how fast do red-eared slider turtles grow

How Fast Do Red-eared Slider Turtles Grow?

Red-eared sliders have gained remarkable popularity as a pet among many families. Even though the semi-aquatic turtles are native to the southern United States, they have also been introduced to other places. In fact, these turtles have established populations in the wild.

Red-eared sliders have gained remarkable popularity as a pet among many families. Even though the semi-aquatic turtles are native to the southern United States, they have also been introduced to other places. In fact, these turtles have established populations in the wild.

The red-eared sliders are popularly known for their red stripe behind eyes and their capability to swim quickly. As a parent of a red-eared slider, you should know how quickly and big it can grow. Once you are familiar with the correct information, you can easily determine the appropriate tank size for your turtle.

Knowing how fast they are capable of growing and which factors impact their growth will ensure proper care for your turtle. Besides, it will also help you provide a healthy and happy living environment for your little crawly friend.

In this article, we will give you valuable insights into the growth pace of the red-eared sliders. While you scroll further, you will get to learn which factors influence their growth. And finally, you will know the techniques that will help them reach their complete growth potential. Please stick to the end of the article to know more.

Let’s get started!

How Fast Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Grow?

How Fast Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Grow?

Compared to all other turtles, red-eared slider turtles can grow relatively faster, especially during the initial years of their lives. They are capable of growing up to 2-3 inches every year while they are young. 

However, their growth rate slows down a little after a few years, but they can still grow at least 1-2 inches.

You can expect your red-eared slider to reach its adult size of 8-12 inches within eight years or less. Nonetheless, the exact growth rate can vary according to a few factors, including habitat, diet, genetics, etc.

By the time your male red-eared turtle turns eight years, he will become approximately 8-10 inches long. But if your red-eared turtle is a female, then it might reach at least 10-12 inches.

Remember that these turtles are very likely to become enormous as they reach adulthood. Since they cannot accommodate themselves in a small aquarium, you should provide them with a larger tank that matches their size.

Here, we have provided a growth chart for red-eared slider turtles:

Age Size
1-3 months 1-2 inches
1 year 3-4 inches
2 years 4-5 inches
3 years 5-6 inches
4 years 6-7 inches
5 years 7-8 inches
6 years 8-9 inches
7 years 9-10 inches

What Factors Influence the Growth of Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

There are certain factors that can readily influence the growth rate of red-eared slider turtles. Here we have listed some of the most prominent ones:


Red-Eared Slider Turtles

Most importantly, the genetic makeup of your red-eared slider might significantly affect its growth rate. Sometimes, you might notice that some sliders grow slowly while others grow faster.


Diet plays a pivotal role in affecting proper growth in red-eared sliders. As a pet parent, it is extremely important for you to provide your slider with a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Since these turtles are omnivorous, they consume fruits, vegetables, and meat. And while they are capable of consuming a large variety of food, you should ensure a balanced diet for them. You can include fish, meat, insects, pellets, fruits, vegetables, aquatic plants, etc., in the requisite amount.

Failing to provide a balanced diet will have a negative impact on your turtle, and it will experience stunted growth. Therefore, the red-eared slider will not have the potential to reach its maximum size.


Red-Eared Slider Turtles Age

As mentioned earlier, red-eared slider turtles experience rapid growth during the initial years of their life. Interestingly, a hatchling or a baby slider can grow at least 2-3 inches in the first year itself. And by the time they are five years, most of the turtles will reach their maximum growth potential.

Housing Conditions

Believe it or not, the habitat you provide for your crawly friend heavily influences its growth. Please note that your slider will not remain tiny forever. So, it requires a spacious tank for swimming and exploring different corners of its habitat only to reach its full growth.


If your red-eared slider suffers from several health conditions frequently, it might impact their growth. Intestinal infections, parasites, and other aquatic turtle illnesses can severely affect your pet’s overall well-being. Thus, your crawly friend is very likely to experience stunted growth.

What is the Average Growth Rate of Red-Eared Sliders

Average Growth Rate of Red-Eared Sliders

Red-eared slider turtles belong to the medium to large size species of turtles. And over a lifetime, these turtles can grow potentially only to reach their maximum size. Please note that the average growth rate of these species typically varies as per their age and size.

As a hatchling, red-eared sliders are almost about the size of a quarter. While they grow quickly in the first few years of life, they can become at least 5-6 inches within 2 years.

Once the initial growth spurt seizes, their growth rate tends to slow down a little. Nevertheless, your pet turtle will continue to grow throughout its lifetime.

As soon as your turtle reaches adulthood, it can typically range from 8-12 inches in the shell. However, there are a few exceptions, and some turtles might grow larger than normal. Also, remember that the male red-eared sliders tend to be smaller than the females.

Usually, red-eared slider turtles tend to live for more than 20 years. Which means they have loads of time to grow and reach their full potential.

How to Promote Healthy Growth of Your Red-Eared Slider Turtle?

To promote the healthy growth of your red-eared slider turtle, you need to take proper care. Here we have listed a few things that will help you do the same for your turtle:

Provide an Appropriate Habitat

These species require a proper habitat to live a healthy and happy life. Besides, their habitat must also have proper heating, lighting, and filtration amenities to thrive.

Make sure your turtle’s habitat is large enough for its size to swim freely and explore. Also, don’t forget to include a basking area where your crawly friend can get some warmth and dry off.

Offer a Well-Maintained and Balanced Diet

Red-eared slider turtles adhere to an omnivorous diet. Which means they can consume both animal and plant-based diets. Besides, when they consume a protein and calcium-rich diet, it helps in promoting healthy growth.

As a responsible pet parent, you should offer your turtles a large variety of foods. For instance, alternatively, offer them leafy greens, blueberries, commercial turtle pellets, and fruits and vegetables. In fact, you should also include calcium in your diet through cuttlebone or any calcium supplement.

Provide Appropriate Light and Heat

Red-Eared Slider Turtle

UVB lighting is immensely crucial for red-eared slider turtles. It helps them metabolize calcium and various other nutrients properly. They also require a basking area with a ceramic heater or heat lamp besides UVB lighting. You will often find these turtles basking under the heat lamp to regulate their body temperature.

Monitor for Signs of Health Issues

Like all other pet turtles, red-eared sliders are also prone to specific health conditions. Some of the most common ones include shell rot, respiratory infections, intestinal parasites, etc. So, it is imperative for you to monitor your turtle for any significant signs of illness and injury. Also, make sure that you acquire medical assistance as and whenever required.

To Conclude

Even without proper care, red-eared slider turtles can grow much quicker than any other species. However, you should understand the several factors that can essentially impact their growth rate.

Providing your turtle with a well-maintained and balanced diet and a suitable habitat with proper lighting will help your turtle grow potentially. Also, you must always monitor for signs of any illness or injury and seek medical attention, if any, whenever required.

Once you are familiar with the needs of your red-eared slider, you can take appropriate and good care of it. Therefore, you can help your pet live a long, healthy, and happy life in its own habitat.

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