Backyard Nature Wednesday: Red-eared slider turtles

Well, no, I don't actually have red-eared slider turtles in my backyard, but they are one of the most common semiaquatic turtles in this area. They are also popular as pets because of their ease of care, and they are reportedly the most commonly traded species of turtle in the world.

When we visited Brazos Bend State Park last Saturday, red-eared sliders were everywhere in and around the lake where we walked a trail. The sun was shining brilliantly and the turtles of all sizes, from tiny babies to old grandfathers, were taking full advantage of it.

Turtles are reptiles, after all, and the sun helps to warm them and help them to get active. 

This one had decided to go for a swim. You can see why he's called "red-eared."

These turtles are excellent swimmers. This one gives us a good look at the interesting pattern on his carapace and head. The carapace can actually vary in color and in pattern according to the age of the turtle.

Red-eared sliders are native to this area and well into northern Mexico but have become established in many other places in the world because of that aforementioned pet trade and the fact that people sometimes release them into the wild when they tire of them. In fact, in some places they are considered invasive species and they are included on the list of the world's 100 most invasive species that is published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an ignominious distinction for an animal that is totally inoffensive in its native habitat.


  1. Very interesting! You chose a great weekend to go, Dorothy. Hasn't the weather been great?

    1. It certainly was great last weekend when we went - not so much this weekend, but that's our changeable weather for you.


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