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Published on Jun 17, 2012
Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta)
Description: The "dime store" turtle. Gets its name from the red/orange stripe behind eyes. Carapace is oval and flattened (especially in males), dark green in color with light and dark markings. Bottom shell is yellow with an identifiable plain or intricate pattern. Head, legs and tail are green with fine yellow markings. Males have elongated claws used for courtship and mating. With age the pattern and red coloration on head can become marked by melanistic coloration. The red stripe can become difficult to see or completely vanish which makes identification of the species difficult.
Dimensions: Length: 5-11 3/8".
Subspecies: In SE Virginia to .n Florida a Yellow-bellied , with conspicuous vertical yellow blotch behind eye, vertical yellowish bar on each costal scute, and dark round smudges on forward part of plastron can be found. In Maryland; West Virginia to Mississippi Valley from n. Illinois to Gulf and west across most of Texas and into New Mexico, Cumberland, upper portions of Cumberland and Tennessee River valleys from se. Kentucky and sw. Virginia to ne. Alabama. they are found with a wide red stripe behind eye and a dark smudge on each plastron scute.
Breeding: Lays eggs from May to July. Nests June to July. Lays up to 3 clutches of 4-23 oval eggs, in a nest cavity 1-4" (2.5-10.2 cm) deep, which may be located some distance from water. A female can nest up to 5 times per year. Eggs are fertilized as they are laid and buried into the ground. The time-span between mating and egg-laying can be a few days to a few weeks. Eggs hatch after 2-2 1/2 months.
Similar Species: The Big Bend Slider is similar but it has an orange spot woth a black border on each side of the head, an orange spot behind the eyes. the carapace has a netlike pattern on it; it lives in the Big Bend region of Texas and adjacent Mexico and in the Rio Grande Valley in southern New Mexico.
Habitat: Rivers, shallow streams, ponds and lakes with dense vegetation make an ideal habitat. They also have a basking area to enjoy the light.
Range: Mainly found in SE Virginia to northern Florida, west New Mexico and Mexico. Popular pets all over the United States.
Discussion: Fond of basking, Sliders are often seen stacked one upon another on a favorite log. They are excellent swimmers and will hunt for their prey. Rather than hibernating they brumate (less active in winter and rest at the bottom of ponds and lakes, occasionally rising for food). Commonly sold as pets around the world, it is the most popular aquatic turtle to be sold. Few of those sold as pets survive into adulthood.