Can Red-Eared Sliders See in the Dark: Facts About Their Fascinating Vision

Yes, red-eared slider turtles can see in the dark. These turtles’ eyes have adaptations that allow them to see well in the dark. Their eyesight is incredibly sensitive, and they can see in the dark better than other animals.

In addition, red-eared slider turtles can see colors due to a particular gene called CYP2J19. They can see underwater just as well as on land, allowing them to hunt even in unfavorable conditions.

Most of the time, leaving the lights off at night is acceptable if you have a red-eared slider turtle at home. However, ensure your turtle has already adjusted well to their surroundings before doing so. You can do this by gradually reducing their light at night until they become comfortable in the environment.

How Red-Eared Slider Turtles Can See in Different Situations

In the Dark

Red-eared sliders have a clear internal lens that helps them see in the dark. Their eyes are specially adapted to see in the dark and have a layer of fat that helps them see better in low light. Some studies suggest that they may be better equipped to see in low light than humans.

Turtles see well in the dark and can navigate their way around using their eyesight. Before mating, male red-eared sliders undergo a physical change that allows them to see in the dark. This is a vital part of their mating process, allowing them to find the female and navigate their environment. 

Additionally, turtles use this ability to avoid obstacles while traveling through murky water at night or during rainstorms. However, to conserve energy, they often close their eyes and rely mainly on their sense of smell. 

Despite being able to see well in the dark, turtles are still susceptible to the dangers of the night – such as car accidents. So, ensure your turtle has plenty of outdoor space for playtime, and always keep a close eye on them. So it’s essential to be mindful of your pet turtle when they’re not around light.

So next time you’re debating whether or not to let a turtle on your property, don’t forget their eyesight – they deserve a chance!


One of the adaptations that turtles use to see underwater is their use of their ears. Red-eared sliders use their ears to sense changes in light and darkness, allowing them to hunt for food at night or during rainstorms. 

Additionally, these reptiles have a tremendous ecological role in controlling populations of aquatic pests and plant invaders. In fact, without turtles, many aquatic ecosystems would be severely damaged.

Taking Care of a Red-Eared Slider Turtle at Night

Lights Off

Turtles can see in the dark like other animals, so turning off unnecessary lights when you’re not around is a good idea to reduce their stress. Feeding your turtle during the day and leaving their enclosure unlit at night will help them adjust to their new surroundings.

If your turtle is used to living in a brightly lit environment, gradually move them towards darker surroundings over time. Turtles generally do well when shifted slowly into a new home or situation – be sure they are comfortable with the change. Doing so will ensure that they will not react negatively to the change in lighting.

How Long You Should Leave a Light On

There is no definitive rule regarding how long the light should be left on, as it varies from turtle to turtle. However, most turtles will adjust gradually over time and won’t become disoriented if the light is turned off abruptly. 

It’s best not to worry about it and leave the light on for them each night. In addition, leaving a light on helps turtles find their way around at night – especially when they are trying to find food or get back home.

Slider-Friendly Light Setup

It is essential not to expose sliders to bright lights when they’re young – they will only be able to see correctly once they reach maturity.

Thankfully, there are a variety of lighting setups that can work for turtles. Avoid fluorescent and mercury light fixtures, as they can harm turtles. Instead, try to find a turtle-friendly light fixture that emits a warm light. 

Also, place your turtle in an area with good evening sunlight, which will help them adjust its circadian rhythm. If you have to use artificial light, make sure the light is soft and low-wattage.

How Red-Eared Slider Turtles See Colors

Red-eared slider turtles are some of the fascinating creatures on the planet because of the unique way they see colors. For them, colors represent different things, such as food, safety, and nesting sites. This ability is an integral part of their life cycle and growth process. 

The red-eared slider can see some colors better than humans because they have no pupils and use their skin to filter light and view the world in black-and-white form. As a result, they see colors differently than humans do.

Gene Called CYP2J19

Red-eared slider turtles have a gene that allows them to see the red color better. The gene, CYP2J19, makes a protein called melanopsin which helps turtles see the said color better. It turns out that this protein is also responsible for the coloration of turtle’s eyes – red-eared sliders are one such species. This gene has also been found in some other animals (specifical reptiles) – like snakes and lizards!