If you know someone who has a pet turtle, there is a very good chance that it is a red-eared slider. The name itself reveals the stand out trait of the sub-species. There is a remarkable red line that runs in a thin stretch on both ears. This characteristic has made the turtle one of the most distinguished and easily identifiable compared to the others.
The slider in the name comes from the turtle’s amazing ability to slide off rocks and wooden logs in lightening quick manner into the water.
Maybe nature always intended the read-eared slider to be more of a domesticated turtle than one found in the wild. The reason we say this is its looks have made it the most popular choice for a pet turtle in the United States. Its popularity, however, is not only confined to the continent of North America. Throughout the world, the red-eared variety is in demand as a pet. In fact, this demand makes the sub-species one of the most traded across the globe.
The popularity of the red-eared slider comes with a catch.
An Invasive Species
The turtle may seem harmless, docile, and quite adorable to us. But to the other species, it can be a menace. Because it is one of the most traded sub species, the red-eared slider is also one of the most invasive, according to the IUCN.
The reason for this is that pet owners often release their turtles into the wild after keeping them for a few years. This allows the sub-species to mate and grow in a completely new habitat. The result is that it can overtake some of the natural species found in the habitat, and make resources scarce for the original inhabitants.
A Unique Kind of Hibernation
One of the most unique aspects about the red-eared slider is that it does not hibernate in the traditional sense, but engages in brumation. This is a condition where the creature is not sleeping through the winter months, rather it slows down its physical activity to such a degree that it does not need to eat or defecate.
The red-eared slider remains in a stupor during the winter months, resting at the bottom of shallow ponds and lakes. They are able to drop their physical output by nearly 80%, and minimize breathing to reduce energy consumption.
The period when they bromate usually begins in October as the temperature falls below 10-degrees Celsius. The sub-species is known to remain motionless for the entire first month. They survive anaerobically by producing energy from glycolysis. When a particular physical being is in this state, there is a high rate of lactic acid produced as a result. The shell of the red-eared slider absorbs the excess acid, preventing acidosis.
A point to keep in mind is that the turtle should not bromate when kept as a pet. This segues to our concluding section.
As Household Pets
We have already talked about how the red-eared variety is one of the most popular pet. There are, however, certain conditions that need to be taken care of, such as:
- Temperature control
The sub-species are cold blooded and needs the temperature to be regulated.
- Risk of infection
The turtle may not be affected by certain bacteria, like salmonella, which make them possible carriers of infections.