The Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) is also called the Red-Eared Terrapin. It is a semi-aquatic chelonian, living in water and also on land. A chelonian is a reptile that is a turtle, tortoise or terrapin.
The Red-Eared Slider has a small red stripe around its ears. Its carapace (upper shell) is about 20 centimetres (8 inches) in length, and is oval-shaped and flat on top. The carapace changes colour, but it is mostly black. Its plastron (under shell) is light yellow with dark markings. It has a green-black head, legs, and tail.
It has partially webbed-feet that enable it to swim and walk on land. Its claws are very sharp, and used for digging.
The Red-Eared Slider is a poikilotherm, which means that it cannot regulate its body temperature. It is dependent upon the temperature of the environment. It needs to sit in the sunshine to warm up.
The Red-Eared Slider is from America, and is found in warm water, such as ponds, lakes, creeks, and rivers. However, it has been introduced to many countries around the world.
It feeds on aquatic plants.
Female Red-Eared Sliders lay 2-30 eggs in a hole that they dig using their back (hind) legs. Her eggs hatch after 60-112 days. Young Red-Eared Sliders hatch into males if the eggs are kept at temperatures of 22–27°C (72–81°F), whereas females develop at warmer temperatures.
Location of photographs: Nairobi Snake Park, Kenya; London Zoo, England; Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM