Midland painted turtle

Latin Name
Chrysemys picta marginata

Class
Reptiles

Order
Testudinata

Description

Midland painted turtles are named for the brightly colored markings on their faces and limbs. Individual turtles range from 3-10 inches in length. Their yellow-and-green shells are relatively flat.


 

Range

Southern Canada to northern Mexico.


Status

Midland painted turtles are one of the most common turtles in North America.


Habitat

The species favors still, shallow freshwater habitats that have a thick layer of mud beneath the water.


Niche

Pained turtles feed on plants and small animals such as fish, crustaceans and insects. They feed in the water, using powerful jaws to grip their food. During the day, they can often be found basking in the sun on exposed rocks and logs. Absorbed sunlight helps to fuel the species


Life History

Midland painted turtles often spend winter burrowed in mud beneath the pond surface, entering a state of lowered activity to survive the cold weather. They mate upon becoming active again in spring. Females lay 4-15 eggs in a sandy hole excavated for that purpose. The sexes of the hatchlings are dependent on temperature during incubation; low temperatures result in males and high temperatures result in females. The young dig themselves out after hatching and are immediately independent.


Special Adaptations

The Midland painted turtle is able to defend itself against predators by withdrawing its head and limbs within its shell.



Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit