(Hugie was the little turtle on top. Puffy was his mate. Puffy still lives with us.)
The red-eared slider, fresh water turtle,
is native to the Gulf States, in the United
States. It's a mild climate with swamps and
inland lakes. As adults they can grow to
be as large as a dinner plate. They are reptiles.
Reptiles are cold blooded. This means they
can't regulate their body temperature. Their
body temperature will match their environment.
Because they are from a warm to mild climate
the temperature of their surroundings should
be kept between 74 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
They existed when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, so you could say that they are little modern dinosaurs. They are among the cleanest of all the creatures in nature. In their natural habitat, they enter the water to excrete their waste and then swim away from it. They eat insects, fish, worms, plants, and grasses. The female is usually larger than the male. They can be sexed by their front claws and tail as they mature. The males will have long front claws and longer stouter tails. The males are active while the females are passive in their behavior. They must eat and engage in sex in the water.
If you are raising two turtles it is best to have a male and a female. The male will dominate the female. It is not known how long red-eared sliders live. It is believed that they could live as long as 50 to 100 years. They hiss when hurt, provoked, or frightened. They can be aggressive when provoked. They could bite you, but this is rare. Turtles have no teeth. They swallow their food whole. Like other reptiles they shed their skin and deposit shell fragments as they grow. They spend most of their days eating, swimming and basking in the sun.
Red-eared sliders go through a courtship and mating ritual. The male will ride atop the female. The male will also make dancing-like movements when attracting the female. Usually the female is indifferent to the male's antics. While the male is in his water, there are times when his black sex organ (large inflated sack-like penis) will protrude into the water. It will be incorporated back into his body in a short time. Males being raised together can become violent and attack one another. Males with a female may bite the female but we think this is just "turtle love". We had this kind of behavior with Hugie and Puffy, but Puffy was never hurt. Do not try to breed them. We do not need more captive turtles! In late spring and early summer the female will go into an instinctive mating and egg laying behavior. The female will have a heightened energy level and begin to scratch the rug or floor. She will not eat much at this time. A male turtle does not have to be present. The female may pass unfertilized eggs into her water during this time.
There is a myriad of diseases that plague red-eared sliders, but usually only if they are not cared for properly. We recommend searching the internet if you need information about turtle diseases
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