painted turtle

(Chrysemys picta)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

painted turtle


N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure


not listed




Muddy bottomed ponds and marshes, the margins of small lakes, sluggish streams and river back-waters.


5 to 7 years

Photo by John Shier

Male: 4 to 7

Female: 4 to 9



The upper shell (carapace) is relatively flat and has orangish-red markings around the margin. The neck, legs, and tail have bold yellow and orangish-red stripes.


This is the only turtle in Minnesota with orangish-red markings.


Plants, fish, crayfish, aquatic insects, snails, tadpoles, and carrion.

Life Cycle




Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 11, 13, 14, 24, 29.


This is the most common turtle in Minnesota.



Testudines (turtles)



Cryptodira (hidden-necked turtles)






Emydidae (terrapins)




Subordinate Taxa

eastern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta picta)

midland painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata)

southern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta dorsalis)

western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii)




painted turtle








Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this reptile.

Wayne Rasmussen

  painted turtle    

Painted turtles in Keller Lake at Hwy 61 & 36. They have a nature walkway here where you may also see the eagles which nest next to Hwy 36.

  painted turtle    

Painted turtles at Deep Portage Reserve in 2010

  painted turtle    

John Shier

I found I had the wrong name for this turtle. Your site and the MN DNR site agree. I thought, however, that there might be room for one more photo. This one was taken today in Lebanon Hills Regional Park here.

  painted turtle    


  western painted turtle   western painted turtle





  Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)  

Eastern PaintedTurtle
(Chrysemys picta)

NH Conservation Status: Not listed

State Rank Status: Widespread and abundant.

Distribution: Throughout state, less common in northern New Hampshire.

Description:A 4-6 inch turtle with a smooth carapace and light lines running across the back (created from the straight rows of the large scutes on the back). The head and neck streaked with red and yellow stripes. There are two yellow spots behind each eye.

Commonly Confused Species: None

Habitat: Wetland areas with an abundance of vegetation and basking areas such as shallow ponds, marshes, bogs, slow-moving streams, and lakeshores. Often seen basking on partially submerged logs or rocks in large groups.

Life History: Nest usually close to water’s edge in sandy or loamy area with open canopy. Typically 5-8 eggs are deposited in shallow, excavated depressions. Up to 2 clutches may be laid in a year. Hibernate in mud bottoms or under submerged logs.

Conservation Threats: Road mortality, increased abundance of subsidized predators (e.g., raccoons), collection, and habitat loss & degradation.

  Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Bill Keim
  Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)  
  Chrysemys picta (Painted Turtle)
Allen Chartier
  Chrysemys picta (Painted Turtle)  
  Chrysemys picta belli (Western Painted Turtle)
John Clare
  Chrysemys picta belli (Western Painted Turtle)  




Visitor Videos

Share your video of this reptile.

Holly Potter

  painted turtle 01
Holly Potter
  painted turtle 02
Holly Potter
  painted turtle 02
Holly Potter

Dan W. Andree

  " Painted Turtles" have character.
Dan W. Andree

Published on Aug 12, 2015

Turtles have character. An observation of a Painted turtle stretching out its back legs just chilling along a pond in Norman county-Mn. It is also shedding a layer of its shell. Also contains some mating dragonflies bobbing up and down touching the water by the turtle. Music and text is added in the video. Shows distant and up close images. This observation made me like turtles a lot more.



Other Videos

  Western Painted Turtle - Chrysemys picta bellii - YouTube

Published on May 4, 2012

We found these turtles sunning themselves on a small pond.

The Western Painted Turtle is named after the bright yellow stripes on its head, neck, tail and legs, and the glowing red on its plastron (shell covering the belly) and under-edge of its carapace (shell covering the back).

Most adult Painted Turtles spend the winter hibernating in the mud at the bottom of ponds and lakes. Once temperatures warm up and the ice leaves the water, Painted Turtle courtship begins.

In B.C., Painted Turtles are found in pockets throughout the southern interior, as far north as Golden. This includes the Okanagan Valley, Kamloops Lake, Shuswap Lake, and the Creston and Nelson Area.

At present, the Western Painted Turtle is on the provincial blue list. This means they are considered vulnerable to habitat loss, and susceptible to human and natural disturbances. Habitat is being lost because of pollution and waterway interference due to damming, agriculture, and urbanization of waterfronts.

  Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta belli)
Carl Barrentine

Published on Jun 12, 2013

A thoroughly multi-perspective, educational look at an exceedingly patient Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta belli). Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (11 June 2013).

  Western Painted Turtles in the Wild
Wandering Sole TV

Published on Jan 3, 2014

Western Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta bellii) swimming and sunning themselves. Any camera shake comes from the fact that all this footage was taken from a distance while in a boat.

The western painted turtle is the largest subspecies of painted turtle and perhaps the most colorful with an ornamented bottom shell with red hues in it.

Music: "Old Man Blanchard" by Josh Woodward ~

  Baby Painted Turtle
Northwest Herper

Published on Nov 16, 2012

This video is of the western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii) This a juvenile was found in south-central BC. Relatively common speices throughout it's range: in canada it's found through southern british columbia, alberta, saskatchewan, manitoba, and ontario. Watch in HD!





Visitor Sightings

Share your sighting of this reptile.

Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Maplewood Heights Park

painted turtle

John Shier

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park

I found I had the wrong name for this turtle. Your site and the MN DNR site agree. I thought, however, that there might be room for one more photo.

painted turtle

John Valo

There’s always room for more photos.

Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Maplewood, MN

Painted turtles in Keller Lake at Hwy 61 & 36. They have a nature walkway here where you may also see the eagles which nest next to Hwy 36.

painted turtle

Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Hackensack, MN

Painted turtles at Deep Portage Reserve in 2010

painted turtle

Patty Austvold
May 2, 2014

Location: What used to be called Meadow Lake on Hassan Pkwy in Rogers, MN

Have seen 3-4 live ones since snow melted and we had a couple nice days (specific sightings on Easter Sunday).  They were crawling in cattail rushes and swimming along shoreline.  They were docile and let you pick them up right out of the water or rushes.  Today I am finding dead ones floating along the shoreline--2 recently dead full grown size..and one smaller decomposing.  Is something killing them but not eating them?  We have lots of muskrats and Herons and Garter Snakes on the lake.  Or is there a disease...or did they come out too soon from hibernation and it is too cold for them?  I would hate to see them disappear.  Do you have any idea why they might be dying?






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