Is My Yellow Bellied Slider Male or Female?

Thank goodness genders have never gotten as complicated for animals as they have for humans. You never have to worry about misgendering your turtle, but at some point you’re going to want to know if they’re male or female, and if you had other genders to consider, it would be infinitely more complex. 

Being able to determine if your yellow bellied slider male or female is not as easy as it sounds – no turtle is. But there are small details on their body that make finding out their sex much less of a guessing game. 

Female Yellow Bellied Slider is bigger in size comparison to male counterpart. The clocoa in female turtles are positioned at base of the tail while in male, it is positioned at the base. The male claws are also noticably larger than female yellow bellied slider. 

In this blog, we’ll go over how you can tell if your yellow bellied slider is male or female. Even using these methods, there are times you may still be uncertain, but a quick recounting of all the anatomical facts combined should be enough for you to figure it out from there. 

Difference Between Male and Female Yellow Bellied Sliders

There are key differences between male and female yellow bellied sliders. First, males tend to be much smaller than females. On the other hand, males have longer claws to defend themselves, and their cloaca is located at the base of their tails. 

For all of the differences between genders of yellow bellied slider turtles, consult this list:

  • Cloaca position
  • Claw size
  • Tail shape and length
  • Shell shape
  • Shell size
  • Size of turtle
  • Turtle color

These are the areas of the turtle that will help you determine its gender. But some of these factors may not be noticeable until the turtle reaches a certain age. Factors related to the size and shape of the turtle may not become apparent until they are fully grown adults. 

Cloaca Position

Cloacas are tiny orifices that allow the turtle to remain underwater for incredibly long periods of time. They are also used to lay eggs. All yellow bellied sliders have these orifices, they’re just used for different things depending on the gender. Since they’re used differently, they’re also placed differently. 

A female’s cloaca is located at the base of the tail, while a male’s is found near the tip. 

Claw Length

One of the easiest ways to tell the gender of a yellow bellied slider is to examine its claws. A male’s claws are going to be considerably bigger than a female’s. Large claws are attractive to females during mating season, and the turtles also use them to keep in position during procreation. 

Males also use these larger claws to defend themselves. 

Tail Shape and Length

This is one of the simpler ways to tell the gender of your yellow bellied slider. Their tails are somewhat different. A male’s tail will be short and thin, while a female’s will be thicker. This is by necessity, as this is where the female holds the eggs it intends to drop. 

Shell Shape

The shape of a yellow bellied slider’s shell is different depending on whether or not it’s a male or female. However it’s not the top shell where they differ, but the plastron on their underside. A male turtle’s plastron is curved into a concave. 

This concave makes it easier for the male turtle to mount the female during mating. A female’s plaston is flat, making it easier for the female to carry eggs. 

Turtle Size

Typically, females are larger than male yellow bellied sliders. A female will usually reach between 12 and 14 inches, while a male will only grow to be eight to ten inches.  It’s easiest to use this method when both turtles were born at around the same time, so they’ll be approximately the appropriate sizes for their age. The male will be smaller. 

Another way of telling is measuring the shell of your yellow bellied slider. If it is bigger than ten inches, then it’s most definitely a female. 

Turtle Color

Though yellow bellied sliders usually remain the same color for most of their lives, in their final years their skin will begin to darken. This is more obvious in males than females. 

You can only use this method when you are dealing with old turtles, so it’s not particularly useful unless you’ve had your turtle a long time and have yet to find an accurate way of determining its sex. 

Are Yellow Bellied Sliders Good Pets?

Turtles are fascinating pets, and of the species that are kept as companions, yellow bellied sliders are among the most amicable. Sliders first became popular in the 1950s, and they’ve remained some of the most popular turtles available. 

Apart from just being cute, they’re exceptionally curious creatures. But it should be understood that owning any turtle is a long term commitment. Turtles are known to outlive even their owners on occasion, and caring for one can be somewhat high maintenance. It’s not as demanding as some other animals, but it will require you to stay on top of weekly tank cleanings. 

They may not be a cuddly pet, but they’re inquisitive, often approaching you directly for food once it understands you are the keeper of its meals. But caring for them may take some work, as they could easily carry salmonella. 

Yellow bellied sliders have been known to live a very long time in a tank – some even lasting as long as 40 years. In the wild, they survive in part due to their tough shell. But their shell also brings some problems. They are more susceptible to diseases, such as mycoplasmosis. 

Mycoplasmosis is a respiratory infection caused by bacteria. If you notice your yellow bellied slider has an excessively runny nose, this may be a symptom, and you should take it to a veterinarian immediately. 

Shell rot is also a concern. It is an illness caused by dirty water. If you don’t get it treated, shell rot can lead to further infections and open sores on your turtle. It’s important you change the water in your turtle’s tank at least once a week, and be sure you’re using an appropriate filter. 

What Do Yellow Bellied Sliders Eat?

A yellow bellied slider’s diet is a fairly open question in the wild. They’ll eat whatever they can get their mouth on. But their diet, and what interests them, changes as they get older. 

Young yellow bellied sliders are primarily carnivores, interested in fish, insects and bugs. But as they get older, they almost convert to vegetarianism. Here’s some food that your yellow bellied slider will enjoy:

  • Parsley
  • Carrot Tops
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Apples
  • Collard Greens
  • Water Lilies
  • Waterweed
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Duckweed

Much of the food they both love and need to thrive can be purchased at pet stores in the form of pellets. But when they’re young, it’s vital that you supply some extra protein so they have the opportunity to grow. 


When they’re adults, you should switch to a more plant-based diet, though they wouldn’t mind the occasional cricket here and there. 

Yellow bellied sliders are fascinating creatures, just like all other turtles. One of the most curious things about the species is that you can’t necessarily identify their sex easily. But through a process of elimination, putting together the clues should help you guess with some accuracy. 

F.A.Q.

Do Yellow Bellied Sliders Bite?

Most turtles aren’t big fans of being handled. And, like any other turtle, it will defend itself when annoyed, confused or threatened. Their defenses include biting, which they will do if you antagonize them enough. In general, however, they are curious and friendly so long as you know how to properly care for them. 

How Big Do Female Yellow Bellied Sliders Get?

Female yellow bellied sliders are much larger than males, growing to be around 12 to 14 inches in size. This is one of the easiest ways of telling the genders apart. 

Keep reading

Do Red Eared Sliders Bite?

African Sideneck Turtle – Male or Female?

Do Turtles Have Nipples?

Sources

HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOY & GIRL SLIDER TURTLES – Animals.mom.com

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