Southern Painted Turtles

The lovely southern painted turtle is widespread, so it’s not difficult to discover one. It is ideal to purchase a southern painted turtle that has been raised in captivity. Parasites may be present in wild turtles. Additionally, wild turtles could have a hard time adjusting to life in captivity.

As you might or might not be aware, there are three further varieties of painted turtles. The western painted turtle, eastern painted turtle, and midland painted turtle are a few of them. The southern painted turtle is the most alluring of all painted turtles, at least to those like myself.

Facts and Information

One of the subspecies of the species Chrysemys picta is the southern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta dorsalis). This species is a member of the family Emydidae, which includes the majority of the turtle species native to North America, including the genus Chrysemys.

Contrary to popular belief, the southern painted turtle is the smallest of the painted turtles, growing to about 4 to 6 inches in length (10 to 14 cm). Their plastron is deeply browned and often clean, and they have a distinct red line running down the middle of their shell. The turtle’s common name comes from the red and yellow stripes on its limbs, head, and shell, which give the impression that it has been painted.

From southern Missouri and Illinois to Louisiana, the southern painted turtle may be found. They are west of Tennessee in Tennessee. They may be located in McCurtain County, which is in the far southeast of Oklahoma.

They are widespread over most of Alabama. They can be found in Arkansas toward the west, toward Texas. They may be found in the northwest of Texas, around Caddo Lake.

Southern Painted Turtle Appearance

The southern painted turtle has a brilliant red or orange underbelly and is tiny to medium in size. Yellow streaks run around the edges of the smooth, black shell.

Additionally colorful is the head, which has stripes that extend from the eyes to the mouth.

The smaller size and presence of a red or orange dorsal stripe set the southern painted turtle apart from other painted turtle subspecies. They also have a vivid yellow plastron when they are infants (the bottom shell).

Size of a southern painted turtle. Southern painted turtle adults may grow up to 4-6 inches in length. Hatchlings of this species, which are the smallest in its family, are only around an inch long.

Male and female southern painted turtles. Male painted turtles have concave plastrons, longer tails, and longer front claws. Females have flat plastrons and shorter tails.

Although newborn turtles are born with both sex chromosomes (XX for females and XY for males), the biological sex of the turtle is determined by the egg’s temperature. The egg will be female if it is warmer than 86°F.

What kind of temperament does a Southern Painted turtle have?

Individual Southern Painted turtles will each have its unique personality, just like any other species. There are, however, some traits that you can anticipate in all cases.

Whether they are in the wild or a tank at home, Southern Painted turtles often like solitude. A Southern Painted turtle can be handled, and the more you do it, the more probable it is that your new buddy will get acclimated to being held.

However, due to their size and innate nature, Southern Painted turtles don’t particularly appreciate it when other species approach their head too closely. You might anticipate them to recoil or possibly try to bite you if you approach quickly near their head.

You’re in luck if you want a vibrant tank filled with a diversity of life. Southern If they are nearly the same size, painted turtles can be kept alongside other turtles and some fish. Find out more in my post on whether turtles and fish can coexist.

How to have the best Southern Painted turtle set up

The hardest aspect will be creating the ideal habitat for your Southern Painted turtle. Any turtle will require a tank that is at least 30 gallons in size to be content.

Remember that your turtle will be happy the more room he has! You need 40 gallons of room for each turtle you intend to keep if you have more than one. Red eared slider tanks and southern painted turtle tanks are comparable in needs.

Southern The majority of the time that painted turtles spend swimming. As a result, as you prepare your new friend’s living quarters, make sure there is enough water for him to swim in. Your painted turtle will need areas to exit the water and rest, even if you want to fill the tank with water for the most of the time.

Southern Painted Turtle Care

Low-maintenance pets include southern painted turtles. They mainly self-regulate once they have the ideal tank setup and just require feeding and tank cleaning.

It is difficult to set up their surroundings and necessitates a thorough understanding of the biology and natural tendencies of the species.

Being ectotherms, southern painted turtles rely on outside heat sources to maintain their metabolic rate. They saunter into the water to cool off and bask in the sun to warm up in the wild.

The basking light is used for basking in captivity. Create a platform so that your turtle may dry off and reach the ideal temperature. Additionally, a UV light should be placed here to produce UVB, which is necessary for calcium absorption.

Southern Painted Turtle Habitat

The aquatic southern painted turtle favors freshwater areas with slow flowing currents and abundant aquatic vegetation.

Although brackish environments have been known to support them, rivers, lakes, ponds, and marshes are where they are most frequently found. The southern painted turtle prefers water bodies with soft bottoms and areas for sunbathing in addition to thick vegetation.

Southern Painted Turtle’s Temperament & Handling

The southern painted turtle will be easy to care for for novice turtle keepers. They are not only hardy, but also friendly and active around people.

They won’t run away whenever you approach the enclosure because of this. Other turtles exhibit the same behaviors. If other painted turtles and terrapins get along with other turtles, they can be kept with the southern painted turtle. Although they are not very sociable animals, turtles get along fairly well together.

If there are numerous southern painted turtles in the same cage, watch out for aggressive behavior regardless of how big the enclosure is. However, aggressive behavior is rarely an issue in a big cage with several hiding places.

When necessary, only handle the southern painted turtle. Hands should always be completely washed before touching anything.

Southern Painted Turtle Care Sheet

There are several color variants of southern painted turtles. To develop with them, we advise starting with them while they are infants. Each has a unique personality, and working with them when they’re young rather than after they’re completely grown tends to be simpler.

Being aquatic creatures, these turtles will spend the majority of their time submerged. In the wild, they spend the most of the daytime hours moving about and soaking up the sunshine.

They are easily startled, and even the smallest sound or movement will cause them to respond. These incredible turtles are kind and have wonderful personalities. It’s not unusual to see them swim up close to you in anticipation of being fed.

People frequently mistake this turtle for the Red Eared Slider. They are flatter than the slider, which is the primary distinction. The noticeable red markings on the side of its head as well as a speckled bottom shell are also absent. The painted turtle lacks either of these characteristics.

Southern Painted Turtle Classification and Evolution

The Emydidae family, which includes the southern painted turtle, accounts for over 60% of all turtle species. They belong to a wider group of turtles known as pond turtles, that spend the most of their life in or around bodies of water.

With the scientific name C. picta dorsa, this species was formerly a subspecies of the painted turtle species (C. picta).

It was first assumed that its geographical isolation due to a previous glacier caused it to develop independently from other subspecies. According to the idea, because this glacier was short, no separate species ever developed. [2]

In the same genus as painted turtles, the southern painted turtle has now been reclassified as a distinct species (C. dorsalis) (Chrysemys).

What do i Feed My Southern Painted Turtle?

It’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet for your turtle. We advise feeding your turtle with a range of products. They will require a range of plant-based things because they are omnivores.

To make sure they are getting the proper quantity of nourishment, we advise purchasing commercial turtle pellets. Along with dark green veggies or other non-toxic aquatic plants like water lettuce or anacharis, this should be offered to the animal.

Southern Sliced vegetables like carrots or squash are another favorite food of painted turtles for sale. These kinds of turtles frequently consume earthworms or goldfish as rewards. A diversity of fresh plant materials, sources of protein, and a balanced diet are all necessary.

Using a feeding tank could be simpler. They could eat sloppily. Water devoid of chlorine must always be accessible for drinking. You should always feed your turtle each day. Your turtle will often need to be fed when it is submerged in water.

Feeding the Southern Painted Turtle

Given that the southern painted turtle is an omnivore, it’s critical to give it a varied diet. A combination of plant, animal, and commercial turtle diet should make up the diet. The turtle gets all the nourishment it needs from this.

Pick a food created especially for aquatic turtles, such the Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Diet, when picking a diet for turtles. Protein makes up between 30 and 40 percent of this.

Healthy turtle diets also contain vitamin D3 and calcium. Baby turtle formula meals, like the ReptoMin Baby Floating Food Sticks, are certain to give infants and young turtles all the nourishment they require.

Greens like red leaf lettuce, escarole, dandelions, mustard greens, kale, endive, romaine zucchini, collard greens, and beet leaves are among the plant materials you may use to feed the turtle.

Additionally, feed them aquatic plants including water lettuce, water lilies, water hyacinth, pondweed, water fern, water starwort, water milfoil, frogbit, and hornwort.

They may be fed on insects like mealworms, crickets, and bloodworms. You can periodically give them pieces of fruit.

You might wish to add vitamin and mineral supplements to the meal in addition to the meals you provided them.

Feed adults around four times each week, and feed youngsters and hatchlings every day.

Southern Painted Turtle’s Lifespan

The southern painted turtle has a shorter lifespan than most other turtles, although it still outlives most pets. Expect to care for it for many years as a result. Life expectancy for southern painted turtles ranges from 25 to 45 years. Expect them to live out their entire lifetime with proper care.

How big do Southern Painted turtles get?

Typically, adult Southern Painted turtles don’t get much bigger than 6 inches. Additionally, this species’ females are often bigger than its males. It’s crucial to be aware that you cannot buy a Southern Painted turtle if its shell is smaller than 4 inches if you are thinking about buying one as a pet.

You should also avoid removing a young painted turtle from its natural habitat. This is because a painted turtle’s danger of injury increases with size since its shell is still fragile.

Accessories for a Southern Painted Turtle Tank

I advise that you provide your turtle with a few hiding places in addition to at least one area for basking. Your new Southern Painted turtle will be content if you also add some turtle tank plants.

Increase the amount of hiding and basking areas in the habitat if you decide to keep more than one turtle there. There won’t be competition for resources if there are more than one for each turtle.

You’re going to need more than just a tank with water and places to hide if you want to make sure that your painted turtle’s arrangement is as ideal as you can make it. The water in your turtle’s habitat has to be heated and purified.

Additionally, if you have a UV lamp above any spots for basking, he would like it. By allowing your turtle to dry out, you are preventing shell rot.

Southern Cold-blooded species include painted turtles. They are therefore unable to control their body temperature. A thermostat must be used to monitor the water’s temperature. To maintain the ideal temperature in your turtle’s basking areas, you may also utilize a thermal temperature gun.