Determining the exact age of a red eared slider can be tricky. That is unless you happen to know when it was hatched. There are nonetheless several methods you can use to make decent estimates of your red ear slider’s age. Read on, to establish how you can work out a red ear slider turtle’s age.
How old is my red eared slider? You can work out the age of your red eared slider by looking at its body size, the rings on its shell, its shell color and its claws (in the case of males).
How Can You Tell The Age Of A Red Ear Slider Turtle?
One of the questions that owners of red ear slider turtles tend to pose is on how can I tell how old my red eared slider turtle is. Others rephrase it as simply, how old is my red eared slider?
Figuring out how to determine red eared slider age is tricky, but doable.
Here are some practical methods.
Counting The Rings On The Shell
One approach you can use to determine red ear slider age is that of counting the rings on its shell. These rings are formed during the turtles’ annual feast-and-famine cycles.
You therefore only need to count the number of rings on your red ear turtle’s shell. Then divide that by 2, to get a good picture of how old it is.
If, for instance, there are 10 lines, you divide that by 2, to get 5 years – meaning that the turtle with the 10 rings on its shell would be 5 years old.
So that is one way you can work out how old is my red eared slider turtle.
But in older turtles, the lines may be so close together that counting them accurately becomes impossible.
Measuring The Body Size
Another approach you can use is that of measuring the turtle’s body size.
Red ear sliders start life rather small: at less than one inch. Then they grow very fast, during the first year of their life: typically to around 3 inches.
Thereafter, they grow at the rate of 1 inch per year, until they reach maturity: at 5-7 years.
So, for instance, if someone asks, how old is a 2 inch red eared slider, the answer would obviously be that it is a 1 year old red eared slider. That is because these turtles typically grow to about 3 inches in the first year.
So anything less than 3 inches is probably less than one year.
A full grown red eared slider turtle is likely to be 4 inches (if male) and in the 6-8 inch range (if female). A male red eared slider is typically smaller than the female.
And if, for instance, someone asks, how big is a 5 year old red-eared slider, the answer would be around 7 inches. That is because it typically grows to 3 inches in the first year, then 1 inch per year thereafter.
Further on, if someone were to ask, how old is a 10 inch red-eared slider, the answer would be at least 7 years. So that is 3 inches in the first one year, then 7 inches (at one inch per year), giving a total of at least 8 years.
But red ear turtles rarely reach such sizes.
At this point, someone may ask, how long do red eared sliders stay small? And the answer is that they only stay small for the first few months of their lives.
That is because, beyond those months, in their first year, they grow to 3 inches.
Checking The Turtle’s Shell Color
The color of the red ear slider shell can also help you in determining its age. If it is very bright green color it is likely one year and below.
If its color is olive or brown, it is likely one year and above.
Checking The Turtle’s Claw (For Males)
If the turtle has sharp claws, he is likely to be in the 2-3 years old age group.
But if the turtle has blunt and short claws, he is likely to be older than 3 years.
So, for instance, in a 10 year old red eared slider male, you would expect the claws to be rather blunt and short.
How Old Is My Red Eared Slider?
Perhaps a good place to start in answering this question would be by finding out: how can I tell how old a turtle is?
And the answer – at least in the case of red ear sliders – would be by counting the rings on its shell, measuring the body size, checking the shell color and checking the turtle’s claws (if male).
With regard to the rings on the shell, you just count them, then divide them by 2 to arrive at the age figure.
With regard to body size, you just need to know that the turtles are born with a size of less than 1 inch.
Then they grow to around 3 inches during their first year of life.
Thereafter, they grow at the rate of 1 inch per year, until they reach full adult size: at 5-7 years.
On the basis of that information, you can actually create a red eared slider age size chart. Then from that turtle age chart, you can be able to work out how old any given turtle is, considering its body size.
With regard to shell color, if it is bright green, the turtle is one year and below. If it is olive or brown, the turtle is one year and above.
And with regard to the claws, if they are undeveloped, the turtle is 2 years and below. If they are long and sharp, the turtle is in the 3-5 years range. And if they are short and blunt, the turtle is beyond the 3-5 year range.
This information can be useful if, for instance, you wish to set up a separate red eared slider turtle tank by age.
How Old Is My Red Eared Slider In Human Years?
Red ear sliders are able to live up to the age of 50. Human life expectancy is around 70 (though of course there are those who live less and those who live more).
Therefore to find your red ear slider age in human years, you only need to take that age, divide it by 50 then multiply it by 70.
For instance, if a red ear slider is 10 years old, in human years, that works out to 14 years old human age: via the formula 10/50 x 70.
How Old Is A Juvenile Red Eared Slider?
A juvenile red ear slider is one that is yet to reach adulthood or maturity.
Red eared slider breeding age is 5-7 years. Therefore a red ear slider that is yet to reach these ages is a juvenile.
In establishing whether your red ear slider is a juvenile, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions.
Firstly, ask yourself, how old is my red eared slider?
Then, secondly, ask yourself, what is the age of sexual maturity for red ear slider turtles?
If the turtle is below the age of sexual maturity, you know that it is a juvenile.
When Do Red Eared Sliders Stop Growing?
The person posing the how old is my red eared slider question may also want to know when the red eared sliders stop growing.
In these turtles, growth typically ends at 5-7 years.
When Do Red Eared Sliders Become Adults?
This is another area that may be of interest to the person posing the how old is my red eared slider question.
Now red ear slider turtles become adults when they attain the age of sexual maturity.
That is typically at between 5 and 7 years of age.
How Long Does The Red Eared Slider Live?
In exploring the how old is my red eared slider question, it makes sense to also consider the question of how long these turtles live.
As it turns out, in the wild, red ear sliders can live for up to 50 years. But in captivity, the most they reach is typically 20 to 30 years.
Final Verdict – How Old Is My Red Eared Slider
The most reliable way to tell your red ear slider’s age is by making reference to its hatching date. That is if you happen to know it.
In the absence of knowledge on the turtle’s hatching age, you can only try to work out how old the turtle is through several cues.
The cues that can help you in working out how old your red ear slider turtle is include the number of rings on its shell, its shell color, its body size and the structure of its claws (if it is a male).
On the whole, red ear sliders reach maturity at 5-7 years. And they live for up to 50 years in the wild and 20-30 years in captivity.
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