Red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), which sports a red stripe around their ears, can prosper so huge they need a 100-gallon tank, or also a pond, come live in.(Image credit: blewulis/Shutterstock)
The aptly-name red-eared slider is an easily recognizable semiaquatic tortoise that"s renowned in the worldwide pet trade. These animals are taken into consideration one the the top invasive varieties of the world, and it"s really no wonder when you take into consideration their adjustment habits.


Red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), which have a red stripe roughly their ears and are known to conveniently "slide" turn off objects into the water, are native to the southerly United States and northern Mexico. But thanks to the worldwide pet profession industry, they"re the many widespread tortoise species, having actually been presented to dozens of countries, claimed Greg Pauly, a herpetologist in ~ the Natural history Museum of Los Angeles County.

You are watching: Red-eared slider mating dance

Though the reptiles are wanted as pets for your initial little size and low maintenance, some pet owners confront a crude awakening: The turtles get bigger. "The turtle may have only required a 2-gallon tank when you to buy it, however after a couple of years it needs a 100-gallon tank or a backyard pond," Pauly called Live Science. "They"re also kind the messy and kind that stinky. So, after ~ a few years , they become a large commitment."


Some owner take the easy means out by releasing your red-eared sliders right into the wild, helping the turtles spread to the urban ponds, streams and reservoirs that every continent save for Antarctica.


In this habitats, male red-eared sliders will interact in courtship behaviors as long as it"s warm enough for them to swim around. "They are pretty single-minded in focus," Pauly said, adding that the age at which the animals begin mating relies on their location. In the warmest that 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 when in chillier climates.


Compared with females, masculine red-eared sliders have extra-long claws on your forefeet. Yet rather than usage these claws together weapons, "Nightmare top top Elm Street" style, males use their claws more like jazz hand to woo females.

When a masculine finds a female, he will swim increase close to her, bring his forelimbs forward, and wave or swiftly vibrate his claws in prior of her face. The may additionally use his claws to "tickle" the female"s face, Pauly said.

If the female is uninterested, she"ll shot to stop the male and also swim about him or previous him. Yet often, she won"t get an extremely far without to run into an additional male. "The females are harassed constantly by every these males that space courting them," Pauly said.


Sometimes, the female will decide she"s had enough and also will pull she head down right into her shell. However males, particularly the enlarge ones, don"t constantly take "no" for an answer and might bite in ~ the huge fold the skin around the female"s skin that"s still sticking out, perhaps wounding her.

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

But if the female is receptive, she"ll enable the male to rise onto her ago while the pair room still in the water. The male will usage his forelimbs to hold onto her shell and also his backlimbs come brace himself together his make the efforts to position his cloaca (waste and also reproductive orifice) together close come hers as possible.

Male red-eared sliders, like other turtles, have actually a huge penis to body size ratio. Throughout mating, the cloaca everts and engorges with hydrostatic press to come to be a dick that"s 30 to 40 percent the the length of the turtle"s body. Unlike the mammalian penis, which has actually a tube to move sperm, the turtle"s dick has a channel-like groove the the sperm moves down.

Much that the male"s exceedingly long prick goes into the female throughout copulation, which lasts as much as 15 minutes.

After mating, females might store the male"s sperm because that an extended duration of time prior to deciding to usage it come fertilize she eggs. In fact, she could mate again and also use the sperm of lot of males for a single clutch. 

"For turtles, red-eared sliders are surprisingly prolific," Pauly said. The is, a female will certainly lay as much as 30 eggs in a terrestrial nest. And if the conditions are right, she may lay increase to 5 or 6 clutches in a single year.

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Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer because that Live Science and Space.com. He holds a master"s level in scientific research journalism from brand-new York University, and a bachelor"s degree in physics native the college of Hawaii. His work-related covers all locations of science, indigenous the quirky mating behaviors of different animals, come the drug and alcohol actions of old cultures, to new advances in solar cell technology. On a more personal note, Joseph has had a near-obsession with video games for as long as he can remember, and is more than likely playing a game at this very moment.