Painted Turtle

Chrysemys picta

Identification

The Painted Turtle has a slightly domed carapace (shell that covers the back) that is solid green to black and smooth all over with no keel. The scutes on the carapace are outlined in a lighter green or off-white. The plastron (shell covering the belly) is wide and either solid yellow or yellow with a dark irregular central blotch. The length of the carapace is 5-7 inches. Their skin is green with yellow spots and stripes. They have two distinctive yellow spots on each side of their neck. At the base of their neck, and on their legs, the yellow stripes are replaced with red stripes. The undersides of the outer scutes of the carapace are very colorful with yellow, red, and green markings. The red markings disappear gradually after death, leaving only yellow and green.

Records in Vermont of Chrysemys picta (Painted Turtle)

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Range/Habitat

Painted Turtles are mostly aquatic but bask often. The females leave the water to lay eggs or to travel to new ponds. They like soft-bottomed ponds and lakes with emergent vegetation and basking spots.

Status

This species has a state natural heritage rank of S5 (common). Please report sightings of this species in Vermont if you have not reported them within the last five years from a given location. Any natural history observations (feeding, migrations, road crossing areas, early or late season appearance, abnormalities, etc.) are appreciated. Photographs are always helpful, particularly if your report is the first report of this species from a town.

Additional Photos

Painted turtle photographed by K. Talmage  Photo by Sue Morse. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.)  Photo by Kiley Briggs. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.)     Photo by Kelly Halloran. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.)    Photo by J. Decher. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.)  Photo by Helen Weston. (All photos on this site are © copyright to the photographer and used by permission.)

More Info

Species summary written by Ariel K. McK. Burgess.