Connection to the Mississippi River Watershed: The Red-Eared Slider is found in the Mississippi River Watershed. It is one of the most popular of all pet turtles and is often released into the wild, making it one of the most invasive species in the world.  

Fast Facts

  • Also known as: Red-Eared Terrapin, Pond Slider
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Life Span: 20 to 30 years
  • Size: 5 to 11 inches
  • Weight: Up to 2 pounds
  • Group Name: Bale, nest, turn, or dole


  • Subspecies named for the reddish stripe behind each eye 
  • Have a flattened carapace that is oval in shape and topped by a weak center ridge (keel) 
  • Carapace color is a muted olive in adults, though some older individuals – particularly males – become very dark, appearing almost black with few visible markings
  • Plastron is yellow with dark markings in the center of each scute


  • Aquatic insects
  • Fish
  • Snails
  • Plants
  • Predators:
  • Hawks
  • Snakes
  • Opossums
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Herons


  • Breeding season = March to July  
  • Females nest on land, digging shallow holes 2-3 inches deep in soft, sandy soil with good sun exposure
  • Clutches = 4-23 eggs; Females lay 1-3 clutches per season
  • Incubation = 2-2.5 months before hatching, which typically occurs between July and September
  • Young that hatch late in the season may stay in the nest all winter and emerge the following spring.  Hatchlings grow rapidly, reaching 2 inches within the first year
  • Fewer than 30% of all eggs and hatchlings survive beyond their first year
  • Males require 3-5 years to reach a mature length of 4 inches.  Females mature at a length of 6-7.5 inches, a size obtained after 5-7 years of growth


  • Diurnal 
  • Enjoy basking near the water on rocks, stumps, and logs, where they often congregate in large groups
  • Pond sliders become inactive when temperatures dip below 50°F.  Most hibernate underwater, but some have been found under banks, beneath rocks, and in hollow stumps


  • Species of Least Concern by the IUCN  
  • While habitat degradation, road mortality, pollution, and collection can all impact population numbers, these threats do not collectively endanger the survival of the species

Did you know?

  • One of the 100 top invasive species worldwide
  • A subspecies of pond slider, a semi-aquatic turtle known for its habit of sliding into the water in response to the slightest of threats
  • Males are slightly larger than females and have longer claws on the forefeet
  • Animal matter makes up approximately 70% of a young pond slider’s diet but only about 10% of an adult’s diet
  • The temperature of the nest determines the sex of the young; cooler temperatures produce males, while warmer temperatures produce females