One day recently while going to our greenhouses, I found a young Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) walking across our gravel parking lot. The parking lot is not a hospitable environment for terrapins, which are mostly aquatic. This one had gotten disoriented after hatching and was headed for certain doom via desiccation in the hot Texas sun. I rescued it.
The first photo of the terrapin shows it in the hand of a four-year old boy, just to give you some scale. The second photo shows it in its new home on a water lily pad. This terrapin is probably older than a week of two because its egg-tooth falls off within a week or two of hatching. It is missing an egg-tooth.
Red Eared Sliders are the most common and widespread of aquatic turtles in Texas. They live in many habitats such as lakes, ponds, rivers, swamps, bayous, and creeks, as well as in our greenhouses. They mate March to August in the water. Females lay eggs April to August. The eggs hatch in two to three months. The sex of Red Eared Sliders is determined by incubation temperature. Hatchlings are carnivorous but adults are more omnivorous, eating lots of plant material. In our greenhouses they eat duckweed but seem to prefer expensive fish food. They will eat the occasional fish as well.