Recognized Subspecies in VA: Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta picta) | Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata)
Size: 4 - 6 inches
Range: Statewide; Midland subspecies is only found in the southwest corner of the state
Status: Least Concern
Almost every pond in Virginia is home to a population of Painted Turtles. These small turtles can often be seen basking on logs, floating plants, and rocks as well as seen swimming when they come to the surface for air. Sometimes daytime road cruising can yeild these guys as they are moving to new water bodies or laying eggs. This species can be trapped with a meaty bait as well.
Painted Turtles usually have two distinct yellow to white dots that can be seen from a good distance. Upon closer inspection, they have distinct yellow stripe that turn red on the neck and legs and red and black marbled sub-marginals. The plasteron is typically yellow or orange, but can be black on some individuals. Their shells are domed and smooth, and adult males have long, front claws. The Eastern Painted Turtle is the only turtle in the US with linear scutes. This means the mid-dorsal scutes are in line with the scutes on either side of it instead of staggered as other turtles have, including the Midland Painted Turtle.
Similar Species: Though people often confuse these for other species, such as the Common Slider, the Painted Turtle has a very dissimilar in pattern, color, and shape to all other species.
Maps and External Sources
Herping Virginia encourages all naturalists to practice ethical, safe, and sustainable herping. The use of proper herping methods and techniques is beneficial to both wildlife and herpers. Visit the links below for more information.