Trachemys scripta elegans


Common Names: Red-eared slider, red-eared terrapin
Category: Reptiles
Sub-category: Turtles


It is the most popular pet turtle in the United States and also popular in the rest of the world. It is native only to the southern United States, but has become established in other places because of pet releases and has become an invasive species in many introduced areas, like California, where it outcompetes the native western pond turtle.

The red stripe on each side of the head distinguishes the red-eared slider from all other North American species and gives this species its name, as the stripe is located behind the eyes where their (external) ears would be. These stripes may lose their color over time. The carapace usually has a dark green background with light and dark, highly variable markings. In young or recently hatched turtles, it is leaf green and gets slightly darker as a turtle gets older, until it is a very dark green, and then turns a shade between brown and olive green. The plastron is always a light yellow with dark, paired, irregular markings in the centre of most scutes. The plastron is highly variable in pattern. The head, legs, and tail are green with fine, irregular, yellow lines. The whole shell is covered in these stripes and markings that aid in camouflaging an individual.

Edible Notes: They are reported to be edible, however the flavor (and smell) has been debated. Please note the risk of Salmonella.
Warnings: Turtles commonly carry Salmonella bacteria on their outer skin and shell surfaces and generally should not be handled.
Sightings