Can Two Male Red Eared Sliders Live Together?

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Turtles are pets that are going to be around for a very long time, so as a turtle owner you want to make sure that they’re as happy as they can be. One of the most common concerns about turtles is wondering if they’re lonely. If you’re worried about your little friend swimming around their big tank all by themselves, you’ve probably thought at one point can two male red-eared sliders live together?


The best answer to that question is a resounding sometimes. The main thing to remember about turtles, and particularly red-eared sliders, is that in nature they are solitary animals. They don’t tend to live in groups and they don’t need others of their kind to socialize with. Turtles are nature’s ultimate loners.

Turtles generally prefer to be kept in tanks by themselves, and considering how much room a full-grown turtle needs to move around, it’s not a bad idea. While some turtles are more social than others, that isn’t always the case. Typically a male will happily get along with a couple of females, but two males will rarely cohabitate peacefully unless extra precautions are taken.


Can Two Male Red Eared Sliders Live Together?


How Can I Tell If My Turtle Is A Male?


One of the first things you need to determine as soon as possible is your turtle’s gender. Unfortunately, this is where things get tricky. If you’ve just taken in a baby turtle, it can be really hard to determine their sex until they get older and larger.

Typically, you’ll need to wait until they are at least two years old, although the bigger they are, the easier it is to tell. By then, they should have reached a length of 4-5 inches. At that point, they’re big enough to tell their gender. If your turtle is a male, he will have longer front claws than a female and the cloaca will be farther away from their body. A female will have short claws and a close cloaca. 

Once you’ve determined their gender, you can decide whether to keep them together or separate them. If two males are raised together in the same tank from the time they’re little, then you have a much better chance of them getting along. Trying to introduce two adult males to one another, or an adult and a very young turtle will only result in problems. 

However, since it’s so hard to tell their genders when they’re young it’s hard to plan your tank. At this point, if you decide that you want to put two young turtles together just be prepared to get another tank in the future in case they eventually butt heads. Let’s talk about some things you can do to try to help them get along. 


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What Can I Do To Keep My Male Turtles Happy? 


Red Eared Sliders do best when they have ample room to swim and explore, and they tend to be happiest when they’re alone in their tanks. If you decide to put two males in the same tank, make sure you have a tank large enough to accommodate them both when they reach full size. This breed can be up to 10 inches long.

As a rule, you want to have a tank that is at least 4-5x as long as the full-grown turtle will be, 2-3x their length for the height, and 2x their length for the amount of water in the tank. That means you need at minimum a 100-gallon tank if you plan to have two of them. Alternatively, you could have a large outdoor pond for them which could help keep them docile.

If you decide on a tank, it’s recommended to start with the largest one you can. From there, you will want to have separate caves and basking areas for each of them so that they can have their own territories. If you only have one place for them both to lounge, they will quickly begin fighting over it. Turtles are extremely territorial animals and they need their individual space to retreat so that they don’t become stressed and aggressive.

In addition, be sure to place numerous visual barriers around the tank that they can hide behind if the other turtle begins getting aggressive. Rocks, plants, decorations, or caves are all great to use. The main idea is to have something to break the line of sight between the turtles so that the pursuing turtle thinks the other turtle has left. 

A final idea to reduce infighting between your pets is to try feeding them every day rather than every other day. More frequent feedings may lead to less aggression, especially if combined with multiple basking and hiding spots, and ample tank space. 


What Do I Do If My Turtles Start Fighting?


Unfortunately, you can never tell how a turtle is going to react to another turtle. Some turtles are gentle and calm their entire lives, some are feisty from the beginning, and others start calm and become bullies. 

Sometimes, no matter what steps you take to prevent it and no matter how badly you want your turtles to be friends, sometimes they’ll still end up fighting. A bigger one may bully a smaller one, or two that grew up together may suddenly decide they no longer want to share a tank when they become adults. 

The telltale signs of fighting are new scars, scratches, or bite marks on the turtles. Sometimes it’s less obvious and one turtle will bully the other by eating their food instead of outright attacking them. In cases like this, you’ll notice a change in behavior in the bullied turtle and a failure to thrive. 

If you see any of this or catch them actively fighting, you must immediately remove one of the turtles and place them into a separate tank. If you don’t they could seriously injure or even kill one another. 


So Can Two Male Red Eared Sliders Live Together?


Yes, if you take all of the proper precautions and keep an eye on them to make sure they continue to get along. Keeping two males in the same tank takes a lot of effort and extra care. It can be done, but you may want to consider keeping your turtles in separate tanks to keep them really happy.


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