Western Painted Turtle

Chrysemys pica bellii
Western painted turtles spend much time basking on logs/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

Preferring sluggish waters, painted turtles occasionally can be found sunning themselves on rocks, logs, muddy banks and floating vegetation in Refuge freshwater ponds, sloughs and wetlands. Painted turtles are primarily plant eaters, but will also consume insects, crayfish, earthworms, frogs, small fish, amphibian larvae, and carrion.

Four subspecies of painted turtle inhabit North American. Of these, only the Western painted turtle is native to the Pacific Northwest. Western painted turtles are easy to identify with their yellow striped head and feet, and red-rimmed shell. It is the only turtle that has a red plastron (bottom shell).

Females dig a nest hole in a sunny location away from the water where she deposits 1 -20 eggs. The eggs incubate for 3-4 months.

Facts About Western Painted Turtle

Males are smaller and have longer front claws than females.

Eggs and hatchlings sometimes overwinter in the nest.

Hatchlings are 1 inch (3 cm) long.