Courtship Ritual of the Red-Eared Slider

red-eared slider

Trachemys scripta elegans

The red-eared slider is a semi-aquatic turtle owing its name to the bright red spots on the side of its head.

Additionally, they are called ‘sliders’ because of their ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly when startled.

The red-eared slider, or Trachemys scripta elegans, is native to the United States and Mexico, but is a popular pet all over the world due to its low maintenance.

The shells of adult males are roughly 5 centimetres smaller than those of females, but their claws are longer. These help them to hold on to a female during mating, but are also used in courting displays.

During courtship, the male swims around the female and flutters or vibrates the back side of his long claws on and around her face and head, possibly to direct pheromones towards her. The female swims towards the male and, if she is receptive, sinks to the bottom for mating. If the female is not receptive, she may simply swim away or become aggressive towards the male. Courtship can last 45 minutes, but mating only takes 10 minutes.

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