Red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), which sport a red stripe around their ears, deserve to grow so big they require a 100-gallon tank, or also a pond, to live in.(Image credit: blewulis/Shutterstock)
The aptly-name red-eared slider is an quickly recognizable semiaquatic turtle that"s famous in the international pet profession. These pets are thought about one of the top invasive species of the people, and also it"s really no wonder when you think about their mating actions.

Red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), which have a red stripe approximately their ears and are well-known to quickly "slide" off objects into the water, are aboriginal to the southerly USA and also northern Mexico. But many thanks to the international pet trade market, they"re the a lot of widespreview turtle species, having actually been presented to dozens of countries, said Greg Pauly, a herpetologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

You are watching: Red-eared slider mating dance

Though the reptiles are desired as pets for their initial tiny dimension and also low maintenance, some pet owners confront a rude awakening: The turtles obtain bigger. "The turtle might have actually only forced a 2-gallon tank when you bought it, but after a couple of years it needs a 100-gallon tank or a backyard pond," Pauly told Live Science. "They"re additionally sort of messy and also sort of stinky. So, after a couple of years , they come to be a huge commitment."

Some owners take the easy method out by releasing their red-eared sliders right into the wild, helping the turtles spcheck out to the urban ponds, streams and also reservoirs of every continent save for Antarctica.

In these habitats, male red-eared sliders will certainly connect in courtship behaviors as lengthy as it"s warm sufficient for them to swim about. "They are pretty single-minded in focus," Pauly sassist, including that the age at which the animals begin mating relies on their area. In the warmest of climates, males may reach sex-related maturity at 2 year old and also females 3 to 4 years old; the pets become sexually active a couple of years later as soon as in cooler climates.

Contrasted through females, male red-eared sliders have extra-lengthy claws on their forefeet. But rather than usage these claws as tools, "Nightmare on Elm Street" style, males usage their clegislations even more like jazz hands to woo females.

When a male finds a female, he will certainly swim up close to her, lug his forelimbs forward, and wave or rapidly vibprice his cregulations in front of her challenge. He might additionally usage his claws to "tickle" the female"s face, Pauly said.

If the female is uninterested, she"ll try to avoid the male and also swim about him or previous him. But frequently, she will not acquire exceptionally far without running right into an additional male. "The females are harassed constantly by all these males that are courting them," Pauly sassist.

Sometimes, the female will decide she"s had enough and will pull her head down right into her shell. But males, specifically the older ones, do not always take "no" for a response and also might bite at the big fold of skin about the female"s skin that"s still sticking out, maybe wounding her.

It"s not clear how females pick mates, if they have any choice at all.

But if the female is receptive, she"ll permit the male to climb onto her ago while the pair are still in the water. The male will usage his forelimbs to host onto her shell and also his backlimbs to brace himself as his tries to position his cloaca (waste and also reproductive orifice) as close to hers as feasible.

Male red-eared sliders, favor other turtles, have actually a big penis to body dimension proportion. During mating, the cloaca everts and engorges via hydrostatic press to come to be a penis that"s 30 to 40 percent of the length of the turtle"s body. Unlike the mammalian penis, which has actually a tube to carry sperm, the turtle"s penis has a channel-choose groove that the sperm moves down.

Much of the male"s exceedingly lengthy penis goes into the female in the time of copulation, which lasts approximately 15 minutes.

After mating, females might save the male"s sperm for an extended duration of time before deciding to use it to fertilize her eggs. In fact, she can mate aobtain and also usage the sperm of multiple males for a single clutch. 

"For turtles, red-eared sliders are surprisingly prolific," Pauly shelp. That is, a female will lay as much as 30 eggs in a terrestrial nest. And if the conditions are ideal, she may lay up to five or 6 clutches in a solitary year.

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Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer for Live Science and also He holds a master"s level in scientific research journalism from New York University, and a bachelor"s degree in physics from the University of Hawaii. His occupational covers all areas of scientific research, from the quirky mating behaviors of various pets, to the drug and also alcohol actions of primitive cultures, to brand-new advancements in solar cell technology. On a more individual note, Joseph has actually had actually a near-obsession through video games for as lengthy as he have the right to remember, and also is more than likely playing a game at this incredibly minute.