How Long Should A Red Eared Slider Bask?

Turtle Basking

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you own a red eared slider or if you are thinking of getting one, you probably know by now about its basking habit. Like other semi-aquatic animals, red eared sliders spend a part of their life on land. They need to bask as much they need to dwell underwater. But how long should a red eared slider bask?

Generally, red eared sliders bask as long as they need. The time range on average is between 2 to 9 hours. Younger red eared sliders might bask more frequently than older ones. If the water or ambient temperature is cooler, they might bask more to warm up. Also, a sick red eared slider might bask more or less than usual, depending on the illness.

Here in this article, the discussion on how long should a red eared slider bask will provide you with information about their healthy lifestyle. This article will also help your turtle to stay in a comfortable condition and a healthy environment.

How Long Should Red Eared Slider Bask?

A red eared slider basks to absorb heat and UV rays. It is necessary to be dry for at least an hour to maintain a good physical condition. UV rays help the red eared slider’s metabolism. So its basking needs to be efficient.

How long should a red eared slider bask? It actually depends on its needs. Usually the range of time is 2 to 9 hours. A slider will bask till it feels it. But you should also notice if it’s basking all the time or if it’s basking for a longer period than usual.

The amount of time a red-eared slider spends basking can vary based on several factors:

  1. Age: Younger turtles might bask more frequently than older ones.
  2. Temperature: If the water or ambient temperature is cooler, they might bask more to warm up.
  3. Health: A sick turtle might bask more or less than usual, depending on the illness.
  4. Season: Turtles might bask more during certain times of the year.

On average, a healthy red-eared slider might bask for several hours a day. However, it’s essential to provide them with the opportunity to bask whenever they feel the need. Ensure they have a suitable basking platform and a UVB light source.

Monitor their behavior: if they are always basking and never in the water, or vice versa, it might indicate a problem with the water temperature, the basking temperature, or their health.

According to a study published in the Journal of Thermal Biology, turtles may bask more frequently and for longer periods of time in cooler waters, as they need to maintain a higher body temperature in those conditions (source: National Geographic)

Why Proper Basking Time Is Important?

But why is it important to know how long should a red eared slider bask? As the wellbeing of a slider hugely depends on its basking habit you should know how it works. Basking helps red eared slider to sustain good health.

They need to dry out at least once a day. It keeps the shell strong and healthy. They need the UV rays of the sun for their metabolism. How long should a red eared slider bask depends on its need. They will bask until they are content.

But there is a certain amount of basking time. If the turtle doesn’t act according to its natural routine then there are several things you can do to help your turtle stay healthy.

What If The Basking Period Is Longer Than Usual?

If the basking period is longer than usual then you need to make sure if it’s physically well.

See also  What Do Red Eared Sliders Do in The Winter?

If your slider basks all day, place it in water. If it climbs back up to its basking spot, check if the water is ok. The pH level can cause irritation to the turtle and it can cause the turtle to stay out of the water.

Also, check if the water is clean. Change the water if it needs to be changed. Maintain the water temperature. It should be between 26 to 28 degrees Celsius. It is very important as red eared sliders are sensitive to heat.

Basking for a long time can also mean its suffering from illness. It can be a respiratory infection that keeps the turtle on the basking spot. So you should watch out if your red eared slider is spending too much time on the platform as it can mean discomfort of the turtle.

Lastly, you must set the platform properly so that your red eared slider can get the amount of light it needs. Otherwise, it can intervene with its natural habit.

Turtle Basking: Why, When, How? [Infographic]

If you want a printable version of this PDF, click here. Please link back to this source if you use the infographic on any other website!

How To Set Up The Basking Platform?

As basking is a must for the red eared slider you should set up its habitat according to its need. A basking platform helps the turtle to bask effectively. You have to set a basking platform above the tank for its best effect.

It has to be climbable and comfortable for the turtle. If you are wondering where to get such a basking platform you can check out this Penn Plax Turtle Tank Topper. It’s easy to clean and made of non-toxic plastic. It is designed to be easily climbable. In short, it is perfect for your red eared slider to bask and stay healthy.

Now, on this basking platform, you have to set a basking light. Basking lights provides heat and essential UV ray to the turtle. So it’s must be placed properly.

There are no other requirements for a red eared slider to bask apart from the basking platform and the basking light. But after you complete your set it all up you have to notice is your turtle’s habit. You can’t let it bask all day. You have to maintain its basking time to its natural need.

In some cases, turtles may bask at night under the light of a full moon, which has been observed in turtles living in tropical and subtropical areas (source: National Geographic).

How Long Can Red Eared Slider Go Without Basking?

It’s important to notice if your turtle is basking properly. You should let it maintain its natural behavior. Never force it to do anything unless you notice any unusual activity. Let it stay on its course. You just have to make sure it’s getting everything it needs.

By now you probably know how long should a red eared slider bask. It basks from 2 to 9 hours every day. It is essential for its health.

As the absorbed UV helps the metabolism of red eared sliders, basking should be a regular activity for them. A healthy red eared slider basks daily. If it doesn’t then it will become sick. So you have to make sure it is basking every day.

musk turtle basking
Owner: Kay Skutela

My Red Eared Slider Won’t Bask: What To Do?

Turtles need to bask to keep their bodies healthy. But the red eared slider can be reluctant to basking for various factors, such as:

  1. The basking area can be too hot or too cold
  2. The basking area can be filthy
  3. Something can prevent the red eared slider from climbing on to the platform.
  4. A sick turtle doesn’t usually bask
  5. Inappropriate setup of the basking platform.
  6. Domination of other turtles. (if you own multiple turtles)
See also  How to Trim Red Eared Slider Nails?

It’s very important, but very easy to solve these problems by taking some simple measures such as:

  1. Maintain the temperature of the basking spot. It must be between 32 to 35 degrees Celsius for both hatchlings and matured red eared slider.
  2. The basking platform must be clean. Make sure there isn’t anything lodged and the platform is dirt free.
  3. Make sure the turtle can climb on the platform. If the platform is too slippery or hard to climb then the turtle won’t be able to bask properly. So make sure you have a good platform for basking. Penn Plax Turtle Tank Topper is recommended as the basking platform. It is very much effective.
  4. Confirm that your red eared slider isn’t suffering from any kind of irritation from the heat. Look for damages or defects on its skin and shell. Consult experts if you see anything unusual.
  5. If you own multiple turtles then make sure your red eared slider isn’t being bullied by other turtles in the tank.
  6. Place the light bulb properly. If it isn’t placed right then it is of no use.

Maintain these conditions to ensure the healthy basking habit of your red eared slider. Consider all of the above-mentioned points if your turtle doesn’t bask daily. Otherwise your red eared slide can fall ill and even die.

Can I Put My Turtle Under The Sun?

Red eared sliders naturally bask in the sun but it’s probably not a good idea to put them under direct sunlight.

But it’s only a problem if you leave it under the sun for a long time and don’t put it in water. In nature, red eared sliders spend most of their days in the sun and stay the whole night in the water. But there is a chance that your red eared slider is not used to the natural habitat and has made itself comfortable with the basking spot you provide.

In that case, it is suggested that you don’t leave your red eared slider under the sun unless you can leave it underwater later.

If you travel with your red eared slider and carry it in a small aquarium, then there is a chance you don’t have any basking light with you. In that case, you can put it under the sun for 2 hours or longer depending on heat. But don’t leave it for long and do let it dwell underwater after its done basking.

If you have options, don’t leave your red eared slider under the sun. Use basking light instead and always try to use a basking platform.

red eared slider basking
Owner: Kimberly Ann

how long should baby red eared sliders bask in the sun?

Baby red-eared sliders might bask multiple times throughout the day, often in shorter intervals compared to adults. They might spend anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours basking, depending on the day’s temperature and their individual needs.

how long should a turtle basking light be on?

Turtles, like many animals, benefit from a consistent day/night cycle. Typically, the basking light should be on for about 10-12 hours a day to mimic a natural day/night cycle. This helps regulate their internal clock and behaviors.

Turtles need darkness at night. If the temperature drops too low in their environment during nighttime, you can use a ceramic heat emitter or a specific reptile night heat lamp. These provide heat without emitting light, ensuring the turtle gets a proper dark period.

why is my red eared slider basking at night?

Red-eared sliders are diurnal, which means they are typically active during the day and rest at night. If your red-eared slider is basking at night, it’s a bit unusual and could be due to several reasons:

Lights Are ON During Night

If there are lights on in or around the turtle’s habitat during the night, it might confuse the turtle’s internal clock, making it think it’s daytime. This includes the room lights or any other light source that might be illuminating the tank.

See also  Why Won’t My Red-Eared Slider Bask?

Too Cold Water

If the water temperature is too cold, the turtle might come out to bask, seeking warmth, even during the night. Ensure the water temperature is appropriate for a red-eared slider, typically around 75-78°F (24-26°C) for adults and slightly warmer for juveniles.

Disturbances During Daytime

If there are disturbances during the day – such as loud noises, other pets, or frequent activity around the tank – your turtle might feel safer coming out to bask during the quieter nighttime hours.

Health Issue

Changes in behavior, like basking at unusual times, can sometimes indicate a health issue. If the turtle is not basking enough during the day, it might try to compensate by basking at night. Ensure your turtle appears healthy and is eating and behaving normally otherwise.

New Environment

If you’ve recently changed the turtle’s habitat or if the turtle is new to your home, it might be adjusting to its environment and could have an irregular basking schedule initially.

Inaccessible Basking Platform

Ensure that the basking platform is easily accessible and comfortable for the turtle. If it’s challenging to get onto or doesn’t provide enough space, the turtle might choose odd times to bask when it feels more secure.

What Is The Best Red Eared Slider Basking Platform?

By now you have a clear idea of how long should a red eared slider bask. You also know what is best for the turtle when it comes to basking. A basking platform should be

  1. Easily cleanable.
  2. Easy for the turtle to climb.
  3. Spacious
  4. Made of harmless material

It can be hard to find such a basking platform that offers all of these attributes. You can buy a basking platform from any pet shop you like but it may not be effective at its best. As for a turtle basking is as essential as eating, your focus should be to make the process as efficient as possible.

Penn Plax Turtle Topper has all the features of a good basking platform. But its best feature is that it is placed above the tank. As it is placed above the tank it doesn’t take up any space inside the aquarium.


  • Above-the-tank basking platform: Provides turtles with a spacious area to bask and relax.
  • Clear plastic design: Allows turtles to view their surroundings and provides owners with a clear view of their pets.
  • Durable construction: Made to last and withstand the weight of turtles.
  • Easy assembly: Comes with clear instructions for setup.
  • Suitable for various tank sizes: Designed to fit a range of aquarium sizes.

Some Problems You Might Face

  • Some users mentioned that the turtle’s nails and tummy make noise when walking on the platform.
  • The stairs/ramp might be too steep for some turtles, causing them to slide down quickly.
  • A few users found it challenging to assemble, and some parts, like the swing, might not be sturdy enough for heavier turtles.
  • Due to the increased water level, there’s a potential risk of turtles escaping from the tank. It’s crucial to ensure the tank is securely covered.

So it is apparent that this tank topper is compatible and comfortable for you and your turtle. The whole product is both affordable and effective at its best. So I would recommend this tank topper as your red eared sliders basking platform. It provides all the benefits at an affordable price.

If you want to check out the current price at Amazon, click here.


Your red eared slider deserves the best. It’s your duty to ensure your turtle is getting everything it needs. So do your best to provide the turtle with all the necessities. Help your red eared slider with basking since it’s as important as feeding it.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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