Hi, my name is Tim Cole I’m with the Austin
Reptile Service and I’ve been keeping reptiles and amphibians for over forty years and we’re
here to talk to you about keeping red-eared sliders. I would start off by saying I would
discourage you from wanting to keep one mainly because it’s probably the most common turtle
that is dumped in the pet trade. And that’s because they get fairly large and they live
a long time. And because they get large, they don’t make good turtle pets unless you have
a backyard pond to keep them in, aquariums not going to be big enough. They start out
rather small, about that big and they grow rather quickly if you set them up properly.
And babies would be setup in the aquarium with full spectrum UV light, heat lamps. They’ll
eat a variety of foods, they’ll eat turtle pellets. They will eat some greens. They’ll
eat crickets, earthworms and the small ones might be able to catch some fish but not a
lot. As they get older, they tend to be more of a herbivore and more of a plant eater.
And the only fish they’re going to eat are ones that might be sick or dying. So they’re
not going to hurt a healthy fish population if they’re being kept in the backyard pond.
Keeping them outdoors in the southern part of the U.S. is the best way to keep them.
Outdoor ponds work out real well for keeping these animals. Of course, cleaning can be
a lot of work on a big turtle so you may want to come up with a filter system to help you
take care of that. Once you’ve been keeping the turtle in captivity in most states it’s
not legal to even release them back into the wild, not to mention it’s just not a good
idea. They could have bacterial diseases or infections that can infect the native population.
So you never want to release a reptile that’s been in captivity.