Red-eared sliders can grow pretty big—up to 10 or 12 inches in length. But how fast do they grow from hatchlings through various life stages to reach this adulthood size?
How fast does a red-eared slider grow? Red-eared sliders grow pretty fast in their first few years (up to 3 inches) but as they reach maturity their growth rate slows down to around 1 inch per year until they reach the full size. An adult can take anywhere from 5 to 15 years to reach its full size.
This article sheds more light on how fast your red-eared slider grows, the factors influencing its growth, and tips for ensuring the healthy growth of your pet slider.
Red-Eared Slider Growth Chart:
|Age||Approximate shell length|
|1 to 3 months (Baby slider)||1 to 2 inches|
|1 year||2 to 3 inches|
|2 years||4 to 5 inches|
|3 years||6 to 7 inches|
|4 years||8 to 9 inches|
|5 years (Adulthood)||10 to 12 inches|
Note that the above data is just an approximation of the growth rate in red-eared sliders. The actual growth can vary between individual turtles depending on various factors (more details later in this post).
How fast does a red-eared slider grow?
Red-eared sliders grow quite first during the first few years and can reach up to 3 inches in size. However, the growth rate tends to slow down as they hit adulthood.
After this life stage, they’ll only grow approx. an inch until they reach their maximum size.
In other words, adult sliders can take as long as 5 to 15 years to reach the full-grown red-eared slider size of 8 to 12 inches.
Females usually take longer to grow than males. Males will reach around 8 to 10 inches at age 7 while females will reach 10 to 12 inches.
That said, the growth rate in red-eared sliders may differ from one individual to another. Some can grow pretty fast while others may lag behind.
Several factors significantly influence the growth rate of your slider including genetics, diet, living conditions, etc. (find more details about these factors below).
What factors influence red-eared slider turtle growth?
Here are the key factors that influence the growth rate of your red-eared slider:
A proper diet is one of the most crucial factors affecting proper growth in red-eared sliders.
If you don’t feed your slider a well-balanced, nutritious diet, it will experience stunted growth and won’t reach its maximum size.
These turtles are generally omnivores and require both plant and animal materials for a balanced diet.
You should feed them with animal proteins, leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits. Commercial pellets should also be part of your turtle diet.
The genetic makeup of your individual red-eared slider may affect its growth rate. This explains why you may see some sliders growing much faster while others grow slowly.
The habitat you set up for your pet turtle will also heavily influence its growth. Your slider requires a spacious tank to swim and explore to reach its full growth potential.
The water temperatures should be maintained at the recommended level of 75 to 85 degrees F to allow for proper growth.
The tank should also be kept clean at all times to prevent illnesses and infections that may slow down your turtle’s growth.
Investing in a strong filter will help keep your tank hygiene in check.
If you don’t provide your turtle with access to UV light, it also won’t be able to properly utilize calcium from its food, further affecting its growth.
As we mentioned earlier on, red-eared sliders grow rapidly during the first few years. A baby slider or hatchling can grow to 2-3 inches in the first year. Most sliders will reach up to 4 years during their first year!
But after reaching this size, the growth rate declines, and your pet slider will only grow about one inch in shell length for the coming years.
If your red-eared slider suffers from various health issues such as intestinal parasites, infections, and other common aquatic turtle illnesses, its overall well-being and growth may also become impacted.
How to ensure healthy growth of your pet turtle
You can promote healthy growth of your red-eared slider turtle by providing it with suitable habitat—with proper heating, lighting, and strong filtration.
Also, ensure the enclosure is big enough for your pet turtle to freely swim and explore. Equip the aquarium with a basking spot with UV lighting for proper calcium metabolism and proper growth and development.
Feed your RES a balanced, nutritious diet for proper growth. Give your slider a variety of foods including commercial turtle pellets, leafy greens, veggies, and fruits.
Baby sliders require more proteins in their diet for healthy growth.
Above all, monitor your pet turtle for signs of health issues such as shell rot, respiratory infection, etc., and seek medical treatment where necessary.
There’s no pre-determined period over which a red-eared slider attains full size. However, you can expect your red-eared slider to take around 5 to 15 years to reach its maximum size, depending on the various factors we discussed above.
Red-eared sliders hatchlings are usually 1 inch long and can grow up to 3 inches in their first years. Thus, a 2-inch red-eared slider should be around 1 or more years old.
A one-year-old red-eared slider should be around 2 to 4 inches big.
Red-eared sliders grow quickly during their first few years but their growth rate slows down after reaching adulthood. The growth rate isn’t the same for different red-eared sliders as various factors influence the growth of these reptiles. These include housing conditions, genetics, diet, age, and health.
If you provide your red-eared slider with perfect habitat with proper filtration, heating, and lighting, feed it a balanced diet, and keep its health in check, nothing will get in its way to reaching its full growth potential.