Nonnatives - Red-eared Slider

Red-eared Slider -   Trachemys scripta elegans

Red eared sliders are a conditional species in Florida (68-5.002, Florida Administrative Code).

Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: Unknown

Extirpated year:

Established status: Populations are confirmed breeding and apparently self-sustaining for 10 or more consecutive years.

Estimated Florida range: 6 counties  At least 10 years, 2 counties  Less than 10 years, 2 counties  Not reported breeding

Statewide trend: Expanding


Threats to natives: Red-eared slider populations can rival that of the native Florida redbelly turtle (Pseudemys nelsoni) in urban South Florida man-made ponds (Witzell 1999).

Species Account: The red-eared slider is native to the Mississippi River drainages. A subspecies, the yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta), occurs naturally in north Florida. The red-eared slider is the little green turtle that has been sold by the hundreds of millions in dime stores and pet shops throughout the United States, and it is the most commonly exported reptile species, with over 52 million being exported from the United Stages from 1989 through 1997 (Franke and Telecky 2001). As a result, this adaptable species has become established in many areas of the world, including Europe and Japan, where they compete with native turtle species and prey upon fish (summarized by Franke and Telecky 2001). Reproducing populations are present in Florida, and they breed with yellow-bellied sliders in north Florida. Adults may reach a length of 30.5 cm (12 in). Mature males have elongate front claws and may be patternless and almost black colored. Hatchlings are green with numerous lighter and darker lines. The face and limbs are green with numerous yellow stripes, and a broad red stripe is present in the "ear" region. As they age, their color and pattern dulls (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

Habitats: Lake, Freshwater river or stream

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status Notes
ALACHUA 1987 At least 10 years Santa Fe River (K. M. Enge, 1987, FFWCC, Quincy, personal observation); in the Suwannee River drainage near High Springs (R. E. Ashton, Air and Water Research, Inc., Gainesville, personal communication)
BROWARD 2002 Less than 10 years Davie (Johnson and Johnson 2003)
COLLIER 1991 At least 10 years (Ashton and Ashton 1991)
DADE 1966 Not reported breeding Reported in Miami as early as 1966 (King and Krakauer 1966) but not reported as established until 1983 (Wilson and Porras 1983).
DUVAL 1991 At least 10 years (Ashton and Ashton 1991)
MARION 1991 At least 10 years (Ashton and Ashton 1991)
MONROE 1993 Not reported breeding Stock Island (Butterfield et al. 1994a)
ORANGE 1982 At least 10 years Lake Conway (Bancroft et al. 1983)
PINELLAS 1991 At least 10 years Fox Hall Pond, Eckerd College (Hutchison 1992)
VOLUSIA 2000 Less than 10 years Reed Canal Park, South Daytona (Townsend et al. 2002)


Ashton, R. E., Jr., and P. S. Ashton. 1991. Handbook of reptiles and amphibians of Florida. Part 2. Lizards, turtles and crocodilians. Revised edition. Windward, Miami, Florida, USA. 191pp.

Bancroft, G. T., J. S. Godley, D. T. Gross, N. N. Rojas, D. A. Sutphen and R. W. McDiarmid. 1983. Large-scale operations management test of use of the white amur for control of problem aquatic plants. The herpetofauna of Lake Conway: species accounts. Final report. Miscellaneous Paper A-83-5, U.S. Army Engineers Waterways Experiment Station, CE, Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA. 304pp.

Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999. A field guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas. 278pp.

Butterfield, B. P., W. E. Meshaka, Jr., and J. B. Hauge. 1994a. Two turtles new to the Florida Keys. Herpetological Review 25:81.

Franke, J., and T. M. Telecky. 2001. Reptiles as pets: an examination of the trade in live reptiles in the United States. The Humane Society of the United States, Washington, D.C. 146pp.

Hutchison, A. M. 1992. A reproducing population of Trachemys scripta elegans in southern Pinellas County, Florida. Herpetological Review 23:74-75.

Johnson, G. R., and J. Johnson. 2003. Geographic distribution: Trachemys scripta elegans (red-eared slider). Herpetological Review 34:164.

King, F. W., and T. Krakauer. 1966. The exotic herpetofauna of southeast Florida. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences 29:144-154.

Wilson, L. D., and L. Porras. 1983. The ecological impact of man on the south Florida herpetofauna. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Special Publication No. 9. 89pp.

Witzell, W. N. 1999. Aquatic turtles (Testudines: Emydidae) in an urban south Florida man-made pond. Florida Scientist 62:172-174.

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