Animal of The Issue: Red-Eared Slider Turtles

This is a red-eared slider named Coelophysis. Photo Credit / Briana Magistro
This is a red-eared slider named Coelophysis. Photo Credit / Briana Magistro

This is a red-eared slider named Coelophysis.
Photo Credit / Briana Magistro

BY BRIANA MAGISTRO

SC Contributing Writer

Have you ever driven by a lake or river in the country? You probably witnessed basking red-eared slider turtles.

These reptiles can be found commonly in coastal or wet areas around the United States. They are particularly common in eastern Pennsylvania.

Red-eared slider turtles get their name from the characteristic red marking behind their eyes. This marking can range from light orange to fire engine red, the brighter colors being represented more often in males.

Red-eared sliders can grow between 6-12 inches in diameter, the females being larger.

Since sliders are reptiles, they are cold-blooded. This means that their internal body temperature is dependent on their surroundings. To warm themselves, sliders will bask. Basking can take place for hours. The turtles will lie in the sun, taking in the UVB rays.

These rays, although they are dangerous to humans, are imperative to healthy shell growth in turtles. Turtle shells are made of bone, and therefore need the rays to aid in the process of making usable calcium.

Red-eared sliders are the most common type of turtle kept as pets. They require a very specific habitat to keep them healthy. They need ample space to swim around and dive, while having space outside of the water to dry off and warm up.

Red-eared sliders have a varying diet, ranging from crickets to aquatic plants. They also enjoy krill, shrimp, and many kinds of worms.

Having a great sense of sight and smell, red-eared sliders can easily differentiate among other turtles and even their human caretakers.

Theses turtles, however, do not have a great sense of hearing. They have only an inner ear covered by skin, whereas humans have an inner and outer open ear. They can still hear, especially in the water, and can sense different pitches.

Email Briana at:

bmagistro@live.esu.edu

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