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Red-eared Terrapin, Trachemys scripta


Short description of Trachemys scripta, Red-eared Terrapin

A terrapin, the shell of which can grow up to 30 cm long but hatchlings measure just a few centimetres. Shell usually dark green to black with greenish or yellowish markings. Limbs, head and neck may be striped with yellow and colourful red or yellow "ears" may be present behind the eye (depending on the "subspecies"). Small juveniles are the most colourful, fading and becoming darker with age.  Many similar species and related genera are being kept and may be released.

Description of Trachemys scripta, Red-eared Terrapin status in GB

The abundance and distribution of red-eared terrapins, also called red-eared sliders, in GB are not known, though individuals found in the wild are likely to be escaped pets and are not thought to be breeding.

Habitat summary: Trachemys scripta, Red-eared Terrapin

A variety of water bodies from park ponds to large lakes, typically seen basking on emergent logs or rocks.

Overview table

Environment: Terrestrial
Species status: Non-Native
Native range: Mexico, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Venezuela
Functional type: Predator
Status in England: Non-Native
Status in Scotland: Non-Native
Status in Wales: Non-Native
Date of first record: Unknown

Distribution map

Map of the UK with areas shaded to show the UK distribution of Red-eared Terrapin

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

John W. Wilkinson

Last updated:

April 23rd 2020

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