Cumberland Slider: Ultimate Guide

Male vs Female

When it comes to detecting the differences between a male Cumberland slider and a female Cumberland slider, a few key indicators can be used.

One of the most distinguishing differences between the two genders is the size of the turtle, with males often being smaller than females. On average, male Cumberland sliders will feature a carapace length of 177.8mm, while female carapaces are known to reach measurements of 254mm. 

Male Cumberland sliders are also discernible by their flat and smooth shells and their front legs, which tend to feature a set of long claws. Another primary difference between the two genders is the shape of their shells, with female shells often being larger and more rounded than their male counterparts. 


Cumberland sliders belong to the order of Testudines, which contains around 250 different species of turtle.

The Cumberland slider’s closest cousin is the Red-eared slider, which it is known to bear a great resemblance to. However, unlike Red-eared sliders, Cumberland sliders do not feature distinctive red markings and are more yellow in hue. 

This particular species of turtle can be identified by its brown or olive skin and the yellow and black stripes known to pattern the creature’s front legs and back thighs. The Cumberland slider can also be easily distinguished by a yellow bar that is usually located behind the turtle’s eyes. 

As a Pet

Cumberland sliders are often kept as pets and are considered to be a very popular choice among first-time keepers and seasoned professionals alike. The species is often favoured for its trusting and active nature, they are also easy to handle and are considered very enjoyable to watch inside their enclosures. 

Although the species can adapt to being handled, Cumberland sliders are still timid creatures and will often go into the water whenever they feel threatened or scared.

So if you choose to purchase a Cumberland slider, remember that your presence and contact may make them feel endangered or under attack. 


Although Cumberland sliders may appear to be small and insignificant creatures, this does not mean that they are incapable of living rich and fulfilling lives.

In the wild, Cumberland sliders are expected to live around 30 years, with the species often becoming the victim of various predators and natural elements. 

When kept in captivity, Cumberland sliders have been known to live for much longer and are capable of reaching 40-50 years of age. However, this is only possible when the turtle has been well cared for and fed a balanced diet. 


Cumberland sliders are native to the south-eastern part of the United States and can often be found in Mississippi and Tennessee river drainages. Because the turtles are aquatic creatures, they have adapted to survive in various underwater environments.

Something that is evident in their webbed feet and sleek shells, which allow them to cut through the water with quick and fluid motion. 

Because Cumberland sliders are often the victims of predators and human intervention, they also have the adaption of a protective shell, which they can use to retract their head and limbs when faced with a potential threat. 

Breeding Season

In the wild, the breeding season for Cumberland sliders often begins in April and will usually last through until late October. However, in some rare instances, ideal weather conditions and temperatures have also allowed the species to breed throughout December as well. 

Male Cumberland sliders will usually reach sexual maturity between 2-5 years of age. While for females, the process is much slower and will usually be completed between 5-8 years.

Female Cumberland sliders are also capable of laying up to 4 clutches of eggs, although the species will usually only lay 1 or 2 every year. 


As we have previously discussed in the section above, female Cumberland sliders are capable of laying 1-2 clutches of eggs every year. This particular species of turtle is known to lay its eggs in oval-shaped nests, which are typically made after dark and feature a single hole that is 10-14cm deep. 

Unlike other species of turtle, female Cumberland sliders do not seek out particular soil conditions and will usually lay their eggs in areas where they have had previous success. Because the species enjoys basking in sunlight, females will also make their nests in sunny locations, which often makes the eggs more subject to predation. 

Cumberland slider eggs are spherical and feature flexible shells, which makes them capable of absorbing water for the development of the hatchlings. The mass and dimensions of the eggs will often vary depending on water availability and the size of the nesting female. 

Growth Rate

The growth rate of Cumberland sliders is an annual process and one that often varies between each specimen. However, Cumberland sliders will usually stop growing once they have reached sexual maturity.

As we have previously established, male and female Cumberland sliders stop maturing at different ages, which means they often range in shape and size. 

Male Cumberland sliders are expected to reach full maturity at 2-5 years, while females will continue to grow until they reach maturity between 5-8 years. Because the maturing process is much slower for female sliders, this means they will often be larger than the males of their species. 

The average size of a male Cumberland slider will usually range from 4-5 inches, while females have been known to reach sizes of 8-10 inches. There have also been rare cases where Cumberland sliders have reached 11-12 inches in length. 

Life Cycle

As we have previously mentioned in former sections, wild Cumberland sliders are capable of living up to 30 years of age. However, Cumberland sliders that have been bred in captivity are often expected to live much longer, with the average lifespan of a captive slider being 41.3 years. 

The reason why Cumberland sliders are known to live for so long in captivity is that they are not under threat of predators and are removed from the dangerous environments which they are known to inhabit.

However, this does not mean that captive sliders are free from risk, as they are often prone to various diseases and health problems. 


Currently, Cumberland sliders are considered a species of least concern by the IUCN and have no special status with the US government. In fact, Cumberland sliders are considered a prolific and invasive species and there is more concern surrounding their introduction than their conservation. 

Because of their breeding capability and rise in numbers, the European Union declared the import of sliders illegal in 1997, with the political entity currently working to eliminate the number of sliders across the European continent. 


In the wild, Cumberland sliders are known to be omnivores, which means they eat a variety of foods including aquatic plants and small freshwater animals. Cumberland sliders have been known to eat various weeds and flowers that grow at the water’s edge and will often seek out living food when the opportunity arises. 

Unlike other species of turtle, Cumberland sliders are more opportunistic and will usually seek out food both in the water and on land. Studies have shown that adult Cumberland sliders eat large amounts of algae and will also consume various fish, molluscs and invertebrates. 


Although we have previously established that Cumberland sliders are born with hard shells to protect themselves, this does not mean that they are completely resistant to danger.

In the wild, Cumberland sliders often fall victim to a variety of predators, such as snakes, alligators, catfish, crows, otters and opossums. 

Unfortunately, the high mortality rates of Cumberland sliders are also greatly influenced by human intervention, with the turtles often falling victim to automobiles and boat propellers.

Cumberland sliders are also regularly hunted for sport, with the species often being shot when they bask outside of the water. 

Roaming Range

The roaming range of Cumberland sliders will often vary depending on the turtle, although it is considered rare for the species to travel great distances from their original aquatic environment.

The only time this is not considered the case is during the breeding season when nesting females have been known to travel more than 1.6km from their permanent habitat. 


Unfortunately, Cumberland sliders in captivity are prone to a selection of different diseases and health problems, which can occur when they are neglected by their owners.

One of the most common conditions found among Cumberland sliders is Vitamin A deficiency, which takes place when your turtle is not receiving sufficient levels of UVB light. 

Cumberland sliders can also suffer from conditions such as metabolic bone disease, as well as infections, lethargy and parasites. The species has also been known to be a carrier of salmonella, which means you must always wash your hands after you have handled your pet slider. 

Eye Color

Cumberland sliders are known to have pale yellow eyes, which are punctuated with a black bar that runs through their pupils. Cumberland sliders can often be distinguished by the various markings that surround their eyes, such as the yellow bar that we mentioned in a previous section. 


To say that Cumberland sliders hibernate is actually inaccurate, as sliders often undergo a process called brumation. This process usually takes place during the winter months and allows the turtle to remain active during the cold conditions.

During this time, the turtle will hide in the mud at the bottom of its habitat, only returning to the surface for essential substances such as food and oxygen. 

If you are keeping a Cumberland slider as a pet, then chances are you will never see them undergo the brumation process, as the temperature inside their enclosure should always be sufficient to their requirements. 

Can They Swim?

Cumberland sliders are aquatic animals, which means they are perfectly capable of swimming and diving in underwater environments. However, this does not mean that Cumberland sliders spend all their time in the water, as the turtles have also been known to journey onto dry land for basking purposes. 


If you are interested in purchasing a Cumberland slider as a pet, then you need to make sure that you have everything the turtle needs to live a comfortable life.

Arguably one of the most important things your turtle will need is a tank, which can vary in size depending on the age of the slider you have bought. 

If you have purchased a juvenile slider, then the turtle will only need a 10-20 gallon tank to remain comfortable. However, an adult slider will require a much larger tank, one that is capable of holding at least 55 gallons of water.

If you intend to keep a pair of adults for breeding purposes, then they should be housed in a 75 gallon tank. 

Your Cumberland slider should be provided with plenty of room for swimming and should be able to submerge itself fully in the water. However, this does not mean that a tank filled with water is all your turtle will need.

To give your slider the best possible life, you also need to invest in a platform, a place where your turtle can rest and bask in the rays of a UVB light bulb. 

This particular species of turtle can also be housed in outdoor environments, such as ponds or lakes. However, this particular practice does come with the negative side of making your pet turtles more readily available to various kinds of predators. 


The cost of a Cumberland slider will usually vary depending on the breeder or store, although the average price for a slider usually ranges from $20-$30. 

Fun Facts

  • Pet Cumberland sliders have been known to outgrow the space that an average household can provide, which often leads to the owners donating the turtles to zoos or releasing them back into the wild.