The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) is the only species of Chrysemys, with four recognized subspecies. It lives in slow-moving fresh waters, from southern Canada to Louisiana and northern Mexico, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. The painted turtle is 4–10 inches long and weighs from 11–18 ounces. Its shell is smooth, oval, and flat-bottomed. Its skin is olive to black with red, orange, or yellow stripes on its extremities.
The painted turtle eats aquatic vegetation, algae, and small water creatures including insects, crustaceans, and fish. Reliant on warmth from its surroundings, the painted turtle is active only during the day, when it basks for hours on logs or rocks. During winter, the turtle hibernates, usually in the muddy bottoms of waterways. Adults in the wild can live for more than 55 years.
To thrive in captivity, painted turtles need fresh waters with soft bottoms, basking sites, and aquatic vegetation.