Painted Turtle
Painted Turtle Habitat Map
Painted Turtle Habitat Map

Status: common

The painted turtle is the most common turtle in Wisconsin. I bet you've seen them in marshes, ponds, shallow bays in lakes and even in the backwaters of some rivers.

The painted turtle usually has a dark carapace (top shell) with the end scutes marked with red. Its plastron (bottom shell) is usually pale yellow-orange with a narrow gray blotch running down the center. Its tail, limbs, head, and neck are striped with red, orange or yellow lines. True painted turtles, ones that only breed with other painted turtles, are only found in extreme southeastern Wisconsin.

Both of Wisconsin's painted turtles like to eat aquatic plants, snails, crayfish, insects, and small fish as food. Painted turtles spend lots of time basking in the sun on logs and on mats of floating plants. This helps them keep warm, speed egg development, digest food, and maintain their shells.

Watch for these critters to go plop! off of a log where they were sunning.