Turtles Yellow Belly

One of the most prevalent turtle species in the eastern United States is the yellow-bellied slider. There’s a fair probability that you’ve previously seen one if you’ve ever spotted turtles soaking up the sun on logs close to the east coast.

These common turtles are wonderful pets as well. They are a distinctive breed of pet due to their eye-catching yellow and black coloring, high levels of energy, and water lifestyle.

They are challenging for newcomers to maintain, nevertheless, because of their distinctive lifestyle. They require a sizable enclosure with plenty of clean water, and their food consists mostly of fresh vegetables.

Keep reading for advice on slider care, nutrition, tank setup, and more if you’re interested in getting one.

Species Introduction

The Emydidae family includes yellow-bellied sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta). Terrapins and marsh turtles are among the more than 50 distinct turtle species that call this family home.

Testudo scripta, the species’ original name, was changed to Trachemys scripta scripta by American naturalist Louis Agassiz in 1857.

Yellow-bellied sliders may be discovered in the wild in the Southeast of the United States close to water sources such estuaries, lakes, marshes, and swamps. The term “slider” refers to their propensity to slide into the water at the first sight of danger, often off logs and muddy banks.

These bright yellow and black turtles have striped legs, necks, and heads. Their plastron, or bottom shell, is brilliant yellow with dark smudges or dots. Typically, the top is either dark green or black.

After eight years, hatchlings, which are approximately the size of a quarter when they are hatched, reach a length of one foot. However, they develop slowly during their whole lives and can eventually reach more than seven pounds.

Sliders’ diet shifts from being largely protein-based to being primarily plant-based as they become bigger. Pet animals should consume primarily leafy green vegetables, with protein from insects as a supplement. A decent option for turtle food is pelleted food.

Semi-aquatic slider turtles include yellow-bellied sliders. They primarily spend their time swimming, although they occasionally come ashore to sunbathe and take a nap. Their tank arrangement must consist mostly of water that is deep enough for them to completely immerse in order to fit their way of life.

Yellow Belly Habitat

The Southeastern United States, from Florida up to Southern Virginia, is home to yellow belly sliders.

They often inhabit a range of habitats, such as marshes, swamps, ponds, slow-moving rivers, and seasonal wetlands.

Despite the fact that they are aquatic turtles, they spend much of their time in the water. They may frequently emerge from the water to attempt to catch some sun, just like other aquatic turtles.

They occasionally congregate in huge groups, and if the basking area is short, they frequently stack one another in an effort to get closer to the light.

We will go into greater detail about the importance of a basking location in the care page that follows.

Appearance & Colors

Most of the time, yellow-bellied sliders resemble their distant cousins, the red-eared slider, which are pond turtles.

Their distinctive yellow, speckled plastron, or belly shell, gives them their name. The black or dark green belly patterns help distinguish this species from the almost indistinguishable eastern river cooters.

Yellow stripes go along the legs and throat of yellow-bellied sliders.

The smooth, dark brown or black “carapace” of an adult Yellow-Bellied Slider indicates that it is healthy and undamaged. Age causes these delicate golden markings on the shells of young Yellow-Bellied Sliders to disappear.

It should be mentioned, though, that scientists think there is genetic variation, mostly because of variations in environment.

Fun fact: Scientists have discovered that as turtles mature, their shells get more and more asymmetrical, especially those of yellow-bellied sliders. Male turtles are more prone to this.

Yellow-Bellied Slider Behavior and Temperament

The slider is a diurnal turtle, which means that daytime hours are when it is most active. They often feed first thing in the morning and spend the most of the day basking in the sun in the wild. The daytime is also when captive yellow-bellied sliders are most active.

Yellow-bellied sliders dislike handling, like the majority of turtles, and this might put them under too much stress. They could become acclimated to handling with time, but they will bite if they feel threatened.

If properly cared for, these inquisitive, friendly reptiles make interesting pets. Despite the fact that they will never be affectionate pets like a dog or cat, yellow-bellied sliders often have distinct personalities that make them popular with their owners.

What do yellow bellied sliders eat

These turtles are omnivorous and will shift more toward herbivory as they become older. Adult males tend to be more carnivorous than adult females, who tend to be more herbivorous.

Since protein is crucial for early growth, juvenile turtles often consume more meat. Vegetation tends to become their preferred food as they mature and become adults.

They like eating fish, tiny crustaceans, snails, insect larvae, amphibian larvae, and both land and aquatic plants, including algae.

It will take some concentration to keep a Yellow belly as a pet, if you now have one or want to in the future. Although commercial food is of course an alternative and does provide for all nutritional needs, the turtle won’t mind combining a natural diet with one that also includes commercial food.

You may give them Tetra Reptomin, Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Food, and Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Diet, which are all excellent commercial meals.

The care guide that follows will go into further detail on meals as well.

Yellow Bellied slider lifespan

The lifetime of a yellow-bellied slider is about 20 to 30 years. However, it’s not unusual to see these creatures live to be 40 years old!

It goes without saying that there is no way to ensure that your turtle will live that long. However, if you take proper care of them, you should be able to keep them for at least a few decades (which is quite the long term commitment).

Expert Advice: It’s important to note that for these turtles to live out their entire lifespans, an ideal habitat is very necessary. These turtles can become ill and pass away much sooner than they should if their habitat isn’t maintained and they don’t eat a good food.

How big does a yellow bellied slider get?

It is a little bit simpler to determine the gender of these animals because female yellow bellied turtles are often bigger than males.

The average length of an adult male is between 5 and 8 inches (13 to 20 cm), whereas the average length of an adult female is between 8 and 13 inches (20 to 33 cm).

This video shows a female out in the Florida Everglades and provides an excellent perspective of the turtle itself.

Are Yellow-Bellied Sliders Good Pets?

They are adorable, cuddly, and lively, and they make wonderful pets. In the 1950s, hundreds of turtle hatchlings were sold across the country, and slider turtles quickly gained popularity as pets.

For individuals who are not afraid to make a long-term commitment, sliders make wonderful pets. Expect to consume a lot of fresh veggies, but don’t anticipate owning a cute pet. Keepers who wish to handle their pets should avoid choosing these turtles. They are known to carry salmonella and are extremely stressed if kept.

Fortunately, they are generally brave and inquisitive and are just as interesting when left in their tank.

Sliders are interesting, lovable reptiles that are ideal for intermediate reptile keepers! They are known to dive, swim, bask, and dig and are quite active during the day.

Housing the Yellow-Bellied Slider

Aquariums are ideal for raising juvenile slider turtles, but as they become bigger, sheltering them becomes a little more difficult. For an adult slider, a tank should have 75 to 100 gallons in capacity. Give your indoor turtle a basking platform and fresh water.

These turtles consume food and excrete waste in their watery habitat. Install a tank filter that can handle two to three times as much water as your tank now holds.

Submersible biological filters or canister filters are both options. Without a filter, you will have to do time-consuming and untidy weekly partial water changes and water quality checks. Your turtle may have a number of health problems if the water is consistently unclean.

Before used, treat the water using a water conditioner. Chlorine and other harsh water additives that might harm your biological filter and your pet’s quality of life will be eliminated by the water conditioner.

You could think about placing your turtle outside for at least a portion of the year if you have an outdoor pond and a securely fenced yard to keep predators out and your turtle in.

Innovative owners may also create spacious homes for sliders by creating indoor ponds using pre-formed plastic pond liners. All indoor turtles will require specialized illumination.

Yellow-Bellied Slider Care

Taking care of yellow-bellied sliders may be highly rewarding. It’s harder to care for a primarily terrestrial or aquatic reptile, though.

Even while they may adjust to life in captivity successfully, there are many distinct situations you’ll need to be aware of. To maintain their health, these turtles actually require two habitats in one!

Here are some care instructions to assist you in getting everything exactly right:

Tank Size & Dimensions

The ecosystem of yellow-bellied sliders must be contained to include both land and water. Although a typical aquarium might suit its purpose just fine, turtle-specific aquariums can be more beneficial.

Yellow-bellied sliders may even be kept outside in temperate climates by certain reptile hobbyists. There are obviously many possibilities available to you when it comes to selecting the ideal arrangement!

We advise purchasing a tank no less than 100 gallons for a typical aquarium. It should be 12 inches tall and 48 inches long approximately.


Turtles must self-regulate their body temperature since they are cold-blooded animals. Turtles seek for basking areas to absorb the sun’s warm rays in order to regulate their body temperature.

You must simulate a sunny basking location with a temperature of around 88 degrees Fahrenheit if you have an indoor tank. A 60-watt or 100-watt basking lamp ought to be adequate. You may get a hybrid mercury vapor bulb that gives both heat and UV because turtles also require the sun’s UV rays for healthy development.

Additionally, the temperature of their water must be maintained at between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep the water warm, a water heater will be needed. Day and night maintenance is required.

Temperature & Lighting

Yellow-Bellied Sliders housed indoors require additional heating and lighting.

You’ll need to heat the tank water and the basking area separately because heat is necessary for digesting.

The water may be heated effectively using common aquarium heaters. You can use a halogen lamp or a ceramic heat emitter to warm the basking area.

Additionally, turtles need specific UV-emitting light sources in order to produce Vitamin D3, which is necessary for calcium absorption and use.

A compact fluorescent or tube fluorescent lightbulb serves as the industry standard source of UV illumination.

When assembling the light fixture and basking area, always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. For the best UV index, specific distance recommendations must be adhered to.

Every six to twelve months, UV light bulbs need to be changed. While they still create visible light, their ability to produce UV light deteriorates over time despite continuing to produce visible light.


In their aquarium, Yellow-Bellied sliders mostly require water. The optimum substrate for sliders in water is either no substrate or fine sand. Pebbles or gravel can be mistakenly consumed by turtles, which can result in gastric impaction.

Also, some space should be set out for sunbathing. It’s crucial to attach a wooden or plastic platform to the tank’s side. You should be able to slip your slider onto it without feeling cramped.

Food and Water

All-vegetarian yellow-bellied sliders exist. All turtles, regardless of their age, should consume a wide range of both animal and plant-based foods. Hatchlings and juveniles should consume primarily carnivorous foods twice daily. When a turtle reaches adulthood (between the ages of 2 and 5), its diet should mostly consist of vegetables.

Commercial turtle pellets are an appropriate basic diet when combined with a number of other ingredients. Offer only as much food as your turtle can finish in approximately 15 minutes, then take away any leftovers.

Your yellow-bellied slider should consume dark, leafy greens like romaine, dandelion greens, and fresh parsley on a regular basis. Offer sometimes freeze-dried shrimp and diced apple chunks.

The majority of aquatic turtles occasionally consume insects or fish, but they should never be given fatty fish or high-protein foods. The majority of an aquatic turtle’s diet should consist of plants.

It takes a little more effort to feed your turtle outside of its enclosure, but over time, it will be much simpler to maintain the tank clean.

Yellow-Bellied Slider Diet

Yellow-bellied sliders are omnivores in the wild. In captivity, they will happily consume a broad variety of meals as well.

When the turtles are adults, it is ideal to provide them a diet that is primarily composed of plant-based items. They’ll live longer if they eat a nutritious, vitamin- and nutrient-rich, balanced plant-based diet.

This category includes premium commercial turtle pellets, which are highly dependable. Give them some leafy greens as well as a multivitamin. These turtles adore apples, romaine lettuce, freshly chopped parsley, and dandelion greens.

You can sometimes provide some live or frozen items. Brown crickets and shrimp with guts are acceptable to yellow-bellied sliders. Be careful to stay away from anything that is overly heavy in protein or fat.

Potential Health Issues

With the right treatment, the majority of health problems are entirely preventable.

It’s essential to keep the house of your turtle in perfect shape. If you don’t, your turtle could get a number of illnesses.

Infections of the lungs are rather typical. Wheezing, drooling, and eye puffiness are symptoms of this problem. Because germs are typically to blame, keep up with habitat upkeep.

Furthermore, fungus problems may develop. On the rear of your turtle, fungus spores can grow and lead to shell rot. The shell will become dangerously fragile as a result of this potentially hazardous state. Fortunately, it is curable with some water treatment that is antibacterial and antifungal.

The possibility of metabolic bone disease is the last possibility. Turtles that aren’t exposed to UV rays are susceptible to this illness. Their inability to metabolize calcium leads to some very significant health issues.

Metabolic bone disease can affect the majority of reptiles. However, turtles are particularly harmed by it. It may prevent the shell from developing normally, making it more fragile and prone to harm.


Yellow-Bellied As long as the owner has a basic awareness of the species’ care requirements, sliders make entertaining, interactive, and manageable pets.

You’ve already arrived if you’ve read this far, so congrats!

You’re prepared to be the wonderful owner of a fortunate Yellow-Bellied Slider if you have the understanding of adequate lighting, heating, and water quality.