Distinguish male yellow-bellied slider turtles from females by observing the exceptionally large fingernails of males. These long fingernails help males to attract mates and grip females during mating activities. Additionally, male yellow-bellied sliders are smaller than females of the same age and have longer tails than females do. The cloaca of a male is located well beyond the edge of the turtle’s shell, while the female's tail lies inside it.
The gender of turtles is determined by the environmental conditions surrounding the egg, rather than the genetic information present in the animal, as it is in birds and mammals. Called temperature-determined sex, males are produced at temperatures in the low 80s Fahrenheit, while females are produced at temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If the eggs are kept at intermediate temperatures, a mix of genders is produced.
While the males of many reptile species fight if housed together, male yellow-bellied sliders usually cohabitate peacefully. Because females grow so much larger than males, males are usually preferred as pets. Additionally, as females may deposit eggs even if they are not housed with a male, they require constant access to suitable egg-deposition sites.
Yellow-bellied sliders are omnivores that primarily consume plants as adults, although young turtles prefer worms, insects and fish.