Even though they can stay out of water a considerable length of time, it is recommended that you make certain that your Red Eared Slider has water around it at any one given time.
Believe it or not, the Red Eared Slider has ben the most popular type of pet turtle across the United States of America. Actually, it has been the most popular reptile pet in the USA for over 70 years. Apart from being incredibly beautiful with their multiple colors and intriguing shells, these turtles are very hardy and can take a good deal of hardship over months and even years. Even though they are considered aquatic animals that have a preference for fresh water, they also have the tendency to leave water and bask, and they even like for their shells to dry sometimes. So, how long can a Red Eared Slider Turtle stay out of water? If your Red Eared Slider Turtle has to stay outside of (or without) water, it should not be anything more than a week.
They are genetically inclined to stay in and around water, and for this reason, they cannot go exceedingly long without it.
Red Eared Sliders – What is it that they need?
As earlier mentioned, Red Eared Sliders are some of the hardiest and most versatile reptiles under the sun, and for this reason, they are able to adapt to the environment in which they live with ease. One of the reasons they make very popular pets, aside from the fact that they are very hardy, is that they are also very friendly and easy to handle. You will also realize that they are quite affordable, and almost every other pet store has at least one Red Eared Slider or two.
So, setting up for a Red Eared Slider – Do they really need that much?
The truth is that they do. And while the maintenance and care of this turtle is not as much, the initial cost may set your bank account back a good deal of money. Being that they are fresh water aquatic creatures, you will have to get a proper aquarium as opposed to a terrarium that would ideally be used for a land reptile such as a tortoise or a snake.
The reason why you need an aquarium is that it is built to be able to hold a good amount of water which a Red Eared Slider needs. You will realize that a small Red Eared Slider may require a tank that has a capacity of up to 70 gallons.
And what about basking? Do they need it on a regular?
Even though they are classified as aquatic animals, they also spend a good chunk of their lives outside of water. While this length of time may not exactly be the same as that of a terrestrial tortoise, it is actually time that needs to be take into account, and as a pet owner, you have to provide room and amenities that would allow for the turtle to be outside of the water and bask.
Seeing as most turtle owners do not take their turtles out to bask, it is recommended that they buy a U.V lamp that allows the turtles to bask and to gain the amount of Vitamin D they need to thrive.
So, what exactly happens when you take a Red Eared Slider Turtle out of water?
Before answering this question, it is important that you recognize that the ambient temperature has a lot to do with ideally what happens to a turtle when you take it out of water.
Turtle’s physiology is a bit like human physiology, and you will discover that their bodies are between 68% and 74% water. In addition to this, they are cold blooded animals that lack the ability to regulate their own body temperature. That said, it is only expected that heat would cause them to lose a lot of the water on their bodies, especially on the shell and limbs.
In extremely hot weather, your Red Eared Slider Turtle will lose this water a lot faster than it would in cooler weather. For this reason, it is advisable that you only allow it a couple minutes outside, or if it has to be outside the water, it should at least be in the vicinity of fresh water.
In the same breath, you will realize that they lose their water much slower in cooler weather, and this is why being outside in cool weather may not have an adverse an effect on it as heat would.
Apart from temperature, humidity also plays a crucial role in the length of time your turtle should spend outside of water. The ambient Relative Humidity works for the turtle when it is actually high, since this translates to low or no water loss at all. In such an instance, you will find that there is rain or fog, and the turtle is able to maintain its moisture, especially on the surface.
And why do Red Eared Slider Turtles go 6 months without water?
Having already established that turtles cannot spend a long time outside of water, it begs the question; how is it that they survive 6 months without the said water?
When this happens, it is often times associated with hibernation. In this period, there is intense winter, and nothing grows or thrives that would actually serve as a turtle’s food. For this reason, they go into hibernation, a period characterized by a ‘shut-down’ so to speak. However, keep in mind that Red Eared Slider Turtles do not hibernate, they undergo brumation. It is more or less like hibernation, only milder. During this time, a turtle’s body becomes almost inactive, with the metabolic rate dropping completely so that the body does not demand energy or sustenance. Aside from a lower metabolic rate, even the heart rate drops significantly so that it beats only a couple times a minute to keep the turtle alive.
So, what other care should you be giving your turtle to keep it healthy and comfortable?
As earlier mentioned, Red Eared Slider Turtles are pretty solid, and there is very little that could actually cause them distress. However, when given proper care, they tend to live a lot longer and more comfortably. Here are a couple practices that could mean a better life for your turtle.
- Change their water every so often
Small as they are, Red Eared Sliders actually get messy, and this mess follows them into the water. This could mean dirt, and worse, microbial population instability since the food particles act a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Clean water would mean that the bacteria does not have an environment to thrive, keeping your turtle healthy and safe.
- Add a water heater
Since they are cold blooded, turtles lack the mechanism that helps them regulate body temperature. This is why it is important to get a heater that maintains the temperature at an optimum, particularly during the colder months.
- Add UV lamps
Aside from warmth, these bulbs allow for the turtle to gain important Vitamin D which is crucial for the development and maintenance of the shell.
Red Eared Slider Turtles are some of the most beautiful turtles to keep as pets, and they are also very hardy and immune to a whole lot of things. Even though they spend a good chunk of time in the water, they need to leave at some point to bask so that they gain Vitamin D. However, make sure that they do not stay too long outside the water since it may prove detrimental to them, and it could also prove fatal. Make sure to create a balance between the two to keep your reptile happy!