Red Eared Slider Lifespan – Happy, Healthy Turtles

So you are thinking of buying a Red Eared Slider Turtle. Did you know that slider turtle are amongst the most popular species of turtle to own as a pet. They are reasonably sized and have very active characteristics that make them a perfect pet for the family to enjoy. But do you know how long a red eared slider lifespan is?

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Through this article, we will explains just how long a red eared slider turtle can live. As well as dietary requirements and environmental requirements which can help lead to a long lifespan. So let’s get straight into it.

About The Red Eared Slider Turtle 

Red eared slider turtles, or terrapins, are one of the most common specie of turtle to be kept as a pet. They are an extremely hardened specie of turtle, which can thrive in captivity and closely replicated environments.

These red eared slider turtles are semi-aquatic. What is meant by this is, they spend their time both on land and in water. Red ears will spend a lot of their time in the water, and can hold their breathe for a huge amount of time, however just as much as they love to swim, they love to bask.

They are native to the southerns states of America and northern Mexico. However they have now been established in many other locations across the world due to pet releases. Because of their hardy attributes, red ears are able to withstand drastic environmental changes. It’s for this reason they have make their way into the worlds top 100 evasive species.

So how long do they live?

A typical Red eared slider lifespan ranges between 20 – 30 years of age. However there have been many individuals which have lived for 40 years and above. These little turtles really do have an amazing lifespan and will be a part of your family for a very long time. That is if the correct care is provided for them obviously.

Commonly Red ears lifespan expectancy is shortened in captivity. Unlike many other reptile and animals, turtles seen to live longer when they are not in captivity. Usually animals are protected in captivity from predators and natural environmental issues, which usually cause them an early death. Captive animals or pets usually have a better lifestyle and regular feeding times than they would in the wild. Their enclosures should be kept clean and they should be fed regularly, with a temperature which stays at its optimal. This is why usually specking, pet species live longer than they would if they were in the wild. 

Turtles usually spend their days swimming all day long, hunting and grazing for food. But sadly, in captivity, they just can’t get the amount of exercise they need for a completely healthy lifestyle. This is the reason why wild Red ears usually live longer in the wild than in captivity. They live such long lives in the wild due to the fact they have very little predators, apart from Crocodiles and Alligators, and even then it’s only when they are young, as their shells are too hard to break.

What contributes to a long red eared slider lifespan?

There are a number of factors you should consider when creating an environment which your Red eared slider turtle will thrive in. The better you provide for them, the longer, happier and healthier their life will be. The 5 factors you should consider are: Diets, Tank size, Suitable tank mates, Cleanliness, Natural environment. So let’s take a closer look at these.


A well balanced and staple diet will undoubtably keep your turtle happy and healthy. The correct diet will keep your turtle active and living a happy life exactly how it should. Correct diet is know to help avoid and fight off common turtle illnesses and diseases. 

Red ears need a diet which consists of; 

  • Commercial pellet foods, with added vitamins and minerals 
  • Freeze dried krill (as a treat), 
  • Non-toxic aquatic plantations
  • Worms and Insects (Also as treats)
1. Commercial Pellet Foods

Zoo-Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Food, is a great choice for Red ears. It has a special growth formula with added vitamins and minerals, to make sure your growing turtle gets all the goodness it needs. The nutrient rich pellets help boost the holistic health of turtles, through natural ingredients with no chemicals. It also contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Only natural ingredients, which your turtle will love.

2. Freeze Dried Krill

This is a delicious treat for you turtle. Freeze dried krill can be given to your turtle in small amounts a couple of times a week. The krill is usually “gamma irradiated” to make sure they are completely Pathogen free before being freeze dried. Krill holds loads of proteins and fats, which is great for your turtle every so often.

3. Non-toxic Aquatic Plantations 

Live plants are a great addition to your turtles diet, and they are very aesthetically pleased inside your tank also. So these are pretty much a must have. However not all water plants are safe for a turtle. The four best plantations you can add to your tank for turtles are, Hornworts, Java Moss, Java Ferns and Moneyworts. These are all suitable for turtle to eat, so they’ll cause no harm to their health.

4. Worms and Insects

Red eared slider turtles will also eat live foods such as worms and some insects. You can buy ‘Can O’worms’ which is another Zoo-Med product which is a great choice for your turtle. Worms and insects can be left on the dry land part of the tank, and can be eaten when your turtle comes up to rest. Sometimes they may fall into the water which gives your turtle another treat to find later on.

Tank Size

The size of your tank will have a massive effect of a turtles health and life span. Unfortunately you’ll never be able to give them the space they desire as they can travel for miles each day in the wild. However, as a ball part figure it is suggested you need 10 gallons of water per inch of turtle. So if it were 3 inches long, it would need 30 gallons. % inches long and it would need 50 gallons.

Many other reptiles become very stressed out with enclosure and tanks which are too big. It causes a threat of predators, (even though there is not, they don’t know that) so they’re always on guard. Turtles are different though, they need all the space they can get, so the bigger the tank, the better.

Suitable Tank Mates

A long lifespan also depends on suitable tank mates for your turtle. First of all, adult turtles may begin to fight if the tank isn’t a sufficient size to house more than one turtle. Males in particular will fight more than the females, so having one male in the tank would probably be your best choice.

As well as that, you can actually put some fish into the aquarium too. However you have to choose the right sort of fish. Commonly some fish are used as feeders for turtles, so you want to make sure you get reasonably sized fish that are either too big to eat, or small, so they are fast enough to get away from the turtle if it needs to. Usually though, if the fish is big enough, your turtle won’t even acknowledge it as food. But again your tank size has to be big enough to house all these turtles and fish.

Suitable fish you can include into your aquarium are; Tetras, Zebrafish, Yellow Ciclids

These fish will thrive at the optimal temperatures for your turtle. Fish will need place to hide every so often. You you’ll need to have some plantations, rocky ornaments, or anything that offers from shelter for the fish. They just need somewhere to hide every once in a while.

Unsuitable fish include; Catfish, Piranhas, Eels, and even Lobsters.

These species are notorious for being highly aggressive and won’t stop until their enemy is killed. Housing these species in the same aquarium may not end to well for your turtle. Make sure you are absolutely sure which species you can house with your turtle before putting them in. Any local reptile or aquatic store should be able to tell you exactly what can and can’t be put into the aquarium.


This is probably the most obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Cleanliness is without a doubt one of the key factors to a long lifespan for your red eared turtle. Having a suitable filter which is in fully working condition will help to keep your aquarium as clean as possible. 

  • Remove any uneaten food and faeces as soon as possible.
  • Disinfect the tank at least once a week, and scrub any ornaments and furnishing.
  • Fill with dechlorinated water
  • Temperature should be between 70 – 75 Degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

If you are using a bleach solution, make sure it’s not above 3%. You’ll also have to make sure you remove all bleach and bleach smells before filling you tank back up with water. The bleach will stay in the water for a long period of tank and doesn’t dilute, which will cause a lot of harm to your turtles and fish, maybe even death.

Natural Environment 

Red eared slider turtles habitat isn’t as simple as you may think. However this shouldn’t put you off buying one, as it’s definitely manageable once you know what you’re doing. A red ears natural environment varies from ponds, lakes, rivers, mangroves and marshland areas.

Red eared sliders aren’t the strongest of swimmers, so they naturally live in environments that have slow moving water. They enjoy basking during the day, so you have to offer them somewhere they can rest on dry land.

You can buy floating docks or islands for you turtle, which as described, float on the waters surface so that your turtle can climb up onto them freely whenever they like. 

Equally, if you’d like a freestanding static tank topper you can purchase this also. Tank toppers simple hang over the size of the tank which allows a safe space for your turtle to rest comfortably. What’s good about tank toppers is that it doesn’t take any room up inside the aquarium itself, providing the adequate space your turtles need for a long lifespan.


Well there you have it, everything you need to know on “Red Eared Slider Lifespan”. Red ears commonly live to 20-30 years of age, but in some cases can live longer. This all depends on its living conditions, diet and the care it receives. 

All these things combined should give your turtle everything it needs to live a healthy and happy life. Like always, if you feel your turtles environment is clean and it’s diet is healthy, and is still unwell, then please visit a trained veterinarian as soon as possible. They may have some underlying health issues which you may not be able to diagnose yourself and potentially need antibiotics to cure.

But for the most part, if all the above is followed, then you should have an aquarium which is fit for a healthy red eared slider lifespan.

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Red Eared Slider Lifespan – Happy, Healthy Turtles

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