- Size: Medium
- Length: 5-13”
- Type: Semi-aquatic
- Lifespan: 20+ years
- Food: Commercial turtle diet, non-toxic aquatic plants, worms, fish, insects, vegetables
- Difficulty Of Care: Moderate Maintenance
- Comparable Breeds: Red-Eared Slider, Cumberland Slider
Yellow-Bellied Slider General Info
The Yellow-Bellied Slider is an attractive turtle that make great pets. Even though they are not as well known or as popular as the similar Red-Eared Slider, these animals are a good choice for those who wish to add a turtle to their family.
The Yellow-Bellied Slider is an attractive turtle that makes a great pet.
You can find the Yellow-Bellied Slider throughout the southeastern portion of the United States, from Virginia to Alabama.
These turtles can be found in a variety of freshwater habitats that include marshes, lakes, permanent ponds, floodplain swamps, slow-moving rivers, and seasonal wetlands. They prefer bodies of water that are shallow and that provide plenty of aquatic vegetation, basking areas, and soft bottoms.
Yellow-Bellied Sliders feature an oval carapace and a rounded jaw. Females are usually larger than males. Also, males will have a thick, long tail and will showcase darker colors than females as they grow and mature.
The Yellow-Bellied Slider has distinct markings that make it stand out. You will quickly notice this turtle’s pretty yellow stripes, which are found on the legs, neck, and head. There is also a bright orange, red, or yellow spot on the sides of the turtle’s head.
The carapace ranges in color from brown to olive, and it also features yellow bars or stripes. Also, the plastron, which is yellow, can feature dark blotches on the bony plates.
Yellow-Bellied Sliders do well in community tanks, as long as they are housed with similar turtle breeds.
You will need to provide your Yellow-Bellied Slider with a large aquarium of at least 60 gallons for a single turtle. Hatchlings should not be housed in an aquarium that is smaller than 15 gallons. If you plan on housing more than one turtle in the same enclosure, you should add an extra 20 gallons for each turtle, as a minimum.
Always use a high quality water filtration system to ensure the freshwater is kept pure at all times. Maintain the water temperature anywhere from 75-80°F with the help of a submersible water heater. And make sure the water is deep enough that your turtle can totally submerge himself and swim around comfortably. A good recommendation for water depth is around 18”.
Yellow-Bellied Slider Turtles enjoy basking, so you will need to provide your pet with a basking area that is large and comfortable. The material should be non-abrasive and your turtle should be able to dry off completely. Use a heat lamp to keep the basking area’s temperature anywhere from the high 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit. The rest of the air temperature in the tank should be kept anywhere from the low to mid 80s Fahrenheit. Also set up a UVB light bulb over your turtle’s enclosure.
In terms of substrate, you can decide whether or not you would like to include it in your turtle’s tank. Using a substrate could make your turtle’s tank harder to clean, and you will need a highly efficient water filtration system as well to help you keep the substrate clean. If you are going to use a substrate, choose gravel that is larger than what your turtle would be able to swallow.
In addition to filtration, you will need to perform complete water changes on a regular basis in order to maintain the water quality.
Yellow-Bellied Sliders are highly sociable animals.
Because the Yellow-Bellied Slider is a turtle that follows an omnivorous diet, you will be able to feed your pet a variety of foods. These include insects, fish, and non-toxic aquatic plants. Good options are small feeder fish, crickets, wax worms, mealworms, chopped vegetables, and a commercial turtle food.
Yellow-Bellied Sliders do well in community tanks, as long as they are housed with similar turtle breeds, such as Red-Eared Sliders, Painted Turtles, Cooters, and Map Turtles. Just be sure that you can give your turtles a large enclosure in order to give each animal enough space and hiding places, and always keep an eye out for aggressive behaviors between your turtles.
Overall, Yellow-Bellied Sliders are highly sociable animals, and even those turtles that are shy at the beginning will become more comfortable in a short period of time. It is always best to purchase turtles that have been bred in captivity, as they will be more comfortable around humans and you can rest assured that they were not taken out of their wild habitats.
Giving your turtle a high quality enclosure and keeping the handling of your Yellow-Bellied Slider to a minimum will help keep your pet happy and healthy.
Photo credit: Andrjuss/Bigstock; cmspic /Bigstock; Jay Ondreicka/Bigstock