How Long Do Red Eared Sliders Live (And Why)?

How Long Do Red Eared Sliders Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 40 years

Red Eared Sliders can be described as a subspecies of the subaquatic turtle or pond slider. It belongs to the family Emydidae and it has a trinomial name which goes as Trachemys scripta elegans. Red-eared sliders are a native of Latin America, in general, and Mexico, in particular.

The red-eared slider is the most popular and common species of turtle that is kept as a pet. Moreover, it is also among the most commonly traded turtle in the world.

As it would suggest, the red-eared slider derives its name from the small red stripes around its ears. Moreover, it is called a slider owing to its characteristics of sliding off rocks and logs in the water.

How Long Do Red Eared Sliders Live

How Long Do Red Eared Sliders Live?

Habitat Of Red Eared SliderLife Expectancy
In Captivity20 to 40 years
In Wild50 to 70 years

Turtles and Tortoises are famous for their long lives. If a newborn child is compared with a newborn red-eared slider living in wild, both being born at the same time, there are chances that the tortoise ay still is alive when the child attains their old age. However, if the compared slider lives in captivity, it will continue to live only till the human child attains adulthood.

This is why gifting a red-eared slider or any other species of turtles is considered a duty and responsibility to be fulfilled for a long time. Since the turtles live long, the buyer should stand on its decision of taking care of the pet for its lifetime.

A red-eared slider can be raised in both captivity and the wild and still have a long life. However, since the natural environment of a creature is always better than its official, the sliders tend to have a comparatively longer life in the wild.

In captivity, the red-eared slider has a recorded average life of about twenty to forty years. It is believed that in captive conditions they do not receive an ample amount of care.

However, the wild is the natural habitat of the slider and it is innately habituated to it. Thus, the slider can comfortably live for about fifty to seventy years in the wild.

Why Do Red Eared Sliders Live So Long?

The basic reason for the difference between the life expectancy of the red-eared slider in the wild and captivity is its habitat. As mentioned earlier, the wild is the natural habitat and so, the slider is habituated to it. However, captivity is neither its natural environment nor any proper care is taken of the animal there.

In addition to that, there are factors like the nutrition provided to the animal, physical activity done by them and their health. These factors also affect the life expectancy of the red-eared slider, either positively or negatively.

The food and nutrition provided to the slider form a crucial part of his life. If the slider can get good food whether, in the wild or captivity, it will certainly have stronger prospects for longer life. On the contrary, insufficient food and nutrition reduce the life expectancy of the slider.

Physical activity also holds an important place in determining how long a red-eared slider can live. Since the wild environment has ample space, it provides much-needed opportunities for the slider for physical activeness. On the opposite, if the environment is captive, the animal may not have much space for physical activity, thus, decreasing their chance of long life.


The red-eared slider has an observed average life expectancy of about forty years. However, this number would shoot up to about fifty to seventy years, if the slider has its habitat in the wild. On the contrary, their life expectancy stands at a much lesser range of twenty to forty years in captivity.

The red-eared slider can live in the wilderness for so long on account of its adaptation to the natural environment. However, since the slider is not habituated to live in captivity, it has a short life expectancy therein.


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