The most widespread native turtle of North America. The painted turtle is the official reptile of the U.S. states of Colorado and Michigan. They are often kept as pets. They give birth on land by digging a deep hole and laying between 4 and 12 leathery eggs. They then cover over the hole.
The upper shell is olive green to black and may possess a pale stripe down the middle and red markings on the periphery. The segments (scutes) of the top shell have pale leading edges and occur in straight rows across the back, unlike all other North American turtles, including the other three subspecies of painted turtle, which have alternating segments. The bottom shell is plain yellow or lightly spotted. The painted turtle's feet are webbed to aid swimming. The head of the turtle is distinctive. The face has only yellow stripes, with a large yellow spot and streak behind each eye, and on the chin two wide yellow stripes that meet at the tip of the jaw. The hatchling has a proportionally larger head, eyes, and tail, and a more circular shell than the adult. The adult female is generally longer than the male.
It lives in slow-moving fresh waters. Mostly found basking near the edges of small ponds, often on logs or rocks.