Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle                  Chrysemys picta

Type of Animal:

Ponds, lakes, marshes, sloughs, creeks, streams, pasture ponds, roadside pools, shores, coves, rivers, swamps, drainage ditches, pools, wet meadows, bogs, prefer still/slow-moving freshwater but sometimes in brackish tidal waters, salt marshes & nearby shores, prefer areas w/ soft bottoms/aquatic vegetation/areas w/basking sites

Found from S Canada to Louisiana & N Mexico, & from Atlantic to Pacific. Invasive in California, waterways near Phoenix & Miami, Germany, Indonesia, Philippines, & Spain.

Eastern subspecies-olive green to black carapace (upper shell), w/pale stripe down middle & red markings down periphery, carapace scutes have pale leading edges occurring in straight rows along back, unlike other 3 subspecies/other N American turtles w/ alternating segments, bottom shell (plastron) yellow/lightly spotted. Midland subspecies-plastron has symmetrical dark shadow in center. Southern subspecies (smallest subspecies)-prominent red stripe on top, tan/spotless/almost spotless plastron. Western subspecies (largest subspecies)-Mesh-like pattern of light lines on carapace, very little top stripe, large colored splotch w/ red hues on plastron. Face on all subspecies has yellow stripes w/ large yellow spot/streak behind each eye, webbed feet, females larger than males, male has longer foreclaws/ longer thicker tail, female has more rounder/less flat carapace, hatchlings have proportionally bigger head/eyes/tail & more circular tail, males have concave plastron

Fish, worms, insects, greens, leaves, vegetables, aquatic plants (especially duckweed, water hyacinth, water lettuce, water lilies, pondweed etc.), crayfish, frogs, carrion, insect larvae, algae, white water-lily seeds, fruit, shrimp, mussels, snails, leeches, crabs

Status in Wild:

Breeding from zoos, aquariums, nature centers, & private breeders.

Can be found in groups of up to 50 turtles.

Additional Info:


Male-11 oz
Female-18 oz
Young-0.8 oz

2.5 months 

Life Span:
30-50 years

Body Length:
Male-3-6 in
Female-4-10 in
Young-1 in

Main predators of adults are crocodilians, foxes, raptors, snakes, corvids, raccoons, badgers, wolves, dogs, coyotes, mink, otters, snapping turtles, herons, & bobcats. Young preyed on by skunks, muskrats, large frogs, bass/catfish/other large predatory fish (some even take adults), water bugs, birds, rats (some species eat small males), weasels, many rodents, & other larger turtles. Some rodents/birds only eat eggs.

Males sexually mature at 2-9 years, females sexually mature at 6-10 years.

Fun Fact(s):
Can shed their shell as they’re growing.

Can live w/o external oxygen supply for months.

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