Red Eared Slider vs. Painted Turtle

Red Eared Slider vs. Painted Turtle

While buying pet turtles, people often get confused between red-eared sliders and painted turtles. I remember a few days ago, one of my friends was asking about the basic differences between these two turtles.

Red-eared sliders and painted turtles are commonly kept as pet turtles. They both follow lifestyles and requirements. If you want to keep either of them, then it is necessary to know the differences between these two species. 

Red-eared slider vs. Painted turtle

Characteristics Red Eared Slider   Painted Turtle  
Physical AttributesThe red-eared sliders have a significant crimson color right in the back of the eyes.The majority of the painted turtles have yellow markings around their eyes. They are more likely to have a yellow streak behind both eyes.   
Carapace or Top ShellThe upper shells of the red-eared sliders are a bit steeper than that of the painted turtles. The shell of the red-eared sliders varies between dark brown to olive color with red or maroon stripes along the sides of the head. When young, carapace gets a leaf green coloration and it gets darker with age. The painted turtles have a smoother shell. Their shell has a relatively flatter upper shell with yellow and red markings on brown, greenish-brown or black background.   
Plastron or Belly ShellMost of the adult sliders have a yellow patterned belly shell. The plastron is light yellow color always with irregular, paired and dark markings. The spotted bottom shell is missing in the painted turtle. The bottom shell of the painted turtles can either be brownish yellow or crimson with markings in the center.
SizeIn many cases, the size of matured female sliders can be more than 13 inches.The size of matured female painted turtles is about 6 inches. 
Origin (location)The red-eared sliders are native to the southern United States of America and northern Mexico. The painted turtles are native to northern America. 
Life ExpectancyThe red-eared sliders live 50 to 70 years. However, life expectancy decreases in captivity.  The painted turtles live up to 25 to 30 years and in the way, its life expectancy decreases in captivity. 

Both the red-eared slider and the painted turtle are very similar physically. But, from the given differences you can tell what the variations between these two turtles are.

Even though they have dissimilarities physically, they have a lot in common. As their habitat, lifestyle, and diet are the same, maintaining them together is quite easy. They are very compatible as tank mates.

However, I recommend, you should observe their behavior by putting them in the same tank for a while. In case of any hostile behavior, put them in separate tanks.


So, you got an idea of how red eared slider and painted turtle are different from each other. Although there are very minor differences between these two turtles, both of these make a great pet.

Bringing a turtle home means you are adopting it for almost a lifetime, therefore, it is essential to know about the background of your pet turtle. 

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping turtles as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my turtle keeping knowledge with you.

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