How long do red-eared slider turtles live?
It is one of the most common questions we asked ourselves when we bought our first turtle.
In short, with proper care, a captive-bred red-eared slider can live more than 20 years. However, most of them don’t live that long due to improper care by their owners.
Most people have no idea that red-eared sliders can live that long.
In some cases even 50 years.
They just assume that these little pets live only several years, cause most of them die in the first 2 years. In fact, the biggest reason for this is improper care as I mentioned before.
So if you want to keep turtles as pets, just make sure you provide them with enough space and a clean environment. Your turtle will be healthier, happier and you’ll get a lifetime companion.
In this article, I’ll explain what are the most important things you need to do to increase your red-eared slider turtle life expectancy.
How long do red-eared slider turtles live in captivity?
You can’t ignore the fact that pet turtles can live for a very long time. Buying a red-eared slider is a big commitment and you should be aware when you’re getting one.
How long they will live depends on many factors. For instance, in captivity, they can live longer than in the wild.
Red-eared slider lifespan in captivity can be as long as 40 years.
How long do red-eared slider turtles live in the wild?
Factors such as diverse diet, proper filtration, and temperature are the most important.
Unfortunately, many pet turtles don’t live that long in captivity because they don’t receive proper care.
In their natural habitat, the young ones face different problems.
Predators and their weak immune system can shorten their lifespan. However, if they survive the first few years, their lifespan gets a major boost.
Red-eared slider lifespan in the wild can be as long as 30 years.
How to increase your Red-eared slider lifespan?
Choose a healthy baby red-eared slider
What most people don’t realize is that buying a healthy baby turtle is the most important thing you need to do.
How do I know what turtle is healthy, I hear you ask?
First: Find a reputable seller.
You have two options here. Buy from an established pet store, or from private sellers and breeders.
Either way, look for how clean are the rooms where they keep their animals and how they care for them.
Second: Buy only captive-bred red-eared sliders.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who sell wild turtles. It’s illegal and you should stay away from them.
Always ask for documentation regarding the turtles offered.
Even if you want to buy a wild turtle you shouldn’t do it. They are more prone to diseases than captive-bred red-eared sliders.
Third: Check signs for illness.
There are a lot of ways to do this, but I recommend focusing on these few simple things.
- Always choose an active and responsive baby turtle.
- Check the eyes and make sure that they are clean, open, and not swollen.
- See carefully how the shell and skin look.
So that’s the very first step for increasing your turtle lifespan. However, just because you bought a healthy baby doesn’t necessarily mean that the red-eared slider will live longer.
There are other factors you need to consider.
Provide your turtle an adequate sized tank
Red-eared sliders are mostly sold as babies in all pet stores. However, they can get quite large.
Keep that in mind when you are setting up your first turtle tank. You can probably start small with enough swimming space for the baby.
However, sooner or later you’ll need to expand the enclosure.
As adults, red-eared sliders need at least a 120-gallon tank. It’s even better if you have an outside pond so they can feel like they are in their natural habitat.
For baby sliders, a 55-gallon tank will be enough.
For each additional turtle add 10 to 20 gallons of water.
Remember, a turtle that has been provided with enough room to swim is a happy and healthy turtle.
Make sure you have a proper filtration system
Red-eared sliders are messy animals.
Everybody that has kept red-eared sliders knows that fact. They are high maintenance pets.
However, most of the new turtle owners don’t know how important is to have great water quality.
Frequent water changes are necessary.
But, that’s the most tedious and boring job you can do. It’s a never-ending task.
Setting up a filtration system will help tremendously to keep your water clean.
Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean that you can get away with the water changes. But at least you will have an easier job and make them less frequently.
Temperature and lighting
Lack of proper lighting and temperature will shorten your turtle lifespan.
If you care about your turtle health then providing proper full-spectrum lighting is a must.
Full-spectrum lighting is important in the process of making vitamin D. With the appropriate amount of vitamin D calcium will more easily absorb in the gastrointestinal tract.
And we all know that calcium is the most important mineral in a turtle’s body.
Providing proper lighting is not enough. Turtles are cold-blooded animals and depend on external sources of heat.
Without temperature regulation in your tank, they will certainly go into hibernation.
To prevent any health complications that can go with that make sure you set up a heater in your turtle tank.
Provide a diverse diet
A bad diet can shorten turtle lifespan as much as the other factors I’ve mentioned in this article.
Red-eared sliders are opportunistic omnivorous and will eat almost everything they come across.
To ensure that your baby slider stays healthy and happy feed it with a variety of foods.
Young baby turtles need to eat every day and the adults every other day.
Providing a diverse diet, proper filtration, and enough space for swimming are the most important things to ensure the longevity of your pet turtle.
As long as those criteria are satisfied your red-eared slider will have a long and happy life.
Do you have a red-eared slider or are you planning to purchase one?
Either way, let me know in the comments below.