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Types of Freshwater Turtles

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. September 20, 2017
Types of Freshwater Turtles

Are you thinking of adopting a turtle or tortoise? There are freshwater turtles all around the diverse and beautiful planet. They are found in lakes, swamps and even in riverbeds, however, they are also very popular pets, especially among young children. This is primarily because they are relatively easy to care for.

Keep reading this AnimalWised article to inform yourself about types of freshwater turtles to know which is best for you and your family.

You may also be interested in: Types of Pet Tortoises Around the World

Red-eared slider

To begin our list of the different types of freshwater turtles (or tortoise, depending on where you are from), let's talk about the red-eared slider. Although, its scientific name is Trachemys scripta elegans. Its natural habitat is in Mexico and the United States, Mississippi being its main home.

They are popular pets and very common in retail outlets all over the world. They can reach 30 cm in length, with the females being larger than males.

Their body is dark green and has some yellow colouring. However, its most prominent feature and the reason behind its name is two red markings on the sides of its head.

This type of turtle's shell is slightly inclined from the bottom up to its body as it is a semi-aquatic turtle, i.e., it can live either in water or on land.

This is a semi-aquatic turtle. They are easy to spot in the rivers of the southern US, to be more specific, in the Mississippi River.

Types of Freshwater Turtles - Red-eared slider

Yellow-bellied slider

Now let's turn to the yellow-bellied slider, also called Trachemys scripta scripta. This turtle is also from areas between Mexico and the US and is not difficult to find in the market.

Its name comes from the yellow stripes that give it its identity. They are found on their neck and head as well as on the ventral part of the shell. The rest of their body is a dark brown colour. They can reach 30 cm in length and love to spend periods by lakes enjoying the sunlight.

This species adapts fairly easily to domestic life, but if abandoned it can become an invasive species. That is why you must be very careful if you can no longer look after it, making sure that someone can accept it into their home, you must never leave a pet to their own devices.

Types of Freshwater Turtles - Yellow-bellied slider

Cumberland slider

Now we have the Cumberland slider or Trachemys scripta troosti. They come from the US, particularly Tennessee and Kentucky.

Some scientists believe that this is the evolution of hybrid between two older species of turtle. They have a distinctive green shell with light yellow and black spots. They can reach up to 21 cm in length.

The temperature of its terrarium should be between 25ºC and 30ºC and must have direct contact with sunlight, as it will spend long hours enjoying it. They are omnivorous turtles as they feed on algae, fish, tadpoles or crayfish.

What do freshwater turtles eat?

If you were wondering what do turtles eat? Or more specifically, what do freshwater turtles eat? Then you should know they can eat many foods: fish, minnows, plants, algae, leeches, snails, slugs, and even baby birds if they fall into the water (in the wild, of course). They are quite dynamic when it comes to their diet.

Types of Freshwater Turtles - Cumberland slider

Pig-nosed turtle

The pig-nosed turtle or Carettochelys insculpta is from northern Australia and New Guinea. It has a soft shell and an unusual head.

These animals that can measure a whopping 60 cm in length and can weigh 25 kilograms of weight. Because of their appearance they are very popular in the world of exotic pets.

They are virtually aquatic and only come out of the water to lay eggs. These are omnivorous turtles that feed on both plant and animal matter but enjoy fruits and Ficus leaves.

This turtle can reach considerable size, it is for that reason that you must put it in a large aquarium. It should be live alone because they have a tendency to bite if they feel stressed. Avoid this problem by providing quality food.

Types of Freshwater Turtles - Pig-nosed turtle

Spotted turtle

The spotted turtle is also known as Clemmys guttata and it is a semi-aquatic individual measuring between 8 and 12 cm.

It is very beautiful, has a black or blue shell with small yellow spots that also extend onto its skin. As is the case above, these are omnivorous turtles that live in freshwater areas. It comes from the eastern US and Canada.

It is threatened in the wild due to the destruction of their habitat and being captured for illegal trafficking in the pet trade. For that reason, if you decide to adopt a spotted turtle make sure it comes from breeders who meet the relevant requirements and permits. Do not encourage trafficking because together we will end up making this species extinct, the last of the family Clemmys.

Types of Freshwater Turtles - Spotted turtle

Razor-backed musk turtle

Finally, completing our list of types of freshwater turtles is the razor-backed musk turtle or Sternotherus carinatus is also from the US and many aspects of their behaviour or needs are unknown.

It is not especially large, measuring just 15 cm long and are dark brown with black markings. Its shell is like a small rounded bulb, characteristic of this species.

It practically lives in the water and like to mingle in areas offering lots of vegetation, where they feel safe and protected. Like the pig nose turtle, it only come ashore to lay its eggs. It needs a spacious terrarium that is practically full of water, somewhere it can feel comfortable.

An interesting fact is when this turtle feels threatened, it releases a foul odour that warns off possible predators.

Types of Freshwater Turtles - Razor-backed musk turtle

Whatever the species of turtle, don't forget that it is very important to provide a good fish tank adapted to their size to make them comfortable, because it is where they will spend most of their time. Also do not forget that buy appropriate food as this is very important for their health and growth.

We hope you learned something new today! Discover great names for turtles - both male and female turtles - on AnimalWised. If you have a pet turtle, we would love you to share a photo of them in the comments!

If you want to read similar articles to Types of Freshwater Turtles, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

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