Yellow bellied Slider vs Red eared Slider – COMPARED

Yellow-bellied sliders and red-eared sliders are both beautiful creatures. Many pet owners need clarification about which one to choose between them as pets. There are some key differences that you should keep in mind before making the right decision. This article will discuss the dissimilarities between the species and which one you should choose for your household.

Yellow-bellied sliders are nothing but another subspecies of red-eared sliders. This makes them merely different from each other. The most obvious difference is the markings on their body. You can house a yellow-bellied and red-eared slider together and even breed them with one another.

ComparisonYellow-Bellied SliderRed-Eared Slider
Scientific nameTrachemys scripta scriptaTrachemys scripta elegans
SizeCan grow upto 13 inches in lengthCan grow upto 12 inches in length
ColorationOlive-green in color with yellow stripes on their bodyOlive-green to brown in color with a red colored patch behind their eyes
Native rangeEastern USSouthern US and Northeastern Mexico
LifespanUp to 30 yearsUp to 20 years
DietOmnivorous plants, insects, and vegetablesOmnivorous plants, insects, and vegetables
BehaviorMostly aquatic and also bask in the sun, can be kept with other turtlesMostly aquatic and also bask in the sun, can be kept with other turtles
Should be kept as petsYesYes

The Most Crucial Differences Between Yellow-Bellied and Red-Bellied Sliders

yellow bellied slider vs red eared slider

Yellow-bellied and red-sliders might appear the same, but they have a set of differences that you should be aware of.


yellow-bellied sliders

Appearance is one of the major distinguishments between the species. Yellow-bellied and red-sliders have different colorations, which makes them unique in their way. As the name suggests, yellow-bellied sliders have a yellow plastron or underbellies. Whereas, red-eared sliders have red or reddish-brown underbelly.

Yellow-belied sliders also have yellow stripes on their necks and legs. They also tend to have a more uniform olive-green carapace or upper shell. Red-eared sliders have a more darkened carapace making them easily distinguishable from their sub-species cousins.


Yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders both have a similar size and can grow up to 10-12 inches in length. Although, red-eared sliders can grow faster and are heavier than yellow-bellied sliders.


Both turtles are easy to care for and are great when kept as pets. Yellow-bellied sliders are more active and curious compared to their counterparts. Many pet owners have noticed that red-eared sliders are less interactive and lethargic as compared to yellow sliders.


Yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders are both fresh-water aquatic creatures. They are naturally found in lakes, ponds, and streams. Yellow-belied turtles are found in the eastern US, while red-eared turtles are found in the southern US and northeastern Mexico. You should know more about a turtle’s natural habitat before adopting them and keeping them in an enclosure.


feeding red-eared sliders

Both turtles are known for their omnivorous diets and can be fed insects, vegetables, and plants. Although, yellow-bellied sliders are more herbivorous and prefer to eat greens. Red-eared sliders, on the other hand, enjoy eating insects and need them to maintain a healthy diet.

Yellow-Bellied Slider vs Red-eared Slider

Yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders are from the same species and share the same genus. Although, they are different in many ways such as physical appearance, habitat, size, behavior, and diet. Here are twelve things that set them apart from each other.

Physical Appearance

The yellow-bellied slider has a yellow-colored underbelly or plastron.  Whereas the red-eared slider has red markings behind its eyes and the edge of its shell. Both are beautiful and unique in their way and make perfect house pets.

Editor’s Note
Yellow-bellied sliders also have a much more prominent and consistent olive green color. Red-eared sliders have a much darker and moldy brown color.


Red-eared sliders grow up at a much faster rate as compared to yellow-bellied sliders. On average, a yellow-bellied turtle can grow to 10 inches in length. Whereas, a red-eared slider can grow up to 12 inches in the right environment.


The average lifespan of a yellow-bellied slider is longer than that of red-eared sliders. Yellow-bellied turtles can live up to 30 years or more and have a healthy lifespan. Red-eared sliders only live up to 20 years, which is much less than their subspecies.


Both turtles live in different habitats in nature. Yellow-bellied sliders can be found in slow-moving rivers and streams. Red-eared sliders enjoy staying in ponds and lakes. Yellow turtles are also originally from the eastern US, whereas red-eared turtles are found more in the southern region of the US.


Yellow-bellied turtles are known for their omnivorous diet, which includes a variety of food including insects, vegetables, and plants. Although, yellow-bellied turtles lean towards a herbivorous diet and eat mostly plants on an everyday basis. Red-eared sliders on the other hand consume more meat than plants in their daily diet.


Yellow-bellied sliders are considered timider than red-eared sliders. They will hide in their shell if they feel too stressed or threatened. Whereas, red-eared sliders are more social and like to interact with their pet owners. They also like to bask in the sunlight and are much more active than their subspecies.


Both yellow-belied and red-eared sliders start to breed at the age of sexual maturity (2-3 years). Although, red-eared sliders are known to mate much more rapidly during the breeding season. Female red-eared sliders also produce much more eggs than yellow-bellied sliders.


The average price of yellow-belied and red-eared sliders varies depending on their age, size, and the store you purchase them from. But yellow-bellied sliders are relatively cheaper to adopt than red-eared turtles.

Care Requirements

Yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders are easy to care for. Both species require a large tank with a basking area, a filtration system, and a well-balanced diet. You should be extra careful with the pollutants level in your water if you have a yellow-bellied slider, as they are more sensitive and can develop health issues.

Legal Status

In some parts of the US, yellow-bellied sliders are considered illegal to house as pets. This is because they are considered an endangered species. Red-eared sliders are not endangered but still are illegal to be kept as pets, as they are considered an invasive species.


Yellow-bellied sliders have a carefree nature and are less aggressive as compared to red-eared sliders. A yellow-belied turtle is known to have a docile and shy temperament. They are also less likely to bite or attack while handling them. Red-eared sliders enjoy their personal space and are known for their active nature.


Yellow-bellied sliders are known for their docile nature and may not interact with their pet owners. They are lethargic and less demanding making them easy to care for. Red-eared sliders are more interactive and high-maintenance pets as compared to yellow-bellied turtles.


Can yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders live together?

Yes, yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders can live in harmony together. Both turtles are subspecies of sliders and share many common features. Make sure you provide them with a big tank with enough basking spots and you are good to go.

Do yellow-bellied sliders eat fish?

Yellow-bellied sliders are omnivorous and can eat insects, vegetables, and plants. They mostly prefer a plant-based diet but in the wild, they tend to eat small fish, frogs, and tadpoles.

Final Thoughts

Yellow-bellied and red-eared sliders are great pets to have. They share a wide range of similarities as they are both subspecies of pond sliders. Although, there are a few differences in their physical appearance, behavior, and general habitat. You should keep these factors in mind before choosing a house for your pet.

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