Fact Sheet

Red-eared Sliders


Trachemys scripta elegans


Pond Sliders have brown to olive green coloured shells, with a slight keel running down the center. Green-black stripes run along the body. Sliders are sexually dimorphic; females grow larger (up to 24 cm in length) than males (up to 11 cm in length). Red-Eared Sliders have red patches behind the eyes. In their native habitats in the United States, sliders can lay 4–23 eggs, and can have multiple clutches per year. This happens in April-May. Sliders can live for up to 40 years.

Habitat & Impact

Sliders inhabit freshwater ponds and slow-moving rivers with soft substrate bottoms, aquatic plants, and basking sites. Being omnivores, they feed on aquatic plants, insects, crayfish, snails, tadpoles, fish, and small frogs. Sliders hibernate in hollow logs, or partially buried in mud at the bottom of ponds. Sliders compete with our native turtle species for basking spots, nesting spots, food, and other resources. They are also considered a threat to native species because they may carry several respiratory diseases harmful to native turtles.


As a popular pet species, they are most likely released once they grow and become too big and difficult to care for.

Red Patch behind eyes

Confusing Native Species

Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta), Nova Scotia’s native turtles, are being directly affected by the introduction of Sliders. This is because Sliders occupy similar niches, and will compete for resources.

Key Identification Features

Red Patch behind eyes.

© PEYWAY, iNat
Basking Red-Eared Sliders
Basking Painted Turtle

Other invasive Sliders:
Yellow-Bellied Sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta)

Shells are brown to olive green in colour, with a slight keel running down the centre. Green-black stripes run along the body. Average size is between 12–20 cm. A yellow patch behind the eyes is indicative of Yellow-Bellied Sliders. They also like warm, shallow, stagnant ponds. Yellow-Bellied Sliders compete with native species for resources.

Yellow-bellied slider

Interesting Fact

When hibernating, turtles’ main source of oxygen is through cloacal respiration – using their cloaca for oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange.

Stewardship Actions

It is uncertain whether or not sliders are breeding in the wild in Nova Scotia, but they have been reported breeding in the wild in Ontario. More surveillance/early detection is needed to handle their distribution and status. If you spot this invasive species, upload your observation to iNaturalist and report it directly to the NSISC.