The Pond slider is a medium-sized, semiaquatic turtle found in North America. Hatchlings and juveniles have a greenish upper shell (carapace), yellow bottom shell (plastron), and green and yellow stripes and markings on their skin. These patterns and colors in the skin and shell fade with age until the carapace is a muted olive green to orange-brown or brown and the plastron is a dull yellow or darker. Some sliders become almost black with few visible markings. The carapace is oval with a bit of rounding and a central crest with knobs, but these features soften and fade with age, adults being smoother and flatter. Males typically have much longer front claws than adult females, while females usually have shorter, more slender tails than males.
Pond sliders are native to the south-central and southeastern United States and northern Mexico. They live in lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, lagoons, and swamps preferring shallow water with slow flow, diverse vegetation, and places to bask.
Pond sliders are social and often found in groups. These groups are sometimes quite large, and are often seen basking and sunning on logs, branches, and vegetation at or even well above the water's surface; they readily and quickly scramble if they sense danger, shooting back in and darting away to safety underwater. Pond sliders are active during the day spending their time feeding, swimming, walking, and basking in the sun. To communicate with each other they use displays, eye-rolling, vibrations, and touch. When they want to send signals to other turtles, sliders will move their eyes quickly back and forth creating reflections and flashes of light. They will also wave their claws under the water causing vibrations and touch each others' faces.
Pond sliders are polygynandrous (promiscuous) meaning that both the males and females have multiple partners. Their breeding season occurs from April through October. Females usually lay 1-2 clutches per year with 6-20 eggs per clutch. The eggs are laid in the nest constructed in sand or soil and are incubated for 60-90 days. Some hatchlings may stay inside their eggshells after hatching for the first day or two and begin their independence from the day they emerge from their eggs. However, most hatchlings remain in their nests for up to 10 months. Male Pond sliders reach reproductive maturity at 2-5 years of age, while females become reproductively mature when they are 5-8 years old.
The main reasons for the Pond slider populations decline include the loss and degradation of their habitat, road mortality, and pollution due to pesticides and heavy metals. Collection for the pet trade has also impacted the population size of Pond sliders. In the 1900s, many of them were captured for sale. In the 1950s, millions of turtles were being farmed and shipped abroad as part of the pet trade.
According to IUCN, the Pond slider is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.