Yellow Belly Slider (Complete Species Guide)

  • By: Reptilia Planet
  • Time to read: 10 min.

The yellow belly slider is a type of reptile that can be found in many parts of the world. They are typically smaller than other types of sliders (such as red-eared sliders) and have bright yellow markings on their bellies.

They are a fascinating species and make great pets for those who are interested in a more low-maintenance pet. Yellow belly sliders spend most of their life in the water, however, unlike amphibians, they do occasionally go on land to sunbathe and this is typically to do with their temperature regulation.

But what’s good about turtles is they require a lot less attention than other types of pet reptiles such as iguanas or bearded dragons. So if considering getting a yellow belly slider or maybe you have one already “but” want a bit more information about this type of species then you are in the right place.

This blog post will cover everything you need to know about the yellow belly slider turtle – including their history, appearance, size, behavior, diet, and how to care for one!

The Yellow Belly Slider

The yellow belly slider is a freshwater turtle that has a long history that dates back to the 1800s and is native to the southeastern united states “but” can also be found in Asia and other parts of Europe. They typically need to stay close to the water and can be found in ponds, lakes, swamps, or marshes.

They are considered diurnal turtles and feed in the morning, and usually sleep at night. The Males can reach sexual maturity in as little as 2 years, while the female can take as long as 8 years until they are ready to lay eggs!

When the females are ready they will move on land to lay their eggs and depending on the size of the female the eggs will hatch in about 12 to 13 weeks.

The hatchlings will stay in the nest (which are often found near water sources) throughout the winter until the spring. This is when their young will leave the nest and head to the water for the first time to feed.


Yellow belly sliders can be easily identified by their color and markings. Their skin has a brown and green tint with bright yellow strips on their underbelly, neck, and legs giving them the name yellow belly slider.

The color of their outer shell has more light brownish look to it. However, the shape of the male’s shell is slightly different from the female!

The male has a concave plastron, which means their shell at the bottom is slightly curved the female does not have this indentation instead they have a more flat plastron which allows the male to climb on top of the female when mating.

This difference in shape can be seen in both adults and hatchlings. In addition to being shaped differently, males also exhibit more vivid coloration and their tails are shorter than those of females.

Males may also develop a hooked claw at the end of one front leg when they reach adulthood that is used for grabbing onto the substrate during mating rituals with females.

Average Size

What many people don’t realize is that a slider’s size can vary, and this can also affect the number of calories you feed them. A smaller size turtle may require fewer calories compared to a larger turtle.

However, The size of a yellow belly slider really depends on their age and the habitat in which they live, and their gender! For example, did you know that male sliders are in fact smaller than female turtles and this is mainly because females need room to carry their eggs.

In fact, Female yellow-bellies get considerably bigger than males and can reach sizes between 8 and 13 inches while males usually reach sizes between 5 to 9 inches.


Are you wondering how long a yellow belly slider turtle can live? These turtles are known for their longevity, and they have been known to live up to 30 years in the wild and over 40 years in captivity.

However, the lifespan of these turtles is dependent on many factors such as housing, diet, and environment. For example, if your turtle’s tank has too much chlorine or ammonia in it then this can cause respiratory difficulties that will shorten the life span of your pet turtle.

You should also be mindful of what type of food you feed them – some foods may not provide enough nutrients to sustain a healthy lifestyle for your turtle. The best way to keep your pet happy and healthy is by providing an appropriate habitat with clean water and quality food!


The behavioral traits of these turtles can vary depending on their gender, but they typically tend to spend most of their time in the water but occasionally they will climb onto logs or rocks to sunbathe.

Like most turtles, yellow-bellied sliders don’t like being touched this can cause undue stress for them. Over time your turtle might be able to get used to you handling them, but still, there is that chance they will bite if they feel threatened or cornered.

The first sign that your turtle is about to bite is usually his mouth opening up really wide. If this happens you’ll want to stop what you’re doing and slowly back away from the turtle. The second sign of a coming attack could be if they start pushing water towards you with their head or tail which will make them more aggressive.

It’s also important to note that turtles have very sharp teeth so it can lead to some pretty nasty injuries for both parties involved! If you do happen to get bitten by your pet turtle, try using ice packs or cold compressions on the wound in order to reduce swelling and pain while also preventing infection.


If you’re a pet owner, it may be hard to find the right diet for your Yellow Belly Slider. These yellow sliders are omnivores which means they can eat meat (live food) and vegetables (lefty Greens).

They also enjoy fresh fruits along with occasional feedings of small fish and fish eggs along with small frogs, and worms, which can be found in or around ponds. In the wild, these animals will spend their time hunting for food in the water or on land depending on where they are located.

They are not picky eaters when it comes to food and will also eat anything that they can find on land or what you give them.

When feeding your yellow slider try to keep as healthy as possible so it gets all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber that turtles need to thrive. If you feed turtles just one type of food this can cause all kinds of problems, especially for hatchlings.

(Yellow Belly Sliders Dietary Foods)

Dried shrimp Dark leafy greensApples
InsectsRomaine lettuceBananas
Fish eggsMustard greensMango
Small frogsCollard greensGrapes
WormsSwiss chardPeaches
SnailsDandelion greensMelons

Now yellow belly turtles can eat vegetables raw or cooked, however, when you cooked vegetables they lose some of the nutrients and vitamins that they require in their diet so it’s best to give it to them raw.

Other veggies like Iceberg or head lettuce shouldn’t be fed to your pet as it is mostly made up of water and doesn’t have much nutritional value. Just to remember to mix up their diet and give them a mixture of meat, fruit, and veg for that balanced diet.

Care Guide

To have a healthy pet slider, it’s very important that you keep them well-fed for growth and health. It is also important to give your pet daily exercise by giving them time out of the water as this will ensure they are not overweight or underweight.

Now keeping and feeding yellow belly sliders can be fun and enjoyable. Just remember they have a high activity level so just make sure their habitat has enough room for them to move around freely.


When handling turtles it’s very important that you wash your hands first to ensure you don’t get any bacteria on the turtle which can make them sick.

It is also very important not to drop or rollover turtles as their shell can be cracked and they may end up injuring themselves. When handling it’s best that you use glovers with a good grip so the turtle won’t slip out of your hands at the same time this will also protect your hand in case they bite.

To help keep your turtle as healthy as possible it’s best to clean their enclosure regularly and any waste should be cleaned up immediately.

It’s also recommended to use a reptile-safe disinfectant that has no toxic chemicals when cleaning the tank or basking area as this will ensure that no bacteria gets into the turtle’s system further making them sick.

Health Issues

Always check on your turtle from time to time! As before yellow sliders spend most of their time diving in the water and if for some reason you find your turtle floating on top of the water then there could be a problem with their health.

If you find that there is a problem with your turtle’s health then it’s important to contact a vet immediately!

Also, if your turtle has been behaving out of the ordinary for a few days and not eating or swimming this could be another sign that something is not right.

Another common issue in aquatic turtles is “Metabolic bone disease” now this typically happens if the turtle is eating the wrong food and has “Vitamin deficiency” which can be quite painful which will need treatment.

If you notice that your turtle has any of these symptoms or something just doesn’t seem right then again it’s best to contact a vet immediately as this can happen quickly and if it’s not treated could be fatal.

yellow belly slider

Tank Size & Setup

Now it’s very important that your pet has enough room to move around freely so for a single adult turtle you should have a tank size that should hold at least 100 gallons which should be 48 inches long and about 12 inches high suitable for these types of turtles.

If you’re planning on getting a group of turtles then make sure each one has its own space and you should also ensure they are compatible with each other.

Another important factor is that you need to make sure that the tank has a great filtration system as turtles are known for having messy tanks and they produce quite a lot of waste so a high-quality filter for the water might be necessary.

Now you also need to guarantee safety from your pet by making the water deep enough that they will not be able to climb out or get into any danger. You should also make sure there is a cut-down basking area in the tank as this will help them warm up in the water and slow down their metabolism while helping digestion.


Yellow belly sliders like to regulate their temperature by bathing in the sun so make sure you add some rock and logs for them to lay on. You can create an island using floating perches which will allow your turtle to climb on top.

Make sure that you choose one big enough so that your pet will be able to bask comfortably while also having some room for turning around! Also, make sure that he doesn’t have any sharp obstacles which might hurt the turtle.

For a clean and natural habitat, use gravel or riverbed sand on the bottom of your tank. However, make sure to thoroughly scrub the area before laying.

You can provide your turtle with a natural environment by adding plants to the habitat. There are two types of plant-based on whether they stay submerged or above water, and you should choose both for balance in their home.

Preferably you should try to get live plants as these are the most beautiful than fake ones especially when they flower!

When caring for your aquarium, make sure to keep a good filtration system in place. A submersible biological filter or traditional hang-on-back model will do the job just fine and should be rated at three times larger than your current tank size if you want complete coverage of water care needs.

Make sure to add some tank decorations in their habitat that will help with the water current and also provide a place for your turtle to hideaway. You can also attach a basking heat lamp near where they usually bask so that the temperature is constant.

Temperature & Lighting

As before, yellow belly sliders need to regulate their body temperature by bathing in the sun. Depending on where you live in the world you might not have the warm climate that these reptiles are used to.

So the way around this is to use special heating lamps that can simulate the sun and reach temperatures reaching 90-100 degrees perfect for your turtle. You also need to consider the temperature of the water which should be a steady 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit throughout. Thermometers can help you regulate the temperature!

The key to maintaining a healthy ecosystem in your filtration system is regular maintenance. Check the filter every two weeks and replace it as needed. Keep algae levels under control by using a brush, then do partial water changes about once or twice per month for best results!


Yellow belly sliders are a great pet to have but they aren’t the easiest to care for. Just remember if this is your first-time owner of a yellow belly slider it’s best to keep an eye on your turtle at all times and make sure they are in good health.

If your turtle becomes ill in any way, take them to a vet immediately as this will help them get better quicker and enable you to know what needs to be done next to keep them healthy.

With proper care and an understanding of what these turtles need they’ll reward you with many years of fun and companionship!