Brought to Sharon Audubon Center: June 2015
Injury: Non-native species
History: Like many Red-eared Sliders, Rafael was a pet that someone was no longer able to take care of. This is a common story for many Red-eared Sliders, as they are often sold in pet stores as tiny babies and people do not realize how large they get, how much care they require, and how long they live.
Thankfully for Rafael, he ended up with one of our animal care volunteers at the Sharon Audubon Center, who provided him with excellent care for several years in the hopes of finding him a new forever home. In 2015, we decided to invite Rafael to live with us at the Sharon Audubon Center as an educational resident. Rafael lives in our exhibit room with his roommate Michelangelo the Eastern Painted Turtle. Rafael’s story has a happy ending, but many Red-eared Sliders don’t. Rafael helps us educate people on the all-to-common sad fates of many Red-eared Sliders that are purchased as pets and why it is so important to do research and understand the commitment required before adopting an animal
Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
Life Span: 30 years
Description: A medium-sized aquatic turtle with a broad red-orange stripe behind the eye. Native to the Midwest and parts of the south, this turtle has been steadily introduced to places outside of its indigenous range since the 1930s either by release or escape. It is rarely seen outside of water except to bask on flat rocks or fallen trees above the water’s surface.
Range: In its indigenous range, the Red-eared Slider is found as far north as Illinois and east as far as West Virginia. Its range extends as far west as eastern New Mexico and as far south as Texas.
Habitat: Typically prefers quiet waters but can tolerate brackish environments, human-made canals, and city park ponds.
Diet: Omnivorous generalist, eating a variety of aquatic plants and algae in addition to aquatic invertebrates and fish.