Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

Chrysemys picta

Click on each photo thumbnail to enlarge.

This is the most common turtle species in North America. The intricate color pattern, especially on their underside makes it easy to identify them. The females mature in 6-10 years and become larger than the males. The female upper shells (carapace) is up to 9 inches long; the lower one (plastron) 6-7 inches. Males mature in 3-5 years with plastrons of only 3-5 inches long. Both sexes can live to between 35 and 40 years. The female lays her eggs in early summer in loose soil near water. The young turtles eat mostly animal matter, later they develop a taste for plants as well. Painted Turtles are “cold-blooded” and hibernate in deep mud during winter. Image 5 shows a young turtle, only a few inches long, as seen by the Duckweed floating nearby. Note the pattern of the carapace, which is quite different from that of an adult. That image was taken from Stream Trail in Fontenelle Forest the end of June 2013.

These turtles are common in Fontenelle Forest, often seen on a sunny summer day crowding the available space on a log in water along Stream Trail and along the shore of the Great Marsh. But they are very wary, seeking the safety of water at the slightest sign of danger.

The sex of the offspring is determined by the incubation temperature, with females developing at higher temperatures.

The content of NatureSearch is provided by dedicated volunteer Naturalists of Fontenelle Forest who strive to provide the most accurate information available. Contributors of the images retain their copyrights. The point of contact for this page is: Loren Padelford.