Juvenile Yellow Belly Slider Turtle
Age Group: Juvenile
Common Name: Yellow Belly Slider Turtle
Scientific Name: Trachemys scripta scripta
Description: Juvenile Yellow Belly Slider Turtles are sold at approximately 2 to 4 inches in diameter. They have yellow striping on their head, limbs and neck with bright orange or yellow spots on either side of their heads. Their olive to brown shell also has yellow stripes and is oval shaped. Their bellies are also yellow, hence their name, with a single dark mark on each bony plate.
Origin: This species is native to the southeastern United States. They are found from Florida to southeastern Virginia. They are the most common turtle species found within this range.
Lifespan: Yellow belly slider turtles have a lifespan of over 40 years in captivity.
Habitat in captivity: Juvenile Yellow Belly Sliders can be housed in a 20 to 40 gallon aquarium setup. Keep in mind that a properly cared for turtle will grow quickly and you will soon need to upgrade its habitat until its eventual home in a large pond (at least 60-gal). You also need to offer the following necessities;
- UVB Light – UVB is needed to metabolize calcium. Calcium is needed for proper shell formation and bone growth. A lack of UVB will be responsible for bone diseases and early death. These lights need to be changed every 6 months if you are using a Coil Bulb or every year with a Mercury Vapor Bulb. Mercury Vapor Bulbs are a great product because they provide UVA, UVB and heat!
- Basking Light and UVA – UVA rays are what drives your turtle to eat, hunt, swim and generally exhibit normal turtle behavior. Offer a basking spot in the high 80’s in order for your turtle to properly digest its food and exhibit normal behavior.
- Heat – In addition to a basking light, water temperatures should be maintained at approximately 70 degrees by using a submersible water heater.
- Filtration – While you are raising your turtle, good water filtration is necessary to maintain a healthy living environment free of ammonia and other harmful toxins.
- Habitat Décor – These turtles thrive if they have a nice, dry basking area and deep water to swim in. Other cage decorations can include substrate, plants, ornaments and Driftwood.
Diet: Yellow belly slider turtles are omnivores, but younger juveniles are predominantly carnivorous. As your turtle grows you will notice that their pallet will start to change. 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: Males grow to be between 5 and 8” and females are larger, between 8 and 13”.
Community Turtle: This species is a community turtle. For every one inch of turtle, add 10 gallons to their habitat.