Is it okay to release my red-eared slider in a pond outside?

Just had a couple ?’s for you. I have a red eared slider that I’ve had for almost a year now, and I’m wondering if it’d be possible to release into the wild here in Wisconsin. He’s got an aggressive appetite with an attitude to match. He’s got a shell length of about 6-6.5″ or so, so I wouldn’t be worried too much about natural predators. Of course if I were to release him it would be in a very secluded area with minimal human activity. He’s VERY shy and darts away at the slightest glimpse of a person so I don’t think I’d have to worry about human interaction!! Right now I have him in a 90 gallon preformed pond outside, but I would like to be able to use this for my 2 juvenile painteds instead. I know he would like to have more swimming area and would love to be able to be free.

It is not a good idea to release the red-eared slider for two reasons:

  1. They’re not a native species. There are a couple introduced populations in Wisconsin, but we don’t want them here. It is also likely it would not survive the winter.
  2. You run the risk of introducing foreign pathogens to wild aquatic animals, particularly if there have ever been fish kept with or fed to it.

If you are no longer able to keep the turtle, it is probably best to get ahold of a reptile rescue or sanctuary and see if they’ll take it in or help you rehome it.

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