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
Our Painted Lady
Felicia is our Painted Turtle who came to us by way of a friend who lives near a pond. She was found late in the fall and was so tiny, that our friend guilted us with pleas of "it will never make it through the winter", so off to our 'Home for Wayward Turtle Hatchlings' she did go. She was the fourth hatchling we had taken in that year; this seems to be a hazard of living near water. Felicia is just lovely to look at. Her yellow markings are very striking and she seems pretty happy, as turtles go. She's always been rather friendly. Even as a hatchling she had no fear. She's quite relaxing to watch as she swims around her tank and sometimes when she's basking on her rock, she assumes a posture like she's flying. She will also climb on top of her tank mate, our other female turtle, Lola, and ride around the tank piggyback. I guess it probably does get boring in a 25 gallon aquarium. In my experience, turtles are not terribly hard to keep properly if you have the right equipment. When they are small, they need a special UV light ($20 - $40 depending on where you purchase it) to help them synthesize Vitamin D that they would normally get from sunlight in the wild. Otherwise, they develop metabolic bone disease, their shells will become soft, and they will eventually die. You can replace the UV bulb with a regular (we use 60 watt) bulb when they get to be around 4 or 5 inches. The other thing I will strongly suggest is a waterfall filter. They are around $50, but SO very worth it, because any turtle in a tank without a filter will quickly start to stink..
From litwit Oct 8 2014 9:54AM
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