Castlewood, South Dakota, United States
Posted Mar 25, 2015
I worked in a group home a few years back that had a painted turtle in a large aquarium. Of course, as an employee, I got to help take care of said turtle. I very much enjoyed watching him swim around, and it was rather fascinating to watch him eat, dig, and even play with his food or ornaments (they weren't really toys--just castles and lily pads and such).
While he was a joy to watch and rather beautiful to look at (especially from the bottom of his shell or when he stretched his neck out). He was quite a hassle to take care of. Everything needed to be thoroughly cleaned when he was taken out of his cage (turtles carry a good deal of salmonella), and the monthly cleaning of his aquarium was both grueling (all of the rocks and ornaments needed to be taken out and individually cleaned, and the tank itself would become quite scummy from...well, a turtle being a turtle) and more than a little smelly.
His food was rather expensive, as well. During the summer, we'd go out and get him crickets, but otherwise, he was pretty picky. He also wan't terribly friendly. I don't know if this was just the attitude of our painted turtle, or if they're all this way, but you could never hold him; when out of his cage, you just had to let him do his thing, otherwise he'd nip at your fingers.
So, all-in-all, if you REALLY like turtles, go for it. But you'll have to really enjoy the fact that you have a turtle to make up for the cleaning and housing situation. If you do get a painted turtle and you're glad for it, perhaps you're just a better person than I.