What to know before choosing a red eared slider

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Turtles are great pets because they can be enjoyed easily indoors, and they do not make a lot of mess and noise around the house. The never chew on the furniture, there are no recorded incidents of them clawing the drapes, and they tend not to bite company. For those considering a pet, choosing the right turtle can be a wonderful experience. Before making a selection, the needs of the animal must be considered.

Many turtles remain small even as adults, but a red slider takes up a bit more room than normal. An adult will grow large enough to need swimming room that can be provided only in a large tank, so the minimum need will be at least one hundred gallon size. They can be housed in a plastic pond liner or pool, and some of their time can be spent outdoors. An outdoor pool must be fenced to keep predators from making the family pet into a snack, so that is one more consideration when choosing.

Unlike some turtles, special lighting is necessary for a red slider. They require warmer temperatures for their water, and they also need UVB lighting for their basking. Being able to provide these is a must, so choose another type of turtle if providing these amenities is not possible.

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A healthy pet begins with selecting one that has been carefully examined for existing illness, and these include looking at their eyes and shell for defects. A healthy red slider is active and should be swimming, so those that simply lay there might have existing health issues. Claw fluttering and failure to bask could also indicate issues that will need the attention of a vet.

Maintaining a turtle is fairly easy when it comes to diet, but making the mistake of feeding it only commercial pellets is one of the ways it can become ill due to malnutrition. While they can be used as a supplement, red sliders require plant and animal foods for their entire life. They do rely on more plant-based foods as they mature, so that will cut down on their food bill.

Cleaning their tank and changing the water on a regular basis will help keep them healthy, and it can be a good way to avoid issues with their shells and ear infections. Feeding them outside the water will eliminate excess waste and lengthen the time between tank cleanings. One other diet consideration is ensuring they are not overfed because it can lead to obesity and a shorter life span.

It is generally difficult to know the sex of a red slider before it becomes an adult, but it does not need to be an issue. Females will require a nesting area so they do not become egg bound, and any eggs they do lay will not be fertile.

One other item of importance to know about when choosing a turtle is that some of them do carry salmonella, and it can be spread to humans. Washing hands thoroughly after handling the turtle will greatly lower any risk involved.

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