how to care for a Baby Eastern Painted Turtle

Baby Eastern Painted Turtles are one of the most attractive varieties of pond turtles native to North America. It is a great pet turtle for beginners and can be kept and easily managed in an indoor or outdoor enclosure.

Baby Eastern Painted Turtle

Region of originNorth America
TypeSemi-aquatic turtle
SizeSmall (around 6 inches)
Dietary groupOmnivorous 
Lifespan20 – 30 years
Difficulty of careLow maintenance 

Appearance and Color

Baby Eastern Painted Turtles are small in size and can get up to 6 inches in length. These semi-aquatic turtles have bright “painted” markings. They have a black shell (carapace) that is lined with red. Their bellies or plastrons are bright yellow. They also have lines of yellow and red on their black skin.

What do Baby Eastern Painted Turtles Eat?

Baby Eastern Painted Turtles are not picky eaters at all. Feeding them is really not that difficult at all. These adorable little guys are omnivores. Baby Eastern Painted Turtles have quite a varied diet. Below are some of the common plant and animal matter that they consume.

  • Animal matter: They like to eat worms, insects, small fish, and any other animal matter they can get into their mouths. As babies, this should consist of the majority of their diet.
  • Plant matter: They also enjoy eating aquatic plants like water lettuce, duckweed, or water hyacinth. You can also give them leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and others. As babies, this should consist of around 30% of their diet. However you can make it around 50% of their diet once they become one year old.

Best food for a baby eastern painted turtle

The best food for a baby eastern painted turtle are dried insects and crickets.

Baby eastern painted turtles also need a lot of vitamins, calcium, and protein in their diet. 

Feed them in moderation as overfeeding will cause problems such as a condition known as pyramiding.

Another great option is Zoo Med Turtle Pellets.

How to take care of a baby eastern painted turtle

Here’s how you can take care of a Baby eastern painted turtle: 

  • Baby eastern painted turtles need a dry surface to rest on daily. They require some soil and gravel away from the water. This is referred to as a substrate. It will serve as a resting place as well as a place to bask. These young turtles get tired and can’t swim for too long.
  • Have a good turtle filter for the water, as baby eastern painted turtles are susceptible to getting ill due to poor water conditions.
  • They are cold-blooded turtles. You need to provide them with heat and light to survive. 
  • They need a water heater to keep the water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The aquarium itself for a baby eastern painted turtle should be between 30 and 50 gallons in size.
  • You should provide the little guys with ample UVB light. This allows the baby turtle to synthesize vitamin D3 that helps prevent shell deformity.

For a more comprehensive guide, check out my article on everything you need for a painted turtle tank.

Eastern Painted Turtle Temperament and Handling

The baby eastern painted turtles are not truly social animals. They’re capable of cohabitating with other painted turtles and other turtle species with similar enclosure needs.

The baby eastern painted turtles are generally peaceful and do not fight or create a mess with other tank mates. However,  both sexes are capable of territorial aggression. They remain calm and peaceful as long as adequate space and hiding areas are provided. Territorial aggression can arise if the habitat is not big enough or doesn’t have enough hiding spots.

They don’t need human contact and affection like other pets do. So, frequent handling is not recommended as it can be detrimental to their well-being. Wash your hands properly before and after handling a baby eastern painted turtle, as it is common for them to carry salmonella.

Health concerns

Baby eastern painted turtles are not immune to many health issues. They are easy to care for and stay healthy with proper setup, care, and diet. It is important to always check up on your turtle daily in case they develop any sickness.

It is quite easy to spot an unwell baby eastern painted turtle. Common signs of a sick baby eastern painted turtle are discoloration or wounds on shells and skin, loss of appetite, excessive basking, frothing or gaping at the mouth, bubbles in the nose, inability to submerge, swollen or sunken eyes, or any other abnormal behavior. To learn more, you should check out my article on pet turtle diseases.

In closing

After having a look at the article, Baby eastern painted turtles sound like a great choice for beginners. They are no doubt one of those beautiful little turtles that you just fall in love with at first sight.

As with most other temperate species, the breeding season of eastern painted turtles is restricted to spring and summer. So, captive-bred baby turtles are usually available from May through September. Most pet stores will sell eastern painted turtles during this time period.

You must give proper diet, housing, and care to help your baby eastern painted turtle live a long, healthy life. If cared for properly, eastern painted turtles can live for up to 30 years.

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