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Rori Paloski

Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Painted Turtle photo.
Photo © A.B. Sheldon
  • Family: Emydidae (Box and water turtles)
  • Status: Common
  • Size: carapace 4 to 8 inches

range map

Species range

Wisconsin has two subspecies of painted turtles that intergrade throughout much of the state. The western subspecies is typically found in extreme northwestern and western portions of the state. The painted turtle is distinguished by a relatively flat, smooth, keelless carapace that lacks serrations along the rear edge. The western's carapace tends to be greenish, but is sometimes blackish. Its plastron is usually light orange to reddish with a large symmetrical "oak leaf" shaped gray blotch covering much of it. The western painted turtle's head and legs are dark with thin yellow stripes. Painted turtles prefer to live in marshes, ponds, shallow bays of lakes and backwaters of rivers that support dense aquatic vegetation. The western painted turtle is Wisconsin's most abundant turtle species.


Painted Turtle  Photo

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Last revised: Tuesday, December 22, 2020