How Big a Red Eared Sliders Can Get [Complete Care Guide]

How Big a Red Eared Sliders Can Get
Red Eared Slider Secrets
Although most red-eared sliders can live up to 45-60 years, most WILL NOT survive 2 years. CLICK HERE to learn more.

The Red Eared Slider (also know as Red Eared Turtle and Red Eared Terrapin) is a medium to large-sized freshwater turtle; females are generally larger than male red eared sliders, reaching around 12 inches in length. The Red Eared Slider turtle will have several different characteristics, including size, in terms of age and size. The Red Eared Sliders growth rate is correlated to these factors and environmental factors.


Red Eared Sliders are often found in pet trade and are inexpensive animals to obtain. If given proper attention, a turtle can survive in captivity for over 30+ years. These turtles also provide a beautiful yellow, dark green, and red combination. The growing popularity of these animals as pets puts pressure on the ecosystem around the world. Before purchase, make sure the animal comes from reliable farms. After purchasing them from reputable sources, check all local regulations to ensure you follow them so that this turtle is not released without your knowledge for your safety.

Some notes

This Red-Eared Slider is a native species, a hardy turtle and a famous turtle for beginners as it is adorable and easy to keep. Some new keepers may have difficulty feeding their pets properly. The Red Eared Sliders has been described as a friendlier and cheaper animal that will give your family lasting bonds.

How Big a Red Eared Sliders Can Get

Red-eared slider

The Red-Eared sliders turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) are subspecies that are similar to pond sliders. Red-eared Sliders are the turtles most often kept by humans and are found in other countries and are internationally popular as pets. These are native turtles to the United States and Mexico. It is known that there is a common habit of releasing this animal from its domestic environment to nature; because of this, it has become highly invasive in different parts of the world. The animal was included among the species listed on the Global Invasive Species Database most destructive list.

Red-Eared Slider: Care, Diet, Habitat, Tank, & Facts

When provided with everything the animal needs, Red Eared Slider is considered an excellent pet. Their medium size with unique colors and beautiful lines make them an easy and attractive option. However, anyone thinking about keeping Red Eared Sliders should learn that it requires attention and is highly recommended for beginners. The animal should last for generations and grow in size quickly.

How fast do Red Eared Sliders grow?

The Red Eared Slider grows to about twelve inches. It can take about eight years for red-eared sliders to reach their entire length. After their juvenile stage, they grow approximately one inch annually. Males are generally smaller than females. Your turtle’s estimated growth rate depends on many factors, such as population, age, and gender factors, that affect your turtle.

How big are Red-Eared Sliders in Captivity?

This Red Eared Slider turtle is an aquatic animal with a good average size to be kept in captivity. Explore your development and health through this guide and the helpful tips listed below.

About Red-Eared Sliders

Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) are subspecies of the common – Pond Slider (Trachemys scripta), usually pale green. Red Eared Sliders feature a beautiful yellow coloration over their green shells and throughout their dark olive head with two red markings resembling yellowish ears and bands. It is a good turtle for beginners as it grows quickly and easily compared to other turtle species. The pet industry has long marketed these turtles.

A Red-Eared Slider turtles are not just a Christmas gift

Red-Eared Sliders are available in stores and an invader in most countries but not Antarctica. Breeding populations have been identified in more than one hundred countries outside North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Central and South America. Their existence elsewhere causes severe problems in wildlife habitats because they can often outperform and compete with native turtle species in search of resources. The importance of proper care must remain constant when you are working to obtain optimum maintenance quality for the Red-Eared Slider.

Are Red-Eared Sliders Turtles good pets?

Red-Eared Sliders make great pets if you provide everything they need to live correctly. They require more space than other aquatic animals; just another turtle or alligator would make a turtle’s excellent companion. However, when you are still keeping these animals, even with enough space and time, it is good to start with a few animals.

How the Age Influences the Growth Rate of a Red Eared Slider

Generally, most Red Eared Sliders got a growth rate of 1 to 2 inches within the first months of life. Most adults can range in size from 7 to 12 inches. The wild Red Eared sliders can achieve a smaller size when reach sexual maturity compared to the captive Red Eared Slider turtles.

How do I take care of Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

Red Eared Slider turtles require a lot of space to live longer in their lives. For an owner who is new to turtles, you should obtain a complete analysis of the water available in your tap through your aquarium tests and adjust the parameters if necessary. This turtle is suitable for both novices and individuals with more experience in handling and rearing. Your environment must be equipped with heat lamps, lighting, correct filtration, clean water, and ideal food to ensure Red Eared Slider turtles proper care.

How long does Red-Eared Sliders live?

Red Eared Slider can live for decades. The lifespan of the red slider in nature can last about 20 years. Pet turtles generally have a longer lifespan compared to wild turtle populations. Peel diseases and skin bruises commonly occur due to the lack of heat in their surroundings. Without regular treatment and illumination, these turtles are prone to stinking, greasy sores that develop on their flesh. As a result, the skin becomes defective without adequate lighting, elasticity can be compromised, and soft tissue can become damaged or stiff.

Semi-Aquatic or Aquatic Turtles

Slider is a semi-aquatic turtle that lives in freshwater aquatic ecosystems and can also occur in brackish environments. They spend most of the day hunting for food in lakes or relaxing on rocks and logs. These species roam in still water environments, where water is held back and flows slowly. Most live in ponds, rivers, reservoirs, or swamps.

Tank size, heating, lighting and setup

During dry periods, in the natural habitat, a turtle can walk several kilometers to access a large amount of water. Most adults are kept in tanks over 55 gallons. Each slider may require up to 20 additional gallons. When the turtle tanks needs cleaning in its environment, check if the UVB light needs to be changed. Substrates are unnecessary, but you can still use them and make aquariums look prettier. If you want substrates, pebble is an easy choice. Aquatic vegetation has become famous for this type of aquarium, even though the turtle can eat them.

Tell me the best way to feed a Red-Eared Slider?

Red-Eared are omnivores hardy turtles that can suit many eating styles/diet options in particular. These small turtles usually consume fish, invertebrates, aquatic plants, and tadpoles. Sliders often have bony nozzles that help them turn over tree roots for food. Try to feed the turtles the same amount of food each day. Offer green vegetables to keep them healthy. Your pets may need supplements like calcium for a healthy diet.

How big do Red Eared Sliders get in Captivity?

In captivity, the red-eared sliders often grow larger than a wild animal. A pet turtle will have everything needed and can live a longer life while wild turtle species remain in danger. Pet turtles live in controlled environments that regulate and stabilize water temperatures. Wild turtles hibernate on their own and lose vitality, energy and essential nutrients during hibernation. Instead, wild turtles face winter conditions in a temperature-controlled environment.

The Growth Rate of Wild Red Eared Sliders

This species is similar to other pet turtles. Other factors significantly affect growth, especially food and temperature. Wild turtles eat less compared to pet turtles. Also, wild turtles should hunt whenever they need to eat. Young turtles should be given as good a daily diet as their parents. Otherwise, this can cause growth problems. They can always warm up in their basking place because the sun can provide better UV-B radiation than most ultraviolet lamp lenses. Turtles in winter are usually inactive for between three and five months.

How Basking Influences the Growth Rate of a Red Eared Slider

Ultraviolet light works in a surprising way to increase your ability to produce nutrient-rich vitamin D 3 to produce calcium and provide for proper health. They often cannot get adequate calcium from their food; this causes poor bone formation, metabolic problems and carapace rot. Provide the necessary lighting for your turtle to be always active and healthy.


Red sliders feature yellow, leafy green, and red stripes behind the ear. Its paws and tail are light green, and tufts of yellow lines encircle its body. Some turtles are pastel shades, although people rarely see this coloring outdoors when observed. The sliders have a beautiful and showy dome-shaped shell with a slightly flat bottom that is light when juvenile and eventually darker. Baby Red Eared Sliders are yellowish and have only another dark-banded black spot on their belly.

How Big a Red Eared Sliders Can Get


Once born, baby Red Eared Sliders are around 23 to 35 mm in size. A female’s sexual maturity comes when they reach approximately six inches. Males have shorter tails and longer nails. Adult turtles differ in size depending on age. Males and females appear to be very different in terms of body size.


The useful life of the Red-Eared Slider can range between 15 and 30 years. They are usually found in nature for a shorter time. This massive differentiation occurs because, in nature, several predators can cause serious illnesses or destruction to the turtle, leading to a reduction in its lifespan. Besides taking care of your turtle’s health, you have no other option; wait until your turtle grows up.

Red Eared Slider Diet

The Red-Eared Slider is omnivorous and feeds on vegetables, fruits and meat. Animal protein-based food has the potential to increase turtle growth. Give them a wide variety of products and nutrients so you can provide a long shelf life to other animals. A young turtle can feed on many vegetables, but this food preference may not always exist in its growth. Turtles are omnivorous animals, and healthy baby turtles typically tolerate virtually any type of food.

How big are adult red-eared sliders?

Red Eared Sliders can be classified as adults aged 2-5 years. An animal can grow up to almost six years before reaching maturity, typical of an adult tortoise. To reach maturity is generally shorter in females, reaching the reproducible age around two years.


The Red-Eared Slider is a cute pet that can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm). The average growth rate is expected to be 1 inch per year. In captivity, these animals are highly dependent on the quality of the environment and food provided by the turtle owner. It must have the correct filter set, ideal UV lighting system, and power supply. This helps ensure your slider receives maximum growth in terms of health with optimal maintenance.

Your Red-Eared Slider Not Eating? Here’s What You Can Do

Red-Eared Slider Not Eating
Red Eared Slider Secrets
Although most red-eared sliders can live up to 45-60 years, most WILL NOT survive 2 years. CLICK HERE to learn more.

After a year, my slider stopped eating, and that worried me. For some reason, I started researching why my Red-Eared Slider Not Eating.

A reptile professional told me that even when turtles mature, they can eat less compared to other species.

He also noted that there are several reasons why some turtles tend to bite less into adulthood. How do I fix this problem? What does this mean?

The main reason for the Red-Eared Slider Not Eating

Significant causes include suboptimal temperature in the tank, dirty water, unhealthy diets, any illness, overfeeding, etc. In this article, I will discuss my entire journey with the dilemma of my Red-Eared Slider not eating. After following a few steps in the maintenance of my turtle, it lost its appetite again. The cause can range from excessive food or dirty water in the tank, inadequate parameters in general.

Red-Eared Slider Not Eating

The ideal habitat specifications

In the enclosure, as they are semi-aquatic animals, they need both an environment with water and a dry one to rest; they can even drown, as they are lungs like us.

The best habitats for them are the so-called aqua terrariums, which are like aquariums. But they have a platform where the turtle can climb to relax and sunbathe.

It should be big enough for the water tiger to have room to grow. Remember, it can be up to 6 times its initial size! In addition, the terrarium must always mimic the pet’s habitat.

Space should have a dimension of 1.50m, ideal for an adult water tiger. Remembering that it is not just a space with water; the installation must have a heating lamp or stone for the animal to perform the thermoregulation.

The temperature of the habitat

Red sliders are ectothermic, whose bodies heat from the environment determines metabolic temperatures. A turtle should not suffer from the heat inside the tank but rather have ideal conditions, not cold water.

The ideal is 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature is such a determining factor for these animals; that is, a variation of few degrees can determine the sex of the embryo.

Between 78º C to 82 F males are born, above 82 F females are born. Use a digital thermometer with temperature monitoring to control the reservoir environment.

Temperature and light are related in reptiles; it is essential to respect the photoperiod; in captivity, you must adjust the hours in which the reptile receives sunlight directly or indirectly through lamps to avoid disturbances in hormone levels that cause the appearance of various diseases.

What is the correct diet for a red-eared slider?

They recommend using other ingredients if industrial turtle pellets do not work. You can try live animals, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, or whatever the turtles like.

Try earthworms, mealworms, small fish, and snails in the feeding area. The red-eared sliders lost their appetite after eating the same food for months.

This is probably the primary explanation for why this turtle’s appetite began to wane. I haven’t fed the same kinds of food to the turtle for a long time in its life.

So far, it’s excellent, and the turtle looks healthy. Changing diets or adding new foods can cause your pet to stop eating. Provide food for turtles with various preferences to distinguish those foods your pet likes.

If it’s the type of food, you’ve never eaten before, start slowly and add smaller portions initially. And after knowing all this, it is essential to break down the amount of food given to your turtle daily.

It should not overfeed; it can cause problems for the animal in several ways, in addition to requiring that the quality of the water be higher.

Female Gravid or Egg Bound in turtles

On the other hand, females lay eggs, but they need a suitable environment for this to happen. Otherwise, they can retain them! Another thing is that, like chickens, female water tigers lay eggs even without the male, but they are infertile.

Another curiosity is that females have host glands that keep the male’s semen for several years to lay fertile eggs during that time. Reproduction usually takes place from July to December; during this period, the female digs a nest and places an average of 10 eggs that will remain hatched for 66 to 114 days.

The brooder’s temperature is 20 to 30 degrees, and unlike birds, the eggs cannot be rotated; they have to be quiet until the baby is born. The baby is born fragile, has to stay in an environment with controlled temperature and humidity, in addition to receiving a specific feeding for juveniles.

Change of environment 

An adult turtle is new to the family, and its unique environment can make adoption very uncomfortable. Once adapted to the new home, he will try to eat again.

This should take several days. Avoid handling red-eared right after bringing it to. Be sure to let the animal settle into its new environment before trying to deal with it.

These tiny turtles need constant parameter control to live closer to their natural habitat. Many live on poor quality water in aquariums.

Turtles don’t like sudden changes in parameters, new people, new environments, noise, and so on. Also, be aware of adding other turtles to the aquarium. This can cause nervousness in the new animal and the old one, which can lead the Red Eared Slider not eating.

Constipation or foreign object

A hot water bath usually solves this; the temperature should be slightly higher than the turtle needs. In contrast, impaction is a severe condition that can lead to fatality.

Impaction usually occurs if your turtle eats a foreign object at home or even from the tank. This requires urgent surgery, take the vet to treat it as soon as possible, and ensure your safety, but a severe case of constipation can lead to death if nothing is done to correct the situation.

Respiratory Infection in turtles

If your pet suffers from asthma, it stops eating and may become lethargic. Symptoms include excess mucus in the mouth, causing nasal irritation, wheezing, and open mouth breathing.

It is usually a disease that occurs in cases where there is negligence towards the correct temperature for the animal. It can often be a secondary result of vitamin A deprivation.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiencies are common in red-eared turtles, where the food does not contain much vitamin A. Therefore, it can disrupt their normal functions and lack of appetite.

But to be sure of this issue, it is necessary to carry out examinations on the animal and diagnosis by a veterinarian. Based on the information obtained after the exam, you will have a correct diet line to provide for your animal with the professional’s guidance.

Change meal times

Activity is most common during the first half of the day. If you are providing evening meals, try changing the feeding period. Early in the morning, turtles tend to digest faster with more energy and cravings. Maybe that’s another reason your turtle doesn’t eat. Try changing your turtle’s food, and you will notice changes in your turtle’s behavior.

Lighting in the tank

Red-eared ones need adequate lighting to live correctly. 12 to 14 hours of light a day make for the perfect environment. Certain species also need to receive UVB light to maintain optimal functions, such as swimming, moving, breathing, and even eating.

Dim light also causes strain on newborn turtles, leading to poor growth and underweight. It ends up causing a vitamin deficiency.

You set your lights to run 12-14 hours a day using a digital timer to lighten your work. Without regular lighting, your pet may stop eating. Create a daily cycle to help your pet live. Pay close attention to the general conditions of the environment in winter.

Remembering that the specific lamp for them has validity but still seems to be usually working, a tip is to look at the period of light on the package and calculate how long it will last, so you will know exactly which day to change the lamp.

Calcium deficiency in food

If the red ear loses its appetite, it may be because it lacks calcium. Add calcium blocks to water in your diet to increase your pet’s blood calcium levels and increase appetite and health. Vitamin and calcium supplementation levels must be present in the captive reptile diet for healthy growth.

Alternatively, it recommends the inclusion of bones in the diet, especially crocodilians or carbonated water with calcium.

Red-Eared Slider Not Eating

What should I do if my Red-Eared Slider not eating?

The most stressful situation with our pet is the refusal to eat. Fortunately, with turtles, this problem is usually relatively easy. Red-eared (Trachemys scripta elegans) refused to eat for weeks.

It was a frightening experience, but it taught me that a red-eared turtle would quickly become healthy if you kept your cool and researched the subject and turned to professionals in the field.

Final Thoughts – Red-Eared Slider Not eating.

The Red-Eared Slider is an attractive, low-maintenance animal that can stay with you for up to 30 years. If you take care of your health now, it should live up to the expected life span.

Keep an eye out for what might upset your turtle and try to remove it. When the turtle refuses to eat and shows the first symptoms of illness, go to the vet immediately. Turtles can survive without food for an unusually long time. However, let’s not try this because we are responsible turtle owners.