot of swimming room, & a piece of
land to bask on, with a heat lamp above. Small strips of
fish, krill, shrimp, crickets & worms are what they like to
eat. They also need a source of minerals for their shell, by
vitamins & a sulfa rock in the
Sexing Red Eared Sliders
Hi. I have two
red eared slider turtles and I was wondering what age I
can tell what sex they are?- Sean age 9 me , not the turtles
< Red eared sliders sex can usually be determined when they are
around four inches long. At that time the males should be developing
longer front claws and have a longer tail. Females of the same age
should be larger than the males. -Chuck>
Variations in shades of red coloring
(Original heading: Turtle Not
This is the first time for me to have red ear
slider. One slider has yellow orangish markings instead of red the
other does have the red markings is this something to be concerned
about and will it become a health issue?
< Some variation in color is to be expected between turtles. This is
I don't believe they are eating as much as they should. I have had
them for 3 days and the turtle (dot that's her name but now I learn
that she may not
even be a girl the store sadly misinformed me on how to tell the sex)
with the yellow markings is the only one eating. Other than this I am
happy to say
that they appear happy which makes me happy. If you could just ease my
concerns that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
<Check the basking spot with a thermometer. It should be about 85+
F. Turtles need heat to properly digest their food and a spot that is
too cool with cause digestive problems later on. Once they are properly
warmed up the appetite should come around.-Chuck>
Determining A Turtles Age
I was wondering how to
tell how old my Red Ear Slider is they are pretty small only like 2
inches but I still don't know how old they are please help be very
explanative I am kinda slow! Thank you .ML.
< Turtle are "Cold Blooded". That means the warmer it is
the faster they grow and the more they eat. Under normal captive
conditions a little turtle can get up to 2 to 3 inches in a year.
Wild turtles would hibernate and may only get to be 2 inches because
they did not grow while hibernating.-Chuck>>
How Old Is My Turtle?
> I still don't understand how to tell how old they are please
< I would guess almost two years old.-Chuck>
Markings behind eyes
Baby Turtle Questions
<Hi, MikeD here>
We bought two little turtles at a flea market about a week
ago. Their shells are about 1" - 1Â½" in
diameter.<It's that time of year> The guy who sold
them to us had them in a tiny little plastic aquarium with barely any
water. Anyway, when we got home I searched the internet to
find out how to take care of them, and found out it's illegal to
sell them that small.<Yes and no. As pets yes, with many using the
loophole "for educational purposes only> We think
they are red eared sliders, because of the spot behind their eyes.
It's not really red though, more like peach. Does the
shade indicate their health, or does it get more red as they get
older?<The amount of red varies, actually being pink or yellow in
some cases, with there being several closely related
sliders> We got them a glass aquarium, filter, heat lamp,
floating island, and turtle food from the pet store. The
aquarium is like a regular sized fish tank, 20 gallons I
guess. How long will it be before they need a bigger
tank?<That depends on how much you feed them, what you feed them,
etc.> Also, I have only seen one of the turtles eat, and
am worried that the other is not eating.<It may not be feeding. They
often get "soft shell" from not being able to get out of the
water enough, as well as fungus and other ailments as
well> I've read the long lists on the internet of
foods you are supposed to get for your turtle, are the
instructions/recommendations any different for turtles this small?
<Just make sure they can easily get out of the water and that you
have a full spectrum "daylight" herp bulb. Feeding meaty
foods can be helpful as well, but use caution as this is why it's
technically illegal to sell them, as salmonella bacteria flourish in
the water> The turtle that I saw eat seems a lot more
active and even smarter than the other one. Do turtles have
different "personalities" or is the second turtle not as
healthy?<This could be either or both. If #2 isn't eating,
it's likely ill> Should we report the guy who sold
them to us? Who would we report him too? You can file a
complaint with your local state's fish and wildlife dept. and/or
the better business bureau if you wish>
We are Child Development Center in Weston and we do have a red ear
slider turtle who's name is Chocolate she is about 10 years
old. We were actually wondering if there is a way to tell if
a turtle is male or female. If you can provide us with this
information we would greatly appreciate it.
<Hi, the easiest way to tell is to look at the claws on
their front feet, the males will have much longer claws than the
females, the underside of the males will also be slightly
concave. The females will usually grow larger than the
males. Good luck, keep those little hands
washed. Best Regards, Gage>
Red Eared Slider Age
Hi I was wondering
how to tell how old my red eared slider is, roughly how to tell.
Thank You Jeanne
<Hi Jeanne. I am not really sure how to tell how old a
Red Eared Slider is, or any chelonian for that matter. They
can live for approximately 20 years, as they age their colors will be
more drab and less defined. Size can help to factor in the
age, unless the turtles growth was stunted at some point in its
life. They can reach adulthood at anywhere from 5-12
inches. Hope this helps a little. I am sure your
turtle has many happy years ahead of it. Best Regards,
I have two turtles "red ear sliders" .How can I tell male or
female? The store where I got them said they were male & female,
but how can I make sure.. Thank You, Gina Lauro
<quite easily... as they mature, the males grow very long nails on
the front feet while the females stay short and stubby. Males use the
nails in a courtship display to stimulate females to spawn. Best
How to tell males from females
(Original heading: Red Ear
I have two red ear sliders. I just want to know how to tell them a
part. Write Back, Gina
<Males have the long nails. -Steven Pro>
How to distinguish male from female?
(Original heading: Red Ear
Need info on how to distinguish a red ear slider is male or
<Please read here: http://www.kingsnake.com/forum/res/
A Red Ear is a Terrapin is a
>I didn't see anything that would help me on the postings. I
have two RES's and they came from the same tank which was much
small than the 55 gallon that I have put them in. One is
about 5 inches and the other is
>3 inches in length. I have notices that the bigger one
is attacking the smaller one biting at its head and feet and
tail. I am not sure what to do or if I can stop it?
>***I'm sorry, what exactly is a RES?
<Hey Amanda, you've confused us all. What is a
RES? If you could give us a little more information I hope
we can help you. Thanks MacL>
Having finally been enlightened as to what "RES" means (you
gratuitous abbreviator you) I can make sense of your post. I'm
actually quite a reptile geek, but my experience is mostly with monitor
lizards, other lizards and various snakes. I suggest you post your
question on a herp site such as Kingsnake.com. Or, call East Bay
Vivarium in Berkeley Ca.
Best of luck.
Shown on right: Eastern
flattened & smooth; dark greenish to black in
red patterned border around outside of shell, both top and
Â· Skin black w/
yellow & red stripes on legs, neck and tail; head has 2
bright yellow stripes on each side of head
Â· Adults grow
to be approx. 5-8 in shell length
larger in size; males have longer claws, thicker tails and their
cloaca is farther from shell
Sexing a Painted
<Hi, Pufferpunk here>
I have a 21 year old painted turtle that I adopted from I friend about
a year ago.
<Now that's an old reptile!>
My friend claims that some time ago should found a small egg in the
turtle's aquarium and so she assumed that the turtle must be
<Very good guess.>
But when I held one of my female box turtles up next to the glass of
the aquarium to say hi to the water turtle, the water turtle started
doing that weird hand swishing mating ritual, which would suggest the
turtle is a male turtle, right?
<I think the egg was the giveaway on this one. It must be
a female turtle. You can also tell by it's
tail. Males have tiny short tails & females have longer
fat tails. My turtles do happy dances whenever I go near
their tank, thinking they might be fed.>
Assuming my friend wasn't hallucinating or lying, where
could an egg possibly come from? Strange question, I know.
<Unless there was another critter in the tank to lay an egg, it had
to come from the turtle. ~PP>
Determining Sex of Juvenile
Hi!<Hi, MikeD here> Today I
purchased two adorable turtles, the size of a quarter<Those are
newly hatched and often quite delicate>. I figure they
are Painted Turtles, because of their colors<Many little turtles
offered for sale are quite colorful, with the most common being the
Red-eared Slider, which is green with yellow striping on the neck and
one red stripe in the middle. True Painted turtles have red edging
around the shell and no "red ear", but in either case,
determining the sex is done the same way.>, but how can I tell
whether they are male of female?<For now this is nearly impossible.
As they get larger males will develop very long "fingernails"
on the front feet, while the females will remain short, the same as on
the rear feet. The males "court" underwater by placing their
feet in front of their face and waving these long front claws. Another
method is by "probing" to locate the hemipenises (they have
two each), but this again ought to be done when they are larger and by
a professional, as it entails risk of serious injury if done
incorrectly> I would really like to know, please answer
Thank you,<You're very welcome>
Small turtle my cat brought home
hi<Hi, MikeD here> I was wondering if you could help? First my
cat brought home a very small
turtle slightly bigger than a quarter amazingly it was and is still
alive. I have tried to find out it's type. we are in Maine, the
small critter has an almost rounded dark shell, with an orangey/yellow
bottom shell. the back legs have red stripes and the front legs as well
as the throat area has yellow stripes and nothing on top but two small
yellow dots on either side of its head.< Most likely it's an
Eastern Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta>there are several ponds
miles down the dirt road. I am sure the bass one of which I caught
(4lbs) would enjoy this little critter as a snack.<They would!>I
have decided to try and keep it as I love turtles and am willing to
spend what it needs for its care. The way I see it I already have 18
pets what's one more! Do you have an idea as to what kind it could
be?<See above, Eastern Painted turtle>any special care
tips?<To do it right you need a small aquarium,50%water/50% land and
a good herp light. Herp vitamins/calcium help too> thank you for
your help my
e-mail address is XXXX@aol.com if you would be kind enough to respond
there. thanks again<You're welcome. Hope it helps a little>
Difference between males and
(Original heading: Painted Turtle
I have 2 young painted turtles in about a some where
between 20-30 gallon tank. well our oldest about 1 year's feet are
shedding as so my dad says. we do not know how to cure it we have
looked every were so you are our last person to turn to. And
I have another question how do you tell the difference between a male
and female painted turtle?
<It is pretty normal for turtles to shed, I would not worry too
much. Focus on proper husbandry, clean water, correct
temperature, and a good diet, I am sure your turtles will be
fine. The males will have much longer toe nails than the
females, the underside of the males shell (plastron) will be more
concave than the females as well. Best Regards,
Shown on right: River
Â· Olive or brown upper
shell with yellow/cream markings
Â· River cooters have
backward facing C-shaped marks on upper shell
Â· Plastron is yellow with
large, darker pattern
Â· Head and neck have
numerous thin yellow stripes (vs. sliders that have broader
Â· Can become fairly large,
up to 12-16 shell length
Â· Females larger in size;
males have longer claws, thicker tails and their cloaca is
farther from shell
Red eared slider/ not - my guess is ...
<Hello right back!>
A couple of months ago I brought 2 turtles from a pet store in London,
I was told that 1 was a map turtle and the other was a red eared
slider. The thing is after looking at hundreds of pictures of red eared
sliders I came to a conclusion that mine cant be. For a start it
doesn't have the red bits behind its eyes just yellow circles I
don't know how to tell 1 turtle from another so please help.
<That's one characteristic of a Red Eared Slider, Tammy. If he
doesn't have a red patch where are ear would be, he's not a Red
Eared Slider. Are the yellow circles on BLACK or on GREEN? Yellow and
Black is similar to another common turtle, the Cooter (Pseudemys
concinna). Expand your picture search to just Pseudemys and you'll
find many more kinds to look and compare.>
Also both my turtles necks seem to be peeling.
<They do shed skin as they grow>
The water temp is mostly at 73f (even though the shop keeper told me it
should be 75 _85f) I'm very nervous that they might get sick, as
after reading most of the questions on the site I noticed that what the
pet shop keeper told me I needed for the set up of the tank isn't
what this site is saying.
<Yes, many different opinions, all from people who are successful,
does seem to be a bit confusing.>
<Personally, I'd rather the water be around 73 degrees and the
basking area in the high 80's to low 90's. 85 degree water is
just TOO HOT and the whole idea is for you to give them a warm basking
area and cool water -- and let them CHOOSE the temperature that suits
them. Look at it this way: You may be a novice turtle KEEPER ... but
Elvis and Princess are experts at BEING turtles! Offer them the choice
and let them choose.>
Both Elvis and Princess (my turtles) shells are about 2 inches from
head to tail, please give me any information you can.
<Tammy, I'm enclosing a link to an article I wrote about sliders
and almost all of it is relevant to Graptemys (the Map turtle) as well
-- what's mostly important is that you follow the suggestions
<As far as the Map Turtle is concerned, for a number of reasons,
they are more susceptible to water-borne parasites and infections that
the Sliders, so pay particularly close attention to water quality. It
should be clean anyway ... but VERY clean ALWAYS for the health of the
Map Turtle. Other than that, the rest of the care in the link is
<PS: Write back and send pictures once you figure out what she
A Mystery turtle and some turtle help, fdg.
Hello, I'm Jessie.
<Nice to meet you Jessie, I'm Darrel>
Recently, my mother found a baby turtle roaming around while at work.
So she brought it home (mainly because our family has a need to care
for animals... and it was cute). It's a bit larger than a quarter
and has intricate yellow markings. These markings include 2 swirls near
the back of its shell and black spots on the underside of the shell
(these are just main markings I'm trying to point out it has yellow
stripes everywhere). The spots are on the underside of the rim of the
shell, other than that it has an all yellow underbelly. Oh, an it has
this little ridge on its back. Now I've been doing research, and I
think that it is a baby River Cooter.
<That what I was thinking, too.>
She found this turtle kind of out of its area. You see, it says that
this turtle lives in the northern part of Florida, but we live in
Sarasota. I'd be happy to send pictures of it... when my
dad comes home with the camera.
<many different cooters live in Florida, Jessie and I'd guess
this one lives in your area. You don't have to send
I HAVE been trying to find out what I could about Florida turtles and
about baby river cooters. Unfortunately, I find myself in a very
difficult situation. 1. I don't know how old it is so I don't
know if its still using the yolk for food.
<I doubt that it is, so it's time to start feeding it>
2. I am lacking the foods that the sites I have visited suggest feeding
to this turtle (cut up minnows or lettuce)
<a small cotter would like koi pellets that are available cheaply at
your local pet store>
3. I'm not completely sure if this turtle will be a permanent pet.
Seeing a show it's a baby, it's cute, we love animals, and my
Dad seems to have taken an interest in it, I'm guessing it will
<let's hope so! They make fun and interesting
Can anyone help me? And or does anyone have suggestions?
<first, make sure it has a place to get wet and a place to get dry
and warm and is safe from any other animals like dogs or
cats. They like sunshine, but direct Florida sunshine can
get that little guy overheated quickly, so never leave him alone out
under the sun. Here is a link to a care sheet that will tell
you a lot more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/redearsliders.htm Good
luck to you, Jessie, and thank you for writing us!>
Â· Carapace is brown and
black with yellow stripes
Â· Skin is olive green with
patches of yellow down neck and legs
Â· Plastron is mostly yellow
with green spots along edge (Note: often confused with
Eastern river cooters who dont have these spots)
Â· Adults average 5-13 in
Â· Females larger in size
but males have longer claws, thicker tails and their cloaca is
farther from shell
<I'm not! -- I'm Darrel>
I'm just trying to identify the type of turtle that I have.
Based on the receipt I received from the pet shop, it states that
its a red ear slider.
However, based on photos that I have found on the internet, it
looks more like a yellow bellied slider, So I am just trying to
confirm this with you guys.
<Based on the lack of a bright red patch on the side of the
head, generally around where we'd expect ears to be (hence
the name Red "Eared" Slider as opposed to Red
"Necked" Slider), this is indeed a one of any number of
subspecies of Trachemys Scripta scripta, or Yellow Bellied
<Of course, if he sits around the house all day chewing
tobacco, has a broke down pickup truck in his front lawn and a
refrigerator on his front porch .... HE JUST MIGHT BE a REDNECK
Yellow Bellied Slider!!!!!!>
PS I have attached two photographs.
<Larry is handsome>
Thanks in advance for your help.
<Here's some more help: a Complete Guide to caring for
Differentiating males from
(Original heading: Question About
Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles. Fdg. +
Hello.! I'm Nadine.
<Hiya right back! Darrel here>
I have 2 Yellow Bellied Slider Turtles which I bought at xmas 2007 when
they were babies. I have several questions and I hope you can help
because no one else seems to know.
<I hope I can answer them too!>
First things first - Feeding - At the moment I'm feeding them once
in the morning and once in the evening, I know as they get older your
only supposed to feed them once every 2 days but how do you know when
you start doing that?
<You can start doing that right now. After a year they will do just
fine feeding once a day during the summer and once every three days
during the winter>
Also I am feeding them chicken and prawns at the moment because they
are refusing to eat they're pellets or anything else. I heard your
supposed to feed them fruit and veg as well?
<Not 'as well'. Try "Instead of." None of the
Emydid turtles (Sliders, cooters, map turtles and even - irony here -
the Chicken turtles) eat chicken OR prawns. Neither are part of their
natural diet and neither are
good for them. So STOP! Right now.>
But they wont... how can I get them to eat different things?
I've tried cooking veg with the chicken but its not worked.
<here's what do: First. Stop feeding them for a week. Seven
days. NO food. Then, each day, put them in a shallow bowl of luke warm
water with just two or three Repto-min food sticks or 6 or 7 standard
Koi Pellets. If they ignore the food or don't eat after 15 minutes,
take them out and put them back in their regular tank. Each day, new
fresh water in the shallow bowl with a very few pieces of food.
Eventually .. somewhere between 3 days and two months .. they'll
<Now THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART!!!>
<Are you listening?>
<Pay attention to this:>
<DO NOT GIVE IN. Don't feel sorry for them, don't feel like
starving, don't feel like 'just a tiny bit' of chicken
won't hurt ..... DO NOT GIVE IN OR GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!>
<The one who hold out the longest is the one in charge of this
relationship -- and that's supposed to be YOU, OK?>
Also I always believed they were male and female due the fact
'she' is larger and longer claws, they also shake each others
claws in each others faces (which I've heard is the mating ritual)
and many times I've seen them mating with his penis out. Tonight
though I looked over and he was chasing and biting what looked like
'her' penis?!! I know it was definitely her because they both
do look different. I am so confused?!
<Well if one of the females has a penis .. you're not the ONLY
one confused .. think how confused SHE is!!!>
<The males have long claws and the females do not. Males also have
much thicker tails at the base where it connects to the shell, while
the females' tails are much more slender. Sliders reach sexual
size, not age but males become mature, generally, around 4 years and
females at 6 years (assuming normal growth)>
Last thing is how do you know they are happy?
<Turtles have much simpler lives than people do, Nadine. They show
their happiness by being healthy and active. By thriving. If
they're active and eating, basking and swimming, growing and
maturing, if their environment is clean and big enough, if their shells
are hard and their eyes are clear ... then it's a sure bet that
Sorry for the long winded email just wanted to make sure im doing
<Long winded??? Not even close!! It was a nice letter and I hope I
Sexing Yellow Bellied Sliders
I got two yellow bellied sliders about a year ago.
One is larger than the other and has longer nails. Which one is male or
< Usually the female is larger with shorter nails and a shorter
Also the smaller has seemed to be sleeping a lot is there an
explanation for that?
< Could be sick. The larger turtle is dominating the tank and the
smaller one is not getting the nutrition and care it needs.>
And last how can you tell if a yellow bellied slider is pregnant?
< Females are large, fat and have an incredible appetite. Especially
in the spring time when things warm up. Though this is not always
certain, adult pairs will usually produce
To: Part 2, Part 3