midland painted turtle

(Chrysemys picta marginata)


This turtle is very similar to the eastern painted (Chrysemys picta picta) except that the large scutes (scales) on the carapace (upper shell) are arranged in an alternating pattern rather than straight across the back. It is a small to medium-sized turtle having a smooth, unkeeled carapace, olive to black, with a pattern of red and yellow, especially on the marginal scutes. The rear of the carapace is not serrate. The carapace length is 4 to 7 3/8 inches. Eggs are white, elliptical and vary in size, but are usually 1 3/16 by 3/4 inches. Eggs have smooth, slightly pitted surfaces, and are flexible when first laid, hardening as the eggs absorb water. Mating occurs after emergence and continues through the summer, with an incubation period of 72-80 days.


There is one recorded observation, in Lee County. They bury themselves in soft mud and use logs, or any floating objects for basking, or just float in open water. Dense vegetation provides a good place for sunning. They live chiefly where the water is shallow, the aquatic vegetation profuse, and the bottom soft and muddy as in ponds, marshes, ditches, edges of lakes, backwaters of streams, and cattle tanks.


The food preferences of this species are not well known. In general, it eats insects, crayfish, mollusks, and aquatic vegetation.