Turtle: Red-eared slider

This river turtle (or terrapin) was huge! I didn’t realise they got as big as this. It was a good 30cm long and obviously heavy — just look at the splash it made when it jumped in. The name “slider” indicates a gentle sliding into the water but this thing launched itself from the rock!
The red-eared slider is an invasive species in Japan and it has become a pest in ponds and rivers. These turtles are native to the southern USA and were first introduced to Japan as pets in the 1950s. When they are young they are relatively easy to keep but once they reach full size they are often released in ponds and rivers. They can live for 30 years or more.

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Reptilia: Testudines: Emydidae
Trachemys scripta elegans
Red-eared slider = mishishippi-aka-mimi-game

Location: River Hikosan in Tagawa (map here)

2 thoughts on “Turtle: Red-eared slider

  1. Hi Nigel, love your website – wish I had the will power to do one myself! I also live in Japan, though in the Tokyo suburbs (actually part of Kawasaki city but it’s all joined together). I enjoyed reading your posts on reptiles though there is one fairly common species that you haven’t featured yet – hibakari. I caught one just outside a local derelict theme park which they are now going to convert to a housing development. Sadly I expect a lot of wildlife will lose their homes by the time they finish.

  2. Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m happy that you like my site and I very much hope you’ll start your own soon.

    I’ve never seen a hibakari. I wonder if they are common down here in Fukuoka. I will keep my eyes peeled!!

    All the best,

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