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feeder fish
red eared slider
big t
vain hope
Do Red - Eared Sliders Have Personalities | The Antics Of An Aquatic Turtle
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Do Red   -   Eared Sliders Have Personalities | The Antics Of An Aquatic Turtle

With a resounding Yes! I say my red-eared slider has a personality. He communicates with me in his turtle way. And I actually think he likes me. Yeah, I know. He should -- I’m the one who feeds him. But I really think it goes beyond that.


When I pass close to the tank or stop by to say hi through the glass, Big T swims over to where I am and greets me right back. If I put my finger to the glass he flutters his hands in front of his face. I researched this and there seems to be some confusion about this peculiar behavior. Some say it’s aggression. Huh? He is definitely not aggressive toward me. Some say it’s a greeting. This opinion I can agree with. Big T even comes over to say hi to the cats who are really only interested in watching the feeder fish swimming about in the tank.

Big T will slap the top of the water making loud splashing sounds to get my attention. This usually means he’s hungry. He sees me get his food out and moves about excitedly as he watches me. He’ll even take food from my fingers and has never bitten me.

He hissed once though, when I caught him off-guard. He was in the tub where he hangs when I clean his tank. He didn’t realize I was going to pick him up and this weird little sound escaped his mouth. I turned him to face me and he saw it was just me and stopped squirming.

Turtle Hi-jinx

He’s a bugger sometimes. Seems these little turtles like to redecorate their tank. With Big T, this typically entails pushing against the filter, heater, or anything else in the tank with surprising strength. He frequently works hard to move a container of stones that the filter rests on and knocks the filter off the suction cups attached to the side of the tank. The container is there to help support the filter so when he does all this, the container ends up in the middle of the tank, and the filter ends up almost totally immersed which is not an ideal position for the filter. I pile stones up around the container in the vain hope that he won’t move it, but he is nothing if not persistent. The sound of the stones moving about once he starts displacing them is very distracting. I found out that these guys need a tougher filter made to withstand such manhandling, er, turtle-handling. He also rearranges the stones into straight lines. I wonder if he has OCD or something when he does this. It's a very interesting thing for him to do.

He likes to go out and walk in the grass in our yard on a warm sunny day. And this little guy can move! I wonder where he thinks he’s going. He doesn’t care I guess -- he’s just happy to stretch his legs on land. He’ll run in the direction of bushes or the sidewalk. When he sees bugs, he stops and has snapped at them on occasion. I’ve never seen him catch one -- ditto with the feeder fish but they disappear somehow.

What I get a real kick out of is the way he climbs up on his sunning dock and stretches his back legs all the way out and up into the air. I suppose it’s to get as much of the UV rays as he can from the light above the tank.

Big T must feel safe at home with the cats and me. I never see him tuck his head inside his shell in or out of the tank except when he’s sleeping sometimes. I had a preconceived notion he would do this a lot. I thought they were easily scared but he doesn't seem to be shy at all. I thought they were slow too and this just isn't so, relatively speaking.

I always thought that if I had the choice to come back as anything I wanted to, it would be as a pampered house cat. Mine have the life. But since I got this little guy, I’ve changed my mind. All Big T does all day is just what I love to do most: eat, sleep, sun, and swim.

Big T, my aquatic red-eared slider turtle is very entertaining. I really don't mind that it's more work to care for a red-eared slider than it is to take care of the cats. He's worth it. He’s just plain fun to watch.

Street Talk


Yeah...I agree, Guys. Although my pet turtle owns me....(I spoil all my pets) my cats think I'm the alpha cat around here.

  about 9 years ago

AnnMarie, sound like you have a great relationship with your pet, it also sounds as though it has you well trained, like all pets they train us not us them, Loved the article.

  about 9 years ago

With Rob on this. Our pets have us trained just the way they want us.

  about 9 years ago
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