Painted Turtle


 southernPaintedTurtle.jpg

 

Common Name
Painted Turtle
Category
Reptiles
ScientificName
Chrysemys picta
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Testudines
Family
Emydidae
Genus
Chrysemys
Species
picta
SubSpecies

 

Description
Yellow and red stripes on head, neck and legs; smooth dark greenish black upper shell, or carapace; yellowish stripe between the scales on shell, or scutes; bright red and yellow-orange ridges along the rim of the carapace; males have very long front toenails
Size
3.15 – 9.84 in. (8 – 25 cm) long 
Ecological Role
Young painted turtles are carnivorous, eating primarily worms and insects. Adults are omnivores, feeding on both animals and plants such as arrowhead, duckweed, and parts of the cattail. They are also opportunistic feeders, meaning they eat the food that is available. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels, raccoons, skunks, opossum, garter snakes, and foxes prey on the eggs. Black racers, bullfrogs, large fish, crows, mink and muskrat feed on young hatchlings. The painted turtle uses trees that have fallen into the water for basking sites. Hatchlings take cover in plants, such as Joe-Pye-weed, growing in or near water. They may bask on the larger leaves of waterlily.
Fun Facts
  • Turtles, like other reptiles, are cold-blooded; that is, their body temperature fluctuates with the temperature of the surroundings. Since their internal body temperature must be warm in order for digestion to occur, sun basking is a necessary activity for all turtles. Basking increases the internal temperature, aiding in food digestion and maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Female painted turtles are larger than males because the female's body must accommodate for egg production and delivery.
  • Painted turtles are one of the most colorful of the turtles, having bright colors on both the upper and lower portions of the shell and on the head, neck, legs, and tail. There are two subspecies of painted turtles in Kentucky, the midland and the southern painted turtle.
Food
Young eat mostly maggots, earthworms, insect larvae, and beetles; adults eat insects, snails, crayfish, tadpoles, dead animal matter, and plants such as arrowhead
Cover
 
Nest
Nesting occurs from May to July; females excavate nests in soft sandy soils, ditches, gravel lots and fields; egg-laying usually occurs late afternoon
Breeding
March through August; courtship and breeding occur in water; males flutter their long claws in a courtship dance to impress the females
Eggs
White and granular, not smooth; 5 – 18 eggs per clutch; hatch in 70 – 80 days; temperature determines sex of the hatchlings; warm temperatures produce female turtles, cool temperatures produce males
Habitat
Marshes, ponds, lakes, creeks and rivers with good basking sites, such as logs, root wads, rocks and floating debris
Kentucky Distribution
Statewide
Life Cycle
 
Life Span
 
Life Stage
 
Reproduction
 
Seasonal Changes
The painted turtle hibernates during the winter in muddy bottoms of ponds or under loose rocks.
Spawning
 
Status
Secure
Uses
 
Voice
 
Young
Hatchlings about size of a dime; dig out and disperse from the nest to survive on their own; live 15 – 20 years 
What We Can Do
Ensure appropriate basking locations, such as fallen trees and stumps in the water, to accommodate the local population of turtles. Do not disturb turtle nests. Do not take turtles out of the wild. Captive turtles should be handled with caution. Turtles, like many other animals, may carry the bacteria Salmonella.
Host
 
Diagnosis and Control
 
Interesting Facts
 
Contributed By
 
Website
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/turtle/Paintedturtle.shtml