Species group: Painted Turtles
Other common names: Painted Turtle
Scientific name: Chrysemys picta marginata
“Painted” only begins to describe this beautifully-colored turtle! The Midland Painted Turtle’s care is similar to that of the Red-eared Slider, but it is a smaller creature, and therefore a much better choice for most turtle enthusiasts.
The Midland Painted Turtle ranges from southern Quebec and Ontario, Canada, southeast to Tennessee and Virginia, where it may be found in quiet, mud-bottomed swamps, lakes, rivers, canals, farm and park ponds, and marshes. They spend much time basking on partially-exposed logs and rocks and, except when nesting, rarely travel far from shore.
Appearance / health:
Midland Painted Turtle’s smooth, oval carapace is olive to black in color, with bright yellow or red borders between the scutes and red marks along the edges. The plastron is yellow and the black skin is adorned with red and yellow stripes. Females top out at 25 cm (10 in), with males being smaller.
Well-cared-for Midland Painted Turtles are quite hardy, with captive longevities sometimes exceeding 30 years. Metabolic bone disease is common in animals that are not provided with ample calcium and/or UVB exposure. Sub-optimal temperatures, an inappropriate diet, or poor water quality can lead to fungal/bacterial infections of the shell, skin, and eyes, and other ailments.
Behavior / temperament:
Midland Painted Turtles quickly learn to associate people with food, and will paddle over to beg as soon as someone enters the room. They acclimate well to even quite busy locations, and feed readily from the hand. Like all turtles, they dislike being handled and will bite when startled.
An adult requires a 30-55 gallon long-style or larger aquarium. Commercial turtle tubs, koi pools, and cattle troughs may also be used. Semi-aquatic turtles are best housed in bare-bottomed aquariums, as gravel traps food and waste material, and may be swallowed.
Midland Painted Turtles need a dry basking site. Commercial turtle docks or cork bark flats wedged between the tank’s sides work well. Powerful filters are necessary unless the enclosure can be emptied several times weekly. Removing your turtles to an easily-cleaned container for feeding will lessen the filter’s workload.
Painted Turtles require a source of UVB radiation. A water temperature of 72-80 F and basking site of 90 F should be maintained.
Midland Painted Turtles begin life as carnivores but increasingly consume aquatic plants as they mature. Pets should be offered a diet comprised of minnows, earthworms, snails, prawn, duckweed, crickets, kale, dandelion, and other produce. Commercial turtle chow can comprise up to 50% of the diet. Spinach, cabbage, and a steady goldfish diet have been linked to various disorders.
Males may be distinguished their unusually long front claws and their long, thick tails. Breeding often occurs year-round.
Gravid (egg-bearing) females usually become restless. They should be removed to a large container (i.e. 5x the length and width of the turtle) provisioned with slightly moist soil and sand. Gravid females that do not nest should be seen by a veterinarian, as egg retention invariably leads to a fatal infection (egg peritonitis). The 5-15 eggs may be incubated in a mix of 1 part vermiculite to 1 part water (by weight) at 80-86 F for 55-80 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
temperament, yellow markings, Great long term, magnificent creature
care needs, metabolic bone disease
brine shrimp, doggy pool, live feeder fish, long lifespan, UV bulb
A family frantically brought me a turtle with the side walls of its shell chewed open. I was frantic myself seeing this because I did not know how to treat turtles, but after taking car of the little guy for about five minutes, I was smitten. What had happened was a friend of the family brought their dog to the owner's home and when no one was looking, it began to treat Tommy like a chew toy. Very bad! I could see the lungs moving in and out with each breath as the turtle struggled without the side walls of its shell. Infection would be soon to follow if we did not get help. Thankfully, I located a veterinarian who treated turtles all the time. As I spoke with him on the phone, he assured me he would care for the little guy by creating side walls with plaster of paris and then administer antibiotics. Tommy made a full recovery and I don't think the family invited any friends over again with their dogs. .
From T Lee Feb 11 2019 2:06AM
From findiviglio 847 days ago
My Midland Painted Turtle
My turtle is a long story. I was very excited when we first got him, because at the time, I owned only fish, tadpoles, and crayfish. But we put him in the small aquarium we had, and found out later that (I have no idea how), he climbed out and was hiding in a pot in the kitchen!
We put him back in and covered the small space on the lid he undoubtedly climbed out of, and left him there. It turns out later that he ate a lot of the tadpoles and fish. It was very sad. We even had a crayfish who had just shed its skin, and the next day he was gone (eaten). While we were originally extremely excited to have a turtle, this one ate everything around it.
I'd suggest if you get a turtle to make sure it's not sharing an environment with things it can eat. My mistake. We returned the turtle..
From Annie301 Jul 24 2015 6:04PM