Eastern Painted Turtle
The Eastern painted turtle – so named because of its bright markings – can live up to 30 years! They inhabit the ponds, marshes, rivers and streams of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, feeding on an omnivorous diet of worms, insects, crayfish, tadpoles, small fish, plants and algae. Like other cold-blooded creatures, they will bask in the sun for warmth, but retreat into the water if spooked.
The Eastern painted turtle has a greenish head and neck with wavy yellow lines, and red and yellow stripes on its legs and tail. It has a dark shell with red markings around the edge and a yellow lower shell. Adults grow to a length of 8-9 inches and males tend to be slightly smaller than females with flatter shells. Eastern painted turtles are easily confused with red-bellied turtles, but can be differentiated by their smaller size and yellow head markings.
The Eastern painted turtle is one of four subspecies of painted turtles, the others being Southern, Midland and Western. Painted turtles hibernate in the winter, digging themselves into the mud, and breed from May to July. Females dig nests on land about 4 inches deep which are close enough to a water source so that there is some water in the bottom of the nest. The 3-9 eggs that are buried will hatch in about 10 weeks, and the baby turtles will dig their way to the surface.
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Photo of Eastern Painted Turtles