Red Eared Slider vs. Painted Turtle: Similarities and Differences

The red-eared slider and painted turtle are two different species. They both have soft, scaly skin and are easy to keep. Also, they are both commonly active daily and spend the night hidden away from predators. However, they differ in many things, such as their temperament, suitability for new owners, and mating habits. 

Similarities of Painted Turtle and Red-Eared Slider

Both Are Hardy Species

Both painted turtles and red-eared sliders are hardy species and will do well in any environment. They both eat insects, but painted turtles eat mostly soft-bodied invertebrates, while red-eared sliders prey mainly on amphibians and reptiles.

Both Are Semi-Aquatic Species

Painted turtles and red-eared sliders are both semi-aquatic species. One key difference is that painted turtles have yellow eyes while red-eared slider’s eyes are red or pink. Painted turtle skin is smooth, while red-eared slider skin has a bumpy texture.

Both Love to Eat

Painted turtles have smooth skin, while red-eared sliders have scaly skin. These turtle species prefer insects, so they both find it easy to catch small prey with their beaks. However, as painted turtles and red-eared sliders are both members of the same family, they share some standard features as well – such as the upturned face that painted turtles use when begging for food from humans or other animals.

Differences Between Painted Turtle and Red-Eared Slider


Red eared slider is the biggest of all sliders, and the painted turtle is the smallest. The red-eared slider is the biggest of all sliders that can grow up to 12 inches long, while the painted turtle can grow up to 10 inches.


The incubation period of painted turtle eggs is 72 to 80 days. Meanwhile, the incubation period of red-eared turtle eggs usually is two to nearly four months.


The painted turtle has a greenish-brown shell with yellow marking, while the red-eared slider has dark green, brown shell and red stripes on the head. 

Location and Habitat

The Painted Turtle lives in all tropical and subtropical regions except for the coldest areas, while the Red Eared Slider is found in warm climates. Additionally, it prefers to live near water – wetlands or rivers – which might explain its southern distribution.


Both turtles can change their coloration depending on the situation, but red-eared sliders have a more consistent habit of color changing than a painted turtle. Sliders prefer to eat various things, from insects to plant matter and are known for being friendly creatures living in colonies. Meanwhile, painted turtles are naturally shy and prefer to live in small groups.


Painted turtles and red-eared sliders have different diets, which impacts their physical appearance. The painted turtle has solid front claws to grab prey with its mouth. It mainly eats insects, so the color of its shell (which protects it from insect bites) is mainly black or dark green. Meanwhile, the red-eared slider’s diet consists mainly of plant material – so the red-eared slider’s shell is colorful because it gets a lot of pleasure from eating brightly colored plants!

Predators and Threats

Unlike the painted turtle, which is not threatened by predators as much as other turtles are, the red-eared slider is preyed upon by hawks and snakes. This tiny turtle can live up to 70 years, while the painted turtle can live up to 150 years. Painted turtles are commercially farmed for their meat, but red-eared sliders are not farmed and are only hunted for their eggs/toys.


A turtle with a gentle temperament is the red-eared slider. Red-eared sliders are also easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for people who don’t have much time to devote to their pets. On the other hand, painted turtles have better temperaments and are low maintenance, making them a good choice for those who want a turtle that is easy to handle. So, which turtle is the right one for you? It all comes down to what you’re looking for in a pet.

Suitability for Beginners

Red-eared turtles have more giant shells and can live longer than painted turtles, making them more durable. Red-eared sliders are fantastic if you have limited space or are looking for an active pet that is difficult to handle. 

Painted turtles are a great option if you want to keep a turtle as a pet, but red-eared sliders are better for the environment. Painted turtles can be a better choice if you have space constraints or are looking for an active animal who enjoys climbing. They are more interactive with their owners and are better at adapting to new environments.

Can Painted Turtles and Red-Eared Sliders Live Together?

Painted turtles and red-eared sliders can live together in the same environment- provided with the proper care and attention. Turtles are territorial animals who defend their territory vigorously, so they need enough space.

Can Painted Turtles and Red-Eared Sliders Mate?

Painted turtles and red-eared sliders can mate, albeit it’s not recommended because the offspring may be injured or deformed. If you decide to have them mate, monitor their behavior closely and provide appropriate habitat for the offspring. Ultimately, it’s essential to do your research before deciding to keep these two animals as pets.