Painted turtles are a favorite for beginner pet-keepers and even experienced hobbyists due to their docile nature. Despite that, they live for pretty long (up to 55 years) and need a lot of care compared to pet mammals which might discourage some from adopting them as pets. Following are a few attributes of these gentle reptiles :
- They are the most commonly found turtle in North America and make their homes in slow-moving fresh waters from southern Canada to northern Mexico and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They belong to the genus Chrysemys — part of the pond turtle family Emydidae.
- Fossils show that the turtle might have existed as long as 15 million years ago.
- The turtle feeds on aquatic vegetation and small water creatures, including insects and fish. They hunt on water body bottoms and jut their head rapidly towards vegetation to direct their prey toward open waters.
- While rodents, snakes and canines often feed upon their young, the adult turtle can ward off predators due to their hard shells. But even they can fall prey to potential predators, especially raccoons and alligators.
- They usually bask in the sun during the day, while during winters, they hibernate in the mud at the bottom of water bodies.
- Four U.S. states (Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Vermont) have named the painted turtle as their official reptile.
- Even though road killings and habitat destruction have threatened their survival, their ability to survive in human-ravaged surroundings have led them to be the most widespread turtle in North America.