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Cumberland Slider (Trachemys scripta troostii)

The Cumberland slider is a subspecies of the Pond slider. This subspecies is native to the Tennessee and Mississippi river drainage areas and the southeast of North America.

This turtle is one of the most popular pet turtle species. They are easy to care for as well as friendly. These characteristics make them ideal turtles for all turtle keepers – from the novice to the experienced.

As semi aquatic turtles, the Cumberland sliders will only feed in water. An aquatic set up is necessary to house this wondrous American turtle.

Cumberland Slider Facts and Information

Cumberland Slider with its head out

The Trachemys scripta troostii is related to other sliders which include the red-eared slider (T. s. elegans), and the yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) in addition.

The red-eared slider is easily identified by the red stripes around its ears. In the same way, the yellow-bellied slider is easily identified by its yellow plastron (underside).

The T. s. troostii belongs to the genus Trachemys, which includes all sliders. The T. s. troostii also belongs to the family Emydidae (commonly known as terrapins).

The T. s. troostii has an olive brown to greenish carapace with yellow markings.

The carapace of this turtle can reach a length of 11.4 inches (289 mm). On average, adult males have a carapace length of 177.8 mm, while females have an average carapace length of 254 mm.

Their hinged plastron is just a little smaller than their carapace. The skin of this turtle is colored similarly to the carapace and has yellow stripes.

Other breeds comparable to the Cumberland slider include the red-eared slider and the yellow-bellied slider.

The Cumberland Slider has a lifespan for around 40 to 50 years.

Cumberland Slider Diet

Although omnivorous, the juveniles are predominately carnivorous while the adults are primarily herbivorous. In the wild, they feed on mollusks, worms, insects, crayfish, tadpoles, fish, algae, plants and aquatic vegetation.

When feeding a Cumberland slider, its age is important. With juveniles, it is advisable to feed them a more protein-based diet, while adults prefer to feed more on vegetables.

Vegetables to feed them include hyacinth, romaine lettuce, duckweed, elodea, dandelion leaves, shredded carrot, elodea, spinach, collard greens, and aquatic plants.

Trachemys scripta troostii_(Cumberland Slider )

Animal proteins to feed them include krill, shrimp, bloodworm, fish, water snails, locust, crickets, and earthworms.

Freeze-dried crickets and shrimp aren’t suitable primary foods to feed your turtle as they contain little nutritional value. Also seafood and feeder fish may lead to thiaminase poison.

Commercially produced turtle food such as ReptoMin Food Sticks is also an ideal alternative. Supplement the diet with calcium and vitamins. Cuttlefish bone with hard backing removed is an excellent choice of calcium.

As with other aquatic and semiaquatic turtles, the Cumberland slider will only feed in water.

Cumberland Slider Feeding Schedule

Knowing what to feed your Cumberland turtles isn’t enough. It’s also important to know the exact schedule of their feedings. Surprisingly, these turtles’ food intake goes down as they grow up, quite unlike other species.

When they’re less than six months old, you need to feed them once every day. You can opt for commercial pellets or meaty worms, crickets, or small fish. You have to remember that the food should satisfy their appetite, but you shouldn’t overfeed them.

Once they’re older than six months, you should continue with the same diet and add green leafy vegetables like lettuce. However, after six months, you need to feed them only on alternate days. 

Overeating should be avoided at all costs. If your turtles overeat, especially food with high protein content, they’re likely to grow to extreme sizes and develop shell deformities. The excess protein is also harmful to their liver and kidney. 

If you notice concentric rings on the shell or if the shell appears thick and bumpy, you need to cut back on protein as soon as possible. Otherwise, your turtle might develop a permanent pyramided shell. 

Once they’ve grown to their full size and reached adulthood, you can feed them two to three times a week or simply feed enough to satisfy their appetite.

Cumberland Slider Habitat

This turtle requires a lot of room to be comfortable. For every inch, you must provide 10 gallons of water.

For adult males, a 75-gallon turtle tank will suffice, while for adult females, a 125-gallon turtle tank will suffice. The water depth has to be at least 15 inches (400 mm).

The tank needs a pump and filtration system as well as a heating system (if the water temperature drops below 75 degrees Fahrenheit).

The pump and filter must be rated for a water tank that is twice the size of the turtle tank. Turtles require a large amount of water to survive, and they also produce considerable waste in the water. It’s always better to choose canister filters for them. The small filters don’t work well for turtles and also cost a pretty penny. 

The basking spot of this turtle must above the water level and accessible to the turtle. Rock slabs, driftwood, corkbark, and commercially produced basking areas all make excellent basking spots.

Speaking of the substrate, you can use reptile sand or fine pea gravel. Just make sure whatever you use should be big enough so that your turtles don’t swallow it.

The water temperature needs to be 75 degrees to 84 degrees (24 to 29 °C). The temperature of the basking spot, on the other hand, needs to be 90 degrees (32 °C).

A suitable reptile light, such as MyComfyPets UVB Light, emits both heat and UVB light and can be affixed overhead the basking spot.

When Should You Worry About Turtle Shedding?

Every turtle sheds their shell, and it’s nothing to be worried about. In fact, when a turtle receives a proper diet, healthy environment, and good basking conditions, they shed their shells to remain in their best form. Shedding indicates good health.

However, you shouldn’t confuse shell-shedding and skin-shedding. If you notice that your turtle has started shedding excess skin, it’s not a good sign. 

Excess skin shedding is a symptom of an unhealthy body, caused mainly by excess feeding. In this case, you need to reconsider your turtle’s diet plan and eating schedule and ensure you’re only feeding enough to satiate their hunger.

Cumberland Slider Breeding

Breeding happens during the winter, spring, and fall months. The females go to extreme lengths to nest.

This may result in them being run over by cars as they cross roads. Females lay 6 to 15 eggs per clutch with most females laying two clutches annually.

Cumberland Slider Health

Cumberland Slider (Trachemys_scripta troostii)

Keeping a clean tank and proper feeding routine are the best measures against health problems.

Common health problems include vitamin A deficiency and metabolic bone disease. Some signs of an unhealthy turtle include wounds, furry mouth, refusal to eat, eye infections, and lethargy.

Treat cuts, and wounds with Betadine solution or other topical iodine solutions.

Also, Cumberland sliders may harbor salmonella. As such, it is important to wash your hand thoroughly before and after handling them. Also, ensure you use separate utensils for them.

You should contact a vet if you think your turtle has any health issues. 

Cumberland Slider Behavior & Temperament

Cumberland Sliders are very friendly, and the cute little activities they do make them adorable. They get very accustomed to being handled and might even enjoy that. However, they’ll quickly slide back into the water or in their shell to hide if they’re frightened — that’s where they get the name “slider” from.

When there’s more than one Cumberland slider present in the tank, you’ll see they have a lot of fun together. Not only do they swim around in groups, but you might also find them basking stacked one upon another.

Cumberland Slider Predators

The predators of the T. s. troostii include but are not limited to alligators, wading birds and crows, predatory fishes, marsupials, raccoons, otters, grey foxes, and red foxes, skunks, American minks, coyotes, and armadillos.

Additionally, largemouth bass, white-tailed deer, and striped skunks are known to feed on the eggs of this species.

Humans are also known to shoot basking sliders as well as accidentally harm them with vehicles.

The shell and coloration of this turtle protect it from predators. They can retract their heads and extremities into their shells for protection.

Cumberland Slider Endangerment

The Trachemys scripta is not an engendered species. According to the IUCN red list, they are of least concern. Similarly, they do not have any special status in the United States.

However, they are a threat to other species when they are introduced by humans to habitats and places where they do not naturally occur.

They are invasive and in many parts of Europe and Asia where they have been introduced, they out-compete many native species.

As such, the European Union declared the import and sale of the T. s. troostii (Cumberland slider) and in fact the entire Trachemys scripta speciesas illegal.

Also, they seek to eliminate the slider populations in Europe so as to protect native turtles.

As such, turtle keepers are advised not to release their pet Cumberland sliders into the wild unless it is native to the area.

Difference between a Cumberland Slider and Red Eared Slider


As always, it is important to remember that selling/buying of turtles (for a pet) with a carapace length of less than 4 inches is illegal. As such when acquiring the Cumberland slider, ensure that it has a shell length over 4 inches.

As the slider is easy to care and a friendly species, they make excellent pets. In addition, they are available in most pet turtle shops in the United States. Don’t forget to leave any questions or comments in the comment section below!

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Thursday 19th of May 2022

I Love My Cumberland Slider. He's the Baby of the family. He's two years old. I named him Sparky after the manager of the Detroit Tigers


Friday 10th of July 2020

How can I tell if my Cumberland is growing too rapidly. TIA