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This American turtle got into Australian waters illegally and aggressively out-competes our turtles for survival.

Description: The Red-eared Slider has a distinctive red stripe behind each ear, which fades with age. It has pale yellow stripes on its head and front legs. Males have long claws on their front feet. Sliders have a dark green oval shell and exactly 12 scales on their under-shell with large dark patches on each one.

Diet: Sliders are omnivores and eat small fish like shrimp and crayfish. They also feed on aquatic plants and decaying material.

In the wild: The Red-eared Slider is a declared pest in Australia and other parts of the world. This aggressive freshwater turtle competes with native species for food and space in waterways. It was introduced into Australia through the illegal pet trade.

Larger sliders can inflict a painful bite. The exotic turtle retracts its head straight back into its shell, unlike Australian native turtle and tortoise species, which wrap their heads around the side of their shell.

Threats: The Red-eared Slider is very adaptable to Australian waterways and has very few natural predators. It has also been found in the Perth region. It is illegal to keep or sell Red-eared Sliders. If you find a Red-eared Slider, contact the Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881.

Did you Know?

The Red-eared Slider is one of the top 100 ‘World’s Worst’ invaders as determined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. It is considered a major threat to biodiversity.

Asian Rainforest
Scientific Name
Trachemys scripta elegans
Conservation Status
Least Concern
Body Length
30 cm
0.6–1.5 kg
2 months
Number of Eggs
Up to 30
Native to southern USA
Waterways, lakes and swamps
extraMile by Integranet