Breeding Red-Eared Sliders: Basics

Red-eared slider breeding, like with most animals, is all about timing. First and foremost, you have to make sure that your female is ready to breed. First, she needs to be about 5 years old and her shell needs to be about 6 inches across. Once your female has reached this size, it’s time to determine if she wants to copulate. To determine this, put her in a 30-gallon tank with warm shallow water (about 5 inches) with your male and watch for the red-eared slider breeding dance.

The red eared slider breeding dance is a mating dance similar to other turtles’. The male will caress the female’s face with his front claws, and may also swim in circles around her. He may also strike the front of her shell with his front claws to really get her attention. If the female is receptive, she will breed with the male, a process which will take about 15 minutes. If she is not receptive, the sliders may begin to fight. If the female is not receptive to his courting dance after 45 minutes, remove her and try again in a couple of days.

After breeding the red eared sliders, keep your female separated from the male so she isn’t disturbed by him trying to breed her again or fight with her. You should also only handle her when absolutely necessary so that you don’t disturb her either. She will lay eggs two months after copulation, as long as you provide her with loose soil to lay them in. The eggs will hatch after incubating for 80-85 days. Once they begin to hatch, leave them be for a day or so until the hatchlings get comfortable and fully out of their shells before moving them to their own tank.

The next step in red-eared slider breeding is properly caring for the hatchlings. Your hatchlings will need a tank with 20 gallons for every dozen turtles. This will give them plenty of room to grow and get away from one another if need be. You also need to make sure they have shallow water and somewhere to get out of the water if they desire. They also need a full spectrum light and heat. Breeding red-eared sliders is the next logical step in the slider keeping hobby if you are really into this species. It can be very fun and rewarding if you have patience and time to deal with your turtles and all of their needs.