7 Amazing Differences: Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider | Can They Mate? (2022)

Greenish shells, claws, and tails – to a beginner, all turtles look the same. I know because I’ve been there.

But if you learn a few key differences to look for, in no time, you can confidently identify different turtle species.

Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider – The Main Differences

Both Painted turtles and Red-Eared Sliders are America’s much-loved pet reptiles. Both immensely popular and beautiful – but is one better than the other? It’s time for a painted turtle VS red-Eared slider showdown.

The main difference between a Painted turtle and a Red-Eared Slider is the characteristic red marks behind each eye in Sliders. On the other hand, Painted turtles have beautiful red markings in their belly and bottom shell area. Other key differences include size, lifespan, origin, and color.

Although the competition is close, Red-Eared Sliders are the world’s most popular pet turtles. In addition to their striking look, they’re also quite hardy and can thrive in sub-optimal conditions.

And even though Painted turtles aren’t as famous, they more than make up for it. These docile and friendly pets come in four subspecies – each equally unique and special in their own accord.

Physical Differences: Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider

Feature Painted TurtleRed-Eared Slider
Body ColorThe general body color of Painted turtles is dark green with bright yellow lines extending all the way from the nose to the shell. Red-eared Sliders also sport similar lines, but they have a distinct red spot behind each eye. However, the spot will fade as they grow older.
Carapace/ Top ShellPainted turtles have a smooth, weakly keeled shell. The relatively flatter shell is greenish-brown in color with bright yellow and red markings. The dome of the Red-eared Slider is comparatively steeper and domed. The shell's color can range from dark brown to olive green with maroon stripes along the head's sides.
EyesPainted turtles sport yellow markings around their eyes. Usually, they also have bright yellow streaks or spots behind both eyes.Red-eared sliders have a dark red color streak right at the back of the eyes.
Life ExpectancyPainted turtles can live for around 25 to 30 years. But keeping them in captivity will shorten the age expectancy. Red-eared Sliders have a long life expectancy of about 50 to 70 years. However, the lifespan shortens in captivity.
OriginPainted turtles are natives of northern America. Their natural habitats are ponds, marshes, lakes, and slow-moving rivers with muddy bottoms. Red-eared sliders originally come from the Southern United States and Northern Mexico. They naturally live in water bodies with fresh and warm water supply like slow-moving streams and creeks.
Plastron/Belly Shell Usually, a Painted turtle's belly is yellow, red, or brown, depending on the subspecies. There are also a few spots-like markings in the center. However, the spotted bottom shell is absent in Painted turtles. Most adult Red-eared sliders have a yellow belly with irregular and dark markings. In majority cases, the plastron is always yellow.
SizeIn Painted turtles, adult males can grow anywhere between 3.5 to 7 inches, depending on the subspecies. As for females, they are around 5.5 to 10 inches long, depending on the subspecies once again. Adult Red-eared Sliders will reach the length of somewhere between 7 to 9 inches. On the other hand, females can grow as long as 10 to 12 inches.

As you can see, both painted turtles and Red-Eared Sliders share somewhat similar features and attributes.

Although they look identical at first glance, I hope you can now tell the difference by looking at subtle differences.

Now that the general overview of Painted turtle VS Red-Eared Slider is over, let’s dive into other important topics that’ll help you determine which one is the best for you.

Hear me out.

Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider: Similarities

If you’re wondering why these two species look so similar, you’ll be surprised to know that they’re, in fact, cousins. So besides a shared biological network, what do Red-Eared Sliders and Painted turtles have in common? They’re both tough, semi-aquatic species with a knack for pleasing people!

Both Are Hardy Species

Both of these pets are hardy species – one of the reasons they’re popular with owners of all agee levels. They can thrive in sub-optimal conditions and a low-maintenance environment.

(Video) Best TANKMATES For Pet Turtle (Safe Fish, Another Turtle & More)

However, owing to this very fact, we often see cases where they’re mistreated by owners.

Both Are Semi-Aquatic Species

Both turtle species live in shallow water with muddy bottoms in their natural habitat. Hence, they’re both semi-aquatic beings.

And since they can easily adapt to living in both land and water and transition without much hassle, both make great pets for newbie owners.

Both Love To Beg For Food

Both cousins love to beg for food – putting on quite a good show. They’ll also willingly eat from your hands. However, make sure you’re holding the turtle correctly. Both will also readily bite if they feel threatened.

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Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider – Who Has Better Temperament?

7 Amazing Differences: Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider | Can They Mate? (1)

Painted turtles are docile and fun creatures. Some owners even describe them as having comical personalities. However, both male and female painted turtles have a streak of dominant personality in them.

Red-Eared sliders are described to have a mild temperament. They’re not the friendliest turtles in the block but only attack or get aggressive when they feel seriously threatened. They can also get a bit territorial if they have to share food or space in a small tank.

Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider – Who Is More Suitable For New Owners?

As you can see, Red-Eared sliders are considerably bigger than their cousins. A female turtle can even reach 12 inches in length. A bigger turtle means a bigger tank. And a bigger tank means higher maintenance. So, for beginners, I’d recommend going with a Painted turtle.

The rule of thumb is 10 gallons for every inch of the turtle. If you’re raising a female Red-Eared slider, you’ll need a tank bigger than 100 gallons! I’ll be honest – for a beginner, that’ll take up a lot of time, energy, and resources.

Plus, you’ll need an extra-powerful filtration system, heating system, and so on. Therefore, you’ll be shelling out a lot of money.

If you keep a Southern Painted turtle, the smallest among Painted turtle subspecies, it’ll be a lot easier comparatively.

(Video) Red Eared Slider Turtle - AMAZING FACTS - You Probably didn't know

On average, a male is just around 3.5 to 5 inches tall. Likewise, a female will only grow about 5.5 to 7 inches in length. Thus, at max, you’ll need a 70 to 80-gallon tank.

Plus, Painted turtles have a slightly more docile personality that will be easier for a first-timer to handle.

However, it’s purely my personal suggestion. I’ve seen first-time owners who’ve had a hard time with even small turtles and those who’ve tasted great success with their first-ever Red-Eared Slider.

In the end, it’s your call! If you’re willing to put in a little extra money and time, Red-Eared Sliders make amazing pets, too.

Can Painted Turtles And Red-Eared Sliders Live Together?

Turtles have a hard time getting along with members of their own species – let alone someone from a different family. They’re incredibly stubborn creatures. However, both Red-Eared Sliders and Painted turtles can learn from past experiences. Thus, they can definitely be trained to live together.

Also, both are known to be territorial. So, if you have a small enclosure, you’re just inviting fights and aggression. That’s why you need to invest in a big tank that can provide enough personal space for both of them.

Here’s a 150-gallon tank from SC Aquariums that’s a pleasure to look at. I’ve been eyeing it for my own turtles for too long now!

However, just adding a big tank isn’t enough. You need to take care of a few other things as well.

(Video) My Female Red Eared Slider ATTACKED My Male Painted Turtle!!!! | DIY Reptiles

For instance, try to set up basking and feeding areas at opposite ends of the tank to avoid confrontations. If the situation gets out of hand, you can use a divider to deescalate the situation.

Here’s a pretty, transparent divider by Toyuto.

7 Amazing Differences: Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider | Can They Mate? (3)

Since it’s clear in appearance, it allows up to 92% light transmission and won’t mess with your tank’s aesthetics, too.

Here are few other rules you need to heed if you want to keep Red-Eared Sliders and Painted turtles together:

Both turtles should be of comparable sizes. Otherwise, the bigger one will relentlessly bully the smaller turtle. The bigger one will also eat most of the food and take up most space. Thus, the smaller guy will really have a hard time.

You also need to be super-mindful when deciding the gender of your pet. Male turtles don’t often get along – so that’s not a great idea. They’ll fight over just about everything. Females and males don’t really go together as well. Females will often be at the receiving end of the male’s harassment.

However, the success rate is quite high in female-only turtle tanks. They don’t really fight unless the living quality is really poor.

Don’t ever add a wild-caught Red-Eared Slider or Painted turtle into the habitat. Wild-caught turtles are often too dominant and hostile towards the comparatively passive captive turtle. Also, you never know what diseases and parasites they’re carrying.

(Video) Red eared slider turtles mating dance.

Lastly, when you add a new turtle to the tank, you need to be super vigilant and ensure both creatures’ wellbeing.

Can Painted Turtles And Red-Eared Sliders Mate?

I assume, yes! I think Painted turtles and Red-Eared Sliders mate in the wild. Since their natural region overlaps quite a lot in the American Northeast and Southeast, I believe this might occasionally happen.

I dug around some turtle forums, and a number of turtle owners confirm this.

However, this kind of behavior is seldom present in captive turtles. Among pet turtles, I’ve never seen the two mating – just like I’ve never seen a red-Eared slider and painted turtle mix baby.

It’s important to note that although exotic, hybrids often don’t give birth to genetically viable offspring. So on many occasions, their offspring are marred with disabilities.

This isn’t fair to any turtle – thus, the turtle community at large disregards this kind of practice.

Conclusion On Painted Turtle VS Red-Eared Slider

So, to conclude, both Red-Eared Sliders and Painted turtles make great pets. If you were hoping that this article would be some kind of competitive showdown, sorry to disappoint you.

In terms of physical appearance, they’re not too different from each other. A few distinct characters, like the dome’s shape, their size, and of course, the Red-Eared Slider’s signature red marks, will help you differentiate between the two.

As for personality, they’re not too distinct from each other. Both of them have mild temperaments but will get agitated when mishandled and intruded.

However, since Red-Eared Sliders are a lot bigger in size, it can be tougher for a new owner to raise one.

Read Next:

Can Pet Turtles Drown? Learn How To Revive A Drowned Turtle.

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FAQs

Can painted turtles and red-eared sliders mate? ›

Red-eared sliders and painted turtles are popular pet turtles for reptile enthusiasts. And if you happen to own both of them, you may wonder whether red-eared sliders and painted turtles are capable of mating together. The answer is yes. Painted turtles can mate with red eared slider turtles.

How do you tell the difference between a red eared slider and a Painted turtle? ›

Red-eared Sliders can sometimes be confused with the native Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii). To tell a Red-eared Slider apart from a Western Painted Turtle, look for the telltale red “ear” mark on the slider. Painted turtles do not have any red markings on the neck or head.

Can you keep a red eared slider and a Painted turtle together? ›

Red-eared sliders and painted turtles, in terms of lifestyle, have a lot in common and are often compatible as tank mates, living together peacefully and contentedly.

What's the difference between a Painted turtle and a slider? ›

The main difference between a Painted turtle and a Red-Eared Slider is the characteristic red marks behind each eye in Sliders. On the other hand, Painted turtles have beautiful red markings in their belly and bottom shell area. Other key differences include size, lifespan, origin, and color.

Can 2 different species of turtles mate? ›

The invasive and native species often mate with each other, creating offspring. This mixing of two species genomes through crossing, that is, hybridization, can have a profound effect on the evolution of these species and on ecosystem health.

Will my painted turtles mate? ›

Life History: The breeding period for painted turtles is from March to mid-June, with peak breeding time in April. Males perform an elaborate mating ritual. They face the females and wave their long front claws. After breeding, the female will leave the water to dig a nest to deposit her eggs.

How can you tell what gender a painted turtle is? ›

Male painted turtles have longer front claws than females. Male painted turtles have long tails that are wide at the base; female painted turtles have thin, short tails. The cloacal opening on the male is away from the body and further down the tail; it is close to the body on a female.

How do I identify a painted turtle? ›

Painted Turtle: Identification. Adirondack Amphibians & Reptiles: Painted Turtles have bright reddish-orange markings on the edge of their shells, as well as on the legs, neck, and tail. In Midland Painted Turtles, the plates on the top shell are disaligned.

What turtle has a orange belly? ›

Red-bellied cooters are also called the redbelly turtle. They get their name from their reddish plastron, the underside of their shell.

What is a hybrid turtle? ›

Hybrid Turtles: How? Why? - YouTube

Can you put a male and female turtle together? ›

So, it's best not to house multiple male turtles in the same tank, but two female turtles can get along just fine. A male and female turtle housed together is most likely not a good idea just because of the possibility of mating. You don't want to breed captive pet turtles, leave that up to the professional breeders!

Can 2 male red-eared sliders live together? ›

Gender. When housing multiple red-eared sliders together, consider the genders of the turtles. Male sliders can be territorial toward other males; so when you house multiple males together, provide multiple basking places and caves.

What is the smallest turtle to keep as a pet? ›

If you have limited space and are looking for an aquatic turtle, the spotted turtle is one of the smallest species allowed to be kept in captivity. They're also pretty to look at with their distinctive spotted shell and, with the right housing, they can live indoors or out.

How big can a painted turtle get? ›

The adult size of a painted turtle is about 5-6” long. They live about 20-25 years, so this is a pet that will be with you for a long time!

Are painted turtles friendly? ›

That being said, if you end up getting a painted turtle as a pet, you will almost assuredly not regret it, as they are quite docile and fun to be around. Compared to other types of turtles, they are very friendly, especially when they are swimming.

What age do red eared sliders mate? ›

"They are pretty single-minded in focus," Pauly said, adding that the age at which the animals begin mating depends on their location. In the warmest of climates, males may reach sexual maturity at 2 year old and females 3 to 4 years old; the animals become sexually active a few years later when in colder climates.

Can map turtles breed with painted turtles? ›

Hybrid Turtles- Part 1 - YouTube

At what age do turtles mate? ›

Turtles are not able to breed until they've reached sexual maturity. When it comes to water turtles, males should be at least three years old, and females need to be about five years old. Neither male nor female box turtles will breed before they're at least five years old.

How long does turtle mating last? ›

"The male hangs on for dear life for up to 24 hours," said Dave Owens, a marine biologist at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. By remaining attached to the female, the male can prevent other males from mating with her.

Why do turtles make noises when they mate? ›

Male turtles also ram their shell into the female's shell as part of the mating ritual. The impact creates a loud “clacking” noise. Interestingly enough, different tortoise species make other mating noises.

Why do turtles touch each other's faces? ›

"The male is trying to attract the female and choose him as a mate," said Garrett White, a biological science technician. In the viral video, you can see one turtle sort of slapping the other in the face, repeatedly. But experts say they aren't fighting, they're flirting.

Can turtles crossbreed? ›

' Some cases of turtle hybridisation involve crosses between species that diverged more than 60 million years ago, which is very unusual. 'If you think about primates, it would be something like humans and lemurs hybridising,' said Dr Vilaça.

Can different turtle species live together? ›

Turtles of different species, in most cases, should not share a tank. While turtles of varying species can be tranquil together, the potential problem is a health matter. If one turtle comes from a different area than another, one might be invulnerable to ailments the other carries.

What turtles can live with red ear sliders? ›

Compatible Turtles

Basking turtles like painted turtles (Chrysemys picta ssp.), cooters (Pseudemys sp.) and sliders (Trachemys sp.) often get along well with red ear sliders if they are the same size. In fact, different species are sometimes seen stacked atop one another basking on rocks in the wild.

Can a red eared slider mate with a yellow bellied slider? ›

Yes, yellow-bellied sliders and red-eared sliders often mate when kept together in the same habitat. This is because both of them are subspecies of the same species, known as pond sliders. In the wild, too, they are found mating and producing hybrid offspring.

How old do turtles have to be to mate? ›

Be sure your turtles are sexually mature.

Turtles are not able to breed until they've reached sexual maturity. When it comes to water turtles, males should be at least three years old, and females need to be about five years old. Neither male nor female box turtles will breed before they're at least five years old.

What age do red-eared sliders mate? ›

"They are pretty single-minded in focus," Pauly said, adding that the age at which the animals begin mating depends on their location. In the warmest of climates, males may reach sexual maturity at 2 year old and females 3 to 4 years old; the animals become sexually active a few years later when in colder climates.

How do I know if my turtles are mating? ›

Mating Signs

When some male turtles try to woo females to mate, they approach them underwater and then the turtle will face the other and flutter or vibrate its front claws around the female turtle's head. 2 When the female turtle catches sight of this and is amenable to the invitation, they drop to the aquatic floor.

Why does my female turtle bite my male turtle? ›

As mentioned earlier, turtles bite each other over territorial disputes. It is mainly related to social status or showing dominance. Apart from fighting over territory issues, they bite each other during mating.

What is a hybrid turtle? ›

Hybrid Turtles: How? Why? - YouTube

Can 2 painted turtles live together? ›

TWO Turtles in the SAME TANK?!? | Turtle Tankmates - YouTube

Can red-eared sliders have tank mates? ›

Red-eared sliders can live with fish, but these need to be either hardy with a defense mechanism, or small and agile. This allows the fish to avoid being eaten by the turtle. Good tankmates include guppies and plecos.

What can share a tank with a red-eared slider? ›

8 Best Tank Mates for Red-Eared Slider Turtles (Compatibility Guide 2022)
  1. Striped Raphael Catfish.
  2. Common Plecostomus – Best for Large Environments.
  3. Pictus Catfish.
  4. Koi Fish.
  5. Mystery Snails.
  6. Goldfish.
  7. Rosy-Red Minnows.
  8. Guppies.
22 Jul 2022

How long can a red-eared slider be out of water? ›

If the environment has cooler temperatures, the creature can stay out of the water for a couple of days. However, these reptiles can only stay out of water for around eight hours overall. Turtles need water for optimum digestion, metabolism, and to stay hydrated.

Is it easy to breed red-eared slider turtles? ›

Breeding Red Ear Sliders is a relatively easy process due to their gentle nature, and you can successfully raise a healthy clutch of eggs with just a little time and effort.

Can 2 male red-eared sliders live together? ›

Gender. When housing multiple red-eared sliders together, consider the genders of the turtles. Male sliders can be territorial toward other males; so when you house multiple males together, provide multiple basking places and caves.

What is the smallest turtle to keep as a pet? ›

If you have limited space and are looking for an aquatic turtle, the spotted turtle is one of the smallest species allowed to be kept in captivity. They're also pretty to look at with their distinctive spotted shell and, with the right housing, they can live indoors or out.

Videos

1. RED EARED SLIDER AND PAINTED TURTLE CARE GUIDE
(The Turtle Girl)
2. Dealing With TURTLE AGGRESSION! | Prevention+SOLUTION
(DanTheTurtleMan)
3. Red-Eared Slider, The Best Pet Turtle?
(Clint's Reptiles)
4. Red Eared Slider Turtle Lays Eggs (Not a guide to build a nest)
(Anna Navarre)
5. How to Tell If a Turtle Is Male or Female
(wikiHow)
6. TWO Turtles in the SAME TANK?!? | Turtle Tankmates
(The Turtle Girl)

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