The red-eared slider is the most common water turtle kept as a pet. They can lived to be up to 30 years old in captivity with a proper diet, lighting, temperature, calcium supplements, and aquarium space. Red-eared sliders are omnivores and live food is always preferred as it also provides them with the ability to hunt their own food. The majority of their diet should consist of meat such as mealworms, krill, earthworms, feeder crickets, bloodworms, minnows, waxworms, and aquatic insects and a high quality commercial turtle food. The remaining 25-35% should consist of water lettuce, pondweed, zucchini, squash, collard greens, beat leaves, endive, romaine, kale, escarole, and mustard & dandelion greens. Bananas can be given as a very rare special treat. Aquatic turtles must be given an area to get out of the water and rest, such as basking rocks, with a UV-B light to provide adequate Vitamin D3 and warmth. A calcium supplement is extremely important as this ensures they will not develop a soft shell and skeletal disfigurement. Lighting should be kept on for 12-14 hours a day. When acclimated to humans, Red-eared Sliders can make very fun and interesting pets. As with any turtle care must be taken when handling as they may bite if your fingers are near their face and they have long, sharp claws. Proper hand washing after handling is also very important as reptiles can carry salmonella. The tank size varies depending on the turtles size. As with any caged animal, the bigger the better. A large turtle should have a minimum of a 50 gallon tank to thrive.
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