Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) - Wiki
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[Photo] Painted turtle photographed in Richfield, MN, USA. Copyright 1997 Steven J. Dunlop, Nerstrand, MN, USA. Released under the GFDL; all other rights reserved.
The Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) is a reptile that is common in North America, and is a water turtle related to other water turtles such as sliders and cooters. The turtle lives in ponds, lakes, marshes, and in slow-moving rivers that have soft, muddy bottoms. Their shell is used to protected them from their predators.
In the wild, this turtle may live for twenty to thirty years; in captivity it can live over twenty years.They adapt to spend the night at the bottom of the wetland and also they have to have a baby it usually occurs in the late part of April. The painted turtle spends most of its time in the water but often lies on floating logs in the sun, as well as on rocks or by the shore.
During very cold weather painted turtles hibernate, burying themselves for months in the mud beneath streams and ponds. The mud acts as an insulator and helps to keep the turtle warm in harsh winter months. Painted turtles can survive long winters in ice-covered ponds because they can live for several months without breathing oxygen.
These turtles make great pets since they reproduce quickly and pose no threat of becoming extinct.
The Painted Turtle is the only species in the genus Chrysemys. It is comprised of 4 sub-species.
- Eastern painted turtle, Chrysemys picta picta (Schneider, 1783)
- Midland painted turtle, Chrysemys picta marginata Agassiz, 1857
- Southern painted turtle, Chrysemys picta dorsalis Agassiz, 1857
- Western painted turtle, Chrysemys picta bellii (Gray, 1831)
The eastern painted turtle, C. p. picta (Schneider, 1783), ranges from southeast Canada through New England and down to Georgia and eastern Alabama. It is usually 5-7 inches (12.7-17.8 cm) long, and the record is 7.1 inches. This turtle is unique in that the vertebral and costal scutes run virtually parallel, so the light bordered seams are aligned across the carapace. On all other North American turtles, the seams alternate. The plastron is usually plain yellow. In the coastal portions of its range, it may be found in brackish tidal waters.
The midland painted turtle, C. p. marginata Agassiz, 1857, ranging from southern Quebec and Ontario to the central US, eastward to New England, Pennsylvania to West Virginia and Maryland, is similar in size to the eastern painted. It has dark borders around its alternating carapacial seams, relatively ornate marginal scutes and a dark figure on its plastron.
At about 5 inches (12.7 cm) long, with a record of 6.1 inches (15.5 cm), the southern painted turtle, C. p. dorsalis Agassiz, 1857, is the smallest subspecies. It ranges from southern Illinois and Missouri along both sides of the Mississippi River south to Louisiana and eastward to Alabama. It features a conspicuous red, orange or yellow stripe running the length of the carapace, and has a plain yellow plastron.
The western painted turtle, C. p. bellii (Gray, 1831), is the largest subspecies. Adults are often over 7 inches (17.8 cm) long, with a record of 9.8 inches (25 cm). It ranges from western Ontario to British Columbia south to Missouri, northern Oklahoma, eastern Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and northern Oregon with isolated populations in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Chihuahua, Mexico. Its green carapace features a network of faint markings. Its yellow or reddish plastron is marked by an intricate dark figure branching along the seams.
The Painted Turtle, when young eats mostly carnivorously, dining on larvae, crickets, beetles and maggots. When they mature, they eat more omnivorously, with their primary diet including duckweed, water lilies and algal matter, as well as eating insects, worms, leeches, crayfish, tadpoles, snails and small fish.
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