Hatchling Mexican Slider Turtle
Age Group: Hatchling
Common Name: Mexican Slider or Meso-American Slider
Scientific Name: Trachemys venusta
Description: Mexican Slider hatchlings are very similar to their cousin, the red-eared slider in overall appearance yet have a very ornate pattern on their shells in vibrant yellows, greens and blacks. Their skin is a dark olive green with numerous yellow striping. The come out of the egg at approximately 1 to 1.5”.
Origin: These turtles are common in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
Lifespan: This species will live 15-25 years with proper care.
Habitat in captivity: Hatchling Mexican sliders are well suited to a 10-gal aquarium setup with 6 inches of water. Despite their small size, these are very strong swimmers and appreciate the extra depth. Other things your turtle will need to do well in your care are:
- UVB Light – For a healthy turtle you will need a Coil Bulb or Mercury Vapor Bulb to give them the UVB they require to metabolize calcium.
- Basking Light and UVA – Just as UVB helps the turtle absorb calcium, UVA will keep their circadian rhythms on track. If you choose the Mercury Vapor bulb, it emits UVA radiation as well as UVB therefore requiring only one light although it should be replaced annually to ensure that it is still emitting the correct concentration as they will lose that ability over time. They should have a dry basking area with a temperature in the high 80s to low 90s.
- submersible water heater may be required to raise the temperature to the correct level. As adults, these turtles do well with temperatures in the low to mid 70s, yet due to the fact that hatchlings are much more fragile than their older counterparts, the higher temperature will give them a much better chance to thrive.
- Filtration – Turtles make a lot of mess therefore water filtration is necessary to filter out any harmful elements such as ammonia from your turtle’s water and to help avoid frequent water changes which can change the water’s pH.
- Habitat Décor – As long as the turtle has a basking spot, a few plants to climb and hide in and enough water, they will be happy, of course there are other cage decorations that include substrate, ornaments and Driftwood to enhance your turtle’s enclosure for both you and your turtle’s pleasure.
Diet: Mexican Sliders are omnivores, but as hatchlings they are predominantly carnivorous. They will readily eat a wide variety of foods. There are commercially available diets, like those from Zilla or ReptoMin. Along with that they can be fed feeder fish, feeder crickets, earthworms, krill, blood worms, occasional crayfish and ghost shrimp, aquatic plants (such as Water Lilies, Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, Anacharis, Water Lettuce, Water Fern, Pondweed, Water Starwort, Hornwort, Water Milfoil, and Frogbit), some vegetables (such as Zucchini, Squash, Collard Greens, Beet Leaves, Endive, Romaine, Red Leaf Lettuce, Kale, Escarole, Mustard Greens and Dandelions) and some fruits (i.e. Banana).
Size at adulthood: Adult female Mexican Sliders are larger than their male counterparts. Males average 6 to 7 inches while females grow up to 12 inches.
Community Turtle: This species can be housed communally if care is given to enclosure size. A great rule of thumb is that for every inch of turtle add 5 gallons to your habitat.