Juvenile Western Painted Turtle
Age Group: Juvenile
Common Name: Western Painted Turtle
Scientific Name: Chrysemys picta belli
Description: Juvenile Western Painted Turtles are sold at approximately 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Their bellies have large colorful markings with red hues that spread to the edges. Their carapace has a mesh-like pattern of distinct lines that have started to fade with age. The top stripe that is present in other Painted Turtle species is either very faint or missing all together in Westerns.
Origin: Western Painted Turtles originate from the United States and Canada. From states like Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas and from Western Ontario to British Columbia.
Lifespan: This species has an average llife span of 15-20 years in captivity.
Habitat in captivity: Juvenile Western Painted Turtles do well in a 20 to 40 gallon setup. This will need to be increased over time for a solitary adult, preferably in a pond environment. They adore deep water and good basking. Other things your turtle will need are:
- UVB Light – Either a Coil Bulbs or Mercury Vapor Bulb is necessary to provide the correct spectrum of UVB that your turtle needs. UVB is necessary for turtles to metabolize calcium. Calcium is needed for healthy bones and shell.
- Basking Light and UVA – Your turtle needs UVA and heat provided to them using a basking light. Their ideal basking temperature is in the high 80’s to low 90’s. This is needed to encourage proper feeding, breeding, and sleep cycles.
- Heat –A submersible water heater is required to raise the water temperature to the correct levels. This species prefers the mid to high 70’s.
- Filtration – These turtles love having deep water to swim in. Make sure that water is toxin free by providing good water filtration.
- Habitat Décor –These turtles need to bask and they need to swim. As long as those necessities are provided, the rest is up to the keeper. Cage decorations can include substrate, ornaments, plants and Driftwood.
Diet: Western Painted Turtles are omnivores, but as juveniles, they are making a transition from being predominantly carnivorous to a more balanced omnivorous diet. Pellets are a great staple, they are well balanced and have added nutrients your turtle requires to grow and thrive. Pellets made by Zilla or ReptoMin are highly recommended. Along with that they can be fed feeder fish, feeder crickets, earthworms, krill, blood worms, occasional crayfish and ghost shrimp, aquatic plants (such as Water Lilies, Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, Anacharis, Water Lettuce, Water Fern, Pondweed, Water Starwort, Hornwort, Water Milfoil, and Frogbit), some vegetables (such as Zucchini, Squash, Collard Greens, Beet Leaves, Endive, Romaine, Red Leaf Lettuce, Kale, Escarole, Mustard Greens and Dandelions) and some fruits (i.e. Banana).
Size at adulthood: Like most turtles, the females are larger than the males. The average adult size of a Western Painted Turtle is 4 to 8 inches.
Community Turtle: These turtles are a great communal species. Remember to add approximately 10 gallons per inch of extra turtle when housing animals together.