Several Red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) recently hatched at Animal Embassy. They are adorable little creatures!
Chris, our director, came upon their mother as she crossed a road this spring; he suspected that she was seeking a spot to lay eggs. Removing her from danger, he brought her back to the Animal Embassy exhibit. After laying her eggs, our staff kept them safe and warm until hatching. It was amazing to find out that although this species is not indigenous to our area, this turtle had bred in the wild, obviously with another Red-eared slider living locally.
The rescued turtle and her mate clearly had been released into the wild by their owners. This is one of the sad circumstances of exotic pet ownership. Many pet owners purchase the turtles as babies only to find later as they grow, they require space and care that the owner either cannot give or no longer wishes to provide. These turtles can get quite large - 10-12" in diameter. As adults, they require large enclosures, high-powered filters and costly ultraviolet lighting. If not properly kept, these and many other pets can be vectors of serious bacteria, including salmonella.
The release of these turtles into our local environment causes ecological challenges. Their persistence in our local freshwater habitats creates a significant problem for our local Painted turtle as the Red-eared sliders compete with them for space, food and nesting sites. Although the sale of Red-eared sliders as pets is prohibited by a variety of federal laws, the problem persists. Outside of their natural habitat, our exhibit, and other educational institutions and nature centers, are the ideal place for you and your family to get to know this beautiful turtle species.
Above: Program participants hold Mom & Baby Red-eared sliders.
Come visit the babies at the Animal Embassy public exhibit
at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center!