There are several different species of slider turtles, but the most commonly kept as pets. are Red Eared Slider Turtles. These are the turtles you often see piled up in small tanks in pet stores, and the same turtles which were at the heart of the salmonella scare back in the 1970s. What really happened was that some children contracted the disease, which is normally transmitted though the animal’s stool, by putting baby sliders in their mouths.
It took several years for slider turtles to be available in North America following the incident, and a new law prohibiting the sale of turtles smaller than 4 inches was passed. As a general rule, it is highly recommended that you wash your hands with antibacterial soap after handling any animal, as most of them carry germs of some sort.
Slider turtles make excellent pets, but they require the same amount of care as all the other turtles covered on this site. One thing to keep in mind is that slider turtles can grow up to 11 inches in length, so that small tank you bought along with your 4 inch turtle may not be adequate later on. Make sure you keep the water clean, as most turtles tend to foul it up pretty fast. Provide both space for swimming and a space for resting. The bottom of your tank should contain plenty of small rocks, so that your turtle can dig, as it is something they seem to enjoy doing.
In nature, sliders usually live in swampy areas where there is a lot of mud and vegetation, such as shallow ponds and lakesides In addition to swimming and digging in rocks and mud, sliders love the warmth of the sun, and can lazily lay there for hours, before returning to the water for a swim. Sliders are also omnivorous, although they tend to eat less meat as they grow older. Captive sliders can be fed live goldfish, dried tubifex worm cubes and special food sticks. You can also feed your slider lettuce and other vegetables. Keep a close watch on your turtle’s behavior, it should speak volumes about it’s current state of health. A healthy slider will have alert eyes, and sharp coloring, whereas a sick one can be easily spotted by its lethargic behavior and dull looking skin color.