Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Trachemys scripta elegans Wied, 1838

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Reptilia
Order:Testudines
Family:Emydidae
Genus:Trachemys
Species:T. scripta
Sub-species:elegans
Common Names:Red-eared Slider, Elegant Slider
Status:Exotic. Common.

Description

The Red-eared Slider has a rounded carapace with an almost smooth outline. The carapace is green with yellow lines, and turns darker as they grow. The plastron is bright yellow with a large black mark on each scute. There is a red streak on the sides of the head behind each eye and yellow stripes on the neck. The limbs and tail are green with yellow stripes. Females tend to be much larger than the males. The males possess elongated claws on their forelimbs.

Read more about the Testudines order.
Read more about the Emydidae family.

Distribution

Native to the Missisippi River Drainage, USA. Introduced and naturalised in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Localities

Found throughout Singapore.

Locality Map

General Biology

This non-native species is commonly found in ponds, reservoirs and even canals. It has been introduced to many parts of Singapore as abandoned pets or religious merit-making offerings and has breed successfully in the wild. This species is the only reptile that is legal to be kept as a pet in Singapore.

The male uses the long-claws of its forelimbs to stroke the female’s face during courtship. It is diurnal and largely aquatic. Unlike many of Singapore's native turtles which tend to bury themselves in the substrate, the Red-eared Slider is often seen basking on rocks or at the water’s edge, and are more conspicuous.

Diet

They are omnivorous, feeding on leaves, fruits, fish, frogs, and carrion.

Life Cycle

Oviparous; clutches comprise of 2–25 eggs with an incubation period of 65–75 days.

Ecological Role

This introduced species is very vigorous and could be out-competing our native species of turtles.

Other Resources

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Trachemys scripta. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Trachemys&species=scripta. (Accessed October 2012).

References

Baker, N. & K.K.P. Lim, 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.

Cox, M. J., P.P. Van Dijk, J. Nabhitabhata & K. Thirakhupt, 2010. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd. 144 pp.

Das, I., 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. 376 pp.

Lim, K.K.P. & F.L.K. Lim, 2002. A Guide to the Amphibians & Reptiles of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.

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