Do outdoor red-eared slider enclosures need a land area, or just a basking area? Do they ever use land areas?

Wayfarin

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Hello, folks!

Anyone who has read my former posts would probably be aware of my ultimate intention to eventually upgrade our red-eared slider, Teresa, to an outdoor enclosure pond.
Since the enclosure would likely be located near the house, it would most likely be an above-ground pond that requires minimal, if any, digging near our house.

I've been looking for ideas online, and I've come across pictures like this.



While designing blueprints for the construction, it had never occurred to me to add a land area like the ones shown in these pictures.
From what I've heard, red-eared sliders only leave the water to bask, oftentimes on a rock or log.

Do red-eared sliders ever go on land? In the past, we would allow Teresa to roam around our lawn for exercise, but it had never occurred to me that this would be a natural behavior.
They are obviously well adapted for terrestrial locomotion so their lacking semi-aquatic tendencies would be somewhat confusing.

Last year, we had a painted turtle, a RES relative with similar behaviors, crossing the road in the middle of our town. This really surprised me, as I would not have thought that a reptile that only leaves the water to bask and lay eggs would ever need to travel so far from water (the turtle was at least 100 feet from ideal habitat). They can obviously cover decent distances overland.

We do not plan on breeding red-eared sliders, or getting a male slider, but a few times in the past Teresa has still laid eggs. She had no interest in laying her eggs on her basking platform and instead laid them in the water. She apparently devoured them, and the water became very disgusting. I doubt that the eggs were fertile, which may explain why Teresa destroyed them.

Here's a video of another female red-eared slider laying eggs without a mate, but this time in a more natural way.


I would rather Teresa didn't pollute her water by laying eggs underwater again. I suspect that if she had a nesting area, she would deposit the eggs there?
I would also love to watch Teresa displaying this natural behavior in a natural setting, but at around 13-years old I'm not sure if she will still be laying eggs.

As I've mentioned on another post, I may be introducing one or two mature bullfrogs to the enclosure, and obviously they would benefit from the land area even if Teresa didn't use it.
I'm not sure if I will end up introducing them to the enclosure, though, since we may not be able to provide them with enough space to share with Teresa.

Providing a land area with loose substrate would provide Teresa with a place to dig nests for her infertile eggs, but it may limit the size of the pond within the enclosure.
And adding the land area would be useless if Teresa spends 99% of her time in the water, except for the reason I mentioned.

Well, does anyone have any suggestions concerning this? Should a red-eared slider enclosure have a land area with loose substrate, or just rocks and logs for basking?
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks! God bless!
 

TammyJ

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Don't know if this will help, but when I had my RES she had a land area and would often be seen roaming about, basking, digging and generally mucking around in the earth, leaves, shrubs and patio stones. She would often come out too to take food from my hand and hurry back to the pool to swallow it. She would dig deep into the earth sometimes, and reappear weeks or months later. She USED the land!
 

wellington

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As far as I have ever known, yes they need a land area. That's where they would lay eggs. If you had a single male, he might only need a big basking area.
@Markw84
 

Markw84

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Your turtle will definitely benefit from a land area in the pond. I would always provide one for basking turltes. As Tammy noted, they do explore and hunt on land and certainly the ability to provide a nesting area is a must - even if no male present. At 13 your slider is still young. They will certainly breed and lay eggs at least 35 years that I have experienced personally.
 

Wayfarin

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Don't know if this will help, but when I had my RES she had a land area and would often be seen roaming about, basking, digging and generally mucking around in the earth, leaves, shrubs and patio stones. She would often come out too to take food from my hand and hurry back to the pool to swallow it. She would dig deep into the earth sometimes, and reappear weeks or months later. She USED the land!
That's honestly not the answer I was expecting. So red-eared sliders actually do spend time on land, even when they aren't basking? Who would have thought?
 

Wayfarin

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Your turtle will definitely benefit from a land area in the pond. I would always provide one for basking turltes. As Tammy noted, they do explore and hunt on land and certainly the ability to provide a nesting area is a must - even if no male present. At 13 your slider is still young. They will certainly breed and lay eggs at least 35 years that I have experienced personally.
Why do red-eared sliders lay eggs without males anyways? And why is it necessary? Our red-eared slider has done it a few times, but she doesn't do it often. Then again, she never had access to loose substrate for digging a nest. She just laid the eggs in the water, even though she had a basking platform.
 

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