Western Painted Turtle


This brightly colored, small, semiaquatic turtle has a smooth upper shell. General color is olive, olive-brown or nearly black. The upper shell normally has yellow, irregular lines and a reddish-orange outer edge. Head and legs may be dark brown or black and strongly patterned with yellow lines. The lower shell is red-orange with a prominent pattern of brown markings that follows the scute seams toward the outer edge.

Adult upper shell length: 3 to 7 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
This turtle spends much time basking on logs. In Missouri, this species may occur in slow-moving rivers, sloughs, oxbow lakes, ponds and drainage ditches. Habitat requirements include ample mud at the bottom, abundant aquatic vegetation, and basking sites such as logs or half-submerged rocks.
This colorful turtle eats aquatic plants, snails, crayfish, insects and some fish.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Occurs statewide, especially prairie regions, except for southeastern counties