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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Freshwater Turtles Habitat (River Scout)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in North America from West Virginia through New Mexico, to the Gulf and extreme northeast of Mexico. There is a colony in Ohio and has been introduced in large parts of Maryland.
  • Found in quiet waters with muddy bottoms. The slider will bask on logs or other surfaces protruding from the water.
  • Due to unauthorized releases, the red-eared slider appears in areas outside of its native range, including Western and Central Europe, South Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.

Physical Characteristics

  • Red-eared slider has a prominent red patch on the side of its head. In rare instances, this patch will be yellow. Further, not all of these turtles show this patch.
  • Occasionally, due to melanism the coloration of a red-eared slider’s shell, head, tail and limbs become increasingly dark. These dark individuals can completely lack many identifying characteristics. This condition is more common among males.
  • The lower jaw of a slider is rounded, whereas it is flat for members of other genera.
  • Carapace is commonly 5-8 inches (12.5-20.3 cm) long with a maximum size of 11.375 inches (28.9 cm).

Diet / Feeding

  • Omnivorous - diet consists of a wide variety of plant and animal matter.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Hatchling carapace ranges in length from 0.875 to 1.125 inches (2.2-3.8 cm). Will typically be colorful and patterned, fading as turtle ages into adulthood.
  • At juvenile stage, coloration is green with a plastron marked by eye-like spots.
  • Hybridization between similar species is not uncommon.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
  • Due to its abundance in non-native Europe threatening local species, the European Union has banned the importation of T. s. elegans.
  • T. scripta as a whole is listed as one of IUCN’s “100 Worst Invasives.”

Additional Information

  • Fellow subspecies include yellowbelly, Cumberland and big bend sliders.


Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Pgs. 174-178.