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Western Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta bellii


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Western Painted Turtle, plastron
credit: Matt Young/CCSA

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Family: Emydidae, Pond and Box Turtles view all from this family

Description 4-9 7/8" (10.2-25.1 cm). Carapace oval, smooth, flattened, and unkeeled; olive or black, overlaid with light netlike lines. Bars on marginal scutes. Plastron yellow, orange, or red with intricate branching pattern. Yellow and red stripes on neck, legs, and tail. Notched upper jaw.

Habitat Slow-moving shallow streams, rivers, and lakes.

Range Sw. Ontario south to Missouri, n. Oklahoma, and e. Colorado, and west to Oregon and British Columbia; isolated populations scattered in the Southwest and California.

Discussion The Western Painted Turtle is the largest of the painted turtle subspecies and has the most extravagantly patterned lower shell. It overlaps and intergrades with the Midland subspecies where their ranges meet from e. Wisconsin and adjacent Ontario south through most of Illinois and far nw. Indiana.