Red eared slider basking is something that you must fully understand if you keep one in your home. It’s not just that basking feels good to sliders (though who can deny that they look positively content when basking?), but it also serves as a very important part of their metabolic process as they absorb the very ultraviolet rays of the sun. If you’ve ever been near one of the many waterways in the eastern United States, you’ve probably seen red-eared sliders basking on exposed logs and rocks, soaking up the rays. It’s something they do every day when temperatures permit, so it’s something they need to do every day when you keep one as a pet.
You simply must provide a basking area for your red eared slider. His basking area should be completely out of the water and directly under a full spectrum UV light and heat source. The temperature in the basking area should be warmer than the rest of the tank, about 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be stable and very easy for your turtle to climb onto. If the area is too difficult for your slider to access, he will eventually give up and stop trying, which is obviously not a good thing.
Basking is not only good for your turtle’s internal systems; it’s also good for his skin and shell externally. Basking allows your slider to completely dry out and warm up. Drying out makes it harder for fungal infections to develop, since fungus needs consistent moisture to grow. Fungal infections of the skin and shell are common problems with red-eared sliders, and basking helps keep both healthy and fungus-free, internally and externally.
Basking is also important on a behavioral level. As with all animals, sliders are governed purely by instinct. Without the instinct that every slider is born with, they would not survive. They don’t need to learn how to bask; they simply inherently know to do so. If they are denied the chance to bask, your turtles very well might get stressed, which is provides yet another opening for infections to develop. Stress has an overall negative effect on the immune systems of all organisms, and a stressed slider is ripe for plunder by bacteria and fungi.
Overall, just remember that red eared slider basking is as important as anything else if you have one as a pet in your home. It’s not an option, but an imperative need. If your slider cannot bask, he cannot live.
Highly Recommended: Decorative Turtle Basking Platform