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Learn About Red Eared Slider Turtles: Photos, Videos, and Info.

Learning about the fellow creatures that share the planet with us is always of interest to me.

Red-eared sliders

Red-eared sliders

Red Eared Slider Turtles

The scientific name for red-eared slider turtles is Trachemys scripta elegans. Look for the dash of red color behind the ears in the first photo. It helps to identify this type of turtle.

We came across these turtles in the second photo shown below, which I was happily able to capture with my camera. I have since spotted them in many places in and around Houston. They are native to our part of the southern United States and are also native to Mexico.

A bale of turtles

A bale of turtles

Bale Information and More

My mother and several out of town visiting friends from Mississippi and I took a stroll around a pond in Houston's western area off of Eldridge Parkway. As we got closer to the turtles, they rapidly retreated into the water as a typical defensive maneuver.

There were many other turtles on smaller rocks that also hurried into the water when we got closer, but the photo shown above with the bale of turtles turned out great with the reflections in the water from the surrounding trees.

Did you know that a group of turtles is called a bale? Yes, indeed, it is. Most people associate the word bale with the packaging up by tightly wrapping things such as stacks of paper, cotton, or hay as examples. Now you can add to your word knowledge by adding groups of turtles to the list when talking or writing about bales.

Turtles often sunbathe to warm themselves. They do it to regulate their body temperatures, which depend upon the environment in which they find themselves. In colder winter months, they go into a form of partial hibernation called brumation.

The red-eared slider females are generally larger than the males. Their shells or carapaces average about six to eight inches. They can withdraw their heads and partially webbed feet into the carapace if in defensive mode.

Generally speaking, on average, these turtles can live up to thirty years in the wild, and less if kept as pets.

Photo taken at the Houston Audubon Society

Photo taken at the Houston Audubon Society

Sliders and Word Meanings

I did see stripes of red on the turtles extended necks watching us intently as we got closer to their rock upon which they were catching rays of the sun. That is how I identified them as red eared sliders compared to other types of turtles.

Given just how fast they all slid off of the rock and into the water...sliders appears to be an excellent descriptive name for these reptiles!

Sliders, just like the word bale, have alternate meanings for those who enjoy disparate language interpretations.

  • Have you ever watched a baseball player slide into the home base? It also refers to a specific kind of fastpitch of a ball called a slider using baseball terminology. It can curve and sometimes confound a batter in the expert hands of a pitcher if not ready for that ball, which turns away from the point of origin.
  • A slider is someone who does racing in a luge. Watching those luge races in the Olympics can be enthralling. The competitors catapult themselves very fast down those icy tunnels, mainly steering with their feet. You would not see me doing that! Sledding and tobogganing down a moderately sloped hill are the most that I have ever done many years ago when a child in Wisconsin.
  • A slider can be a knob that moves to control the level of volume, such as coming from a radio, for example.
  • Of course, there is the small type of hamburger served at parties for appetizers, of which many people are familiar and look forward to eating.
  • Did you know that there once was a science fiction television show called the Sliders? It showed travel to a parallel universe where the characters could slide between them through a portal. That reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, who slid down that tunnel and discovered a world very different from her own.

This is cute!

Pet Turtles

Many red-eared slider turtles started as pets and have, over time, unfortunately, gotten into the wild where they have become an invasive species. They reproduce rapidly and are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal life, although plants make up most of their diet. Ultimately they end up displacing other species that were native to the locations in which they have increased. People should never release pet turtles into the wild!

See a cute video of a pet red-eared slider turtle above. See how it interacts with the person who has it as a pet.

Two red-eared slider turtles

Two red-eared slider turtles

Scroll to Continue

We see many wild turtles in ponds and waterways in our part of the southern United States, and I am sure a significant number of them are the red-eared slider turtles. The video below also is very informative. Be sure and watch it if you would like to learn more about this specific type of turtle.

Much information about the Red-Eared Sliders can be found here:

Photo taken in a Houston park

Photo taken in a Houston park


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 30, 2019:

Hi Robert,

It is true what you wrote. Beating the bushes is probably not the best way to uncover a runaway turtle. (Smile)

Robert Sacchi on May 30, 2019:

Keep in mind while they can't move fast they can be hard to find. It's not as if someone can beat the bushes to have them dart out.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 29, 2019:

Hi Dale,

It sounds as if you have an interesting (crazy?) neighbor. Haha! I agree that turtles do not travel at sonic speeds.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 29, 2019:

There's a neighbor in the community I have a house in, Mesa Arizona, who seems to constantly be losing his turtle. Seriously. I find the guy frantically running through the streets desperately looking for his missing turtle. Now, to be fair, he may be crazy. Because how does this turtle keep escaping? And how fast can it really go?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2019:

Hi Aurelio,

Yes, the red-eared slider turtles are definitely easy to identify.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 25, 2019:

Have never heard of this species even though I used to take care of turtles at the Science Center I worked at. They are attractive and easy to recognize because of that red streak.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 13, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

It is a shame when pets like the red-eared slider turtle by being released into the wild have caused problems for other species. The same thing has happened with lionfish who have become a huge problem in ocean and Gulf of Mexico waters. Glad to know that you found this informative.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 13, 2018:

Very informative. I had never seen a red-eared turtle prior to this. Strange how the red-eared turtle in spite of having being reared as pets could displace the wild species and become invasive. A fine example of Darwin's theory of "Survival of the fittest".

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

If you visit ponds or creeks in Florida and see turtles of any kind I will just bet that some of them are the red eared slider turtles. Thanks for the compliment on my photo with the reflections of the turtles in the water. I was there at the right time and place to capture it.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 20, 2018:

I have never seen these up close and personal but your photos are grand. As you say the reflection of them is spectacular....what a great shot. Sending blessings and hugs on the wings of Angels. ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 23, 2018:

Hi C E Clark,

With as many red eared slider turtles that are frequently seen here in our area I am sure that they are probably in your part of Texas as well. You would just have to look for them wherever turtles are commonly seen in the wild.

C E Clark from North Texas on June 22, 2018:

I love to watch the wildlife when I can. Expect if I'd lived near where these turtles are I would have found them interesting too. Maybe even fed them. Wildlife is so interesting to me and I find the animals aren't so different when it comes to their feelings and dispositions from people.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 08, 2017:

Hi Patricia,

It must have been fun to see that turtle returning to your yard year after year. Knowing trivia can be fun. Some people are really good at it. At least you now know the meaning of a bale. Ha!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 08, 2017:

Cannot help but returning to spy these critters once again as I find them quite fascinating. And I am sticking in my head that a group of turtles is a bale....great trivia for me to know when I am on a game show....ha!!

When I was a little girl we had a turtle that returned summer after to summer until finally it did not. It was such a treat to see it come ambling across the yard to us one fine summer day. Sadly after a number of years it no longer returned. Such is the way of things.

Once again sending good wishes and many Angels your way ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 03, 2016:

Hi Peg,

Thanks for adding that additional information about the red eared slider turtles. Sad if so many slowly starved to death because of how they were sold. That should never happen!

You must love turtles judging from what you wrote.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 03, 2016:

Hi Au fait,

Glad you found this hub informative and thanks for the share. As to flooding is terrible down here! So many homes flooded...some that have never previously been in harms way due to water. Some animals in fields have also been lost...those that could not be relocated. Glad you are safe. We (so far) are also. Very sad situation in many parts of Texas right now. Next week we should be able to dry out according to weather forecasts as of now.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on June 03, 2016:

We raised a pair of Red Eared Sliders in a 100 gallon tank. The first one, we found crawling around our front yard, someone's pet who got lost. We lived nowhere near water, so we took her in.

The first video is worrisome to me. Sliders have a razor sharp jaw line and they will not hesitate to bite fingers, toes and other things when hungry. When ours got to the point where they were too big for the tank, and started laying eggs, we took them to a living material sanctuary where they were safely released into ponds on private property. They gave us five tiny turtles to raise. We named them Manny, Moe, Jack, Ray and Charles.

Back in the day, these guys were sold in the dime stores along with a plastic bowl with a palm tree in the center for a habitat. The problem was that the water was never deep enough for the turtles to eat their food, which they do underwater, so they starve slowly. Sad, but true. They are also a source for salmonella which can cause serious problems if they are handled without proper hand washing afterward.

C E Clark from North Texas on June 02, 2016:

Very interesting and not fearful once they get used to their owners it seems. Very good videos and I didn't know a group of turtles was a bale. Very educational. Sharing this excellent article. Also pinned to Awesome HubPages.

Hope your weather is getting better down there. We are having so much rain and we're under flash flood watch all the time. Too much rain! Very humid and uncomfortable. Hope you are well . ..

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 30, 2016:

Hi Robert,

People still dump dogs and I doubt that they would think releasing animals like turtles or fish would bother them. I think most people are responsible...but sadly there are some who are not.

Robert Sacchi on May 29, 2016:

Hopefully people know better than to release pets into the wild these days.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 29, 2016:

Hi Robert,

It is a shame when people release their "pet" animals into the wild. It is rarely a good outcome...and often a terrible outcome.

Robert Sacchi on May 26, 2016:

A bale of turtles. It is interesting the different collective names they have for animals. One would think by now everyone should know not to release their pets into the wild. I guess there is that bottom 10% that doesn't get, or listen to, the word.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2016:

Hi Patricia,

I agree with you. Domesticated animals should never be released into the wild.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 12, 2016:

Very interesting, Peggy. I have not seen one of these. Your analogies were spot on.

It is sad, to me, that folks take creatures as pets and then tire of them and abandon them into the wild. Often with undesirable consequences

Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 28, 2016:

Hi Susie,

Like you I respect all living creatures also. We never did have a turtle as a pet.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on March 28, 2016:

We have Red eared sliders and Snappers around here. I use to love playing with the Red eared sliders when I was young, but never kept one as a pet. We were told to release them so they wouldn't die. Now, I know that with proper care they would have lives, but we weren't set up for them. I love all creatures and respect them. Turtles are cool!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2016:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Many pets that are released into the wild fare poorly. In this case the red eared sliders have not only adapted well but are actually crowding out other species. I think that many people have a kind heart towards animals such as you appear to have. Nice!

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 26, 2016:

I'm always one to "help a title cross the road" and love it when I see that someone else is doing it. Sad that a critter that belongs in the wild would be born a pet then "set free" defenseless. They are beautiful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 25, 2016:

Hi emge,

From your comment I would surmise that you probably have these red eared turtles as pets? I have only seen them in the wild and there are many of them in our local waterways.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2016:

Hello DDE,

So happy that you found this to be informative.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2016:

Hi Jackie,

When I was growing up we had dogs, cats, birds and fish but never a turtle. I also do not like to run over any living thing when on the road and try my best to avoid it. Turtles move slowly so are quite a target when on a busy highway. Thanks for the share.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on March 23, 2016:

Peggy, this is a lovely post. I love these animals

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 23, 2016:

Hi Frank,

Glad you liked this info. regarding the red eared slider turtles.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 23, 2016:

Hi Nell,

Glad you enjoyed this hub as well as your tv program.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 23, 2016:

Beautiful and informative on this topic.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 22, 2016:

I love turtles. I am ashamed to say too that as a child my parents bought one for me and my younger brothers to share more than once and they always came up missing. I am sure we thought they went to live with other turtles but of course today we know the truth.

I can't stand to see a turtle in the road, it always upsets me so bad but there is little you can do but hope for the best and hope other drivers care as much as you do to avoid them.

Fun article. Shared!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 22, 2016:

again you share hubs with wonderful wild life.. I do enjoy them Peggy W

Nell Rose from England on March 22, 2016:

Fascinating stuff! I love turtles, I have been watching a tv program about them recently, great hub!

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