I have a yellow bellied slider which I need to transport to another country. YBS are allowed into that country, but it's red eared slider cousins are not.

Now my problem is that, when chipped, the vet wrote just "Trachemys scripta" in the certificate, didn't bother specifying which kind of TS it was. (YBS are Trachemys scripta scripta, while red eared are Trachemys scripta elegans).

The list of forbidden species for that country clearly specifies that "Trachemys scripta elegans" are not to be allowed. My worry is that when I reach the border and present my certificate, they will just match the Trachemys scripta and don't bother asking anything else, just euthanise my pet.

My turtle has the yellow belly with just two big dots on the top area, but it also has an orangish mark on the side of his head.

Is there any sure tell that will allow me to mark the turtle as not being a TSE?

1 Answer 1


I (long time believe to) have a yellow bellied slider myself. They have a "Y" shaped mark on their cheek. This is what red-eared-sliders do not have! The stripe of red eared is horizontal, the stripe of the yellow bellied is vertical.

Sadly you can get a lot of hybrids in the pet shops. Maybe because of that your vet only writes "Trachemys scripta". Maybe he can not decide if it is a purebred T. s. scripta, T. s. elegans or T. s. troostii. All three can breed with each other.

  • The red ears can be orange or yellow, if it is a hybrid... Then some parent of it were and some were not red eared sliders. Jul 23, 2019 at 8:56
  • I'm travelling tomorrow, let's see how it goes. I've checked lots of pics online and mine definitely can't be taken for a red eared if you are willing to put the effort, even if it doesn't have a clear Y on his head. I guess it will all boil down now to how hepful the customs agent wants to be. Jul 23, 2019 at 8:57
  • Good luck and stress less travelling Jul 23, 2019 at 8:58
  • 1
    Checked today, mine clearly has the Y. Jul 24, 2019 at 20:11

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