Your local red eared slider rescue is without a doubt the very best place to get a slider if you want one. These facilities are run by very kind-hearted people that have taken it upon themselves to take the turtles that no one else wants and make sure that they live happy, long lives in homes that want them.
Rescues are necessary because of the simple fact that many people that buy a red eared slider have no idea what they are in for. Though pet stores do a much better job than they used to, many still do not adequately describe to future slider owners what it takes to keep one of these turtles in their home. Even if they do, quite often this information goes in one ear and out the other, as the new pet turtle owner simply cannot wait to get home with their new pet and just get caught up in that excitement.
So what happens when a slider owner can’t or doesn’t want to take care of their turtle anymore? There are many scenarios, none of them good. Some sliders simply die of neglect or are killed outright. Others are released into the wild, completely unaware of how to care for themselves because they have been raised in captivity. This is where rescues come in.
The turtle rescues are often just run out of turtle lovers’ homes. These folks will convert their backyard, garage or basement into an area that can properly hold their turtles. Rescues are run by true turtle lovers and they often have quite a collection. Of course, they realize that many of their charges are just there temporarily (until they can find a good home), so they try—often unsuccessfully—to not get attached.
If you are interested, give your local red eared slider rescue a call or visit and see what they have. You can often find sliders of any size in many of these rescues, and they only charge a nominal fee (a mere fraction of what you would pay at the pet store or breeder) for their efforts. Rescues take injured or abused sliders and turn them into pets for loving owners where they can live the rest of their lives, their “forever home” as rescues are wont to call them. By patronizing one of these rescues, you are doing your part to make the life of a neglected turtle better and putting a dent in the red eared slider pet trade.