how big do red eared sliders get

How Big Do Red Eared Slider Turtles Get? Read Before You Purchase

How big do red eared slider turtles get? 

A question you’ve asked yourself the moment you thought of purchasing a baby red-eared slider turtle. 

Here is the thing:

There are many people buying these animals without even considering searching for their requirements. They don’t educate themselves enough about keeping red eared sliders, they don’t know what to do, and what not to do. 

Heck, many of them just bought the turtle without much thinking. And now, after a couple of years, they have a big red eared slider, a turtle they don’t know what to do with it. That’s why it’s so important to know how big do red eared sliders can get before you purchase one. 

In short, adult red eared sliders can reach sizes up to 12 inches, usually, females being the bigger ones. 

However, the size one red eared slider reach will mainly depend on several factors. 

In this post, we’ll cover all these factors and explain their correlation with the red eared slider maximum growth size. 

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Red Eared Slider Diet

Want to know one of the biggest factors that influence red eared sliders size? 

Their Diet. 

What kind of food you give to your red eared sliders will determine their growth. Red eared sliders are omnivores, and in general, a healthy baby turtle will accept a wide variety of foods. 

However, not every type of food will have the same effect on their growth. As we said earlier, red eared sliders are omnivores, which means their diet consists of vegetables, fruits, and meat. A balanced diet is a key to raising a healthy turtle, however, a protein-based diet will affect the overall growth the most. 

Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean that you should feed your turtle just with meat. On the contrary, to make sure they live longer and healthier life feed them a variety of foods. 

Age of the Red Eared Slider

Baby red eared slider turtles are small in size, reaching no more than 1 inch in length. 

However, they don’t stay that small forever. The first years of their lives are crucial in terms of growth.

With a balanced diet, assuming all other conditions are met, you can expect your baby turtle to reach size up to 3 inches in the first year or two. As they get older, their growth rate will slow down reaching 12 inches as adults. 

Gender Differences 

In their juvenile period, all red eared sliders have similar sizes. In a matter of fact, it’s very difficult to distinguish the females from the males when they are babies. 

However, as they grow up, they’ll start to look a little different from each other. Females grow at faster rates than males. 

If you compare an adult female with an adult male red eared slider you’ll easily notice that females have a bigger appearance. 

How Big Do Red Eared Sliders Get in Captivity 

There is a big difference between wild specimens and pet turtles. And I’ll tell you why.   

In general, red eared sliders in captivity tend to grow bigger than the ones in the wild. 

Your pet turtle is getting all the things they need for a healthier life, while wild red eared sliders are left on the mercy of nature. 

Turtles in the wild don’t have access to food at any given time, therefore their growth rate is oftentimes limited. Not to mention the fact that most of the babies will not survive their first year. 

Another important factor that has a big impact on red eared slider growth is the temperature. 

Pet turtles live in a controlled environment with a regulated and stable room or water temperature. On the contrary, wild red eared slider turtles need to deal with the winter and the worsening weather conditions that come with it. 

Wild turtles hibernate in order to survive, losing energy and important nutrients in the process. 

If you take only the numbers into consideration, you will see the wild turtles have less than 9 months to continuously grow in a period of 1 year. On the other hand, red eared slider turtles in captivity have all the necessary conditions, which will result in faster growth. 

Final Thoughts 

Red eared sliders are one of the most popular pets all across the world. They are one of the most released pets in the wild, as well. 

That’s why it’s so important to address this issue over and over again, so many people become aware of the problem. 

If you are interested in keeping turtles, first educate yourself on the subject of how big red eared slider turtles can get. If you are still interested in keeping them, and you are confident that you can provide adequate conditions, then purchase one. 

3 thoughts on “How Big Do Red Eared Slider Turtles Get? Read Before You Purchase”

  1. yes i have a red eared turtle and his growth has been great but it seems not to eat every day can you help me with the food that suits him and the best nutrition should i give him thank you arnold.

    1. Our RES, I saved as a hatchling from ranch pond six months ago. She’s now about 3″ diameter, and likes to be fed by hand! 😉 Contrary to many other sites, daily, consistency means A LOT😁

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