The Painted Turtle has a slightly domed shell that is solid green to black and smooth all over with no keel. The scutes on the carapace are outlined in a lighter green or off-white. The plastron is wide and either solid yellow or yellow with a dark irregular central blotch. They are 5-7 inches long. Their skin is green with yellow spots and stripes. They have two distinctive yellow spots on each side of their neck. At the base of their neck, and on their legs, the yellow stripes are replaced with red stripes. The undersides of the outer scutes of the carapace are very colorful with yellow, red, and green markings.
Painted turtles are mostly aquatic but bask often. The females leave the water to lay eggs or to travel to new ponds. They like soft-bottomed ponds and lakes with emergent vegetation and basking spots.
This species has a state natural heritage rank of S5 (common). Please report sightings of this species in Vermont if you have not reported them within the last five years from a given location. Any natural history observations (feeding, migrations, road crossing areas, early or late season appearance, abnormalities, etc.) are appreciated. Photographs are always helpful, particularly if your report is the first report of this species from a town.
Species summary written by Kaile Burgess.