Once a popular turtle, the little red-eared slider ( Pseudemys scripta elegans ) is no longer sold by the hundreds in pet shops. Anyone interested in this turtle--or any other kind--can get help from the California Turtle and Tortoise Club (open membership); write to the club at P.O. Box 90252, Los Angeles 90009 (enclose return postage), or telephone (818) 340-0688 or (714) 962-0612. You can also write to the Turtle and Tortoise Education & Adoption Media (TEAM), 3245 Military Ave., Los Angeles 90034 (again, enclose return postage).
The red-eared slider has spots of solid color on the sides of its head; the spots may extend down the neck. The young turtle is green with pattern lines on the carapace (upper shell); with maturity, its color darkens. Its plastron (lower shell) is yellow with splotches of gray or brown. An adult male has a longer, thicker tail and longer front fingernails than a female, to help it swim backwards during the courtship ritual.
This turtle is aquatic but it needs a float or rocks upon which to bask. It enjoys hiding in vegetation, and it won't suffer if it's on land part of the time. A light bulb placed above the turtle's enclosure will help keep the area at a temperature of 75 to 85 degrees. Suitable foods include greens, meat scraps, meal and red worms. Supplements are needed on occasion.
Spotlight on Shows--July 14: Orange Empire Dog Club, California State University, San Bernardino; Rex Cat Club (all breeds), El Monte Community Center. July 20-21: Havan a Heat Wave Cat Club, National Orange Showgrounds, San Bernardino. Sept. 8: Silver Bay Kennel Club, Morley Field, Balboa Park, San Diego.