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Western Painted Turtle Profile

Western Painted Turtle

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Testudines
  • Family: Emydidae
  • Genus: Chrysemys
  • Species: Chrysemys picta bellii

Quick Overview

The Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii) is a vibrant and distinctive freshwater turtle, recognized for its captivating colors and wide distribution in western North America. As a subspecies of the Painted Turtle, it shares common traits with its relatives while displaying unique features that contribute to its appeal among reptile enthusiasts.

Fast Facts

  • Scientific Name: Chrysemys picta bellii
  • Lifespan: With proper care, Western Painted Turtles can live for several decades, often exceeding 20 years.
  • Average Size: Adult Western Painted Turtles typically have a shell length ranging from 4 to 7 inches.
  • Diet: Omnivorous, their diverse diet includes aquatic plants, small fish, insects, and invertebrates.
  • Habitat: These turtles are commonly found in various aquatic environments such as ponds, lakes, slow-moving rivers, and marshes.

Did you know?

The vibrant shell markings of the Western Painted Turtle not only serve an aesthetic purpose but also act as effective camouflage in their natural habitats.


Western Painted Turtles boast a striking appearance with a smooth, olive to black shell adorned with vivid red and yellow markings. Their skin often features a mix of dark and light patterns, and the undersides (plastrons) are typically yellow with dark markings. These distinctive and vibrant colors contribute to their popularity among turtle enthusiasts.

Size and Weight

Adult Western Painted Turtles generally reach a shell length of 4 to 7 inches, with females usually being slightly larger than males. Their weight can vary but is typically between 300 and 500 grams.

Temperament and Behavior

Known for their calm demeanor, Western Painted Turtles are skilled swimmers frequently observed basking on rocks or logs. While they may display some shyness, they can become accustomed to human presence, especially during feeding times.

Fun Fact

Western Painted Turtles exhibit skilled basking behavior, often seen stacking on top of each other on a sunny log, creating a visually striking display.

Habitat and Distribution

Indigenous to western parts of North America, Western Painted Turtles showcase adaptability by thriving in various aquatic environments, including ponds, lakes, slow-moving rivers, and marshes.

Care Guide

For those interested in keeping Western Painted Turtles as pets:

  • Enclosure: Provide a well-structured aquatic habitat with a basking area, UVB lighting, and a water filtration system.
  • Temperature: Maintain a basking area temperature around 85-90°F (29-32°C) and water temperature around 75-80°F (24-27°C).
  • Diet: Offer a balanced diet, including commercial turtle pellets, leafy greens, insects, and aquatic plants.
  • Health Check-ups: Regularly monitor your pet’s health, including eyes, nose, and shell, and seek veterinary care when needed.
Western Painted Turtle

Diet and Nutrition

Western Painted Turtles thrive on a diverse diet that includes commercial turtle pellets, leafy greens, aquatic plants, and protein sources like insects or small fish. Calcium supplements may be necessary for their overall health.

Health and Wellness

Maintaining proper humidity, a balanced diet, and access to sunlight or UVB lighting are essential for the overall health and well-being of Western Painted Turtles.


Similar to other Painted Turtles, Western Painted Turtles reproduce by laying eggs in sandy or loamy soil. The gender of the offspring is influenced by the incubation temperature.

Conservation Status

While not currently classified as endangered, Western Painted Turtles face threats such as habitat loss and road mortality. Conservation efforts focus on preserving their natural habitats.

Three Fascinating Facts About Western Painted Turtles

  • Unique Regional Traits: Western Painted Turtles exhibit distinct variations in coloration and pattern based on their specific geographic locations.
  • Environmental Adaptations: These turtles have adapted to a range of environmental conditions, showcasing resilience in different aquatic habitats.
  • Social Behavior: Western Painted Turtles engage in social behaviors, including communal basking, providing interesting insights into their interactions within their habitat.
Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
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