Red-eared Terrapin - Trachemys scripta subsp. elegans


    Usually between 20 and 33 cm, with the females being larger than the males. Also known as Red-eared Slider. The red stripe on each side of the head distinguishes it from other species.

    Identification difficulty

    Mainly aquatic and found in ponds and lakes.

    When to see it

    Spring to autumn.

    Life History

    Red-eared Terrapins are almost entirely aquatic but leave the water to bask in the sun and lay eggs. They were originally imported to be sold as pets, as small youngsters that can be kept easily in a fish tank. However, as they grow to adult size many owners are unable to cope with their needs and they either escape or are illegally released into local ponds, where they now can be found. They will hibernate in the colder months except in very mild periods.

    UK Status

    Becoming widespread and probably increasing in numbers in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland, but possibly increasing in numbers.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map