Red-Eared Slider Pink Skin

If you’re on this page, then you are worried that your red-eared slider has shown some pink or red in its skin coloration.

Seeing changes in your pet can be very daunting and being able to identify the problem, can help you identify the best treatment as quickly as possible to ensure your pet remains healthy.

There are numerous reasons why your red-eared slider’s skin may be red or pink, some are serious and some are nothing to worry about. Continue reading below for more detailed information.


Seeing pink or red on the skin of your red-eared slider could be a serious issue, such as septicemia.

Septicemia is blood poisoning, which is bacteria in the blood. This can be caused by infection, injury, and more.

The common symptoms include pink or red coloration on the skin and sometimes the shell.

Red eared slider pink skin
Pink skin in a red-eared slider due to septicemia

This is a very serious and life-threatening condition for your pet and requires immediate veterinary care and treatment.

The common signs of septicemia in red-eared sliders includes:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Pink or red patches on the skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of muscle control

This can be caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream from parasites, trauma, infections, and unclean habitats.

In order to prevent the risk of septicemia, you want to keep your pet’s enclosure clean.

This means doing daily inspections to remove leftover, uneaten food and if you see any poop or dirt.

Top up the water tank weekly, even if it looks clean, and provide fresh filtered drinking water for your pet, this should be changed daily.


Overfeeding can lead to rapid growth and this can reduce circulation, which makes the skin appear red or pink in color.

If you have purchased your pet from another hobbyist, they may have overfed the turtle. It’s also not uncommon for bad breeders to overfeed, trying to get the turtles bigger than they should be at a younger age.

Red-eared sliders can appear to always be hungry, but it’s important to feed them according to age, ensuring that their body has time to digest the food before the next meal.

Remember your pet’s digestion is based on their tank temperatures, low temperatures will slow digestion.

Baby red-eared sliders should be fed daily, while adults should be offered a good food portion every two to three days. They require a varied diet with a balance of vegetables and animal proteins.

The frequency of feeding depends on the age and size of your red-eared slider. Smaller or juvenile turtles will eat heartily every day. As they get older, adult turtles may be offered a good-sized portion of food every two or three days.

Buying commercial pellets is the easiest way to feed your pet. They are convenient, affordable, and nutritious. They offer an excellent mixture of vitamins and minerals.

At the same time, you want to offer some variety, ensuring your pet eats well. This means adding fresh foods to the diet as well.

Make pellets account for 25% of your pet’s diet. You can then add crickets, silkworms, aquatic snails, krill, shrimp, and blood worms. For leafy greens, stick to mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, and kale. Stay clear of iceberg lettuce, it has no nutritional value.

You can incorporate some aquatic plants and a host of vegetables, including carrots, squash, and green beans.

Basking – Lack of Circulation

All turtles need to bask, including your red-eared slider. It’s not uncommon for these turtles to get pink skin when they have basked for a few hours. This often disappears once they submerge themselves in the water again.

If you are seeing your red-eared slider’s skin in red or pink and it’s basking more than normal. Then you may want to take a closer look at a few things.

Firstly, you need to know that your pet is going to bask under the UV light for a few hours every day to get the Vitamin D they need to absorb calcium. The heat also helps with metabolism.

Knowing your pet well and identifying how much they bask daily will help you quickly see when your pet is basking more than usual.

Red-eared sliders should stay in the water the majority of the day and bask for a few hours, say two to three hours daily. Though there is no hard and fast rule, every pet is different.

If you are concerned regarding the color of the skin and your red-eared slider is basking more than normal, put them in their water. If they get out immediately, identify if they are swimming properly, did it submerge itself. If not, then there could be a problem.

Red-eared sliders spend most of their day in the water, if your pet is staying out of the water, check the water temperatures and quality of water.

Your red-eared slider should immediately move to its water when its body temperature reaches more than 105ºF.

Double-check your basking temperatures, your UV bulb may need replacing. Remember these bulbs reduce their output over time, which is why you should replace it every twelve months.

If your UV output is still good and your pet is still basking too much, then it could be a sign of a respiratory infection, which is a common illness that occurs when the temperatures get too low.

Red-eared sliders develop respiratory infections when they stay in cold temperatures for too long. If your pet swims lop sided when placed in the water or it has problems diving, then this is a sign of respiratory infection.

Dye from Foods

Before you get really concerned because maybe you cannot find anything wrong with your pet. Maybe it’s basking normally, its enclosure temperatures are perfect, it’s eating well and remains active, then it could be one more thing and absolutely nothing to worry about.

It could be dye that has come off the foods your pet has eaten.

Related – Signs of a sick red-eared slider.


Red or pink skin on your red-eared slider can be nothing to worry about or something very serious.

Always ensure you provide a clean habitat, optimum temperature and UV lighting, and a well-balanced diet.

It is always recommended if you see anything out of the ordinary with your pet to seek veterinary diagnosis, ensuring that if there is any serious underlying cause, you can treat it and rectify it as soon as possible.

2 thoughts on “Red-Eared Slider Pink Skin”

  1. My pet turtle is looking exactly like the picture above. He has turned pink and we have no vets in the village.we have temperature going up to 38 Deg so I put him in an area which has no sun but it is hot here.what do I do to save him

    1. You should get ur pet turtle a vet. If you can take your turtle outside your village for a vet , pls look out for it

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