Cumberland Slider

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About Cumberland Slider

Semi-aquatic turtle
30 years
Pelleted commercial diet, Insects, Leafy green vegetables
Difficulty Of Care
Average Maintenance
Comparable Breeds
Red-Eared Slider Turtle
Cumberland Slider General Info

Because Cumberland Slider Turtles are related to the Red Eared Slider Turtle, they make great pets, and when it comes to their care requirements, they need the same things that Red Eared Slider Turtles would.

The differences between the Cumberland Slider and the Red Eared Slider include where they are found and their color (Cumberland Sliders are more yellow, as well as lighter in color, than Red Eared Sliders, and they don’t have the distinctive “red ear” either).

Cumberland Sliders make great pets.

Native Habitat

The Cumberland Slider Turtle can be found in the southeastern part of the United States, and the Mississippi River and Tennessee River drainages. They will be seen in quiet waters that feature mud at the bottom, so habitats like streams, lakes, and ponds are preferable. They also like environments where there is a lot of aquatic vegetation, basking spots, and organic substrate.

A lot of experts claim that the native land of these turtles is the Cumberland River Valley, which is found in Tennessee and Kentucky, but because of the pet trade, these turtles can now be found in Illinois, Georgia, and Alabama.

Overall Description

Cumberland Sliders have a couple of rounded projections that are located on the posterior edge of their shell, which is also a bit keeled. Adults will have a carapace that is oval and wrinkled, while the plastron will be a bit smaller compared to the carapace, and it will also be hingeless. Each of the marginals showcases a spot on the bottom side.

Male Cumberland Sliders will showcase long claws on their front legs, and they will be smaller than females. Females will also feature a shell that is domed more. Hatchings will look like their adult counterparts, but their carapace will be green and their plastron will be yellow.

Cumberland Sliders are known for being active and fun to watch.


The Cumberland Slider Turtle features an olive brown colored carapace, and you will also note this turtle’s yellow markings. There is a yellow bar behind each eye, and it can be wide or thin.

The turtle’s skin will be brown, but it will have a greenish or olive tint, along with yellow striping as well.

This turtle’s plastron will have stripes or bars of yellow color, along with dark spots like those on the carapace’s ridge. The front legs will feature large yellow stripes, and the backs of the turtle’s thighs will have alternating black and yellow stripes.


If you have a juvenile Cumberland Slider, you can house him in a 10-20 gallon tank, but an adult would need a 55 gallon tank. You can house a pair of adults in a 75 gallon tank. They can also be housed outdoors.

Only use fresh, filtered water in your turtle’s tank, and have a high quality filtration system working in the tank at all times. UVB lighting also needs to be provided to help your turtle stay healthy, and you can turn the lights off at night to mimic natural cycles.

In terms of substrate, these turtles do well with fine pea gravel or reptile sand. If you choose to use gravel, it should be big enough that your turtle will not be able to eat it.

Your turtle should be able to enjoy plenty of room for swimming, and he should be able to completely submerge himself and swim around. However, there should also be an area for basking that allows your pet to climb out of the water completely. This area should also be big enough that your turtle can completely dry off his plastron and shell, and he should be able to really stretch out and relax.

The water temperature should be set at 70-75°F, and the basking area should be set to 90°F. A cooler area should be on the opposite end of the basking area of the tank. Temperatures can drop to around 65°F at night, but a good daytime ambient temperature would be anywhere from the upper 70s to lower 80s.

If you have more than one Cumberland Slider Turtle, you may see them all basking together.

Care Requirements

Cumberland Sliders prefer an omnivorous diet, so you can feed your pet a combination of commercial pelleted turtle food and then supplement that with mealworms, crickets, and leafy green vegetables, such as collard greens, turnip greens, and romaine.


These popular pet turtles are known for being active and fun to watch. They can get used to being handled, but they are the types of animals that will slide into the water whenever they are frightened while they are basking (hence the name “slider”).

If you have more than one Cumberland Slider Turtle, you may see them all basking together. They might even stack themselves on top of one another as they bask.

Photo credit: Danny Steven S./Wikimedia; Satori1312/Bigstock

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

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