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Red Ear Slider / Painted Turtle

Common Names: Red Ear Slider

Scientific Name: Chrysemys scripta elegans

Distribution: Southeastern and central U.S.A.

Size: Females up to 12 inches, males smaller.

Temperament: Calm, mellow disposition after initial acclimation period, can be kept in groups.

Hardiness: Very hardy when set up and maintained properly.

Sexing: Females larger, males with longer tail and long front toe nails.

Food: Feeder goldfish, earthworms, snails, butterworms, crickets, beef heart strips, various aquatic plants, romaine lettuce, dry fish and turtle food pellets.

Housing: A minimum 20 gallon tank is needed for 2 turtles, larger groups would need at least a 30 - 55 gallon set up. Provide a water depth of 6 to 12 inches. Use a bare, sand or gravel substrate. Lots of floating plants should be used as well as some thick rounded cork bark floats for hauling out purposes (basking area).

Water:Use chlorinated water to prevent a bacteria build up. Strong mechanical filtration is recommended between frequent water changes.

Temperature/Humidity: 76F - 86F land and water temperature. Basking temperature up to 88F.

Lighting: Although standard aquarium lighting as used for tropical fish is suitable for Red Ear turtles, full spectrum lighting / U.V. radiation is recommended, especially for babies and juveniles.

Heating: A full submersible aquarium heater should be used to provide the proper water temperature. An incandescent light bulb with reflector situated above a select basking float will provide the proper basking temperatures during the day.

Notes: The painted turtles from the northern and southeastern U.S.A. can be set up and maintained under similar conditions.


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Revised December 2008