Southern Painted Turtles ( Chrysemys picta dorsalis )are found on both sides of the Mississippi river south through Missouri, to the gulf coast of Louisiana, and east through northern Mississippi and Alabama. Southern Painted Turtles are the smallest of all the Painted Turtles, rarely growing over 5 inches. One of the prettiest, they have a distinct yellow to orange/red dorsal stripe. Southern Painted Turtles have a bit more tolerance for warmer weather, and do well in outdoor ponds in warmer climates.
Southern Painted Turtles, like all painted turtles, start out as carnivores, and become more herbivorous as they get older. We feed ours pelleted water turtle diet, dark leafy greens and cut fish. Adults have a very elegant courtship ritual where the male and female take turns stroking each other with their foreclaws, and moving away from and towards each other. They are diurnal, sleeping on the bottom at night, and becoming active in day light. Just like other Painted Turtles, Southern Painted Turtles love to bask and forage about their tanks or ponds. In the wild, as many as 50 can be seen basking on the same log. They quickly learn to recognize their keepers and come to feeding. They make fine, colorful additions to community tanks and ponds when larger than 3 inches.