Painted Turtle Facts for Kids

Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) inhabits slow-moving currents of water. It is an omnivorous reptile. It is widely distributed across North America; from southern Canada and all the way toward Mexico. Its ancestors first appeared around 15 million years ago.

The upper surface of painted turtle is smooth. The color of its oval-shaped upper shell (called carapace) and skin is olive-to-black while the bottom shell (called plastron) is yellowish in color. Besides, there are yellowish-orange lines on the sides of its skin. Its face is covered with yellow streaks. As compared to red-eared slider, painted turtle is flatter in appearance. Besides, there is a red line alongside the ears of slider turtle.

Male turtles are relatively smaller in size than the females. A female painted turtle grows from 10 to 25 centimeters in length and weighs around 500 grams.

Painted turtles have a lifespan of about 61 years.

Female painted turtles mature at the age of 6 to 10 years while males mature at 2 to 4 years of age. Mating seasons for painted turtles are spring and fall.

On average, the western painted turtles have clutch size of 11.9 eggs while midland’s clutch size is of 7.6 eggs. A female painted turtle lays around 2 to 5 clutches in one breeding season. However, some northern subspecies lay only 1 clutch per year. The eggs are hatched after 72 to 80 days.

It is the most widely distributed turtle in North America. It is found all the way from Atlantic to the Pacific and thus, painted turtle is the only turtle to be found on such large scale.

These turtles usually occupy shallow fresh waters with muddy bottom. They are found in swamplands and especially where the plants tend to grow in aquatic environments. These turtles also bask during the daylight.

The subspecies of painted turtle are: Eastern, Midland, Southern and Western painted turtles. These turtles prey on fish, aquatic insects like dragonfly larvae, animals like mountain lobsters, vegetation like algae and duckweed.

The eggs of painted turtle are eaten by leopard ground and grey squirrels, raccoons, whistlepigs, chipmunks, badgers, plains garter snake, skunks and foxes.

Some of the predators that eat hatchlings of these turtles are snapping turtles, water snakes, raccoons, weasels, herons, bullfrogs and muskrats. The predators of adult painted turtles are raccoons, red shouldered hawks, ospreys, bald eagles and alligators.

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