Jim Harding’s MSU Critter Field Guide entry for the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) says that the turtle is named for the broad red or orange stripe behind the eye, which may extend onto the neck. He continues:
Red-eared sliders prefer still-water habitats (lakes, ponds, sloughs) with abundant aquatic plant growth and numerous basking sites in the form of logs or other emergent objects. These turtles are called “sliders” because they quickly slide from their basking spots into the water when disturbed. They feed on aquatic plants, and animals such as crayfish, snails, insects, tadpoles, and carrion. The young turtles are mostly carnivorous but eat increasing amounts of vegetation as they get older.
…This is a common turtle from northwestern Indiana south to Georgia and west to Texas and Oklahoma. Red-eared sliders are probably not native to Michigan, but breeding populations exist locally in the western and southern Lower Peninsula. Many thousands of baby sliders were once imported into this state for the pet trade, so it is likely that released or escaped specimens are responsible for the established colonies. Isolated specimens may turn up almost anywhere in Michigan.
Read on for more in the MSU Critter Guide.
Nick runs the excellent Herping Michigan Blog where you can find lots more of his excellent photos of Michigan’s reptiles and amphibians along with informative writeups. View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.