How to Take Care of a Painted Turtle – Complete Care Guide

Painted turtles are one of the loving pets in the house. The turtles can live up to a maximum of 50 years. Most of the cases, their average lifespan is 20 years to 30 years. The turtles are named because of their ornate shell. Anyway, their lifespan depends on care also. If you can care of a painted turtle, they can live long; on the other hand, their life span decreases the lack of adequate care. If you love your painted turtle, you must have to know about painted turtle care. The turtles also require your attention from different angles, such as enclosure temperature, water quality, diet quality, and others. If you want better health and long-living of your pet, you should pay attention to it.

Before going to the core part of how to take care of a painted turtle content, we want to give you a superficial idea about species of the painted turtle. So, let’s go to this fact first.

painted turtle care

Various Subspecies of Painted Turtles

You know, the painted turtle is also known as Chrysemys picta. Usually, painted turtles are yellow and bright red color on their skin. But the shell is colored with olive and orange color. Overall it is amazing to look. Usually, in America, the painted turtle is found in four different subspecies. All are also looking very beautiful. Let’s learn about four subspecies of the painted turtle.

Western Painted Turtle

The first subspecies is the western painted turtle that is largest among all the painted turtles. It is also the most colorful. The turtle has a vibrant yellow stripings color on their legs and head, but the plastron is equipped with red color but has yellow and black blotching. Can you imagine the turtle, how beautiful it is?

Usually, female western painted turtles are larger than male western turtles. When the turtles are fully grown, the female turtles can be measures up to 8-10 inches, where the male is nearly half about the female turtles. About 4-6 inches is the average length of the male western turtles.

Remember, western painted turtle always has to ensure good filtration and a good environment for their wellbeing.

Eastern Painted turtle

The eastern painted turtle is also looking amazing because of the wonderful color combination of its body and shell. Red striping is found on the legs, and along the marginal scutes, the carapace is equipped with bright red crescent shapes. On either side of the head, the eastern painted turtle has a yellow dot, and yellow striping is also found. But the color changes down the neck that is red.

Here also the male is smaller than the female turtle. The female eastern painted turtle measures about 6-8 inches, and the male can reach up to 4-6 inches.

Midland Painted Turtle

Midland painted turtle has red striping on both legs, and yellow striping is found from the tip of the nose to neck. But down to the neck, there is a red color. The edges of the scutes have a red border, but the carapace has shades of olive and dark green.

The female midland painted turtle are dominant in sizes where the maximum size of the female turtle is 5-9 inches, but the male is a bit smaller than the female is about 3-7 inches.

Southern Painted Turtle

This is the smallest painted turtle among the subspecies of painted turtles. The carapace of the turtle has olive and brown colors. But the arm and head have yellow sport and red striping.

The female southern painted turtle can reach up to 5-6 inches, but the male cannot go up to 3-4 inches.

How to Take Care of a Painted Turtle

How to Take Care of a Painted Turtle – Avoid Mistake With Complete Guide

Hopefully, you get a clear idea about painted turtle yet. You have selected an amazing pet, painted turtle, congratulations. You know, the turtles also need a level of care, and you should ensure all of them. Let’s see what factors are related to how to take care of a painted turtle.


The painted turtles are semi-aquatic, but they spend most of their time in the water by swimming. They also take rest at the time of eating, and they like to bask in a dry place where the sunlight is available. So, you have to ensure there was enough water on the tank. You should pour a minimum of 100 gallons of water on the tank or more. But it will be much better if you can arrange gravel on the tank to make it like a beach. You can also add other floating accessories that are usually seen on the aquarium of the pet fish. You can also arrange a dry place just near the tank where the turtle goes for basking in the sun.

Diet (Food & Vitamin)

Most of the painted turtle likes to eat while they are in the water. They also take food on the land also. The turtles eat everything, so you don’t think about the diet menu of the turtles. It’s better to supply the mixed food of plant and animal matter. They can like to eat the same food every day. But you should be careful about a balanced diet, and you have to ensure that they are getting the proper proportional food. Pay attention to calcium and vitamins, especially. You can also offer such food for the painted turtles, such as below.

  • Vegetables.
  • Aquatic plants.
  • Crickets.
  • Earthworms.
  • Bloodworms.
  • Mazuri and Reptomin pellets.
  • Pieces of the cooked kitchen.

Be careful about painted turtle food always. You should also know the painted turtles don’t take food regularly usually. Don’t give them food too much not to make them overweight. But you should not give less than their demand.

Ensure Light

Though the painted turtles don’t require extreme heat like aquatic turtles, they need a standard amount of heat. It’s better if you place the house of the turtle outdoor where it can get direct sunlight. The painted turtles like sunlight. But if you place the tank inside the house, you should arrange UVB lighting and artificial heat lights. Always ensure more than 70-degree temperature around the turtle house. Above the temperature range, the painted turtle live well. On the other hand, if the temperature goes down below 70 degrees, then the turtle becomes lethargic, and it prepares for the hibernation period.

You should not provide the UVB light for more than 12 hours a day. You also check the UVB light every six months, whether it works or not. If not, replace the light as early as possible. Always try to ensure the temperature between 70-95 degrees that is the optimum temperature for the painted turtles.

Other Painted turtle Caring Tips

The primary facts that should be known are already said in the previous sections, but you may ensure some other facts for the care of the turtle.

If you give the turtle any food except live fish, it’s always better to give the food within a container. And get back the food after 20 minutes because, within the time, the painted turtles take the food as the need. If you allow the remaining food on there, it will make the area dirty.

You should know one thing that the painted turtles usually don’t demand human affection or any direct care. They like to be alone. Basically, they don’t like to be handled by others. So, don’t hold the turtle unnecessarily.

Common Health Problems of Painted Turtles

If you can ensure proper housing, proper environment, and proper diet, that is usually enough to care for the turtles. But you should know they are not out of diseases.

The painted turtles may get affected by intestinal parasites. You will see an abnormality in diet habits or on the living habit if the parasite overpopulates in the intestine. You should do the parasite examination of its feces by an exotic veterinarian at least once a year.

The infective issue can develop on the shell, skin, and even on the ear of the turtle. This issue may develop if the water condition goes down. That is why you should change the water at an interval. Check for the algae on the skin and shell of the turtle. If algae are built too much, clean the skin and shell of the turtle using a soft toothbrush.

One of the most familiar health issues is hypovitaminosis A. That means the turtle doesn’t take proper diet. The deficiency of vitamin a is called hypovitaminosis A. If hypovitaminosis is developed, it may lead to raw skin, swollen skin, stomatitis, nasal drainage, and many others. So be careful about the diet of a painted turtle.

And finally, the metabolic bone disease. This condition may develop if a painted turtle cannot get an adequate amount of UVB and calcium. Metabolic bone disease is also responsible for shell deformities, which are the major issue.

Summary of Painted Turtle Care

Not only a painted turtle but also every animal requires minimum care. If you think, you see the painted turtle requires the minimum level of care, really. The care they require, all are the simple things, and you can ensure all of them. Everybody also agrees that painted turtle care is very simple and easy. So, you should ensure all the factors such as environment, light, and diet. At the same time, you also should check the health issue to keep your beautiful and adorable painted turtle.

Care Your Turtle.


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