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Chrysemys picta

Common Name: Painted Turtle
Chrysemys picta
Chrysemys picta

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Emydidae
Genus: Chrysemys
Species: Chrysemys picta

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Painted turtles have smooth shells that are olive-brown colored, with red bands around the edges. They have red and yellow stripes covering their head, neck, legs, and tail. Painted turtles can grow to be around 4-10 inches in length, with males being smaller than females.

Habitat & Range

Painted turtles can be found in shallow streams, ponds, and lakes with vegetation and are widespread throughout North America. They can range from northern and eastern United States, southern Canada, and down south to the Gulf of Mexico.


Painted turtles are diurnal and are active during the day. They spend most of their time basking in the sun in large groups. Typically, they will start their day at sunrise, bask to heat themselves, forage for food, and bask again if their temperature drops too low. At night, painted turtles will submerge to the bottom of the water and sleep.

Life Cycle

Painted turtles begin mating after hibernation during late spring to early summer. Females will lay around 4 to 15 eggs into a hole, cover it up, and leave the eggs behind. After hatching, young turtles dig out of the hole and are independent.

Featured image by James Dake

See Me At Cayuga Nature Center


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