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Painted Turtle

Chrysemys picta

If you have seen a bunch of turtles on a log then chances are you have seen a Painted turtle. The sun loving Painted Turtle is a familiar inhabitant of lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and wetlands in Ontario. It is an aquatic species coming to land only to nest and migrate.

The shell is green above and bright yellow below with a central dark blotch. The upper shell is fairly flat and flares at the rear margin. The under side of the margins of the shell have patterns of red and black and appear to have been painted on hence the turtles name. The head is green with yellow stripes and spots and the stripes turn to red on the legs. The feet are webbed. Two subspecies, the Western Painted (C.p.bellii) and the Midland Painted (C.p.marginata) live in Ontario.

Painted turtles are excellent swimmers and avid baskers which is why they are so conspicuous as they will gather in large numbers on a site such as a fallen log, to bask. Painted turtles are still plentiful in Ontario but their habitat as with all species is disappearing and disjointed. Painted turtles are protected from collection and ownership in Ontario under the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act.

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