Its peek breeding activity typically occurs between March and July and its gestation period is 85 days. These turtles can lay about 4-23 eggs.
Perhaps the most distinctive marking is the broad reddish patch behind each eye. In rare instances, the red is replaced by yellow.
Of all the subspecies of T. scripta, T. s. elegans is by far the most common race that has been introduced to numerous nonindigenous localities worldwide (Salzberg, 2000). However, earlier reports of nonindigenous Red-eared Sliders from Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia (Smith and Kohler, 1978) are erroneous; these populations are considered indigenous (Green and Pauley, 1987; Conant and Collins, 1998).
Despite the vast worldwide occurrence of T. scripta, particularly T. s. elegans, little is known of it impact on indigenous ecosystems. In some countries, Red-eared Sliders compete with indigenous species for food and basking sites (Frank and McCoy, 1995; Williams, 1999; Salzberg, 2000). In the U.S. state of Washington, they are a potential threat to Clemmys marmorata, the Pacific pond turtle (Williams, 1999), a declining species endemic to the Pacific states (Brown et al., 1995).
This turtle...is omnivorous in the extreme. When young, it tends to be more of a carnivore, eating insects, worms, tadpoles, small fish, and even carrion; adults tend more towards a vegetarian diet, but won't turn down meat if they can get it. Thanks to their size, bite, and thickness of shell, and adult red-eared slider has little to fear from predators, as long as alligators and crocodiles aren't around.
The red-eared slider turtle is very highly adaptable, up to and including the ability to hibernate during the winter. Its original range included areas northern enough for this to be a necessity, and therefore it can survive moderate winters. This species can also tolerate brackish water, and thus survive in coastal waterways.
They are now established in at least 14 states outside their native range in the United States (including Hawaii) as well as numerous countries where they did not previously occur. Other countries with introduced feral slider populations include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Guam, Japan, Israel, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand (Ernst et al. 1994). In short, they now inhabit six continents (they are native in North and South America) and are the most widely spread non-native turtle in Canada (Seburn and Seburn 2000).
The Red-eared Slider has been the most popular turtle in the pet trade with more than 52 million individuals
exported from the United States to foreign markets between 1989 and 1997 (Telecky 2001). Many of these went to Asia for food, but the species is common enough in pet stores to be nicknamed “dime store turtle”.
The most obvious physical trait of the Red-eared Slider is the presence of a bold red patch of skin behind each eye from which its name is taken. The skin color of the slider is variable. Young sliders have green skin but the color darkens as they age and very old turtles may be dark olive or nearly black skin.
The Red-eared Slider is frequently found moving away from water and between ponds. As a result of their mobility, they readily colonize ponds and isolated bodies of water. They live in a variety of aquatic habitats, but are most common in ponds and slow-moving waters with an abundance of aquatic vegetation.