The eastern painted turtle often appears olive green to black in its upper shell and may possess a pale stripe down the middle or red markings on its side. The bottom shell is typically solid yellow, but may be lightly spotted. The turtle generally grows to be anywhere between 4-10 inches long.


While the eastern painted turtle is omnivorous, they develop a taste for plants as they grow older. Juveniles are often carnivorous, feeding on aquatic invertebrates. Adults feed on aquatic plants and animals.


Medium-sized predators such as raccoons, otters, mink and foxes will prey on these turtles and their eggs.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Eastern painted turtles often mate in the spring and deposit their eggs in early to mid summer. Females choose soft, sandy soil with good exposure to the sun in which to dig a hole for their eggs. Once the eggs are laid they cover the hole and leave. The young hatch and dig out of the nest on their own; they are independent immediately.

Did You Know?

  • Because they have no teeth, the turtle’s jaw has tough plates for gripping food. Painted turtles must eat in the water, as their tongue does not move freely and they cannot manipulate food well on land.

  • In northern parts of their range, painted turtle hatchlings are known to literally freeze in their nests during the winter and thaw out in the spring. Along with diamondback terrapins, painted turtles are the only known reptiles that can withstand freezing.

Sources and Additional Information