Everything You Need About Yellow Belly Sliders – A Beginner’s Guide

Yellow belly sliders are one of the most commonly chosen pets among the turtles. They are cute, eye-catching, and adorable to have around. They are popular as pets due to their land-dwelling nature. They enjoy both water and land and love to explore them and play around.

These medium-sized turtles are usually found in South US, especially in Florida. They have 30 years of life span in the wild, and they are one of the species that is not endangered till today.

Yellow Belly sliders: Specie and Origin

Yellow belly siders are beautiful land and aquatic turtles. They belong to the Trachemys Scripta Scripta species. The name “Trachemys Scripta Scripta” has a Latin origin.  “Trachemys” translations into “Rough Turtles” and “Scripta” means writing. Thus, it means the turtle with a rough shell that has beautiful scripting or pattern over it.

The scientific name signifies the colorful appearance and the thrill of the yellow-bellied slider enjoying both water and land. Their size and beautiful appearance are a perfect match for their active petting nature. That’s why there are very popular among children and adults as pets.

Yellow slider turtles are found in the southern United States. They are more likely to live anywhere with a water reservoir so that they can often swim too. Thus, they are found under the climate influence of the southern US, where freshwater rivers, lakes, and ponds are situated, especially in Florida.

Yellow Belly sliders

Yellow Belly sliders: Characteristics


The bottom of the shell is known as Plastron. The yellow-bellied turtle is named this way because of the color of the plastron. Yes! The belly, in this case, is the bottom of the carapace. The Plastron is usually bright yellow in color with black spots.

On the other hand, there are various colors of carapace seen in the yellow sliders. The shell is more likely to be dull in color. Usually, the carapace is brown, black, or dark green with yellow spots and a rough pattern. These bright yellow markings are gorgeous and eye-catching as well.

As for the skin of these yellow belly slider turtles, they have black and yellow stripes. The stripes design meets at the nose of the turtle giving is a different visual appeal.

Even though they are Reptiles, but they have few amphibian traits as well. The long claws have a unique grip, just like what we found in amphibians. Such grip helps develop the friction on the soil or the land for the yellow turtles to crawl. Similarly, their webbed toes make them amazingly mesmerizing swimmers of the freshwater.

These turtles with yellow stripes on the head are most commonly confused by the River Cooter of east US. They both have yellows stripes on the face and the neck and yellow spots on the undersides. What makes yellow-bellied slider turtles different is the s-shaped or question mark-shaped marking on their bellies or the plastron.

Baby to Adult Size

The Yellow-bellied slider turtles are one of those reptiles whose average size depends solely on gender. Baby yellow-bellied turtles are almost 1.5 inches long when hatched. They are surprisingly bright yellow as well. By the time the baby yellow belly turtle starts growing the shell, the maximum length of the carapace starts from 8 inches to 11 inches.

The average size of the male yellow-bellied turtles is about 8 to 10 inches long, while the female can reach 11.6 inches. The longest carapace of the female yellow belly slider turtle was about 13 inches too.

Yellow Belly sliders

Behavior and Nature

Yellow belly turtles are easy-going and very friendly. They love to explore both water and the land. They are not afraid to move around and have their adventure on their own. Therefore, they are amazing as pets.

They are very active during the day, and you may find them in various actions in their tank-like moving, dipping in water to exploring the plants. The plants make them feel at home, and they enjoy moving around in them a lot. They love to hide in them for you to find them. When they feel tired, you will find them busking on the land under your UV light setup.

They are not just active during the sun, but they are also the morning risers. They will move from water to land to regulate their body temperature.

These turtles don’t like being held. They are a bit uncomfortable when cuddled or held in the hands for too long. They might bite if they have reached the peaks of discomfort or if they are stressed. Therefore, while cleaning the tank, you should place them in a separate spacious container so they are not stressed out and enjoy the water.

Guide to Care

Yellow belly slider turtles are one of the most adored animals as pets. They are friendly, active, and very fun to be around. But due to their land-dwelling nature and the presence of aquatic turtle genes, the care may be tough and require attention to details. The main question most people are stuck with is how to take care of a yellow belly turtle?

There are multiple things that a caretaker must understand to understand the nature and well-being of the yellow belly sliders. They need a good environment to maintain their life in captivity. Therefore, the following are a few essential things to understand and practice for yellow belly slider care.

Turtle Aquarium and Tank dimensions

Since yellow-bellied sliders are both land and water turtles so do keep in mind the environment you want to introduce. We can recommend the standard aquarium setting, but there are special turtle tanks also available in the market for you to try.

If you have decided to use an aquarium, you must take your yellow belly sliders outside, especially when the temperature is moderate. But you can also set up a tank that will fulfill the accommodation of land and the waterside by the side.

Try to get a yellow-bellied slider tank or a tank of 48 by 12 inches dimension. You can also look for yellow belly turtles for sale in your local aquarium sellers. Turtle yellow will do great in a foot of water, but we will recommend getting a taller tank for a better environment setting.

Yellow Belly slider Tank setup

Yellow-bellied sliders love to bask in the sun, and it helps them regulate their body temperature on the land. But they also like to spend 60 percent to 70 percent of their time in the water as well. The tank setup can be tricky for you at this point but don’t worry.

You can quickly introduce a piece of land to your aquarium by using a substratum material. One of the readily available options is using a piece of floating perch. This perch will float on the water and follow the waterline on the tank. It also has a suitable weight that floats while the turtle can easily climb over it. Just make you use a big piece of perch for the turtle to move or busk around comfortably.

Now, how to set up the water part. Cover the bottom of the tank with riverbeds or gravels. Clean it before you place it at the bottom of the tank. Then after putting it in place, add some plants. You can either use artificial and real as well; it is entirely up to you. Adding plants is essential since this setup will make the turtle feel safe, just like in their habitat. You can also use floating plants as well.

Water should be clean in yellow-bellied slider tanks. Thus, you can use a good and powerful filtration system. We also recommend the biological filter or an excellent hang-on filter. The yellow belly sliders produce a lot of waste to their tank, are more like to get dirt, and may have higher ammonia levels, which is dangerous for their health. So, we recommend buying a filter that is about three times the size of the tank recommended. This will take off the waste without you worrying about it.

Temperature and Lighting Setup

Yellow-bellied turtles are most active during the day. They love to bask in the sun because it helps them in regulating their body temperature. You can use two types of lighting in your tank setup:

  • Basking light
  • UV light

The basking light can also help in raising the temperature of whatever they are placed upon. Thus, it is an ideal choice of the land portion of the tank. It will help in increasing the temperature of the air from about 90 F to 100 F.

On the other hand, the UV light will mimic the nature of the sunlight. It helps in inducing the UVA and UVB rays for the yellow sliders. It helps in improving their metabolism and nutrient levels as well. The UV lighting should go on at least 12 hours a day.

Tank Humidity level

Another interesting fact about yellow belly is that you don’t have to worry about the humidity levels. Unlike other reptiles or turtles, they love the dryness of the land. If they feel that the land is too dry, they will dip in the water. They will survive the humidity since they live in massive rivers, lakes, and ponds in the warm climate in the wilds. Their body is immune to humidity.

Water temperature

The water temperature should be around 65 F to 80 F. You can use a thermometer to monitor the weather for your pet slider. Here the quality of water is another important thing to consider. While changing the water of the tank, use water conditioners. This will remove the absence of chemicals like chlorine that may harm the cute turtle.

Moreover, if you are having trouble maintaining the temperature, you can install a water temperature submerges as well.

  • Few tips for maintenance and Well-being of the Yellow belly slider
  • Check the filtration system regularly during the first week of setup and then every two weeks.
  • If the tank has uncontrollable algae levels,n replace the filter medium and use a brush to clean the algae manually.
  • Change water every second week to keep the levels of nitrate and ammonia in water moderate.

Food and Diet

Usually, the yellow-bellied sliders are omnivores in their wild habitat. They will survive eating the plants on the land and water along with the insects. But they will eat anything in captivity too. We recommend a plant-based diet for both adults and babies.

Yellow belly turtle food may include plants rich in nutrients and vitamins that can help maintain their health for a long time. It is a little exceptional in the baby yellow belly turtle diet. If you have a hatchling them, you might need to feed the leafy green in the form of paste.

The adult yellow belly turtle absolutely loves the following:

  • Parsley
  • Romanian lettuce
  • Apples
  • Dandelion greens

If you want to offer some meat, then you can use frozen shrimps. You can also feed them brown crickets. But do keep in mind to hold the high protein or fatty ingredients.

An adult yellow belly slider will have a hearty meal every day. On the other hand, the baby yellow belly turtle will have two small meals a day.

Yellow Belly sliders: Health issues

Indeed, taking care of a living thing may bring things into consideration other than food and diet. For yellow-bellied turtles, you need to know the crucial health issue that they can face. Here is a list of several diseases that your pet slider may fall into.

Fungal disease

Yellow belly turtles may form fungal spores on the back of their carapace. Thus, their shell can rot. This can soften their shell and cause damage. However, you can treat it with antibacterial water treatments.

Respiratory infections

It is very common in turtles. It makes their eyes puffy and causes drooling and wheezing. You can treat the infection by habitat maintenance. Cleaning the tank and using a sound filter system can avoid this infection.

Metabolic bone disease

This disease makes their carapace and internal skeletal structure weak due to calcium deficiency. Not enough exposure to UV light mainly causes it. You can treat it quickly by exposure to UV light at least 12 hours a day.


Yellow-bellied slider turtles are terrific pets to have. They are fun and very manageable with a proper setup and environment. The best owner should be knowledgeable and must commit to their well-being. They are very fun to watch and play with for both adults and children.

Simple tank setup and diet can help them live for 40 years than the 30 years of the wild. You can easily search the yellow-bellied slider turtle for sale in your local petting markets.

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