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Painted turtles

Painted turtles are harmless and appealing reptiles. Their long claws help them to excavate nests in sandy areas.
TRR photos by Sandy Long

June 5, 2013

It’s turtle time in the Upper Delaware River region—time to watch out for dark disc-like shapes along area roadways as turtles move about seeking areas of dirt and gravel in which to deposit their eggs.

This common and attractive turtle exhibits a combination of deep green, black, bright red and yellow coloring. It is often seen basking on logs and rocks in ponds, lakes and wetlands to regulate body temperature. Like snakes, turtles are “poikilothermic,” meaning that their body temperature is largely affected by the temperature of their surroundings.

Two subspecies—the eastern painted turtle and the midland painted turtle—inhabit our area and often interbreed.

If you are able to move a painted turtle to safety from a roadway, always move it in the direction in which it was heading. Although it will typically scrabble around while being handled, painted turtles pose no threat. Always be conscious of your own safety as well.

See to learn more about this attractive reptile.