Hatchling Rio Grande Red Ear Slider Turtle
Age Group: Hatchling
Common Name: Rio GrandeRed Ear Slider Turtle
Scientific Name: Trachemys scripta elegans
Description: Hatchling Rio Grande red ear slider turtles come out of the egg at a size of 1 to 1.5” or approximately the size of a United States quarter. These baby turtles are a more ornate version of the typical red ear slider turtle. They maintain their bright contrast throughout their life with bright green coloration in the carapace and skin. Their carapace is smooth, mildly domed, and hard. Their skin is striped and they have an oval-shaped red or orange patch behind each eye. This is how this species got its name, although these red patches are not ears. The plastron is a dull yellow coloration with black spots.
Origin: As their name implicates, Rio Grande red ear slider turtles are originally from the Rio Grande water ways in South Texas.
Lifespan: A well cared for, captive bred Rio Grande red eared slider can be expected to live upwards of 40 years.
Habitat in captivity: Hatchling Rio Grande sliders can be started in a 10-gal aquarium setup. Keep in mind that a properly cared for baby turtle will grow quickly and you will soon need to upgrade its habitat until its eventual home in a large pond. In order to ensure that your turtle is thriving, you need to offer the following necessities;
- UVB Light – UVB is necessary for your turtle to properly metabolize calcium and to grow a perfect shell. Without it, your turtle will suffer from crippling diseases and possible early death. These lights need to be changed every 6 months if you are using Coil Bulbs or every year with a Mercury Vapor Bulb
- Basking Light and UVA – UVA rays are necessary to encourage proper feeding responses and behavior in reptiles. By offering a basking light placed above their dry basking area, you are ensuring that your turtle can properly digest its food and maintain proper basking temperatures of the high 80's to low 90's for hatchling turtles.
- Heat – In addition to a basking light, water temperatures should be maintained at approximately 78 to 80 degrees for hatchlings by using a submersible water heater
- Filtration – While you are raising your hatchling rio grande res turtle, good water filtration is necessary to maintain a healthy living environment free of ammonia and other harmful toxins.
- Habitat Décor – This is up to the discretion of the owner. The enclosure can be as simple or complex as you want. It is necessary to provide your hatchling slider with a basking platform and live plants are a great additional water filter. Other cage decorations can include substrate, ornaments and Driftwood.
Diet: Rio Grande red ear 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: Rio Grande sliders can grow to a diameter of 12 inches. Females are typically larger than males.
Community Turtle: Rio Grande red ear sliders are communal and are best housed in groups. One hatchling can be kept for a short time in a 10-gal tank. When housing multiple hatchlings, add 5-gal for every inch of turtle.