Skip to content

Red-eared slider turtle

Red-eared slider turtle

Updated 12 January 2018 3:30pm

Red-eared slider turtle
Trachemys scripta elegans
Photo: Crown copyright DOC

Why are red-eared slider turtles a problem?

The impact of red-eared slider turtles in the wild is largely unknown in New Zealand, but given their omnivorous diet they could adversely impact aquatic plants, insects, small fish species and ground nesting birds. Red-eared slider turtles can survive in the wild in the Wellington region, but the current climate is considered unsuitable for their reproduction.

Description and background

Small dark green and brown turtle, with a distinctive red stripe on each side of the head. Females have larger bodies, while males are smaller with a longer tail and well developed claws. They can reach an adult length of 28cm. Red-eared slider turtles are opportunistic omnivores, eating a range of vegetation and predating on small fish, insects and birds’ eggs and young.

What can I do?

If any turtles are sighted in the wild in the region note the exact location of the sighting and report it to Greater Wellington. Turtles are often sighted sunning themselves on banks or stones, or swimming in still watercourses. If you have an unwanted pet turtle DO NOT release the animal into the wild, take it to the SPCA, a local pet shop or contact Greater Wellington.