|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
from...Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society
This is the turtle whose hatchlings were once sold by the millions in every dime store and pet shop in the country. The law now requires turtles to be at least 4 inches in length before they can be sold in this country although recent "scientific" permits have largely blunted the effect of this law.
One unintended consequence of the 4 inch law is the world wide spread of the red eared turtle. When the US market was closed to them, turtle farms began to agressively export their animals around the world. Chen and Lue (1998) report that red-eared sliders are the second most common turtle in Taiwan. Many hatchlings are still produced commercially for export to Europe, Mexico, and Japan where they remain extremely popular as pets.
The redeared turtle has been known to live over 40 years in captivity.
Red ears occur throughout most of Texas (except the extreme western portion), Oklahoma, the eastern half of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, into the western portion of Kentucky and Tennessee, and throughout Alabama. There are also several disjointed populations around the world due to the release of captives.
The Red ear is similar to the yellowbelly sliders, T. scripta scripta, which occur further to the east in the southern united States.
This turtle loves to bask. They are seen in droves on logs or other available spots out of the water, but seldom on the bank. They will quickly retreat to the water if they feel threatened. It is not unusual to see them basking in piles three and four deep if basking spots are at a premium. They can sense danger through their excellent ability to sense vibration. A turtle has a fully developed inner ear structure, but no external opening. This species is primarily aquatic and tends to stay in one area if it likes its surroundings, but the males move around in the spring and are frequent victims when crossing roads. Red eared turtles spend a considerable amount of time just floating, using their inflated throat as a flotation device.
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