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Western Painted Turtles - Chrysemys picta bellii

Western Painted Turtles - Chrysemys picta bellii
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Aquarium suitability:
Care level:
Easy with Proper Care
Extreme Friendly
Omnivorous, eating anything that fits into its jaws
Canada to Mexico
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$44.01 (48.91%)
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The Chrysemys picta bellii or the Western Painted Turtle is the largest American Painter turtle. It is found in the western and central states of North America extending from Washington, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. They spend most of their time underwater and inhabit lakes, rivers ponds and streams that have a yearlong supply of water. They live around deep fresh water bodies like lakes and rivers but prefer slow moving, quiet and shallow areas of water that have dense aquatic vegetation. The Western Painted turtle has a black, dark olive or brown carapace with bright red rims. The underside of the shell is also covered with bright red patterns mixed with olive and yellow. The top of the carapace is flattened, keel less and smooth. They have an unhinged plastron that has an attractive color explosion pattern at its center. It is bright orange or red with radiating yellow black and red patterns. It has a proportional head with a prominent snout. The skin dark olive or black withyellow and red stripes all over its head, limbs and tail. A femaleChrysemys picta bellii grows up to 10 inches while the males are much smaller and stop at 7 inches carapace length.

The Western Painted Turtle Habitat

The Western Painted turtles are endemic to the western and central states of America and live along quiet fresh water sources. They spend most of their time in shallow water and can be found in cattle tanks, prairie slough and ponds. Slow moving water bodieswith soft bottom and plenty of underwater vegetation. Flood debris of fallen trees is a favorite spot for most American turtles. They prefer to bask closer to their habitat, however females move further away from their abode to nest and lay eggs. The Chrysemys picta bellii are not very tolerant to lower temperatures and hibernate through winter. An interesting adaptation in turtles is their ability to voluntarily slow down their heartbeat and limit their oxygen needs under water.

In captivity the closest simulation to their natural habitat should be created. For single adult male turtle you will need a 75 gallon water tank. The female Western Painted turtles are larger and need at least 125 gallon aquarium. Both hatchlings and adults need deep water and plenty of room. Plenty of under-water fittings, rocks, gravels and underwater artificial plants should be fitted in the aquarium. Pieces of artificial, partially submerged logs can also be fitted. The Western Painted Turtles are aggressive baskers and need a dry warm area for basking. A UVB light paired with a regular heating lamp should be fitted over the basking area. The UVB lamp helps the turtle synthesize vitamin D and is important for the setting. A regular UVB lamp should be replaced every 6 months.

The Western Painted Turtle Diet

The Western Painted Turtle is an omnivore with only a slight taste for vegetables or plants. They prefer to have fish, snails, crayfish, tadpoles, worms and assorted insects. In captivity you can also feed them fern, pondweed, hyacinth, water lettuce or mushrooms. A weekly dose of additional powdered calcium and vitamin supplement must be mixed with their meals.

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