Red-eared Slider

Order:  Testudines (turtles)
Suborder:  Cryptodira (all turtles besides side-necked turtles)
Family:  Emydidae (semiaquatic turtles)
Subfamily:  Deirochelyinae (sliders and map turtles)
Genus:  Trachemys (sliders)
Also known as:  Redear, Red-eared Turtle, Red-eared Pond Slider

Scientific Name:  Trachemys scripta elegans (Wied, 1838)

Habitat:  Ponds, lakes, and other slow-moving bodies of water.

Trachys="rough," emys="turtle," scripta="marked," elegans="elegant"

Length: Shell to almost 12 inches for females.  Males are usually much smaller. Previous Scientific Names:  Pseudemys scripta elegans, Chrysemys scripta elegans
Food:  Young are omnivorous; adults typically eat mostly plant material. Red-eared Slider Range

Sliders are abundant in the lakes of Little Rock AFB.  Although they are numerous, they are skittish and it's hard to approach close enough for a good photograph.  The first picture is of a large adult in the backwaters of the smaller of the two main lakes.  The second picture is of a male (the smaller turtle) courting a female by stroking her face with his long front claws.

Red-eared Slider

The read "ears" are a popular feature; millions of these turtles have been sold as pets (though in the US it's now illegal to sell turtles under 4 inches in length except for educational purposes).  Young turtles are typically the most colorful.  Older specimens tend to fade with age, and some old males become nearly black.  Additionally, the older turtles often develop algae on their carapaces which obscures any residual markings.


Courtship Ritual
The final two pictures are of a young turtle I caught on hook and line on 30 September 2004.  I don't even think the turtle was hooked, but it stubbornly wouldn't let go of my bait until I had pulled it ashore. Young Slider
Sliders are probably the most abundant turtle in the United States.  They originated in the southeast, but have been introduced nationwide and also to Europe.  The map shown here is a little more of a historical range (besides Hawai'i, of course).  I've seen them in Washington State as well (obviously introduced). Plastron

 See also the sliders in Texas.