Lane, S., Williams, W., Mayo, M. 2022. The impact of environmental enrichment on red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys elegans). Laboratory Animal Science Professional 10(3) (May/June), 18-20.
This study aimed to determine whether tank enrichment improved positive species-specific behaviors (those that benefit the animals' overall well-being), such as basking, and/or decreased negative behaviors (those that may indicate stress, agitation, or discomfort), such as dragging limbs, in red-eared slider turtles. We hypothesized that adding river rock substrates and artificial plants would increase the amount of positive species-specific behaviors, including basking, foraging, and sheltering. Our secondary hypothesis was that these additions would decrease negative behaviors, including lethargy, aggressive behavior, and swimming at the wall. Significant differences in behavior were noted throughout this study: all positive behaviors except basking were observed significantly more in the experimental group compared to the control group, and all negative behaviors, except aggression, were substantially less in the experimental group compared to the control group. Based on this information, we recommend the addition of environmental enrichment to the housing habitat of red-eared slider turtles (T. elegans).