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Painted Turtle

Painted turtle is a marvelous looking and colorful species of turtle. It belongs to the family of pond turtles. Only four sub-species of this turtle have been found and recorded to have evolved from the main species whose traces date back to 15millios of years old fossils. These sub-species have been into existence since the Last Ice Age.

Find out all about this wonderful species of reptile in the article below.

Description

Size : Female painted turtles are longer than the males. Females are 4 inches to 10 inches in length, whereas males are 3 inches to 6 inches in length.

Shells vary in size between 4 inches and 10 inches.

Painted Turtle Picture Picture 1 – Painted Turtle

Color : As the name suggests this turtle is very colorful. Colors of the shells vary from olive to black. Depending on the shell the turtles’ skin color varies. The skin comes in the color of the shell. Underneath part of the shell is comes in red or yellow and has a dark colored centre. There are red and yellow stripes on the skin of neck, tail and legs of this turtle.

Head : Its head is joined to the body through a short neck. A pair of black eyes bulges out from two sides of its face. It does not have ears. The nose also snouts out from the front part of the turtle’s face.

Body : A soft, fleshy body is hidden under the tough shell of this turtle. Only the head, limbs and tail remains outside the shell.

Limbs : This turtle’s limbs are webbed unlike other turtles.

Sub-species

There are four sub-species of Painted turtle. The sub-species have been categorized as Eastern painted turtle, Western painted turtle, Midland painted turtle and Southern painted turtle.

Diet

This species of turtles diet on both animals and plants, thus they are omnivorous beings. They eat both living and dead animals. Different subspecies of this turtle have different diet habits.

  • Eastern painted turtle diets on injured or dead fishes. It mostly eats under water and seldom on land.
  • Western painted turtle eats seasonally available plants and animals.
  • Midland painted turtle feasts on vascular and non-vascular aquatic insects.
  • Southern painted turtle diets on plants and animals. But peculiarly their eating habits depend on their age. Juveniles eat more animals than plants, whereas adults diet on plants more than animals.

Behavior

These turtles are not just awesomely beautiful creatures but are also very interesting in their behavioral traits.

Painted Turtle Eggs Image Picture 2 - Painted Turtle Eggs

  • These turtles are omnivorous beings.
  • Different sub-species of the main species of eat different types of plants and animals or insects.
  • The males attain sexual maturity prior to the females.
  • They mate in the deepest bottom of the water bodies.
  • They withdraw themselves within the shell when they feel threatened.
  • They hibernate like all reptiles.
  • They can live without oxygen in their burrows for months.

Distribution

This species of turtle is found in a vast stretch on the map from Pacific to Atlantic. It is found in abundance in 8 Canadian states and 45 American states. It is found in a Mexican state.

Habitat

These turtles prefer to inhabit in lake shores, ponds, marshes, creeks, etc. These turtles need fresh water to live in.

Hibernation

This species of turtle, like all other reptiles, hibernates in winter. It hibernates in a lesser depth on the shores of water bodies. Sometimes they hibernate in left burrows of muskrats. They also hibernate in woods and forest lands near by some water bodies. They dig about 2 ft to 3 ft deep a burrow for their hibernation.

Predators

Most frequent predators of juvenile turtles and eggs of these turtles are crows, garter snakes, chipmunks, grey squirrels, groundhogs, badgers, raccoons, catfish, water bugs, bullfrogs, bass, snapping turtles, rice rats, herons, weasels, minks, muskrats, foxes and also humans for entertainment petting.

Images of Painted Turtle Picture 3 - Painted Turtle Image

Most common predators of adult painted turtles are red-shouldered hawks, raccoons, alligators, crows and ospreys.

Adaptations

The painted turtle is an extremely harmless creature with almost no aggressive defensive characteristics. But nature did not exempt this harmless species from acquiring its own adaptive features to secure its existence.

  • This turtle has many colors on itself which helps it to camouflage in the colorful wild amongst multi-colored stones, rocks, trees, leaves, shrubs, etc.
  • These turtles like all other turtles slide within the shells when they feel threatened. Predators easily get befooled thinking that the shell is a rock laid on the way.
  • They move very slowly like other turtles. Their slow movements do not make any noise thus enabling them to get away from their predators or get to their prey without alarming either.
  • Their blood, brain, nerve and heart chemistry is such built up that they can survive without oxygen for months during their hibernation period.

Mating Season

Mating season of this species of turtle is between mid April and end of July. In all the four sub-species of the main turtle species ate during this time span.

Reproduction

Male ones of this species of turtles have longer claws than the females on their front webbed feet. The males caress the females’ cheeks to express their wish to mate with them. When both the genders are ready to mate with each other they dive down to the deepest bottom of fresh water pond or lakes where they reside and mate over there.

Then the females lay eggs that number between 4 and 20. They lay their eggs on dry land in open areas. The incubation period lasts about 70 days to 90 days.

Life Cycle

Till a week from hatching the hatchlings survive on the eggs’ yolks. Then post that period they start feeding normally to grow. These hatchlings grow very fast in the first year. Female turtles grow faster in size than the male turtles.

Male turtles attain sexual maturity between the age of 2 years and 4 years. Females reach the stage between the age of 6 years and 10 years.

Life Span

Painted turtles are known to live for more than 20 years in the wild. Their life span varies when they are bred in captivity depending on their care taken.

As Pets

Laws : Animal preservation laws prevent from petting turtles. Though for scientific researches they are being smuggled. Before petting a painted turtle only as a hobby it is safer to check the relative state laws and get proper permit papers.

Housing : Provide a proper sized water tank as their house. Provide a basking site as well. Water in the tank should be regularly changed and constantly filtered.

Baby Painted Turtle Photo Picture 4 – Baby Painted Turtle

Temperature : Maintain the water temperature level. Water temperature should not go beyond 30 degree Celsius.

Feeding : Feeding of the petted Painted turtle will depend on which sub-species of it has been petted. To learn what to feed the extremely adored pet please refer checkDIET. Occasionally some vitamin supplements can be fed them but under supervision of a veterinary.

Conservation Status : Least Concerned

IUCN has listed this species of turtle as “Least Concerned” ones, which means that their existence is perfectly safe given their habit and diet conditions are completely safe.

Interesting Facts

Read some of the extremely interesting facts about the painted turtle aggregated below.

  • Females are larger in size than the males.
  • Its name has been derived from its appearance. It is a very colorful creature.
  • Male painted turtles reach sexual maturity level before the females.
  • The males and females mate in the maximum depth of water level in ponds.
  • These turtles hibernate in winter.
  • They can live without external oxygen supply for months.
  • Despite its grandeur and beauty, still the species has maintained its existence safely on earth till date and is not threatened yet.

Pictures

Here are some beautiful images of this turtle.

Photos of Painted Turtle Picture 5 – Painted Turtle Photo

Pictures of Painted Turtle Picture 6 – Painted Turtle Picture

Reference:

http://www.ehow.com/list_5918206_painted-turtle-characteristics.html

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Adaptations_of_a_painted_turtle

One thought on “Painted Turtle

  1. Paras Gupta August 19, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    i am having two turtles…. but i dont know about there species..
    they have log up shell… colour of the bottom is black spots… shell has a single line of orange red colour….. on face there are red spots too….. what species is it from??????

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