Midland Painted Turtle Profile

Scientific Name: Chrysemys picta marginal

Taxonomy Group: Reptiles

The Midland Painted Turtle is a small to medium-sized freshwater turtle widespread across North America and Canada. It has a relatively flat shell and webbed feet. This allows them to be excellent swimmers. When they reach adulthood, Midland painted turtles usually reach a size of 4-8 inches.

Midland Painted Turtles play multiple ecological roles in aquatic ecosystems, including nutrient cycling and seed dispersal.

Midland painted turtle

Region of originNorth America and Canada 
TypeFreshwater turtle
Size4-8 inches
Dietary groupOmnivorous 
Lifespan35 – 40 years
Difficulty of careLow maintenance 

Size: They can grow to be 4 to 8 inches long. Adult female Midland painted turtles are slightly bigger than male ones.

Color: Olive to black carapace, red or dark orange markings on the marginal scores, red and yellow stripes on the head and neck.

Reproduction: Most mating for Midland painted turtles occurs in the spring. The female Midland Painted turtles lay between 4 and 20 elliptical, soft-shelled eggs in the nest and carefully cover them. The eggs usually hatch in about 70 to 80 days.

Health: Provided with a suitable enclosure, environment, and diet, Midland painted turtles are active and energetic pets. If your Midland painted turtle shows any of these problems, you must talk to the vet.  

  • Swollen or sunken eyes 
  • Inability to submerge
  • Gaping or frothing at the mouth
  • Bubbles in the nose
  • Always basking or refusal to enter the water
  • Inability or refusal to feed
  • Irregular growth
  • Discoloration or open wounds on the skin or shell
  • Any other abnormal appearance or behavior.

Lifespan: Midland Painted Turtles can live up to 35-40 years. Their gender doesn’t affect their life expectancy. They can hit their life expectancy if proper care and nutrition are provided to them.

Midland painted turtle habitat

Midland Painted turtles prefer aquatic habitats with aquatic vegetation and muddy bottoms. They are found in farm ponds, slow-moving rivers, oxbow lakes, and freshwater marshes. They can also be found in seasonal wetlands.

Midland Painted turtles often bask on shorelines or on logs that protrude from the water. They usually hibernate on the bottom of water bodies. However, Midland turtles that live in the southern United States do not hibernate.

Tank Requirements: For Midland Painted turtles, you will need a tank filled with water. Midland Painted turtles are active and able swimmers. They should be provided with a tank as spacious as possible. As a general rule, you should have at least roughly 10-15 gallons of water for every one inch of a turtle. To learn more, check out my article on how much water should be in a turtle tank.

Your Midland Painted turtle will need UVB light to maintain shell and bone health. Water temperature should be maintained within the range of 75° to 80° Fahrenheit. You should have the basking area at one end of their enclosure. A good heat-emitting light should always be provided over the basking area. You can learn more in my article on UVB lights for turtles.

Maintain a strong filtration system in the aquarium to keep the water quality high. Keep the Midland Painted turtle tank clean and change the water every couple of days. While it’s not 100% necessary, I strongly recommend getting a good filter.

You can learn more in my guide on how to how to set up a painted turtle tank.

Pet parent tip: Wash your hands immediately after you clean and handle the Midland Painted turtle enclosure. It will help to avoid any disease transmission between humans and Midland Painted turtles. As you might already know, turtles do carry salmonella.

Diet of Midland painted turtle

Midland Painted turtles are omnivores and eat both animal and plant matter.

In the wild, they eat a variety of plants and small animals including snails, fish, aquatic insects, algae, crustaceans, crickets, earthworms, submerged vegetation, and duckweed.

Baby Midland painted turtle

Below are some pictures of a midland painted turtle baby. They usually take a little bit longer to grow compared to other freshwater turtles.

Baby Midland painted turtle

Conservation Status

Midland Painted turtles are fairly abundant. Their ability to adapt to aquatic environments altered by man contributes to the relative stability of this species. Over the past few years, their population decline is due to habitat loss, roadkill, predators, and the introduction of non-native turtle species.

Like many other turtle species, nesting females are highly vulnerable to road mortality. This is because they often use the soft shoulders of roads as nest sites.

Can you have a Midland painted turtle as a pet?

Definitely! Midland Painted Turtles are a good option for pet lovers who are new to keeping turtles. These turtles are hardy and are also tame when they are around people. Like many other turtle species, they will not always be hiding when you come near their enclosure. They will likely spend most of their time swimming around the tank.

All turtles need a healthy diet, good living conditions, and careful handling for their healthy development. 

If you have further questions about midland painted turtles, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section down below.

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